Getting to Know Anneli Blundell

First published in Modern Magazine March 2016

What inspired you to start your business? What are your goals and values?

I’d always wanted to do something I was really passionate about. I wanted to come to work with a fire in my belly, a passion to serve and a feeling that I had found my place. I knew my strength was in understanding people, building relationships and helping other people do the same. It seemed a natural leap to start my own coaching and consulting practice based on decoding people dynamics for improved performance.

My aim is to help leaders engage, motivate and develop their teams. My valuesare connection, personal responsibility, courage, accountability, play, and passion.

What was the driving force behind your decision to specialise in this area of business?

During my time in corporate roles I saw the importance of communication, strong relationships, and the impact of interpersonal ability on getting things done. The better the person’s ability to relate well to others, the better resultsthey were able to get, the more influence they had and the stronger their reputation wasas a leader. The leaders who struggled to connect with others found it harder to get buy-inand cooperation and often had more resistance to their ideas and their expertise. Ultimately their results suffered. I realised that the ability to be ‘good with people’ was not just reserved for ‘natural social connectors’. It’s a skill that can be learnt, improved and mastered.

What has been themost effective form of advertising for your business?

Word of mouth referrals and keynote speaking. Mine is a trust-based business. People don’t buy relationships out of the yellow pages. They want someone they can trust and relate to. If they can see you in action or get a recommendation from a trusted source (and you can deliver what they need) then the rest will take care of itself.

What types of customers do you help? What experience do you have helping small business customers?

I work with leaders to help improve their engagement, influence and impact with others. It’s about developing interpersonal intelligence -the ability to understand and navigate the people dynamics in a given situation.

How a leader shows up in the world really matters. What they say, what they do and even what they’re thinking affects people around them. The combined result is an interpersonal impact that works like a magnet; it either draws people to them or pushes people away from them. The difference this makes to a leaders’ engagement, influence and impact is palpable.

Specifically I help business leaders:

  • Upgrade their people skills to match their business skills
  • Navigate change and get on with business
  • Fast track team performance

What are the main reasons that someone would choose you to help grow/develop/ improve their business?

  • I specialise - I help leaders ‘get their people’; what makes them tick, what ticks them off and how to get the best out of them. I read books on this. I write books on this. I’ve spent the last 10 years doing nothing but this.
  • I partner – I work with my clients to get an understanding of the unique business challenges and the culture that drives their results. From within this frame, the real work gets done.
  • I call it – I’m a straight shooter. I have the tough conversations with my clients and with myself. I’ve learnt over the years that the single biggest thing we could all do to improve our relationships with other people is not sit on stuff. I am committed to courageous communication and call it as I see it.

Do you service other sectors as well?

Yes – I have clients in corporate and government sectors.

What challenges did you face in setting up your business?

Doing everything myself. What a shock! When I first started my own business I was blindsided by how much there was to do outside of my core work helping my clients. I remember the first time I had a computer issueI dialed the ANZ IT hotline! I was so bummed to realise they weren’t there anymore. I had to build a network of great people around me, really quickly – a bookkeeper, graphic designer, editor, a business accountant, an IT support person, a lawyer, a printer and of course Office Works became my secret guilty pleasure! Who’s with me??

Nowadays I’m lucky enough to be supported by my Business Manager and a Virtual Assistant who are both really skilled at doing many of the background activities that take up a lot of time but still need to get done.

Tell us about some of the expectations that you had. Have they been met?

I thought that starting my own business would mean I would work less. Wrong! I didn’t realise what I was actually looking for was flexibility in my work – what I do, who Iwork with and when I workwith them. Starting my own business allowed me to meet this expectation – even though I didn’t realise I had it.

What types of services do you offer?

I help leaders decode people dynamics for improved performance. I deliver this expertise through various channels:

  • One to One: Executive coaching and mentoring
  • One to Few: Team facilitation and group coaching
  • One to Many: Keynote speaking and Leadership development programs

What are your plans to expand the business?

Right now I’m focusing on consolidating my practice. I’m further stream lining my products and services so that I continue to offer my specialist expertise to my clients in new and unique ways. I’m not looking to create 100 more Anneli’s in my business. Right now I’m just looking to continue deepening my expertise and doing great work with wonderful clients.

What would you say to someone looking for a business consultant and what advice would you give them?

Be clear on what you want from the consultant and why you want it. It’s easy to find people on the internet and get recommendations from others, but until you know what you want and why you want it, you won’t have a clear criteria for choosing someone. The person you work with should hold similar values, challenge your thinking and stretch your capabilities. They don’t’ need to do be an expert in your business, they just need to be an expert in how they can help your business.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’m proud to announce the publication of my latest co- authored book! Developing Direct Reports: Taking the guesswork out of leading leaders. It’s been a long time coming so I’m hugely proud that it’s now available for people. I’m also really delighted to give back to a much broader audience rather than limiting my reach to just the clients I have the privilege of working with face to face.

When running a small business, every contribution counts. Owners can’t afford to carry staff members who aren’t pulling their weight or who are generally great but haveone or two behaviours that are impacting their performance. Finding the right way to develop team members on the job (and not through an outsourced training program) can be tricky. Often leaders aren’t sure how to do it, let alone do it well.

With this book, small business owners can get a practical resource offering proven strategies for developing leadership in others, whilst on the job. Packed with case studies, leadership theory and on the ground experience this guide helps leaders to close the gap between the potential and actual performance of their direct reports. The book addresses the 12 most common, globally recognised leadership derailers, to assist leaders dramatically impact performance, engagement, and the bottom line.

It’s available for purchase through most online outlets. All can be accessed from my website: www.anneliblundell. com/books/