A question of growth

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“It’s rare to meet a lady taller than you Em” says one friend to another as we make small-talk conversation juggling coats, bags, and paperwork. The lady in question is the warm yet mesmerising Julia Langkraehr who we follow through an internal door from Gail’s Bakery into the My Bloomsbury Hotel and down the stairs to Central Working, an entrepreneurial story in itself, for another time.

Business coaching is today’s subject and myself and 2 friends have a complimentary 90-minute session with Bold Clarity, started by Langkraehr in 2014. The cynic in me assumes that this vivacious lady in her 40s with a mid-West American dialect, will lure us slowly into purchasing expensive services, the proverbial lunch is never complimentary.

Slow it is not. Speaking extraordinarily quickly, but with trademark clarity, Langkraehr relates her credentials from employment developing new revenue streams for European shopping centres, through redundancy, to building a similar business alone with emphasis on start-up retailers. Her mouth moving with spell-binding speed we hear the entrepreneurial rollercoaster of failure, restart, expansion, and finally, in 2003, exit from a business turning over +£30m and spanning 3 continents.

Within this verbal CV is encapsulated that of Gino Wickman, who inherited a failing family business at 21, turned it around and sold it after 2 years. While showing others how to do the same he created the ‘EOS’. This is the first of many acronyms we scribble down in our learning experience.

It is the Entrepreneurial Operating System® that Bold Clarity fosters. Langklaehr’s website describes EOS as an ‘effective management system, now operating in over 1,500 businesses worldwide’ and that she is ‘The First Professional EOS Implementer in the UK’, her home since 1999.

During my own career I’ve met numerous business coaches, and I have been that person running from pillar-to-post but achieving, well, not the right things fast enough so I recognised instantly in the system ‘process’. That vital faculty that underpins every successful business and that Coaches work to instil. The ‘process’ is always ‘simple’, but leaders are often reluctant to find the time to review or implement. Mostly it is those most overwhelmed by their task who are unable to believe that running their organisation differently from the way in which it has built its historic success will raise the trajectory.

EOS operates with six core components. Each component involves one or more processes and all the ‘issues’ faced, those ones that wake you up in the middle of the night, fall into place. Not least thanks to the ‘issues list’ which keeps all stumbling blocks in a metaphorical holding pen until the weekly IDS (Identify Discuss Solve), later we meet the VTO but I’ll leave you to explore that elsewhere.

According to Langklaehr, issues are just “symptoms of the root cause”. My cynicism depletes, I know her to be right. “Rather than applying quick fixes to individual departments it completely transforms a company from top to bottom” she explains. With simple (that word) tools your organisation will align around a common vision, and a cohesive leadership team will divvy up responsibility for a regular check box within the process.

Mentoring sits within my own offering but I work with individuals who have lost sight of their contribution and work to create their own (yes, you guessed it) processes to (yes,) simplify their task, and gain enjoyment and esteem from achieving and owning success. Is there something deliciously obvious about rehabilitating a leadership team to ensure a cascade of best-practice?

Is that ‘deliciously obvious’ or just ‘Bold Clarity’?

 At the end of our, now 120 min, session Langklaehr states that her client must be ready to do things differently, to be “open, honest, and vulnerable”. You can lead that horse to water but you cannot make it drink, I recognise there is still a call for mentoring at all levels.

While speaking proverbially, no lunch is included but a copy of Gino Wickman’s book Traction is a welcome gift and EOS strategy was divulged in swathes. A more useful introduction I can’t imagine.

It is human nature that employs Bold Clarity, Julia Langklaehr is engaging, experienced, highly professional, and appears equally competent. She is her own marketing tool and at £4,000 per day, and a recommended programme of eleven days over a two year period Langklaehr will establish, implement, and coach processes. The wood and the trees are boldly clarified for growth to prevail.

Our host’s final words, “I live by the philosophy of grow because standing still is not an option”.

And yes, it is rare to meet a lady taller than Em.

  • For more information about Bold Clarity or to book your 90 minute complimentary session email pa@boldclarity.com

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