Business trends come and go. Just when you think you’ve got to grips with the latest one, five new ones pop up and make you re-evaluate everything. Some make good business sense and are built to last, others are all style and no substance, and the rest are clickbait flashes in the pan. So how do you know what’s worth pursuing and what’s not?
Making investment decisions for your firm is one of the great privileges of leadership. It's also, however, a responsibility that many business leaders still struggle with. As US business magnate Warren Buffett wrote in a letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholder in 1987: “The heads of many companies are not skilled in capital allocation. Their inadequacy is not surprising because most bosses rise to the top because they have excelled in an area such as marketing, production, engineering, administration or, sometimes, institutional politics.”
The first task of all leaders is to recognise that uncertainty is the primary characteristic of the 21st century. We live in a constantly changing and evolving world where no two weeks look the same! Leadership needs to prepare for this by keeping an open mind. This is for three main reasons: it allows them flexibility; it allows the pursuit of unity; and finally because ‘opinionated certainty’ and the rigidity it engenders is a hallmark of mediocrity.
With 26 years’ experience as a Royal Navy fighter pilot and surveillance pilot for the security services and UK Special Forces, Vistage speaker, Matthew Whitfield, is no stranger to elite leadership.
When it comes to the social and economic wellbeing of local communities, business has a vital role to play. If the people are the lifeblood, SMEs are the beating heart. In 2017, 99.3% of all private businesses were small and medium-sized enterprises - and they provided 60% of all employment. SMEs have the ability to shape and influence communities at a grassroots level - and we’re not just talking about money.
How do you measure business success? While the most obvious metrics are profit or share prices, a societal shift towards sustainability and ethical values means there is another important factor to consider: environmental impact.
Physical fatigue is easy to spot. You feel it in your bones, you see it in the mirror. Your body aches, you’re exhausted, and you just want to stop and lie down. Other types of fatigue are less easy to detect but can be just as debilitating - and these include decision fatigue.
We live in a hero-worshipping culture; one in which individual strength, success and achievement are held up as ideals to emulate and deify. From film stars and singers to sporting champions and politicians, we’re naturally drawn to those who seem superhuman.
What makes a leader truly great? Each year, thousands of books are written on leadership, seminars are attended all over the world and business leaders go in search of the holy grail: how to become the best leader they can be.
The phrase ‘negative externalities’ was coined to explain the unintended side effects of a business’ action in their pursuit of profit. This seemingly innocuous phrase covered everything from oil spills to childhood diabetes; the subtext being that profit and environmentalism or business ethics are at odds. To make the most money, someone somewhere has to take a hit, and if the fines metered out as a result of these externalities were less than the profits a business stood to make, it was a fair trade off. The planet, in many cases, came last.