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Dear Owner, are you forgetting to upskill yourself?

Posted by Ben Whittacker-Cook on 13/10/2020 10:45:00 AM

What owner doesn’t want a highly-skilled and highly-motivated team? There’s no doubt CEOs are on to it, and are using professional capability development to upskill their employees. But are they neglecting their own path to learning? 


Recent global developments have forced CEOs and business owners to take a more flexible, creative and innovative approach to their strategic thinking than ever before – particularly in the realm of organisational structure.

World events have also created a clear skills gap. ‘The laid-off workforce – and many who are still employed – lack the very skills that are going to be in greater demand in the new, post-pandemic economy.’ (

| A core business necessity

It’s an imbalance that many owners are choosing to solve by improving the capabilities of their employees. Great news, and the data backs up any claims that upskilling is a core business necessity.

‘There are correlations among upskilling progress, economic optimism and revenue confidence. Furthermore, CEOs who have embraced the potential of upskilling are realising the rewards, such as a stronger corporate culture, greater innovation and higher workforce productivity.’ (PwC’s 23rd Annual global CEO Survey)

Good owners understand this, embrace training and learning, and don’t hesitate to invest in their team. However, owners can be guilty of an obvious miss – forgetting that they aren’t immune to the improvements they’re seeing in their employees. They want to create opportunities for their team, but forget about their own development as a leader.

Research conducted by BNZ, in conjunction with The Icehouse, discovered that 8 out of 10 business owners want themselves and their employees to access experts or consultants in specific areas of business skill development, but only 4 in 10 have engaged with this type of education.

| Invest in yourself

Overseeing every aspect of your growing organisation is exhausting, demanding, and can be a lonely experience. Furthermore, seeking help is not always at the top of the owner’s agenda, but that might be more down to your entrepreneurial make-up.

Maybe it’s time to try some personal development? It’s good to invest in yourself – owners have to find new pathways to lead them to success, but often they are put off asking for help and seeking advice for several reasons – particularly when it comes to learning programmes.

Setting and structure – Many executive training programmes are formulaic stand-alone affairs, with mostly one-directional learning. Sitting in a lecture hall isn’t very conducive for learning.

Application – Many executive programmes also fail because the content is too generic or not pitched in a way that encourages you to apply the learnings – it’s only when this happens that the sparks fly!

After-care – One month down the line, you’ll be lucky if you can remember two or three key points, and there is no-one keeping you accountable to the change that you said you would make.

| Increase your competitive advantage

‘You don’t have to go to the school of hard-knocks to succeed. You can be successful even if you get help along the way, because now, more than ever, the windows of opportunity are shorter, and the speed to market and speed of change for your business is more critical,’ says Josie Adlam, Icehouse Business Coach.

Upskilling can also put you on a firm footing in the future, because as your business grows, the skills you lack now might be urgently needed in the future. ‘…because now more than ever, the windows of opportunity are shorter, and the speed to market and speed of change for your business is more critical,’ says Josie.

For information on how capability building programmes, workshops and advisory can help your business, click here.

For more business ownership and leadership advice, check out more of our blogs


Topics: Business Coaching, Leadership, Business Strategy & Planning, Josie Adlam, The Icehouse, Owner Manager Programme

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