Now in their 8th year the Australian Business Awards 2013 recognizes organisations that demonstrate business and product excellence and stress the importance of core values. They also recognize outstanding achievements in (not for profit) companies that work hard to provide social profit for the community at large. Entries for 2013 are being assessed and the winners will be announced on July 1, 2013.
One of the finalists for 2013 in the Australian Business Awards for Service Excellence is Brisbane based Amovita Consulting, who may just take out a trifecta, having won in 2011 and 2012. Amovita, which means love life, certainly must be doing good business. Their first-among-equals leader Tracey Harris, is a speaker and professional on developing high performance in the workplace.
Their core business model focuses on training solutions, mediation, management and human resources with a commitment to increasing business productivity and efficiency. Harris believes that ‘to be nominated in these Awards 3 years in a row is testament to the dynamic team we have and the quality services we provide’.
Whatever is good for society is good for business and all around our world society is coming together in retail precincts, café’s and at a variety of events to meet and connect in community. The social networks established can be building blocks that sustain society and promote business.
Director of the Shell Oil Company and Director-General of the National Economic Development Council set up in 1962 in the UK Geoffrey Chandler (1922–2011) was a tireless pioneering campaigner in the western world for ethical business practice. He duly dedicated the later years of his life to encouraging business to engage with a wider society.
He wrote eloquently on all aspects of business and human rights and how important it was in creating a just and equitable world. He is quoted as saying “As a doctor’s son, brought up with the Hippocratic Oath, I believe that principle should be the point of departure for all activities: that we should do right because it is right and not because economic interest dictates or the law compels. If we make this an issue solely of law and not of morality we will never win.”
During the 1960’s and 1970’s it was unusual, to say the least, to hear such opinions propounded by an oil company executive with hands-on experience of the potential conflicts between morality and profit, rather than by anti-capitalist campaigners. Following excellent examples like his, many executives of the post war generation are ending great careers by taking on mentoring roles today. This is important in the retention of knowledge and lessons learned so that society doesn’t have to keep on repeating the same mistakes.
Busy executives and leaders must take time out to continue to consider changes in society because at the top they can easily lose sight of what society is on about. They could take a tip from Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group. He asks ‘Why aren’t more business leaders online? and observes that ‘anyone who thinks new technology isn’t going to keep changing the world has got their head in the sand’.
He says ‘Many a Chairman will say he looks at his company like a family and then acts in a way which makes you glad you’re not related! I have always pushed Virgin companies to walk the talk on that and ensure everybody feels part of the team. Colleagues should take care of each other, have fun, celebrate success, learn by failure, look for reasons to praise not to criticise, communicate freely and respect each other.’
On reflecting on the evolution of mankind in every sphere one of the lessons that emerges is of societies ability to successfully adapt to change, without completely losing its moral centre, no matter how hard that may sometimes seem. It is not all plain sailing, many people fall by the wayside during the process, while others seem to thrive and not only win out but also surge ahead.
Morality in business is exceedingly important today, as indeed it is in all phases of our lives. Maintaining a balance between people and profit requires knowing and understanding of the place where you draw a line in the sand, especially if you believe what you are asked to do is not ethically or morally sound.
It’s a big issue that requires more than this post to define, but it is important to highlight how important it is for executives to instill loyalty so that manager’s work for the good of the company, rather than their own advancement. Mr Branson’s example at Virgin would tend to prove that point.
People who are happy in their workplace receive and give great rewards.
In keeping up with a spirit of innovation we must all continue to adapt to the changing needs of our time by constantly coming up with new decision making processes and improving ways of working together, rather than opposing or working against one and other. While building on firm foundations, we have to seek out new opportunities for renewal, to invigorate and to innovate change for the better.
There are difficulties in measuring social interaction, but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying to promote its benefits. Providing good services that fulfill the needs and aspirations of a wider community helps businesses to retain loyalty from customers. It also creates a positive environment enabling social interaction to inspire creative ideas.
Sharing value helps to build trust between businesses, the communities they operate within and wider society. Local customers will shop locally and boost their own community’s progress if business is conducted in a happy, healthy workplace environment and friendly retail atmosphere.
Giving good service to consumers should surely be at the heart of any great business and most especially those involved in social interaction. It should be top of the list. No one wants to give their business to grumpy, poorly trained people with attitude whether corporate, retail or otherwise.
Corporate responsibility is an ongoing concern for us all. Corporations are here to stay and holding their executives and those who work for them accountable is very important, whether they are a small or mega sized business. Just how needs to be regularly re-evaluated as times and values change.
The future of the world and our own economy depends on us continuing to grow dynamic businesses, which underpins all strong economies and helps us to go on building a strong global society.
If we want to continue grow flourishing communities we need to focus on bringing business and society together through creativity and innovation.
If we take a positive view of business enterprise and achievement then we should honour both created value and business excellence.
Inspiring society to participate on every level is an important aspect of our future and our very livelihood depends on everyone doing ‘good business’.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle 2013
1. Listen more than you talk
We have two ears and one mouth, using them in proportion is not a bad idea! To be a good leader you have to be a great listener. Brilliant ideas can spring from the most unlikely places, so you should always keep your ears open for some shrewd advice. This can mean following online comments as closely as board meeting notes, or asking the frontline staff for their opinions as often as the CEOs. Get out there, listen to people, draw people out and learn from them.
2. Keep it simple
You have to do something radically different to stand out in business. But nobody ever said different has to be complex. There are thousands of simple business solutions to problems out there, just waiting to be solved by the next big thing in business. Maintain a focus upon innovation, but don’t try to reinvent the wheel. A simple change for the better is far more effective than five complicated changes for the worse.
3. Take pride in your work
Last week I enjoyed my favourite night of the year, the Virgin Stars of the Year Awards, where we celebrated some of those people who have gone the extra mile for us around the Virgin world. With so many different companies, nationalities and personalities represented under one roof, it was interesting to see what qualities they all have in common. One was pride in their work, and in the company they represent. Remember your staff are your biggest brand advocates, and focusing on helping them take pride will shine through in how they treat your customers.
4. Have fun, success will follow
If you aren’t having fun, you are doing it wrong. If you feel like getting up in the morning to work on your business is a chore, then it’s time to try something else. If you are having a good time, there is a far greater chance a positive, innovative atmosphere will be nurtured and your business will fluorish. A smile and a joke can go a long way, so be quick to see the lighter side of life.
5. Rip it up and start again
If you are an entrepreneur and your first venture isn’t a success, welcome to the club! Every successful businessperson has experienced a few failures along the way – the important thing is how you learn from them. Don’t allow yourself to get disheartened by a setback or two, instead dust yourself off and work out what went wrong. Then you can find the positives, analyse where you can improve, rip it up and start again.