Your Brain Shrinks Under Pressure!

Your Brain Shrinks Under Pressure!

In the first of our ‘For Health’s Sake!?!’ series Melanie Smith, nutritionist and health practitioner shares just how we are shrinking our brains living with stress! Let’s face it - nobody needs a small brain!

5 Keys to Holding Great Coaching Conversations

5 Keys to Holding Great Coaching Conversations

If you have been avoiding holding a coaching or performance conversation, then grab a coffee and enjoy this week's blog. One of the most powerful motivators at work is to feel that you are progressing and contributing to meaningful work. What separates highly effective leaders from average ones is their recognition of the power of coaching. So build our confidence and lead well!

Coach, Mentor, or Personal Board of Directors? What's best?

Coach, Mentor, or Personal Board of Directors? What's best?

Surrounding yourself with the right people is often the difference between 'good' and 'great'. But why limit your guidance to just one source when you could engage a personal board of directors. This week's blog explores the 6 positions you should aim to fill at your table.

Are You Driving Employee Engagement?

Are You Driving Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is critical! This week's blog gives you 6 strategies to drive employee engagement. Start your engines and check your levels of engagement.

Where focus goes, energy flows!

Where focus goes, energy flows!

Tired of doing everyone else’s work and not your own!? Then sharpen your focus. Don’t be busy be productive. Take a minute and read this week’s blog to make sure YOU are the priority.

Why do we tolerate porcupines in the workplace?

Why do we tolerate porcupines in the workplace?

Why do we tolerate pricks in the workplace? Such an interesting question! There are so many excuses; none of which are acceptable. Poor behaviour is everyone’s fault and responsibility. You have two options with a porcupine: 1. Move their behaviour up; or 2. Move ‘em out and off the team!

Enjoy our blog and start tackling your porcupines!

Business Planning...Freedom Starts between the ears!

Can you believe that we are over half way through 2017 already? The end of the financial year brought with it a time of reflection, as we looked at the books, reviewed our business plans and become accountable.    

Plan to Achieve! It’s no accident

If you don’t want a life of imitation, then one thing’s for certain – you need to plan to be different. If you were a fan of our Plan to Achieve suite of resources you are going to love our new Business Planning Toolkit. It’s designed to support those of us on a mission to achieve awesome.

We have long been a fan of using planners, but there’s nothing more annoying than the rigidness of a printed bound diary or business journal. You love using it for a month and then start to find fault with what it doesn’t do for you. Planning is such an individual, and we think creative process. Whilst we love and religiously use a paper based diary system, we find it hard to conform to tradition. What was available just wasn’t working for us. That’s why we made our downloadable Business Planning Toolkit and decided to share it with our Scope Vision enthusiasts. We wanted to give you the freedom; to put planning in your own hands. You can download it, print it out and plan your journey. No page restrictions, no useless areas in your planner – if you don’t use it – remove it! Plus you can print as many of your favourite planning tools, as often as you want! We believe, if your planner doesn’t work for you – you should change it – but never lose sight of your focus.

How to plan to achieve

At Scope Vision we believe that business planning shouldn’t be daunting. There’s a formula to follow if you want to succeed. It’s a matter of visualising where you want to go, and then creating SMART goals to keep you accountable as you action plan how to get there. Your focus then shifts to monitoring, as you review and collaborate, staying focused on the mission.

If there’s one thing we know about business, it’s to keep your eye on the ball, even if you can’t see the ball. Change is the only constant. This is why planning can never take on a ‘set and forget’ mentality. The reality is that what you focus on becomes reality. So you had better figure out what matters most and focus on it - hard!

Let’s look at the critical planning steps outlined in our infographic in more detail, our Business Planning Toolkit gives you templates and challenges to tackle if you want to start building an awesome plan.

Establish and set SMART personal, professional, team and business goals; then regularly monitor them.
Be accountable.

As the saying goes ‘If you don’t know where you are going; you might wind up someplace else’. If you don’t get specific and make your goals measurable then the reality is you are unlikely to achieve them. Too often we set goals that are not specific and more than likely unachievable. With this attitude it’s little wonder that most of us set ourselves up to fail! If you generate SMART goals (ones that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely), then follow up on your progress regularly, you will be well on your way to achieve everything you have planned.

Generate awesome plans

Always put your intentions in writing, but make sure that you get creative when you’re doing it! You have to plan your execution so you can execute your plan. Make it fun and think differently. There are so many concept tools within our Business Planning Toolkit, you will never be stuck for ideas and fresh thinking. The same thinking will only see you stay in the same location. Your plan should help you and the team move forward with confidence and your SMART goals when critically monitored, will ensure you all get there.

We regularly collaborate and pulse-check our progress in the following areas of our business:

  1. Sales
  2. Marketing Strategy
  3. Financial
  4. Business Goals [Plan on a Page]
  5. Workforce and People Development
  6. Personal Master Task Lists
  7. Project Plans - Various
  8. Work Health and Safety
  9. RTO Compliance and Continuous Improvement

Of course you should generate awesome plans for all of your identified key drivers within your operations. There’s no point planning for the sake of planning! Plans generated need to be real, working documents that capture your vision as well as what you do. Zig Ziglar attests ‘Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation’. So plan every opportunity and then execute your plan.

SWOT and SOAR your way to success

To SWOT or not to SWOT, that is the question. At Scope Vision we definitely say SWOT it! SWOT your business (as part of your strategic planning process); your team (to uncover the status quo) ; an opportunity you want to effectively explore; a competitor you would like to analyse; a problem you need to solve; a product in its life cycle; a person you would like to develop and grow….SWOT it!

Strengths identified should be leveraged with action plans established to take advantage of them; Weaknesses should be actioned with a view to diminish them. Opportunities must be actioned to take full advantage of them (this is where new money streams flow from) and Threats should be reviewed assessing the impact they will have on your plans moving forward. Ultimately you want to mitigate threats, or worst case scenario minimise their impact, but sometimes all we can do with them is be informed. Many sit outside of our circle of control.

If you’d like to read how some of our clients use SWOT in Action; head over to the website and read the blog: There’s nothing more exciting than a fiscal boner, or use the template in our Business Planning Toolkit to get you started. 

SOAR: a new planning approach to SWOT

If you haven’t heard of SOAR don’t panic! It’s a business planning tool in a similar vein to SWOT. The main differential between the two is that SOAR provides more of a strength-based focus than SWOT does. In SOAR, weaknesses are explored and reframed as opportunities. When you focus on improvement and growing capabilities, rather than the negative, opportunities flow.

SOAR provides a team with a framework for conversations:

  • What are we doing well?
  • What skills can we improve on?
  • What is most compelling to us and our stakeholders?; and
  • SOAR forces the team to engage in appreciative inquiry thinking

At Scope Vision we use SOAR monthly to pulse check our strengths and be accountable for our progress. Completing a SOAR analysis not only clarifies the opportunities we must focus on, but helps us to visualise where we want to go so we can plan for it and identify our results.

Check out our June SOAR in action (below) and read more on the concept in our latest eBook Don’t Just Fly…SOAR.

Analyse your environment: PESTLE

It’s always important to view your business in the context of the broader environment in which you operate; PESTLE is the right tool to do this. PESTLE asks you to analyse the impact of the following factors on your business continuity: Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental. Once established, you only need to pulse check your analysis once a quarter, or when a significant change occurs. Whilst many of the factors analysed are beyond our circle of control, in business we still need to strategise how we will minimise the potential impact of each on our business. Even the smallest of businesses are not immune to global impacts, as evidenced during the Global Financial Crisis.

Lessons learned; a time of reflection

At the end of each month we Reflect & Focus. We ask what's been working well for us, the challenges we've faced and what we've done to action plan them. We find the more reflective we are, the more effective we become. Reflecting on last month’s performance helps us to look forward and definitely influences our future plans. Analysing critical business moments gives us the opportunity to reflect on and refine current practices; identifying those that are working well for us and highlighting clearly those we should stop.

If results are the reflection of your efforts, then you need to ensure that your efforts are focused on the right activities. To read more on ensuring you PAY yourself well so that you starve your distractions and feed your focus, check out our previous blog which outlined just what your time is really worth.

Evoke success through planning

We hope you agree that planning isn’t daunting; it’s fun! The right planning tools will empower you to visualise the future, generate SMART goals to action plan, monitor your progress and mindset, measure your results and push boundaries, be agile and adapt, be curious and grow. Confidence and capabilities fast replace hopes and dreams, as your plan to achieve evolves!

If you need help with your next business planning day and need to think differently, then contact us to facilitate your workshop. If you found value in this article hit the ❤ button then share it with someone you know that would benefit from reading it! Be curious and engage!




The Value of Time

PAY yourself well

Have you ever worked out your hourly rate, or the value of your time in 10 minute increments? Do you know what your time is actually worth so that you can prioritise your activities by yield and PAY yourself accordingly?

What's your time worth?

Let’s say your salary was $100, 000 per year, you take 6 weeks paid leave and 1 week of public holidays are accrued annually, you work 37.5 hours a week [1725 hours of work per year].

Your value per hour is $59.26 and every minute of your time is worth $0.99.

OK, so you’re not quite Bill Gates earning roughly $114.16 per second, but 10 minutes of your time is still valuable; it's worth around $10.00.

What's your time worth.png

As you start to think of your time in 10 minute intervals, the value you place on activities changes. Someone comes into your office for a chat. 10 minutes passes; you are effectively handing them $10. 20 minutes late to a meeting, the cost to everyone involved is proportionate. When you value your time, you value your focus.

Valuing your focus

Effectively prioritising your tasks enables you to realise what is important and what is not. Not every task is important and not every task is urgent. Knowing the value of your tasks and their importance in helping you to reach your goals will help you to allocate more time to those tasks within your Daily Focus planner.

Steven R. Covey in his book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ suggests using a 4 quadrant matrix to help you realise just how important and urgent your tasks actually are. He suggests that you classify what you do according to their level of importance in helping you to realise your goals. 

Covey's classification system

Quadrant 1: Important and urgent

He refers to this quadrant as the quadrant of necessity. Here you find tasks that are important in achieving your goal, and they have an impending deadline which makes them urgent. These tasks must be finished and require your immediate attention and focus. These become your number one PAY activities and are scheduled in your Daily Focus planner.

Quadrant 2: Important but not urgent

Quadrant 2 should be your focus. Covey calls this the quadrant of quality and personal leadership. How you plan for and execute tasks in this quadrant is visible to those around you. Whilst tasks in this quadrant are important, they can always be planned for. Focus given to these tasks increases your effectiveness. Schedule them in your Monthly, Weekly and Daily Focus planner. These tasks definitely increase your yield.

Quadrant 3: Urgent but not important

The quadrant of deception, these tasks usually offer little value to your goals. Try and avoid these tasks as much as possible. Spend time focusing on what is important. Learn to say ‘No’ or to delegate them wherever possible. PAY someone else; they are stealing time and focus. You don't want to see them on your planner!

Quadrant 4: Not urgent and not important

These are your low priority tasks that give you the illusion of being busy, Covey calls this the quadrant of deception. The tasks have little significance in your life and often take up a signification proportion of your time on a daily basis. Keep postponing these tasks forever and you will notice a significant increase in your productivity, never PAY these in your planner.

Plan your focus

Planning and goals are important if your dreams are to become your reality. Goals quickly become redundant if your daily activities do not revolve around the tasks that help you achieve them. Everything on your Daily Focus planner should be aligned with your goals. If you want to run a marathon, then your Daily Focus planner will be filled with running commitments. If you want to be an awesome manager, then your Daily Focus planner will be filled with one-on-one meetings with your team members.

Business Planning Toolkit

If you need help with your time management and business planning skills then checkout our Business Planning Toolkit designed for those who don't want a life of imitation. It's a downloadable, printable, reusable suite of awesome resources - Business Development Tools, Project Planning Tools, Time Management and Concept Development Tools - all guaranteed to get you business focused! 

Plan Differently. Think Differently. Focus!

If you found value in this article hit the 💙 button below, then share it with someone you know who would benefit from reading it.

I'm an abrasive bitch - so what!

Judith Fordham, award winning business owner, author, acclaimed speaker, criminal barrister and until recently Associate Professor in Forensic Science at UWA, has worn zebra print shoes into a courtroom, represented transsexuals, bikies, alleged murderers and rapists, and raised four children as a single mother. Her story, far from a fairy tale, saw her leave an abusive husband, move States, undertake a law degree as a mature aged student and bring 4 children up on her own. I first met Judith at the Telstra Business Awards, when we were nominated as a finalist in 2016. Judith and her business Fordham & Roast (Partners in Crime) were the 2015 winners of our category. Her radiance shone and her sense of humour immediately captivated me. She was my type of gal! A quick witted straight shooter, with a sense of humour; characteristics often kept hidden by too many that you meet in the corporate world. I was instantly in awe of her charm and charisma, her abilities and her talent. When the opportunity arose to sit down with her in person, I jumped at the chance. There were six questions I really wanted her perspective on.

Spending time with Judith Fordham

Who has been most influential in your life and why?

My father
He was an evil man whose early influence was the catalyst to me developing ‘imposter syndrome’. (Impostor syndrome is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalise their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud). I have, ever since, been trying to prove to the world that I am a capable, competent and worthy person.

My year 12 Teacher
A predictable choice for many, this particular teacher however had a profound effect on me. He announced that the students in his class had an IQ higher than his own. I thought this an incredible statement to make to us the first time that he met us. It showed such humility, and was the first time I really believed that I might be capable of high achievement. He promised never to talk about sex, politics or religion and I think he broke his own rule in the first week of teaching. He instilled in me the passion to question everything and to never take no for an answer. The smartest person in the room is the one that continually questions. The dumbest and most dangerous is the one who does not know that he or she does not know.

My daughter
I will never forget the day that my daughter gave me a Mother’s Day card with the personal message ‘Congratulations you have broken the Fordham curse!’ With a long family history of alcoholism and domestic violence, I broke the cycle, and raised 4 decent human beings who will not carry that history with them. Her words touched me. On a more practical note, it seems the other thing I have taught them all is “never waste a trip”. That holds true in every aspect of life, from cleaning the house (carrying something with you whenever you go from one room to another), to embracing all that every life experience has to offer.

Chief Judge
A retired Chief Judge of the District Court once said to me “I came to scoff and stayed to pray”, talking about going into a situation with a preconceived negative view. I meditated on his comment and it became my ABC philosophy. Assume nothing; Believe nobody; Check everything. His phrase encapsulated the ethos of my work: never assume - it will fast lead you down the wrong path.

Tenacity is a characteristic that everyone in business requires if they are going to be successful, can you pin point the moment, or moments in your life that built your level of tenacity and ability to bounce back?

My father definitely started my journey of perseverance and tenacity; but thankfully he didn’t define it or finish it. I think that childhood experiences certainly have an impact on you developing tenacity. Whether you run from things and hide, or meet them head on shapes your future. My father certainly made me defiant in nature. I never saw any other choice in life than to simply keep going, to never give up and to get things done on my own. It just wasn’t acceptable to me that I was not going to succeed. One story that stands out in my mind as an example occurred at 16. My father wanted to punish me. He told me to take my knickers down to be caned. I stood there and give him a resounding ‘No!’ It was a pivotal moment for me; I was making a choice which I knew to be dangerous as it would anger him, but I could not make any other and survive as a person. This mindset built the foundation out of which my tenacity flourished. I think it has served me well in life. Apply yourself, believe in yourself and just keep going.

I read that you value honest and direct communication. Why do you think that when a woman demonstrates these characteristics in the boardroom or the court room she is called an abrasive bitch?

Sexism in the business world is still there. Our assumptions are learned at our parent’s knees. Whilst it is getting better I think we are still a couple of generations away from changing our mindset.

When there is no time, or when you are in an environment of high stress, the most efficient means of communication is to be direct. When a man communicates directly it is not seen as loaded. When a woman communicates with directness it is and she is often labelled a bitch. This is because of ingrained and stubborn notions that women should be kind and self-effacing, saying “sorry” before giving an opinion or interrupting in a meeting.  Companies today pay lip service with gender neutral phraseology in their recently devised policies and procedures to support inclusivity and professional conduct in the workplace. The reality is that what goes on behind closed doors in the office is a far cry from the institutionalised statements in the policies. Has the lip service done us any harm? Probably not; it has educated us. But only time will produce the fundamental shift in mindset that will truly change beliefs.

I have so many examples and often amusing stories of gender inequality detailed in my book ‘Life, Law and not enough shoes’. You just have to read them!

In your opinion, has the business world changed in the past 30 years for women in business? If so, in what ways?

When I started in the public sector (over 30 years ago), women were required to resign when they got married. Then the world became a tad more “enlightened” and the rule became if you got pregnant you had to leave. I had a lucrative bursary taken from me when I got married, because I got married. My children said to me, “Why didn’t you do something about these things”. Back then there were no avenues to take such action, and most people did not realise there was anything wrong with such attitudes. So in that sense, the changes have been huge.

The world has opened up presenting more opportunity for women. Jobs are available now that once didn’t even exist. Prospects are always increasing and will continue to do so.

I don’t think we have changed in how we deal with aggression in the workplace. When a male encounters aggression their emotive response demonstrated is often anger; returning the aggression, which is deemed appropriate. When a female encounters aggression their emotive response is to feel hurt; which serves us little purpose. But if they respond aggressively, they are perceived as an out of control, a bitch. Women still need to focus on how to find an intelligent way to make our point without being too emotional. People should be more adaptable when they engage with other people. You need to understand where they are coming from without judgement. Let me share another story which highlights this point.

To say we meet interesting people as a criminal lawyer is an understatement. One of my favourite clients is a member of a bikie gang. We were in the middle of a trial and out on a break. He flung himself down next to me on a bench and spluttered:

‘That prosecutor, he’s a bloody woman!’

Being used to the ways of my star witness and his friends I knew immediately what he meant. However, just in case I was unsure, he elaborated: “Blood pussyfooting poonce, if he’d call a spade a fuckin’ shovel he might have had half a chance of getting a straight answer out of me. Couldn’t fight his way out of a paper bag. Talk about a girl!”

Had it occurred to him I was a woman, I asked.

He looked at me as if I had gone stark raving mad “Nah, mate, you’re not a woman. You’ve got balls. You’re not a bloody woman!”

What could I say? I have had to learn as a female operating in the world of criminal law not to get too precious about gender stereotyping and politically correct speech. Understand the environment someone lives in and adapt your communication style to meet them. To change things you have to understand the other person’s world. That applies to all change, including sexism. Forcing people to behave in an outwardly non-sexist manner in the workplace or in the public eye, if they do not in fact change their attitudes, achieves little. We have to accept, though, that there are those who will never change, and that it will take another generation or two before lip service becomes the truth.

I'm an abrasive bitch take 2.jpg

In your opinion, do the same rules apply to women in business as they do for men?

No. There are the same superficial rules; but of course they don’t.

The one thing I hate more than anything though is when women are horrible to other women in business. When they emulate the worst of male workplace behaviour and stab you nastily in the back: that is disgraceful.

We all want to succeed in the workplace. That is what is meant by “winning”. We all have something to sell: our products, our services, our ideas. The best and most ethical way to succeed in this is to persuade: not to dominate or manipulate: to get a target audience to listen, a superior to change an approach, a bank to provide finance.

Persuasion involves understanding the reality lived by the person you are trying to persuade, and adapting your style to that person. This requires empathy and, in a good sense, humility. It takes a highly intelligent person to learn, develop, and use those qualities. Women have a real advantage here.

As a result of the way the world treats them, women have become very skilled at persuasion, which is more effective and more ethical than domination. They lead the target to making her or his own choice with the benefit of the information communicated (ie provided and accepted). That choice is likely to be a long-term choice, which in business underpins solid growth and drives increases in profit and market share

What would you say are the keys to survival in business?

The same as the keys to survival in life. Just keep going.

You don’t always need to have everything under control before you take a step. If you over control you become paralysed by indecision. You are better to make a decision and keep going. If it’s the wrong decision down the track when more information becomes available – change it. Be willing to take the next step; trust in your instinct. You can’t know everything. Be safe knowing that you made the best decision with the information you had available at the time. A retrospectoscope would be amazing but in life we don’t have this with us until afterwards. You are better to do something with love and good intentions than you are to do nothing!

Judith is truly an inspiring and sassy woman! To read more on Judith’s extraordinary journey buy her book ‘Life, Law and not enough shoes’. Funny, inspiring and readable, it’s the best gift you could give someone! If you’d like to connect with Judith you can email her, Facebook or through LinkedIn

If you found value in this story,  hit the ❤ button then share it with someone you know that would enjoy reading it! Be curious and engage!

Spending time with Donna Quinn

Spending time with Donna Quinn

MJ recently spent time with Donna Quinn, hospitality entrepreneur and now owner of Coco Belle Espresso Bar in Mt Pleasant. Read Donna's thoughts on the Perth Market and how she escaped the daily grind launching her Gold Plate finalist Espresso Bar Coco Belle. Engaging with her local market and delivering on the freshest food is the business strategy behind Coco Belle's success.

Spending time with Neil Randall

Spending time with Neil Randall

MJ spends time with Neil Randall, acclaimed footballer, Commissioner of the WAFC, Past President and Director of Subiaco Football Club, owner of the Paddington Ale House, President of the Western Australian branch of the Australian Hotels Association and Board Member for Hostplus, hearing his thoughts on leadership and the state of play in the Perth Hospitality Market.

Are You 1/4 Full or 1/4 Empty?

Are You 1/4 Full or 1/4 Empty?

It's time for your first quarter check in! How are you travelling with the goals you established in January? Are you running on 1/4 full, or 1/4 empty? Check how you are measuring up and explore the basics of SMART business planning. Planning shouldn't be daunting; it should be fun!

Spending time with Andy McIntyre

Spending time with Andy McIntyre

MJ recently spent time with Andrew McIntyre from Lot Twenty (a bespoke small bar in Northbridge) gaining his thoughts on the state of the Perth hospitality market and his secrets on empowering and developing an incredible team. Enjoy the read; we think Andrew, his team and his establishment are truly spectacular!

Have You Ever Been Counselled By A Horse?

Have You Ever Been Counselled By A Horse?

In the first of our series on smallBIZperation, we spend time with Louise Atkinson, owner of Whispering Sands Horse Play Centre. If you have never been counselled by a horse, then you are missing out on one of life's magic moments!

Spending time with Mark Daniels

Spending time with Mark Daniels

Mark Daniels is truly inspirational! Follow his journey as he shares with us how he went from near-death to participating in marathons in under a year; a thought provoking and inspiring article on leadership, the power of goal-setting and grit. In Mark's words "Screw 'Disabled', Screw Normal; only you know what you are capable of."

The Workforce is Changing | Part 4 | A Recruiter's Perspective

The Workforce is Changing | Part 4 | A Recruiter's Perspective

You can no longer reply on talent alone! As our series continues, we spend time talking all things talent management with Stan Rolfe, Principal at Qi Talent Solutions and Managing Editor at ATCHub. Explore the future of recruitment, so you can prepare for a change in the employment model.