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Road to Leadership: Part 3

by Denise Cullen
April 18, 2019

Leading and Driving Growth – Lending to Financial Freedom and
Investor Readiness.

Enterprise Solutions Director, Denise Cullen continues her road to leadership with AIB’s Women in Enterprise ‘Growth Academy’.

A nice, early start this morning as I contemplated the day ahead of me. This was the module I was most worried about; Financial Leadership – How To Be Financially Well Organised.

I was running a little behind by the time I reached The Clayton Hotel this morning. I’d love to have a good excuse but considering I had been out of bed since 6am, the kids are all on Easter holidays and traffic was minimal, there was just none. By the time I entered the room, most of the ladies had arrived and were settled in enjoying breakfast chatting and comparing notes of the previous three weeks.

Joanne called us to order and we all settled down to begin the next step on our leadership journey. Joanne introduced Brenton and in turn, we all introduce ourselves, giving our names and a brief outline of what our businesses are. We openly discussed our homework assignment some expressed fear, anxiety and most of all surprise. Our assignment had been to ask three people two direct questions and ask them to answer honestly:

What do they respect most about you as a leader?

In what one area do you most need to grow?

It was amazing and refreshing to see how honest and helpful everyone’s answers were. Each person gave constructive advice about improvement. It was fantastic.

We then moved onto Life Wheels about getting the balance right between family, friends, health etc. Mine was an ‘odd’ shape, proving that I definitely don’t have the balance right yet!!

My business scorecard was not much better. Some area’s 8/9 other area 3/4 so definitely have some issue to address. It was so clever how Brenton had us approach things, I loved it.

“Begin with the end in mind”

Brenton had us consider what we wanted our lifestyle to be like at 65. What is a perfect day in my life when I’m 65 years old? One of the things I find so clever about the Entrepreneurs Academy is the different ways of thinking they have us do. Each session so far has involved activities that require me to look inward and reflect on what kind of a leader I am but also ask me to consider scenarios and problems by looking at it in a different light. This week especially has given me plenty to think about. What do I want my end to look like?

Following this, Brenton spoke about the “Magnificent 7”.These are the KPIs that every business owner needs to be able to answer to, always.

The Golden Rules Of Business Finance:

  1. Turnover Actual v Budget v Actual Last year
  2. COGS v Budget V Actual last year
  3. Total Expenses v Budget v Actual last year
  4. EBIT (Net Profit) v Budget v Actual last year
  5. Debtors / Accounts Receivable Days
  6. Revenue per full-time employee
  7. P&L + Balance Sheet Actual v Budget v Actual last year

It is at this point that I thank Kirsten for keeping us in line, our accountant DKC who are always there to back us up, and for the guiding words of our Chairman, Chris Halbard, who ensures that the Magnificent 7 is under control in Enterprise Solutions.

After much chat and discussion amongst the group, it was decided that the most valuable meeting a company can have is the ‘Daily Huddle’ at the suggested time of 10 minutes past 10 am for 10 minutes.

The meeting is aptly called the 10 10 10. During this time, each staff member answers the following key questions:

What’s on for the day?

What’s the number one thing you’re going to achieve?

Are you stuck?

Some of the leaders already do this practice and find it invaluable to communication within their companies. Enterprise Solutions; this is coming!

Once again, I would like to extend my gratitude to AIB for their generous sponsorship of the whole event and to the Entrepreneurs Academy for giving this opportunity to the most amazing group of ladies. We have come from different industries across Ireland, all with one common goal to become the best leaders we can be.

“Leadership is a responsibility, but it is also an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people. Remember, it’s not just the tasks of a business that make it profitable, it is the people who make it succeed.”

Thanks for taking the time to read this,


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