Blog -World Class Leadership

Avoiding Financial Failure from a Director’s Lens

Uncategorized Oct 17, 2017

Lights, camera and action. This would be the normal sequence when shooting for a scene. The same rules should apply to the corporate world when making decisions. The problem is the sequence has been missed and so often, company directors and executives tend to take action without lights or preparing the camera. Look at some recent company failures and it is no surprise that the financial mark was missed.

In all companies, finance is the key and without proper and adequate financial management, companies tend to fail. Many financial systems are available but the problem is that the top level executives simply don’t get it right often. They look into financials without having a good grip of what financials are all about.

This article is prepared with the intention of offering directors and executives how to detect value drivers and avoid smokescreens without micromanaging. It is planned with the intention to further offer suggestions on how to make savvy decisions and apply a...

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5 Leadership Qualities Leading to Excellence.

As we keep facing disruptions and uncertainties, change is now a constant. To achieve leadership excellence, a shift in mindset and actions is vital. I have observed many companies fail due to lack of sound leadership skills. On the other hand, I have seen companies which grow due to a few habits and discipline leaders demonstrate in their day to day activities.

The purpose of this article is to enable you to move to a higher platform which will impact effectiveness and growth.

Step Back: Leaders need to step back and observe what is happening. There was a retreat I facilitated for a mid-sized service company.  The retreat was for owners, executives, and the management team. Over a two-day period, each leader was given time to simply reflect, observe and share their perception. After the first day, the whole group was energised as new insights started emerging. This whole experience resulted in new approaches at board and management level. While execution is vital to forge...

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A labour of convenience and cost efficiency: Why independent contracting and outsourcing are here to stay and the dangers of ignoring its advantages

If you live in a developed nation you have no doubt been inundated about the dangers and domestically harmful repercussions of outsourcing labour. It has been said that it causes the loss of domestic jobs, it provides unfair cost advantages, it produces sub par products and services, and in short it may be the destruction of the current system of labour and business operations as we know it. 

I for one agree some of the above; outsourcing does have labour ramifications, it does cause the loss of domestic jobs, it does provide cost advantages (albeit I don’t agree that they are unfair), it might change the way products and services are created (although I don’t agree that outsourcing guarantees the production of inferior products), and it will cause an end to the current system of labour in many developed nations. 

My response to these inferences is while this is true, the advantages of both international and domestic outsourcing means that it is here to...

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Little Giants – When staying small is the best option and when growing can be counterproductive

It is the vision of all companies to eventually grow and become more successful in the industries that they compete in.  In a world where market share provides direct competitive advantages and provides the opportunities required to generate lucrative returns growth has, and will continue to be king. 

However, just because growth is the goal doesn’t mean that the goal is always correct and doesn’t mean that every opportunity to grow is a good one for your company.  When opportunity strikes the instinct of any good  executive and manager is to explore the situation to determine whether the opportunity in question is in the best interest of the company.  If it is shown that the opportunity is in the best interest of the company, and the resources can be (notice I didn’t say should be) acquired then the executive will likely move forward with the transaction.  The problem is that executives are so anxious to grow their companies that...

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The ROI of Marketing: Numbers to Grow By

Generally when we are helping a company transition from one level of operations to a higher level, we find that the client is usually enamored with the idea of making major investments in marketing and sales.  The primary reason for this is that they spur business development and provide the most tried and true method to obtain new revenue.  

Depending on the business, there are many times when major investments in marketing are not only permissible but necessary to facilitate the growth necessary to justify larger investments in the company.  However we generally find that many clients are not well versed in how diverse a marketing portfolio should be.  Similar to stock or bonds the diversity of your marketing profile is vital to assuring that your marketing profile produces a significant ROI. 

As an executive or business owner; it must be understood that MARKETING IS AN INVESTMENT; and like all investments the evaluation of marketing is based on the...

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What is Governance - Exclusively for Private and Family Owned Businesses

 

I often get asked these questions. What is Governance? How can I apply sound governance practices in my company.

First and foremost, Governance is not about slowing down processes or 'Red Tape' (which many private and family owned businesses think).  Governance starts from within. I prefer the definition that Governance is translating the wishes and desires of owners into results (Dr. John Carver). It is extremely important to understand that the following points are fully grasped and understood.

Owners Expectation: Having complete clarity in what owner's expect is the first and foremost. I have noticed companies going straight into strategy without taking time to truly understand owner's expectations. In some cases, owners themselves are engrossed, working fully on strategy and operations of their company, without fully connecting to what they really want. All decisions must be clearly linked to the owner's expectations. The starting point for Governance is to fully grasp...

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Thought Leadership - Riding the Brain Waves

In times past, corporate or business leadership meant being at the front of the line, ahead of the curve, innovative, charismatic, and talented. While those descriptions may still fit, the modern executive must understand that successful leadership is more than achieving objectives or showing a profit. Regardless of the size of your company, to be a leader means that you are first a thinker. Thought leadership is, at its core, the first function of a true leader. 

While it is true that success favors the bold and that action is a necessary element of progress; the ability to be successful in 21st century business is centred on a manager’s ability to be logical and to efficiently dissect and process information. These functions are vital in a world that is becoming increasingly small due to a massive free-flow of information. From a market standpoint executives must be cognizant of the fact that the window for taking advantage of opportunities is getting smaller, decisions...

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How to Increase Revenues and Profits in uncertain times

The conventional methods of selling and earning good margins has completely changed. Buyer behaviours have changed and more choices are now easily available. The key question is, how can you increase revenues and profits during these disruptive times?

Boohoo, an online fashion retailer posted a 97% increase in profits and growth in sales by 51% in the past year. On the other hand, Next, a fashion chain posted a drop of 2.5% in total sales in 13 weeks. The point I am trying to make is, what is a successful growing company doing compared to another in the same industry which posted unfavourable results? Though Next has retail outlets as well as an online presence.

There is a common trend for companies that are successful. They focus and act on certain activities which struggling companies are inconsistent with.  I filtered out 7 insights which have made a positive impact to businesses which are key to their progression over the years. These are:

1) Asking the right questions...

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7 Signs of an Effective Board for a Private Company

Many boards are vague on what board meetings discussions should focus on. I recall a family owned manufacturing company, where the directors met to discuss monthly management reports. A senior member of an accounting firm was chairing these meetings. There were reactive arguments throughout one such meeting (I had the opportunity to observe) which lasted an hour and a half.  The chair was dominating the meeting and ultimately making decisions without much contribution from the other directors and executives. They considered these to be board meetings as they comprised of directors and the head of finance.

 My point is, there are many such companies who have not evolved to the new reality. The global landscape rapidly changes and boards must prepare more than ever before. Board level discussions and management meetings must have clear distinctions. In this article, I reveal 7 signs of an effective board.

 1)      Focused on Priorities: The...

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Small Enterprise Corporate Governance: The Structure of Sustainability

In turbulent times when clients are decreasing their budgets, banks aren’t lending, competition is becoming more hostile and threatening, and change is no longer variable but a fixed part of “business as usual” it often effects small companies much differently than large companies. A major reason for this is that larger companies (at least those that are solvent and long-standing) for better or worse depend on their infrastructure and internal systems to get them through tumultuous times. A major part of this system is the Corporate Governance Structure of the organization. This system provides structure in times of uncertainty, it provides a network of quality individuals who are familiar with the company and capable, as a group, of making logical decisions on matters that will determine the level of success or failure within that organization. Some may assume that small companies don’t require the same type of structure to succeed; in fact some may argue...

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