The Alchemists Forum is a group based in Northern Ireland run by a long-standing friend of mine, Alan Branagh. I have also been over there several times over the years to speak on Stress and resilience

Alan has worked in business for many years, including with Avis and other large global corporations. He now runs this group and has begun a second called Emerging Alchemists, with direct reports in mind.

What is the 1% gain?

One of the main points Alan makes in this podcast, is the fact that sports people perform only about 5 % of the time and the rest of the time they practice. Working on their style, attitude, and the psychology of what they do. Executives on the other hand, don’t do this and probably only get the chance to work on what they’re getting right, or wrong, 1% of the time. They must perform 99% of the time! He feels his group expand that 1% so that more is worked on, and this benefits all of them as a result

The second point is that in sports the margins for winning and losing are often tiny – 1% may not sound very much but it can be vital. Apply this theory to business and you have a mindset that regularly builds their company. Planning a 10% gain in a year for example can seem big but 1% every month creates a 10 to 12% increase that not only adds up but compounds year on year. 

What else does he emphasise?

The second benefit is accountability. There are no competing industries there and as a result they raise their game, working out what needs to change to maximise their performance. They recognise there is a value in working on their culture, finance, how their people and teams work, and pushing themselves as leaders. Otherwise, many people who run their own business ‘fall into’ the role of leaders without recognising it takes skill to do this well.

Shifting your mindset

Alan also believes there is no one template people follow to develop a business. It isn’t automatic that you have an idea, bring in staff, set up marketing and it all works! Challenges come in all forms and from every angle especially during Covid and his group aim to support each other through situations they might otherwise manage alone. Remaining positive can be hard work and requires a mind shift so that they encourage each other to be grateful too, for what they have and for what is working.

Entrepreneurs & how they work

In my experience, Entrepreneurs are wired differently to other people. They look for challenge and enjoy change, often preferring to be outside their comfort zone rather than in it. It’s not that they don’t desire stability at times, but they don’t need it to live well. He refers to them as ‘genetically unemployable’ because of this wiring so the natural solution is to encourage them to gravitate together as they are often like-minded in the solutions they come up with. Different opinions generate useful debate but the benefit of a group like this is they understand each other and that’s a great starting point.

You can listen to more about The Alchemists Forum, and the 1% in this episode available here:

Or take a look at my books which include an e-book on Understanding Relationships & Taking the Stress out of Leadership

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