Improving CEO Performance with a Business Coach or Mentor

To succeed as a CEO is an ultimate business and career success objective, and at the top of the corporate ladder, it is the position most sought after. Yet the step up to the CEO position is not always straightforward and usually comes with many foreseen and unforeseen challenges. A business coach or mentor from International Business Mentors can guide you through the transition process and help you navigate the many challenges that stand in your path.

The Challenge of Transitioning into the role of CEO

If you’re transitioning into the role of CEO or trying to improve your performance as the CEO, then you have your work cut out for you. You will have new major responsibilities and great pressures to perform, such as delivering business growth strategies and financial results, growing markets, keeping customers happy, negotiating with suppliers, and working hard on all of your employees and your target culture to sustain performance, all while managing the day-to-day issues and cash flow.

There may be gaps in your knowledge or expertise, necessitating a confidential sounding board to run ideas, problems or possible solutions past. The problem is you may not be able to discuss these with colleagues, employers or board members. One solution is a confidential business coach or mentor from International Business Mentors.

A successful CEO must have a passion for the business and have a deep seeded desire for success. They need to understand the privileged position of CEO that they hold. Senior leaders who have recently become a CEO can seriously benefit from the confidential support of a suitable business mentor or coach who has firsthand experience and understands the challenges of being a CEO, allowing them to fill in gaps in experience that the CEO faces in their new role.

How Business Coaching Can Help

CEOs often lack confidential and trusted support from within their organisation and often feel that it is ‘lonely at the top’. Sometimes they just need to discuss particular concerns in detail with someone who has experience in a specific area of business, or just share their new ideas with an understanding confidant. An experienced business coach or mentor can share the benefit of their business experience, lend a sympathetic ear, give feedback, and challenge and support CEOs.

Other significant areas that business coaching can help with include developing leadership skills, improving decision making, improving interaction with the Board and reporting, considering better team building, and improving relationships with their Board, senior executives, staff, customers and other stakeholders. A business coach or mentor can also assist with forecasting, planning business growth strategies, and setting the target business culture.

Some critical areas that a professional business coach or mentor from International Business Mentors will work on with CEOs to increase their performance include:

  • Leading by example
  • Setting the vision
  • Being visible leaders
  • Monitoring processes
  • Understanding and using the financial information to support decision making
  • Providing better support for key employees
  • Improving listening skills
  • Developing better thinking frameworks for decision making and improved judgement
  • Honing communication skills
  • Proactively assessing and managing business risks where possible
  • Implementing better corporate governance

Learning on the job is a constant dynamic for successful CEOs, whereby they better manage and lead the organisation in many different and challenging business situations and strategic directions.

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

Succeed as a CEO with International Business Mentors

Business coaches and mentors can be an extremely important and beneficial resource for a CEO. A business coaching professional from International Business Mentors offers a direct route in learning from their business experience, providing a CEO with a wealth of experience, wisdom, counsel and support from an independent perspective in a confidential setting.

To help you succeed, a mentoring relationship needs to be based on trust and the sharing of information, ideas, experiences and skills in a confidential and supportive environment. At International Business Mentors, we match business mentors and coaches to individual CEOs, taking into account the CEO’s specific needs, issues and challenges.

Call International Business Mentors today to find a great business coach or mentor.

Leverage Your Strategies and Focus Your Competitive Advantage with Business Coaching

We live in a fast-evolving competitive world in which few businesses are unique for long, making it crucial to constantly re-focus your competitive advantage to identify or create your customer value-adding points of difference. This is essential to set yourself apart from and stay ahead of the competitive pack.

In your ongoing challenge to keep ahead, you must be mindful of the risks and pitfalls that come with increased competition and the many changes that potentially occur in your business space. As a business owner, you need to know your product or service intimately, what your customers want, and how you can deliver value to them. This is the basis for understanding, creating and focusing your competitive advantage.

The next step is to do even better.

This may seem simple, but often you can become self-absorbed in your own business environment and become blinkered. Avoiding this trap is where a well-matched business coach or mentor from International Business Mentors can help.

How Business Coaching Can Help

Your own business coach or mentor will look at you and your business from a fresh perspective and without the day-to-day pressures that you face. They also have wide and valuable business experience and can challenge you to think outside of the day-to-day priorities. They’ll support you to consider business growth strategies and other solutions to problems or opportunities that you face.

Constantly finding better ways to compete in your evolving business world requires creativity and ingenuity. You must also consider the wider business context and constraints such as your business’ ability to raise finance and produce good financial performance, and the capability and motivation of your people and your organisation to deliver on the strategies you consider. These are all areas where business coaching can assist you.

Implementing Business Growth Strategies

To succeed in delivering your business growth strategies, you will need to focus on identifying growth factors and how to implement them, which will require operational plans and developing resources, suppliers and systems to support and deliver on your strategy for growth.

Deciding on your business’ point of difference with your customers will vary depending on your specific type of business. For example, a “bricks and mortar” retail business would be very different to an online store or a different product or service business such as a law firm, manufacturer or distributer. They will also vary from businesses in other industries such as entertainment, software, health services, accounting, farming, tourism, consulting, education, charities, government bodies, etc.

Even your approach to the same customers as your competition may be quite different. For example, the competition may go for high service and higher prices, whereas you might target customers who are price sensitive and provide a no-frills service at lower prices but with higher margins, gaining cost advantage through greater volumes and a simpler offering.

Many strategic issues and ways of thinking through problems, decision-making, assessing and mitigating risks or assessing opportunities are common across industries. Many can be unique to your specific business or niche in the market. A business coach or mentor from International Business Mentors is well experienced to help you and your businesses think through how to identify and implement your strategy and decisions that are necessary to sustain and grow your competitive advantage. Your own business coach will give you access to their business approaches and experience to help you with strategy and growth.

A considerable impact on your ability to deliver on strategy is your business culture. Your business coach or mentor can help you assess your business’ culture and help you to shape that culture to better achieve your strategy by harnessing and growing your organisation’s energy and enthusiasm.

Areas Where a Business Coach or Mentor Can Help You Improve

Business mentors and coaches can help you consider many areas where you can make changes for improvement, including:

  • Alliances and partnerships
  • Analysing where the business makes money and produces positive cash flow and returns
  • Better communication with customers, suppliers, staff, shareholders and financiers
  • Brand – customers prefer to deal with a trusted and reputable organisation
  • Competitive analysis
  • Convenience – make dealing with you and your business easy
  • Cost − competition is about finding cheaper, more efficient ways of making product or delivering service (on-shore or off shore, physical or on-line)
  • Develop KPIs for each area of the business to support the strategy
  • Exit plans for shareholders
  • Financing the growth
  • Hire great people, develop and hold accountable
  • Incentives
  • Innovation – think differently
  • Loyalty programs or repeat business incentives
  • Quality – people prefer quality if it’s affordable
  • Reputational protection
  • Risk identification and management or mitigation
  • Security and IT
  • Service – good service is crucial and can make a massive difference to customers
  • Speed to market, take your market share, claim it and keep it
  • Supply chain management to reduce costs, risk and better terms of trade
  • Technology – proper use of technology enables businesses to be more efficient. Use what is relevant to your business – e.g. Social media, big data, cloud computing, business analytics, mobile technology

The Need for Successful Strategies to be Customer Focused

Despite you being happy with how the business is functioning, and the policies and practices you have put in place to stay ahead of the competition, it is your customer who ultimately decides if your competitive advantage strategy is successful. Your perception may be different to your customers. Again, a business coach or mentor from International Business Mentors can guide you in considering how to engage your customers so that you know what they value and whether they perceive that your business is delivering.

The search for new ways to innovate and stay ahead is continuous. With the help of business coaching and mentoring, you will be supported confidentially to better face the challenging strategic scenarios you will face. Act now to get the benefits and support from your own business coach or mentor by calling us on (03) 8686 9192.

The Benefits of Business Trust, Reputation and Good Corporate Citizenship

Any good business coach will tell you that trust is the basis on which good corporate businesses and relationships are founded. Trust depends on the reliance on integrity, strength, ability, surety and the confident expectation that things will be done properly. Only by maintaining the highest trust and standards can businesses confidently move in the right direction.

However, trust in businesses has slumped due to a number of factors, including large-scale data breaches becoming commonplace worldwide and the prevalence of “fake news”. This lack of trust is central in many current high profile global issues, including globalisation, climate change and political disruption.

In Australia, the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry has found misuse of customer trust as a central theme in its finding. Similarly, in New Zealand, questions around consumer trust were also raised in the New Zealand Reserve Bank and in the Financial Markets Authority’s report on the conduct and culture of New Zealand life insurers. This low level of trust begs the questions: Why should we trust? Who can we trust? Can we trust anyone?

Why Trust Is So Important

Trust forms the basis of all human relationships. There are also business benefits of high-trust relationships, such as higher revenue and lower costs, more profit, and increased commitment by employees to the business. These benefits of trust come from being ethical and acting with integrity. Ultimately, it’s important to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.

The Impact of Technology on Trust

Since technology increasingly plays a central role in how we deliver services, business leaders now face new challenges in maintaining trust with customers. The increased use of technology itself may not be damaging trust, but the accompanying reduction in face-to-face contact could be contributing. At International Business Mentors, we find that people still value the old-fashioned values of open, honest and ethical behaviour in all business environments.

What Are the Benefits of Good Corporate Behaviour & the Trust It Develops?

There are many spin-offs to good corporate behaviour:

  • You and your staff will be proud to work there
  • Customers react positively and are more likely to demand your products or services
  • Risk will be reduced with better corporate governance and an ethical culture
  • Employees who respect the corporate image and admire the leadership acting responsibly, honestly and beyond reproach will perform to their best, go the extra mile and foster loyalty
  • Your broader business sector will trust you and it will be easier to do business
  • Raising funds will be easier, as trust reduces the risk to the funders
  • Government agencies will need to do less auditing on your returns and compliance
  • New staff will be attracted to your organisation
  • Your brand will improve and add value to the business
  • You will get better press and social media commentary

Unfortunately, as mentioned above, over the last few years we have seen many high-profile organisations around the world act improperly. This has resulted in a loss of trust that has damaged their reputations and relationships with their customers, suppliers, shareholders, bankers, staff and their broader community stakeholders. The resulting damage from this loss of reputation has been significant, from which some businesses will be lucky to survive even with the best business growth strategies in place.

Getting Back the Trust

The aftermath of such scandals evokes continual battles to win back trust, repair the damage and recover the substantial drop in financial performance that typically results. Innocent businesses will often be tainted in an industry when high profile organisations in their sector have been found wanting. Scandal is hard to overcome, and prevention would be better than the cure and also cost less. Good reputation should help optimise the performance of the business.

Protecting business reputations and maintaining a high level of trust is paramount to allow businesses to prosper long term, and a loss of that trust can be catastrophic in the short term.

Difficult Decisions Can Impact Trust

When faced with critical business pressures, our judgement may become compromised, which is a fact of life for all business owners and people in leadership. To have an impartial and experienced business coach or mentor act as a sounding board can help you maintain critical balance in your business and steer through difficult areas potentially impacting reputation.

There are many ways that a business coach or mentor can help you:

  • Act as a confidential sounding board, cast fresh eyes on cloudy situations and guide you through decision making processes, always with an ethical emphasis
  • Leverage their practical experience with situations where damaged business reputation was or could have been a major issue ‘Why do we remember the past but not the future?’ – Stephen Hawking
  • Share corporate governance experience to help you formulate policy to deal with and avoid difficult situations or reputation damaging behaviours

Aspects to Consider in Maintaining Business Trust

Always be forward thinking when making decisions and consider the risks, benefits and potential hazards of the decisions, including how these are made and the appropriate communication strategy with all stakeholders.

Consider one key corporate objective to become, remain and be seen as a good corporate citizen, with a good and ethical culture. Meeting this objective will take commitment and discipline from you and your whole organisation. The good corporate citizenship will require your strategy and mission, leadership, behaviour, business dealings, interaction with customers, public, government agencies, the environment, policies and practice in business, all to be done with a higher purpose in mind. This should aim to support and foster a safe and sustainable business that contributes positively to society and customers, as well as making great returns to your shareholders and looking after your own people. It’s about defining, imagining and then doing the right thing, which business coaching can assist with.

Corporate legislation around the world tries to encourage high levels of good corporate behaviours in specific areas, such as foreign bribery and anti-corruption laws − laws which continually get updated and overhauled. These types of legislation seek to control such unacceptable behaviours with substantial penalties. Your policies and practice need to be cognisant of these types of laws and ensure that you have policies and procedures in place to comply and not incur the potentially severe financial penalties or imprisonment that may be imposed. And of course, to avoid the severe impact on your business reputation and dilution of trust generally.

How to Build Good Corporate Citizenship and Regain Trust

Community expectations for good corporate citizenship are increasing. In their daily interactions, consumers that trust your organisation and your brand tend to be loyal but are quick in this age of social media to jump ship if reputational damage becomes apparent and has been spread.

On business reputation and trust as a business owner or leader, you must continue to learn and stay ahead of legal and community expectations. That requires approaches to increase your awareness of the expectation and consider a gap analysis of your actual practice or performance. This is another area in which a business coach or mentor can assist by offering informed and robust debate. Our mentors do not give lip service but will point out aspects that they see as potentially damaging when it comes to policy, trends, decisions or behaviour.

Managing reputational damage is a difficult exercise. Once mistakes have been made and reputation is damaged, action is required. The right communication is critical when you own up, apologise and act to fix the problem to contain the damage. The specific actions will vary according to the size of the business, what went wrong and if there are any legal implications. ‘Sorry’ can be the hardest word, but it can also be the saving grace with reputation. Speaking to major customers and a good selection of other customers to get feedback and communicate the action that will be taken will go a long way to solving the problem and getting customers back on side.

Strategy and Communication to Help Build Trust and Avoid Losing Reputation

Your business should adopt a strategy of compliance, transparency, honesty and care, always acting in the best interests of your key relationships to reduce the risks of damaging reputation and instead foster trust and relationships. Trust needs clear values, and a purpose beyond just financial targets. To be trusted, you need to commit to and communicate your clear purpose. What people should trust in your business?

Clear purpose and values will help build trust with your own people and help your business to define priorities and fortify your desired culture. Clients of International Business Mentors say that they built trust and culture with their people by being transparent about their strategy and values.

Combining Technology with the Old Trusted Values

In our age of breath-taking technological change and scepticism, it is the traditional and time-tested values and behaviours that remain the basis to building trust. These values and behaviours include being ethical, honest and acting with integrity, building face-to-face relationships, and communicating openly. These values build trust and generate business benefits, and they’re the basis for interacting positively with customers and employees. Even though technology induces increased changes, it is good to find that one thing has remained constant – old-fashioned values are the basis for future trust.

With the support of a business coach or mentor from International Business Mentors, you can feel confident that you will have done everything possible to avoid the damaging risks associated with loss of trust. Contact us now to develop your own trusted business coaching relationship and start experiencing the benefits.

Tips and Business Growth Strategies to Achieve Success in 2019

Using feedback from businesses in Australia and around the world early in 2019, International Business Mentors has put together a number of tips and business growth strategies that you should consider as a focus for the rest of 2019.

Our business mentors and business coaches support many businesses across a wide range of industry sectors. They support individuals with all strategic requirements and particularly with their business growth challenges.

Issues raised by our business coaching and mentoring clients as major challenges in 2019 include:

Disruption

Technology changes, the use of social media and digitalisation of processes is disrupting markets and competitors at a rapid rate. You need to consider what is available and move to embrace these changes, as appropriate. If you do not move with the rapidly changing competitive landscape and your competitors do take advantage, then you may be pushed out of your markets or your cost structure will be too high to compete.

Culture

Driven by disruption, culture has been an important issue in the last few years and will continue to be in 2019 and beyond. You must build, manage and lead the highly targeted culture that you need to succeed by incorporating such factors as productivity, engagement, customer centricity, cost awareness, quality, continuous improvement, sound ethical standards for building and maintaining trust and good reputation, and competition.

To overcome issues with disruption and culture, a business coach or mentor can be a valuable resource. To help you get started, here are some tips from our business coaching professionals:

Focus On Your Business’ Strengths

Focus on the core strengths of your business. What are you valued for as a business with your customers? Do not get distracted from your core strengths or waste time and resources on non-commercial outcomes. Understand what is important in your business, prioritise necessary actions or decisions, and don’t lose sight of what really matters.

Look After Your Key People, Customers and Suppliers

Your key people, customers and suppliers are your greatest assets. When you look after them, recognise and reward them, and develop them further, you can expect even greater business benefits. Foster loyalty with your people and customers, lead them properly, communicate effectively with them and manage their performance, and you should find that your people will reward you with greater effort and better retention.

Keep your supplier relationships strong with clear cooperative plans to reduce the risks to you and your suppliers. You should meet at regular intervals to discuss how you can improve business together and discuss future plans to see if you can both come up with ideas and plans to work closer together in the future to your mutual benefit.

Recognise Your Weaknesses

Until you recognise that you or your business has weaknesses, you will not consider improvement that needs to be made so you can implement effective business growth strategies. No one and nothing in business is perfect, so identify any shortcomings and work to correct or improve these. This is the start of the continuous improvement process.

Remember Your Investors − Both Debt and Equity

Your debt and equity providers are taking a risk investing in your business. They need to feel wanted and valued, and they also need to understand what their position is. Ensure they are kept properly informed (no surprises) and take the trouble to speak to them and find out what their expectations are of you and the business. Then plan to give them more of what they want in performance, culture and growth.

Diversify to Get Broader Teams and Better Talent

You should consider the advantages of employing a greater diversity of people with the right skills, including wider genders, ages or ethnicities. Diversity can enrich a business through complimentary skill sets, backgrounds or experience. Increasing diversity may provide fresh eyes in all areas of your business, ensuring you’re not holding back business performance unnecessarily.

Seek Help to Grow Your Business Performance

If you’re not happy with your business performance growth, then you should consider business coaching. A business coach or mentor will act as a trusted sounding board and can assist you to examine your strategy and the detail of your business.

Your own well-matched business mentor or business coach will be selectively matched to meet your specific requirements and will assist you with your business’ growth, strategy and other challenges.

Improve Strategy, Decision Making and Business Learning

A business coaching professional can help you become better at making decisions, learn effectively from experience or lost opportunities, and keep you strategically looking forward.

Keep Gathering Knowledge

You must continue to learn, and you need to strive to keep up to date and look beyond today into the future, leveraging your industry and business knowledge. With a business mentor or coach, you can re-assess where you are leading the business and its likely success in that future. If it’s not good enough, you should consider different futures for you and your business.

Embrace Change

It is a fact of life that business will see enormous advances, particularly in technology, and that change will continue. You must adapt yourself and your business to survive. If you are too slow to adapt, then seek help.

Get Help from a Business Mentor or Business Coach

A business coach or mentor from International Business Mentors can support you and your business in all of the above scenarios. We take care to get to understand you, your business and the strategic direction you want to pursue. We then provide you with a well-matched business mentor or coach to support you, by considering with you all aspects of your requirements including experience, skills and background.

Your business coaching professional will be matched to your personal fit and with your business to improve growth and provide you with confidential support. Call us now to find your right business mentor or coach.

Make Better Business Decisions

From directors in the board room to business owners, executives, management and employees, and in all our everyday lives, it is critical to make informed and well-made decisions. In a business environment, the decision makers need to be forward thinking and consider where the company needs to go in the future so successful business growth strategies can be devised.

To navigate to a successful future, you need to consider all the elements impacting your business and formulate a business strategy. In this process, you can benefit from fresh eyes and a critical approach from a supportive business coach or mentor from International Business Mentors, who can act as your own valuable and confidential resource.

As Isaac Asimov said: “It is change, continual change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.” This is particularly true given the speed of change in society today.

When having to make important business or strategic decisions, you must keep the big business strategic picture in mind. To succeed, you must ensure that an integral and critical part of your business strategy is to implement the principles of building trust and integrity, with consideration towards customers, employees and the environment. Why? Because it endears trust, it’s good practice and it’s the right thing to do.

As Justin Trudeau said: “Openness, respect, integrity – these are the principles that need to underpin pretty much every decision that you make.”

How an Unbiased Eye Can Help with Decision Making

Your business decision making must be aligned with your business’ vision and strategy, and if it is not then you will be in trouble long term. Important decisions are usually stressful, and short-term pressures can often cloud judgement and lead to decisions that are not in line with your strategy. To counter this tendency, a confidential, trusted and experienced business coaching professional from International Business Mentors can help by casting a critical unbiased eye over situations or decisions, giving you confidential support and sharing their knowledge and experience of similar decisions or situations.

Sophocles said: “Quick decisions are unsafe decisions.”

Creating and adopting the right corporate culture that ensures the health of the business, as well as the broader society, needs good decision making. Good decisions can enhance the business’s competitive advantage and performance. Some of the areas in which an experienced business coach or mentor could facilitate this may be, for example:

  • Commence with a clear vision devoid of interference
  • Ensure materials that are used as reference are correct, relevant, and of trusted sources
  • Get contribution/input from relevant, ethical people who understand the business and its vision
  • Consider contrary views and alternatives
  • Be mindful of risks
  • Evaluate the decision making process

Improving the Business Making Process

An independent business coaching professional from International Business Mentors can help you with your business decision making process and identify any blind spots or inherent bias that presents itself in many decision making processes. The decision making process should be as follows:

  • Identify the decision(s) needed
  • Gather information
  • Identify alternatives
  • Weigh the evidence
  • Get a second opinion (potentially from your business coach or mentor)
  • Does the decision support the vision, culture and business growth strategies of the business?
  • Choose among alternative
  • Make a plan and take action
  • Review of your decision(s) and implementation

Challenges to Decision Making

There are many common challenges in the decision making process, but the common ones are:

  • Having too much or not enough information
  • Misidentifying the problem
  • Overconfidence in the outcome

In a collective decision making environment, such as a board, a wide range of views can be given proper consideration to improve decision making and potentially reduce risk. In a more closed environment, such as a sole business owner, there can be a lack of debate of issues or decisions that need to be made, and this lack of debate and breadth of experience increases the risk that critical aspects have been missed. In these circumstances, the support of a constructive and confidential business coach can be critical. A well-matched business mentor or coach can assist and guide your good decision making by facilitating the process.

Decisions need to be made – and preferably well made. Whilst it’s important to learn from mistakes, you can reduce the risks of making bad decisions with the help of a business coaching professional who understands you and your business.

Tony Robbins said: “Remember, a real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”

Making Decisions with Integrity

Another aspect of the decision-making process is to always maintain the importance of integrity, as a business will only stay in business if it maintains trust with its customers, suppliers and staff.

Richard Branson said: “All you have in business is your reputation – so it’s very important that you keep your word.”

There will, of course, be many variations on any decision making process depending on the size and type of the business, but most aspects of good decision making processes are relevant to all.

Experience is by far one of the best factors for successful decision making outcomes, which is why it’s useful to get help from a knowledgeable business coach or mentor who can help you make a significant difference by identifying and minimising risks.

A well-matched, experienced and confidential business mentor or coach can be a valuable resource to help you better navigate your business decision making processes. Contact International Business Mentors to get a mentor or coach who can help you.

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.

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.

What is Your Leadership Quotient from a Business Coaching Perspective?

At International Business Mentors, we use Leadership Quotient concepts to match each business coach to individuals requiring business coaching, but what exactly is a Leadership Quotient? The dictionary definition of any Quotient is the degree to which a specific quality or characteristic exists. While you might be familiar with the original IQ, or Intelligence Quotient, researchers have also developed EQ or Emotional Quotient, or more commonly, Emotional Intelligence. Recently, this trend has been extended to the concept of LQ or the Leadership Quotient, which is a measure of a person’s leadership capability.

What Are These Quotients and Do They Matter?

The oldest of the three Q measures mentioned above is the well-known IQ. It measures cognitive ability and assigns a value to those who complete the test. This value describes how our measured intelligence falls within the whole population, with 100 being the average score of the population as a whole. Meanwhile, EQ is often defined as Emotional Intelligence and is a measure of ‘the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how well you can work cooperatively with them’. Businesses and other major organisations have begun to consider EQ in potential hires, particularly leaders. They claim that the EQ is a better predictor of executive success and the ability to develop business growth strategies than other measures, including IQ.

Another ‘Q’ has recently joined the Quotient revolution within emerging leadership thought and is another important measure of the ability to lead well: the Leadership Quotient, or LQ.

What is a Leadership Quotient?

A wide variety of researchers, authors and organisations have developed ways to measure LQ. Steven Covey’s Leadership Quotient is the most popular. It measures ability against the four main imperatives of a leadership: to develop trust, clarify purpose, align systems and unleash talent.

The Leadership Quotient is a sum of competence, character and capability (LQ=IQ+EQ+XQ). Others propose Leadership Quotient as a sum of morality + power.

Limitations of the Quotients

These efforts are well-intentioned and can be valuable. At International Business Mentors, we know the value of our experience when it comes to business coaching, particularly in developing CEOs, MDs, business owners and directors of companies, i.e. leaders. We have two important reservations on the current LQ trend:

The Leadership Quotient, and indeed all the Quotients, have the drawback of allowing someone else to define us. We are measured, categorised and defined within someone else’s model of how the world works. How many lives have experienced long-term negative effects from a poor IQ score? Or how many have developed a pompous ego because of an exceptionally high IQ? In either case, someone else defines us in ways that can have profound impacts on how we view ourselves, and this can be unhealthy.

The many Quotients, particularly the Leadership Quotient, measure what we do as leaders; Covey’s four imperatives are all active. At International Business Mentors, we are much more interested in developing leaders according to their potential facilitated by our business coaches with practical experience.

Leadership Quotient Questions

It is compelling for our business mentors to help develop business leaders to reach their potential and facilitate those leaders to better lead, devise business growth strategies, and survive.

Here are four crucial questions of leadership to facilitate a better Leadership Quotient or LDQ. Note that none of these can be easily measured by a simple test – but developing leaders who thrive is neither easily done nor measured.

How strong is my leadership and the business’s core?

At the core of every business leader’s core are the key questions of who are we and what is our and the business’ purpose? How will we achieve these purposes?

How healthy are you and your business?

Are you and the business thriving on all strategic and operational aspects of performance, and is your own leadership and the business developing?

How well are you helping the people in the business to perform and develop?

A true leader becomes strong with a widely developed skills base and helps their people and the business develop performance.

How well integrated are your own ambitions coupled with your potential and experience to succeed in leading the business forward to improve your strategic outcomes?

With a business coach giving you confidential and honest feedback, you can work through what you want for the business and for yourself.

Your business coach or mentor is there to encourage you to ask what you want to do as a leader. They’ll also help you with their experience so you can add it to your own, as well as facilitating the increase in your Leadership Quotient while supporting you in your development and acting as a sounding board for business growth strategies.

At International Business Mentors, we have a process that matches you to a great business coach or mentor who has overlapping and complementary experience, with a view to increase your contribution in leadership and develop you and your business. We consider all the lessons from the Leadership Quotients from a practical stand point.

Contact International Business Mentors today to learn more about business coaching for leadership.

Succeed Better in Your Start-Up Business with an International Business Mentor

Every day, budding entrepreneurs across the world come up with outstanding ideas for business opportunities that could be the next roaring success. Unfortunately, many of these opportunities fail or do not live up to their promise and fall short of expectations.

To increase your chances of success, you will need good business planning and should actively seek appropriate help from an experienced business coach or mentor who can guide you in critical business areas you are not familiar with. As a wise mentor once said, “We do not know what we do not know.” So why not learn from an International Business Mentor’s broad business skills and practical experience to enhance and develop your own business success?

For example, your business mentor can provide business coaching and help you with your first steps in assessing any new business venture. This necessitates you completing a brief feasibility study followed by a basic business plan including a financial forecast. From these steps, some conclusions can be drawn as to the chance of the venture being commercially viable and worth your investment in time, money and taking the risks involved.

This example above is just one of many common-sense approaches for those experienced in business. However, if you lack experience and have not been taught suitable frameworks for making business decisions, your start-up may not necessarily succeed, like many before. Furthermore, depending on the type of business you start up, you must consider a wide range of aspects, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, security, systems and IT support, health and safety procedures & training, and insurance.

How a Business Coach Can Help

Leveraging their wide business experience and selection for your own needs, an International Business Mentor or coach can guide you through assessing, planning and executing your start-up venture or extending your existing business. From your very first confidential meeting, your business coach’s broad business skills and background can add value to you and your business.

Some key areas you may cover with your International Business Mentor include:

  • Strategy
  • Feasibility
  • Business Plans
  • Financial Performance
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Customers
  • Social Media
  • Operations, Systems and IT
  • People Issues, Culture & Organisation
  • Leadership and Your Own Development
  • Key Relationships Management
  • Control & Governance
  • Risk Management

You will also benefit from your mentor’s business coaching approach to develop and enhance your own business skills. Further, by tapping into their business experience, you can avoid many of the traps and pitfalls common in business.

Understanding what’s Important

At any specific time in your business venture, your business coach or mentor can help you better deal with what is most important. This emphasis at any time will depend on the stage you and your business are at, what circumstances you face, and what strategy you are pursuing.

Your International Business Mentor can help you ask the right questions at the right time. These questions may include:

  • What business structure do you need: company, sole trader or partnership?
  • Should you get debt funding?
  • Do you sell direct to customers or go through agents or distributors?
  • Should you cross sell extra services or product?
  • Which products and services do you want to provide?
  • What is the impact of competitor behaviour?
  • How do you make customers more loyal?
  • What profit should you aim for?
  • Can you reduce your costs?
  • What is the right organisation culture and structure?
  • Should you buy a franchise?
  • Can you afford this business?
  • Can you get supply and what should it cost?
  • Should you build this business up to sell it?
  • Do you need legal input?
  • What Image are you striving for in the market?
  • How long will it take to succeed?
  • How will I know I have succeeded?
  • Should you employ staff?
  • Where do you need to be located?
  • What skills are missing in the business to succeed?
  • How do I forecast my cashflow?
  • When should I have a board of directors?
  • What terms do I give to customers on payment?
  • How do I do credit control

An International Business Mentor or coach can guide in asking the right questions at the right time for you and your start-up (or existing business). They can also help you with business coaching to improve your leadership and management skills so that you can better establish and develop your business skills.

To start benefiting from your own International Business Mentor, contact Chris Cartney today by calling (03) 8686 9192.

Why Businesses Should Look Ahead to 2018 with a Business Coach

In 2018, it will be more important than ever for Australian and international businesses to have a business mentor or coach.

2017 has been a rather messy year for business, despite reasonable economic stability. The mining sector – once Australia’s major source of GDP – has remained flat financially, yet Australia continues to avoid recession with good employment, good exports, infrastructure spending, and low interest rates. But will this change in 2018?

From an economic perspective, Australian businesses have identified strong opportunities. From an export point of view, no longer does the economy rely principally on mining, with many businesses growing their service exports and developing in areas such as professional services, education and tourism.

However, there is a need to be mindful of the potential risks worldwide of destabilisation impacting economies and business, such as the Middle East, North Korea, uncertainties such as the ‘Trump’ factor, interest rate increases, Brexit, Catalan in Spain declaring independence, job instability, increasing taxation pressure across tax boundaries, threats from the development of disruptive technologies (such as evolving robotic technology), electronic currency, the increase and continual sophistication in cybercrime, and data security.

There is therefore much to consider from both opportunities and risks in 2018, making business coaching worth considering.

Business owners, directors, CEOs and senior executives all have responsibilities to take into account in their evolving business plans so they can strategise the likely future critical factors that will be presented in 2018 and beyond. They then must try and optimise their plans and decisions to enhance their businesses and counter any damage or risks that potentially may occur. The assessment of the business’s likely future is a critical process of considering these factors, futures and various options for the business. This strategic assessment process can be greatly enhanced with the key input from a high calibre, well matched, independent business mentor or coach from International Business Mentors.

How Business Coaching Can Help

An International Business Mentor or coach can critically help you see, test and appreciate your big picture and specific circumstances in your own strategic landscape. This should help you better identify and assess opportunities and risks. Additionally, your business coach or mentor can help you to consider your strategies from an alternative perspective, and can open up your awareness to other ideas and ways of evaluating the options you face. Essentially, two heads are better than one when it comes to challenging and assessing ideas and business decisions inside a very confidential and strong business coaching or mentoring relationship.

Assessing What the Future Holds

In 2017, we saw a general weakening in trust for Governments and large corporations, with potential damage to reputations, economies and business. 2018 will need government and corporate cultures to be realigned to woo back voter and consumer support, and to succeed, businesses face a real challenge.

This is where a well matched International Business Mentor or coach can assist you to assess the future possibilities for your strategy, corporate governance, and the assessment of your target culture needed for success going forward. And since the future is always uncertain, it is critical to optimally assess the future pipeline of business and the strategies, customer requirements, marketing, product and service offering, competition, operations, people culture, organisation structures, and the financial performance and funding required to achieve the best performance outcomes considered critical for your business to prosper in 2018 and beyond. These critical aspects should be reviewed inside your confidential mentoring meetings with your International Business Mentor.

Don’t waste time – engage a business coach now who can confidentially work with you to improve your business in 2018. For more information, call International Business Mentors today on (03) 8686 9192.

Can You Trust Your Instinct When Making Important Business Decisions?

Any business coach or mentor will tell you that instinct can be important when making business decisions. Over a decade ago, Malcolm Gladwell’s best-selling book ‘Blink’ was published with a controversial and scientific explanation of what is behind decision making. Gladwell celebrated the art of what he termed snap decision making, i.e. “the power of not thinking”, and he asserted the provocative case that “Great decision makers aren’t those who process the most.”

Gladwell stated simply that a central pillar of our western rational philosophy is that the longer we spend or the more effort we put into making a decision, the better the decision will be, and this belief system is prevalent. You can see the result of this everywhere. For example, if a person isn’t happy with a diagnosis, they’ll usually ask for more tests, or if unsure about a business decision, they may seek business coaching for a second opinion.

This same belief system underpins our attitude and approach in the workplace. The more data we get, the more analytical we become, as we believe that the more analytical we learn to be, the better prepared we are. For Gladwell, this was misleading, as it played down the role of our instincts, or what the psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer dubbed “fast and frugal thinking” – or decisions that we make in the blink of an eye.

The successful leaders and managers have always had good instincts. For example, Sri Sharma, founder and managing director of the paid search agency Net Media Planet, said that he has often relied on his “personal radar” to build his company from a single person start-up to a multi-million pound business, as it allowed him to think fast and make decisions.

Sri Sharma said, “I think of your instinct, your gut feeling, as a personal radar that is built up over the years,” and “Often the data you analyse confirms what your instincts tell you from your personal radar, but it can’t replace it. Instinct is vital.”

Does Instinct Play Less of a Role in the Decision-Making Process Today?

It was a very different world a decade ago when Gladwell was writing his book, and over the years since, the world is being quantified like never before. In particular, business intelligence, analytics packages and information databases combine to give companies unprecedented statistical data and hopefully greater understanding of their customers or client base. All this multitudinous data is gathered under the umbrella of “big data”, which deals with the tidal wave of statistics that floods in day after day.

In the Face of Such a Wealth of Data, What Place is there Left for Instinct, If Any?

“But data is only insight, not an answer,” Sharma says, and overall, he thinks it’s had a positive effect in the workplace and “There is definitely more data today, and as a result, better decisions are being made with an upward progression of good decisions.”

Dr. Martin Clarke, program and business director at Cranfield School of Management, agrees with Sharma. “Data does not provide the answer,” he says. Though some leaders and managers can fall prey to what he calls “management by spreadsheet”, the real challenge is always to interpret the data, and he feels there is “no shortage of instinctive decision makers” doing that today.

Rather, Clarke thinks there is a different consequence of the booming data in that “It has made the decision-making process more complex, more messy.” This is due to the significant increase in data to go through, with many more people involved and more perspectives to consider.

For Clarke, decision making has become more of a diplomatic process than in the past. “You might know the right decision because you have 20 years’ experience working in a sector, but you might have to sacrifice 20% of this right answer to please everyone. What you end up with is what I call the best answer, because it satisfies the greatest number of people. That is the balance you have to achieve.”

Has this Proliferation of Data Made People Less Decisive?

The fear is that too much data can lead to what psychologists call analysis paralysis, i.e. the idea that having too much data can hinder the accuracy of decisions or the speed with which they are made. Clarke thinks not. “If we are more cautious, it is not because of data but of economic uncertainty.”

Chris Cartney, a leading general manager of International Business Mentors who works with and analyses managers, has a different take. Chris worries about the difficulties people have in handling the amount of data and simply processing or archiving it efficiently. Chris critically considers the biggest problems lie in the interpretation by leaders and managers of the data and divining the core conclusions or truths. Chris believes that balancing insight and instinct is vital for all of today’s leaders and managers. She also thinks it can be particularly dangerous to make decisions when emotions are strongly impacting the instinctive thinking process.

This balance considered by Chris Cartney between data analysis and instinct with emotions has long been pondered by Sharma at Net Media Planet. “Managers have to rely on their instincts, but the time not to do so is when your emotions get involved – if you’re being led by your emotions, that is when you can make bad decisions.” Sharma’s point is one that Gladwell also touched on in ‘Blink’. An emotional response to a situation, he argues, can blind our instincts. However, with a cool head, Sharma argues, intuition must play an important role in businesses today: “It’s your personal radar. You learn to rely on it.”

Whilst there is compelling evidence that data is a powerful resource for researching facts that directly impact your business, disregarding your instincts based on experience and skills is a mistake. The fact is – and any business coach will agree – it’s best to consider both.

Statistics can be useful, and in some instances absolutely vital in order to make an informed business decision. But don’t detach yourself from the human element. Depending on the type of decision, where relevant, allow your instincts to kick in.

Experience should not be underestimated. Even if the data suggests otherwise, Learn more about the role of instinct when making decisions and discover how Business Coaching can help leaders make better decisions. a strong niggling that something is absolutely right or wrong can be the better option. Trusting your gut is trusting the collection of all your particular experiences. Situations change, and predictions are not always correct, so when making plans that affect your business, consider the possibilities and have a contingency back up plan.

Most importantly, engage a business coach or business mentor to help you. Your business coach or business mentor can give you an independent appraisal, considering all the information and sharing their experiences in similar instances. A well matched business coach or mentor can also help develop a business leader’s intuition. Going with your gut can allow you to be inquisitive and more open to opportunities. But these skills are not inborn or inherited; they need to be learnt.

Business leaders are ideas people. They are creating a vision for the future of the business, so they need to innovate using their instincts. Instincts allow you to make the most of opportunities that others don’t necessarily see.

How Can a Business Coach Help Develop a Business Leader’s Intuition?

Firstly, an International Business Mentors business coach or mentor has the necessary experience in having developed and used their own intuition in their business lives. They share their successes, mistakes, ideas and business acumen as they are driven by a desire to help those they mentor to succeed.

A well matched business coach or mentor encourages business leaders to follow their interests and to act on their ideas. Business coaching can also support businesses leaders to be committed and to focus and follow through. Instinct allows leaders to anticipate problems and set the rules for the future. It draws on things you have learnt and felt, much of which you may not even be consciously aware of.

An appropriate business coach can help leaders make informed and well balanced decisions, with an open mindedness that permits your ideas to change and develop. They’ll encourage you to think about your business issues before making a decision, and to also use your gut. This forces business leaders to be more instinctive.

Instinct vs. Common Sense

Learn to tune into your physical and emotional response as a pointer to the direction you need to take, and give credit to your initial response to a situation. If something doesn’t ‘feel right’, consider the options and weigh up the pros and cons of going with your gut feeling.

Instincts are vital in our decision-making to help us notice when something might be wrong. Yet in most situations, when we face significant decisions about the business, we need to trust our head more than our gut in order to make the best decisions. A business coach can help in such circumstances, as they can act as a confidential sounding board.

Contact Chris Cartney at International Business Mentors today to consider how a business coach or mentor can help with your business thinking processes, assisting you and your business with a confidential and supportive business coaching relationship.

How to Appoint and Appropriately Support Your CEO to Succeed with CEO Mentoring

Organisations must put sufficient time and effort into appointing the right CEO. After making this substantial investment, it’s important to provide the CEO with strong ongoing support coupled with a rewarding package that encourages them to succeed for the business. As the role is demanding, even an experienced CEO should receive support in the form of business mentoring programs or CEO mentoring.

The organisation should look strategically ahead at the CEO’s development as well as their succession plan. The hiring, firing and succession planning of a CEO is complex and often requires specialised expertise.

Whether it’s a board that oversees the CEO’s appointment, or the owner who appoints the CEO, critically the hiring process must produce the best possible candidate for the position. The CEO is absolutely crucial to delivering the short and long-term success of any business. Additionally, if business owners themselves are to be the CEO, they need to be realistic and ensure they are adequately skilled in order to perform this vital role.

The Role of a CEO

CEO mentoring is a worthy investment when the role of a CEO is considered. The CEO is the most senior executive in charge of managing the organisation. This is true for listed companies, private companies, not-for-profit organisations, government bodies, and various other businesses.

The CEO reports to the board (or MD, business owner or shareholders) and is responsible for meeting the strategic objectives of the business and its performance. For businesses, this will include maximising the value of the business, be it through the share price or maximising shareholder value, cashflows and profits. In the not-for-profit sector, the responsibility differs in that the modus operandi is to meet the specific mission and values of the organisation. In all organisations, the CEO must provide strong leadership and have appropriate experience to run the organisation.

The CEO reports to and advises the board or owners who will determine the limits of the CEO’s powers and responsibilities. The CEO then drives the organisation to achieve the desired strategy and outcomes, as well as overseeing employee training and performance, making key decisions, and having responsibility for operations, marketing, HR, business development, finance, and regulatory and policy compliance. With all this responsibility, it’s crucial for business mentoring programs to be available when support is required.

How CEO Mentoring Can Help

At International Business Mentors, we individually match business mentors or business coaches with CEOs depending on the desired background, experience and level of skills. Dealing with individuals in a broad range of business industries, sizes and structures means one size does not fit all. Furthermore, some CEOs require assistance in a range of areas, whilst others may be more specific in their requirements or only desire a confidential sounding board.

Today’s CEOs are under great pressure to reduce costs, deliver growth, keep up with compliance issues, manage technology and cyber security, and work on sales strategy and delivery. Most top CEO performers are constant knowledge seekers, but they can’t be master of everything. Fortunately, they can engage business mentors to help them in areas where they may be lacking. Open mindedness assists CEOs to improve their own business performance, giving them an edge.

CEO mentoring can help CEOs with:

  • Transitioning into the CEO role
  • Reporting to the board
  • Providing a confidential sounding board for ideas
  • Confidential and candid discussion on various areas, including:
    • Market strategy
    • Competition
    • Financial performance
    • Operations
    • Cost reduction
    • Supply chain management
    • People and culture
    • Leadership

It Doesn’t Have to Be Lonely at the Top

It’s often stated that it is ‘lonely at the top’, and this is particularly pertinent to CEOs, senior executives, directors and business owners. Whether you’ve recruited a new CEO externally, are appointing from within the organisation, or have an existing CEO, they all need to be supported with a fresh set of eyes and the right business mentoring programs. To learn how an experienced and well-matched business mentor from International Business Mentors can provide assistance, contact us today.

The Importance of Retaining your Top Talent

It cannot be understated – the right people are your most valuable asset. But finding them in the first place and then developing and retaining can be a challenge.

Any business coach will tell you that it is the people that will drive the success of the organisation, so it is critical to have the right people in the right places. Running a successful recruitment process is vital, as is having comprehensive retention strategies in place.

Finding Top Talent

Firstly, you must recruit the best, and unless you have the necessary experience, capability, business coaching and resources to do this successfully, you need to invest in the services of a reputable recruitment firm. This can save you time and money and also give you the option of the best candidates in the market to meet your specific requirements.

Substantially, the monetary cost to your business of hiring the wrong person far exceeds that of recruitment agency fees. This is particularly obvious once you calculate the extra costs in training, re-hiring, disruption to the business, and impact on your loyal and hardworking staff who have to pick up the slack, dragging down morale and productivity.

You also run a much higher risk profile during the period of the unsuccessful candidate’s time in the job and the replacement period. The risk to the business can be lost revenue, disenfranchised customers, impact on reputation and brand, reduced productivity, and even loss of other valuable employees depending on the circumstance.

Where to Begin

When looking for new talent, the first steps you need to take with or without a recruitment expert are:

  • Define the job description – Receive input from the line manager and HR to develop an accurate list of responsibilities, expected values, targets, skills, salary bandings, team work expected and reporting lines.
  • Make sure candidates are screened – You should aim for a strong short-list of 3-5 candidates.
  • Conduct interviews – You must define the questions relevant to the role and probe into the technical aspects and experience necessary for the role. Failure to plan this stage can lead to unnecessary delays and frustrated candidates.
  • Check references – Conducting this thoroughly is the only way to make sure the prospective employee has the technical skills required. You can also ensure their soft skills and cultural alignment are what you’re looking for. Reference checks should be done in detail and the questions should be tailored specifically around the skills and requirements for the position.
  • Test – Depending on the nature and seniority of the role, you might need to have appropriate testing performed.

The Next Steps

Once you have successfully engaged the person you consider to be the best person for the key role, the next steps are to develop, support, measure their performance, and, if they meet all the criteria, retain them.

The workforce has changed from decades gone by, and often, non-monetary factors are very important for retaining staff. These factors include:

  • Workplace flexibility
  • Career planning (where they will be in 3-5 years in the business)
  • Coaching or mentoring to increase their knowledge and potential
  • Regular performance feedback (not just at QPRs, once every 3-4 months)

Strong performers respond well to corporate support. They value being valued. A significant way to both develop and support your key people is with individual business coaching or mentoring. Not only does this inspire executives, but it provides tools to monitor their performance, development and ultimate contribution to the business’ results.

How Business Coaching Can Help

At International Business Mentors, we can individually match mentors to key executives, taking into account the skills and experience needed to help them develop and improve business performance. Furthermore, the support that a business coach provides can foster appreciation and loyalty to employers.

To better retain staff, an experienced business coach or mentor can assist business owners, leaders and senior management by aiding them to focus on retaining their best talent. This can include measuring certain areas, such as staff capability, performance culture, values, KPIs, performance appraisals, interviews, assessments, tests, and so on. Australia business coaching professionals will also be able to challenge you and give feedback, helping you avoid the pitfalls that can cause your talent to leave you prematurely.

Tips for Retention

The nature of your great talent is that they want to succeed and improve, enhance, be flexible and add value to their job and to the business.

Leadership must be at the forefront of selecting and managing their key people. It is often quoted that “employees don’t quit working for companies,they quit working for their bosses.”

Some of the practices leaders should adopt to retain their people include:

  • Facilitate employees to align their passions with corporate objectives.
  • Challenge all staff to achieve difficult outcomes and stretch them intellectually.
  • Allow them to engage in their creativity when answers are needed.
  • Care for them with appropriate remuneration, and importantly as people at an emotional level.
  • Be an effective leader and communicate the vision and mission of the organisation and how they and their job fits into that overall direction.
  • Recognise, praise and reward good people for their excellent contribution.
  • Be fair and give feedback where improvements are needed, and inspect any improvements in performance.
  • Increase staff responsibility where appropriate to grow their capability and job satisfaction.
  • Keep any commitments and promises you give, and if you cannot do this due to circumstance, discuss this with staff to get them back on side.
  • Give your people a voice. Listen to their good thoughts, ideas, insights and observations, and acknowledge their input into the direction of the business in the future.

Since keeping and developing your talented people is a priority in delivering your business strategy, both the people and organisational aspects of the business will demand continuous review and improvement and significant effort by all leaders in the organisation.

With the help of a suitable business coach or mentor from International Business Mentors, you can put in place the appropriate processes that are invaluable mechanisms to ensure you have the right people who will in turn contribute to the success of your business. Call International Business Mentors today on (03) 8686 9192 to learn more.

Strategy Execution: How to Better Implement and Achieve the Desired Strategic Outcomes

Develop Strategy and Effective Communication are Key to Strategy Implementation

Unfortunately, being caught up in the daily business grind tends to hinder any serious consideration of what has actually been achieved strategically.  A focus on short term work priorities does not necessarily help achieve longer term goals. Unfortunately, that business strategy you adopted only a few months ago, may have become obsolete. Further, despite everyone buying into the strategy not many have followed through. How did we collectively get the strategy implementation so wrong?

For business strategy to be implemented effectively it cannot just be the domain of company directors, senior management or the owners. Strategy must flow throughout the business to align each staff member with the common goals to get the whole team pulling together in the same strategic direction. It is critical to communicate strategy effectively, so that every staff member’s sees how they can contribute to, and create a sense of ownership in the strategy. Staff need to know they are valued in making strategy happen and how they must take responsibility to execute it. Strategy communication needs to be empowering. It needs to be transparent and deliver the vision, mission, values, strategic goals and risks, so that a positive strategy uptake occurs and subsequent implementation by the whole organisation. An International Business Mentor or Coach can help you through the strategy process.

Financial Modelling of the Potential Outcomes is Key to Strategy Development

Financial modelling is the most powerful strategic and risk management tool needed to ensure that strategy is evaluated. This is needed to ensure that it will deliver the financial returns, profits, cashflow, dividends, and business value that the company owners, funders, directors and managers need it to achieve. This financial modelling must consider the effect of multiple business scenarios to gain clearer insight into the various scenarios, and possible outcomes that will have an impact on the business’s future potential performance and quantify the risks. These financial and forecasting models need to fully integrate with financial reports (Actual and forecast Cashflows, P&L and Balance Sheet) and give graphical, statistical and dashboard data for executive decision-making and performance monitoring and control. Such financial tools must allow for the evaluation of the effects of business strategy and changes over an extended period and are critical in the identification of better alternatives business decisions and identifying risks to guide their mitigation.

Continued Assessment of Strategy Implementation is Critical

Strategy implementation requires setting tasks and processes with measured outcomes within a timeframe. To get successful strategy implementation we must consider the desired outcomes on a continuous basis. If during the implementation, the day-to-day tasks take over and the critical strategic actions do not get done, then the organisation will lose track of what they agreed to do to achieve the strategy.

When the desired business outcomes (budgets, strategic plans, group and individual’s targets and KPIs) are set then a strong sense of direction, priority and focus will have been established and can help direct the day to day focus. The strategy progress and the contribution made by all areas of the business need to be critically reviewed at least quarterly to keep the strategic plan on track.

Business Value should be Calculated Regularly in Strategy Implementation

Business value is generally only calculated when it is time to exit or when an investor wants to invest in the business. Business Value should be calculated on a regular basis so that strategy can be built around the target Business Value milestones.  Businesses are independently valued on a PE multiple basis approach, which has two aspects, both the quantum of profits and the PE multiple applied. Both aspects must be considered in strategy formulation, so there needs to be a business valuation in the monthly financial reports and analysis done to compared this to the financial model targets that underpinned the strategy.

Give Everyone Data to See their Progress Towards the Strategy

Businesses can gain great benefits by displaying and providing staff with live data on progress towards the Strategy and this feedback is a great facilitator of performance behaviour towards the strategic objectives. This feedback data on strategic measures and performance should improve the shared accountability for achieving satisfactory business outcomes. You should consider capturing and displaying real time data using mobile and desktop applications as well as visual displays throughout the offices and workplaces. It is a small capital investment with good returns. By showing strategic goals into expected weekly/monthly/quarterly outcomes, the people in the business can better respond to fluctuating trading or operational situations and get things back on track to meet or exceed their KPIS, targets and goals.

An International Business Mentor or Coach can help facilitate and develop you through the strategy process and the implementation and strategy performance review process.

David Cartney
International Business Mentors
June 2017

Boards Need Chairman to be Trained

Moving from a director position to the Chairman of the board can be a big step and can be made easier and more effective, if the Chairman has been trained for this position.

The Board needs to agree on the basic focus for the Chairman and devolve any extra authorities or resources they may need to effectively carry out their new duties. The level of support for the chairman is critical both with sufficient resources, such as secretarial, legal, report generation in time and the appropriate level for the board meetings. These include publishing of board materials and timetable, organizing venues, accommodation and travel for board members and other attendees, support from the other board members to adequately prepare for meetings, and follow up on agreed tasks. These can be adopted similarly by the senior leadership team.

The Chairman must ensure that the Board focuses its energy and wisdom on:

  • Appropriate matters requiring decisions
  • Is competent to come to suitable conclusions
  • Once board decisions are made
  • then authority to implement must be passed to the MD or CEO with a clear resolution.

The Chair can either be non-executive or an executive. Each have differing levels of authority over the management and operational decision-making processes. Again, these authority levels need to be clearly established or there will likely be management override and a disconnect between the board members and the operational staff. This is an area that needs chairman training to work effectively, see my quote below:

“There is no distinction in purpose between a board’s and management’s role. The board directs the business and oversee the interests of shareholders, while the strategies as agreed by the board are implemented by management. The chairman’s role is to lead the board and ensure appropriate disciplines are in place for the board and to distinguish between the board and management’s roles. The MD or CEO provides leadership to the management and the chairman sees that the CEO does what the board expects. The board does have a collective responsibility on this, but should leave most of the dialogue between the chairman and CEO or MD and only take collective action, if this does not work.” David Cartney, International Business Mentors 2017.

Board Reviews

The Chairman needs to implement Board Reviews as a Learning Process and requires honest & objective review of the board’s wrong or poor decisions or process, so that lessons can be learnt from these. This is a periodic review of the board processes and includes how directors should and do behave and the way that information is presented and considered. And how to improve board effectiveness. The Chairman should mentor the directors in all of the above.

Boards Making Decisions

Boards make judgments on a wide range of issues which effect the organization and these are based on various pieces of information and past experiences. All of this Information must be relevant and carefully weighed within the context of the required judgments. The Chairman must ensure that decisions that follow these judgements are based on the relevant and collective opinions, knowledge, attitudes and experience of the board members and for the best interests of the company.

Making collective board decisions, running the board business effectively, reviewing the boards own performance are only part of the arsenal of skills that the Chairman requires to do the job properly. Whatever the current level of these skills in the current or aspirant Chairman, these can be enhanced through the International Business Mentors’ Chairman training. International Business Mentors’ Chairman training is highly confidential, One-on-One and is delivered over 8 meetings or modules, with reading and preparation in between. It includes the Chairman’s input to and the boards responsibilities with strategy, monitoring performance, shareholders and stakeholders, board composition, management, relationships and effectiveness. This Chairman’s training is tailored for the specific Chairman (or the aspirant Chairman).

David Cartney July 2017.

For more information please visit : https://www.internationalbusinessmentors.com/training-and-services/the-chairmans-training/

How Business Coaching Can Help You Adapt to Change and Disrupt Markets

Change can be daunting, yet it can create new exciting opportunities from both a personal and business perspective. Change reaches out from the unknown and gets you and the business out of your combined comfort zones and into new and unfamiliar areas that require new skills and support. With business coaching from International Business Mentors, you can learn how to be a change leader and deliberately disrupt markets, creating strategic competitive advantage. Such an approach can be clearly seen in the uses of technology to outperform existing suppliers of services in markets such as the Taxi industry, which has been disrupted by the rise of Uber’s car sharing technology.

What Will the Future Hold?

As change can cause fear and unsettles, it often tends to constrain the way we think. This can reduce the speed of change needed to adapt successfully to new challenges or opportunities. We generally adapt well to familiar personal changes in relationships, growing up, having children, moving, aging, etc. This is because we have experienced others transition in similar situations, and importantly, we may have had some guidance from family and friends to support us through the change process.

On the other hand, business change can be less familiar, with a greater magnitude and speed of change in markets, customers, operations, people, finances or strategy. You can add to this your own need to make new types of decisions and deal with higher levels of leadership and management. A business coach or mentor from International Business Mentors can help you adapt and develop with the business changes as well as your own change into a new leadership position. Australia business coaching is also essential for business owners who are adapting to change or planning succession for the future of the business.

The Importance of a Fresh Look

Adapting to or creating change requires a fresh look from a business coach at all aspects of the business. Usually the first area to concentrate on is the market and your customers. You need to know what your customers currently want and value, how that is changing or can be changed, and what the markets are doing or will do that puts customers at risk of changing suppliers. While this seems simple, it is often not focused on.

Once you have a good view of the changing landscape of customer requirements and market responses, you need to create a detailed strategic framework – with a compelling vision for that changing future for the next 1 to 3 years. To achieve that strategy in a shifting business environment, you will have to train and recruit the right people, with the right skills to deliver that evolving vision.

Providing and Receiving Support

The people in the organisation will need you to support them and communicate clearly to get a good understanding of the vision and the future strategy. This is needed to motivate, coordinate effort, and create the effective team to deliver on that strategy. You will need to provide clear goals that give the leaders in your organisation the necessary flexibility and focus to respond to the changing business environment and deliver the required performance.

Other than adapting to your customer’s changing demands, you also need to understand and anticipate your competitors’ behaviour in your markets with customers. This is another critical area where Australia business coaching from International Business Mentors can be helpful.

To be effective, a leader must empower and skill-up their people to perform. You should therefore assess the support your leaders need in terms of direction, performance feedback, and business coaching and mentoring.

Learn More Today

Support yourself to succeed through change and adaptation by engaging an independent business coach or mentor from International Business Mentors. In addition to casting a critical eye over the changing environment through their own experience, they can help keep you on track and modify strategy as required. For more information, call us today on (03) 8686 9192.

Business Coaching for Strategic Business Team Building

When it comes to team building, a good strategic leader is essential. Possessing what it takes to deliver the required strategy, these exceptional leaders can attract the right people, train them, and then continue to inspire, lead, develop and demand superior team business performance. If you’re struggling to build a strong team, find out how a business coach can provide assistance in this area.

The Steps for Building an Effective Team

By working with a business coach and following the 12 steps below, you’ll have the ingredients you need to strengthen your business team.

1. Define the overall strategy and how this business team should contribute to the desired performance and outcomes
2. Define the people needed and prioritise skills to meet the strategy
3. Develop clear and common goals for the team members
4. Recruit the right people
5. Develop shared and common values to support the strategy
6. Set limits and ground rules for the team and individuals
7. Communicate the strategy, culture and required performance clearly
8. Empower people to use their skills and focus on performance management
9. Promote healthy and enquiring minds but also urgency to get critical things done
10. Measure the business team’s performance towards the strategic goals. Give them feedback and ask for suggestions to make improvements or take opportunities that the business team has identified
11. Reward the team for the team effort and the individuals for their contribution to the team results
12. Continue to provide the best strategic leadership and measure how well this is done!

What Makes an Effective Leader and Team?

An effective strategic leader creates a vision of the future that is clearly communicated in order to inspire their people, motivating them to deliver on the strategy to achieve the vision. This results in an effective business team that’s far greater than the sum of its parts, allowing the members to achieve great team results far beyond their individual abilities.

However, behind every consistently successful business team is a strong and effective strategic business leader who actively directs, trains, organises and encourages the team. Using careful planning to build a high performance business team, they start with forging the right mix of personalities, capabilities and agendas in order to create a tight business unit that’s willing to work closely together for a common purpose. This takes considerable work by the strategic leader and the other team members.

High performance teams must be created with a strong mission or purpose and be highly motivated to push for its delivery. Business teams are at the core of an organisation’s structure and their effectiveness strongly directs the success of the business. Getting business teams to work effectively requires individuals and their teams to strive for, and achieve, high performance. Any business coach will tell you that this is a vital component for success.

Problematically, bringing together individuals into a group and making them congruent isn’t easy. This is due to many factors, such as the mix of different personalities, skills, motivations, career aspirations, capabilities and leadership styles of individuals, as well as the complexities of the task and the process. This all means that building and shaping high performance teams is a significant ongoing challenge, although it has much upside if done well.

Business Team Dynamics

A strong and cohesive team will work together for common goals in an environment of open communication on the strategy and how they fit into delivering it. They will also need mutual trust, cooperation and commitment, and be results driven. The business team members must understand the differences in their fellow team members’ differing capabilities, styles and attitudes, and know how these can be managed to assist the business team to work effectively as a whole.

In many instances, an independent business coach or mentor can run a critical eye over and appraise a strategic leader’s approach. In the case of a business team, Australia business coaching can give an independent view of the dynamics and effectiveness to see how better business team performance and outcomes can be achieved.

How International Business Mentors Can Help

International Business Mentors individually matches business mentors or coaches with each business person and their business teams. Our business coaches and mentors play an important part in developing high performance teams and leaders.

1. Initially, a business coach or mentor works with the team leader to develop their leadership performance, after which they assist in developing the team development plan
2. Business coaches and mentors teach essential elements of effective team building and establish the initial team agenda
3. Business coaches and mentors help the teams through the process of establishing team norms and organisation. They are often present during team meetings to encourage high performance team behaviour and keep meetings on track

A business coach or mentor can assist leaders and teams on a variety of different levels as well as provide support for individual development and performance. For more information on Australia business coaching, call International Business Mentors today.

How Good Leadership Can Be Enhanced with a Business Coach or Mentor

Good leadership rightly continues to be one of the “top of mind” awareness topics amongst business owners, CEOs, directors and senior executives. All businesses need good leadership, and striving to be a better leader needs hard work and continual reassessment to keep you up to date with changing work environments, new ideas, and new approaches to leadership. While business coaching can provide valuable assistance in this area, you also need to be aware of what good people and leaders expect and deliver in terms of leadership.

A Simple Definition of a Leader

An effective leader is a person who creates an inspiring vision of the future before motivating, driving and inspiring their people to engage with it, improve it and deliver it. Concepts of good leadership vary widely according to culture, religion and political ideology, but in a pure business context, the definition and execution is unsurprisingly similar.

One aspect of leadership is the question of whether good leaders are born or developed. This is an old debate. The truth is, both factors are right to some extent. However, businesses can practically improve their leadership potential and capability of their organisations with measured approaches to leadership education and training, including assistance from a business coach. This enhances and develops leaders through a structured approach that shares with them real business and management job experience.

When a Business Coach is Necessary

It’s disappointing when leaders who have been trained are not as effective as they should be. A prime example of this is when owners or leaders are newly promoted or find themselves in different roles, or the business or roles have significantly changed. These leaders are not necessarily fully-equipped for these transitional circumstances, and they usually know that they could do much better. At International Business Mentors, we can help unlock their potential with Australia business coaching.

In these instances, a well-matched business coach or mentor can greatly assist, as they can complement the leader with their own business knowledge and experience. They are also passionate about passing this on to help develop the mentee’s leadership and performance capability. The business mentor or coach comes with wide leadership and business experience, and they’ll also have developed their own excellent leadership skills in business.

How Business Coaching Can Help

Identifying critical areas for development for a specific business leader is an integral part of the business coaching or mentoring process. Some of these target areas may or may not be obvious to the business owner or leader until the right time in the mentoring process.
What must be crystallised in leadership business mentoring is the type or style of leader being targeted. For example, different industries require different types of leaders with a focus and a blend of styles, e.g. focused on authoritative, charismatic, collaborative, transactional, analytical, systematic, or transformational. Family businesses may also need to include a family diplomatic style.

There are many theories about leadership styles. Some give the basic three: autocratic, democratic, or Laissez-faire. Then there are also the emotional leadership styles, all of which have strengths and weaknesses in different situations: visionary, coaching, affiliative, democratic, pacesetting, and commanding. Each style can affect the performance and significantly tap into the positive emotions of your employees or team members. Choosing the right blend of leadership styles for the right situation and the right leader are very much the key to success.

What Makes a Successful Leader?

Successful leaders need to understand their strong supporters, followers and the broad base of their employees and staff. Corporate culture is set from the top with strong leadership, feedback and interaction with the people in the organisation. Leaders need to perform well in setting the culture to fit the business for its future strategy. When done well by leaders, the staff will support the changes needed and will be motivated to perform and deliver on the business vision.

Most importantly, an effective leader knows how to react when there is a crisis or when things just get difficult. A business coach can help you prepare for and deal with these situations by tapping into their experience. That is a fundamental benefit from an Australia business coaching relationship.

Other critical aspects of good leadership include good communication and behaviour. These may seem obvious, but unless a leader communicates well to his employees and behaves in a proper manner that reflects the target culture needed for the business to succeed, he or she will not get that vision across and could lose respect.

Good leaders also always remember that their best people are the best assets of the business. As a result, great leaders look after their best people and tend to lead and perform very well.

Benefit from Business Coaching Today

Give your leadership skills a boost and increase your confidence to be an even more effective leader with the help of International Business Mentors. We can provide you with a business coach or mentor who can assist you to improve your leadership in the business and help with core leadership techniques such as how to use a wide variety of leadership styles, how to improve your emotional intelligence or EQ, and how to lead effectively when things get difficult. When equipped with these skills, you’ll become a highly effective leader!

If you want to enhance your leadership with Australia business coaching, contact International Business Mentors today.

Electronic Overload Frustrates Critical Focus

The use of smart phones, tablets and PCs to access emails, texts and the myriad of social media during work hours, is becoming a drain on the resources of organisations.  The loss of productivity and the increase of safety risks, both result from the growing electronic distraction.  This has prompted many business owners and company leaders to introduce policies banning the inappropriate use of devices and particularly those being used to access non-work related media in business hours.

Smartphone for many is a device addiction and is so serious that experts have coined a term for the fear of being without a phone. Nomophobia – no-mobile-phobia.

Like in many countries, Australian employers are within their legal rights to discipline staff for breaching their internal policies on device use, and information access during working hours or using company devices. Therefore, businesses can ban inappropriate electronic usage in a bid to reduce the distraction, particularly with texts or checking social media.

For example, employers can implement a no-mobile phone policy. These policies and related rules must be stated to new employees during induction. Established employees need to briefed on these conditions (and any changes) plus be given the reasons for the ban on mobile phones by explaining the loss of productivity, safety concerns and any other relevant reasons.

This device and social media access and usage policy area, has created a new aspect for businesses to manage and has started a whole new industry for businesses and lawyers, to adopt and implement device and data access, corporate policies and resolve any arising disputes.

It’s not just smartphones or other devices that hinder productivity.  Email is another culprit affecting everyone in the workplace.

Many businesses in the USA and UK, have participated in experiments that ban email for a single day or a specific period during the day.

Example of a policy: A non-email Friday

The ‘No-email Friday’ is a concept whereby every Friday for one month, business owners or executives resist the urge to check their email.

This is particularly challenging for any business owner or executive, who are in the habit of checking their email – albeit business related- up to ten or more times a day. They typically use their desktop, phone, tablet or even smart watch to access their messages across email and social media platforms to work out just what, if any are important.

Most found the challenge of restricting their own access to email very difficult at first, but many made the necessary adjustments e.g. by not getting email notifications.

Some participants found they could focus more strategically during the email absent periods, as they did not have the constant interruptions to respond to the many and diverse issues, that could be handled operationally later.

On the other hand, some participants for no-email Fridays simply deferred catching up on their hordes of emails to the next day on Saturday, which was also considered somewhat counter-productive.

Irrelevant emails

Non-business related email that are not removed automatically to junk or filtered out as SPAM e.g. personal offers or opportunities, are an ever-present evil time waster.

Most email from unsolicited sources are a constant challenge for everyone.  You are damned if you do not “junk” or mark as SPAM and damned if you don’t.  You need to bite this bullet, make the decision to mark your email and also improve your SPAM filters.

Unwanted phone calls

Unwanted and unsolicited calls can also be filtered out by telephone systems and these should also be used to reduce the background interference and noise in the office.

Getting the right policy

Restricting the use of electronic media and devices may not suit all industries or individuals, as there must be communication in the case of emergency, urgent business related issus or other risks.  However, developing policy is about getting the right balance, and tweaking what fits with the business and its individuals.

An International Business Mentor or Coach

An International Business Mentor or Coach can help with this minefield of electronic challenges by helping you assess priorities and clarify the important issues in a process to develop and implement an electronic device and data usage policy, that suits the business.

To find out more, please call us today on (03) 8686 9192.

Using Business Coaching to Transition from Working in Your Business to Working on Your Business

Many business owners find the transition from “working in” to “working on” their business a difficult process. Therefore they must adopt strategies and take advantage of resources such as business coaching to overcome this very common dilemma. Putting the right strategies in place to make this happen is vital, as a high business value-adding transition not only creates more personal time for the business owner, but also allows them to provide directed effort to focus on strategic business growth and achieve long-term business goals.

As a business owner, your “job” probably evolved from doing everything to possibly still doing everything and then some more. Unfortunately, this may be at the expense of contributing to the business, directing its strategy, and working on its improvement. Once you realise that you need to work at a higher level, you’ll be able to better delegate and focus more on growing your business rather than getting bogged down in the day-to-day tasks that need to be done – but not all by you.

When Do You Need to Transition to a More Strategic Level?

This depends on many factors, including critical mass and the calibre of people you have around you. As a business owner, you’ll know when you are on a treadmill and everything depends on your input to decision making, or you’ll feel that the business needs to lift to a higher level of performance.

Some things you need to have in place before you can transition to working more on your business include:

  1. You must already have in place a competent management team who are able to make decisions and heed your directions and policies.
  2. Delegate what is appropriate.
  3. Have strong controls over finances, credit, operations, personnel, purchasing, systems, internet and social media presence (and its impact on markets and customers), and sales and marketing.
  4. Develop a succession plan for all key staff, including yourself.
  5. Maintain good working relationships with your banks and other sources of funding.
  6. Get your own personal support system into place with a suitable and well-matched business coach or mentor so you can discuss ideas confidentially, be challenged, and have some experience on tap.
  7. Develop your strategy and how to implement it, keep an open mind by staying informed, and continue your business education in the broadest sense. Strategy is a continuous process and it needs to be adapted and reviewed regularly. It is not a “set then forget” process. Consider what you want and start working on an exit plan (or a succession plan including the next generations, if they are interested and up to the job) as part of your own personal strategy for your interests in your business.

It is important to realise that there are many ways to make this sort of transition, and business owners will do things differently depending on their circumstances and personal requirements.

Beginning the Transition

Once you have a good team of people around you, delegating is a good way to get traction by creating the time you need to make the transition to working more on the business. You will of course have to monitor your people closely when you delegate to ensure that they are up to the task. You can then reduce the monitoring as your confidence (and their confidence) develops in their new responsibilities and higher decision making. You will also need to monitor their performance from time to time as a “watching brief”.

Getting and developing the right people who have the appropriate experience and skills is itself a difficult process. It’s important to hire suitable people as you build and develop your organisation’s capability so that you can get the job done without you managing every detail. You will need support from an HR person or recruitment company to find the best possible employees instead of doing it all yourself. This is a form of delegation to outside people who will enhance your ability to reach your business goals.

Taking a Step Back

Many business owners try to handle their business transitions by themselves and be everything to everybody. You may become a bottleneck for change, which can keep your business back or at a standstill. You should be focusing on the bigger picture and the long-term business goals rather than just the change process. So consider delegating most of the change management involved with increasing your people’s delegation to implement your improved strategy. And importantly, tell them what you are doing, i.e. getting them to step up so you can also step up and work more on the business with a business coach.

You need to put in place systems and processes to ensure the standards you have set for the business are achieved and maintained. You will need to carefully look at the delegated authorities of your people and define what they can make decisions on, and when they must come back to you, e.g. signing contracts above a certain size, pricing changes, giving discounts, extending credit, buying fixed assets, rent or leasing agreements, travel arrangements, getting quotes on jobs, acceptable profit margins, and terms and conditions with customers. You should also specify those tasks you reserve to yourself, such as hiring and firing senior management, opening new bank facilities, and communication with other owners or shareholders.

Retaining the right key people as well as attracting them is critical to your own transition. Good people are a great asset, and you need to invest time and effort into maintaining their continuing contribution to the business. Communicate with them, train them if necessary, and reward them. For example, if you have a CEO or General Manager running the day-to-day aspects of the business, you should support him or her by providing them with your guidance and considering getting them their own business mentor or business coach. This will assist with their business performance and foster appreciation and loyalty.

Don’t Get Drawn Back In

Be wary of your own tendency to not let go of your own creation, i.e. the business you built. It is difficult for anyone, especially business owners who have built the business from scratch, to move on to working on the business. The business is their baby; they have worked in it and loved it. Too often, they are drawn back into working more and more in the business.

Where you are indispensable to the business by working in it, due to your expertise or personal contacts, then you need to take small step changes to realise a slightly better balance, as you still need to work more on the business. To help you in this, a business mentor or business coach who has experience in this type of transition can be a valuable guide and source of support. You are going to need this or nothing will change.

Letting Go Is Hard

Business growth is perhaps the most common reason (and there are many) why business people seek business coaching in Australia. At International Business Mentors, we’re frequently approached by business owners wanting us to find them a suitable business mentor or business coach who has experience with the transition process. The experience, knowledge and support shared through business coaching can provide you with powerful tools that you can tap into. These skills can assist with the various components of transition, general business, and the subsequent growth phase (which can have its own challenges).

A strategic approach is an absolute must for transition and goal setting. Being stretched, challenged and grounded is also necessary, as is ongoing review. An International Business Mentor can step back and look at things from an independent perspective, helping to guide you to focus on what you are good at so you can get the right balance. If you want to change the game in your business, think of the possibilities. If realistic, your business coach or mentor can guide you on how to get there.

For more information about our business coaching in Australia, call us today. We can advise how you will benefit from a well-matched International Business Mentor’s support.

Corporate Culture’s Importance for Performance & Risk Management

Any business coach will tell you that the culture that defines an organisation is set by the top leadership. This should be crystallised and directed by the board, business owners, CEOs and senior executives, as well as all staff across the organisation. Culture should never be underestimated, as it is the fundamental basis on how the company acts and how it treats its customers, employees, suppliers and business partners – all of which drives results long term. If the culture is poorly set or left to deteriorate, this can adversely infiltrate every aspect of the organisation and lead to a deterioration in performance.

From an organisation’s perspective, the directors, partners, owners and senior management are primarily responsible and are the guardians of the culture that promotes and controls good corporate governance and delivers performance. These guardians must act consistently as leaders and be seen to act ethically and with integrity in all matters.

The corporate governance culture must be focused on sound risk management and performance, and all must be alert to possible pitfalls or road blocks that could have an adverse effect on performance or the culture itself. The leaders are responsible for the culture – they must keep informed by asking questions and experiencing the performance and culture first hand. The leaders must also be following up what they find with good research and robust debate – both of which are crucial for setting and reassessing the good corporate governance cultural standards that they are trying to or should be striving to achieve. As issues arise, prompt and appropriate action such as business coaching should be taken to maintain and improve the good corporate culture that is required.

Signs of a Good Culture

Good corporate culture is articulated through values, expectations and codes of conduct. Here are some of the areas in which the leaders of organisations can improve their positive impact through their culture:

  • Articulate the values, expectations and codes of conduct
  • Perform as leaders and make improvements to results
  • Behave and be seen to act responsibly and ethically
  • Know the risks in performance associated with a decline in culture in any area of the organisation
  • Stay informed and engage with all areas of employees, from the CEO and senior management to all employees
  • Ask questions and insist on research, preferably independently from the management, if the cost benefit analysis is positive
  • Do not just go along with the current accepted wisdom (i.e.’ don’t rock the boat, as our performance is good right now’). Instead, be bold where you see possible cultural blind spots or weaknesses and get research done so you can act to make improvements
  • Communication channels need to be open and encouraged positively to give real feedback (good or bad)
  • The leaders need to lead by example so that their wider audience inside and outside of the organisation can see that they are serious about the culture and performance

Signs of a Deteriorating Culture

The following signposts indicate that culture deterioration may be present and business coaching might be necessary:

  • Loss of customers
  • Increasing complaints
  • Quality dropping
  • Service levels more difficult to maintain
  • Deteriorating relationships with suppliers or business partners
  • More complex problems arising including legal challenges
  • Surprises in not meeting targets or achieving contracts
  • A reduction in admission of failures internally
  • Performance starting to flatten with no real reasons being given
  • Worsening in internal politics
  • Lack of commitment to and taking of responsibility
  • Loss of focus or competing priorities getting in the way of cooperation internally
  • No positive leadership being demonstrated
  • Administration staff as a ratio of total staff rising
  • Lack of positive attitudes in all levels of staff
  • Performance reviews are generally good despite lower overall performance
  • Increased staff turnover

Whilst the job itself and remuneration may be more than satisfactory, if the culture is not good, employees will leave, taking with them needed skills and experience – as well as other costs such as training. Furthermore, the reputation of the organisation can become tarnished. Fortunately, an independent view provided by a business coach can give you the insight you need to make the necessary improvements.

The Importance of an Independent View

An important aspect to achieving and maintaining a good corporate culture is independence. Whether implemented by a board, a business owner, a CEO or senior management, there needs to be independent input to test the status quo and deliver fresh insights. Those working in the business can often become blinkered, making an independent view from a business coach or mentor vital. A fresh perspective can help provide you with illuminating information that allows you to make significant improvements to culture. An independent view also brings a diversity of skills and experience that are essential ingredients for healthy evolution and performance.

The Independent Business Coach or Mentor

An International Business Mentors business coach can provide you with a very critical independent view of your business for you to tap into. Our business coaching professionals boast outstanding business acumen, broad organisational skills, and strategic experience. We also individually match you with the best business coach to help you meet your requirements so you can get the best possible outcome from the relationship. You can rely on your business coach or mentor to deliver a wealth of business experience and provide confidential and independent support.

International Business Mentors can connect you with a business coach or mentor for a wide range of circumstances and for a broad scope of areas that may need improvement or a second view. Whether you’re seeking business coaching for boards, directors, business owners, family businesses, CEOs or senior executives, contact us today to find out how we can provide assistance.

Chris Cartney, December 2016.

The Effects of Time Stress on Businesses & Leadership – And How Business Coaching Can Help

Many business owners and CEOs share the frustration of working hard in their business to get good results, but often at the expense of a well-balanced time schedule. This produces time stress in the business and in leadership.

All too often, we hear and think that we are ‘time poor’. As business owners, CEOs or executives, we are keen to put in the hard yards to achieve superb business goals. This drive and dedication is a critical success factor and is admirable. However, it all too frequently comes with the high risk of burnout and at the expense of quality family or leisure time, all of which can impact how we feel and perform generally. The trick is to do it all in a balanced and practically sensible way, and a great way to learn how to do this is through business coaching.

 

Achieving a Balance

Trying to achieve a balance can bring to mind another common phrase: ‘More easily said than done’. This is because having the responsibility of running a business comes with enormous challenges, including inevitable deadlines, staffing issues, cash flow, and dealing with banks, financial institutions and other funders of the business. These challenges usually fall on key individuals, which can be daunting and cause stress.

The impacts of such stress can be adverse and affect your health, the business’s performance, your enthusiasm, and family and business relationships. It can also come with the risk of compounding bad decisions in business and family life.

Fortunately, there are ways to lessen the downsides:

  • Engage a business mentor who can provide business coaching.
  • Delegate where appropriate.
  • Set realistic goals.
  • Monitor progress against KPIs, milestones and other measurements.
  • Consider more flexible yet structured working arrangements for yourself and employees. This is becoming increasingly important for workers who become more productive with flexible working timeframes.
  • Readdress business plans with realistic short and long term goals so you can develop a strategy to get you there, with a timetable to ensure delivery.

 

Minimising Time Stress with Business Coaching

A well matched International Business Mentor will have hands-on experience in these areas and understand your competing stress areas. Our business mentors are experienced in business coaching and know the pitfalls and challenges business people must deal with. They can share their experiences, successes and mistakes with you to help you structure and manage your time limitations.

Business people often approach us to find them business mentors or business coaches for a variety of reasons. One of these reasons is time frustration, which is a common catalyst for initial contact.  Once the frustration with time management has been dealt with by your business mentor and yourself, then the wider areas to improve your business performance can be addressed. Good time management is the fundamental basis for good business practice, but so too is the focus on other important issues that need to be resolved. Lesser important issues can also be dealt with later with less urgency.

While time stress in business and leadership can be challenging, with the help of business coaching from your own International Business Mentor, you can improve your time management. This will enable you to refocus on improving performance through planning and strategy, which in turn impacts on better productivity and motivation – all of which should lead to better results and a better life-business balance.

 

What Are the Benefits of Business Mentoring & Business Coaching?

While there are many benefits businesspeople can gain from engaging a business mentor or a business coach, it’s not only the person being mentored who benefits – business coaching and mentoring can also have a positive impact on the mentor, the mentoring program overseer, and if relevant, the organisation or company itself.

At International Business Mentors, we provide business mentors and business coaches for business owners, directors, CEOs, family businesses, and senior executives. While some of the issues faced are across the board and are relevant to all business people, others are unique or affect only a particular grouping.

Let’s have a look at the general overview of benefits that business coaching can provide, after which we will look at the more specific requirements we’re often asked for assistance with.

THE MENTEE (He or She Being Mentored)

The benefits of business coaching and business mentoring for the mentee include:

  • Improved business performance
  • Friendly, confidential support
  • The ability to be challenged and think laterally
  • Learning from the experiences, successes and mistakes of their individually matched business mentor or business coach
  • Having a confidential sounding board for ideas
  • Assistance with goal setting

THE BUSINESS MENTOR OR BUSINESS COACH

The business mentor can also benefit from the business coaching and mentoring process, as they are able to:

  • Share their experience and skills
  • Obtain satisfaction in the desire to help those they mentor to succeed

THE MENTORING PROGRAM OVERSEER

Benefits enjoyed by the mentoring program overseer throughout the business mentoring process include:

  • Satisfaction in seeing successful results
  • Building a solid and reputable reputation

THE BUSINESS, ORGANISATION OR COMPANY

As well as helping individuals, business mentoring and coaching is also beneficial for businesses, who can receive:

  • Results – namely improved business performance
  • Support for key executives to instil loyalty and appreciation
  • Assistance in a critical area

Why Use Business Coaching?

Over the years, International Business Mentors has been approached to find business mentors for people in business for many different reasons. The following is a summary of the most common triggers:

BUSINESS OWNERS

Business owners often seek out business coaching for:

  • Business Growth
  • Confidential support
  • Sounding board for ideas
  • Strategy and risk
  • Reassessing business plans and goals
  • Preparation for sale
  • Succession planning

DIRECTORS

Many directors have approached us over the years, requiring business mentoring for the following:

  • Improve contribution to the board
  • Relationships within the board and the executive
  • Reporting and committee work
  • Liaising with the CEO and other key executives

FAMILY BUSINESSES

We see many family businesses that need business coaching for:

  • Succession planning and constitutions
  • Career mentoring within the family business
  • Relationship issues
  • Business Growth
  • Prepare the business for sale
  • Board selection, reporting and succession ( if relevant)

CEOs

Due to the demanding nature of the role, it’s no surprise that many CEOs seek out business coaching and mentoring for:

  • Transitioning into the role
  • Relationships with the board and executive
  • Confidential support
  • Sounding board
  • Strategic input
  • Leadership

SENIOR EXECUTIVES

Senior executives often approach us for business mentoring that provides assistance with:

  • Transition
  • Improved business performance
  • Relationships within the organisation
  • Leadership

Regardless of what is needed in terms of assistance, it is critical that the business mentor not only has the right experience, skills and background, but is also the right personal fit. Without this, the business mentoring relationship may not develop, as information will not be exchanged freely.

At International Business Mentors, we have strict criteria in selecting our business mentors and business coaches before individually matching them with people in business. Each mentor has a wealth of business experience to share in order to help their mentee succeed.

Call us today for a no-obligation discussion on how you could benefit from business coaching and mentoring with International Business Mentors.

Business Coaching, Effort & A Competitive Edge = Gold Medals in Business

There are many similarities in the tactics and strategy adopted for winning by successful athletes and businesses. Take for example the champion sprinter Usain Bolt who strode to victory in the Rio Olympics 100 metre men’s sprint, the 200m and the men’s 4X100 relay. Usain, once again, proved his outstanding abilities to the world, and is the only person to win these events three times – and at consecutive Olympics. Michael Phelps in the pool was also stunning in his performance.

It was not just luck for these two athletes in winning; it was their personal triumphs through leveraging their natural ability or competitive advantages, enhanced with appropriate coaching and their own consistent hard work and sacrifices. As a result of these factors, they were able to hit all their training and competition targets at just the right time to succeed.

The same winning formula applies with business coaching.

How Business Coaching Can Get Your Business Ahead

A business coach or a business mentor will challenge, encourage and support people in business to improve their business performance; together they form a winning team and are able to share their experiences, successes and mistakes with passion and enthusiasm. The coach is there to help drive you further and stay on course in the broadest and specific targeted senses.

One secret ingredient of successful business coaching is making the right match with the right person to coach you. At International Business Mentors, we specialise in individually matching you with the right business coach or mentor. This person must have the right background, skills and experience all tailored to you, as well as the all-important personal fit and chemistry between you both. This personal matching process is mandatory in our selection of your coach or mentor, as without the right match, your business coaching or mentoring relationship will not be optimal.

Just like sporting relationships, a good business coach is there to guide and push you to achieve your personal best – and then some. This aspect of being challenged needs determination and hard work from the business coach or mentor as well as the business person being coached to ensure improved performance and ultimate success.

Who Can Benefit from Business Coaching?

The typical business people being coached include Business Owners, Company Directors, Family Business members, CEOs and Senior Executives. Our international business coaches and mentors, like their sporting counterparts, have exceptional experience in the broad business sense, as well as expertise gained through their specific business experience or journey. They come with grounded practical experience to impart and act as a strategic sounding board.

Our business coaching experts can assist with all fundamental aspects of business and have a keen knowing and understanding of people and how to coach them. This allows them to facilitate and push at the right time to get the best results from those they coach and mentor.

The Importance of Hitting Targets

Sporting and business coaches both need to get results for their athlete or business person. This may mean coming first, getting to the top 10, or simply improving performance. To hit the targets, they need a strategy for training and competition, as well as a plan to get there, including milestones. It’s also important for both athletes and business people to hold themselves accountable for their progress towards their goals.

At the Rio Olympics, we were constantly excited by the performances. But we were also reminded of how important the coaches were – and we saw the special relationships the athletes enjoy with them. Business coaches are just as critical in business, with business coaching playing an equally important role in enhancing business skills, encouraging the excitement of performance, and driving business people further towards success.

Whether you need the services of a business coach or a business mentor, the objectives have a common target to improve your business performance and help you develop. This enables you to reach your desired business goals with the close and confidential support that you deserve.

Business Coaching and Business Mentoring

Business coaching and business mentoring can be applied to all manner of business professionals across all industries. It is a process whereby individuals can be transported from where they are now to where they want to be. A specifically matched business mentor from International Business Mentors ensures the best business coach or mentor will be selected to assist you with their skills, background and experience.

 

Why Use Business Coaching?

A business coach or mentor can assist in a countless number of scenarios:

  • Business owners may need guidance and assistance to revisit business plans, develop strategy and risk assessments, and clarify the vision of their business to determine how it fits in with their personal goals.
  • Directors, especially those new to the role, can benefit from a business coach or mentor with various issues, namely board papers and reporting, contribution to the board, relationships with the CEO and other key executives, and a confidential and supportive sounding board.
  • CEOs can gain assistance from business coaching from a different perspective, whereby they are coached in the areas of board reporting and board relationships.
  • Senior executives can gain insight and knowledge from a well-matched business coach or mentor. An independent source of support is invaluable in helping senior executives with their business performance, resulting in better business practice and increased loyalty to their employer.

 

What Does Business Coaching/Mentoring Involve?

A great business person seeks to understand why reaching business growth goals is important, and business coaching provides various points of view from someone more experienced than themselves. After clarifying where a business person would like to take their business, a business coach or mentor can help prioritise what goals and strategies are needed to help progress the business closer to its goal. Typically, a business coach will meet with the business person on a monthly basis to ensure they stay on track and meet all commitments made during the past coaching/mentoring session.

A critical component of business coaching is accountability. A business coach or mentor is not a consultant. They will not do the work for you in your business; rather, they are there to keep you focused on the end result and remind you why it is important. They will motivate you to keep your commitments, act as a sounding board, and when needed, highlight the blind spots of you and your business. They will also challenge you to take control and to make the critical decisions.

Many successful businesses and business people can credit their results in part to business coaching. However, finding the right coach is the key. You need someone who not only has the right background and experience, but who you can easily communicate with, respect, and confide in. International Business Mentors can provide this service. Our business mentors and coaches all have sound business backgrounds and meet all other selective criteria.

 

Learn More Today

Your confidential International Business Mentor provides business coaching, accountability and strategy to get your business from where it is today to where you would like it to be in the future. If you’re ready to take your business or your career to the next level, call us today for a confidential chat about your business goals.

Chris Cartney
+61 (0) 407 560 520

The Challenges of Family Business

What keeps a family a successful Family Business.

Family businesses play a major part in our economy and society. Many owners want to see their children and grandchildren carry on the tradition but only 30% pass to the second Gen and only 15 % to the third Gen.

The reasons vary but include:

  1. Family members did not communicate well or handle confrontation or conflict. This festered, and problems impacted the business.
  2. Making each family member happy, took precedence over business and the business became uncompetitive, unfocused, unproductive and undercapitalized.
  3. People reacted to one another according to their family roles, not business roles.
  4. The business was run unprofessionally at random, informal and without good business practices and the lack of effective business coaching.
  5. The first Gen created innovative products or services with early success, but lacked continuous adaptation to competition and a changing customer demand.
  6. The first Gen’s energy and passion was not transmitted fully to the successive generations.

These challenges are not impossible to overcome. Family members can work together to make their businesses successful and engender positive family relationships.

What successful families businesses do to overcome the problems above:

  • Successful family businesses meet as adults and leave behind the emotional baggage that accumulates during growing up i.e. not a “parent-child” mode of relating move to an “adult-adult” approach and parents do not need to be “in charge”. This allows the family members to connect on a level playing field.
  • Successful family businesses develop the skills, trust and mutual respect necessary to openly deal with sensitive issues without becoming overly defensive.
  • Sometimes problems arise with family members inhibiting candid discussions. Successful family businesses solve this by tackling all complex business issues with open communication so the issues are identified and potential solution explored.
  • Parents offer counsel and support but must ultimately leave it up to their children to make choices and experience their own consequences. Furthermore successful family businesses all work together aware of interpersonal boundaries and any limitations of each other’s behaviour and don’t try to “fix” one other.
  • Successful family businesses anticipate when family conflict is escalating. They have ways to defuse it and not allowing damaging heat of the moment actions or responses that are hard to take back and recover from. For example, ultimatums may be dangerous and need to be dealt with.
  • Successful family businesses value and commit resources to time together, celebrating family and nurturing their binding relationships. Family get-togethers have a high priority as time to reconnect, have fun and just enjoy one another’s company. This is extremely valuable.

Combining these factors help to keep a successful family business positively connected over time, and sets the framework to succeed in times of difficulties. Although, only few families manage to practice these things systematically, nevertheless, these are all necessary factors to keep the family members aligned and helps direct them back on course when things get off track.

David Cartney
International Business Mentors

Whats trending in 2016 – so far!

Business evolves to take advantage of rapidly changing markets and technology platforms to deliver and interact with customers.

Some areas of business move relatively slowly, whilst others change so rapidly, it can be hard to keep up. If you examine what was happening to business and social change a decade ago compared with today, then it is easy to see that the way we do business continues to evolve at an increasing rate. We now need to expect and be prepared for even more change in the future and to stay ahead, we need to be adaptable, flexible and remain fit and able to keep up.

From a business perspective there are constant issues arising from the rate of change that require awareness, scrutiny, flexibility and adaptability. These include:

Technology or IT is probably the biggest change issue of all. It spans all businesses in all industries and sectors and in specific areas such as communications, hardware and software platforms, mobile devices, cyber security, social media, and cloud.

Crowd funding was practically unheard of in the last century, but is fast becoming a recognised way of connecting with potential supporters and customers. Crowdfunding is one-way small business owners can raise capital to start a business, launch a new product or service, or fund other company projects. The crowdfunding process starts when an entrepreneur puts out a call for financial support to the public, typically on the Internet through sites such as Kickstarter. Supporters then pledge to fund the project with a certain amount of money, and if the total pledges received meets or exceeds the goal set, the supporters make their donation (they do not have to contribute if the goal amount is not reached). Funds raised through crowdfunding are not paid back as they would be with a loan, but the business raising the funds will often provide free products, discounts, or other incentives to those who contribute.

The take up of online transactions is also trending and growing. Traditional forms of shopping, advertising, banking, researching, communicating and training, have changed dramatically -namely people do not have to physically be in a shop, print brochures, go to a bank branch, go to a library, meet people face to face in person or attend a training session in person. It can all be done online.

Cyber security continues to be a critical area of growing concern in 2016 despite the ever updating sophisticated software geared to prevent hacking. Precautions must be taken to avoid loss of sensitive information and revenue.

Cloud also continues to increase importance in its ability to store and backup data. Again vigilant attention to possible breaches needs to be addressed.

Different skills sets are evolving.
Take Sales and Marketing- it is always a buzz issue. From recruiting and training good sales and marketing people, to securing the necessary sales is a continual process. This process has become more complex- take for example the emerging role of the market analyst:

In the USA alone there were 290,000 market research analysts employed, with approximately 30% of them working in the professional, scientific and technical services industries. Others are employed in the finance and insurance, information, management and wholesale trade industries.
Consider a typical day for a market research analyst’s tasks that might include:
• Collecting and analysing data on customer demographics, preferences, needs, and buying habits to identify potential markets and factors affecting product demand.
• Preparing reports of findings, illustrating data graphically and translating complex findings into written text.
• Measuring and assessing customer satisfaction.
• Forecasting and tracking marketing and sales trends, and analysing collected data.
• Measuring the effectiveness of marketing, advertising, and communications programs and strategies.
Educational Requirements
• A market research analyst will need at least a bachelor’s degree in marketing research or a related discipline like statistics or maths. Regardless of the degree the coursework should include business, marketing, statistics, mathematics and survey design. Some jobs may require at least a master’s degree.
Other Requirements
• Market research analysts may receive certification from various Marketing Research Associations. Such certification, is based on education and experience, must be renewed typically every two years. In order to qualify for renewal, one must take continuing education classes.
• To be an effective market research analyst you must be able to communicate well in writing and orally, and be detail-oriented. You also need good critical thinking and analytical skills.

Social Media is another example of trending business applications and interactions with clients, customers and the public to get awareness and, customer relationships, and ultimately sales. Take Facebook which was originally a personal form of media and has since expanded into a business medium. Twitter also lends itself to business communication and of course LinkedIn is highly recognised for business connections and sharing information. These all need to be worked into the business marketing and IT strategies.

Scams threaten just about everybody be it from a personal or business perspective. The best protection is to be diligent and subscribe to a government operated scam watch site.

Advisory Boards with similarities and difference to traditional Boards have become more popular the past few years. A diverse board brings a variety of skills and experiences to the table. No business is too small to benefit from having an Advisory Board and it is a powerful management tool that no small business should be without. The advisory board gives you access to business people with open discussion, sharing ideas and concerns as a formal process.
Your Advisory Board is composed of people with a genuine interest in your business and a desire to see it do well and act as a management think tank, acting as a sounding board, a source of ideas and expertise and give you honest feedback.

Start ups are risky, but there is much more help available for new business owners and entrepreneurs than there used to be in the forms of business coaching by professionals. Governments have programmes in place to assist start ups and selective business mentoring can offer more personalised and specialised service.

Recruitment has changed significantly and remains a potentially volatile issue for businesses and business owners. The cost of employing inappropriate employees can be enormous as is the risk of legalities associated with employing new people. Using a reputable recruitment consultancy has the advantage of minimising risk in these areas.

Top executives need independent support. Retaining talent and developing top executives is now recognised as an imperative method to improve business performance. An independent business mentor can share skills and experiences to help senior executives in many ways, such as: transition into a new role, assist with relationships within an organisation, discuss ideas, and have trusted and friendly support.

CEOs need support too. They continue to hold enormous responsibilities and are accountable to the board and shareholders. Most could do with the support of an experienced International Business Mentor who can share their experiences from many different perspectives such as the relationship and reporting to the board, as well as technical issues. Furthermore a supportive sounding board is invaluable.

Conclusion
Evolution in business will continue and change will continue unabated. The skills and experience you need to succeed in business and to survive will change. Well experienced International Business Mentors can help fill your experience gaps and help you think and adapt to the strategic changes and choices you will no doubt face. You are not alone.

Chris and David Cartney April 2016

How a business mentor can assist you to improve your business performance

Whether you are a Director, a business owner, CEO or executive, there are always ways in which you can further develop and improve your own business performance by undertaking a right business coaching program. Each position has specific issues relevant to that role, yet many issues are common and across the board.

Some critical areas an International Business Mentor can help you improve

Some areas that a business mentor can facilitate improvements, which can enhance your performance, and through you the performance and profitability of the business, include:

  1. Look after your customers, as this will encourage loyalty and retention
    • Don’t become complacent here. Show your customers that they are valued and put in place (and reviewing performance) systems and people to deliver a quality services or products
  2. Reduce costs
    • By reviewing efficiency, reducing waste, expenses and eliminate non-productive processes and people
  3. Critically review strategies and business plans
    • And ensure there is alignment by marketing, customers, product or services, channels, operations, supply chain management, systems, financial performance and funding, people and organisational structure
  4. Time management
    • Review and examine how your time is best spent in the business and delegating less productive tasks to others.
  5. Create a harmonious workplace
    • This is part of your overall strategy to put in place the organisation, people and culture that meets your requirements and will help you to retain talent and optimise staff productivity and manage their output.
  6. Education must be ongoing- “when the pupil is ready the teacher will appear”
    • Attend training, relevant seminars, industry functions to keep up with important issues. These also are a valuable opportunity to network with other like-minded business professionals.

With your International business mentor, these and other aspects of the business can be examined and challenged while supporting you. Our Business Mentors have a wealth of business knowledge and experience, and they are prepared to share these with you on a confidential basis.

Use your International Business Mentor as the financial year-end is looming to reflect on your performance and future.

At International Business Mentors our Business Mentors are dedicated to meeting your specific requirements through effective business coaching programs. They are also trained to assist in your development. At certain times of the year your International Business mentor can be very helpful in assisting you in the tasks and processes you employ to reinvigorate the business and push to get better financial performance. The following is and example of the questions and approaches that your International Business Mentor may take in considering the financial performance as the financial year-end looms.

This year’s performance review

With the financial year end just round the corner it is time for you and your International Business Mentor to sit down and ask the difficult questions: “Did the business perform well – given the circumstance and the commitment to following through on strategy, operations, customers, people, financial performance and financial management?” and carry out business planning.

  • Were targets and expectations achieved in all of the above areas?
    • If yes
      • What can be capitalized on in the next few years?
    • If not, why not?
      • And what can be improved on to lift results in the future?
  • What specifically could be done better in the future?

Next year’s performance setting

From what you have learnt above its time to re-set the next three year’s strategy and work on the budget for next year. You may need to review these and present to the Board, get agreement, or make agreed amendments. Your International Business Mentor can help you through this process by critically reviewing the strategy and budget with you before you take it to the board. Or if you have no board give you critical feedback and interaction on your budget and strategy before you crystallize it.

Vision review

Vision needs to be powerful. It needs to give clarity of purpose and motivate you and your people. Do you and everyone in the business know where they are heading and how they are going to get there? Are we making progress towards our vision or not? Clear vision reduces wasted time and gets everyone moving in the same direction. Your International Business Mentor can help you develop, discuss and challenge your vision.

Movement and action needed

Vision needs movement and action to make it happen. Are all people in the business clear on how they contribute to the vision and have detailed plans, targets and KPIs? These must reinforce the successful achievement of the vision, strategic plan and budgets. Your International Business Mentor will challenge you to develop this approach, then help you review performance against it. And if there is insufficient drive then you need to explore ways with your International Business Mentor to get sufficient movement and drive to make things happen, including your leadership.

Your own development

Your own development is a key objective of your International Business Mentor. As you develop you will grow into the job, push yourself further and make an increasing contribution to the business performance. As you will have greater potential you will feel better about your self. Furthermore with personal growth tends you will come to a greater sense of worth and fulfillment. Reviewing these areas above should be part of your timetable as part of your own development and the re-invigoration of the business.

Your Leadership ability will increase

As you develop assisted by your International Business Mentor your leadership ability will deepen and broaden over time. This will assist you to perform better and further enhance your performance. You may also benefit from our various training programs for Owners, Directors and Senior Management.

For further information on our Business Mentoring service:

Contact us

What CEOs, Business Owners and Senior Management really want from Business mentoring or coaching

Business surveys by International Business Mentors over the past three years have found that half to three quarters of Business Owners, CEOs and Senior Managers get no outside support on their leadership skills development, but most are more than receptive to help from a business mentor or coach for business coaching programs, if given the opportunity.

Significant areas discussed in the surveys were:

Why is an independent Business Mentor or Coach so important?

Blind spots are not obvious when things are going well. It is very easy for Business Owners, CEOs and Senior Managers to focus inward, especially when business is good, but blind spots become very dangerous when business performance drops.

A good, independent Business Mentor can help with a clearer independent reality check for Business Owners, CEOs and Senior Managers.

A confidential Business Mentor can create an environment to think through various issues in the Business Owners, CEOs and Senior Manager’s best interest. The Business Mentor is only concerned with the Business Owners, CEOs and Senior Manager’s improved performance in leading the business.

Conflict resolution is an important issue?

Conflict management is critical in the Business Owners, CEOs and Senior Managers role — just about anything that gets to their desks has an element of plus for someone and negative for someone else. If the conflict remains unresolved, it can gridlock the whole business: decisions do not get made and problems intensify and unproductive behaviors increase.

A Business Owner, CEO or Senior Manager who can better manage and channel conflict constructively can fix more underlying problems, and a Business Mentor can help them think more rigorously which ultimately helps drive better outcomes.

Why do so many Business Owners, CEOs and Senior Managers not receive Business Mentoring or Coaching?

Some still think that Business Mentoring or Coaching is somehow a sign of failure rather than a process that enhances better performance, similar to how elite athletes uses coaches. Business Owners, CEOs and Senior Managers should be confident about this, and see business mentoring or coaching as a tool for enhancing their performance.

Tension between boards and executive teams is reduced with Business Mentoring or Coaching.

When business is good, Boards often feel they don’t need to have difficult conversations with their CEO or senior management. The use of Business Mentors or Coaches can develop an open-minded approach to making improvements in good as well as bad times, which improves the likelihood that the Board will be less surprised by changes in the business fortune and discuss the needed changes.

Most Business Owners, CEOs and Senior Managers said it was soley their idea to receive coaching. Is it only their responsibility, or should it involve others?

Fundamentally, it is a responsibility of Business Owners, CEOs and Senior Managers and the Board of directors, if improvements are needed, to seek the benefits from engaging a confidential Business Mentor or Coach.

We may all recognize our strengths and weaknesses but there are critical times when the Business Owners, CEOs and Senior Managers will benefit from the fresh eyes of the Business Mentor or Coach.

Performance evaluation may be the start point for bringing a Business Mentor or Coach on board: Start with what needs to be improved. This will give practical specific areas to work on with the Business Mentor or Coach.

Are the areas that Business Owners, CEOs and Senior Managers want to be coached the right ones?

This is a question for each organisation and the areas to focus on must be consistent with organization’s priorities. For example, over a quarter of Business Owners, CEOs and Senior Managers surveyed were working on their team-building skills, but less than 15% of Directors believed that this was an area that needed improvement.

Resistance was noted to being mentored on “soft skills” like motivation, compassion, and persuasion, despite their importance.

“Soft skills” are an important part of the Business Owners, CEOs and Senior Managers’ toolkits. Being able to motivate and develop people allows a Business Owner, CEO, or Senior Manager to build a mature supportive leadership group at the top of their business. This improves how the senior team members work together and individually. Furthermore, the Business Owner, CEO and Senior Managers can better motivate, inspire, and lead those around them with the input from their own Business Mentor or Coach.

Should Business Mentoring be kept confidential in the organisation?

Business Mentoring or Coaching is essentially a private and personal activity. The fact that a Business Owner, CEO and Senior Manager is being coached is not something that would normally be disclosed to the rest of the people in the business.

Is there a relationship between Coaching and business success?

Large companies have used business mentors or coaches such as Dell, Google, etc., where coaches/advisors have been brought in to help young CEOs. For example people such as Jack Welch, a prominent top-business leader who worked with his business mentor Ram Charan for many years.

In general, there is a link between the mentoring and success where the Business Owner, CEO or Senior Manager embraces that success can be enhanced with their continuous learning and development. These motivated leaders seek out appropriately matched experienced Business Mentors or Coaches who help them frame topics, actively challenge and help them critically reflect on themselves and the business.

Business Owners, CEOs and Senior Managers who do this also benefit from information and knowledge from new perspectives and sources, which all helps develop their decision-making and own leadership and management capability.

How should Business Owners, CEOs and Senior Managers find the right independent Business Mentors or Coach?

Successful Business Mentors or Coaches need to be very experienced in and intuitive about business, have well developed and disciplined approaches to decision-making and understand interpersonal dynamics. They must be neutral in the relationship with no other agenda (e.g. wining consultancy work from the client), and must be able to tailor their approach to the individual’s needs and goals.

A good Business Mentor or Coach does not make you feel badly about yourself, but will engage you the Business Owner, CEO or Senior Manager to get up the next day excited about the business with improved clarity of vision, trying something new or taking a different approach.

What are the main take-aways from the International Business Mentoring or Coaching surveys?

The low percentage of Business Owners, CEOs and Senior Managers who have business mentors or coaches is significant. The key takeaway for them is that seeking out a business mentor or coach is not a sign of a weakness, but instead a key tool in improving leadership and senior talent in the organization. And mentoring can help long term make the difference between a good organization and a visionary one:

A visionary organisation is one that is supporting its wider continuous business improvement by also focusing on supporting and developing its leaders by providing them with appropriate independent and confidential business mentors or coaches.

David Cartney, PhD

International Business Mentors

Cyber Security

Information that is processed stored and communicated electronically is subject to a wide range of constantly evolving security breaches, hence the need for Cyber Security and keeping it up to date.

Cyber infiltration affects individuals and businesses in all demographics and industries and sadly many are falling victim to increasingly sophisticated scams, frauds and hacking.

Children and their parents are constantly reminded to be alert to online predators and inappropriate information.  Senior citizens, currently the fastest growing group of Internet users, are targets for cyber criminals and their insidious scams, sometimes robbing their victims of their life savings.

Businesses in both the private and public sector are also vulnerable to cyber criminals wanting to access an array of sensitive information including critical infrastructure, systems, networks, personal information, financial information, and security.

From a business perspective, cyber security is a major issue, effecting our nations security, government departments, big business, and SME’s down to micro businesses.  Unfortunately, no one is exempt.

Keeping ahead of the cyber bad guys – the hackers, organised criminal networks, industrial spies and foreign intelligence services who are out to compromise, steal, change and destroy information, and cause disruption to the running and profitability of any organisation is an ongoing challenge requiring technical experts and considerable financial investment to combat.

Businesses need to assess the implications and security risks of data storage both on and off site e.g. such as ‘the cloud’.  In particular, Boards and Senior Management teams need to constantly assess and review their policies on the use of individual’s mobile devices brought into the workplace or used to process the business’s information.  Notebooks, Tables and Mobile phones are all potentially at risk from hacking.

Cyber Security then is a critical component of any organisation’s risk assessment and warrants regular review to ensure that you are not unnecessarily exposed to this potentially serious risk area.

Christine Cartney

A good Business Mentor does not give lip service

A good business mentor will give candid and honest feedback to the people they mentor (mentees) and not just agree for the sake of conviviality.

Should they disagree with the thoughts or decisions being made by their mentees they will tell them and why.

How they deliver that message will vary according to their particular style and how the mentee would best react to it.

Right between the eyes, or sugar coated!  That’s where a good match between mentor and mentee, to get the right chemistry so there can be a smooth interchange of ideas, is vital.

Remember a business mentor is there to share his or her skills and experiences, successes and mistakes.  To steer or guide the mentee along the path to business success.

Whilst some business people engage a business mentor as a sounding board, it is still imperative for a good business mentor to contribute.  Giving lip service or a ‘Yes Minister’ approach is not what an International Business Mentor is about.

A business mentor is a facilitator, there to assist their mentees make informed business decisions.  If all the factors have been considered in making the best possible match between mentor and mentee, then it must be a good recipe for a fruitful and successful business relationship.

Women in Business and Women on Boards

The case for greater board and senior business position diversity could not be clearer. Well-managed, diverse teams are more productive, more innovative, and have higher collective intelligence than homogenous teams. Gradually women in business and women on boards of directors have increased their representation over the past few years.

The signs are encouraging, and globally, women have significantly increased their representation on boards. 

  • In Norway and Iceland the number of women on boards is 40%
  • Sweden and Finland have 27%.
  • France has 18%
  • Australia ASX200 has 17.6%
  • In China, the number of women in senior executive positions has increased from 25% to 51% in just 12 months.  This amazing statistic confirms a major shift in China’s corporate and cultural policies.
  • By comparison Japan only has 7% of executives as women.
  • The UK now aiming to increase female representation in the FTSE100 firms to 25% by 2015.

Although Europe’s biggest economy has a female leader in Chancellor Angela Merkel, women are under-represented in business life. In Germany more than 100 listed German companies will be required to allocate 30% of seats on their non-executive boards to women, under planned new laws which were dismissed by critics as tokenism.

In Australia the latest percentage of women on ASX 200 boards is only 17.6% (14 February 2014). This is the highest representation we have ever seen, but there is still a way to go.

However in the Not For Profit, University and Government sectors women have much better representation on boards and senior committees.

It is hoped that women will continue to be better recognised for their abilities and contribution to executive roles and as directors.

With the growth in women finishing their corporate careers, this will increase the need for greater opportunities beyond. These experienced and ambitious women from business or large organisations can significantly contribute by starting their own businesses or joining boards.

Various organisations and institutes around the world including in Australia are fully aware that there is a shift in the acceptance and encouragement for companies to have women on boards.

Many organisations have programs in place to assist women find suitable board positions. However it is important for boards to support their fellow board members men and women who are new to their role.

Boards can provide confidential support and board development for their new board members with a well-matched International Business Mentor. The Mentor can act as a sounding board and help these newer directors to reframe their board perspective and to increase their contribution to their boards in the future.

Chris Cartney

Getting the right business mentor for you and your business.

If you think you need a business mentor then you will benefit from the relationship from the start. Our business mentoring involves a business and personal developmental relationship in which an experienced or knowledgeable business person helps to guide a less experienced business person, or one who needs to bounce ideas off an independent third party in a safe and secure relationship. Business mentoring is more than just answering occasional questions or providing ad hoc help. It is about an ongoing relationship of learning, dialogue, and challenge. That is why our Business Mentors are carefully selected to meet your requirements and your personality. International Business Mentors provide exactly this service providing matched business mentors and we carefully monitor the relationship to ensure you keep getting value from it. Benefit from our many years of service experience in matching and developing ongoing successful and supportive business mentoring. With one of our carefully selected Business Mentors with proven track record in business and mentoring skills, you can seriously enhance your own development and your business performance

Retaining good People is good business

Job for life and loyalty gone

Long past are those heady days when individuals embarking on a career joined an organisation and expected to stay there for all or most of their working life. This past longevity of employment relationships did encourage deep loyalty, friendships and security, which in turn held, even many of the most ambitious employees in place. This is no longer the reality for most people and organisations.

The emerging challenges for organisations

Organisations now evolve quickly in response to pressure and are adapting more rapidly to change itself.

Modern employees and organisations face increasing challenges from changing markets, external competitors, transforming technologies, takeovers or mergers, restructuring, redundancies, and the need to continually make the business ‘lean’ and responsive.

This pressure has greatly increased the ‘poaching’ of skilled executives and has gradually become much more of a threat to organisations.

Peoples’ expectations from jobs has changed and increases business costs

People move jobs for many reasons including: career progression, personal development, a change in career direction, better salary packages or conditions, desire to experience different industries, companies or organisations, countries, cultures or lifestyles. These are all common reasons why people change jobs.

High turnover of staff is very costly and detrimental to most organisations. This is particularly pertinent where a business needs to retain specific talent and skills from their “up and coming” people, as part of orderly succession and risk management. The costs of replacing these key people – recruiting, training, settling them in long enough to get real productivity and the time factor in recruiting yet again are frustrating and detrimental to the overall performance across organisations. Therefore employing and retaining the right key employees is more vital today for strong businesses to continue to succeed.

Supporting executives with our Business Mentors improves staff retention

Employers can reduce the loss of key employees by identifying those who will benefit the organisation, from confidential and individual support and development using an International Business Mentor.

With one of our well-matched and independent business mentors to deliver career mentoring your key people will have confidential support and be challenged to develop themselves further, and get the benefit from the mentor’s experience in areas or issues that need to be discussed “off line”.

The business mentoring relationship is designed to enhance that person’s performance and contribution to the business, and to deepen the relationship with the organisation by offering individual assistance to enhance their careers provided for them by their employer.

Mentoring supports which challenges your people to succeed breeds relationship, loyalty and performance long term

Your organisation’s strategy on appropriate key employee retention requires investment to reduce the impacts of high staff turnover of key people:

  • Unnecessary employment costs,
  • Loss of productivity and effectiveness in the organisation
  • And reduce the risk

International Business Mentors can greatly assist you in this endeavour by individually assessing and matching business mentors with your key executives, where and when appropriate, to support your staff retention and development strategies.

Chris Cartney

May 2014

Setting a Robust Governance Framework for your Business

Corporate governance applies to all businesses from the huge multinationals to the modest SME, and yet many organisations neglect this fundamental aspect of running a successful business.

What is corporate governance?

Corporate governance refers to the set of systems, principles and processes by which a company is governed. They provide the guidelines as to how the company can be directed or controlled such that it can fulfill its goals and objectives in a manner that adds to the value of the company and is also beneficial for all stakeholders in the long term. Stakeholders in this case would include everyone ranging from the board of directors, management, shareholders to customers, employees and society. The management of the company hence assumes the role of a trustee for all the others.

What are the principles underlying corporate governance?

Corporate governance is based on principles such as:

  • Conducting the business with all integrity and fairness
  • Being transparent with regard to all transactions
  • Making all the necessary disclosures and decisions
  • Complying with all the laws of the land
  • Accountability and responsibility towards the stakeholders
  • Commitment to conducting business in an ethical manner
  • Another include that those in control to be able to distinguish between what are personal and corporate funds while managing a company

Why is it important?

Fundamentally, there is a level of confidence that is associated with a company that is known to have good corporate governance.

The presence of an active group of independent directors on the board contributes a great deal towards ensuring confidence in the business.

Corporate governance is known to be one of the criteria that investors and banks increasingly depending on when deciding on which companies to invest in or lend to. It is also known to have a positive influence on the share price or value of companies.

Having a good image on the corporate governance front can potentially increase the amount of capital available and reduce the cost of capital due to the reduction in risk as the corporate governance takes effect.

Unfortunately, corporate governance often becomes the centre of discussion only after the exposure to a particular risk or bad financial performance.

Good governance

  • Auditing compliance
  • Financial statements prepared
    • in accordance with accounting standards and
    • with appropriate disclosure to shareholders or owners
  • Strong compliance with safety, government and industry regulations
  • Appropriate management and board structures
  • Risk assessment and management in place
  • Robust and sound systems of internal controls
  • Proper planning and strategies in place to ensure proper leadership and control of the business.

Our International Business Mentors can help you consider your corporate governance

We are often approached by businesses asking for guidance from an experienced business mentor in developing or reviewing their corporate governance.  Whilst businesses differ enormously in size, structure, industry and vision, they all share the need for solid corporate governance and identifying areas of priority for improvement.

Many business owners may be focused on business growth and performance and may overlook potential weaknesses in good corporate governance.

Talking through with your International Business Mentor to help you establish and maintain good corporate governance is essential for organisations that want to continue as good corporate citizens and to perform and reduce risk in the business.

Chris Cartney

Is Independence in Business Mentoring Critical for Success?

Special close and fiduciary type relationships

Special close and fiduciary type relationships are enhanced in any mentoring relationship where the mentor is well experienced, has the required skills and personality to mentor and is independent of the executive’s organisation.

Typically, in a pure fiduciary relationship a person prudently takes care of the best interests of and often the money, investments or other assets of another person. It is a very trusted and privileged position to be.

A fiduciary relationship is a legal or ethical relationship of trust between two or more parties and it’s that level of trust you need with a business mentor. Nothing less.

Many special benefits are to be gained by engaging a truly independent Business Mentor and to truly succeed the mentor needs be independent.

So what is Independence in a Business Mentor?

Independence is having no current or recent dealings with a competitor in the same industry through their board, consultancy assignments, or other close associations that could impair impartiality.

Some organisations, although well meaning in their support for key executives, provide them only with business mentors from within.

Whilst the executive will gain insights from these internal mentors experience, they may get a one sided opinion.

Furthermore an executive being mentored internally, may have reservations in opening up to these internal mentors because of their political networks in the business.

By comparison, an independent mentor, individually assessed and matched by International Business Mentors alleviates many potential problems.

Although it can be beneficial for a business mentor to have relevant industry background, this does not always mean they must come from the exact same industry as the executive to be mentored.

An Experienced and Independent International Business Mentor

An experienced and independent International Business Mentor, with no other internal company agenda, can provide a fresh approach drawing from their experiences in other industries or businesses. This encourages the executives to think outside of the square and to critically assess the business frameworks in specific areas for improvement within a safe and confidential relationship.

David Cartney

As competition increases, evolve your Point of Difference

We are all challenged by competition for our customers’ business and most face increasing competitive pressure in their business sector.

To grasp needed growth or just to survive in highly competitive areas is tough. To thrive against the competition you need to adapt your business and improve in critical areas such as

We are all challenged by competition for our customers’ business and most face increasing competitive pressure in their business sector.

To grasp needed growth or just to survive in highly competitive areas is tough. To thrive against the competition you need to adapt your business and improve in critical areas such as:

  •      Sales, customer service,
  •      Operational efficiency,
  •      Investing and motivating your people to focus on what is critical
  •      And minimising waste and unnecessary costs.

These are all vitally important, but another strategic aspect that is often overlooked is increasing your business’s Point of Difference.

To bolster the Point of Difference all business owners and senior management must figure out how best to differentiate their products or services for their customers.

What do the customers really want?

The first vital Point of Difference step is to understand what your customers really want.  Fast and practical research is needed, so that you can enhance what you provide, and the way that you deliver to your customers.

Approaches to finding out what your customers want?Market research

Market research

  1. Market research
    • Analyse:
      • What your customers’ want
        • Independent surveys are good if focused and representative.
        • Ring the major customers and talk to them directly yourself.
      • Research what your competitors’ are offering.
    • You will need to find the market gaps from the above analyses in the market and exploit these.
  2. Environmental analysis
    • SWOT analysis – to help identify perceived and prospective areas of potential advantage.
    • Listen broadly to all feedback from customers, colleagues and staff – their input is extremely valuable
  3. Environmental analysis
    • New Gaps in the market and enhanced Points of Difference need to be embraced and this needs real change to you and the organisation, and not just “lip service” for success.
    • So you will need to be receptive to new ideas and change (and not get bogged down by preconceived ideas or thinking or by an overly rigid organisation.)
Actively consider your competitive advantage:

     Products and services

Have you got the right offering that the customers want? Can you move your offering towards what they really want? Can you tell them you are adapting to their needs. Can you give the customers a road map of what you are willing to do for them, given their feedback to you of what they want?

      Pricing choices

  •    Can you deliver your products or services for less? Should you?
  •    Can you find a cheaper or more efficient way of delivering your products and services?

      Good service

  •    Can you provide a better service to your customers?
  •    Do you know what constitutes good service in their minds.
  •    Do you know which customers are prepared to pay extra for better service or will remain loyal to you as a result?
    • This is very important, as you will be pricing against competitors.

      Maintain high quality standards

  •    How to you ensure consistent and high quality of products or services?
  •    Have you got systems and processes in place to ensure delivery of quality?
  •    Have you got people that understand quality and its importance to your customers?
  •    Have you got customers that actually give you great feedback on quality? Or do they just leave when let down and go to a competitor?

     Ease for your customers to deal with your business

  •    Do the customers find it easy and convenient to deal with your business?
  •     Is there any better ways for customers to obtain your products or services from you?
  •    Are your systems and processes easy to use by your customers?
  •    Are your people customer-friendly and follow up with the customers? How do you know this- independently of your own people?

      Brand

  •    Is your brand doing its job with customers?
  •    Are you building a brand that customers can identify with, and trust and has a value to the business?
  •    Do you have brand confusion in the market?
  •   Is your brand adapting with the services, products and customers as these change?

      Innovation

  •    Is your business and people innovative and capable of creating new thoughts around customers, products, services, new ways of doing things, brand, quality, service, motivation, profitability, cashflow improvements, advertising, social media use and anticipating needed or real shifts or changes in any of the above?
  •   Do you brainstorm after research and think differently and question what change you need ahead of your competitors?

     Seek new business with your Point of Difference and keep the customers you want to keep

  •    Your Point of Difference is embedded in all aspects of the business, so once you are on top of this then use the Point of Difference to attract new customers and leverage them away from your competitors. Then use an evolving point of difference to make your customers loyal and look after them in the way they want to be treated with the products and services they want and are prepared to pay for at a price that makes commercial sense to your business.
  •    Seeking out new business is a must but not at the expense of losing your current customers.  Priority should be given to continue building strong relationships with your existing customers.

International Business Mentors can help your Point of Difference

Our Point of Difference is that our International Business Mentors are individually matched to you and your requirements. That means they come with the experience and ability to compliment your own strengths and help you develop your own Point of Difference.

Our mentors can help you in specific areas, where you need a second set of eyes on things. You will also receive the support you deserve from your own confidential and private International Business Mentor.

Chris Cartney, General Manager, International Business Mentors Nov 2014.

Escape the Group Think Trap

Group think creeps up

Group think creeps up and can dominate just about any group activity. These crucial group processes include problem-solving, developing opinions, wholesome discussions, and critical decisions that need to be made.

Group think can manifest itself particularly where members of a close-knit group are like-minded with similar opinions to each other. This leaves little room or tolerance of independent, critical evaluation or challenge. Insidiously, the group thinkers mentally put more emphasis on conformity than on independent thought.

Shallow decision making process with group think

Groupthink can lead to shallow processes in the decision making process. It blinkers the participants who think they are doing the right thing because it feels good and every one else has agreed to the outcome. This can lead to less than optimal outcomes (and sometimes disasters) and can occur in any group that works together at all levels of organisations from governments, companies, businesses, charities, member organisations, family businesses, education providers, religions, political groups, families, neighbours, friends and all other organisations.

Group think can cause dysfunction and undermines

If there is a lack of awareness and is left unaddressed groupthink can cause dysfunction and undermines individuals’ and the organisation’s ability to rationally govern, make decisions and to operate optimally. This can be particularly important in the leadership areas of organisations such as in companies’ board rooms. In the board rooms you would expect a broad assessment of all options need to be thoroughly examined, various facts and opinions considered after robust research and debate before decisions are made. After all, these decisions will impact critically to the culture and performance of the company.

Leaders must be aware of group think

A Chairman of Board therefore should display leadership and balance in encouraging diverse input and be aware of the impacts of group think.

Group think, at worst, can lead to misguided loyalty, too much reliance on one person or a sub group’s opinions, in-group stereotyping, lack of impartial leadership, narrow mindedness, and overconfidence in the decision making process with self-congratulations when critical input has not been sought or perhaps heeded.

International Business Mentors can counter group think where appropriate

Whilst it is not the role of a Business Mentor to attend and influence decisions that are being made in a group context, an individual being confidentially mentored can be guided by an experienced independent sounding board, who is not part of the group think process.

Many organisations are unaware they even have a groupthink mentality, or would be in denial if it were even suggested.

For example, in a business context where the MD may for example have the final say in most decisions, it is very important to hear and consider other viewpoints. Therefore, a diverse and constructive management team is vital for effective communication and consideration of various opinions and research that may differ from the group think accepted view of the world. Many group thinkers become passed over by colleagues and by competition that has a more open view of the world and are more able to adapt to changing markets etc.

Get an independent view from an International Business Mentor

A carefully matched business mentor can assist directors, business owners and senior executives to give critical input to encourage thinking outside of the square, give a reality check, and offer an independent viewpoint. An International Business Mentor is experienced in groupthink processes and will challenge and support the person they mentor to better perform.

Chris Cartney February 2016

What keeps a family a successful Family Business

Family businesses play a major part in our economy and society, many owners want to see their children and grandchildren carry on the tradition but only 30% pass to the second Gen and only 15 % to the third Gen. The reasons vary but include:

  1. Family members did not communicate well or handle confrontation or conflict. This festered and problems impacted the business.
  2. Making each family member happy, took precedence over business and the business became uncompetitive, unfocused, unproductive and undercapitalized.
  3. People reacted to one another according to their family roles, not business roles.
  4. The business was run unprofessionally at random, informal and without good business practices.
  5. The first Gen created innovative products or services with early success but lacked continuous adaptation to competition and a changing customer demand.
  6. The first Gen’s energy and passion was not transmitted fully to the successive generations.

These challenges are not impossible Family members can work together to make their businesses successful and engender positive family relationships.

What successful families businesses do to overcome the problems above:

  • Successful families businesses meet as adults and leave behind the emotional baggage that accumulates during growing up i.e. not a “parent-child” mode of relating move to an “adult-adult” approach and parents do not need to be “in charge”. This allows the family members to connect on a level playing field.
  • Successful families businesses develop the skills, trust and mutual respect necessary to openly deal with sensitive issues without becoming overly defensive.
  • Sometimes problems arise with family members inhibiting candid discussions. Successful families businesses solve this by tackling all complex business issues with open communication so the issues are identified and potential solution explored.
  • Parents offer counsel and support but must ultimately leave it up to their children to make choices and experience their own consequences. And Successful families businesses all work together aware of interpersonal boundaries and any limitations of each other’s behaviour and don’t try to “fix” one other.
  • Successful families businesses anticipate when family conflict is escalating and have ways defuse it and not allowing damaging heat of the moment actions or responses that are hard to take back and recover from. For example, ultimatums may be dangerous and need to be dealt with.
  • Successful families businesses value and commit resources to time together, celebrating family and nurturing their binding relationships. Family get-togethers have a high priority as time to reconnect, have fun and just enjoy one another’s company is of highest value.

Combines these factors help to keep a successful families business positively connected over time, and sets the framework to succeed in times of difficulties. Although, only few families manage to practice these things systematically, nevertheless, these are all-necessary to keep the family members aligned and helps direct them back on course when things get off track.

David Cartney

International Business Mentors

International Business Mentors Drive for Success

Where you are in business, there is always something you can learn to your advantage.

Business owners can learn from many sources:

  • Competition
  • Industry groups
  • Employees
  • Experienced International Business Mentors

Leverage business success

Improving your understanding can help you leverage business success.  Highly successful business people constantly seek to improve and develop their success.

Therefore developing a culture in your business whereby you lead unashamedly and invest in your own development, and support your employees to do likewise, will spark evolution into a healthier business DNA to support your positive business growth.

With your own International Business Mentor, picked for your specific requirements, you can quickly assimilate significantly benefits to you and your business.

How it works for you & your business

Through in-depth mentoring discussions on your business you can tap directly into your International Business Mentor’s experience and knowledge. You will receive much needed confidential support and a no-nonsense and practical sounding board to kick around ideas, opportunities and concerns.

Your key executives can also strongly benefit from an International Business Mentor to improve their performance for the business.  This opportunity and support will also go a long way to deepen loyalty and retention, as well as improving their engagement in your business.

How does an International Business Mentor help your business success?

International Business Mentors create a platform for more positive improvements for you, your key staff and your business success. And by challenging you to improve and facilitating ideas and adding their own experience you can distil insights and move with a clear focus to make yourself and business better.

David Cartney, January 2015

 

Do we need entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurs occupy a central position in market economies. For it’s they who kick start the economy’s engine, activating and stimulating all economic activity. Nations’ economic success worldwide is as the direct result of encouraging and rewarding that entrepreneurial instinct.

Yes, entrepreneurs drive economic growth

“Entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States.”   Ronald Reagan

How many entrepreneurs are there?

“Conservative estimates state that over 400 million people in 54 countries are actively engaged in entrepreneurship- (loosely defined as starting and running new businesses). This figure doesn’t include the (potentially) hundreds of millions more engaged in forms of pseudo-entrepreneurship in science, medicine and politics- their contributions no-less important to our society’s economic, social and intellectual growth.”

Vikas Shah, Thought Economics, March 2015

So what makes a good entrepreneur?

“Entrepreneurs should focus on what they believe is worthwhile, exercising their own judgment without blindly following the crowd. Find that sweet spot at the intersection of what you do best and what you love to do the most, and your odds of success are immediately much higher. If you do what you excel in doing, you’ll be better than your competition. And if you focus on what you love to do, you’ll be doggedly persistent even when faced with strong competitors, reversals of fortune, and beguiling distractions.”  Sir Richard Branson

Do entrepreneurs get a bad wrap? Yes.

Often to explain historic recessions or great spurts in economic growth, the entrepreneurs are blamed. For example, when growth slows, it is blamed on a decline in entrepreneurship or in growth phases that the growth in entrepreneurship is responsible for the unprecedented expansion. William J. Baumol 1990

And there is historic precedent for this blaming… “From the fall of Rome (circa 476 AD) to the 18th century, there was little increase in per capita income in the West. However, with the advent of entrepreneurship, per capita income grew exponentially in the West by 20% in the 1700s, 200% in the 1800s, and 740% in the 1900s…“.  Murphy, 2006

Famous bankrupt entrepreneurs compound the image problem

Back in the 1980s ‘entrepreneur’ became a dirty word in many parts of the world as some high profile entrepreneurs businesses failed and lost investors money.  Fortunately, we all seemed to have learnt from mistakes and nowadays have a respect, albeit cautious, for the creative business thinkers in our midst who try to take their concepts off the ground and build businesses.

Famous entrepreneur bankrupts

Alan Bond

In 1992, the West Australian businessman was declared bankrupt with debts of $1.8 billion, then Australia’s largest collapse. He served time in jail, but is reportedly now mining diamonds in South Africa.

Christopher Skase

Another crash-and-burn 1980s entrepreneur who fled to Majorca, Spain after the spectacular demise of his company and eventually died there, pursued to the end by the Australian government.

John Elliott

Forever linked to his colorful language the former Carlton football club president declared himself bankrupt in 2005 but was released last year. He has now launched himself online with The John Elliott report.

Robert Maxwell

The suspicious death of the British media tycoon (found floating in the Atlantic ocean after an apparent tumble from his luxury yacht) triggered the sensational discovery that Maxwell had been illegally using the pension funds of his company to prop it up and fund his lifestyle. The Maxwell companies filed for bankruptcy protection in 1992. His two sons were later declared bankrupt.

But do entrepreneurs bounce back after a set back?

Yes they do:

  • H.J. Heinz bankrupt 1875, then founded Heinz
  • Henry Ford, bankrupt 1903 then founded Ford motor
  • Walt Disney bankrupt 1921, then founded Disney
  • Donald Trump bankrupt 1990 then prospered in real estate
  • Kim Basinger bankrupt 1993, then famous acting career

Why are entrepreneurs so resilient?

Entrepreneurs are resilient because generally they love what they do and are passionate about it. They are creative, interesting and sometimes eccentric. Most have a gut feel and some have a clear vision about what they are doing and they are a persistence. Most have the ability to think nimbly and outside of the square, which allows for different concepts and diversification to be considered to get an edge in their markets.

The concept of entrepreneurship is seen as the process of seeking out and developing ideas that create value then with innovation and drive to seize those profitable market opportunities.

All business comes with risks.  And although outstanding success is part of the motivation, sadly they will sometimes fail.

Entrepreneurs can reduce their risk by having a personal business Mentor

Fortunately there are ways to help, encourage and support our great entrepreneurs. Whether you are an entrepreneur or a business owner support is vital to minimise risks and to develop and enhance business performance.

A well matched International Business Mentor with a wealth of experience and the right background, experience and skills tailored to you can be of great assistance.

Call us and we can talk about it.

David and Chris Cartney May 2015

 

Business Owners and CEOs understand the importance of developing and supporting their key people as a top priority for business growth

What do successful leaders say is important with people?

We all know that great people and strong teams are the foundation of business success and growth in Australia and around the world.

Many people arrive with strong technical skills and these can and are taught and honed.  Critically the less tangible skills such as leadership and interpersonal skills require the same investment but with a slightly different approach.

What does leadership development need?

Leadership needs many qualities to be development in people.  For example, some of the most successful CEOs shared their views on leadership qualities such as:

  • The ability to listen
  • Connecting great people to each other
  • Sharing problems
  • Grasping the challenge
  • Act and think like a leaders
  • Being future focused and fix what is in front of you
  • Developing diverse teams
  • Cultivating relationships outside the organisation
  • Nurturing and maintaining networks
  • Keep on learning
  • Be flexible yet disciplined

Comfort zones need to be breached

Leaders do not evolve inside their comfort zones. As key people progress through leadership roles they must want to and actually put themselves out of their comfort zones and learn from these experiences.

Are leaders born or trained?

Leadership and interpersonal skills come naturally to some people, whereas some people simply find these harder to acquire, not unlike all areas of technical skills. So the approaches to learning may need to be tailored to suit the individual.

What is the impact of size and complexity of the business on leadership development?

Size and complexity has an enormous impact on leadership development.

Large organisations

Larger organisations that are more complex will need to invest greater amounts in the development of their leaders and it should be formally budgeted for to ensure that the benefits are delivered. The benefits should include an improved competitive advantage in the market. For example, how well the organisation adapts to changes in customer demand or supply chains can be critical for survival and success, as is developing and implementing practical strategy.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

SMEs are often less complex businesses (compared to the large organisation, but not always) and may be at a stretch point or have simply outgrown their ability and experience in leadership to push the business further and grow in their market.

These businesses may not have the resource to systematically develop leadership, and should consider specific business mentors for key people including the owners.  Some SMEs may also find that the investment in management leads to a loss of these valuable people to their competition. Therefore some forms of retention incentives may be necessary to keep the benefits of staff development inside your own business.

What resources to allocate to leadership development?

The investment in leadership development depends on the opportunity to lift the game of the organisation and compete in the market. This has also to be balanced against how long you want to keep your leaders. Do you want to develop from within or get a proportion from outside and integrate these? These are strategic decisions. You also need to look at the cost as in any investment. What is the likely return on investment (ROI)? Hence my comments above that if you invest in people you should want to keep them long enough to get the return on the investment, including encouraging them to pass on their skills to the next generation coming through.

Are our business mentors a good resource for developing leadership?

Our well-matched business mentors can fill in the leadership gaps with appropriate experience is a cost effective way. This is by improving individuals on their leadership skills and their business acumen. Our International Business Mentors will also help with the wide range of business thinking and previous experience to broaden out and support your aspiring and developing leaders.

Chris Cartney, May 2015

 

Competitive Advantage in a Changing Business World?

The world continues to change rapidly and we need to keep up

This is especially true in the business environment, where competition is rife.  Therefore it is imperative to embrace change, adapt to the market and take advantage of sound opportunities as often as possible. This is just to stay ahead in the “new normal” i.e. our fast moving and challenging business environments.

Digital evolution is the competition for most businesses

Marketing our goods and services in the digital world will continue to grow and morph at a faster rate, which will constantly change the way we must do business or just get left behind.  So the risk of not doing enough in this digital space becomes one of survival.  The digital world itself has become the competition.

Clear and present danger

The imminent digital danger is the ongoing challenge to keep up with the inevitable technological advances. These are in platforms and methods of social media and the electronic capture of information, customers and sales where appropriate and useful to your business.

Critically you need to be adept at the use of digital approaches to research and seek out new opportunities, while remaining flexible, but disciplined, so that your digital competitive approaches do not compromise your normal policies, compliance and safeguards.

Take advantage of global changes

The rapid rise of Asian business and markets, particularly that of China and India have also fundamentally changed how the rest of the world must do business.  A prime example of this is how profoundly the manufacturing industry has centralised into these growth economies over the last 15 years.  Yet despite these changes many businesses have adapted, and become innovative and evolved their business models and strategies, so not only have they survived, but have flourished.  This is a lesson to all businesses to understand the dominant strategic changes we face, and then adapt to take advantage.

We do nothing at our peril.

Population growth

Changes in demand worldwide are being felt and are driven by increasing populations, with fast changing demand patterns. This causes increases and demands into certain goods and services such as housing, medical requirements, planning and infrastructure.  Consumer goods and services can move from old ideas of products or services to new ones rapidly.

Growing affluence in growth economies China and India

Consumers

As individual consumers’ incomes continue to rise in China and India the demand patterns of these groups will develop further and as customer groups will dominate the consumer markets worldwide for decades to come. What is your business doing to supply this market?

Companies

The companies and businesses in these growth markets will continue to increase their resources and will invest outside of their regions into the supply chain servicing back to their home markets to meet rising demand. What is your business doing to support these supply chains?

Ageing populations

The increase in the ageing population and the changes in the way retirees spend their twilight years, will lead to surging demand for their accommodation, lifestyle choices, medical requirements and a wide range of other service.  All these changes effect relevant businesses and represent significant opportunities.

Younger generations changed demand profiles

Younger generations in the western developed countries have changed factors impinging on their demand patterns compared to earlier generations. The rapid increase in online interaction and the advances are being driving largely by mobile technologies.  These younger generations have a huge commitment and ability to interact with their digital world, to research, make suggestions and contributions.  They can influence or be influenced rapidly by their relevant peer groups and the social media platforms and their content.

This is an exciting era to be in business.  These new generations and their interactive environment represent a massive opportunity to deliver new ideas, products and services. And these can be delivered, marketed and sold through the evolving digital platforms and supported by the social and online awareness.

Your business or service provision needs to be ready and take full advantage of these massive generational and market shifts.

Get your Competitive advantage into shape

In a competitive business environment success is not achieved by simply keeping up with the broad spectrum of changes.  It is by the traditional strategic approaches of understanding the competitive landscape, keeping abreast of changes then being innovative, taking advantage of the sound opportunities for your business.

The approach to developing a competitive advantage needs strategy and adaptation to markets.  You may need some help to drive it along and think outside the square.  Your own International Business Mentor can assist in these critical processes and help you better to succeed.

Tap into your own International Business Mentor

Tap into your international business mentor’s skills, knowledge and experience to assist you strategically, to identify opportunities and avoid pitfalls, rise to the challenge, seize opportunities and you will gain that confidential strategic support that may not otherwise be available.

Christine Cartney June 2015

 

The Risks of Recruiting Inappropriate People

Does Your Organisation Recruit the Right People

Getting the wrong staff hurts your business

Unfortunately, the majority of large businesses, government departments, SMEs and small businesses continue to suffer the significant loss of time, resources and revenue, from recruiting inappropriate people.

Unless your organisation has dedicated and qualified staff to recruit the right people at all levels, then you risk the same annoying and repeated waste of time, not to mention the lost opportunity performance of getting the right people into the positions.

Lack of internal expertise or resourcing in HR

Even with your own dedicated internal HR team, they are not always sufficiently resourced to attract and recruit senior executives and staff that will contribute, develop and stay loyal to the organisation, so consider outsourcing.

Help keep your best staff

Loyalty is less commonplace in today’s workforce, but with incentives such as training, recognition and rewards, businesses and organisation can reduce their risk of losing key personnel and help to retain their best talent.

Get key executives their own International Business Mentor

Develop your key staff and supported them to achieve their aims by providing a well-matched International Business Mentor. This is particularly of benefit to organisations that wish to develop and retain their senior executives.

Large intakes of staff need good process

At times, big business and government departments have large intakes of staff.  The cost of processing applicants and getting it wrong can be enormous, so it’s important that the process can identify those candidates that actually possess the required skills and competencies to successfully fill the specific roles.

Before you recruit or advertise do your homework

As a prerequisite to recruitment you must develop very good job descriptions and determine the characteristics of the ideal people who need to be attracted and employed.  Advertisements need to be professionally worded and displayed to only attract people possessing these identified skills and competencies required for the roles.

Have a good process on vetting resumes

Resumes need to be carefully scrutinised and filtered to identify only those candidates for the short list who are likely to perform well and meet the requirements.

Test candidates skills to reduce the short list further

From these ‘short lists’, further testing should be considered such as personality, specific required skills, IQ, and cognitive tests. In some cases role-plays may be part of the assessment process.  How the candidate performs will help you to filter out those not so well matched for the role.

The interviews

Usually after the tests have been administered and assessed the all-important interview takes place.  Again questions should be pre-prepared and asked by an experienced recruiter to assess potential and past performance.

Check the candidates’ references and background systematically

Finally, references and qualifications need to be checked and verified.

This is a complex process, but is absolutely necessary in order to avoid the pitfalls of hiring the wrong people.  If it is done correctly this process may avoid enormous wastage of time, resources and reduce employment risks.

Outsource recruitment if necessary

As this whole recruitment process is critical to organisations then appropriate individuals must complete the process itself. Outsourcing should be considered, if insufficient resources or experience exists internally. If necessary, outsourcing is an excellent investment as recruitment organisations can provide the necessary qualified recruiters and resources to implement the recruitment process successfully.

Market Changes for the recruitment industry driven by the Internet

The recruitment industry is a subset of HR and provides good services to reduce time and cost as well as to make better recruitment choices.

Recent changes particularly on advertising positions and vetting candidates via on-line sites have streamlined recruitment. This has been achieved in the recruitment processes by automating much online and represents yet another industry being improved and becoming more efficient through the changes possible on-line.

However, since HR and recruitment deal with people and their abilities, emotions, personalities, unique traits, then qualified individuals best appreciate these aspects. HR and recruitment professionals are well trained and experienced in the assessment and interviewing of potential candidates and in developing the requirements needed to meet the jobs to be filled.

Conclusions

  • Where appropriate you should engage with HR and recruitment specialists to secure the right people for the jobs you need to fill.
  • And you should also consider the investment in an International Business Mentor to help develop and retain your key staff.

Experienced, skilled and qualified business mentors should provide the business mentoring.  Our International Business Mentors have the experience, skill and background to share their business skills and develop your key people.

Call to find our more about Business Mentoring

Chris Cartney

October 2015

0407 560 520

 

Getting the right Business Mentor for you and your business

When you need a business mentor you will benefit from the mentoring relationship from the Get Go!

For us, business mentoring starts from a sound personal relationship between you and your business mentor.  Once established you will leverage off your relationship helped by your experienced and knowledgeable mentor.

Your business mentor will guide and develop you, and help you with gaps using their complimentary practical experience and depth of knowledge. When you need to bounce ideas around then your independent mentor is there to work with you and road test these inside your safe, secure and confidential relationship.

Yes, business mentoring does answer questions and provides ad hoc help but It is founded on an ongoing close relationship of practical business learning and dialogue all focused to develop and challenge you to progress.

So critically for your benefit our business mentors are carefully selected to meet your personal requirements and your personality and development needs.

International Business Mentors provide exactly this service providing matched business mentors and we carefully monitor the relationship to ensure you keep getting value from it and continue to be challenged.

You can benefit from our many years of business mentoring service experience in matching and developing ongoing successful and supportive mentoring.

Contact us to start benefiting from one of our carefully selected and matched business mentors.

Chris and David Cartney 2016.

The Business Breakfast or Lunch

Business meetings were traditionally lunchtime affairs and until the mid 1980’s were exempt from any taxable implications. That all ended in 1986 when business lunches– often lengthy and extravagant – amongst other benefits became contenders for FBT. At the time this caused a furore in Australia. Restranteurs were panic stricken believing their lunchtime trade would disappear and executives quaked at the thought of having to pay for their lunchtime jollies. However, once initiated these fears were short lived and the business lunch continued to be a useful means for entertaining clients or having discussions with peers or other associates out of the office environment. The excesses of the 1980s and early 1990s played a more significant impact on restaurants as they became a ‘discretionary’ spend rather than a business necessity. Still business people need to eat and business meetings need to happen. As an alternative to lunch time meeting the breakfast meeting gained popularity. Starting early, breakfast meetings do not take out such a large chunk of the working day, for the most they are less costly, less formal, usually without alcohol, usually not so filling as lunch, and business people are often ‘fresh’ at the start of the day. Although most restaurants are not open for breakfast, many city and suburban hotels, cafes and catering businesses provide for the business breakfast meeting. In the past breakfast was in some circumstances considered to be a poor alternative to lunch, however it is nowadays a worthy alternative to the more time consuming option of lunch.

Which is better a Self-Help Book or a Business Mentor?

So which do you really need a self-help book or a Business Mentor?

I suppose that self-help books are not interactive whereas a well-matched Business Mentor is. Furthermore self-help books do not seek to understand your specific journey, skills, experience, abilities, talents and ambitions.  They cannot take into account that your business environment can change dramatically- markets, customers, operations, your leadership role and responsibilities, and that your business and social context can shift and may be very difficult to navigate.

So one of our International Business Mentors who understands you, your skills and your business context and issues, can help you discover and unleash the best of who you are and support you at critical times along your business journey – now that is a lot more than any book can provide.

However, the self-help books do have their place, as a start point, to help you reflect and think about your direction and framework, but these are qualitatively different to the in-depth assistance you can receive from one of our well-matched International Business Mentors.

Business Mentoring is valuable to you because as you progress in business the challenges you face become more difficult and the impact of your decisions on yourself, your family, your business, and your employees become all the greater. Navigating business with confidence can be greatly assisted when you get confidential feedback from a trusted source and bounce ideas off of your International Business Mentor. You will value your confidential Business Mentor and have deep discussions with a confident whose only thought is what’s in your best interest, and knows you well enough to help you get more out of yourself.

You should not just wait around for someone to offer up his or her time to mentor you. You should take a close look at getting your own International Business Mentor. Once you discuss your situation and issues with your International Business Mentor you can begin to solve issues, define future success, sort out and prioritize your major challenges, and define where your future strategic business success lies. Your Business Mentor will engage you, add value to your growth and help you consider the best way to move forward.

You, as a mentee, will appreciate that where you are in your business life is a complex journey.  With the help of a Business Mentor, navigating this journey becomes much easier.  Your Business Mentor has a genuine interest in the outcome of your business life.

At International Business Mentors we can match you specifically with one of our well-vetted and highly experienced Business Mentors.  Once you have met with your confidential and well-matched Business Mentor you will find value right away.  And you will begin to develop within a strong supportive relationship.

Your Business Mentor will be focused on what’s best for you and your business.  And a focus is given to your current role and future goals – identify potential risks, obstacles and opportunities and how to deal with these along the way.

Your Business Mentor will help you consider the external realities of your own and the business’s situation from an independent viewpoint- for example, you may be running the company, or a large division within one, and you may have external investors or shareholders. You may be trying to grow the business, sell it, fix it operationally, advance within the company or other challenges. Your Business Mentor will help you understand the situations you find yourself in and discuss how to reach your goals. Your Business Mentor can help you steer a course and build your confidence so that you can better strive towards where you want to be.

Ultimately, the goal of a successful Business Mentoring relationship is that you progress personally, with personal support to a situation that brings greater personal and business success. Part of that success will be discovering yourself and developing a better understanding of your business. The objectives of a good International Business Mentor is not to only to help you make improvements in your business successfully, but to help you develop so that you derive greater value in your business life.

David Cartney

Melbourne, Australia

Summary of Australian Statutory & Common Law Directors’ Duties 2015

A Company is an association of a number of people with a common object. It is owned by Shareholders & managed by Directors. Once created the company is an entity in its own right & has a legal personality to do what a natural person can do. For example, a Company can own property, & sue & be sued in its own right.

Summary of Australian Statutory & Common Law Directors’ Duties 2015 1

Company 1

Director 1

Director’s Duties 1

Statutory Duties 2

Section 180(1) – Care & Diligence 2

Section 181(1) – Duty to Act in Good Faith 2

Section 182(1) – Use of Position 2

Section 183(1) – Use of Information 2

Section 191(1) – Disclosure of Interest 2

Duty to Avoid a Conflict of Interest 3

Duty to Exercise Power for a Proper Purpose 3

Duty to Retain Discretion 3

Insolvent Trading 3

Recovery action by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) 4

Defrauding Creditors 4

Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) (‘TPA’) 4

Environmental Protection Act 1970 (Vic) (EPA) 5

Occupational Health & Safety 5

Company

A Company is an association of a number of people with a common object. It is owned by Shareholders & managed by Directors. Once created the company is an entity in its own right & has a legal personality to do what a natural person can do. For example, a Company can own property, & sue & be sued in its own right.

Director

A Director is a person employed as an officer of a company & has a duty to perform the duties of management of the business of the company.

Director’s Duties

Below are the several main directors’ duties found at Common Law & in the Australian Corporations Law.

Directors’ duties derive from three potential sources: –

  •  Statute, primarily the Corporations Law;
  •  Those developed by the Courts, particularly those duties arising from a director’s fiduciary position; &
  • Those that may be expanded upon or shaped by the particular circumstances of a company, primarily by a Company’s Constitution or Replaceable Rules & other contracts such as Shareholders’ Agreements.

The Constitution or Replaceable Rules that apply to the Company have effect of a Contract between the Company & each member, between the Company & each director & company secretary; and between a member & each other member, under which each person will observe & perform the Constitution & Rules insofar as they apply to that person.

Statutory Duties

[N.B. these statutory duties can extend to beyond those with the official title of ‘Director’.]

Section 180(1) – Care & Diligence

“A director or other officer of a corporation must exercise their powers & discharge their duties with the degree of care & diligence that a reasonable person would exercise if they:

  1. (a) Were a director or officer of a corporation in the corporation’s circumstances; And
  2. (b) Occupied the office held by, & had the same responsibilities within the corporation as, the director or officer.”

Section 181(1) – Duty to Act in Good Faith

“A director or other officer of a corporation must exercise their powers & discharge their duties:
(a) in good faith in the best interests of the corporation; and
(b) for a proper purpose.”

Section 182(1) – Use of Position

“A director, secretary, or other officer or employee of a corporation must not improperly use their position to:- gain an advantage for themselves or someone else; or cause a detriment to the corporation.”

Section 183(1) – Use of Information

“A person who obtains information because they are, or have been, a director or other officer or employee of a corporation must not improperly use the information to: gain an advantage for themselves or someone else; or cause detriment to the corporation.”

Section 191(1) – Disclosure of Interest

“A Director who has a material personal interest in a matter that relates to the affairs of the company must give notice of the interest”

There are various exceptions to this rule.

Common Law – Fiduciary Duties

Duty to Act in Good Faith
The duty of good faith is owed by each director & is owed to the company itself, as a whole. Directors are required to act in what they honestly believe to be the interests of the company. In considering what is in the interests of the company’, a director must have regard to the interests of the shareholders of the company & the interests of the company as a commercial entity. The courts have also considered it proper to take into consideration the interests of the company’s creditors.

Duty to Avoid a Conflict of Interest

A director has a duty to avoid conflicting his or her own interests with the interests of the Company. A director is liable to account to the Company for any profit derived or to indemnify the Company from any loss arising from the director’s action. Additionally, the Company can choose to void any contract that the director entered into as a result of the conflict.

Duty to Exercise Power for a Proper Purpose

A director must exercise their powers conferred on them under the Company’s Constitution or the Act for a proper purpose. Powers must not be exercised for an ulterior purpose or for manipulating voting power.

Duty to Retain Discretion

Generally, a director cannot contract as to how they will vote at a future board meeting. A director can however, having entered into a contract on behalf of the Company in the bona fide exercise of his or her duties, agree to take certain action at a board meeting that is necessary to carry out the contract.

Insolvent Trading

Directors are now under a positive duty to ensure that the Company does not incur a debt while insolvent.

It will be the liquidator, rather than individual creditors, who will have the primary right to sue directors for insolvent trading with money recovered by the liquidator being available for all unsecured creditors on a pro rata basis.

Directors can also be criminally liable under the insolvent trading provisions of the Corporations Law.

Section 588G(3) of the Law provides that a person commits an offence if:

  • The person is a director of the Company when it incurs a debt; &
  • The Company is insolvent at that time, or becomes insolvent by incurring that debt, or incurring at the time debts including that debt; &
  • The person suspected at the time when the Company incurred the debt that the Company was insolvent or would become insolvent as a result of incurring that debt or other debts (as paragraph (1) (b)); &
  • The person’s failure to prevent the Company incurring the debt was dishonest.

Recovery action by the Australian Tax Office (ATO)

The ATO has made Director Penalty Notices (“DPN”), issued pursuant to section 222AOE of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936, part of their enforcement activities. Directors of a Company, which fails to pay its tax as it becomes due & payable, are liable to pay to the Commissioner of Taxation a penalty equivalent to the unremitted amounts.

Prior to recovery of that penalty from the directors, the Commissioner of Taxation must issue a written notice requiring the directors of the Company to cause the company to do one of the following things within fourteen (14) days, namely:

  • Remit the group tax or prescribed payments;
  • Enter into & comply with a payment agreement in relation to the company’s liability with the ATO (upon default of which, the current directors are personally liable for the Company’s obligations under the agreement);
  • Appoint an administrator to the Company under Part 5.3A of the Corporations Law; or
  • Begin to be wound up under the Corporations Law.

Directors of the Company will become personally liable even if they were not appointed at the time the liability was incurred.

Defrauding Creditors

Directors’ criminal liability for corporate actions leading to the defrauding of creditors can be broken down into two parts:

  • Criminal liability under State Crimes Act; &
  • Criminal liability under the Corporations Law. Criminal liability under Crimes Act 1958 (Vic):- s81 – obtaining property by deception
  • s82 – obtaining financial advantage by deception
  • s83 – engaging in false accounting
  •  s84 – Where an offence committed by a Company under section 81, 82 or 83 is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of any Company director, manager, secretary or similar officer, or any person purporting to act in any such capacity, he as well as the Company shall be guilty of that offence & punished accordingly.
  •  s85 – directors intend to deceive creditors by false or misleading statements &/or publication

Penalties may include imprisonment

Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) (‘TPA’)

The TPA provides for directors to be criminally liable for the actions of their corporations by virtue of Section 75B which acts as a ‘secondary liability provision’. Essentially this Section provides that a person, which would include a director, commits an offence under the TPA if they are in any way directly or indirectly knowingly concerned in, or party to, the commission of an offence against the statute.

There are two requirements for a person to be ‘knowingly concerned’ in a contravention.

They must

  1. Have the requisite knowledge, &
  2.  Be concerned in the contravention.

Environmental Protection Act 1970 (Vic) (EPA)

Under Section 66B of the EPA, a director is liable if their Corporation contravenes, whether by act or omission, any provision of the EPA.

Thus, as soon as the Corporation breaches the EPA, the directors are also criminally liable. It is possible, under the legislation, for the director to be prosecuted but not the Corporation. However, the general practice to date has been to charge the Corporation & the director with the proceedings heard together.

Given that liability for directors under the EPA is strict, the key to the Victorian legislation is in the defences available to a director for contravention of the EPA. These are contained in Section 66B(1A), namely:

  • The Corporation’s contravention occurred without the director’s knowledge;
  • The director was not in a position to influence the Corporation’s conduct in relation to the contravention; or
  • The director, being in such a position, used all due diligence to prevent the contravention.

Occupational Health & Safety

Crimes (Workplace Deaths & Serious Injuries) Bill 2001 creates new offences & penalties for Criminal Manslaughter.

Corporate Manslaughter can result in substantial fines.

  •  Directors & senior officers can be imprisoned & also receive a fine.

A further offence of negligently causing serious injury is prescribed in the Bill.

  •  A Corporation can be fined & directors & senior officers may be imprisoned & fined $120,000.

David Cartney 2015, InternationalBusinessMentors.com

Economic Outlook Discussion late 2014 early 2015

Differences in economic conditions between the big advanced economies are widening

Eurozone and Japan

The situation is quite different in the Euro-zone and Japan. Although they still point to growth, Euro-zone business surveys have softened and the slowdown is broad-based.

Industry surveys in big economies like France and Germany, as well as in Belgium, turned down recently and there are signs of some lower demand in their services sector.

The Japanese economy is expected to contract in June quarter as demand falls in the wake of the April 1st hike in consumption taxes.

Japanese exports are also soft, despite solid growth in its important Chinese export market.

Slowing trend in emerging economies

  • With 3-month annualised industrial growth slipping from over 5% in late 2013 to around 3½% in May.
  • Export volumes from these economies actually fell in early 2014, remained weak in April, but then rose in May.

  • China’s growth remained solid in June with good growth in industrial output, while YTD investment and retail sales volume growth are up by double digits.
  • India’s growth finally picked up in early 2014 and third quarter surveys of industry look brighter.
  • Other emerging economies of East Asia growth remain modest and should stay flat until world trade accelerates.
  • Latin American growth has faded, as Argentina moves into recession.

Economic outlook looking forward

  • Global growth
    • Should quicken from 3.1% in 2014 to 3.6% in 2015, which is around the long-run trend.
  • The most buoyant results to come from the US and UK.
  • Euro-zone has a weak outlook
  • Japanese firms think they can emerge from their recent slow period.
  • Emerging market economies
    • should still account for bulk of global output growth,
    • Emerging market growth should return to over 5% in 2015 as India’s growth finally begins to pick up
  • And the contribution from advanced economies will slowly rise.

David Cartney

International Business Mentor’s First Quarter 2014 Survey of our Mentoring Clients

Current strategic concerns of our mentoring clients

Where to grow our businesses

In a recent survey of our mentoring client much has been discussed on the changing landscape for businesses. In particular the reduction in business growth and jobs. For example, in certain markets of the manufacturing industry and a range of other businesses, this has led many clients to question where their potential future economic growth should be aimed at.

Another area of concern has been the slowdown in many mining sectors, which after a sustained period of investment is now moving to harvesting the returns from its investment and production.

Many consider that they should look at the industries that might have strong business growth including agribusiness, tourism, gas extraction, education and financial services (such as wealth management).

To facilitate economic growth it was thought essential that businesses move into growth areas and this will be required by both large business and the SME sectors which currently employs large numbers of people in many economies.

Growth needs greater Business Mentoring support

Business owners and managers responsible for growth are demanding increasing support. A part of this support is needed from our International Business Mentors.

Business mentoring support is essential given the relatively high degree of entrepreneurship needed to grow businesses, as turning good ideas into good sound sustainable business is not without difficulty.

Our clients also expressed concern that many new businesses tend to fail within the first couple of years of inception and established businesses can also retreat from new areas after initial poor results.

Business owners and managers growing more risk averse

Our mentoring clients told us in this survey that they have become more risk averse and fear failure in new areas, given the last few years of problematic market conditions and the difficulty in getting funding generally.

Our business mentors also confirm this risk aversion and report that they have had increasing discussions with the mentoring clients on growing the businesses but increasingly on the detrimental impact of possible of failures.

Our business mentors have also discussed more greatly the likely outcomes of growth and what might be appropriate action to take but also highlighted the alternative downsides of not growing the businesses.

Lack of success becomes a retreat from growth in new areas or exiting the businesses

From an economic growth perspective generally many of our mentoring clients consider it is a great pity that many fellow business owners, who fail early on in their ventures, tend to retreat back to secure and paid jobs, and that established businesses with limited success in new areas retreat quickly back to the familiar. This is considered to reduce business generally and inhibit overall business growth.

International Business mentors helping to work through growth

Our business mentors are increasingly assisting our mentoring clients who are owners, management or entrepreneurs to critically consider their growth from many aspects, such as:

  • The products or services most likely to be right for each market
  • How to properly plan and organise the operations of their business to deliver these products and services
  • How to build their organisation for the future
  • How implement their competitive strategy
  • To improve their supply chain management
  • To analyse the performance of products, services, customers and management
  • To better predict and to manage
    • Profits,
    • Cashflow,
    • Returns

All of which should better support their business growth plans and successful outcomes.

Lack of Funding

Another area of concern from our clients is the lack of appropriate funding for each stage in their business growth life cycle.

From the point of view of start-ups the owners tend to commit all of their own funds into the business.

  • Once they’re up and running they need to attract venture capital once they’ve proved their ideas.
  • This funding will assist in commercialisation on a larger scale to achieve profitability, cash flow and returns needed to satisfy the provider of the venture capital and the original owners.

Mentoring clients also expressed concern over the number of businesses that they know where the smart innovators and successful businesses owners leave their home country and migrate to where they can find better venture capital markets.

Business Education needed to improve and support business growth

Our business mentoring clients also indicated that they thought that education systems needed to generate good business owners. They suggest that the higher education systems teach students from all subjects how those subjects relate to the business environment and how they might start up their own businesses rather than simply moving into employment careers.

Conclusion on First Quarter Survey 2014 of our mentoring clients

In conclusion, we find many of our business mentoring clients are struggling with where they will direct growth in their businesses.

They want increasing support from our International Business Mentors.

Our mentoring clients have become more risk averse with new start-ups or development into new areas of business.

They want the development of a deeper venture capital market for funding.

Our mentoring clients would like to see more higher education that prepares the students to think like entrepreneurs, so that more new businesses can evolve and be created to support the overall growth in economies.

David Cartney, 17th of April 2014.

What has the Australian economy got in store for 2015?

For the coming year Australia should look at its external environments and the possible impacts on our economies.
The World Environment

The world’s economic regions and 230 nations and sovereign states can be separated into old news and tomorrow’s future news. The old news are the EU, Japan and the USA which together had 55% of the worlds GDP in the late 1990s, that has fallen to 42% and falling fast.

For the coming year Australia should look at its external environments and the possible impacts on our economies.

The World Environment

The world’s economic regions and 230 nations and sovereign states can be separated into old news and tomorrow’s future news. The old news are the EU, Japan and the USA which together had 55% of the worlds GDP in the late 1990s, that has fallen to 42% and falling fast.

  • The EU countries are almost all deep in debt, taxed highly, working with excess’s rules and regulations, and nanny states.
  • Japan’s a similar position and has the worst world debt at 250% of GDP. Japan’s recovery will be slow and has a             long-term weak growth outlook.
  •  The USA is much better prospects and will continue to gain momentum.

The Asian mega-region, which is Asia-Pacific less Japan plus the Indian sub-continent accounts for 35% of the world’s GDP and is growing three times as fast as the world at around 7%.

Australia is centred in the Asia-Pacific region were 80% of its trade takes place and two thirds of all its inbound tourism and immigration come from. This represents an upside from Australia, if it can lift its game and compete.

While Australia’s growth in 2015 is expected at about 3.3% slightly higher than 2014 and will come largely with Asia.

Polarisation

The outlook for the World’s top 20 nations with around 80% of the world’s GDP shows a great polarisation between old and the new economic zones.

Top Growths expected

China 7%, India 6.5% Indonesia 5.6% Turkey 3.7%, South Korea 3.7%, Mexico 3.6%, Poland 3.3%,

World averaged 3.3%.
Lowest Growths expected

Taiwan 3.2%, Australia 2.9%, USA 2.9%, UK 2.7%, Canada 2.5%, Spain 1.7%, Germany 1.5%, Brazil 1.4%, Japan 1.1%, France 0.8%, Iran 0.6%, Russia 0.6%, and Italy 0.5%.

Interest rates

Australian interest rates are expected to rise a little and Aussie exchange rates to weaken further then return to slightly higher levels against other main currencies particular the US dollar. With the US ending of quantitative easing this may have caused as yet unrealised inflation. Inflation itself may be tempting for governments with international debts who may look to bring back safer levels of debt to GDP i.e. under 65% instead of the current level of around hundred 115% of GDP as debt.

Australian Economy

Australian economy has been slowing in 2014 and the estimated GDP growth is 2.8% for the calendar year, but expected as slightly stronger in 2015 3.1%, but still below the long-term average of 3.5%.

The Australian economy is prone to recession after the end of each business cycle. And the next danger period is considered to be around 2017-18. These recessions usually occur due to a collapse in capital expenditure, not collapsing consumption expenditure or exports. Despite a collapse in investment in 2001 recession was avoided by boosting the housing sector the first home-buyers’ grants of $7,000 in 2000 then $14,000 in later years. No such incentives were needed in 2009 due to a significant backlog of mining investment plus a stimulus spending under the government. That stimulus spending may not have been necessary as households were at least $10,000 better off than the previous year due to the fall in mortgage rates from 9.25% 5.25% and a sharp fall in petrol prices. The real effect was a significant increase in the federal government’s deficits and cumulative debt.

The concern at the moment is the tailing off of mining investment however the federal government in particular is looking to fill that gap with large scale infrastructure spending. Mining has not been helped by the significantly lower resources prices with, for example, Iron ore dropping 50% in price this year alone. This will also drag the federal government’s revenue significantly lower and delay any improvements in the deficits that they have inherited, with no real ability to get cuts in expenditure through the upper house in Canberra.

However, it is unlikely that Australia will have recession in the next few years. Australia may also avoid the next expected downturn in 2018. If this can be avoided then Australia would have been recession-free from more than a quarter of a century

Inflation looks like it will stay between the federal bank guidelines and interest rates are likely to rise only marginally. Mortgage rates should begin to rise from the historically low levels at under 5% upwards to the longer-term average rate your 7.75% over the next 3 years.

Productivity is back above the long-term average of 1.7% with 2% in 2014 however in the not-for-profit sector which is more than 22% of the economy their productivity growth in five years 2014 was -0.4%. These not -for-profits sectors include education, health, public administration safety, utilities and public transport.

So what reforms do we need?

The first political hot potato is industrial relations reform.

The second is faster broadband which is vital for the digital era that we have entered.  Australia is well behind most OECD nations and many nations of the neighbouring Asia-Pacific.

Both of these reforms above are critical, as Australia is now part of the world’s fastest-growing region with the fastest modernising area in the most competitive region.

What are the fastest growing industries in 2015

The fastest-growing industries in Australia will be health, mining, professional technical services and finance and insurance.

What are the slowest growing industries in 2015

The slowest will be manufacturing, agriculture, utilities and media.

Job Growth

Jobs lost in the past five years were 146,000, whereas 944,000 new jobs were created which is six times as great.

Over the next five years we should expect this ratio of new jobs to increase compared to those lost.

The new jobs will be in the new age service industries, whereas the losses are expected to be manufacturing and mining and other agriculture.

Conclusion on Australian economy 2015

Good job growth plus infrastructure spending by federal government should help push the GDP growth and support employment. The weak Aussie dollar will help exports, but edging up interest rates will put a brake on investment. The lower oil prices will help at the petrol pump, but the improvements to productivity are badly needed particularly in the not-for-profit areas and a better platform for electronic and data speeds are needed to compete in our economic region.

DavidCartney@bigpond.com

December 2014

 

What’s keeping business leaders awake at night? 21 January 2013

The main issues discussed by business leaders in meetings with their business mentors in the latter part of 2012 and early 2013 are:

Economic Factors

Slow payments are impacting on cash flow and banks exerting pressure.

Retail sector is suffering due to economic uncertainly and Internet sales.

Technology

Keeping up with changes and trends in IT and communications is just getting harder.

Also deepening complexity of how the various social media platforms impacts on business and how best to adapt and use these applications responsibly and to our best advantage.

The risks of using the “cloud” putting many off using it and the worry about backing up information securely.

Staffing Issues

Increasingly vital to retain talented personnel and consider initiatives such as- implementing loyalty and reward programmes.

Also, the costs of training new staff members are becoming prohibitive.

Leadership

Since the Business Owners and CEOs set the standards and culture for the organisation, that drive success, it is becoming essential to strengthen our leadership and organisational skills.

Sounding Boards

The old saying ‘its lonely at the top’, still rings true.

With the experienced ear of an International Business Mentor, Business Owners, CEOs, Senior Executives and Directors benefit from candid discussions in regular business mentoring sessions, on a strictly confidential basis, on all your current concerns and strategic directions that you are facing.

 

International Business Mentoring Client Survey 2012

We conducted our annual survey of our mentoring clients in November 2012 and had a 71% response rate. The Mentees were asked to rank their experience with their international Business Mentor in respect of various factors.

The table below shows that the factors ranked highest by our mentees in the Excellent column are Sounding Board, Strategy development, Ideas generation, Better business performance and Own motivation. The lower half in the excellent column are Personal performance improvement, challenge, Encouragement & support, considering new approaches, better staff retention and Personal Growth.IBM_Survey

Although Personal Growth is ranked lowest on the excellent column it is ranked highest in the Good Column.

Overall responses

The overall percentage performance is healthy at 55% for the excellent ranking and we believe that this reflects the effort we put into the matching of the International Business Mentors with the Mentees and our improvements during the year.  We are pleased with the over all score of the excellent and good which represents 85% of the respondents. And of course we continue to work on improving our scores in 2013.

Thanks

We would like to thank our mentee clients for their support this year and for those completing the surveys and also thank our International Business Mentors for their commitment and efforts this year.

General Manager

Chris Cartney

December 2012

The 9 Laws of Performance 2012

Why 2012 you may ask?  The power of this article comes from accepting the limitations of society’s capacity and capability to keep up with the rate of change of technology used to replace people in the decision making processes of modern business, hence the need for time to establish a limiting boundary.  Change is the law of life!

Abstract

This article is about a journey of discovery focused on the impacts and side-effects of the rapid rate of change of technology used by modern business in gaining and maintaining that elusive competitive advantage.  The laws are a consequence of trying to implement compliance management systems in operational units, the supply chain and the dismantling of infrastructure leading to the realisation that regulations may seem unfair to business, and business not realising the potential improvement in the quality of management toward long term sustainability.  The 9 laws are an integral way of thinking in improving the quality of management to maximise finite resources.  It is a snapshot of scientific research into the life cycle of business performance and highlights the lead and lag time between the evolution of management, technology providers and the education system.  The 9 Laws are in logical sequence from a viewpoint human capability and capacity.

Pre-requisites for the digital age

Organisational Factors

Globalization, Acquisitions, Mergers and Administration affect risk and performance management

Highly reliable organisations are unable to keep up with legislative obligations of this digital age[1].  My strategy is overall compliance, e.g. Sarbanes-Oxley, QA, TQM, Six Sigma, OHSA, Workplace Relations, Accident Compensation, WHO, etc. and any technical standards.  These are the starting benchmarks for a learning business that has a strategy of high reliability to achieve a competitive advantage.  Furthermore organisations are losing out to the rate of change in the digital age, are unable to keep up with procedures for safety, risk and performance obligation that are practical and applicable.

Adapting the three laws of robotics to digital age complexity management.

Laws that form an organising principle and unifying theme of organisational behavior:

Laws of digital age resource management

A person or system of artificial intelligence (replacing people in the decision making process) may not sanction the law of unintended consequences which can bring harm to the organization or its people, or through inaction, bring the organization into disrepute.

The Board of Directors/CEO/Executives have accountability to:

  • Identify and record the overall risks and then establish the remaining risks to be managed by people for the life cycle of the technology.
  • Set the performance & competency targets for maintaining these remaining risks.
  • Establish the system of communications & measurement such that competent people can forestall the law of unintended consequences.

Use fuzzy logic mathematics to resolve ambiguities, which may arise in the future, in this law

A system of artificial intelligence must obey orders given by the leadership of the organization except where such orders would conflict with the First law

A system of artificial intelligence must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws

Performance Criteria

OH&S Act – Code of Practice for Plant – this code established clear guidelines by incorporating IEC 61508 functional safety of electrical, electronic and programmable electronic safety related system – Part 1 in the list of standards that set the performance levels required to be implemented by the governing body of a business.

Also the OH&S Act definition:

‘A state of knowledge that a person in that POSITION OR SITUATION is expected to have. It is not something which varies according to a duty holder’s own subjective or personal knowledge base.’

NOTE

The ‘inaction’ clause is essential – software has systemic failures – usually catastrophic. – Therefore action must be taken by the artificial intelligence or people!

Part 3 – Software requirements

Predicting & preventing failure

Part 2 – functional safety of electrical, electronic and programmable electronic safety related system – hardware requirements

 

Introduction
The insight that the application of technology in business has outpaced the transformation of management from industrial to digital and knowledge driven economies led to today’s complexities in business. This is highlighted in many cases of disaster recovery where the responsiveness factor is low and in cases of litigation the courts are ruling systemic management system failure. Governments and Corporations are having bad experiencing resulting from outsourced risks. The 9 laws of performance integrate the 3 laws of robotics. The underpinning principles are:

  • People are the business without them nothing happens
  • Regulations are reactive hence the need for business leaders to be pro-active

The 9 laws are comprised of:

  1. Vision
  2. Space
  3. Marketing
  4. Sharing
  5. System
  6. Passion
  7. Internal business intelligence
  8. External business intelligence
  9. Corporate Governance

The rational

  1. The Vision statement is the pathway the organisation puts in place to establish its operations and targets.
  2. The Space is the area of operations and its focus is on the use of local intelligence to gain ideas, innovation and invention for that market space.
  3. Marketing is about the turbulent life and business conditions and asking the right questions to verify and validate the ‘space’ intelligence is in line with the vision statement, its also underpinned by intelligence from the 7th and 8th law
  4. Sharing is about the 3 T’s truth, trust and transparency within a production unit – to enhance the potential for growth and provide supporting systems for learning in self and corporate development. Our unique integral object and data object naming conventions provides the power of knowledge to the people specific to their function and location maximising the use of technology.
  5. System – the secret is in the system which is about:
    • Capturing, distributing and recalling knowledge in compliance with regulatory obligation.
    • To store and produce a deck of cards for;
    • The 5P’s Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance as well as,
    • Maintaining all relationships within the business unit and providing summary reports for collation to enable an overall learning organisation specific to an industry.
    • To ensure the level of peak experiences in leadership which require continuous development for enduring states of thinking to become permanent traits in leadership.
  6. Passion is about the 3 R’s respect for self, respect for others and responsibility of action
  7. Internal business intelligence is about:
    • The continuous scanning of the internal intelligence for continuous improvement in maintaining that competitive advantage.
    • To provide intelligence transfer (lessons learned) to similar units of production globally
  8. External business intelligence is about:
    • The continuous scanning of the external intelligence to stay one step ahead of the competition
    • Capturing knowledge from all sources to improving and internalising risks at the approved as low as reasonably practical (ALARP) level of risk.
  9. Corporate Governance is about:
    • Knowing why, what, where, when, whom and how to apply governance within the organisation
    • To have the evidence why government regulations are inappropriate.

Entry into these laws can take place at any level.

Reference List

  1. IEC 61508 Functional Safety of electrical, electronic and programmable electronic safety related systems parts 1 though to 7 (Published as AS 61508 in Australia)
    • NOTE: many of the listed standard reference come under the umbrella of this standard
  2. IEC 60300 Dependability Parts 1, 2, & 3 – Section 1 – 12 of part 3
  3. IEC 60300: 1984, Reliability and maintainability management
  4. IEC 60300-3-1: 1991, Dependability management – Part 3: Application guide – Section 1: Analysis techniques for dependability: Guide on methodology
  5. IEC 60300-3-2: 1993, Dependability management – Part 3: Application guide – Section 2: Collection of dependability data from the field
  6. IEC 60300-3-9, Dependability management – Part 3: Application guide – Section 9: Risk analysis of technological systems
  7. IEC 60319: 1978, Presentation of reliability data on electronic components or parts
  8. IEC 60362: 1971, Guide for collection of reliability, availability and maintainability data from field performance of electronic items
  9. IEC 60409: 1981, Guide for the inclusion of reliability clauses into specifications for components (or parts) for electronic equipment
  10. IEC 60414: 1973, Safety requirements for indicating and recording electrical measuring instruments and their accessories
  11. IEC 60513: 1994, Fundamental aspects of safety standards for medical electrical equipment
  12. IEC 61511 – Functional Safety – instrumented system for the process industry
  13. Draft IEC 61499 – Function Blocks for industrial Process measurement and control systems
  14. Draft IEC 61804 Ed.1 Part 1- Function Blocks For Process Control, Digital Communications, General Requirements 1999
  15. Draft IEC 60261 – Safety of Machinery – Functional Safety – Electrical, Electronic and Programmable Electronic Control Systems.
  16. AS 4024.1 2006 (Series) Safety of Machinery
  17. NASA Software Program – NASA – GB 1740.13-96
  18. DOD-STD 2168 – Defense System Software Quality Program and the quality related provisions of DOD-STD 1679A (Navy) Software Development and DOD-STD 2167A Defense Systems Software Development.
  19. DEF – Ministry of Defense, UK
    • DEF 00-55 – Requirements for safety related software in Defense equipment MOD 1997 Part 1 Requirements, Part 2 Guidance
    • DEF 00-56 – Safety Management Requirements for Defense systems. MOD 1996 Part 1 Requirements, Part 2 Guidance
    • DEF – 00-58 HAZOP studies on systems containing programmable electronics, MOD, 2000 Part 1 Requirements, Part 2 General applications guidance
  20. DEF (Aust) 5679 The Procurement of computer base Safety critical systems
  21. OHSA 29CFR 191.119 Process Safety Management
  22. ANSI/ISA S84.1 Application of Safety Instrumented Systems in the process industry
  23. ANSI/ISA S91.01 – 1995 identification of Emergency Shutdown systems and controls that are critical to maintaining safety in process industries
  24. TUV Prufing der Sicherheit und Fehlertoleranz elektronischer Steuerungen (Approval of Safety-aspects and Fault Tolerance of Electronic Systems) (8/2002)– Automatisieringstechnik 50 Ó Oldernburg Verlag
  25. Draft EN 746 – Industrial heat processing plants
    • Part 1: General safety requirements of industrial heat processing plants
    • Part 2: Safety requirements of furnaces and fuel supply systems
  26. AS 4360 Risk Management
  27. EPA United States Environmental Protection Agency 40 CFR 68 – Risk Management Program
  28. AS 2645 Information processing – documentation symbols and conventions for data, program and system flowcharts, program network charts and system resource charts
  29. AS/NZS ISO 9004:2000 Quality management systems – Guidelines for performance improvements
  30. AS/NZS ISO 9001:2008 Quality management systems – Requirements
  31. American Petroleum Institute API Spec Q1 7th Edition Specification for Quality Programs for the Petroleum, Petrochemical and Natural Gas Industry
  32. Building Control Commission – Essential Services Maintenance Manual – A guide to your building services requirements and listed standards.
  33. AS 4292 parts 1 to 5 – 1995 Rail Safety Management
  34. AS 4100 – Steel Structures
  35. Transport – Alternative Compliance – Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme – Business Rules
  36. Australian Standards and Conformance Infrastructure 1995 The governments response to the Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Australia’s Standards and Conformance Infrastructure – Linking Industry Globally.
  37. Value Management/ Value Engineering study1985, State Electricity Commission Vic, Plant Coding Systems (evaluation of coding systems from major suppliers of power generating plant from companies around the world)
  38. VGB Kraftwerktechnik Gmbh –Kraftwerk Kennzeichen System (KKS) (Power Station Identification system)
  39. Siemens – Plant Coding System
  40. Contract Documentation – my involvement was compliance management of the contracts and data is covered by confidentiality agreements for the following major works contracts:
    • Power Station 2X500MW lignite coal fired power complex (Vic)
    • Oil Refinery (Vic)– Maintenance Contract
    • Coal Gasification Research Facility (Vic) – ($100M)
    • 2X Olympic Dam Expansion Project
    • Century Zinc (Qld) – New mining project, Mine and Port facilities – Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) Contract ($1200M)
    • Mika Creek Power Station (Qld) ($100M for Instrumentation)
    • For all of the above – documentation essential to my research

    Contractual conditions

    • Process and Instrumentation diagrams
    • Lists Input/output signals
    • Quality Assurance Requirements
    • Procedures and instructions
    • Applicable standards
    • Level of compliance specified

    Tender Documentation

    • Power Station – Instrument Upgrade ($50M)
    • Sulphur recovery units ($60M)
    • Gas Turbine Station Stage D ($80M)
  41. Company/Contract specific Standards such as: Esso, Mobil, Shell Oil refinery standards – Extensive list of proprietary standards that meet specific needs in the operations/maintenance phase for these companies.
  42. VGB Kraftwerktechnik Gmbh – Verlag Technisch-Wissenschaftlicher Schriften; Klinke Strasse.27-31 4300 Essen – Begriffsbestimmungen in der Energiewirtschaft (Regulations in the Energy Sector) Teil 5 (part 5) Verfugbarkeit von Warmekraftwerken
  43. Regulatory Impact Statement for Transport (Rail Safety) Regulations 1998
  44. Stuart R Nunns – Functional Safety of Safety – Related Systems: the Influence of IEC 61508 and Development in Conformity Assessment Schemes on Business Drivers – Eutech Engineering Solutions Ltd, Belasis Hall Technology Park PO Box Billingham Teesside TS23 4 YS UK
  45. David Kiang- Technology Impact on Dependability Requirements – Convener, Joint Working Group IEC/TC65/WG10-ISO/IEC JTC1/SC7/WG9 Nortel Technology PO Box 3511 Station C Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1Y 4H7
  46. M Jones – The ESA Software Engineering Standards: Past, Present and Future – Ground Systems Engineering Department, European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) Darmstadt, Germany – 1082-3670/97 IEEE
  47. Victoria Stavridou (1997) Integration Standards For Critical Software Intensive Systems, Department of Computer Science, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS E-mail: victoria@dcs.qmw.ac.uk
  48. Victoria Stavridou Computer Related Standards and Safety – Workshop Proceedings 1082-3670/97 IEEE
  49. Ron Bell – Health and Safety Executive UK Chairman: IEC/SC65A/Working Group 10 -IEC ACOS Workshop V – Functional Safety within the IEC: Developments to date & the way ahead.
  50. Gerald W. Ash and Knowledge Management Luminaries, Fred Schoep formerly IBM, Jack Vinson Pharmacia soon Pfizer, Stephen Denning formerly World Bank, Will Hooper Xerox and others – Developing Quality systems in Knowledge Management – Paper presented at QSA Asia Pacific Forum October 2002
  51. Handbook of Industrial and Organisational Psychology – Morris D. Dunnette Editor – Wiley – Interscience – A general systems approach to organisations Pages 47-60, Motivational theory in Industrial & DDMINPage 510/30/2012
  52. Kathleen Day – staff writer Washington Post, After High-Profile Corporate Busts, Governance Consulting Booms 27/12/2002 Page E01
  53. Harvard Business Review on CHANGE – Harvard Business School Press Boston, MA 02163
  54. Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985 Code of Practice for Plant No 19 July 1995 Pages 12 – State of Knowledge, I/E 1508 Functional Safety – Safety Related systems on pages 20, 32, 54, and Design verifiers on Page 75.
  55. Tracey Swift (1997) QSA Professional Development Workshop, Learning through sharing workshop – “Integrated Systems Management and the Culture to support its effectiveness”. E-mail T.Swift@Sheffield.ac.uk
  56. David Parkin & Paul Bourke (2001) – Winning with Pumped Up People, Information Australia, 75 Flinders Lane, Melbourne Vic. 3000
  57. Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia – Vision 2020. Down-load from – www.icaa.com.au
  58. AS 3905.15 – 1998 Quality system guidelines – Guide to AS/NZS ISO 9001:1994 for the Accounting Profession.
  59. Quality Control Management in accounting practices Australian Society of CPA’s / The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia
  60. Extracts from ICAA Members’ Handbook
    • N3 Guidance Notes – N3 – Risk Management Guidelines
    • AASB 1031 Materiality
    • AASB 1039 Concise Financial Reports
    • AASB 1034 Finical Report Presentation and Disclosures
    • APS 1 Conformity with Accounting Standards and UIG Consensus Views
    • APS 1.1 Conformity with Auditing Standards
    • APS 2 Engagement Letters to Clients
    • APS 3 Compatibility of Australian Accounting Standards and International Accounting Standards
    • APS 4 Statement of Quality Control Standard
    • APS 5 Quality Control Policies and Procedures
    • APS 6 Statement of Taxation Standards
    • APS 7 Statement of Insolvency Standards
    • APS 8 Statement of Management Consulting
    • APS 9 Statement on Compilation of Financial Reports
    • APS 10 Client Money and the Maintenance and Audit of a Members Trust Account
  61. J.E. Whiting – The Emerging Asia-Pacific and ISO Standards for OHS&E risk management systems, Quality Magazine Aug 1997
  62. Australian Securities and Investment Commission. Sections 295, 296, 297, 298, 299(1)(f), 344
  63. International Corporate Governance Network – Statement on Global Corporate Governance Principles, Adopted July 9 1999 at the Annual Conference in Frankfurt.
  64. K Rieger (1998) – Life cycle management of high technology projects involving Safety Related Systems; Published by: National Technical Committee on Safety Critical Systems, Computer Systems & Software Engineering Board, Australian Computer Society – November 1998
  65. K Rieger (1999) – Software Safety Standards – How they affect business; Published by: International Energy and Engineering Conference – Monash University Gippsland – November 1999
  66. K Rieger (1999) – Quality in Project Management; Published by: The Quality Magazine / October 1999 Volume 8 Number 5
  67. K Rieger (2002) Avoid corporate failure-managing small elements to succeed – Published by the QSA Asia Pacific Forum
  68. Nahid Golafshani – Understanding Reliability and Validity in Qualitative Research- The Qualitative Report Volume 8 Number 4 December 2003 597-607 http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR84/golafshani.pdf
    University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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    www.yvonneteohbource.com
  71. Deepak Chopra – The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success – Amber-Allen Publishing & New world Library ISBN 1-878424-11-4
  72. David Cartney, Kurt Rieger – The Corporate Wolf Pack’ www.lulu.com
  73. Australian Institute of Company Directors – VicDirector issue 1 July 2010
  74. McKinsey & Co – The war for talent – www.seek.com
  75. Lysette Mavridis – National Manager – Education Development – Australian Institute of Company Directors
  76. A T Kearney – The Characteristics of e-leaders – www.seek.com and related articles listed at this location
  77. Credentialing and defining the scope of clinical practice for medical practitioners in Victorian health services – a policy handbook. Published by the Quality and Safety Branch, Rural and Regional Health and Aged Care Services, Victorian Government Department of Human Services, Melbourne, Victoria 2007, © Copyright State of Victoria, Department of Human Services, 2007
  78. Health Services (Private Hospitals and Day Procedure Centers) Regulations 2002 S.R. No. 79/2002 Version incorporating amendments as at 7 March 2008
  79. AS NZS 3551-2004 Technical management programs for medical devices
  80. The good Governance Standards www.opm.co.uk/ICGGPS/
  81. Corporate Duties Below Board Level Discussion Paper – Chartered Secretaries Australia www.CSAust.com
  82. Intraindustry Executive Succession, Competitive Dynamics, and Firm Performance: Through the knowledge transfer Lens. Journal of Managerial issues Vol XIX Number 3 FLL 2007: 340-3-6
  83. SEI Software Risk Evaluation (SRE) Service www.sei.cmu.eduonache,
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[1] In the Sarbanes Oxley regulation the obligations for measurement are delegated to the Auditors that are outside the organisation – thus external auditors have the problem of measuring performance and report on it. Measurement has become very complex. In today’s digital age, transparency & accountability require clear statements of outcomes oriented measures & targets and the tracking of such from top to bottom. These are defined within the OHS Act which are: predicting and preventing the political, social, and environmental and physical consequences of any mishap or incident that may lead to a software failure as these can have catastrophic consequences. In 2012 we have learned that auditors have failed to achieve this.