How Diversity Can Improve Business Performance

Diversity in share portfolios tends to spread risks and access a wider range of possible opportunities. The work force also can benefit from diversity in its people to reduce risks and benefit from the diverse skills and viewpoints that can bring new opportunities and benefits, or identify risks that need to be controlled better. Diversity of people in the business team reduces blind spots in how we operate. The main feature of a blind spot is that you cannot see it and are unaware of its potential, both good and bad. Fortunately, a well-matched business coach or mentor can help you to consider your business from a fresh perspective.

In the modern workplace, diversity is well appreciated and becoming increasingly regarded, as it provides a richness of varied viewpoints. Diversity well-managed can create a balanced and healthy environment which impacts on the healthy performance of the business and the people within it.

Better diversity is also considered extremely important at the levels of the board of directors and the senior management team or executive, with diversity increasingly being recognised as a valuable strategic objective for businesses.

From the Board of Directors’ Perspective

The perceived lack of diversity in board rooms has become a global issue. The days of boards being comprised mostly of men from confined cultural backgrounds are changing, and the valuable contribution of educated and enlightened women and others outside of the confined cultural backgrounds is becoming increasingly recognised.

A well-functioning board needs to have the right skill set, from an industry sector perspective, functional background, relevant exposure, and so on, so that they as a team have the best possible skills and experience to navigate and monitor the business through the decision making processes, needed innovation and challenges that they will face. A business coaching professional from International Business Mentors can help you to consider your board composition planning from an experienced perspective.

Diversity is not just about gender, but wider considerations relevant to the business, such as: gender, age, experience, cultural background, innovative ability, board exposure, business education, industry experience, business connections, ability to think critically, adaptability, soft skills, team work, personality, technological appreciation, public speaking and communication skills, as well as appreciations of strategy, customers, operations, people, supply chains, finance, funding, cashflow management, risk identification, contract law, selling, social media, cyber security, people selection, incentives schemes, corporate governance, politics, performance management, project management, acquisitions, right sizing, shareholder engagement, banking relationship maintenance, and negotiations.

From the Executive or Senior Management Team’s Perspective

The executive or senior management team plays a strategic part in any business to deliver the performance required, implement new business growth strategies and pursue the strategic objectives of the organisation. With involvement in critical decision making, leading people, and managing departments, budgets, staff and other fundamental core business functions, they need to be not only well qualified and performance driven, but able to bring alternative view points for consideration back to the rest of the executive or senior management team. An executive with a wealth of diverse backgrounds, experiences and skills can enrich an organisation and give a cutting edge. An individual executive’s contribution can also be enhanced with a business coach or mentor who can leverage their breadth and diversify business experience.

How Environment Diversity Can Enhance the Performance of Any Team

Complementary and overlapping skills, knowledge, experience and expertise can bring a broad balance to a team. This can reduce risk and increase the innovative process in making business improvements. Selecting members with the right skills from a sector perspective, functional background and exposure to what is relevant to the business are some of the considerations when building such a team.

A good team construction needs to consider its membership from the wide range of diversities available and appropriate for the team to function well. The addition of greater diversity of thought to a team makes it more likely that critical challenge to issues will occur from new angles.

Some of the benefits of a diverse workforce include:

  • More experienced employees can offer frameworks for thinking through various types of problems or opportunities, have a broader view of risks (having been through prior business cycles), have valuable specific and relevant lessons from experience, have broader and possibly deeper skills in certain areas, and have diverse networks to call on for assistance.
  • Less experienced employees can offer a fresh perspective and have, for example, grown up in the technological age as technological natives and will become future business leaders.
  • All people of different backgrounds offer a different take on many aspects of the current business culture seen from their fresh eyes.

A business coach or mentor can help you think through the many different areas where diversity may help your business. From the staff selection process to a supportive role, a well-matched business coaching professional from International Business Mentors can be a valuable resource.

Hire for Performance and Diversity

When considering your workforce, consider complementary skills and the experience new people can bring to the organisation. Regardless of where they sit in the hierarchy of the business, good people are the most important asset. They need to be supported, encouraged and rewarded. You should want them to be motivated, contribute to their potential, and have them want to stay if they perform.

New board members who have enormous potential yet little board experience can be supported by an experienced and independent business coach or mentor who can assist with all manner of board dynamics. Key executives, especially those from different backgrounds, can also benefit from an individually matched mentor or coach who understands their circumstances and knows how best to help them reach their peak business performance.

A diverse workforce should help to attract talent, better service diverse markets, and drive forward thinking. For example, graduates and younger job seekers are more likely to consider an organisation’s policy on hiring a diverse workforce when researching potential career opportunities. If there is no diversity in the talent pool, potential talent may be missed out on.

Achieve a Diverse and Innovative Workforce

International Business Mentors has business coaching professionals who are experienced in helping to build diverse and highly functional teams. They do this by identifying the best possible mix of diversity, then assisting you to build, train and monitor the team.

Our business coaches and mentors work at many levels of businesses according to the desired business outcome and are selected after considering their fit with experience, skills and background. Our mentors and coaches understand the complexities and challenges of business, including creating diverse workplaces.

Call International Business Mentors today to find out how we can help you to achieve this.

“Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.”

– Malcolm Forbes

Lead for Strategic Innovation or Die as a Business

To evolve and survive, businesses need a long-term plan with investment led business growth strategies underpinned by innovation in all areas of their business.

Good business leadership must be looking to the future, as business generally is on the edge of many great changes. Leaders must innovate in how they want people to work. This is difficult to anticipate given the great technological and social changes impacting business, staff and customers. What will need to be done? Who will do what, and what will be the business environment that people want to work in?

Business leaders need to direct their organisations into the emerging and challenging business future, with confidence that changes and innovation in all areas will bring great business opportunities. Changes and innovation will not be uniform and will be structurally different by business sector and geographical location. Further, each individual organisation will make specific changes and innovations that will differ based on their own capabilities to innovate and deal with change. With help from a business coach, good leaders can identify potential opportunities and mould their organisations to take full advantage as appropriate.

What is Causing Rapid Business Changes?

Rapidly evolving customer demands and behaviours plus the all-pervasive impact of technology changes all combine with changes in social and community expectations to drive change. Add to this the business disruption of innovative competitors breaking into new and existing markets with product, service and delivery platforms at new cost bases, agile organisational structures, and supply chain truncation to reduce costs.

Innovation and changes will continue in how resources are used, with employment moving further into services. Decision making will increasingly be done with an emphasis on both technical skills and increasingly on soft skills to increase value to customers, increase innovation and to improve the business’s financial performance. There will be an increasing need for staff to crunch big data to understand customers’ changing demand patterns, which will be critical to adapt and anticipate future changes needed to product, service, delivery systems and staff, enabling leaders to implement new business growth strategies and manage future resources to succeed. We will all need to ensure security over all IP, data and analyses due to their critical strategic value in decision making.

What Changes Are Needed to Lead Your People to Create Innovation and Deal with Change?

Generally, given the innovation and changes anticipated, leaders need to align their staff and organisations with the strategic purpose of the organisation rather than just their particular tasks. All staff must be aligned with the specific business growth strategies that they must implement for future success of each organisation.

In order to understand what your staff should concentrate on in the future, you will need a GAP analysis between current tasks and objectives and those needed to support the future strategy and strategic purpose. This GAP analysis will need to be mapped onto the organisation structure and staff. A plan then needs to be created, filling these GAPS to achieve the target organisation and target capabilities. This should identify both hard and soft skills that will be needed in the future, some of which can be provided through business coaching.

A key aspect of all decisions in the future is that these are in strict alignment with the organisation’s strategic purpose. The leaders must implement frameworks to ensure that support is given to their people to train, innovate systematically and help them with change management.

The trend in business is that more work is becoming outsourced and project based, and this will impact culture. This will make it difficult for the business leadership, who must implement plans to maintain the target culture and support the future strategies in the face of more people working outside of their corporate umbrella. More people will have to work more cooperatively across jobs, functions and projects rather than at a closely defined job within a static corporate silo.

How to Align Rewards to Get Innovation and Change

Business leaders will need to create the policies, procedures and systems to support their agile future-oriented strategies and include support for the innovation and change management required as part of their strategies. The question business leaders must ask is whether their remuneration and incentives are designed to support the strategy, changes and innovation required. Incentives and targets need to be aligned with the strategic purpose and demonstrate good business innovation and implementation of necessary changes, with delivered benefits in line with those benefits used to justify the investments in innovation and changes to begin with.

The senior management team and leaders must demonstrate that they consider innovation and change on a regular basis in relation to their evolving strategic view of the business going forward, and deliver on the benefits of innovation in their thinking and plans to implement where opportunities are identified. After assessment, these innovations deemed good investments need to be properly implemented to derive the benefits. On a continual basis, the leaders need to re-envisage future business growth strategies so they can evolve with the innovations and changes that emerge.

Need a fresh perspective on innovation and change as part of your thinking and strategic development? Contact International Business Mentors and gain the strategic advantages that can come from an experienced business coach or mentor.

Achieve Higher Returns with Ethical Investments

It is often assumed that the objectives of social good and maximising profits and returns are a contradiction and mutually exclusive. However, the evidence suggests this is not the case, with “ethical” funds out-performing their comparative rival funds.

As per Clare Page, the global strategy chief of the Tobacco Free Portfolios Social and Ethical fund returned 6.3% over 10 years against comparable funds of an average of just 3.8%. Deutche Assets and Wealth, together with the Hamburg University, found a strong correlation between implementing good environmental, social governance and sound financial performance.

Page further suggests that the long term superior financial performance of the ethical funds may be due to a wider range of risks that have been fostered into the ethical portfolios. Any good business coach will tell you that the reality is that ethical concerns also include how a business treats its own people, its customers and suppliers.

The Damage Caused by Poor Ethical Policies and Relationships

Poor people policies can lead to higher risks of demotivated and relatively unstable work forces, which in turn can lead to high staff turnover and gaps in critical areas of succession plans, and then to poor operational and financial performance.

Poor ethical relationships with customers can prove fatal for these all-important relationships, which should be fostered long term. And since ethical awareness is increasing among customers, their tolerance of lapses will drop and the speed of reputational risk in this age of instantaneous social media contact can be substantial in a short period of time.

Poor ethical relationships with suppliers can lead to the suppliers not wanting to continue to supply the business, which may lead to a bottleneck and inability to supply customers’ demands on time or possibly not at all. This would feed into a loss of reputation with customers and potentially damage the business financially, regardless of the business growth strategies it has in place.

The Trend Towards Ethical Investments

As a result of greater ethical awareness, there is a growing trend for institutional and individual investors to place an emphasis on ethical investments in their portfolios. According to a 2017 Responsible Investment Association survey, 9 out of 10 consumers expect their superannuation to be invested ethically. The same survey suggested that 1 out of 2 dollars is now being invested in ethical investment strategies.

The scope of ethical investment strategies range from not investing in potentially harmful industries such as tobacco, gaming or armaments through to companies with strong stewardship and sustainability and a record of delivering positive social and environmental outcomes.

This trend to greater ethical investment support has now moved into investments such as Social Benefits and Green Bonds, with a balance of measurable outcomes in the social and environmental benefits in conjunction with reasonable financial returns.

Find out how a business coaching professional from International Business Mentors can help you focus your business on evolving better ethical objectives and policies together with sound business strategies, enabling you to gain better ongoing support from your investors, business relationships, customers, staff and the wider community. Contact us today to learn more.

How You Can Benefit from an International Business Coach or Mentor

Business coaching and mentoring has been around for a very long time and can be enormously beneficial for business owners, CEOs, directors and senior executives. At International Business Mentors, we can provide you with a business coach or mentor who can help you gain personal benefits for you and your business.

Business mentoring is recognised around the world as a valuable relationship that can greatly assist you to succeed in business, providing you with confidential advice, new perspectives on your business, and improvements to your business skills. Business coaching can also give you an impartial sounding board while unveiling practical methods and strategy frameworks based on the actual experience of your business mentor or coach. These benefits are delivered with much-needed personal support for you in a strong business mentor or coach relationship. Within your mentoring relationship, your mentor aims to encourage you and instil in you greater confidence, while still challenging you to grow, develop and succeed in your business objectives.

The Role and Benefits of a Business Mentor

We find many business people are not completely aware of the role and benefits of a business mentor. Your business coach or mentor is a facilitator; someone who assists you to find solutions to your business problems and helps you to make better use of your opportunities. They also help you know yourself better and look to use and develop your own natural talents further, as well as helping you to understand where to get assistance or fill any gaps. Your business mentor or coach will share their experiences, successes and mistakes, while your business decisions and business growth strategies will continue to be your own. Your business mentor or coach will challenge, support, steer and encourage you, as well as helping you to look at problems and situations from fresh perspectives.

National Mentoring Day was launched in the UK to recognise the significant benefits of mentoring across the world. It takes place each year on October 27th and was developed to help encourage and celebrate business coaching and mentoring in all its forms.

Placing Your Trust in a Business Coach

An important ingredient to successfully develop your mentoring relationship is trust. And for trust to flourish, you need your mentoring sessions to be confidential and your business coach or mentor to be independent and have no conflicts of interest. Both of you must keep your discussions confidential, ensuring a trusting relationship that allows both parties to talk freely with the knowledge that what is said in your meetings stays in your meetings.

Business coaching relationships also need good chemistry between both parties for success. That is why International Business Mentors takes great care to match you for your personal fit with a business mentor who has the necessary skills, background and experience to assist you with your requirements and help you achieve what you would like to achieve.

Your business can also benefit from business mentoring or coaching for key people, as having your key people better skilled can increase performance and help keep important staff for longer. You may like to send the message that you want to empower your key people to grow their leadership and business skills and contribution, and this performance will create even greater opportunities for them within your organisation. Greater performance from your key employees and better retention from coaching will be well worth the mentoring investment in your people and your organisation’s success.

Avoiding Blind Spots

Business coaching and mentoring can help you avoid blind spots. Sometimes, when you’re too close to something, you can develop blind spots. Your business coach or mentor will have a relatively objective and different perspective, with the ability to quickly identify problem areas that you might not be able to see. They may also be able to offer solutions or strategies that you need to consider.

Your business mentor or coach can be very encouraging, especially when you experience failures and setbacks that can impact your productivity and effectiveness as a leader. In hard times, having a mentor will help you to keep your head high and refocus you on what needs to be considered given the events and the context of the broader picture.

Developing Business Growth Strategies

Critically, when you have been at the helm of a business for a long time, or when your markets are fast moving or have undergone significant disruption, you can benefit from having a business mentor to relook at your strategy. This allows you to take a step back and become critically strategic so you can consider different perspectives, risks and opportunities and reignite enthusiasm with a reframed strategic direction. You can then implement your action plans to make your business growth strategies happen.

Minimising Stress

Feel like you’re constantly stressing about many different problems? Your business mentor or coach can help you triage your issues and decide which to fight today and which to leave until later. As you better prioritise in a strategic context, you will become more effective and less stressed.

Continual Improvement

Over time, a good business coaching or mentoring relationship will develop and flourish. The issues that once were a problem will be dealt with, and new aspects or challenges will arise for discussion and consideration. There are several strategic areas that need to be reviewed or revamped, for example, customer demand in the future, selling, product or service development, investments in the business, acquisitions, expansion plans, staff remuneration and incentives, geographical location, systems, social media strategy, business plans, risks, vision, strategies, culture, emergencies or contingency planning, and target organisation.

Your desired outcome with your business coach or mentor must be a win-win for everyone. As with all great mentoring relationships, the critical aspect is finding the right person to meet your specific needs. There are many considerations to be taken into account, and that’s what International Business Mentors does best. To get your own business mentor or coach so you can start enjoying the benefits that mentoring can provide, contact us today.

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.