let's talk business april 2014

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A collection of articles from a diverse range of Australian small business experts; intended to help small business owners grow their business.


  • Lets Talk Business 1


    Lets Talk Business Back To Basics Business Solutions - Support for Small Business

    Volume 2 Issue 17 - April 2014

    Inside this issue

    Cover Story - COSBOA Chairman Resigns ..........2

    The End of the Performance Review

    Dr Tim Baker ...........3

    When Increased Sales is a Bad Thing

    Brett Chamberlain.......5

    Poor Employee Performance Dennis Chiron .......... ...6

    Every Pilot Has Got To Land Sometime

    Geoff Butler ..7

    Outsourcing Jo-Anne Chaplin ......8

    . Learn to be Lazy Dan Buzer .9

    How to Keep the Google Monster Happy

    Karen Ahl ...10

    If it is to be, Then it is up to me

    Peter Nicol ..11

    Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)

    Ron Court .......12

    Demystifying the Cloud - What is it, and why should

    you care?

    Karen Davey-Thorpe ....13

    Your Credit History - What you must know Paul Gillmore .................14

    How Good Are Your Listening Skills? www.mindtools.com...16

    LTB Objectives ..........17

    Council of Small Business of

    Australia (COSBOA)

    Chairman Resigns Claiming

    Board Misconduct

  • Lets Talk Business 2


    COSBOA Chairman Quits Alleging Board

    Misconduct and Legal Breaches

    The Council of Small Business of Australia has been dealt a blow, with chairman Andrew Conway and two other directors resigning, alleging potentially serious breaches of the law.

    Conway, the current chief executive of the Institute of Public Accountants, is alleging some COSBOA directors used their position to gain financial advantage, questioned the solvency of the organisation and says there have been numerous examples of non-compliance.

    In a letter sent to members yesterday, obtained by SmartCompany, Conway says he was unable to effect change because he was met with continual resistance from COSBOA directors and members, including executive director Peter Strong.

    My sole intention has been to ensure COSBOA adheres to its objectives in the [organisation] Constitution and within the confines of the law. I have encountered numerous examples of non-compliance on both fronts, Conway wrote in the letter.

    From ignorance of the Constitution right through to a Director, in my view acting improperly by obstructing the business of the Board with the intention of preserving their personal financial contract with the entity.

    Conway says the concerns are not minutiae or trivial; they go to the very heart of the compliance, governance and the viability of COSBOA as a business.

    This is not only improper it offends any test of reasonableness and any sense of professional ethics.

    COSBOA accusations a storm in a

    teacup, former chair says

    A former chair of the Council of Small Business of Australia has spoken out saying the accusations levelled against the organisation and its executive director Peter Strong are largely unfounded and have been blown out of proportion.

    Institute of Public Accountants chief executive Andrew Conway recently resigned from the role of COSBOA alleging potentially serious breaches of the law and poor governance.

    But Geoff Fader, the current chairman of the Tasmania Small Business Council and former COSBOA chair, told SmartCompany the majority of members were 100% supportive of Peter Strong.

    Im disappointed in the turn of events. My small business council has been a member basically since COSBOAs inception and totally supports the executive officer Peter Strong, he says.

    Its no more than a storm in a teacup. In a week or so it will be on with business and the vast majority of membership totally support the work which has been done and totally support the executive office in his role. That support is based on performance, the only reasonable measure.

    Faders sentiments mirrored those of another current member who wished to remain unnamed.

    COSBOA directors Yolanda Vega and Jackie Zelinsky also resigned last week.

    Extract from a report from SmartCompany journalist Yolanda Redrup http://www.smartcompany.com.au/

    Conway had only been in the chair since November 2013, when he took over the role from Amanda Lynch, who, in turn, took over the role from Ken Phillips.

    And it was only a little over 12 months ago that COSBOA was in a similar turmoil when Ken Phillips resigned as chair after the council's accounts were unable to be signed off.

    Mr Phillips, at the time of his resignation stated one of his reasons for quitting was because of the involvement of tobacco interests in COSBOA.

    They control the organisation and its financially dependent for its solvency on money from tobacco, he says.

    Mr Phillips, who then, was the executive director of Independent Contractors of Australia, had stood down from the position of chair of COSBOA and had been succeeded by Amanda Lynch, the chief executive of the Real Estate Institute of Australia.

    The most recent turmoil and allegations raised by Andrew Conway, allege potentially serious breaches of the law by some board members and executive director, Peter Strong.

    In a letter to member associations, Conway said he held serious concerns about the conduct of executive director Peter Strong as well as the governance arrangements, business model and solvency, and has reported these to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

    Strong said he welcomes any comments from ASIC and denied any impropriety.

    *Front page photograph courtesy of: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/andrew-conway-fipa/52/863/759

  • Lets Talk Business 3


    Yes, its that time of year again - when the groans of managers can be heard over the mere mention of the words, annual performance reviews. Many managers see performance appraisals as nothing more than an empty, bureaucratic exercise forced on them by HR.

    Small business, like big business, is keen to extract maximum performance from their employees. Some small businesses conduct performance reviews, others do not. My advice to small business is this: if you are doing performance reviews, throw them out. If you are contemplating bring them in, don't!


    Simple: The don't work and therefore a complete waste of time and money.

    My research of some 1,400 small businesses demonstrates eight things wrong with the conventional performance appraisal:

    Appraisals are a costly exercise.

    Appraisals can be destructive.

    Appraisals are often a monologue

    rather than a dialogue.

    The formality of the appraisal stifles discussion.

    Appraisals are too infrequent.

    Appraisals are an exercise in form-filling.

    Appraisals are rarely followed up.

    Most people find appraisals stressful.

    What then do we do, if anything?

    I suggest adopting the Five Conversations Framework. This new approach consists of five 10 to 15 minute conversations. Each conversation occurs once a month over a five month period. The Five Conversations Framework shifts the emphasis from appraising employees to developing employees.

    Let's look at each of the five conversations briefly.

    Climate Review conversation

    A climate review is about determining the current atmosphere in a particular workplace. It is mainly concerned with employees' job satisfaction, morale and communication. Although people's opinion about these matters can - and often do - fluctuate over the course of a year, it can be useful to take a snapshot of the business occasionally.

    By having a conversation with direct reports about the state of the current climate, managers and owners have a handle on the current state of the business, and what needs to be done to improve the fundamentals of satisfaction, morale and communication. Listening and responding to this feedback is a good place to start.

    Strengths and Talents conversation

    Most appraisals are fixated with what is going wrong; in other words, they focus on weaknesses and by-pass strengths and talents. Tom Rath in the # 1 Wall Street Journal bestseller: Strengths Finder 2.0 underscores the value of a conversation on this subject: Society's relentless focus on people's shortcomings has turned into a global obsession.

    What's more, we have discovered that people have several times more potential for growth when they invest energy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies.

    Apart from being an edifying place to start discussing performance after the organizational climate, this conversation capitalizes on people's innate talents. As the positive psychology movement has preached for two decades: Building upon strengths has a higher payoff then working on overcoming weaknesses.

    Opportunities for Growth


    This conversation invites an opportunity for employees to consider how they can improve their own work performance in key result areas. By doing so, the potential for both to gain a common perspective on areas for improved performance is possible.

    A dual understanding of current and expected standards performance is an important first step. The second step is to discuss and agree upon some tangible ways and means of improving the employee's performance to match expectations. *Continued on page 5

    Dr Tim Baker