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  • Have you sharpened your pencils? My back to work tips.

    Even though I left the classroom thirty years ago, there’s something of the ‘back to school’ spirit that remains at this time of year. Wasn’t the best bit about returning to school the visit to the stationery shop to stock up on shatterproof rulers and pencil cases?!

    So have you sharpened your metaphorical pencils lately? Are you feeling energised for the term ahead? Read on for some tips to make the best of the coming months.

    1. Choose the right space to work. The importance of where we work is so often under-estimated. We obsess about what software to use to do our work, but much less about where we do it. Here’s my 90 second riff on why we should think carefully about our working environment (watch video).
    2. Fuel-Up your business! Businesses and organisations can often lose sight of who they are, what they do and why they do it. My new ‘Fuel-up!’ package gets to the essence of your business in five weeks. Recently I worked with Stripe Partners, a global strategy and innovation studio. Stripe’s Tom Hoy told me, “Working with Ian has given us the confidence to continue to be different. We now feel more confident in taking our story out to the world.” Click here to download my PDF with all the details.
    3. Ignite your work life. Earlier this month I went to Amsterdam for three days to try out my pop-up office experiment. It was really productive: a change of scenery created space for new thinking. Check out my post: “8 tips to ignite your work life: my pop-up office experiment.”
    4. Deal with stress. Whether you work for yourself or for an organisation, stress always impacts our work and personal lives. Earlier this year I was editor at large on The Stress Report, a 134 page book from The Do Lectures (available here). Here’s one of my stories from the book. It's all about London executive Nick Creswell who likes to travel by boat to his office at Canary Wharf,“Why you need to stop taking the shortcut to work.
    5. Walk n’talk with me. I’m currently running my one hour lunch break walk n’talks where I help executives, entrepreneurs and freelancers crack one big question in their business or work life. Earlier this week I took Andrew for a walk to help him figure out his future. He emailed me yesterday to say, "I'm still on a high after yesterday's session. It's really fired me up on where I can take things next." If you want some lunchtime clarity email hello@iansanders.com and we can fix a time for sessions either in London or by the Thames estuary in Leigh-on-Sea.
    6. Benefit from clarity. It's that moment when the fog clears and inspiration strikes: that blinding flash of clarity when a breakthrough idea arrives. I call it my Clarity Klaxon. Here are six things I do in my life to get it to sound more often:"When inspiration strikes. My 'Clarity Klaxon.' "
    7. Set your ideas free. Lots of us have great ideas about our work and business, but we don’t share what we're thinking with the outside world. Show your co-workers and clients what lies behind your job title by publishing your thoughts online. The objective? To get you noticed, start conversations and shine a light on your story.  If you need help blogging, I’m launching a one-to-one programme to capture and communicate executives' thinking. Email hello@iansanders.com for details.

     

    And finally, if you literally need your pencils sharpened, let me recommend a great little pencil shop I discovered in New York's Lower East Side earlier this year: CW Pencils (they have an online store too!). 

  • Figure out the essence of your business in five weeks

    How’s your business doing?

    Do you know what your customers really think of you?

    Have you captured your business story?

    I meet a lot of businesses with similar challenges. They’re growing so fast they need to update their value proposition. They're not competing on their story. There’s a disconnect between what they say they do and what they really do. Everyone in the organisation is too close to the business to stand back and see the bigger picture.

    That’s where I come in. As an outsider with a wealth of knowledge I bring a fresh perspective to rapidly figure out the essence of a business: its purpose, its positioning, its story. Recently I worked with Stripe Partners, a global strategy and innovation studio.  Stripe’s Tom Hoy told me:

    Working with Ian has given us the confidence to continue to be different. It provided the validation from a smart, external perspective that we should stick to our guns and focus on what gets us excited rather than dilute our story. We now feel more confident in taking our story out to the world.

    ‘Fuel-up Your Business’ is a five week, four-stage programme. It’s a shot of insight gleaned from spending time with you and your team, hearing from your most valued clients about why they choose you. I distill those insights into a series of content you can use as a touchstone internally as well as externally on your website.

    It gets you back on track, gets you all singing from the same hymn sheet, and gets your customers falling in love with you again!

    If your business, organisation or brand needs a fresh perspective and the fuel to grow, click here to download my 2 page PDF from Dropbox (or email hello@iansanders.com and I’ll send it to your in-box).