On 13 October, a small group including some of the who’s who of the local business community convened at the Grand Cayman Beach Suites hoping to develop – of all things – a new perspective of their businesses.
The Managing in Context workshop conducted by Shirlaws Cayman was a day-long opportunity for CEOs to gain new leadership skills, network and view management of their companies in a different way. Participants included leaders from a variety of businesses, both small and large, across different sectors of the economy.
Managing in Context
“We were really excited. It was a group of everyone from small business owners running their own business with no staff, to businesses with upwards of 500 staff,” said Shirlaws Cayman business coach Tom McCallum. “They were bringing different experiences in a very interactive fashion work shopping at the tables.”
Shirlaws is an international company established in Australia in 1999, and now with operations in different countries across the world. McCallum founded Shirlaws Cayman earlier this year.
Shirlaws Global Senior Partner Glyn Heald conducted the CEO workshop in Cayman in October, following up on a May seminar in Cayman called More Money, More Time, Less Stress.
At the beginning of the October workshop, Heald said the day would offer “a way of getting above the content of your business and getting to the context of how you drive your business”. In other words, a typical difficulty for CEOs is getting bogged down in the day-to-day details of conducting business, when their most useful function should be to rise above and manage the overall direction of the business.
“At the highest levels of your business, do you know why you are in business, and does the human capital reflect that? Why are you in business? Why did you start the business? People lose sight of why they started the business, and the business takes over their life,” he said.
Many of the participants said they felt like they were working too much, with their time dominated by small but crucial tasks that ideally should have been delegated to others. They said they wanted help in freeing themselves up for bigger projects, and to enjoy home life as well.
“There are people who work 80 hours a week with a BlackBerry and an iPhone in each hand and don’t feel stressed at all, and they’re fine with it. There are others who feel that work-life harmony is something they would appreciate getting some skills to assist them,” McCallum said.
“It is a growing problem in our ever-connected world,” he said.
McCallum said different business owners have different needs, and Shirlaws coaches cater to specific clients.
“When we speak to business owners, we ask them, ‘What would you like help with? Would you like more money? Would you like more time? Would you like less stress?’ We can help them with any or all of those three, depending on what their priorities are,” he said.
The Managing in Context workshop was the first in a series of three CEO workshops slated for Cayman. The next workshop, Managing the Energy, takes place 24 January, and the final workshop, Coach Don’t Play, takes place 24 April, McCallum said.
“Each workshop is standalone. For those who did attend the first one, they flow very nicely from one to the next,” he said.
The titles and topics of the three workshops are derived from the threefold role of a CEO as described in the Shirlaws e-book, More Money, More Time, Less Stress, which is available for download on the Shirlaws website.
McCallum said he was drawn to business coaching because he wanted to help build a better Cayman through building better businesses. “It’s very much purpose-driven why I’m in business,” he said.
Shirlaws Cayman has partnered with the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce Professional Development and Training Centre to offer the workshops.
The prominent individuals who attended the 13 October session were attracted to what business coaching had to offer, not shoved into participating, McCallum said. The strong attendance was the result of a simple and short email campaign to get the word out that the workshop would be taking place, what it would cover and how to attend, he said.
“We don’t market. We work on a pull factor not a push factor. If people are drawn to the ideas we communicate that we offer, those are the people for us,” he said. “We do look for organisations and individuals that are looking to change. A key thing we’re looking for in clients is are they open to change. You don’t sell to people like that, you just open the opportunity and see if they come through the door.”