From Our Business Mentors & Coaches: What Mattered to Business Leaders in 2022

2022 started with a degree of optimism, although most were still wary of the COVID-19 restrictions and other continuing issues from 2021 such as supply chain issues and staffing shortages. Below, we summarise what our business mentor and business coaches have identified as the critical issues and challenges for our clients in 2022.

Business Performance

Business performance was top of the list, with businesses having to navigate supply shortages, talent shortages and delivering financial performance in terms of profit, cashflow and returns. The focus was on optimising the profitability of products, services and customers, while delighting customers, moving proactively with demand, maintaining high quality and a tight control on cost structures, improving productivity, and implementing better systems and technology to carry the businesses forward.

Cyber Security

Cyber security has reared its ugly head for some years, with a crescendo in 2022. Business leaders are constantly being reminded that they must focus on prevention of systems and data being hacked. Breaches in 2022 included:

  • Crypto.com: Cryptocurrency was subjected to a serious breach at the start of 2022 which targeted nearly 500 cryptocurrency wallets. The hackers circumvented the site’s two-factor authentication and stole $18 million of Bitcoin and $15 million of Ethereum.
  • Microsoft: Computing giant Microsoft was hacked in March, and in the process Cortana, Bing and several other products were compromised.
  • Red Cross: A cyber-attack hit the Red Cross in January 2022 via a third-party contractor, resulting in more than half a million records being compromised, including documents that the Red Cross classed as “highly vulnerable”. This hack led to thousands of people having their sensitive data stolen, and most of the victims are currently listed as missing or vulnerable.
  • Medibank: In November, Medibank confirmed that the criminal entity behind the cyber-attack on their company had access to the data of at least 4 million customers, some of which includes health claims.
  • Optus: Optus announced in September that the personal details of up to 9.8 million Optus customers were stolen during a massive data breach. This data includes names, dates of birth, phone numbers, emails and home addresses, as well as drivers’ licenses and passport numbers in some cases.

War in Europe

Our Business Mentoring professionals understand that the war in the Ukraine has had a catastrophic impact on all people caught up in the conflict, as well as globally through the indirect impacts caused by supply chain shortages, escalating costs, and the spreading humanitarian crisis, which continues to challenge us all. This war has increased the risk levels of doing business.

COVID-19

COVID-19 has devastated peoples’ health and taken many lives. COVID-19 and related restrictions will continue to increase costs, decrease availability of staff, and create challenges with productivity due to flexible and remote working arrangements. The flexible working arrangements will in turn continue to reduce the demand for commercial real estate.

ESG Environmental, Social & Governance

ESG stands for environmental, social and governance, and it refers to the three main factors that affect the sustainability of a company.

  • Environmental aspects are now critical, with public companies, governments and other organisations rightly demanding action to reduce emissions and make improvements around sustainability.
    • Every business needs to implement policies around climate change, as organisations around the world scramble to meet the environmental demands of the Paris Agreement and halt irreversible climate change.
    • Those that have been decreasing their emissions have reported an increase in returns over time.
  • Social aspects of ESG require business leaders to better understand the relationships of their business with their employees, customers, the communities they operate in, and more. Workplace health and safety, product safety and quality, staff wellbeing and consumer protection are some of the many social metrics that are considered.
  • Governance is the aspect of ESG that focuses on how the company is run. This includes board composition and operation, compensation, strong company policies and control systems, firm oversight of corporate executives, honouring shareholders’ rights and providing them with good information and reporting, complying with regulations and laws, and generally acting as good corporate citizens.

Business Culture

Business leaders realise the importance of developing an inclusive, ethical and harmonious culture that demonstrates high standards from the very top of their organisation. This must filter down to all personnel, while maintaining a performance focus to improve the business’s sustainable competitive edge.

At the same time, the culture must support:

  • Innovation to maintain and develop the competitive advantage of the business
  • The advantages fast-tracked during the COVID-19 lockdowns:
    • Remote working
    • Use of virtual meetings to speed up communication and reduce time and cost of travel
    • Reduced office costs
  • Mental Health and Stress Management – Mental health and stress are still feeling the impact from COVID-19 restrictions, causing lingering problems. Businesses need to identify, support and assist their people suffering from mental health problems by directing them to professional assistance, offering time off or providing other helpful services.

Shortages of Staff & Talent, and Challenges with Retention

All business leaders appreciate the importance of good people, especially with the market’s current  shortage of talent. Any business mentor will tell you that attracting the right people and retaining them is vital. This in turn is linked to a good company culture that attracts, retains, encourages performance from and develops and invests in good people. Pleasingly, many business leaders have pivoted to new ways of working and into new areas of business, with business leaders working hard to predict future skills, operating environments for staff, and types of workforces they may need. This includes assessing which jobs will become obsolete and what new positions are likely to be needed.

Other Challenges

Other challenges identified by our business mentoring team in 2022 include:

  • Cost of living pressures and inflation – The cost of living has risen sharply, with supply chain shortages driving up prices that impacts us all in both our business and personal lives.
  • Interest rates – Central banks around the world have increased their interest rates in response to the inflation rates to attempt to reign inflation in. These rate rises have added to the cost of living and the cost of doing business.
  • Energy costs – Energy costs have started to rise significantly for electricity and gas as supply chain restrictions due to the Ukraine war continue. This will continue to severely impact households and businesses in the coming year.  Along with interest rate rises, this will reduce the spending power of households, reduce company profits and slow economies down – hopefully not sending these into prolonged recession.

Thank You

First, we thank our clients for their support in 2022 – a year that has been a very challenging one for many.

We also extend thanks to our business mentors and business coaches for all the help and confidential support they’ve provided for clients in 2022. Especially thanks for the many significant successes, where you have helped our clients identify and consider commercial and strategic opportunities, found efficiencies and cost reductions, and improved cashflows and returns through facilitating good adaptation, decisions, development and implementation.

Contact Us

Call International Business Mentors today to discuss how one of our individually matched business mentors or business coaches can assist and support you in 2023.

Choosing between a Business Mentor or a Business Coach

At International Business Mentors, we are often asked, ‘what is the difference between a business mentor and a business coach?’.

 

Most people cannot distinguish easily between the two. Both offer expert assistance in business, and both have a very valid presence. However, we would argue there are many different aspects aligned to business mentors and business coaches, and there is much overlap between these.

 

A business mentor:

  • Acts as an independent confidential sounding board for your issues, ideas and plans.
  • Brings their own unique experience of life and business and is willing to share their skills and know-how with you.
  • Can provide business mentoring that helps you to focus and look at your business from different perspectives. This helps you to identify strategies and opportunities for self and business improvement and growth.

 

A business coach:

  • Is more specific and goal-oriented, helping to address specific performance areas either in yourself or in the business.
  • Can be of great benefit when a specific area or aspect of your business isn’t performing well and needs attention.
  • Will be dedicated to helping you achieve specific goals and improve the performance of your business.

 

For more detailed information on business mentoring and business coaching, click on the links below:

 

 

At International Business Mentors, we use a matching process that involves assessing all the issues that need to be addressed and the personalities involved in order to find a suitable business mentor or business coach to fulfill the requirements of each individual business leader. Business leaders tend to be Directors, Business Owners, CEOs or Senior Executives.

 

Issues Business Mentoring & Coaching Can Help With

 

The mentoring requirements for a match may focus on one or two areas. However, typically there are many complex issues, and these will require a more experienced approach. These issues or requirements may include:

  • You need to sharpen your edge in business
  • Transitioning support is needed as you work through rapid changes
  • The future direction of the business needs to be crystalised
  • The business strategy and performance needs to rise to new levels
  • New ideas and proposals need a sounding board
  • It’s lonely at the top and you need confidential and impartial support
  • Immediate issues need a fresh viewpoint
  • Development and transformation are required
  • You want to be challenged in your thinking or approaches confidentially

Whether you have a business mentor or coach, they will listen carefully to you and help you to think critically through your issues and opportunities. They will also help you to consider the business and yourself in a holistic fashion. This business mentoring process will give you greater insights and help you to resolve issues and opportunities such as:

  • Developing strategy
  • Firming on business opportunities
  • Tweaking your leadership approach
  • Dealing with supply chains, competitor tactics and operational issues
  • Understanding your business’ financial dynamics and the returns required to be successful
  • How best to deliver for your most important stakeholders

 

International Business Mentors can match you to a business mentor or coach who can help you to improve your business performance and facilitate your personal development, leveraging and sharing their own business and personal skills and experience. Our business mentors and business coaches not only meet our high personal standards of integrity and ethics, but also come with strong business skills and experience.

 

Contact us to find out how a business mentor or coach from International Business Mentors can assist with business performance, give confidential independent support and help your development.

Leverage Your Business Performance with a Business Mentor or Coach from International Business Mentors

A confidential business mentor or coach from International Business Mentors will challenge you to further develop your business and your own leadership contribution. Our business mentors and coaches deliver supportive relationships and can act as your personal sounding board. Your matched business mentor or coach will naturally fill any strategic or experience gaps from their own extensive business backgrounds.

Areas Where Business Mentoring & Coaching Can Help

Here are just a few areas where the right business mentor or coach can help you:

  • Critically reviewing your strategy as your strategic and confidential sounding board
  • Coaching you to develop further:
    • Frameworks to solve business problems
    • How to evaluate opportunities
    • Leadership capability
  • Getting you critically thinking about your business, such as:
    • Improving financial performance through incremental changes with customer relationships to improve cashflow, returns and profit
    • Improving your use of limited capital and funding to improve shareholder returns and net cashflow generation
    • Critically assessing your people
      • Have they retired in the job?
      • Or can you give them a new lease of life and motivate and lead them to higher performance and a more fulfilling business existence?
  • Increasing your long-term control over the operation of the business through better organisational structure, corporate governance, job accountability, and policy and procedures
  • Considering how to better focus, mentor and coach your people on performance, with a targeted performance-based business culture
  • Implementing better frameworks to encourage the generation and capture of high potential new business ideas
  • Improving succession planning and crystallising what you really want to happen further down the track to you, your people and the business
  • Getting staff back into the office, or getting staff out of the office!
  • Downsizing overheads and improving cashflow
  • Considering the extra funding needed to step up growth and push the business
  • Facilitating new markets, sales, customers and business growth initiatives
  • Improving complex business relationship problems, with a business mentor or coach who is independent of the enmeshing complexities and emotions
  • Considering your own leadership positioning in your business hierarchy and what structures will best work for the business objectives and the target culture you need to succeed
  • Improving your thinking on investment in people as a longer-term approach to developing people, improving their motivation and getting a return on your investment
    • Have you got the right people to underpin the future strategy?
    • How do you need to upskill your experience and skills to support the future strategy?
  • Help with navigating business and industry politics, using your business mentor or coach as a confidential and independent sounding board

The above are a few examples of how business mentoring can add more value to your business and help you develop further.

Get Matched to the Right Business Mentor or Coach

To be effective, business mentoring or business coaching must be customised to fit well with you personally, as well as your leadership and your business. To leverage your business strategy, performance and leadership with a perfectly matched business mentor or coach, contact International Business Mentors today.

Strengthening Leadership Capability is Critical for Business Success

Leadership capability is a critical issue for all businesses and organisations, and it underpins the success of organisations globally. At International Business Mentors, our business mentors and business coaches assist business leaders to enhance their leadership capability.

Good leaders should inspire and develop themselves and their people to engender greater meaning and a gripping purpose. To facilitate such a change, the leaders should foster and embrace EQ and encourage this throughout the organisation. EQ is the ability to manage ourselves and our relationships effectively with self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.

Great leadership should aspire to a well-performing, empathetic, harmonious and appreciative leadership and workforce team operating together towards clear common objectives. This should be fostered within a strong culture that facilitates stronger customer loyalty, staff retention, deep satisfaction and better commercial outcomes.

Each business is unique, and leadership facing their own individual challenges and business opportunities. However, there are many principles and practical lessons in leadership that can be applied to many businesses. A well-experienced business mentor can support you and help you develop what is needed to improve your organisation based on your specific circumstances.

The Key Areas of Leadership Capability

As a start point to building leadership capability, the following key areas should be questioned:

  1. Distinguish between management and leadership
  2. Move beyond ‘leader’ into ‘leadership’ development
  3. Use meta-competencies and character development to enhance leadership capability
  4. Focus on creativity and innovation
  5. Conduct impact evaluations
  6. Follow best practices

See below for details of these key leadership capabilities areas for questioning:

  1. Distinguish between management and leadership
    Leadership is about exercising influence to mobilise others to collectively tackle difficult challenges and achieve organisational results, whether they are in a formal management position or not.
  2. Move beyond ‘leader’ into ‘leadership’ development
    Leadership development is not just about a focus on specific individuals, but also expanding the thinking to the leadership capacity of the whole organisation. This means developing leaders at all organisational levels and boosting the collective leadership capacity for the future of the organisation. This, in turn, empowers employees and bolsters employee engagement.
  3. Use meta-competencies and character development to enhance leadership capability

Competency models emerged in the 1970s to codify the required behaviour for specific managerial positions. Competency models were originally established by identifying the behaviours that led to past successes. However, today we would examine the mindsets needed for the future of the organisation, as things will have changed and evolved. Using only competencies for establishing leadership development, which is a good start, may fall short. This is because leadership is also fundamentally about relationships, as well as the individual leader’s competencies. The modern solution is moving towards using ‘adaptive’ or ‘meta-competencies. These are the sets of knowledge, skills and aptitudes that underpin or allow for the development of other competencies, especially those that people will need in the future, such as enabling learning, adapting, anticipating and creating change.

Developing character is also key to effective leadership development.

  • Competencies get us to the doorway of leadership, but character gets us through the doorway and into leadership.
  • Managers tend to control resources to get results, but leaders exert character to build a sustainable future.
  1. Focus on creativity and innovation

Any good business mentor will tell you that great leadership is needed for innovation, as modern businesses must create and adapt continuously to survive and succeed. This is driven by highly competitive and changing markets, and significant evolution in the ways of doing business such as online, artificial intelligence, and shifting business environments with cultural and political changes and economic shocks. Leaders must establish work cultures conducive to creative thinking, adaptation and innovation to develop a greater competitive advantage. This continual renewal process will also motivate the leaders and the staff to greater efforts and increase job satisfaction and productivity for increased energy and results.

  1. Conduct impact evaluations

Conducting evaluations is a vital component of the leadership development process itself, with three main benefits: extending the reflective dimension of the process by inviting participants to consider the value of their experience and how they apply it; gathering valuable suggestions for improvements to the process; and fostering employee engagement and loyalty.

  1. Follow best practices

Consider the following 14 best-practice principles of leadership development:

  1. CEO’s commitment
  2. Strategic orientation, alignment and scope
  3. Senior management’s involvement
  4. Clear and relevant program goals and objectives
  5. Careful selection and mix of participants
  6. Comprehensive and integrated assessment
  7. Thorough preparation process
  8. Pre-entry feedback/coaching sessions
  9. Business mentoring and coaching or peer coaching
  10. Highly experiential approach
  11. Reflective learning and journaling
  12. Building social capital through networking
  13. Program follow-up; and
  14. Evaluation

By implementing the above, organisations can empower their leadership and workforce to promote distributed leadership and a better performing organisation.

Call International Business Mentors today to discuss how a business mentor or coach can assist with your organisational leadership challenges.

By David Cartney, August 2022

Gaining Respect in the Workplace

One of the critical factors highlighted by the pandemic is respect. Higher frustration caused many people to overreact, ranging from rudeness to abusive behavior directed at undeserving people just doing their jobs or unsuspecting customers. As a direct result, many businesses have tightened their procedures and codes of conduct, and many have joined an informal movement promoting and demanding respect be adopted in workforces nationally.

At International Business Mentors, our business mentors and business coaches are assisting business leaders to develop strategies to ensure a respectful workplace for all employees, stakeholders, and customers.

The Benefits of a Respectful Workplace

Giving more respect has many benefits in any organization:

  1. Increases job satisfaction
    1. Better staff retention
    2. Reduces conflicts
    3. Better attendance
    4. Better work done
  2. Strengthens employee engagement
    1. Deeper commitment leads to more quality outcomes
  3. Creates a fair environment
    1. Allows for the job at hand to be focused on
    2. Less focus on unfairness and arguing about it
  4. Is a stress reducer
    1. All staff will be more relaxed and less anxious in the workplace
    2. Improves focus
    3. Increases bonding between the staff in their teams
  5. Improves knowledge sharing
    1. More trust leads to better knowledge sharing and cooperation
  6. Increases productivity and results
    1. All of the above leads to better productivity and improved results
    2. These assist in reducing the risks to the organization from internal conflicts

How to Show Respect

Showing respect comes in four basic forms: tolerance, admiration, deference, and acknowledgment. Respect can be shown through:

  • Showing gratitude
  • Offering to assist others
  • Empathizing with different perspectives
  • Doing what you say you will do
  • Disagreeing respectively
  • Considering yourself
  • Complimenting the achievement of others
  • Calling out disrespectful behavior
  • Avoiding self-destructive behaviors
  • Affirming people’s opinions
  • Actively listening to others

Why Respect is Important

If people are respected and valued, this promotes a positive work culture where employees are loyal, fulfilled, and motivated to perform at their best for their company. People who are disrespectful of others are less than professional and threaten the performance of their company.

So, it seems clear that respect must be built into the DNA of organizations, procedures, and codes of conduct, and be closely monitored to ensure that these are consistently considered and applied and in compliance with regulations, industry best practices,s, and government laws.

There are many areas that impact respect and unacceptable behavior in business, and governments have legislated around the globe or set up inquiries to make improvements. Such areas include sexual harassment, workplace bullying, age/race/gender/other discrimination, modern slavery, and whistle-blowing. For example, the Australian Government set up the Respect at Work commission with a report in March 2020. The Respect at Work report aimed to provide a new framework for the prevention and reporting of sexual harassment. This report outlined the context in which sexual harassment occurs and current legal and regulatory systems that can be improved to reduce sexual harassment. The Australian Government has now committed to implementing all 55 of the recommendations.

We as human beings react very well to positivity, and this relates to kindness in all aspects of our lives – at work, at home, or in the community in general. A major study in the UK last year (The Kindness Test) revealed people who receive, give or notice acts of kindness enjoy higher levels of wellbeing, life satisfaction, and performance.

It is crucial that business leaders adopt policies that will promote respect and comply with the relevant regulations and laws in all areas of their workplaces.

How a Business Mentor Can Help

International Business Mentors can provide confidential and supportive aid for business leaders across a broad range of areas. This includes helping you to consider embedding policies and practices into the organization’s culture as well as strategies to promote respect and ultimately increase business performance. Our business mentoring and coaching professionals are well-equipped to assist you with these processes.

Call International Business Mentors today to discuss how an experienced business mentor or business coach can assist with policy development relating to respect.

Chris Cartney

July 2022