Richard Angus and the team joined in on the business skills conversation on Cliff Central. The theme for the discussion was B-BBEE . The discussion advanced with a chat with Nici Turnbull from THCE (The Human Capital Engine) about the “people side” to transformation, as leaders implement B-BBEE. Murray Chabant from Signa then covered B-BBEE from an SME perspective. The discussion concluded with an SME interview with Tlaleng Moabi from Enzani Technologies, one of the few black female owned engineering contractors. Find the pod-casts below to listen in to the discussion.
The CliffCentral team discussed corporate culture and organisational structure with Sonja Swart from USB, today.
Business Skills Conversation
Conversation with SME Audience
The team discussed the importance of brand and reputation this week in the SME Business Skills show on Cliff Central.
As I write this blog I am stretched out on a balcony overlooking a beautiful stretch of beach in Kwazulu Natal. It’s been a long year, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to finally stretch out, relax, and enjoy the festive season. Most of us feel the same: the promise of a holiday ahead is what sustains us in those final grueling weeks leading up to year-end. And when we look back at the highlights of every year, it’s often the memory of holidays with loved ones that stand out among the 365 days gone by.
But even though we may be out of the office and even offline for a bit, we remain business leaders. After a few weeks off, most of us will return to our leadership roles and resume our leadership responsibilities. Even though we’re taking some temporary reprieve, we will never shed the mantle of leadership no matter what day of the year it is. Take a look at the example of Bill Clinton to get a feel for the fact that a leader never really goes off duty, even in his or her private life.
That being acknowledged, this blog is dedicated to rounding up a few things that great leaders do when on holiday. Take a quick read for some ideas for good “downtime” leadership.
- Communicate expectations to employees before going on leave. One of the basic principles of good leadership is being clear with your team about what you expect of them. When going on leave, it’s easy to sail out the front door as soon as your loose ends are tied up. But you may return in the new year to be disappointed that things haven’t been maintained in a certain way, or that employees slacked off while leadership was away. So let your team know what you expect them to achieve while you are gone before you leave. Not only will it keep them motivated while you’re away, it will minimize the number of “what shall we do now?” type phone calls from the office.
- Allow others downtime as well. The golden rule applies here – if you wouldn’t enjoy spending your Christmas chasing a deadline or coming into work when an unexpected emergency crops up, neither will your employees. As far as you can, try to respect other people’s away time. Allowing them to full fully relax will ensure they arrive happy and motivated after the break.
- Use your travels to connect with people you haven’t seen in a while. Successful leadership recognizes the importance of keeping your network wide and active. If you’re travelling to Cape Town from Johannesburg, use the first day or two of your holiday to reconnect with old colleagues or people with new ideas. There doesn’t need to be a “reason” to meet: you’re simply making real time for people, and recognizing their importance in your life.
- Commit your list of to-dos to paper. Or your laptop, or your cellphone for that matter. As your mind relaxes, it’s normal to come up with new ideas of things to do. These are useful things, but as long as they bounce around in your mind, you won’t be able to fully relax. Give yourself some necessary mind space by writing them down and then letting them go until your break is over.
- Allow yourself to truly disconnect for a while. The American existential psychologist Rollo May wrote: “In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.” From a leadership perspective, we need to be creative in order to innovate, think up the best solutions possible, remain motivated and motivate our team. Our leadership position demands that we refuel in order to charge our creative juices – and that means giving ourselves the time to be alone.
In a modern sense, a fear of being alone may not manifest in a reluctance to be the only one in the room. Being truly alone today also means cutting oneself off from the hundreds of virtual ways to connect. It means staying away from emails, text messages, instant messages, voice calls and myriads of social media connections – even if just for a short amount of time. Try it.
A great leader not only knows how to make good use of their work time, they also know how to make the best possible use of their downtime. If you could do with some inspiring financial leadership in your work place, contact The Finance Team. One of our qualified, experienced finance executives can assist your company in any number of ways for the period of time that you need it.
Image credit: © Maria Paula Coelho | Dreamstime.com
A podcast from the SME Leadership show on CliffCentral.com where Richard Angus and Adriaan Groenewald chat to Prof. Shirley Zinn about Talent Management.
The panel chats with Belinda Young, HR Director of The Unlimited – winners of Deloitte’s ‘Best Company to Work For’ in the Small Business Category for three years running.
SMB Leadership on CliffCentral.com
‘The importance of planning and using productivity tools to add more hours to your working day.’ Adriaan Groenewald and Richard Angus chat with Anthony Soicher from Strategy Architects, who is both a lecturer and entrepreneur. Derrick Ndzavi, mentor and advisor, joins the panel and provides an inspirational thought.
What does it take to be seen as South Africa’s foremost chief financial officer? This year’s CFO of the year award (as presented by the association CFO South Africa) was bagged by Alexander Forbes’s Deon Viljoen. The chief financial officer of one of the country’s largest financial risk services companies, Alexander Forbes, was selected from 32 CFOs who were shortlisted for the award, all of whom were interviewed extensively by a panel of respected finance professionals to find a winner.
So what was it about Viljoen that saw him nab this prestigious award? From the published interviews conducted with him, and findings from the panel of judges, we’ve summed up a few qualities that made him stand out.
- A focus on sustainability. In seven years as chief financial officer of Alexander Forbes, Viljoen guided the company through both a delisting and relisting: a mammoth task by any reckoning. Viljoen said his focus throughout the processes was on sustainability and seeking to create satisfaction for everyone. He sought for “sustainable solutions that accommodated all stakeholders” he said. It takes discipline to look at a situation in terms of its impact on all the parties concerned, rather than from one or two particular vantage points. That practice obviously paid off, with the company’s profit increasing by a cumulative 43% between 2012 and 2015, and operating profit growing from R1.03-billion in 2014 to R1.14-billion in the 2015 financial year. The ‘sustainability’ aspect of Viljoen’s approach is evident in the consistency of margins achieved over time: the operating margin for the group has increased by about 25% every year for the past five years.
- An ability to prioritise taking the right risks. At one stage in time, Alexander Forbes was looking at a listing or trade sale, executing a capital restructure and selling off a big business (Guardrisk) all at the same time, notes CFO South Africa. Viljoen noted that this was a tough period, but his ability to time and juggle the risk meant that the brand came out unscathed. “Our clients trust us and I feel that I contribute to that,” he said.
- Don’t pass the buck. When accepting his award, Viljoen said there were two kinds of challenges in life: those you inherit and those you voluntarily take on. “Both are inspiring … they come from different parts of your being,” he said. This chief financial officer draws the positive from all forms of challenges. He owns all the “problems” his role encounters, including those he did not cause.
- Learn lessons from your subordinates. Viljoen’s example teaches that a chief financial officer should keep learning from those who surround them, despite occupying one of the most senior and respected positions in the company. Never assume you know more than anyone else in the boardroom, or that you can’t learn anything from a technical worker or line manager. Maintaining an attitude that conveys “I can learn from you” no matter who you are interacting with, will help you maintain good relationships and simultaneously ensure you keep growing professionally. “You pick up wisdom from those who work for you and those who work with you,” he said.
At The Finance Team we develop professional excellence by learning from the best in the industry. If your company needs the assistance of a part time or interim finance professional, be they a chief financial officer, finance manager or project accountant, give us a call.