Finding a North Star helped us focus on our future
Bedford-based nutritionists Beezee Bodies realised it was prioritising immediate, everyday work over tasks that could contribute to long-term business goals. CEO Stu King has ADHD and admitted he has a tendency to overlook meaningful work for more immediately interesting tasks. The rest of the senior team would regularly get pulled in to handle the latest emergency in the business, rather than leaving staff to find the answers themselves.
Beezee Bodies encouraged employees to take responsibility for their decisions and handle problems themselves. The answers were usually easy to find and, as King noted, sometimes you have to mess something up in order to learn from the experience.
The company held sessions to plan a long term vision – a North Star – for Beezee Bodies. It built a plan to get there and then made individual targets to keep them on track. This meant that as long as staff were focusing on individual business priorities, they could be safe in the knowledge that they were on course to achieve the long-term goals.
King made the decision to cut his own priorities from 16 to six, and focused on the activities that would deliver the biggest impact on the business. To help reduce the likelihood of distractions, he set tangible targets within his broader goals of building potential for scale, enhancing public profile, improving service quality and developing the team.
The inability to stop and deal with the latest emergencies has been overwhelming, but the company acknowledges that it is part of the process. Overall, setting targets has helped King and the team be “much more focused every day”. Being values and purpose-driven has also made it easier for Beezee Bodies to make decisions, by asking at each turn: “Does this serve our mission and does it help us get to our North Star?”
“When we were younger, we’d do crazy hours without any side effects, but this only lasts so long,” King said. “We learned that we had to prioritise the long-term health of the business and ourselves. And getting the time to focus on long-term priorities feels good.”