Thursday, November 15, 2018

Does Culture eat Strategy for breakfast?

We had a great knowledge share  by the legendary Monica Graham on what’s more important in a business - culture or strategy? - and came up with some interesting insites - or what I call “gems”

What you think about in your business becomes the actions you take, and those actions lead to your business habits, which go on to shape how you conduct business (your business character).

And that shapes your business destiny.... and ultimately your business culture.

As a business yoy need  to be very careful about what you as a Business think about and focus on. 

In our BBG Thinktank that followed - facilitated by BBG facilitator, Judith Rose Max , the answer we came to after much discussion and collaboration was 

Leadership eats strategy and culture for breakfast 

Have you thought about where your business wants to be in 6 months, a year, or 5 years?

Have you thought deeply about how to get there?

Have you thought about what type of culture you need in your business in order to set yourself up for success next year?

So, the question to ask is 

What is leadership?

Join Maxwell says “leadership is about influence - nothing more - nothing less

Monica shared with us a McKinsey model on Influence - on how to change mindset and behaviour 

The 4 steps are

1 Role Model 

Your business is a reflection of you. 
If you think above the line - so will your team 
If you have a spirit of generosity - is wil your team. A leader will attract people who share the same values.

2. Fostering Understanding and Conviction

Show people that you care - capture their hearts - and they will share with you their minds.
It’s the soft skills, relationships and collaboration - the humanity - that will enable you to survive and thrive as a leader and ultimately as a business 

3. Develop talent and skills. 

In this crazy world of technology and Murphy’s Law” - things are changing at a rapid rate. With machine learning and AI providing the technology  providing  the “heavy lifting”  and “precision” - those that will survive and thrive will be those that will be able to learn how to learn. 

Your business will attract the brightest and best teams if you provide an organisation that provides and encourages continuos learning and training 

4 Reinforce with formal mechanisms 

  • Systems and processes are key 
  • Have formalised Onboarding sessions
  • Continuous training is key 
  • Have formalised accountability sessions
  • Share wins
  • Reinforce your culture
  • Get your team to use the tools that you have (Referron or hubspot or salesforce or Act ) . 
  • Reward and recognise outstanding behaviour 

Monica shared with us a video on 

“the importance of living above the line”

Monica spoke about the importance of teams having an owners mindset
  • Where cash is king 
  • Act now
  • Be accountable
  • Challenge and respect
  • Have clear discussions and outcomes and
  • Be fit for purpose 

I had the privilige of being in the KLT hotseat  -  which to me was of massive benefit - as I had the insights and assistance from 7 amazing humans! 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

What is the BEST Way to Start a Speech⁉️🤔

Great post by the legendary Bobby Umar

Every good speaker has their style 👏🏾

We also want & need to be unique for our audience

One of the hardest things for any speaker journey is to figure out how to start & how to end a good speech

Over the years I’ve learned many different tactics that work

Imagine you’re on stage or in front of an audience..

What do you do to get their attention, to get them to invest in you?

There are many options:

❇️ QUESTIONS: Start with a compelling question (often seen in TED Talks) 🌟

❇️ GRATITUDE: Focus on thanking, being grateful & share why 🙏

❇️ MUSIC/IMAGE/VIDEO: Something to grab their attention 🔥

❇️ STORY: An opening story is often the best way 💯

Anything else⁉️🤓

I’d love to hear your thoughts so COMMENT below 👇🏽🤗

✳️ Follow the  #PowerOfConnection channel every Mon/Wed/Fri

#motivation #personalbranding #careers #entrepreneurship

Great comments from interesting people:-

Isaac Mostcovitz
Nail your open and close. If needed, write the sentences down. The rest of the speech is less important. You can improvise if needed. 

Never start with a video or something similar. It distracts.

Ross Simmonds

Start with a story

Show your passion and have energy

Nick Gibson

Ask a question - engage the audience

Kimberley S

Fast forward to the climax of the story /\ then start at the beginning so they understand how we got to the climax. 

Ivan Kaye

Get to know your audience - engage them 

Aditya Mukherdjee

A video with an energising song 

Furan Qureshi

Verb it. Shock, Surprise, Challenge (keep a few chocolate bars as reward), Question then walk around the audience with a mike, Humour (make sure it's related to the topic or something current),  Play a video, Make them Sketch you, Start talking from a space that they can't see you and walk up to the stage/podium while talking, and if you like try this one - come on stage walk up and down without speaking a word without eye contact for 5 seconds, then very softly and humbly ask everyone to make a wish and pray for it. The last one has usually feedback as 'that was so relaxing, that was a great start, guess what-my wish came true ......

Izzy Mamnoon

Be authentic, vulnerable and relevant - use your body - project your energy 

Speak slowly and clearly -

Vishnu Chinta

A story about childhood in a more insightful and most common way, where everyone in the audience relate to, can get audience's interest in to your speech!

C Jos

Smile: Just a warm hearted smile and be grateful  saying that how thankful it is to see the respected audience there (even if only 2 are present)... 

Amit Jain

 I often keep asking questions to the audience to keep them engaged during my training sessions...usually works well!!

Fared a Zaeimfar

Start strong and share a relevant story - to the point - people want to be engaged !

Dave Rosenberg

Understand what you want to achieve - share 

I like to start with something "disrruptive/interruptive." 

Every attendee has a potentially different outcome.  You must bring everyone in the audience to the same place .  Once there, you have their full attention!

Nancy Narang

Start with some alarming statistic or fact. Gets ppl attention maybe?!  🙂

Michael Page

Start with a simple compelling story:  “It was...<date, time, place>...”

End by circling back to the simple compelling story: “Like the story of the <story topic>, we are...”

Start and end in a same place with substantial and compelling content in between.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

5 gems to help you build an Awesome team that Knows likes and trusts each other

Inspired by HBR article 
“Build Self-Awareness with Help from Your Team” by Audrey Epstein

Courtesy of - during a “BBG KLT Hotseat”

A Harvard study showed that 95% of people think that they are self aware - but only 5-15% of people actually are! 

An important trait of an effective team is that they give effective feedback in a positive way.

Peers in high performing teams feel accountable for each other’s success, and willingly provide support and candid feedback with a spirit of generosity to help each other be at their best.

They will
  • spend time debating, discussing problems, and making decisions
  • address unacceptable team behaviors promptly
  • give each other tough feedback
  • Talk about those “undiscussables” that others can’t talk openly about
There are 2 types of teams says Audrey 

Crappy teams - that have distrust, politics, infighting, and gossip 


Awesome teams - that have trust, candor, feedback, shared goals, and joint accountability.
They talk honestly and openly about each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and because they trust each other, they assume positive intent when the tougher conversations happen. It’s ok to mess up and fail. It’s ok to be vulnerable

What if you could get honest insights and feedback from coworkers who are truly committed to your success and get to see you in action all the time, on both your best and worst days? 

You can, and you will, if you build an Awesome Team. 

Imagine if you were surrounded by people motivated to give you useful feedback says Audrey Epstein - an emotional intelligence guru! 

She gives 5 tips to building a great team 
  1. Assume positive intent. Give your teammates the benefit of the doubt. Assume they are providing feedback not to judge you but to make you better.
  2. Talk to your teammates, not about them. You can’t solve problems with gossip. Venting without follow-up action ensures that you are building cliques and solidifying rifts. It takes courage, but talking directly and respectfully with teammates when something goes wrong can solve many misunderstandings without creating drama or bringing others into it.
  3. Care about your teammates’ success. Start by taking an interest in your teammates’ success. Ask questions about their concerns, know what their goals are, help where you can, and be a good listener and collaborator. You can’t be a great teammate if you don’t know what drives others’ success.
  4. Push your teammates to do their best work and vice versa. Great Teams, have members challenge each other to reach their goals. They don’t spend energy watching their own backs, so they take risks and reach higher. Start by asking your teammates to challenge you. Bring them ideas and ask for input. Ask for feedback on your plans. Embrace the idea that your teammates make you better.
  5. Ask for personal feedback. Before offering feedback, ask for it first. Ask your teammates what you could do to better support their success. Ask peers for suggestions on one behavior you could work on to become a better teammate. Give permission for teammates to share feedback by asking for it regularly and listening openly. Thank others for giving you feedback.

It’s up to you to build a great team of people who know, like and trust you. You need to nurture those who will support you, and challenge you to be your best. 

Surround yourself with people who will speak their truth, even when it’s hard. And then listen. When you do, you will see an amazingly positive impact — on you, on them, and on the overall success of your team.

  • Great teams deliver stronger results, faster. They’re more innovative. 
  • They challenge you to learn more quickly and to be at your best. 
  • And, let’s face it — they’re simply more fun to work with.
As my mentor Alllen Pathmaraja says ... there is
EQ, IQ and most importantly LQ - likability quotient! 

Ps feel free to download my business card

Friday, October 26, 2018

Let’s Dance

Great Advice from a Paul!

If you've ever wondered how to get through the doors of buyers you need to talk to? 

Step One: 

Find someone with a key.

 They can open the doors you would take months to get through (if at all) because they already have a trusted relationship with the people you want to talk to. 

Too simple, too good to be true? 

Yes for most people, because many people in business rely on cold calling (strangers talking to strangers), ineffective advertising (they can't measure) or attending networking events (strangers not listening to strangers) that are nothing more than a social or pitch fest.  

No wonder they become impatient, frustrated, cynical. 

Step Two. 

Focus on closer relationships.

Focus your time on developing meaningful relationships with those people with the key to open the doors you want to walk through. Referral partners. 

Challenge. Most people think that a friendly chat at a networking meeting or even over a coffee is a relationship developed. Wrong. 

It takes time to demonstrate that you are competent, generous, reliable, trustworthy. 

It takes time to get past knowing what someone does to know who they want to connect with and why. Most people don't get past one meeting. 

The so-called relationship is superficial or maybe purely digital. 

Yesterday I was speaking with Mark Stonham (LinkedIn strategy guy) and we were discussing the challenges we all have connecting with people who are all on different social networking channels. People very distracted, busy, stressed and typing instead of talking. 

Perhaps now is the time to stand back and focus on meaningful face to face referral partnerships. People who already have the key to unlocking the doors to opportunity.

Obvious really. It's just two-steps that we need to practice if we want to dance. 

Paul Clegg will help you get in front of people who want to buy your stuff, so you spend less time chasing people who don't. Why can I guarantee that I can introduce you to potential referral partners who already have trusted access to the clients you are trying to reach. Because I've been doing it successfully for over 17 years

Sunday, October 21, 2018

An awesome BBG Forum and Hotseat with Wayne Brightman as the Hotseater

Last Friday ended with an absolute high for me after attending Mark Pinhorn’s  BBG Hyd Sutherland forum.

Know Like and Trust (KLT)  with the group kicked in - and the forum was used to build trust with members focussed on adding value to each other with a real “spirit of generosity.”

The hotseat with Wayne  Brightman was gold - he has given permission to share the following email he sent following up of his klt hotseat - which got an immediate masssive response - and further offers for help from each of the bbg forum members:-

Wayne’s Letter:- 

“Good Morning all,


I’ve  attended many networking meetings/events over the last 4yrs - so without prejudice I can say we have an amazing group that should be a benchmark for BBG moving forward.

I would like to thank everyone for the feedback at yesterday’s meeting. Some I have called personally and as time got away yesterday I didn’t call all but please do not feel your forgotten I’ll call during the week.


Danielle if there is still seats I would like to take 2 tickets please, also I would like to assist more with “KC”, we’ve provided pens in the past but after engaging with you and another board member I now feel I can do better.


Craig, WOW I woke up Friday thinking I would have a chat to you about succession planning and now … I want to learn much more


Anna, Loved your presentation and I should have invested way more over the years as I had the ability to do so, it’s very refreshing to here you can over pay for a personal property because you can, I did that for my mum in 1993, (one day we’ll own it)


Mark…. Yeah you know mate”


The klt hotseat

Hotseaters - you can use this to talk at - or you can use this to share an issue and ask for help - hint - people want to help and add value !!

The objective is not for the members of the panel to rant on and show people how good they are - the objective is to find out ways where they can genuinely help the person in the hotseat with a spirit of generosity. 

Not only for the 15 minutes they have to ask relevant questions and give advice  - but actively over the next month or year!! 

Who can you refer the hotseater to?
How can you help him/her?
What advice can you offer the hotseater solve that issue and help grow their business?

Over the months and years that The BBG forum meets -  its amazing to see how KLT  developed  - members  start referring - and they become each other’s advisory board! 

Guests are welcome and have an opportunity to network with members and guests and to contribute to the hotseater and take away gems that are given and have an opportunity to start developing relationships with people who they meet.

The hot seat for hotseaters and interviewers can be extremely powerful. 

Like everything in life - Depending on what you put into it - you get out of it

Some tips for the hotseater 
  • Acknowledge the person and thank them for the advice - meet with them to further explore the gems that they give 
  • This is an opportunity for you to actively build your business and create advocates!

2 things I’m going to leave you with:-

1. Who do you want to be in your BBG chapter? Be sure to invite them as a guest to the next forum


2. What are you going to do to add value to someone in your BBG chapter this month?

Ps feel free to download my business card

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Thinktank on Continuous Improvement

At the recent October monthly meeting for BBG's Sydney Eastern Suburbs Chapter a diverse and experienced group of professionals worked on a range of topics around increasing business success through branding and digital marketing exercises.  

As part of the session, we had a Think Tank knowledge share breakout where we discussed related matters around "what is going well?" and "what needs to be improved?" in our collective businesses.  

In my 40 years experience of hiring and working with "A" players, my maxim has been that they always know what they do well and what the resulting impact to the business has been.  In equal parts, they also acknowledge mistakes or areas for improvement.  This group verified that maxim.  They quickly produced a revealing and salient list of positives and "kaizen" points.

The ideas revealed the imperatives of customer focus and service delivery as being paramount.  A part of this is the enablement and support of staff through training and marketing communications.  

It was a useful exercise to learn from each other and engender trust in a breakout group of professionals put together for a short session.

Here are the two lists.

Current Successes
  • Speed and accuracy of responding to customer requests
  • System and rules based processes
  • Strategy with objective and measurable outcomes
  • Track record
  • Ease of doing business
  • Flexible business model
  • "Can Do" attitude
  • Go anywhere attitude - ".com" compared with and no fixed address
  • Niche market clearly defined
  • Holding inventory to speed response
Kaizen Points
  • Training for all staff
  • Constant marketing
  • Meaningful, value-add "Invitation only" customer events
  • Value proposition - re-visit and reset
  • Messaging: Advertising, Marketing, Internal communication
  • Personal Motivation for business growth
  • Consistency of delivery
Craig Saphin
Managing Director


Australia . Singapore . Japan  

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Hard demand for soft skills

Jobs with soft skill expertise will account for over 67pc of all jobs by 2030 (Deloitte Access Economics 2017 report) 

Google did a study called “Project Oxygen”. -of what made a good employee great - and what their top characteristics were 

The 8 top characteristics were all “soft skills”

  1. Critical thinking - Problem solving skills
  2. Connecting critical ideas and people 
  3. Coaching
  4. Communicating
  5. Collaborating 
  6. Creativity and Innovation 
  7. Customer experience 
  8. Empathy - putting yourself in someone else’s shoes - and understand the issues on the customers mind 

Stem - Science Technology Engineering and Maths - came last 

The 2017 Deloitte Access Exinomics  study found that having staff with more soft skills could increase revenue for the average business by more than $90,000.

The cool thing is that soft skills can be taught - and if practiced - can be embedded into the culture of an organisation

It’s not just about learning behaviour and soft skills - it’s about implementing them and living them.

Matt Geaham, PWCs managing partner says that soft skills are at the heart of the PwC set of 5 values - it’s how we treat people. 
  • Act with integrity
  • Make a difference
  • Care
  • Work together 
  • Reimagine the possible

BSI’s values are based on the word TREAT
Team first - people need to feel a sense of safety
Respect - people need to respect the organisation, each other and their clients
Energy - people need to act with a positive energy and have passion in what they do
Adventurous - it’s ok to go outside the box and take risks - It’s on to be innovative - the team needs to be comfortable in doing this
Trust - this is a non negotiable - people need to act with honesty and integrity .

Our values are a based on ohow we behave - on how we treat each other and our clients 

We need to continually upskill and learn and using  70/20/10 formula
70pc on the job and practice
20pc feedback
10pc formal training 

Google did another study - Project Aristotle - which identified how innovative, inventive and productive teams were - and here is a real interesting observation :-

The study found that the most productive and inventive ideas did not necessarily came from the brightest “A teams”

The teams that shone , boasted a range of soft skills generosity, curiosity , empathy, emotional intelligence and emotional safety.

Feeling safe to be adventurous - to fail, to go outside the box, to make “silly comments” 

For companies to survive and thrive - they will need to embrace the “soft skills” and continue to “learn”

What does this mean for accountants ?

Technical skills will not cut the mustard for an accountant to survive and thrive 

The accountant of 2030 will 
Highly creative
Digitally savvy
Have a high degree of empathy and creativity

Do you want your form to thrive and survive in 2030? Speak to Geoff Hirsh at to see how we can collaborate, learn and grow together 

Ps feel free to download my business card