Embrace Change, Inspire People and Lead Performance

Businesses are experiencing change and disruption at an unprecedented rate. This has sparked a race to embrace your change successfully and sharpen your competitive edge.

For leaders who embrace the competitive and adaptable challenges as a business owner, CEO, or senior executive, this challenging change is exciting. Successful leaders must be those empowered by the change and who use the strength of strategic competitive advantage that successful change can deliver. To succeed, leaders will need to inspire and gain the support of their people, customers, suppliers and broader communities to execute change effectively. Engaging the services of a business coach can also be helpful in teaching leaders how to embrace change, in addition to assing with the development of business growth strategies.

New technology advances and digitisation is influencing how we manage all aspects of business. Technology impacts on just about everything, including market reputation in social media, recruitment, retention and redundancies of staff, creation and adaptation of new or existing products and services, communication, enhancing selling, ordering and delivering of products and services, cyber security, cost controls, regulatory issues, corporate governance, robotics, artificial intelligence, and more, with many aspects that are continually evolving. Technology also allows vast amounts of data to be analysed by increasingly complex platforms. This analytical output drives competitive behaviour and targets customers with individualised offerings, and it analyses the effectiveness of channels and delivery, production, service, delivery and many other factors of doing business.

Technology will continue to have an enormous impact on how and why a business can and should adapt and is fuelled by changes in digitisation, automation and information analysis, as well as the growing science of applied artificial intelligence.

Plan for a World that Has Accelerating Change

You will need to lead, train and inspire your people to see change as highly desirable, and facilitate your business’ needed transformations. Your leadership and processes must be effective and support your desire and your peoples’ desire to support the business’ competitive advantage to survive, thrive and succeed.

Your strategic approach to people must be to understand, facilitate and release their motivation to adapt and assess what specific skills and talent you will need. You must lead the upskilling, motivating and business coaching of yourself and your key employees, and recruit and retain those needed. You will need greater developmental skills, positive attitudes to change, and a desire and flexibility to adapt and compete to deliver your evolving vision of the future. That evolving future will inevitably shift and change with the evolution of the markets, products and services, channels, technologies and fast-moving demand pattern shifts of your customer base.

The need to adapt, change, train and have a positive attitude to change applies to leaders, individuals and teams. For example, consider the need to offer employees flexible working conditions. This shift is a massive change and may offer a win/win for business owners/leaders and employees. It is seen as a supportive measure, which has many spin-off benefits for all parties.

Fundamental Transformation in the Way We Work and the Skills and Attitude We Need

Business leaders of the future need a wider range of skills than ever before. This will require a deep understanding of technology, leadership, change management processes, and the ability to manage a diverse and changing workforce, customers, suppliers and the general business and broader community expectations.

Change, when managed well, can make your business more efficient. Reviewing processes and business growth strategies to be more effective can impact significantly on profitability. However, change managed badly will seriously drop performance from where it could be.

Like all the fundamentals of a good business, such as culture and vision, change must be led from the top. It needs to be proactively supported by the various layers and separate business areas within the business. Inclusion and encouragement are vital enabling factors for successful change management.

A business coach or mentor from International Business Mentors has experience in all business aspects, including change management. Whereas some business leaders many just need confidential support in change management, others many need much wider involvement depending on the requirements. At International Business Mentors, we individually match business people with business coaching professionals according to exactly what is needed.

Our business mentors and coaches proactively see your business from different perspectives with fresh eyes, providing a valuable strategic resource for you as business leaders, especially when changes are critical for success. The right business mentor is someone who not only has exceptional business skills, but who can see the big picture and facilitate you with new insights to support you and help you navigate through critical changes to the business. Change can be difficult, risky and challenging, but if implemented well, the results can be profound for any business.

If you are facing change or multiple challenges and would like confidential support, call International Business Mentors to discuss how one of our business coaches or mentors can help you.

Is Flexible Working a Desirable Competitive Edge for Your Business?

We are currently living through enormous changes, with disruption in just about every aspect of how businesses are run. High on your list of strategic priorities should be retaining and attracting talented people. Great people are key to delivering business growth strategies and maintaining your competitive edge. But should you be offering employees greater flexibility in how they work together with the business?

Standing desks, team building exercises, social events, ongoing development such as business coaching, wellness initiatives, bringing pets to work, casual Fridays, and now more so than ever, flexibility in working hours and working from home or on the move, are all being tried and adapted to secure and develop more productive and happier workforces.

However, flexible working options aren’t always appropriate for every business type. For some businesses it’s a no, such as retail or personal services that demand the physical presence of staff. However, many positions such as task orientated roles, clerical, IT, administrative, research and reporting can be done anywhere, with technology enabling face to face meetings easily and effectively.

Cities globally are growing, and the daily commute can be time consuming and stressful. The avoidance of peak hour commuting or even travelling at all is an attractive proposition for many, and potentially allows more time and energy devoted to the job with less stressed people.

What are the Benefits of Flexible Working for Businesses?

Deepen Trust and Respect

Businesses should work together with their people to identify how they best work. This directly demonstrates respect that helps to foster a strong relationship based on trust. Showing regard for an individual’s well-being and personal life grows trust. Working to provide flexible culture facilitates people to thrive better in work and their lives generally and is a critical component of setting up flexible working.

Better Empowerment

When you are trusted to work autonomously with a supporting flexible organisation to do your job, this can be empowering. Most people will appreciate a more flexible structure that they can influence and fit better with their individual lives. They will also be empowered to greater manage the demands of their own roles and determine how best to succeed within the limitations and expectations of the business.

Use People’s Time and Energy Better

Any business coach will tell you that individuals work better and accomplish more when they’re at their best. Most people have certain times that better suit them and these optimal timings do change. For example, morning vs. night people, or parents of young children vs. everyone else.

Be an Employer of Choice

The benefits of flexible working go beyond better engagement and retention to improving the attraction to the business of top talent in the competitive labour market.

Your ability to offer flexible working practices is essential for attracting top talent candidates. Successful high performers can choose the best employer for themselves. Therefore, flexibility will be highly appreciated by those who value flexibility strongly, such as many among the millennial generation, parents, and those caring for disabled or elderly loved ones.

Extend the Talent Pool You Have Access To

Flexible working policies open up opportunities to a wider range of talented, experienced and well-qualified people who cannot easily work within the traditional 8-6, office-based employment. Stay-at-home parents, retirees and professionals with disabilities are all encouraged back into the workforce by flexible working options.

The Down Sides of Flexible Working

Working from home has become an acceptable practice globally, whereby business executives and employees can complete certain tasks effectively in a relatively uninterrupted, stress-free environment. However, it takes discipline and monitoring to ensure work tasks are completed timely and that critical communications are maintained with colleagues and other key people.

At home, many people find they are more relaxed and prepared to put in extra time to complete what needs to be done and do it well. It’s a way of showing appreciation for the trust and support shown by their employers. Employers get the benefit of having engaged employees, less sick leave, a happier workforce and higher productivity. However, for this to be maintained, employers must check and review performance to ensure the work is being done and standards are being met. Unnecessary distractions or lack of motivation also need to be appropriately dealt with.

To incorporate flexibility into a business, you should do a feasibility study to establish whether your business can support it, and in what areas and to whom you should offer the flexible working conditions. The objective is to get a win/win outcome for the business and the employees.

How a Business Coach or Mentor Can Help

A business coach or mentor from International Business Mentors can assist in just about every aspect of running a successful business, from establishing business growth strategies through to identifying and implementing flexible working options. They can also assist in monitoring such changes.

Studies globally have found that given flexible options, executives and employees would change their working hours and that this would not affect their ability to do the job. Some have young families and some want to avoid peak hour commutes, while others just want the option of occasionally working from home. Depending on the type of business, flexible working arrangements may also include rotating rosters and adoption of new technology.

Any changes affecting how businesses are run need to be carefully considered. An independent and impartial business coaching professional can help by drawing on their own experiences and guiding the change process.

If you want to improve quality of work and life for your people and attract and retain good talent, explore the possibilities and engage a business coach or mentor to help you implement flexible working practices.

Business Coaching and Mentoring – Your Own Personal Guiding Light

As a business owner, director, CEO or senior executive, there is always something you can learn to improve your business performance and bottom line.

Should you invest and engage someone who ticks all the boxes to help you develop, has experience in specific areas you need, and who can help you improve your performance?

International Business Mentors has been matching and providing superb business coaches and mentors successfully for 20 years. We specifically match our business mentors to each individual business owner, director, CEO or senior executive according to what is needed in terms of their skills, experience, background and the all-important personal fit.

What Business Coaching Can Help With

Here at International Business Mentors, our experience shows that business people contact us for business coaching for a wide variety of reasons. Some needs are specific, but more often than not, the catalyst is to help with business growth, their development and strategic aspects of their role, and have someone confidential to talk things over in a supportive and critical relationship.

Whether you own the business, are steering it strategically, or have a senior leadership role, you can often benefit from the independent guidance and support of an experienced business coach or mentor. Learning from a business coaching professional who has succeeded in your space, or in other business arenas, can deliver you critical learning from their successes and mistakes. This can give you your own extra resource. A key ingredient for successful business coaching is in the way International Business Mentors selects and matches you with a best-fit individual who can quickly give you value.

Invaluable Support and Assistance

At International Business Mentors, our business coaches and mentors have business experience across a wide range of businesses and business disciplines, meaning they can provide invaluable support and assistance. They have run businesses or have held senior leadership positions in substantial organisations. They also have impeccable ethics and a great desire to see you succeed with the development of effective business growth strategies.

In terms of matching a business mentor or coach with you, International Business Mentors has a rigorous process in order to get a great match. For a successful mentoring relationship, your business mentor or coach will complement your experience and your thinking, as well as meet any of your specific requirements. They will help you see things from different perspectives and fill in any gaps in your experience. This in turn will help you better identify risks, fix specifics, and take advantage of opportunities that are not necessarily apparent otherwise.
Business coaching aims to support, develop and challenge you to improve, meet your specific requirements, and give you access to your business coach’s experience.

The Key to Success

For a business coaching or mentoring relationship to be successful and create value, you must both value each other and have mutual respect which develops from working closely together. You must also be committed, and have a genuine desire to learn and improve. Both parties need to prepare for the mentoring meetings, then you need to progress the tasks or strategic thinking that you have agreed to in your previous mentoring meetings, or discuss why these need to change.

While in-house mentoring can have merit, an International Business Mentor meets a different requirement than the in-house option due to the independence and strict confidentiality provided by an International Business Mentor professional. In-house mentoring is good particularly in large organisations, for passing on the business specific culture and specific skills needed to run the business. However, International Business Mentors can provide confidential mentors who bring a fresh perspective and wider experience to the mentees.

The Benefits

For business owners, business coaching or mentoring can provide a wealth of benefits, such as a confidential sounding board at one end of the spectrum, or at the other extreme, addressing a complex task such as reviewing a business plan incorporating all the technical factors. With the help of a business mentor or coach, CEOs can devise effective business growth strategies and gain strong insights, including leadership, relationships, board reporting, and transitional issues. Likewise, senior executives can further develop their potential with the supportive guidance of a suitable business coach or mentor.

Why Succession Plans Are Needed to Underpin Future Business Performance

Whether you run a listed company, family business, partnership, SME, or any other organisation, to ensure the smooth development of the business from a people perspective, succession planning is an absolute necessity.

A well-developed succession plan not only reduces the ongoing risk to the business of not having the right people at the right time, but is also a prerequisite to a successful exit strategy from the business. Without succession planning, you could unintentionally be setting a recipe for disaster for the business. This could be attributed to unforeseen critical gaps in your organisation positions or skills required to deliver on business growth strategies and ongoing performance.

The bottom line is that if you do not deliver the strategic people capability, then you will not deliver the strategy and get the supporting succession plan implemented.

Overcome Your Natural Resistance to Succession Planning

Our psychology as business leaders, owners, CEOs and senior management can often become overly fixated on “business as usual” to deliver the performance required because our business is dear to us. Significantly, we tend to be very attached to our businesses, as we have created, contributed to and nurtured our existing businesses to make them our successful enterprises. We tend to have a resistance to forward planning as to how and when we will “pass on the baton.” Hence succession planning is often neglected or delayed. This procrastination becomes more dangerous with time, as it may lead to increasing risks to the business and can result in suboptimal decision-making, particularly with regards to hiring, firing and developing people across the organisation.

Therefore, ongoing and careful succession planning must be integral to our strategic processes. This is to enable our businesses to deliver on their strategies with the appropriate target organisation structures, with the right people, with the right skills and experience, at the right time. Formal succession planning is also needed to underpin any exit strategy by senior leaders and critical staff from the organisation, or for an exit from the business by its owners – such as a sale of the business, or an IPO – and this succession planning must be addressed well ahead of such events. A smooth transition, that has been well thought out and where the selection and training has been thorough, will help to avoid significant grief. In the event of a business exit by owners, this will help to underpin the business valuation, as this risk will be better managed. This better management is in the people and organisational capability to deliver the future projected incomes and levels of service required to meet expectations that support the business valuation on exit.

A business coach or mentor from International Business Mentors can help you consider systematic succession planning to support your capability in the future to deliver performance and reduce the risks of not having the capability and people to support your strategy and performance. Our business coaching professionals have experienced the succession process and can guide you in formalising your procedures.

Business owners and those who have held leadership positions in a business that they love can find it hard to address who will succeed them. After all, it’s hard to let go and it can be extremely emotional to approach this subject. However, with the right support, encouragement and assistance from an experienced business coach or mentor, you can work through the process and any decisions that need to be made so you can develop a succession strategy as to who and when succession will take place.

Why Family Businesses Can Find Succession Issues Overwhelming or Not Solvable

Family businesses find succession planning difficult as there can be complex situations given their close relationships, for example: multiple competing candidates in the next generation who want the top job. To unblock this and to develop succession plans, it’s recommended that an independent and impartial facilitator help implement the processes required so sub-optimal decisions can be avoided.

The independence of an International Business Mentors business coach or mentor can guide you to assess who is best suited for which roles, and how to present this to wider family members. The succession plans will also help in decisions on the transfer of ownership from one generation to the next, or to an outsider. This is vitally important in optimising the value of the business.

Once you have implemented a structured succession plan and ongoing update process, you can focus more clearly on the rest of the job, such as running the business and creating value for all stakeholders, family members and employees, developing business growth strategies, employing relevant staff, and where appropriate, head hunting new talent into the organisation.

In family businesses, having a clear people succession plan and an ownership succession plan can help avoid difficulties with estates and assets, which otherwise can lead to unnecessarily unpleasant and costly disputes between family members.

There are often very sensitive considerations or issues that must be addressed as part of succession strategy in family businesses. This is particularly true where some family members are not capable of adequately filling the required leadership positions, or do not possess the necessary skills or aptitude to drive the business forward in the absence of the previous owner. Further, there may be instances whereby some of the upcoming generation have worked in the business and others have not had that opportunity. This can lead to further friction with passing on shares as part of the ownership succession plan.

If there is an exit anticipated from the business by the owners and family, then a candid open family discussion well ahead of such an exit event is a necessary component for a successful transition. This process can be started by dialogue with family members and key employees, which a business coach experienced in succession can facilitate.

It is sometimes recommended to consider establishing a family council, as this more formal and structured approach can greatly aid communication. A family council should be the natural forum for discussions on exit plans and succession plans. However, it is the business itself that usually has the authority to accept and implement any succession plans for the business, as the family council will contain those who do not work, hold directorships or have ownership in the family business.

To progress succession planning in the family business, the current business owners need to establish and document their aspirations of how the business should be taken forward and supported by the succession plan in order to deliver the overall business strategy.

Culture in Business – An Important Part of the Succession Plan

Business culture is important in succession plans. Having built a business culture that reflects how the business is run, it’s important for the next generation to understand how that culture generates the strategic performance required and reflects the family business ethos and values.

If the family business has a board of directors, it should have strong independent directors in addition to the family board members in order to maintain a focus on the business’ performance and help resolve any family issues that arise. This may be simply to move family related matters off the board agenda and onto the family council’s agenda. The addition of an independent experienced business mentor or business coach is another desirable approach, as they can help you to consider how best to set up your board and how it should operate, as well as helping you consider difficult issues when these arise.

Relationships with other stakeholders of the businesses also need to be considered and be well managed in a succession plan. These relationships include key employees, suppliers, clients or customers, and financial institutions – all of which have a good working relationship with the outgoing owner and senior management. They too must be factored into the succession plan. Questions must be asked and answered as to who will maintain these critical relationships in the future and how you can successfully transfer these relationships to your successors.

As much as an incoming younger generation to the family business may be enthusiastic and capable, they may be inexperienced and need training and development. Assistance from a well-matched business coaching professional can help provide them with the support and help they need to develop into the roles of your succession plan.

When Handover of Positions is Badly Done

Handovers of positions to new successors in their new roles is a serious business and should not be rushed. Adequate time and thought needs to be planned for these handovers. Without this, valuable knowledge and experience will be lost and the successor will not competently step up in their new positions – to their detriment and to the detriment of the business, with increased risk, reduced performance and lower business values.

Other Issues with Succession Planning

The above are just some of the main issues needing to be considered when planning for succession. However, your business will have unique factors to your particular industry or circumstances, and to successfully implement succession planning, you should seek impartial, unbiased, experienced and independent support from a business mentor or business coach. International Business Mentors can match you with a business coach or mentor with deep experience and understanding of the complicities and practicalities of business succession based on their own business experience.

The Risk of No Succession Planning

The downside of not preparing for and implementing succession plans is higher risk if you don’t have the right people with the right skills capable of delivering your business and its strategy at the right time.

The Benefits of Succession Planning

The benefits of succession planning are lower risks, better planning and management of your people, easier changeover of positions, better recruitment and training, less stress for you in transitioning your own position and the business in the future, and better business values.

Call International Business Mentors now to discuss how one of our business mentors or business coaches can support you in planning your succession.

Increase Business Productivity through Wellness Strategies

Over the past two to three decades, there has been enormous growth in ‘wellness’ businesses. These businesses offer solutions in order to have a healthy and fulfilling life, resulting in physical, mental and social wellbeing that enables you to reach your full potential. The global wellness market is booming, currently outstripping the worldwide pharmaceutical industry and generating trillions of dollars.

This industry category covers all manner of health-related products, services and functions, including:

  • Alternative medicines and practices
  • Meditation
  • Healthy eating with nutrition and weight loss
  • Preventative and personalised health
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Beauty and anti-aging
  • The spa industry
  • Wellness tourism
  • The thermal and mineral springs sector

The wellness industry is about maintaining and improving health in order to stave off disease, stress, and negative health impacts from environmental degradation, age and illness.

There are many market offerings in wellness solutions for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, ranging from individual consultants to studios and shops, books, magazines, guru presentations, television series and even apps – and any business coach will advise you that incorporating these solutions into your life can vastly help to improve productivity and life fulfilment.

The Eight Dimensions of Wellness

From a technical perspective, wellness is said to have eight dimensions: occupational, emotional, spiritual, environmental, financial, physical, social, and intellectual. Each dimension of wellness is dynamically interrelated with all of the others, with each being equally vital and important in the pursuit of overall optimum health. One can only aspire to a more optimal level of wellness by understanding how to maintain and optimise each of the eight dimensions impacting wellness.

The Benefits of Wellness for Businesses

The worldwide interest in wellness is not just from special interest groups and individuals, but businesses and other organisations globally. Many are now adopting this methodology in their workplace strategy, as a healthy and happy workforce is a productive one. Business growth strategies are now beginning to see wellness implemented as a positive reinforcement for a happy life and good business practice.

Further, in 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in order to improve the lot of humanity on the planet. It includes 17 goals, of which ‘Good Health and Wellbeing’ is a prominent objective.

Healthy and happy employees who believe management truly considers their needs and wellbeing tend to work harder and go that extra mile. They are more productive and take fewer sick leave days than unhealthy employees. That means you have an engaged workforce that delivers far better results. In HR terms, this is known as discretionary effort. However, implementing wellness into the workplace needs a strategic focus to become a core value of the business.

How to Implement Wellness in the Workplace

A business mentor or business coach can help you create or refine your vision and strategic plan to incorporate wellness as one of the foundations for setting your business culture. Your shared business vision needs to be adopted throughout the organisation irrespective of size or composition.

At International Business Mentors, our business coaching professionals have deep business experience and understand the importance of creating an ethical, safe and responsible workplace that truly cares and respects its employees while still competing and delivering results. Once implemented and adopted, your rewards – as a business owner, CEO or leader – will be what your employees do beyond their job descriptions. This can include increased productivity and contribution to the business in their own areas, thereby benefitting your business as a whole.

However, embedding wellness and getting its benefits is not just the role of business owners, CEOs or leaders. Wellbeing needs to be understood throughout the organisation and then monitored and measured against the four pillars of wellbeing – mind, body, purpose and place – as well as the strategy and the performance requirements of all employees.

How a Business Coach Can Help

Some of the areas in which a suitably matched business coach or business mentor can assist are:

  • Developing vision and strategy
  • Setting the target culture to support the strategy from the top and leading by example
  • Transforming your organisation into one in which your employees want to work more
  • Developing a culture that maintains trust, morale, loyalty and productivity
  • Identifying which ‘well-being’ programme(s) are right for your businesses

A business coach or mentor can also help you consider the input from wider stakeholders into strategy and wellbeing and the target culture setting, e.g. from shareholders, funders, management, staff, families, community, suppliers and customers, as appropriate.

An independent and experienced business coaching professional can help you cast a critical eye across the entirety of your business and identify areas for improvement, acting as a support and independent sounding board in a confidential relationship. Contact International Business Mentors today to learn more.

How Business Coaching Can Give You a Competitive Edge in Business

All businesses face competition, so identifying your competition and how you can differentiate yourself from them and maximise your competitive advantage is critical for your business’ success. For your business to succeed and survive, you must have winning strategies to get ahead and stay ahead. One excellent way to devise and implement business growth strategies is to obtain assistance from a business coach.

Competitive Strategy Can Be a Sink or Swim Scenario

All business owners and leaders must know their competitors, and not just guess what competitors are doing. Therefore, you need to initiate your own strategic planning and implement your strategy to move forward and stay ahead of the game.

Being aware of your competitors’ activity is good, but you must also continue to initiate your innovative business thinking and establish what competitive criteria you need to work within and develop your capability to deliver.

At International Business Mentors, our business coaching and mentoring professionals understand that obtaining a competitive advantage is paramount. Our coaches and mentors have practical business experience, including direct experience of successes and pitfalls of running businesses. They also understand the impact of competitor pressure, and how to set strategy to compete better. This makes them well situated to help you with critical thinking so you can seek better competitive edges to perform in business.

Areas That a Business Coach or Mentor Can Help With

There are many areas of business and self-development where a well-matched and experienced business coach or mentor can help you to leverage your business performance.

For example, a mentor or coach from International Business Mentors can help you identify and resolve the critical challenges relevant to your specific industry and specific business situation, and then facilitate your development of new business growth strategies to improve performance. Your business coach or mentor can give you an independent, confidential and fresh view to help you focus anew on your own business performance.

Further areas that a business mentor or coach can facilitate and challenge you in include:

Building a Strategy Around Your Vision

This needs to be orientated towards your growth expectations in your markets, but also considers your competitors’ likely behaviours, your organisational capability, your strength with suppliers, and the ability to service customers with products and services that will deliver the required profitability, returns and cashflow required by the providers of equity and other types of funding.

Causing Disruption in Your Markets

You need to keep abreast of technology advances or surges with relevance to your industry. Players in the market who do not keep up will lose out by being outgunned in delivery, customer attraction and cost structures.

Defining and Refining Your Culture and Vision of the Organisation

This requires a target culture to support your strategy, vision and values, but also to facilitate strong performance of your people in the organisation.

Recruiting and Retaining Talented People

Organisations and people change over time, as does the capability requirements of individuals and the changing demands on your people. These are driven by your organisation’s evolving business growth strategies. Identifying the right people with the right skills, experience and cultural fit is paramount, as is training and development at all critical levels of your organisation.

Building Great Teams

Your business coaching professional will become part of your team. The importance of developing your wider business team will underpin your success with the business.

Managing Individual Performance

Rewarding a job well done and giving strong feedback usually encourages good behaviour. However, managing individuals’ performance requires good broad people skills. Your business coach or mentor will have plenty of experience to add to your thinking in this area.

Improving Required Leadership Style

If your strategy requires an inspirational leadership style, then you will need to get feedback from your business coach or mentor on how to improve your approach so you can fine tune your leadership impact to better deliver on your performance. This may require you to embrace creativity and innovative thinking to get buy-in from the creative side of your people. For example, you will need creative thinking to be strong when you are competing in a fast changing and fluid market place, where innovation in product, service and sales tactics wins the sales or keep the customers loyal to your offerings and services.

In Conclusion

All the above are only some of the components that need to be addressed when tackling your competitive edge. Many aspects of change and improvement in performance can feel difficult for most business owners to tackle, but they can be made much easier when you have a business coach or mentor from International Business Mentors by your side.

We individually match business coaches and mentors with you according to your individual personal and specific needs in terms of experience, skills, background, and that all important personal fit between you and your coach or mentor.

Being business owners or leaders themselves, our business coaching professionals have also grappled with the exciting task of business leadership, performance, and the need to grasp and develop their competitive edge. Our business coaches and mentors are picked to help, support, develop and challenge you, assisting you in gaining that better competitive advantage.

Call International Business Mentors today to discuss your needs.

Why It’s Important for Successful Business Leaders to Continue their Training and Professional Development

When you’re highly focused on keeping your business running, participating in continued professional development may seem like a luxury to you. Even though you learn daily just by doing what you do, continuing your education may help you work smarter and gain you and your business a competitive advantage. You may have read, completed courses and benefited from online learning. These are all good, but there is always something more you can learn to develop your thinking skills and strategic frameworks, such as having direct interaction with an experienced and well-matched business coach who has been in your position themselves. This applies to every professional, be it a Company Director, CEO, Business Owner, Executive or Employee. Continual learning develops and enhances abilities and subsequent performance, reduces risk, and makes for a well-rounded business person.

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”

 “Learning is not a product of schooling but the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” – Albert Einstein

How Business Coaching Can Help You Learn

At International Business Mentors, we match our business coaches and mentors specifically with business people according to the skills, background, experience and personal fit needed to establish a beneficial relationship. Our business mentors and business coaches bring a wealth of experience that they in turn wish to share with those they mentor.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford

Business coaching can help you solidify your continuing professional development and assist you in learning and developing more in-depth skills and knowledge. This makes it easier to devise business growth strategies that give you a competitive advantage.

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin.

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

The Importance of Keeping Business Skills Fresh

Your continuing education and development must be part of an overall approach to you keeping your business skills and thinking fresh. You may find it difficult to find time to devote to your own ongoing development, but if you don’t, you will be doing yourself and your business a great disfavour. By only focusing on the important and often urgent day-to-day tasks at the expense of investing in your own learning and development, you won’t be able to become a better and more strategic business person in the longer term.

A business coaching or mentoring relationship is one in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide you forward and develop. Your mentor will have different areas of expertise, broad business experience, and a willingness to assist you to succeed. In a learning and development partnership with a business coach or mentor, you’ll be able to benefit from their experience and thinking.

Professional Development for Company Directors and Senior Management

In the case of Company Directors and senior management, the need for training, continual learning and keeping up to date is critical – as recent events in the Australian Banking Royal Commission enquiries have identified. The seriousness of these situations cannot be understated. At International Business Mentors, we routinely mentor and coach directors and senior management in director’s duties. They are encouraged to pursue specific training that may support them with their corporate governance requirements, the commercial challenges that they face, and the implementation of business growth strategies.

Business Owners are constantly under pressure to grow and maintain the business. With the help of a well-matched business mentor or business coach who has relevant background skills and experience, along with confidential support, the business owner’s performance can be greatly enhanced.

CEOs and senior executives are faced with constant challenges in their new or existing roles. The business world is changing at a fast pace, and with widespread strategic innovation, businesses now face more complex and dynamic issues than ever before. A business coach or mentor can offer specific help and support with transitions, relationships, reporting, and leadership issues, as well as acting as a confidential and honest sounding board.

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F Kennedy

Professional Development for Senior Executives

Senior Executives also have some common and unique issues that can be helped by a business mentor or coach. The right leadership is often the difference between a good and a great organisation. As with any professional skill, leadership and management can be learned and practiced. For example, transition into a new role, relationships leadership, and managerial functions. A business coach or mentor can support, encourage and challenge you with the ultimate aim of increasing performance and development.

How International Business Mentors Can Help

At International Business Mentors, we specifically match mentors with mentees according to what is needed. Experience is everything in this space. After all, you cannot learn from someone who has not experienced the issues you are facing, but you can learn immensely from someone who has.

Continuous learning is one of the keys to success in life regardless of your occupation. Learning, wisdom and success are three things that go together. It would indeed be an arrogance not to take the opportunity to learn from someone else.

Whether you’re facing challenges or just want to improve your own business performance, a business coach can make a huge difference. Those who have engaged a well-matched mentor or coach see it as a game changer.

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realise, the less I know.” – Michel Legrand

Our business coaching professionals understand the importance of learning and wish to impart their skills and experiences in a confidential and supportive relationship. Call International Business Mentors today to find out more.

Checklist to Better Succeed in Your Life-Work Balance

Succeeding in our life-work balance constantly tests us all, with our success or failure impacting on our personal and family lives as well as our professional and business lives. This is a constant struggle and may never be perfect, but by being better aware of the importance of a reasonable balance in our lives and having some frameworks to assist us, we can reduce many of the risks of undue stress, grief or failure that may affect important relationships and work performance.

The results of poor life-work balance and a lack of success in life and/or work is easy to observe in other people but harder in ourselves. And it can also be harder to make the changes we need to shake off old behaviours and adopt new healthier approaches to improve our lives and work on business performance, even with assistance from a business coach.

How to Find the Ideal Balance

Our assumptions, perceptions and attitudes may be limiting us in our pursuit of success and balance, as it often seems that career or business success is only possible at the expense of someone’s personal life. We have all encountered the workaholics that have no social life or have deteriorating family and personal relationships as a direct result of their personal lack of balance.

A classic example of assumptions impacting balance and success is where societal perception limits people to restrictive roles, such as where women are harshly criticised or pressured if they want to achieve career or business success rather than being primarily responsible for raising children and looking after the home. The same may also be the case for men who want to be primarily responsible for the children and home.

We need a shift in our perceived reality so we can optimise our career aspirations and personal goals with an emphasis on life-work balance simultaneously.

However, achievement does need constant work, and a lack of total effort may result in great disappointment. With a lack of effort, you may find your life-work balance, but at very low levels of success in either work or business and in your personal life. You would feel that this balance without success is not acceptable and also isn’t sustainable in the longer term.

So how do successful people achieve their own career or business and personal goals with balance and make it look easy?

The Answer

Part of the answer is that successful life-work balance performers have awareness of what they want in life and work and are highly organised. They also have thinking frameworks, set goals, review their progress in all aspects of their life-work balance performance, and put their efforts into succeeding in all aspects of their lives.

The good thing for us all is that these high performers did not do this from day one – they had to improve their performance over a long time until their approach was ingrained in their everyday routines. They then look to push themselves further to succeed in all areas. They use feedback and listen, then incorporate improvements. They also consider their attitudes and frameworks of thinking in all areas.

Try the life-work checklist our business coaches have provided below:

Checklist – How to Succeed and Maintain Life-Work Balance

1. Track your time on work and life

Log your time doing everything for one week, including work or business related and personal activities. This data will help you understand what you spend your limited time on and where you are losing or wasting your time.

2. Determine your priorities

Critically reflect on what is most important to you to succeed in all areas of your work or business and life. Then prioritise these according to value to you, urgency, and what happens if you do nothing long term. Next, compare this to your time tracking and decide given your priorities which activities to start, stop, continue, increase, decrease or do differently.

3. Set specific goals

Take your list of priorities and set concrete and measurable goals such as taking more holidays with your partner, brainstorming better business growth strategies, improving time delivery of projects at work, etc. You must block time into your schedule for these activities, just like you would for an important meeting or a doctor’s appointment. Then schedule time to review your progress and reassess your own performance and future priorities, objectives and targets.

4. Schedule systematically

Successful people plan their life and work and make every effort to achieve it by scheduling. These life-work plans schedule all aspects of their lives. This will be put into their date planner (either paper or electronic) and is how they turn their priorities and goals into reality. You need to do the same and set aside 10 to 20 minutes each day to plan your tasks and activities for each day and the evening ahead.

5. Establish boundaries

Set fair and realistic limits on what you will and will not do – both at work and at home. Then you must clearly communicate these boundaries to your supervisor, co-workers, partners and family. For example, commit to not working late on certain days unless there is a crisis. Additionally, set aside a time at home during which you will not check or respond to work-related emails or voice mails.

6. Take care of your health

Your health should always be your top priority. You must be in good shape physically, mentally and emotionally to succeed in both your work life and your personal life.

  • Take care of yourself by eating healthy meals (especially breakfast)
  • Exercise at least three times per week
  • Sleep a minimum of seven hours per night

These practices relieve stress, increase energy levels and stamina, boost mental clarity, and improve your immune system, helping to make you a happier, more engaged and more productive person.

You should also refrain from the excessive use of alcohol, tobacco, or any drugs, as these keep the body in a stressed state and cause addictive and behavioural problems.

7. Nurture your family/relationships

Relationships with family, friends and loved ones are, by far, the greatest source of inner satisfaction and support. To neglect or damage these can impact badly on your whole life and work.

For example, working late happens, but it only becomes a life balance issue if it becomes the rule, not the exception. By making your personal relationships a priority, your productivity and effectiveness on the job will increase.

8. Make time for yourself

As much as your balance of work, health and relationships takes priority in your life-work, it is also important to schedule time for your own renewal. Indulge in at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted “you time” doing something you like. This will allow you to recharge your batteries and improve your wellbeing, which can be beneficial for your relationships and career.

Connecting with your spiritual source can also be very helpful, whether it’s your own philosophy, a belief in God or a higher power, or a deeper well within yourself. From this you can draw inspiration, guidance and strength. Setting aside a weekly day of rest can also be helpful.

9. Leave work at work

Develop a mental on-off switch between work and home and establish a transitional activity between the two universes. For example, you could listen to music or books, exercise, or keep personal appointments. Schedule such activities just after normal work hours, as this will stop you from spending that extra twenty minutes at the office which can then turn into hours.

10. Exercise your options

Modern thinking companies or employers can create policies and programs to facilitate life-work balance. Find out what options your business may offer in terms of flexi hours, working from home, job-sharing, or part-time employment. You may find an arrangement to work more productively, reduce stress and increase valuable personal or family time. If your business does not yet have flexible programs in place, consider suggesting one.

11. Work smarter not harder

Use your time more efficiently by using good time-management to cut stress and save time every day. This may include using technology to become more organised with tasks, emails and voice messages, avoiding delaying decisions, and learning to say “no” to time wasters.

12. Know when to ask for help

If you’re overwhelmed at work, set priorities and focus on clearing these first, and explain this assertively to your managers and other relationships. However, if a balanced life-work continues to elude you, engage with a business coach or mentor from International Business Mentors to help facilitate the changes you need.

Remember that a life-work balance is not an exact science and you must find your own way of successfully combining your focus on career, relationships and personal care into an integrated whole plan. This will likely change as new circumstances arise, so you must review your situation and adjust accordingly.

The Benefits of Finding the Right Balance

To implement the above strategies will take time, but changes will be incremental and have a positive and measurable impact on your life-work balance. You should start with one clear goal, achieve that, and then keep adding more one at a time. This will take a concerted effort to make the changes and maintain them.

If you commit to this quest, you can reap enormous health and quality-of-life and work benefits.

It is entirely possible for you to have a successful professional or business career and a fulfilling personal life. You need to take proactive control of your work and personal life to achieve a successful and balanced work-life.

How Business Coaching Can Help

A business coach or mentor will question your business growth strategies and goals and look at how you manage your time, methods, risks and strategy to achieve them. Your business mentor or coach can help keep you on track, giving guidance from their own experiences to help you succeed in your own life-work balance.

You must do the work yourself, but support from an excellent business coach can be immensely helpful. The business coaching professionals at International Business Mentors have deep experience in these areas. Our business coaches and mentors have been business owners themselves and are experienced with the dilemma of putting heart and soul into growing or maintaining a business, and the opposing demands of partners, children, parents and other relationships. You may not be able to achieve a perfect balance in every situation, but you can put in place procedures to move towards the successful life work balance you desire.

Having independent and experienced support from a business coach can be extremely valuable on your quest for improvement. Contact International Business Mentors today to learn more.

Using Positive Reinforcement to Improve Talent Retention

Why is it often so difficult to give your people positive feedback for a job well done? It should be regular and normal behaviour, yet some business owners and managers don’t do it. In not doing so, they run the risk of alienating or losing good and talented people who they want to keep!

French philosopher Voltaire wrote: “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”

Bill Gates said: “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”

It is often said in a business context that your employees are your most valuable asset. So, let them know you appreciate them and reward them for a job well done.

Praise is a powerful motivator. Most people react positively to praise, and it often encourages them to go above and beyond. Human beings need to be valued and appreciated. And as Ken Blanchard said: “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”

Fortunately, recognising excellence – or even effort to do well – is a skill that can be learnt with the help of an experienced business coach.

Where to Begin

Start with setting KPIs and expected behaviour and then regularly monitor progress in feedback sessions, providing both constructive criticism and positive feedback when they have done well or excelled. Be very careful how you give constructive criticism. As Frank A. Clark said: “Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.” Also ask them for their feedback on the business and how they are managed.

Here are some other tips to help you get started:

  • Know your people, including their talents, expertise, and how they respond to praise.
  • Reward excellence, whether it be a verbal commendation (preferably with their peer group present) or a tangible reward.
  • Give feedback if praise has been received from another area of the business, from customers or clients, or from other team members.
  • Let staff know if you’re concerned about them professionally or personally.
  • Talk and listen to your people regularly to develop relationships and fill in your understanding of them. You should take the time to convey more about yourself and your expectations and to understand your people’s expectations.
  • Make praise timely, as the more time that passes between great performance and recognition, the lower the impact of that recognition. Immediately is never too soon.
  • Make praise genuine. Don’t praise just for the sake of praising, as it will lessen the impact when you really do mean what you say.
  • Say thank you. Make it public or keep it between yourselves as appropriate to that specific person. If going public, share your positive feedback on an employee with your organisation. You can do so via email, your corporate newsletter or a company meeting. Sharing an employee’s accomplishment can inspire others to raise the bar.
  • Make all praise accurate and specific. Don’t just tell an employee he or she did a good job; tell them how they did a good job. Not only will they appreciate the gesture, but they’ll also know you pay attention to what they do, plus they’ll know exactly what to do the next time they’re in a similar situation.
  • Share your thoughts and concerns, and listen to their responses.

How Business Coaching Can Help

With the help of an International Business Mentor or business coach who is experienced in staff management, you can create a positive work environment in which your people will love to work. This in turn creates many spin-offs including effort and loyalty, and ultimately the business’s bottom line.

An experienced business mentor or business coach can assist in creating a positive culture that recognises and rewards good people for a job well done. Furthermore, they can help with business growth strategies and also suggest approaches and systems to monitor performance for both teams and individuals.

In the case of teams, for example, you need to make sure the right people are recruited with the right mix of diversity and skills. Team building exercises, often with an element of fun, can be a valuable investment, as can inter-team competitions.

Creating a Positive Culture

You can contribute to a more positive culture by taking these steps to recognise and reward hard work and achievement:

  • Go hunting – We’re conditioned to spend the majority of our time looking for issues and problems we can correct. Spend a little time trying to catch employees doing good things, too.
  • Be surprising – It’s good to celebrate birthdays, but an unexpected gift for doing well can also have a huge impact.
  • Strike a balance – Some employees will always be the stars, which is great, but try to find reasons to recognise the lesser performers, as this might be the trigger to improve their performance and give them greater motivation.

Final Tips

Recognising effort and achievement is self-reinforcing. When you do a better job of recognising your employees, they tend to perform better.

If criticism is warranted, state what went wrong, and reinforce how they can learn from it.

Not all the above will be relevant to all businesses. It’s likely that there will be some suggestions that are relevant or appropriate and others that are not.

This is just one of many areas in which an International Business Mentor or business coach can help. This can be done by assessing what works best in a particular business and looking at how to go about creating a positive culture that reinforces good work practices.

To enquire about how business coaching can assist your business with everything from positive reinforcement through to business growth strategies, call us today on (03) 8686 9192.

Ethical Business is Good Business

In addition to receiving business owners support from a good business coach, reputation is crucial for business success, with ethical businesses having a much higher chance to grow and thrive than businesses with poor reputations. All business owners and key corporate leaders should build and maintain ethical and reputable standards which feed directly into your business reputation and improve relationships with customers and other stake holders.

Recently in Australia and around the world, there have been many damning examples of how questionable ethical standards can seriously damage a corporate’s reputation and their business.

Examples

  • Volkswagen have erred several times – firstly with their allegedly misleading emission reports, and more recently through a further revelation that they may have tested the effects of toxic diesel fumes directly on human and monkey test subjects. These two events have no doubt damaged Volkswagen’s standing, giving their customers (and potential customers) a diminished view of the organisation and its offerings. This was reflected in a drop in Volkswagen’s share price and market capitalisation. As per Bloomberg on the 22nd of September 2015: Volkswagen lost almost a quarter of its market value after it admitted to its U.S. air pollution tests, putting pressure on Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn to repair the reputation of one of the world’s biggest carmakers.
  • Sexual abuse claims against high profile men in Hollywood are reputational disasters for the accused and their associated businesses. Here’s just one recent headline that’s made the news: After Weinstein, more than 100 high-powered men accused of sexual misconduct (USA today, 22nd November 2017, Updated 9:25 a.m. ET Jan. 30, 2018).
  • In late 2017, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia was accused of anti-money laundering failures. From the Associated Press, 14th December 2017: Commonwealth Bank has been hit with another 100 allegations of breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws, including failing to quickly report two suspicious matters relating to the financing of terrorism…. the federal government’s financial intelligence unit updated the total number of alleged breaches by Australia’s largest bank to more than 53,800.
  • In the USA, Wells Fargo, a previously reputable bank, suffered a loss of billions of dollars of deposits due to a loss of trust by customers bothered by the bank’s fake account scandal. From CNN, 31st August 2017: Wells Fargo (WFC) now says it has found a total of up to 3.5 million potentially fake bank and credit card accounts, up from its earlier tally of approximately 2.1 million. In other words, there are two-thirds more fake accounts than previously realized.
  • Murray Goulburn slashed the price of milk below what it had agreed to farmers, causing loss of confidence not only with their farmer suppliers but also the investing public. From FarmOnline National, 20th October 2017: Murray Goulburn’s troubles, which started with the ‘clawbacks’ saga amidst a declining international milk price last year, have failed to ease up in spite of a turnaround in the fortunes of dairy internationally. This year it announced the closure of its Kiewa and Rochester plants, while earlier in the month it said it would lay off 60 milk tanker drivers. The news of the redundancies comes as rivals such as Fonterra announce large increases in the volume of milk receivals.

The Importance of Ethics in Business

Although the above are large corporate or high profile individual examples, the same rules apply to SME’s and small businesses. All businesses, corporations and even Governments can’t afford to damage their reputation. The potential impact can cause a decline in customer, supplier, investor, banking and community trust, which in turn can impact bottom line, staff morale, productivity, and future financial survival of the organisation.

Any business coach will tell you that reputation is essential, as it is how a business is perceived by customers, employees, media, and other stakeholders. It is an intangible asset and is extremely powerful, as it can make or break an individual, business or other organisation.

Developing and implementing a corporate culture starts at the top, whether it be at board level or with a business owner. Most businesses exist to make a profit or to at least come out even, and building a good reputation is a critical factor to achieve this. Without a good reputation, or at the very least having systems in place to create ethical outcomes, businesses will crash. Some may slowly recover, while others will fail.

Here at International Business Mentors, we are extremely careful when selecting our business coaching and mentoring professionals. All our business coaches and mentors, must meet our very strict criteria for integrity and ethical standards. As well as the requirements for exceptional business skills, our business mentors and business coaches must have extremely high ethical standards. This is a paramount factor in their selection. To foster and develop a successful business coaching relationship, there must be trust, and trust is built on a strong relationship founded on integrity and mutual benefit.

How International Business Mentors Can Help

With business owners support and guidance from a tried and vetted International Business Mentors business coach, you can better work together on your business and personal improvement and better assess general business opportunities and risks. This includes the potential loss of reputation due to ethical considerations and putting in place checks and balances to minimise any potential reputational damage as part of your business growth strategies, culture and control.

A well matched business mentor or business coach can help you with:

  • Discussion of your organisation’s target culture set from the top, then trickling down by leading by example, enforcing that culture with your employees and customers
  • The development of critical shared values and the recruitment of like-minded employees
  • Checks to ensure that policies and codes of standards are in place, monitored and enforced
  • The development of how you can lead from the top with values, vision action and behaviour

Different businesses and industries will have a variety of special business issues to face, but the fundamental basics of ethical standards and broad cultural alignment remain very much the same.

Enquire Today

Call International Business Mentors today to discuss how engaging a business mentor or business coach can help you and your business build towards success. We can assist with developing business growth strategies in addition to helping you plan an ethical business environment to minimise the risks of a damaged reputation.