In this week’s column from this month’s Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR), Nathan Farrugia of Ultimate Performance explains what drives him, and how he relishes the opportunity to train others to make an impact
All that I do has to have a purpose. It has to add value to the business, society and make a difference to people in general. The minute I find that my impact is not useful, then I stop. Whilst I have business goals, personal goals, family and charity objectives, they all have to fit into my ‘meaning of life.’
Whilst I try and balance my energy across all my responsibilities, at the moment, my business plans are taking precedence because the Academy is still a startup. I have a number of associates but just one employee, so we are agile and lean. Each associate was chosen because of their mindset and independence as well as their skill. They have their own business success but contribute to UP (my business) in ways that add value to our clients. Daphne, my business admin is the coordinator of all our efforts, as well as the events organiser. She makes sure that we deliver on our promises to our clients. All the associates are accountable for their own deliverables, so I don’t have to do any management; I just lead the way.
With the Foundation, there’s a management structure which I lead, but I trust fully to deliver operationally. I spend very little time on the day-to-day work involved in running a business and focus my time on vision and strategy. In this way I can ensure that the objectives of the organisation are met by empowering management through leadership.
We have an international market opening up that will take more of my time, but it’s exciting, so worth the sacrifice of time and effort. I’m also a keynote speaker at a couple of international corporate events and this always leads to new opportunities to explore. People around the world seem keen to learn how we unlock leadership and performance potential at the UP Executive Academy and we love to share our ideas. Running the Academy for Chief Executives franchise has also opened up new possibilities as this too can be globalised.
Ultimately my goal is to train more UP coaches and equip them with a toolkit that allows them to unlock the potential of more people, widening our positive impact and helping organisations to grow or increase their own performance, be it financial or social.
Staying focussed on the journey is the toughest challenge. Many times opportunities take you sideways and off-track because they may be lucrative in the short term, or make sense at the time. But you need to stay focussed on the long view and sit back at the rudder of your ship, not constantly be up in the crow’s nest looking for opportunity.
Another difficulty is finding talent that has both the skills and the mental fortitude. We have excellent university graduates that have very little experience or problem-solving skills. Knowledge is lost in business if not applied effectively. It’s my job to create the opportunities for talent to be useful, but it’s not always easy to fit in the dedicated time. I see this time as an investment in a future asset – the mind of the employee or associate, helping them grow in parallel with the business. With so many things on my plate I must learn to trust my associates and employees so they can learn from experience. I can’t afford to micromanage. I don’t want to either.
Other challenges relate to the failures of others that impact my life. Lack of respect, poor planning, bad management and lack of vision by collaborators, suppliers or even customers can drive you crazy. I’m a firm believer in resilience and positive action. If clients don’t keep time, I shorten their session. If partners or suppliers fail to deliver, I move on without them. Whilst it may seem easier said than done, I run my life based on mutual respect. Problems are often created in our head by emotions that are out of control. Staying practical and realistic makes my life easier to manage.
I’m a firm believer in altruism. I give the benefit of the doubt and the chance to redeem. I also point the finger at myself first as I can often be part of the problem. By being open and having regular sensible conversations with the people I deal with, we build mutual trust and, mostly, things get done without hassle. If that trust is dented despite the second chances, then I decide to end the relationship, but this is rare.
To keep up with Nathan, and find out what’s next for him on his entrepreneurial journey, don’t miss the third instalment of his blog here next Wednesday.
Nathan Farrugia is an entrepreneur. He attributes much of his success to a mindset that challenges the impossible and takes every obstacle as an opportunity to find new solutions to old problems. He has used this mindset to break world record endurance challenges, as well as to grow successful enterprises. He now spends most of his time coaching CEOs and business leaders on how to unlock their own performance potential as part of the UP Academy. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.