Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What does Sister Angela Mary AO teach us about business?

Sister Angela Mary AO was the CEO of the Mater Hospital Group for 22 years. She never earned a salary. Why not? She is a nun!
Sister Angela Mary is now 87 years old and is a true level 5 leader. What can we learn from her? How does a nun get recognized as a top business leader?
Her messages are:

1. Use your full potential and be an influence for good. All the education you have will count for nothing unless you can give of yourself and unless you put yourself in another persons situation.

2. Life is dynamic - but we can't react automatically. Listen carefully so you know how to respond. Do not repeat the past. Believe in the business but it is not unchangeable. Prepare for change. Prepare to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

3. Learn from other disciplines. Be flexible and look broadly.

4. "While CEO of the Mater , I never considered if I was male or female. There was a job to be done." Do not get over stressed about being the only woman in the C Suite. The community out there expects ethical and practical outcomes.

5. Who we become depends on the choices we make!

Sister Angela came to Australia from Ireland in 1947 as a teacher. She gave life to God. In 1948 dispatched to the Mater to be trained as a nurse. Initially she did not want to go there. She never knew that this is where she would end up. She never thought she was prepared to be the CEO.

"What we decide to do determines what comes next."

6. Religious organisations were conducted as family businesses and positions not advertised widely. Sister decided to advertise all jobs and the Sisters who worked hard for the Mater felt as though they had been sold out. This was a high price was paid for this decision.

When you face problems and where there is no clear solution, be guided by your conscience. Remember Thomas Moore - don't forsake your private conscience for the sake of your public duties!

7. For all the women in leadership roles, remember what Marc Anthony said of Shakespeare's Julius Cesar:

"His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed in him that the nature might stand up and say to all the world, 'This was a man.'"

Let someone say of all of us, 'this was a woman!'

Sister Angela Mary had the courage to swim against the tide and that is also part of personal branding and strong leadership.

What does Lady Gaga teach us about business?

Lady Gaga and business - does not sound like a great combination....  But there are so many valuable lessons that we can gain from the way in which she conducts herself and what her skills sets are.
I recently attended an amazing reunion and retreat with some highly driven women from our Harvard Business School group.  Our guest, Professor Peter Little Deputy Vice Chancellor
QUT, presented us with the case study of Lady Gaga and there were indeed some very interesting learnings that were drawn from her life, her experiences, her marketing and music.

1. Lady Gaga is constant with being consistent with her brand. 
Have you got a brand and do you think you need one?
Brand is a business construct.  If you do not have a brand, your reputation is less refined.  If you are trying to persuade people around you to engage with you and if you are aspiring to be a leader, you need to pay careful attention to your personal and business brand.

2. Gifts are critical to your journey through life and the expression of these are so important. Each person has gifts that need to be respected.  Reflect and identify your gifts or risk being a fraction of what you could be.  Sometimes need to have a mentor who identifies your gifts for you.
Lady Gaga nurtures her gifts.  She has imagination in using her gifts.  She has a vision for using her gifts.  Find what your gifts are and get a vision for them.  Lady Gaga marshals her gifts and can see the world around her with incredible clarity.  In the world where we area saturated with information, to be able to pull the curtains apart and really see the world, is very impressive. 
Gifts are the core.  Identify them and nurture them.  Have a vision for them and exercise them.  Share your gifts with the world.  You don't want to say later in life that you did not give things a go. 

3. Lady Gaga builds a sense of community with her followers. She also asks where we are going together.  She is in fact a powerful sales person who has a clear narrative. 
Do you build a narrative that aligns with your values?  This involves telling the story of what we are going to do in simple language.  The story also needs to be consistent for those you are trying to convince.   What is the story if you want the organisation to have the right culture?
People won't just follow you.  Communicate a vision for the organisation and how you are going to get there.   You need a narrative that is right for the time.  Draw people in to pursuing the narrative. 

4. Lady Gaga also gives us a lesson in modernity.  She fully understands global markets and the increasing impacts of technology.   She has the ability to appeal to 25 million people worldwide who follow her.
Think of the demise of Kodak, Nokia and others.
In 1980 you would have invested in Kodak as they had incredible market penetration. Think about Nokia and the disruptive innovation of the iPhone.  Nokia went in to decline and is no longer the number one mobile phone company in world.  Even in 2012, you would back Nokia to produce a mobile and distribute it better than anyone.  But what they missed is that mobile became an interface with digital.  Production engineers were at the helm of Nokia and ignored the smart phones. 
Darryl Lea is an other example - an iconic chocolate maker.  They had stores all around the country and produced the same product range for past 85 years.  Others started to nibble away at market share and they were squeezed from the top and the bottom.  They failed to see what was happening with the new generation of consumers.
Then you see Lady Gaga.  What does it say about the modern competitive world?
If you want a thriving business you have to adapt to the new world.  

5. You must learn every day.  Jim Collins says that we must have "productive paranoia".  We must just assume things are going to be tough in the future and that drives us towards innovation. Lady Gaga fully understands this and engages with her audience in very different, non-traditional ways.  She was able to build 'followship' by building mass intimacy with her followers.
In every interview, Lady Gaga emphasises how she dedicates her life to her fans, her "little monsters."
 How do you build followership?
Gaga strives to be the best she can be - did you improve during the last year?

Monday, September 3, 2012

5 Vital reasons why you should be undertaking a Mini MBA!

5 Vital Reasons for Undertaking a Mini-MBA

Matthew was becoming increasingly frustrated in his role as a manager of a large division at a manufacturing company. He felt as though he had reached a career ceiling and had been advised by his mentor to gain some form of business qualification so that he would have more opportunities for progression. He felt he was not quite ready to undertake an MBA as he thought it was a huge time commitment and it might be a step too far for him.

Are you too looking for the next step forward in your career? Are you seeking to gain a more complete and well-rounded sense of the business environment without the commitment of intensive study? These are two of the main reasons we hear from our many applicants who understand the benefits of gaining a business management certificate or as we like to call it, a Mini MBA

Here are the 5 vital reasons that you too should be undertaking studies towards a Mini-MBA:

1. Gain credibility and to increase your sphere of influence – in the fast-paced business world, those who have subject matter expertise, but who do not speak the language of business, finance and marketing are at a severe disadvantage. Your broader understanding from a holistic perspective of the ins and outs of how business functions and the inter-relatedness of different spheres is essential if you want to fully engage in meetings and have your views recognised.

This is what the mini-MBA provides – the complete overview of all aspects of the business cycle so that you gain the confidence to be able to convey your interpretation and standpoints in order to be able to influence others. You are empowered with the language, jargon and insight in to the functioning of organisations so that whether you are in the public or private sector, you gain key leadership skills.

2. Set yourself apart with a valuable addition to your CV – Research indicates that those managers who hold an MBA have a competitive advantage when it comes to career progression *1 - and they also make a serious difference to the organisation’s results. There is no question that besides the perceived prestige attached to holding higher level qualifications, your organisation benefits as you are able to deal more effectively with challenges that continue to arise.

There is obviously the advantage of possibly receiving higher remuneration – and research indicates that those who do hold higher level qualifications can earn up to 40% more than those who do not.*2

3. Take a small step towards a full MBA – A full MBA is a massive commitment in terms of time, workload and energy. Some of our applicants for the mini-MBA tell us that this management certificate is less daunting and will give them an opportunity to evaluate whether they are indeed suited to the full MBA.

Because of our link with the highly regarded Southern Cross University there is the opportunity to get advanced standing in the full MBA and this creates an attractive option. The business-school style environment of the mini-MBA also provides you with a sense of the lecture style and group work that is expected in the university business school setting.

4. Try out your skills in a simulated environment – gain the theory and the practice – What participants value highly in the mini-MBA is the ability to mix both theory and practice in terms of management and leadership concepts and strategies. It is an excellent way of learning the important theoretical models and then by working in a simulated environment, you are called on to make decisions that determine the successful outcomes of the business.

It is not often that we have the luxury of hindsight when it comes to making judgment calls and in this mini-MBA simulation, you have the advantage of playing out challenges, dealing with change and understanding the broader implications of the decisions you make. As top leaders well know, if the incorrect decisions are followed, the path to organisational success becomes far more difficult – yet, it is so tough to always make the right call, given the highly complex nature of organisations, the pressures and stresses of the business world and the inter-relatedness between all aspects of the economy.

5. Network with other managers and leaders – One of the key leadership skills is to have a wide and diverse network that is not restricted to your own sector of the marketplace. The top-level professionals in the mini-MBA program are drawn from all sectors and are equally keen to establish business relationships and connections.

You have the opportunity to mix with like-minded managers who are able to provide examples, lessons learnt and experience to ensure that you gain insights and establish long-lasting networks that could be useful to you at stages of your career.

As you work in teams through the different challenges of the program, you develop a common bond that stands you in good stead in your career. 

For more information on the mini-MBA offered through Management Consultancy International, please call 1300768550 or email info@mci.edu.au

Have a look at a short video of the simulation that you will participate in during the program - 


*2 http://www.topmba.com/articles/news-and-features/mba-pay-averages-40000-more-undergraduate