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a blog by Chris Barrow

Samurai and shepherd

Today I meet with Barbara, Steph and Simon for our monthly management meeting. As the leader of the business I began with a lengthy overview of my current state of mind – how I feel about where the business is at the moment and how I feel about where we are going. I believe its crucial that they take a look inside my mind (dangerous as that may sound). In fact, that part of the conversation lasted almost 2 hours, before we got down to the nitty-gritty of business management – and I appreciated the sound advice, ideas and coaching that all three of my UK team gave to me – Barbara as business manager, Steph as her assistant and Simon as the mentor coach for our advanced dental clients. Vision discussed, we went on to work through some particularly difficult decisions as far as our finances are concerned. Client numbers are down (seasonal) and we have to take action to reduce our fixed costs/overheads and stop the profit seepage that has started to take place. 12 years ago I lost a business because I didn’t take action to reduce costs – back in those days I thought I could “sell my way out” and it cost me the shirt off my back. I’m not going to let that happen again. Interesting to observe the different approaches that Barbara and I take to the problem. I am the samurai and she is the shepherd. I worry about the situation overnight and then plan solutions in the morning and attack by afternoon. Barbara worries about the situation and worries about me and my capacity to cope – and stays worried and sometimes miserable as a result. We each have our different ways – but we are indispensable to each other. Without the shepherd, the samurai fights until he drops with no reserves. Without the samurai, the shepherd has nobody to look after. No point in the samurai telling the shepherd to stop worrying because I am attacking – she just gets more worried! No point in the shepherd telling the samurai to be careful – risk is my name! We have to learn to communicate with each other effectively.

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