5 IT Security Questions Every MD Needs to be Asking Their Team

2/19/2016 posted in Business, Being a new CEO, Technology, Strategy, Change Management

One business trend that is guaranteed to gain traction in 2016 is data security – with the recent spate of cyber attacks on high-profile targets such as TalkTalk, V-Tech and Ashley Madison forcing many business owners to re-think their online security strategies.

Witnessing the devastating effects of these criminal acts through mass media highlights just how important data security has become to 21st Century businesses. The BBC reported that the TalkTalk hack could end up costing the network provider up to £35 million in one-off costs. These additional costs include covering the response to the incident, additional IT and security infrastructure, increased calls to the call centre and, of course, lost revenue due to the inevitable fall in consumer confidence.

While it’s easy to think this will never happen to your business, it pays to be prepared – and as the head of your business, the responsibility for keeping your team security savvy lies with you.

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Staff Motivation 101: Mastering Your Management Techniques

11/6/2015 posted in Business, Leading, Not Managing, Being a new CEO, Strategy

You will often find yourself juggling so many jobs that you have to become dependent on your team - and while their support is undoubtedly integral to the company’s success, they should remain your focus. From implementing a culture of openness to harnessing the power of team training sessions, mastering your management skills will serve both you and your staff well. 

Finding a happy medium between productivity and your team’s wellbeing can be a struggle - but we’ve got some top tips to help you balance the scales.

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The Real Magic of Engaging Your People

10/30/2015 posted in Business, Leading, Not Managing, Being a new CEO, Strategy

Ask a business leader what managing people means to them and they’ll undoubtedly use words like payroll, employment legislation and record keeping. Some will tell you stories of how they couldn’t do what the business needed because of the threat (perceived or otherwise) of being taken to Employment Tribunal.

Many will tell you that their employees are the business’s greatest asset but very few will be able to tell you about the activities they take to ensure their people are engaged and motivated. This is shocking when research shows that 86% of employees are either not engaged or worse, actively disengaged. 

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Marketing for CEOs and the 4 Not-so-Great Expectations!

7/31/2015 posted in Business, Speakers, Life At The Top, Being a new CEO, Marketing

It never ceases to surprise us when CEOs confide that they don’t have stellar expectations of what marketing can do for their business. “Sure it can make a difference”, they say, “A smart website and some nice newsletters”. All too rarely do we meet a CEO who tells us they expect their marketing to deliver truly transformational, high impact strategic results.

Many have a preconceived, purely tactical view of marketing. “We got last week’s receptionist to make a few changes to the website”. They don’t understand what strategic marketing is and so are unable to set the strategic tone for how they want their business strategy (for those which have one!) to be supported.

And by high impact strategic results - what do we mean? There are a few questions you should be asking of your business.

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Leadership Tips: Why the Brain Resists Change

2/4/2015 posted in Business, Being a new CEO, Change Management

Whether it’s going to the gym three times a week, eating more healthily, improving customer service or introducing a new IT system, change is hard. While there has been plenty written about change management and the psychology of change, many practitioners fail to deliver the desired outcomes.

In fact, change is so hard we won’t do it, even when faced with life threatening consequences; as few as 1 in 7 patients that have suffered a heart attack make the advised lifestyle changes to avoid further health problems.

However, growing research in the field of neuroscience, linking brain structures and functioning to our emotions, perceptions and behaviour, means that we are beginning to understand why. And this body of evidence offers valuable insight on how we can lead more effectively, in synchronicity with how the brain works, through a discipline called Neuro-Leadership.

So how can business leaders use this research to lead change effectively?

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How to Be a Great Leader with Lessons from David Marquet

11/14/2014 posted in Business, Being a new CEO

Being a smart leader is good, but the key to great leadership is empowering your people. Simon Sinek shares the powerful story of naval submarine Captain David Marquet and how he came to realise that even though the people at the top of an organisation have all of the authority, the people at the bottom have all the information. 

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7 Smart Ways to Encourage Better Decision Making in Your Business

11/6/2014 posted in Business, Being a new CEO


Making better decisions is not just the responsibility of the CEO it’s also a necessity for every member of your team. High performing teams work because they have enabled high levels of trust and driven the independence and decision making capabilities of your people. As a business leader you must help your teams have the correct skills and resources to make the right decisions, decisions that support your goals and align in a powerful fashion with your corporate strategy and vision.

Here are 8 tips for MDs to encourage better decision making across their organisations:

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Nothing is as Enjoyable as Telling Someone Else How to Run Their Business!

10/15/2014 posted in Leading, Not Managing, Being a new CEO, Vistage

Some 23 years ago a simple request from my wife literally changed my life.

She telephoned me at my office, where I ran my business consultancy and asked me to pick up the Manchester Evening News on the way home, which I duly did.

At that time we read the MEN on a regular basis, approximately once every six months, so Hilary looked through the paper to catch up on some local news.

She said "This looks interesting" and showed me a classified advertisement for ‘Chair for Groups of Chief Executives, part time’.

It did interest me so I applied and after two or three interviews a telephone call from the then CEO Ken Satrese told me that I had been successful. Of course, I was excited in my new role, but at the time, I did not know that answering that ad would genuinely change my life and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to become a Vistage (then called TEC) Chair.

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Why Business Leaders Need to Put on Their Oxygen Mask First!

10/3/2014 posted in Business, Leading, Not Managing, Being a new CEO

How many of you have flown in the last couple of years on a plane? No doubt you’re familiar with the safety announcement. It always says, "If there's a drop in cabin pressure, the oxygen masks are going to come down.” But then it says something really interesting, which is this: “put your own on first before you help others." Or, in other words, help yourself before you help others.

Now actually, as a business leader, this mindset of helping yourself before you help others can seem counterintuitive. Often, in our daily life, we're so busy trying to make customer service right, work on employee engagement, and be a great parent, or a spouse, we're so busy putting on oxygen masks for other people, that we don't always take time out to put our own on.

But when you think about it more, not putting your own oxygen mask on can be critical to the strength of the business. How can it flourish, if its leader is struggling to breath?

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The Challenge of Listening to Good Advice

9/7/2014 posted in Business, Getting Ahead, Being a new CEO


I think I have been really lucky in the advice I've received throughout my career – and perhaps you have too. Not all of it has been equally helpful, but apart from very specific business advice, I still recall many of the excellent tips that have been offered to me at different times in my life.  

I’d like to tell you the best advice I ever had at the end of this article. But first, why is it that taking advice from others can be so – well, difficult?   

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