CEOs reveal some of the most successful business decisions come from having great staff. By Amy Birchall
The most crucial role in any enterprise is usually the CEO because she or he is responsible for determining strategy and providing leadership. And while the choices they make may not always have ideal outcomes (as the leadership teams at Lehmann Brothers, General Motors – before their 2009 Chapter 11 bankruptcy – and Kodak may attest), each business leader has a unique approach to decision-making.
Take Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, for example. He believes informed decisions are so important he makes his senior executives read six-page printed memos, called narratives, in silence for up to 30 minutes at the beginning of meetings. He claims this helps the company make better decisions because it guarantees the group’s undivided attention and promotes clear thinking.
“Full sentences are harder to write. They have verbs. The paragraphs have topic sentences. There is no way to write a six-page, narratively structured memo and not have clear thinking,
ABC managing director Mark Scott has succeeded by embracing change, writes Tom Skotnicki
Few chief executives can include “school teacher” on their resume.
The ABC’s Mark Scott may have always been destined for the executive ranks, but he did not take a direct pathway. Apart from teaching, he worked as a political adviser, spent several years studying overseas and was education editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.
His rapid rise at Fairfax ultimately caused some resentment, but few realised that Scott had management in his DNA. As the grandson of a former AIM chairman and with a father who has a Masters in management, his ascension to senior ranks was only a matter of time.
The ABC had embraced digital media before Scott’s arrival in 2006, but he accelerated the process. He told Mt that having heard the BBC had spent more than £100 million to develop a website that could stream archived programs, he decided he wanted something similar.
As important as this move was for the ABC, it gained additional significance as the mobi
Quality content works as a powerful driver for attracting customers and completing sales but the benefits of superior content management reach beyond increased revenue, writes Amy Birchall
Articles about bucks’ nights, online dating and football may seem like a strange way to promote an insurance brand, but that’s exactly how insurance company NRMA is using content marketing to reach a new generation of Australians.
The company recently launched Live4.com.au, a website targeted at members and non-members under 40, after realising its existing publication for members, Open Road, wasn’t reaching potential customers.
Interestingly, Live4’s goal isn’t to sell insurance. There isn’t a single article about insurance on the website – though there are plenty of pieces on alcohol-free weddings, generation jobless and royal baby names. Instead, Live4 aims to attract readers by providing interesting and relevant information.
Speaking at a Publishers Australia event in Sydney in July, Kye Mackey, senior content strategist at King
Keeping active at work is good for your health and your business, writes Hannah Flannery
Sure, your left over chicken curry may be more appealing than a midday workout, but for the many Australians at desk jobs sitting for up to eight hours a day, it’s a good idea to get up and move, especially if your lunch break is the only opportunity.
According to research from the American College of Cardiology and the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre, we’re greatly increasing the risk of bowel cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes by remaining at our desks for hours without breaking for exercise.
Dr Angus Pyke, spokesperson of the Chiropractor’s Association of Australia, says there is no safe way to sit for long periods of time.
“Sitting for your spine is worse than sugar for your teeth. We are designed to move, and move often,” he says.
The lunchtime workout means that if you crave that extra sleep in each morning, you don’t need to deprive yourself, nor miss out on family time in the evening.
Sitting down with departing employees before they leave can provide managers with valuable insight. By Amy Birchall
Exit interviews are often – and perhaps unsurprisingly – referred to as the cockroaches of human resources practice. They can be viewed as unnecessary, invasive and irrelevant, particularly if a boss has waited for an employee to resign before bothering to ask how he or she rates their work environment.
AIM facilitator Stephen Abraham says exit interviews have “great potential to give valuable feedback about what’s really going on in the organisation and how it can be improved”, however, often they’re too little, too late for the departing employee. “Organisations who invest in initiatives to keep their employees engaged will outperform their competitors through their motivated, productive and innovative people,” he says.
However, when carried out correctly, exit interviews can be useful, as a major US technology company found when trying to reduce its 51 per cent annual turnover among call centre staff. Exit i
Dealing with a diverse range of characters playing Aussie rules football helped CEO Mike Hirst guide the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank through the troubled waters of the GFC, writes Tom Skotnicki
It is rare that a chief executive reflecting on his management career nominates football as one of his critical influences. After many years as a country Australian rules footballer and coach, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank CEO Mike Hirst told Mt that football provided him with practical leadership experience that proved vital in steering the bank through the difficult post-GFC period.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank could have been in trouble in the wake of the global financial crisis. The board had probably paid over the odds for the 2007 acquisition of the Adelaide Bank, which was completed only months before the effects of the GFC began to be felt internationally. Adelaide Bank was primarily a player in wholesale banking markets, the area worst affected by the sub-prime crisis that originated in the United States.
Hirst, who has worked in banking and finance since completing his
Simone Pelly writes about the challenges of being a young manager. In this post, she looks at how to make the most of networking events.
The thought of networking can send many people into panic mode. Few words (I can only think of “marriage”, “babies”, “tax” and “public speaking”) evoke a similar emotional response.
I believe you should be networking no matter what your role. Get out and meet new people, make new contacts, speak to others in the business community about you are and what you do. As I said in my last blog, face-to-face meetings are slowly dying off. Remove that electronic device that is almost one of your limbs, break routine and get out there and meet people in person!
You never know who you will meet. If you keep an open mind you might meet a great business contact, supplier, mentor, come across a new job opportunity, make a new friend or meet your future partner… who knows, the possibilities are endless if you are open to them.
There are some great networking events out there. Most have
Mt’s Amy Birchall spoke to founder of Agent99 Public Relations Sharon Zeev Poole to find out how managers can thrive in a changing media environment.
Mt: What do managers need to know about the changing face of media, even if they’re not in a media/comms role?
The face of media is changing daily. A dynamic digital landscape and the fragmentation of media has meant that consumers have an incredible array of outlets to choose from that cater to their tastes. Social media has also impacted on how consumers engage with their news, and how they like to interact with brands and each other. This means a number of things for managers:
1. What worked before in terms of reaching your target audience, may either not work as well, or will need to be tweaked. Be open to exploring other means of communication with your target audience. This could be through social media platforms or engaging relevant bloggers, for example. Media in its traditional sense is certainly not the only way to communicate with your audience any more.
2. Traditional media has gon
With developing countries fast improving the quality of their products, Australian companies need fresh ideas to stay ahead of the curve. Tom Skotnicki reports
An Australian Institute of Management report due for release shortly raises serious questions regarding the organisational commitment of most enterprises to promoting innovation.
The report, based on a survey of more than 2400 members and organisations, for the first time reveals the extent of the gap between the focus on innovation of the top 25 per cent of enterprises and those in the bottom 25 per cent.
Professor of Management at Melbourne University Danny Samson, the report’s author, said survey participants were ranked on the basis of nine criteria (including profit margin, revenue growth, patents and customer satisfaction) to determine their ranking.
Those surveyed were asked a series of questions on areas including spending on research and development, new technology and areas relating to management engagement, customer focus and other innovation-related practices to provide a detailed com
He may be well-known for his jester antics, but Richard Branson’s empire is built on a foundation of innovation and dedication, writes Tom Skotnicki
There is never any doubting Sir Richard Branson’s love of the spotlight. In May, he received worldwide coverage after he dressed up as a female air attendant on a flight from Perth to Kuala Lumpur.
At 63, he may no longer be breaking world sailing and ballooning records, but he remains true to his image as a type of business court jester.
It would be easy to dismiss him but for his success in building a significant empire and turning Virgin into one of the world’s strongest brands and arguably the group’s greatest asset.
Branson credits Freddie Laker (low-cost airline pioneer who started Laker Airlines in the 1960s) with making him realise the need to be far more outgoing.
“The late Freddie Laker was an extremely inspirational business figure I met in my early years. One of the best pieces of advice he gave me was when I was thinking about setting up my own airline. He s