Taking a step back allowed Stephanie Chamberlain to turn a lack of direction into clarity, a confused message into a clear vision, and a lost mojo into reinvigorated passion.
For Stephanie Chamberlain, joining a programme geared towards managing, motivating and engaging the people in her organisation generated eureka moments that have turned out to be instrumental in a new era of “ups” and achievements in her business.
All leaders will know what business even in “normal times” can be fraught with ups and downs.
This year has been indescribably difficult for most business owners, but Stephanie Chamberlain, founder and CEO of tech consultancy Magic Milestones, confessed that she was experiencing feelings of lost mojo even before the pandemic hit. “I was a bit like an engine that had run out of steam” explained Stephanie. “I was trying to work out which direction the business needed to go in and I just hadn’t found the right inspiration.”
Stephanie has been running her business, Magic Milestones, for 13 years and recently launched an associated brand called Stable Teams.
Despite over a decade of innovation and success in her field, Stephanie was still feeling uncertain about the company’s message and direction. Then, when the pandemic hit, she seriously questioned her personal ability and strength to lead her business through such a challenging global crisis.
On the recommendation of a member of a previous cohort of Be the Business’ Productivity through People (PtP) programme, Stephanie decided to join the course. Very quickly she started to see the enormity of impact this programme could potentially have on her own development and that of the business.
“Having been on a number of high-quality programmes over the years, I was initially sceptical about what this course could offer that would be so different. But I could not have been more wrong. Very quickly, the penny dropped around our proposition, and since then, it’s been eureka moment after eureka moment.”
Stephanie found the course went into depth in many areas of business leadership, and the inspiring teaching and high-quality content helped her see her business from a different perspective.
“I realised a number of things. First of all, I had taken my eye off the ball and, at some point, stopped investing in my own learning – and I certainly didn’t know it all, far from it. This course focused on the most important asset in any business – your people – and how to bring out the best in them. This was crucial, not only inside my own business, but to the work we do for our customers. People management, performance, autonomy and motivation are things every business struggles with, and why this programme is so valuable,” she said.
“I had also underestimated the immense value of the up-to-date learning and insights you would gain through peer-to-peer working with other like-minded business leaders. Hearing their stories, knowing that you are far from alone in your own blips in confidence and experiencing the challenges of 2020 with a close group of peers was inspirational.”
Another business-critical aspect of PtP for Stephanie was investing time outside of the business to think strategically, deeply and objectively, away from her day-to-day responsibilities. This thinking space was pivotal to her because, in a kind of “epiphany”, she worked out what the business does, who its customers are, how the company helps them and how this needed to translate through to its core messaging, brand and marketing.
“It not only dawned on me that we previously lacked this clarity, but I could see what the messaging needed to be. What we do is not about agile [a software development methodology], it’s about performance. It is through the impact we make on performance, that agile teams can succeed,” she explained. “This process led me to be able to define and target the right customers and to our new strapline of ‘Changing the world, one team at a time’. It also gave me the confidence to believe we can hold our own against bigger consultancies, secure in our own proposition, point of difference and ability to deliver.”
Programme kept on giving
Having to switch during the pandemic to virtual learning rather than face-to-face interaction was a change for the course delegates. However, Stephanie feels this in no way reduced the impact or benefit of the programme.
“The content of the course was useful in so many areas. It covers how to manage, empower and motivate people, encourages you to work out your mission and ‘why’ and feed this into your values, and helps you learn how to scale your business successfully. The finance module was excellent revision and would be invaluable to business leaders whether confident in financials or just starting out.
“The ongoing presence of mentors is also a huge advantage, because in addition to programme content, you have someone there who listens, supports and acts as an impartial and motivational critical friend.”
Results speak for themselves
Just like any business activity or investment, anyone considering taking a particular path would want to be assured of positive results. And when it comes to Stephanie and her business, the results speak volumes.
“I can honestly say that the Productivity through People course changed my life,” she claimed. It helped me turn a lack of direction into clarity, a confused message into a clear succinct business proposition and vision, and a lost mojo into reinvigorated motivation and passion.
“We’ve grown, kept our staff and won new clients, including a large global contract, even during the pandemic. Amazingly we’ve seen our gross business profits increase by an incredible 48 per cent.”
A year ago, Stephanie admitted to never having believed those figures. But, having “nailed” the company’s “why” being clear about the customer message, she now has every belief that the business possesses the resilience and tools to build a bright and secure future for its “fantastic team”.
“What is for certain is that I will never stop investing in myself and my people. I know how important it is to take the time to consider, reflect and think. Because it’s only by doing this that you can keep moving forward, adapting and growing not only as an individual business leader but as a business which offers the very best service and outcomes to its clients.”
Find out how our Productivity through People programme could help you and your business.