All posts by Angela Spang

Swedish born entrepreneur and business leader with an exceptional talent to form strong and winning teams.

Confidence fears fear

Confidence is an interesting topic. I come across as very confident in a couple of areas, even though I don’t perceive myself as confident in general.

I do know this: Confidence can’t live where fear dominates. Nobody can instantly become confident in anything, but we can teach ourselves to find areas or pockets of confidence, and that methodology can then be applied to anything. VERY few people lack at least one area where they feel confident, even if it’s just little things.

For example: lets say that you lack confidence in public speaking. I would argue that your response to someone who tells you to “just give it a go, whats the worst that can happen?!” is to want to punch them in the face. ūüôā

(Don’t, btw. Not nice to hit people.)

However, if you instead break it down into smaller pieces, we can think about it in a different way.

Public speaking: you do it every time you talk to someone. And you can do that. So add on one more person, then 2 more. Than 5. And all of a sudden, a couple of weeks later, you can speak to 10. it won’t be easy. Reducing fear never is.

Remember that lack of confidence is often driven by fear, and fear usually gets reduced with exposure (sort of like shining a light under your bed when you were little).

And remember to take it one step at a time.

Image result for our views change the more we know

Innovation is difficult? I disagree!

We are naturally capable of innovating all the time, but our psychological filters stop us before we even get out our drawing books.

How hard is it to innovate? Is it raw talent, a trained skill or just luck? As a growth company, how can you repeatedly implement great new products, processes or services? Continuous innovation is not easy and if you keep using the same method you will experience diminishing results.

Innovation comes naturally to me, as my key strengths of Improvement and problem solving, combined with creativity and a love of change bring me a brain that never stops. (Exhausting, trust me.)

Here are my top 8 suggestions to get your started into the habit of innovation:

1.     Ask customers. If you simply ask your customers how you could improve your product or service, they will give you plenty of ideas for innovations. Typically, they will ask for new features or that you make your product cheaper, faster, easier to use, available in different styles and colours etc. Listen to these requests carefully and choose the ones that will really pay back.

2.     Observe customers: Never ask what they WANT. Ask what THE PROBLEM is. Then you can innovate.

3.     Copy Paste: look at someone else’s idea. One way to innovate is to pinch an idea that works elsewhere and apply it in your business.

4.     Minimize or maximize. Take something that is standard and minimise or maximise it. Take out the middle man. (IKEA lets you build your own furniture, or sells the service to pay extra for someone to do it for you)

5.     Eliminate. What could you take out of your product or service to make it better? Dell eliminated the computer store, Amazon eliminated the bookstore, the Sony Walkman eliminated speakers and record functions.

6.     Collaborate. Work with another company who sees things differently. We recently spoke to a lighting company who had great ideas for improving visibility in surgery.

7.     Combine. Combine your product with something else to make something new. It works at all levels. Think of a suitcase with wheels, or a mobile phone with a camera or a flight with a massage.

8.     Ask your team. Lead your team is such a way that innovation and improvement is always on everybody’s mind, and that nobody is afraid to speak their opinions.

Mentoring Questions Part 3: EXIT STRATEGY

My goodness, I had more to say on this than I thought!

Thanks for coming back to read this third part. 

I got a letter in the mail a couple of weeks ago, from a company who asked if they could sell my company for me. As one of the things they wanted to discuss with me, they had listed my exit strategy for when I wanted to sell my company. I told them I would #neversell , but I would be happy to hear what they thought the company would be worth. They didn’t respond.¬†

Anyway, it reminded me about something I always used to try to install in my teams when we embarked on large projects in the corporate world: Exit strategy. 

I have observed, as well as been a part of, teams or projects that keep going long after any sane and remotely objective person would have called it quits. Why? Because it is hard to say “I give up”. And it is even harder to do it in a corporate environment where nobody wants to be pegged as being negative or pessimistic.¬†

So what is the responsible and strategic way to go? Make an exit plan. (And then hope you never have to implement it!)

GUEST BLOG: Ali Arif

When Angela had messaged me asking if I could write an article for her blog, I took the opportunity and was immensely excited.  The experience of her teaching is something I can write about for hours and hours.

Angela came to my school to teach us about the art of body language:

How it can promote leadership, learning, development, entrepreneurship and growth. From the first time I spoke to her, I knew that me and her would get along because she did the best thing possible, which was offering me crisps. Continue reading GUEST BLOG: Ali Arif

I’m hiring in London

 
 
Job Spec – Key Account Manager Greater London.
 
JUNE MEDICAL UK is a privately owned, award winning market leading medical device company focused on women’s health. Our head office is in Marlow, Bucks, and we are a team of 10 passionate, smart and fun individuals who are looking to expand our team.
We are doing well! Our company group achievements include:
 
• Top 30 Most Caring Companies in UK 2017
•  Finalist First Women ENTREPRENEUR of THE YEAR 2017
• WINNER of SME Excellence Award 2016 and 2017
• BUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR Award Finalist 2016 and 2017
• Case study for TTIP 2016
• Case Study GROWTH HUB Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) 2016
• BEST NEW BUSINESS Award Winner 2015
• Supported by UK TRADE & INVESTMENT (UKTI) 2014
 
We just keep growing, we have just launched our second new product of the year with another to come before Christmas.
 
Your responsibility will be to find out everything there is to know about our customers in the Greater London area and to know everything there is to know about our products….and then find out where you have a perfect match. Hard selling is not our thing!
 
You ideally need to be have experience working in the Greater London area providing the NHS and private sector with medical, surgical or clinical devices. Therefore, you will be comfortable in an operating theatre, and with surgical procedures. (Even if you may not tick all the boxes, but are clever, fast thinking, fun, hardworking, honest, straight forward and ethical we’d like to hear from you. Full product and skills training will be provided.
 
Salary depends on person (between 25-38k) plus travel allowance, pension and healthcare. Bonus between 10-20% (to be discussed).
 
Starting time as soon as you are ready.
 
Are you ready to be important?

Two new people to help find their strengths!! Who’s excited!?!

Me!

In september, we have a new apprentice start, on a rotation program between 3 of my companies. She is in for a treat very different to most apprenticeships: she originally didn’t want to do one, because she was afraid she would be filing and making tea for a year.

Not with us. Here, you learn.

When Ifsa (our first apprentice) started, we gave her responsibility for the entire Continue reading Two new people to help find their strengths!! Who’s excited!?!

Why I love LMEDAC (even though most people can’t say it)

When doctors learn a new procedure or product, they train on plastic or computer simulators, and/or actual live patients (who often don’t realize it). This causes unnecessary harm and suffering, and surgical errors cost the NHS billions.

This of course wasn’t a problem when few innovations came through, but today it has doubled from just 5 years ago. Patients are injured and even killed, because learning curves aren’t completed before going into live surgery (including children).

We train doctors to be better surgeons, by providing donated cadaveric tissue instead of training on live patients.

Our company’s potential is enormous, but our topic is emotional and sensitive. Guidance end expert advise will give us a higher chance of getting this right, and if we do, we will all benefit: for every surgeon we train, the improved outcomes impacts every patient they will ever operate on.

Our work is threefold:

Policy ‚Äď to change guidelines

Funding ‚Äď to give doctors the funds and time off to train

Availability ‚Äď increase awareness of cadaver donations (as opposed to just organ donation, which most have heard of).

For us, our work really DO make a difference between life and death. We are passionate about our vision, and hope you will be too.

(and it is pronounced [ell-med-ack] )

(and you can read more about LMEDAC here)

(and you can donate your body here)

Why leaders with egos are bad for business

Here is what a leader with a big ego will do:

  1. Being defensive. (Early sign: Defending ideas. Ultimately turns into becoming defensive.)
  2. Comparing to others. If you continually compare yourself to others, you will actually become less competitive. Too inward focusing!
  3. Seeking  acceptance to justify your ego needs. You crave respect and recognition from others, which eventually interferes with your success.
  4. Show off: You make a point of showcasing your brilliance.
  5. You think you have all the answers.
  6. Reject advice. Not smart.
  7. Can’t admit to being wrong. Ever pushed an idea through, even though you had that sinking feeling in your gut? Cut your loss and regroup instead. Only weak leaders have a hard time doing this.

None of this will make your business stronger, bigger or healthier, and none if this will foster good leaders around you.

Got a big ego? I suggest you send it on holiday for a few weeks and see how you get on without it. You just may be surprised.

I’ve yet to meet anyone complaining someone’s ego is too small.

“Whaddaya mean, it ain’t personal?!!!”

Oh yes, it is.

Me starting a company is personal. VERY personal. I put my career into this, my skill, my talent, my goodwill, my credibility. I have used every contact I have, every favour I was owed and every connection I could think of. I have convinced people I CAN DO THIS, despite their lack of belief, their concern for my family, or their worry about my future.

I have had talks with every employee coming onboard, convincing them that this is THE PLACE TO BE, we are going places, we will be a company to grow and develop in.

So if you for even a second think that a startup or an established¬†company isn’t PERSONAL to the founder and owner, think again.

Every single record on Companies House is a manifest of a dream, a vision, an act of bravery. It is a rebel act against facts and statistics, and a streak of both genius and crazy.

You may not like what we do. You may not even care. But know this: for EVERY company out there, there is at least ONE person for whom it is personal.

Very, very personal.

I can’t help my Dad, but I can help your Mum

What I do is so frustrating sometimes.

My medical device company helps women with incontinence , prolapse and IVF, and it gets people back to living the life they deserve. It doesn’t save lives (like cancer drugs do) but they do give back joy. I am so proud of that.

But obviously, I wish that what I do could help (save) my dad. He has prostate cancer, and he has been fighting for ten years. He is really struggling now, and I can’t help. We are past the time when I can find and suggest new drugs, and we are past the time when I can hope that new innovations will be the cure. We are running out of time. HE is running out of time.

And this week it is really hard to remember that even though I can’t help my Dad, I can help your Mum. And all the work that is ongoing WILL at some point find a cure to the curse that is cancer.

And since I can’t save my Dad, I will do my very, very best to help your Mum.

Love

Angela