3 Observations of Business Culture and Practical Tips to Overcome Resistance

8/26/2016 posted in Business, Leading, Not Managing, Employee Motivation, Strategy, Change Management

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” according to a quote attributed to management guru Peter Drucker. Your organisation’s strategy is easy to define and can be changed with the stroke of a pen, but your culture? That’s made up of thousands, sometimes millions, of decisions, attitudes, messages and relationships. But if culture is so important and so hard to define, how do you set about changing it?

In 2006, the BBC decided to move a host of major departments, including Children’s TV, Breakfast News, Dragons’ Den and Match of the Day, to a brand new base in Salford. The move cost hundreds of millions of pounds and saw nearly a thousand staff relocate from London. BBC North promised staff a better working culture. I was part of the team that had to deliver it, and here are my observations.

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The Real Magic of Engaging Your People

8/10/2016 posted in Leading, Not Managing, HR, Employee Motivation, Vistage, Strategy


Don’t miss out on the power of staff engagement.

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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[Infographic] 5 essential strategies to increase your return on people

8/3/2016 posted in Speakers, Leading, Not Managing, HR, Recruitment, Employee Motivation, Vistage, Strategy

Discover strategies that will empower your people and have a positive impact on your bottom line. 

Your people are the most essential part of your business. It’s time to motivate your people and take actions to produce measurable results - all of which will feed into customer satisfaction. Transforming the talent within your organisation will help you to transform your profitability - and we’ve highlighted exactly what you should be prioritising.

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Be a Gamechanger

8/1/2016 posted in Business, Speakers, Leading, Not Managing, Getting Ahead, Vistage, Strategy

Why be 10% better, when you could be 10 times better?

Gamechangers are disruptive and innovative start-ups and corporates, in every sector and region, reshaping our world, according to Peter Fisk, author of Gamechangers.

Gamechangers think and act differently. They win by being smart, fast and connected – rather than through scale and efficiency. They look beyond the sale to enable customers to achieve more. They care about their impact on people and the world. Ultimately they want to create a better world.

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How can you spot when teams are under-performing?

7/25/2016 posted in Business, Speakers, Leading, Not Managing, HR, Recruitment, Employee Motivation, Strategy

In this 20 minute video from our Vistage Open Day leadership and strategy expert Jim Alampi shares his original take on Patrick Lencioni's "5 Dysfunctions of a Team". He combines the most powerful moments from Lencioni's work with his own tools to bring new insights into how CEOs can enable and cultivate high performing teams within their companies.

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Transforming Stress – From Cost to Competitive Advantage

7/8/2016 posted in Business, Speakers, Leading, Not Managing, Getting Ahead, Work/Life Balance Issues, HR, Recruitment, Employee Motivation, Strategy


Almost 8 out of 10 people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress. The cost of this for employers is around US$300bn every year in stress related health care and absences.

Stress-related presenteeism (defined as the lost productivity that occurs when employees come to work but, as a consequence of illness or other conditions, are not fully functioning) and absentism are costing employers more than AU$10billion a year.

As industry leaders, it makes sense for boards to tackle this costly issue. And the first step in doing so is to challenge how organisations, and society, have normalised and accepted stress. We actually expect we should feel stressed during certain circumstances e.g. tough market conditions, organisational change, busy times of year etc. For some professions it is almost worn as a merit badge of their commitment to success.

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Why Should You Encourage Your Employees to Improve Their Diet and Nutrition?

6/24/2016 posted in Business, Leading, Not Managing, Work/Life Balance Issues, Employee Motivation

While our health is critical to our feeling of wellbeing, so is our diet critical to our health. The 21st Century diet of pre-processed packaged convenience foods and fast food on the run tends to be high in unhealthy fats, sugars and salt.

This is leading directly to people becoming overweight and suffering with health problems. Intensive farming with the use of fertilisers and pesticides has taken a lot of the nutrients out of the soil so that even much of our fresh fruit and vegetables are lacking a lot of the goodness and nutrition that were present 50 years ago.

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Cash and Funding; the oil in your growth engine

5/27/2016 posted in Business, Leading, Not Managing, Life At The Top, Strategy

Whatever your business, whether it’s commercial or a charity or not-for-profit, if you grow significantly there will be major implications on how you fund the growth and manage the cash.

VIstage Speaker, Jo Haigh, puts it like this: “You can trade profitably for ages, but you can only ever run out of cash once.”

James Nicholson-Smith, Director, FD Centre also warns: “Unless you’re really determined you need the funding and have a really good reason for it, this whole funding bit can be a massive distraction to the business. Go into it with your eyes wide open, knowing that it’s going to take a big, big chunk of your time.”

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How to Overcome the 5 Key Challenges of Scaling Your Business

5/21/2016 posted in Business, Leading, Not Managing, Life At The Top, Strategy

The Scale-Up Institute figures quoted in a recent Vistage whitepaper report show that fewer than 4% of all UK start-ups have 10 or more employees 10 years into their lives, this demonstrates that the majority of start-ups fail to scale - Why is this?

Guy Rigby of Vistage partner Smith & Williamson sees lots of businesses that start with a visionary flourish, only to stall after failing to add more customers because they haven’t innovated or got their marketing right. They lose their way, unable to see how to get to the next stage and become one of the ‘living dead’. These businesses are going nowhere, having lost their vision and reason for existing.

Scale-up is an entirely different business environment, it’s more than just entering an accelerated growth phase. The difference with scale-ups is that the game changes so fast and often simultaneously in all these areas, when growth accelerates. And as we have seen, the price of failure is larger in a scale-up.

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Finding Your Purpose

5/13/2016 posted in Business, Leading, Not Managing, Work/Life Balance Issues, Life At The Top, Strategy

As a business professor, students often ask me where they should take their careers in order to have the most impact. They are expecting a straightforward answer: that they should work in finance in a large resource-extraction company, say, or in the advocacy department of a multinational non-profit organization. Instead, I am quick to tell them, “Wrong question: try again.” The key question is one that only they can answer for themselves: “What were you meant to do with your life?”

This deeper exploration leads to the pursuit of a calling or a vocation, which is nothing more or less than your purpose in the world. We all have a goal or purpose to what we do. Where do you devote your energy? How much time do you spend with your family, or in the woods, or pursuing wealth?

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