Spark Magazine - Mid Year 2019

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spark magazine


Spark Magazine is “The fuel for business”. The target audience is business people, with an interest in innovation, technology and new ideas. We provide the ideas, motivation, and inspiration for success.

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CREATIVE DESIGN The information in Spark Magazine is of a general nature only and should not be relied upon for individual circumstances. In all cases take independent and professional investment, financial, tax and legal advice. Spark Magazine and all persons and entities associated therewith accept no responsibilities for loss or damage related to any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions in the magazine, or reliance on anything in the magazine. The views expressed in the magazine are those of the authors and do not imply endorsement by Spark Magazine, its controlling entity or associated persons. Similarly placement of an advertisement in the magazine does not imply endorsement by Spark Magazine its controlling entity or associated persons. In some cases journalists writing for SPARK Magazine may consult to or provide corporate writing for companies mentioned in articles. The journalists or Spark Magazine do not accept payment from companies to cover or include them. ©2019 by Pow Wow Pty Ltd. All Rights Reserved. ©2015 by Pow Wow Pty Ltd. Rights Reserved. Reproduction Reproduction in whole or inAll part without permission is in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. prohibited.


issue no.17
































The articles in Spark Magazine are of a general nature only. Always seek independent financial, investment, tax and legal advice.


Bring your growth plans to life with a BBG Business Growth Bundle

issue no.17


T O S PA R K M A G A Z I N E Electoral Reflections The business world welcomed the re-election of the business-friendly Coalition government with voters stopping a lurch to the left by Labor. What a turnaround effected by Scott (“ScoMo”) Morrison, in such a short time. It will be interesting to see what he can do with a full term. Labor politicians said their loss was due to the electorate not understanding what Labor was proposing – the “too big a noble agenda” theory. More likely the truth was the exact opposite – Australians knew exactly what Labor was proposing and rejected it. The Hilary Clinton like “champagne celebration before the final whistle” embarrassed many, with only ~30% of voters opting for Labor on first preference. The Union movement’s big spending anti-business campaigns did Labor no favours either. With Labor’s new leader being from the far left, and the highly capable and well liked Tanya Plibersek not contesting a leadership role, the shift back to the centre, so essential for electoral victory may be difficult, if not impossible for Labor. The good news out of the election for SME’s is that Australia has a business savvy government that understands the importance of growth, a strong economy, and wealth creation. With that will come a period of stability, despite the inevitable challenges that will wash

over the Australian economy in the next three years. For over a hundred years we have heard (mostly foreign, especially Tasman cousin) commentators claim that the lucky country’s run of fortune is about to end. By now the lesson should have been learned - we Aussies are far too good for that! Much of the ongoing success is powered by SMEs. People like you. The BSI group As readers will be aware, Spark Magazine is part of the BSI group. In this issue we feature articles from one of BSI’s partners – Kate Engler – the Publicity Princess, and her clients. We also link to several great stories on the BSI Innovations website; list a range of interesting other articles carried by BSI; preview a ”hot” upcoming Business Builders Group (BBG) event; and carry some thought provoking stories from our regular contributors and subject matter experts. Engine Room The winter and spring months can be the engine room of a successful calendar year for SMEs - a time when much work is down to earn those summer holidays and year-end bonuses. The team at Spark Magazine wishes all SME readers a successful run at 2019.

Paul M Southwick Editor



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issue no.17


is coming

Summary of the article by Jason Proctor featured on the BSI Innovation Website



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he Technology Generations The first generation (1G)

Uses will include self-driving cars,

The possibility of a Chinese company

remote-controlled thermostats and

having access to the core of Western

drones — connected to the internet.

telecommunications systems has

was introduced in the 1980s with

Our devices will be able to

wireless phones that had almost no

communicate directly with each

ability to transmit data.

other, essentially cutting humans out

The next generation (2G) occurred a decade later with better sound quality, security and capacity. Email and text became widespread.

of the equation.

What does 5G mean to Canada The Accenture report estimates

raised concerns - resulting in USA excluding Huawei from contracts with the American government or its contractors. The Australian government has also banned the company from its 5G networks. The United Kingdom has banned

3G brought global roaming and

that Canada’s wireless operators

higher-speed transmission, allowing

are expected to invest $26 billion

for more widespread connectivity

deploying 5G infrastructure between

and movement with devices.

2020 and 2026, having already

Dutch telecom giant Royal KPN NV

spent about $17.6 billion in spectrum

has said it will use a Western supplier


to build the core 5G mobile network.

media, post videos and use a wide

Accenture claims the payoff in that

Germany, Poland most Asian

variety of apps on smartphones.

same time will be a lift of about

Countries and the 3rd world have

$40 billion a year to Canada’s gross

refused to follow suit.

4G allowed phone users to surf the internet, stream music, access social

5G will be a game changer in wireless telecommunications, ushering in a network for future generations with more devices, faster communication, and higher speeds.

Huawei from core parts of the British communications network,

domestic product as well as the creation of 250,000 permanent jobs.

Some of the Benefits to the economy Farmers will use sensors for soil,

Huawei says it maintains its independence from the Chinese state.

What are the Issues?

Current 4G mobile networks can

crops and livestock maintenance.

Will the organisation that provides

offer speeds of about 45Mbps

“Smart irrigation” alone is expected

the underlying technology “control

(megabits per second) on average

to save blueberry farmers $270

the infrastructure of that network? “

and experts say 5G could achieve

million a year.

browsing and downloads up to 20 times faster.

Do the manufacturers and

The Oil industry will use sensors that

builders have this control or the

allow for “predictive maintenance”

telecommunication companies who

Connectivity - Internet of Things

All industries will benefit from a reduction in unplanned downtime

5G is coming regardless.

It is estimated that by 2020 between

and reduction in the risk of

Huawei has the technology and the

50 billion and 100 billion devices

catastrophic disasters associated

IP and will control a good number of

will be connected to the internet

with equipment or facilities failures

these networks.

with the ability to communicate

from human error.

seamlessly with no latency. (Lag

The three main players

between sending and receiving). 5G will have enough bandwidth to revolutionise entertainment, health care and education - it will enable the “Internet of Things,” Virtual Reality; or Augmented Reality.

manage the networks?

The United States is going to have to connect into those networks

Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei are the

because you can’t have a global

leading firms in the field.

communications system where

Who is banning Huawei and who is not

American or European equipment doesn’t talk to Chinese equipment.

issue no.17

About the author Jason Proctor is a reporter in British Columbia for CBC News and has covered the B.C. courts and mental health issues in the justice system extensively.



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issue no.17

WHY 5G? Summary of the article by Will Townsend featured on the BSI Innovation Website

• 5G promises of lightning-fast throughput and low latency • 5G is poised to be disruptive and woven into all fabrics of society



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erizon’s Nicki Palmer

will include self-driving cars, remote-

inter-connectivity of equipment,

summed it up during

controlled thermostats and drones

industries made timelier and

her keynote at the Big

— connected to the internet. Our

more cost-effective, the economy

5G Event this month. She believes

devices will be able to communicate

from banking to shopping will be

that within the next three years,

directly with each other, essentially

transformed, improved stadium

connected devices could reach three

cutting humans out of the equation.

connectivity/ back office support,

times the world’s population.

The players at the conference

The current 4G LTE networks can’t

included: Ian Campbell, CTO for

scale to support that onslaught of

Cisco Systems; Mishka Dehghan;

connectivity - 5G can.

Sprint’s executive lead for 5G

Jason Proctor from CBC news in Canada summarises the 5G narrative quite well.

services; Nicki Palmer, Verizon’s Chief Networking Officer, highlighted location-based services; and

and factory automation. There will also be network slicing, virtualization, cloudification, the leverage of open APIs and Smart City implementation - transport and city management will be revolutionised - improving public safety,

Huawei’s CTO Paul Scanlan and

Driverless cars with 5G making

“It is estimated that by 2020 between

Joy Tan, who leads corporate

possible the superfast sending of

50 billion and 100 billion devices

communications for the company

precision data between vehicles so

worldwide are expected to be connected to the internet with the ability to communicate seamlessly with no latency. (Lag between

All shared their excitement and benefits of 5 G which included: roaming, Internet download

that they do not collide, and they can communicate with road sensors and traffic lights and surveillance drones.

speeds multiple times faster, I o T

Systems will alert police when

- communication with many more

accidents occur, traffic moves

5G will have enough bandwidth to

devices at once, the ability to send

smoothly through integrated

revolutionise entertainment, health

and receive information closer to real

signals that keep track of flows, and

care and education - it will enable

time than ever before.

emergency vehicles arrive as quickly

sending and receiving).”

the “Internet of Things,” Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality. Uses

Households will be altered through

as possible through not being held up by red lights.

issue no.17


Distance learning, gaming, and

management resides with carriers,

short amount of time built a $50B

healthcare - example - long-

not equipment providers, who are

consumer business.

distance surgery with robots, a

bound by privacy laws within each

surgeon implanting a stimulation

region of the world.

device into the brain of a Parkinson’s

A tour of the Huawei’s Independent

emphasis on professional-like

disease patient in Beijing using

Cybersecurity Lab in Shenzhen

camera capabilities and in parallel

robotic arms controlled from about

revealed over 240 international

has created an enterprise switch and

3,000km away will all be possible.

security certifications and a multi-

router business approaching $10B

The security of networks to keep

layered internal audit protocol for

and growing at an impressive clip.

them safe from hackers will be no

discovering “backdoors” and vetoing

different with 5G than the present

product launches independently of

4G. Systems and equipment, no

its consumer, carrier, and enterprise

matter who makes them or where

business units (with documented

they are from, will need to be

stops and product cancellations in

About the author

constantly checked and monitored

the past).

and improved.

Will Townsend is a Moor Insights

Huawei is working hard to allay the concerns of the rest of the world

& Strategy senior analyst covering

Given the importance of 5G to the future, governments and companies

with not only its cybersecurity lab but

need to share and cooperate.

also by inviting the media to tour its

Mr. Scanlan’s response to the


concerns that Huawei may share

These efforts could be paying

subscriber data with the Chinese

off given Huawei started in the

government was that he pointed

telecommunications industry over

out that data ownership and

30 years ago and in a relatively

This was led by impressive smartphone designs with an

The bottom line - 5G is coming and Australia should be riding this wave with Huawei

networking infrastructure and carrier services


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issue no.17


beyond the hype Summary of the article by Rebecca Slayton featured on the BSI Innovation Website



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he race for 5G is

whether the United States lags

Most cyberattacks don’t come from

on, and America

behind China in its 5G deployment.

compromised foreign products;

must win.” Trump

The effects of 5G security by hackers will bring new cyber security and hacking dangers, depending on how it’s used.

instead they exploit known but

announced last week, announcing new federal initiatives to speed the deployment of 5G networks. 5G is the platform for tomorrow’s economy, transforming “everything from education to AI to medicine, but it comes with security risks.

U.S. and worldwide infrastructure and current telecommunications is as vulnerable as 5G and is vulnerable

Will banning components made by

to espionage and cyberattacks, for

Huawei mitigate those risks?

example “disruption of a natural gas

5G is an evolutionary — not revolutionary — it an advance in technology. •

5G (“fifth generation”) communications standards will extend rather than replace the current 4G infrastructure.

5G protocols can improve three kinds of applications.

pipeline for days to weeks,” 5G may be more secure than 4G.

The danger is that 5G will control massive numbers of machines — including autonomous vehicles, factory processes and much more. This means that hackers could exploit

persistent vulnerabilities, such as unpatched software and people who are easily phished. Strategies that focus solely on nations and organizations that may pose a threat, while neglecting the social and technical vulnerabilities that attackers exploit, will inevitably fail. The 5G hype might obscure the full range of technological options — as well as the full range of potential security threats and vulnerabilities in an increasingly wired and wireless world. It is short-sighted in having a blanket ban of Huawei 5G products in Australia and worldwide and here’s why...

vulnerabilities in 5G or the equipment •

5G can bring better speed and

used to control such systems, doing

It’s not about China hacking into

reliability to mobile broadband,

much more damage than is now

networks - it’s about anybody


hacking into networks. One needs

More reliable reliability and low

to get the best minds and protocols

latency (i.e., fast response time) in

Imagine, for example, hacked


driverless vehicles creating massive

Enables communication between myriad machines (Internet of Things) providing online control over door locks, lighting, thermostats, cars and literally everything

pileups on U.S. highways.

Banning Huawei and ZTE will not decrease the security risk of 5G security hacks in fact it would do the opposite

Huawei Chairman Eric Xu recently

Finland’s Nokia and Sweden’s

argued that most consumers would

Ericsson — manufacture equipment

notice “no material difference

in Chinese factories with partners

between” 4G and 5G technologies.

linked to the Chinese Communist

Many U.S. tech experts share this view, arguing that it doesn’t matter

Party, so deploying 5G without some dependence on Chinese suppliers is difficult.

working together to build security. Huawei is a major player and should be part of the global team working together with global protocols. About the author Rebecca Slayton is an associate professor at the Department of Science & Technology Studies and director of the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, both at Cornell University.)

issue no.14



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issue no.17


venture capital website

BSI owner Ivan Kaye searches the Internet for the very best articles on leadership, financial Planning, Raising Money, Finance, Building Your Business and other Stuff.

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spark magazine

issue no.17


by Leslie B Watson


in every day


hat would you do

took Leadership by deciding that he

As you read through the Tools below,

with one extra

wanted to start bringing his lunch

start with simple Awareness. Reflect

hour each day?

from home four days a week. He

on your own routines and habits.

Spend more time with the kids?

spoke to his domestic partner (am

Exercise? Start a project? Sleep?

I allowed to call her a Tool?), and

Achieving Inbox Zero

together they evaluated their grocery Whether it’s for relationships,

shopping budget and routine. Their

ambition or health, getting back an

solution? When preparing dinner,

hour every day is entirely achievable.

they would ‘cook double’, packing

In fact, you can start today.

the extra portions into Tupperware ready for tomorrow’s lunch. The

There’s a model I teach in my

final piece of the Action puzzle was

training seminars called “ALTA.” It

setting up a system so that Michael

represents a four-step process for

wouldn’t forget to grab his lunch

changing habits, be they professional

from the fridge each morning (in this

or personal. ALTA stands for:

case, he set up a daily alarm on his

Awareness (of what needs changing);


Leadership (taking responsibility and taking charge); Tools (could be

What does ALTA have to do with

information, objects, technology or

getting back an hour in every day?

people); and Action (do the thing!).

Well, time is a finite resource. There will always be 24 hours in each day.

Let’s look at an example of ALTA. A

So, in order to get an extra hour,

friend of mine (let’s call him Michael)

we’re going to need to find it and

mentioned recently that he wanted

take it from somewhere else. This

to save money. After doing a quick

requires us to change some habits.

audit of his daily spending, he

Here are four time management

realised how much money he was

challenges that come up again and

spending on buying his lunch every

again for small business operators,

day. With this Awareness, Michael

and Tools you might find useful.

Does your email inbox feel overwhelming? Do you feel like you’re always on the back foot when it comes to dealing with email? Email can get out of hand, and it often seems like a mountain of a task to get it back under control. It has even become a distraction in itself, with email notifications popping up throughout the day, demanding our immediate attention. Developed by Merlin Mann, Inbox Zero is a rigorous approach to email management aimed at keeping the inbox empty— or almost empty—at all times. Inbox Zero helps to eliminate distractions, reduce the time spent sifting through email detritus, declutter your screen (and your brain), and perhaps most importantly, Inbox Zero gives you a sense of control and achievement which extends beyond the screen. There are many ways to achieve


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Inbox Zero, but I will share with you

day. Choose a time to finish

Create a trusted planning system –

my method. When an email appears

and set an alarm so that you do

somewhere to write stuff so it will

in my inbox, I follow the four Ds:

finish. Then, don’t check your

get done and not be forgotten. It

Do – can I action this in under

emails while you’re away from

doesn’t matter if it’s a paper planner

two minutes? If yes, do it

work. If that is not possible,

such as a Filofax or notebook, or an


choose a time (and duration) to

app on your phone like OneNote or

Dump – is this junk? Get rid of it

check them away from work,

Evernote. A system beats using scraps


and stick to it. E.g., 8pm for 15

of paper that can be misplaced.

Delegate – if it doesn’t fit into


• •

your area of responsibility, •

Finally, if you can’t close your

delegate it immediately.

email client down, at least turn

Decide when – if actioning the

your notifications off. There’s an

email will take longer than two

hour back just from eliminating

minutes, decide when you will

distracting pop-ups.

do it instead. Set an alarm or schedule an appointment in your calendar. Some people love to get to Inbox Zero daily. For others, this seems daunting, and many instead aim for 5pm on Friday. Whichever way works for you, the feeling of leaving work for the day (or the weekend) knowing you’re at Inbox Zero is sweet. Give it a try! Here are some extra tips for managing email: •

Only check your email a few times a day, or once an hour, on the hour.

Add a line under your email signature that says something like “I only check my emails three or four times a day. If it’s urgent, please call me or walk around to my desk and see me”. This may not work for everyone, but if applied, it will give you control over email, rather than the other way around.

Close your email client down when you want to focus on other tasks.

Down tools at the end of the

Planning the day

Prioritising One of the main reasons people, particularly small business owners, don’t have enough time is because we’ve over-filled our schedules. No gaps. No down time. Why do we take on too much?

You may be tempted to skip planning

Sometimes it’s FOMO – Fear of

your day and ‘just get on with it’.

Missing Out. Some of us find it

However, this is false economy. The

difficult to say ‘no’. Sometimes

best time to plan is the night before.

we take on too much because we

If you give yourself 15 minutes to

haven’t considered what’s really

do this at the end of your workday,

important to us. Whatever the

before you leave the office, you

cause for our feeling stretched

can catch any problems, clashes or

thin, reducing our focus to what’s

needs in advance. Planning the day

important gives our schedule the

before also primes your unconscious

flexibility it needs to not only allow

for alerting you to things you may

for down time, but also to deal with

have missed or a problem that needs

the unexpected without throwing

solving. By sleeping on it, you may

out our entire day.

even wake up with a solution. This is the effortless way to fuel massive

Set achievable to-do lists, not 100


tasks to be done in one day. With 100 tasks, you are just setting yourself up

Don’t trust your memory. Write

for disappointment and frustration.

everything down. The shortest pencil

Choose ten to 15 tasks and prioritise

is longer that the longest memory.

them. A simple prioritisation method

Remember the words of Sean

is A’s and B’s. An A task must get

Connery’s Henry Jones (Indiana’s

done today, and B tasks would be

father): “I wrote them down in my

nice to get done today, but if they

diary so that I wouldn’t have to

need to be bumped to tomorrow, so

remember”. Our brains have limited

be it. Stay focused on the A’s until

room for working memory. Don’t

you get them done. “Oh, but this

take up important mental space

B looks fun and will only take 10

with reminders that could be written

minutes”, we say to ourselves, only

down instead.

to realise 45 minutes later that we’re

issue no.17


elbows deep in a B and now have

for keeping many plates spinning.

help you to understand what to

to stay late to get all those A’s done.

One way to streamline is to establish

expect as you establish a new habit

A’s are what matter. Do them first. If

daily routines and make them

or routine. Don’t be discouraged. Be

your 15 tasks get done, add a couple


consistent, but more importantly,


be patient. It takes time to go from Habits are simply acquired behaviour

conscious effort to autopilot, but

Another way to help you stick to

patterns that have become almost

remember, good habits are like slow-

your priorities is to have boundaries.

involuntary. The four stages of the

cookers: you can set and forget.

How comfortable are you with

competence model can help us track

saying ‘no’? Do you find yourself

our progression through the stages

Maybe as you read this article, you

caught up in long conversations that

of habit formation. To understand

became Aware that you don’t have

you need to leave, but don’t know

how the four stages of competence

strong boundaries. Maybe you even

how? Establishing boundaries may

work, let’s use an example.

found some Tools that you can use

feel uncomfortable at first, but this

to help you say ‘no’. It’s now time to

will change with time and practice.

Fifteen-year-old Emma has been

exercise your Leadership. Choose

Learning how to say ‘no’ with

playing car-racing video games

one thing that you want to make a

diplomacy is not only achievable, it’s

for years. She thinks she knows

habit or include (or exclude) from

a trait of good leadership.

how to drive, although she has

your daily routine. What Tools can

never been behind the wheel of an

you use? Finally, Do the thing! Put

What would you say to a colleague

actual vehicle. This is Unconscious

your Leadership into Action, and get

who kept interrupting you in your

Incompetence, the first stage.

back that hour.

office to chat? For a lot of people,

Unconscious Incompetence

the answer would be “nothing”. Here

means that Emma can’t drive, but

For more Tools on time management,

are some alternatives that I’ve heard

she doesn’t know it. On her 16th

go to

people use:

birthday, Emma sits in the driver’s

seat of her parents’ Volvo wagon and

“That doesn’t work for me now,

realises she has no idea what she’s

but it could work in two to three

doing. This is stage two: Conscious

hours. Check back in with me

Incompetence. She can’t drive, and


now she knows it. After a period

“I’m keen to have this discussion,

of practice, Emma is now able to

but I’m up against a deadline

drive from A to B safely, but she still

right now. Can we schedule a

needs to concentrate. This is the

catch-up for tomorrow?”

third stage, Conscious Competence.

“I want to give this my full

Eventually, Emma has her first “I

concentration, but my mind is

don’t even remember driving here”

stuck on some urgent tasks I

experience, indicating that her

have. Let’s lock in a time that

driving has become automatic, taking

works for both of us.”

up minimal conscious effort. Emma

Establishing daily routines One challenge I often hear from small business operators is about the need to streamline tasks. Small business owners are in a unique position where they are responsible

has now reached the fourth stage and is an Unconsciously Competent driver. Acquiring new behaviour patterns is similar. Understanding the four stages of competence model will

About the Author Les Watson’s passion for and expertise in time management and productivity has earned him the nickname ‘The Time Lord’. He has worked extensively throughout Australia and South-East Asia delivering dynamic training programs to major corporations, small businesses and individuals. Les’ depth of knowledge and skill comes from over 30 years of experience as a trainer, speaker and facilitator in selfmanagement, motivation and communication. He lives and breathes time management in his own life. He is the author of ‘Get Back An Hour In Every Day’.


spark magazine

by Kate Engler



For entrepreneurs and business owners, operating in this modern, fast-paced world has its pros and cons. The speed to market and the reach of social media can turn an idea into an overnight success making the fast pace of life a good thing, However, speed can also mean stress to keep up and stay ahead of the next new thing.

issue no.17



remain unchecked, they may have

s a society we are

detrimental effects on our general

exposed to constant

health and wellbeing.

chronic stress. Business

owners often find themselves at the

“It is important that we cultivate a

pointy end of the stress arrow as they

healthy stress response and become

juggle business, life, relationships,

more resilient to the effects of stress.

tax compliance and customers.

It is impossible to prevent stress

Being overwhelmed can feel like

completely – especially for busy

it’s mere moments away, and the

entrepreneurs, however it is possible

consequences may manifest as

to decrease its impact on the brain

fatigue, brain fog and adrenal burn

and the body,” Dr Celik explains from

out. None of which make for a happy

her dedicated Amara Wellness Centre

or successful business.

in Melbourne. Zara has offered her top 5 tips for

Stress can be emotional,

self-care and lifestyle practices that

psychological, and/or environmental

can help manage stress:

and affect hormonal, psychological,

1. Practice mindfulness meditation

digestive and brain health.

Mindfulness based mediation is one The human brain is designed to

great way to increase neuroplasticity

respond to stress by gearing up the

and there is significant research

autonomic reflexes (think ‘reactions”)

showing that meditation has

and slowing down higher-level

profound effects on the brain.

thinking which can be more aptly

Mindfulness meditation where

described as ‘responses’.

people may be sitting or lying down for at least 10-15 minutes per day

Dr Zara Celik, a wellness expert who

noticing their thoughts and feelings

holds a Bachelor of Science with a

in a quiet environment can increase

major in Applied Mathematics and

the brain’s resilience and ultimately

Anatomy as well as a Masters degree

resilience to stress. Mindfulness

in Clinical Chiropractic believes it is

meditation has been shown to

important to be mindful and identify

increase grey matter in the brain,

the factors of constant long-term

especially hippocampus (though to

stress. Her warning is that if they

be the centre of emotion, memory,


spark magazine

and the autonomic nervous system)

instrument, learning a new dance

on is the importance of movement

This helps break down the hard

or even playing a new game can

and exercise when it comes to

wiring caused by stress and make

stimulate those pathways to improve

managing stress. And this makes Dr

brain more resilient.

the brain capacity and reduce stress.

Celik’s top 5 list as well.




Learning a new skill

Get a good night’s sleep

Movement /Exercise

Learning something new, especially

Implement some bedtime rituals to

Physical activity helps improve

if it’s fairly challenging, can retrain

improve sleep quality. Aim to go to

neuroplasticity, helps the brain

the brain and teach the brain a new,

bed early 10pm if possible – and get

overcome hardwiring, improves

flexible pathway to handle change

seven to eight hours of sleep per

circulation and can induce a state of

and challenges. Consistently doing

night. Longer periods of sleep may

calm, thus decreasing stress. Even a

the same thing over and over means

be needed in case of severe adrenal

30-minute walk will improve the flow

the brain gets stuck and follows the


of blood and oxygen to the brain,

same neural pathways. So, when you

“Implementing regular sleep patterns

and in doing so, avoid hard wiring of

are engaged in stressful situations,

and bedtime rituals allows the mind

the brain that can lead to depression

this wires the brain to automatically

and body to unwind and relax.

and anxiety.

react as though everything it faces is

Ending all screen times at least

Tim Dettmann, Physiotherapist and

stressful. Then a pattern of chronic

one hour before bed is also vital to

Director of Kieser Australia explains

stress develops, and this is why

ensuring a good night’s rest,” says Dr

why he is such an exercise advocate,

people get stressed out over the


“The beautiful thing about movement

littlest things as they have literally

When it comes to chiropractors and

and exercise is that is a two-way

wired their brains for stress.

physiotherapists, they are often seen

relationship with stress and anxiety.

Exploring hobbies of interest like

as being in two separate camps. But

If you do more exercise, you are

learning a new language, skills such

one thing both Dr Celik and leading

less like to fall into the clutches of

as knitting or pottery, playing a new

physiotherapist, Tim Dettmann agree

stress and anxiety. And if you already

issue no.17


have stress or anxiety, then it’s a

benefits on mind, body and skin. It

that penetrates 40 mm under the

great treatment to reduce those

can provide tranquility, relaxation

skin to energize the cells, improves

symptoms and regain the positive

and a thorough purification and

tissue exchange; boost draining

emotions / feelings in your life, and

detoxification as well as improving

functions, increases blood circulation

as a consequence feel like you are

sleep quality. It cleanses the skin,

and eliminates toxins from the body.

more in control of your stress,” he

relieves stress, provides mental

It improves and regulates quality of


clarity, increases energy levels,

sleep, reduces stress and nervous

increases metabolism and enhances

tension, reduces signs of chronic

Spending time with friends in a

immune system. After Hammam

fatigue, promotes deep relaxation,

social environment can help to

ritual the body feels fulfilled,

stimulates the metabolism.

reduce stress on the brain. Engaging

cleansed and supremely relaxed.

Regardless of what stress busting

in activities you enjoy with the


option you choose, experts agree


Social interaction

Floatation Tank - This is

people to feel joyful, refreshed and

also known as a sensory deprivation

that finding one or two that really

recharged can be one of the simplest

tank. It’s basically a large tub of water

work for you and engaging in them

and most accessible ways for people

that contains Epsom salts. Due to

regularly is vital to ongoing wellbeing

to reduce their stress levels.

the high salt content in the tank, you

and business success.

Both practitioners agree that it

float on top of the water, giving you a

Perhaps after reading this article,

is important to implement and

sense of weightlessness. It is relaxing,

you may feel inclined to pick up a

schedule in regular down time as

calming and healing. It improves

pair of joggers and go for a gentle,

well as exercise, and reward yourself

sleep quality by providing non-

mindful walk to clear out some of the

with well-deserved relaxing and

interrupted deep sleep for the senses

cobwebs in that busy brain of yours.

restorative self-care practices.

and is an easily accessible treatment

Who knows what sort of business

They believe that business owners

to reduce anxiety, improve stress

success the more relaxed you may be

and entrepreneurs who invest in

management, as well as relieving

able to generate.

themselves as well as their business,

aches and pains. 4.

Note: This article is of a general

not only will optimise their health and wellbeing, will also be more

Far infrared regenerates the body

stress resilient, improve productivity,

from within and is a vital radiation of

and avoid presenteeism as well as

the sun. It is a natural invisible light

absenteeism. Below are the four stress relieving activities and self-care and lifestyle practices. 1. EndermoTherapie/ EndermoTherapy Treatment is an invigorating, non-invasive natural therapeutic massage to improve soft tissue function and flexibility, reduce pain, decrease muscle tension by increasing blood circulation and stimulate lymphatic drainage as well as preventing fatigue, combat inflammation and help with musculoskeletal conditions. 2.

Hammam Bathing Rituals –

A Hammam ritual is nurturing steam hydrotherapy with numerous health

Far Infrared Infratherapy–

nature only. Readers should always seek medical advice specific to

themselves before commencing any treatment.


spark magazine

by Michael Langdon


WHY SHOPPERS WANT VIDEOS IN ORDER to buy prod Seven years ago, whilst living in the UK, The Winning Group reached out to me to help them start Appliances Online’s video strategy. Back then, video wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is now. ECommerce-specific video was extremely rare. Seven years on, and eCommercespecific videos are still quite rare. This is despite the fact that product video reviews have got some of the easiest metrics to measure a return on investment on (and a return on investment they always get!).


issue no.17




spark magazine

n the last seven years I’ve

Make it easy for them to purchase

produced over 3,000 product

by collating all the important

5. The closest thing to touching the product

reviews, amassed hundreds

information about your product in

The devil really is in the detail. Data

one succinct video.

from our earliest videos showed

of thousands of views and, more importantly, generated millions

that customers kept rewinding back

retailers. I’ve learned a lot about why

3. Seeing the product in action

shoppers want videos in order to buy

Each shopper lands on a product

the most innocuous of details (for

products. Here’s my most prominent

page with a differing reason as to

the production team), ended up


why they want to buy. Companies

being what people were after. For

may not be able to answer all

these types of shoppers, having a

of dollars for Australia’s leading

1. Humanising a brand

to close ups we had of panels or buttons on white goods. Sometimes,

questions in a script or manual, but

video review with a lot of close ups

The most important lesson I learned

showing the product do its thing

of the product is the closest they are

from reading dozens of reviews

will go a long way to answering

going to get to ‘feeling’ and ‘testing’

from shoppers who had seen one

most questions prospects may have.

the product without having physical

of our video reviews was they were

People want to see exactly how the

access to it. Think of it almost like

over the moon that someone on

product will perform once they have

test driving the product from the

video had spoken to them about

it in their hands, so by showing it

comfort of their own home.

the product they were about to

doing what it does, you’ll get them to

purchase. People make connections

visualise the product in their life.

to other people a lot easier than they will to a product, so having a human

4. Education

educating your prospect about the

Educating prospects on the purchase

product they are interested in will

they are about to make creates

create immediate loyalty to your

psychological allegiances to brands.

brand. Shoppers prefer to feel like

Good customer service has, and

they are buying from someone and

always will, entice shoppers to

not a faceless corporation.

buy from companies who excel

2. Convenience

at customer service. Investing in a video review for products

In a world where attention spans

is investing in your customer’s

are short and consumers want

shopping experience. If you educate

immediate results, shoppers don’t

your prospects well enough on the

want to waste their time reading

products they are looking for, then

manuals, going through fine

it’s a no-brainer that they will choose

print and scrolling for hours to

to buy from the company that took

find the information that they are

some time to talk to make their

after before making a purchase.

purchasing journey easy.

Video is the easiest way for eCommerce brands to connect to their customers and bring a human touch that helps them sell faster. About the author

Sydney-based Michael Langdon is the founder of Serious Levity, an

award-winning eCommerce video strategy house that specialises

in increasing conversion rates for

ecommerce sites through product reviews produced at scale. He is also the author of “Welcome to

the age of Emotion: How to attract and connect with customers using video.” For more information visit

even the most challenging times.

issue no.17



spark magazine

issue no.17


by Michael Langdon


gets seen

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when producing video content is thinking that the job is done once the video is uploaded to their website. That is only the beginning of your video asset generating some return on your investment. Like all assets, you should make it sweat. Here the top tips on how to increase the exposure of your video:



spark magazine


lacement - aim high!

Focus on the quality of the story

If you’ve gone through

Post to forums Link your video on forums. You’ll

the time, effort and cost of

It sounds obvious, but you must

be surprised at how much traffic

producing a video, then invest

start putting quality content out

a website like reddit can generate

a bit more time and talk to your

there - and I don’t mean in terms of

for your video. Specialised forums

developers to have it visible within

production values. Make sure you

are great to give your video legs.

your site. The better positioned your

have a good story to tell. One that

For example, if your video is about

video, the higher play rate it’s going

will connect with people. Over half

a new vegan recipe, then put it in

to have, and the better results you’re

of your exposure is going to come

a vegan food forum. That will get

going to get from it. I recommend

organically if your content is good.

it running and receiving lots of

positioning it on a splash page,

People engage more with content

traction. The same can be true for

landing page or high up on your

that is honest and thought out,

getting influencers to promote your

website. There’s irrefutable scientific

rather than something that is hashed

video through their blogs, pages, or

evidence from our customers that

together, so invest some time in

forums. If it’s relevant to them and

tell us that the more hours a video

telling it well. Asking people to tune

their audience, it’s a win-win for

product reviews is watched, the

in next time (whether literally or


more units it will sell. Get your

implied) will ensure they are hooked

video high up on your website and it

on your content and will share

Whichever tactic you employ to get

will generate more money for you.

through their own channels.

your videos exposure, the main thing


Be strategic with your thumbnail

Give it a monetary nudge

to remember is that you’re not done as soon as your videos is published. The real work starts in getting it

Unfortunately, due to Facebook’s

some exposure.

algorithms, it’s quite hard for a video A great thumbnail is paramount if

to organically grow without a little bit

you want people clicking on your

of money behind it. I’m not saying it’s

video. A big NO NO is to let your

impossible, just harder, no matter the

YouTube or Vimeo randomly select

quality of the content. So put a little

a thumbnail for you. Make sure you

bit of money behind it on Facebook,

select one that will get people’s

and if the quality is good enough,

attention. Smiley happy faces are

watch the organic views explode.

scientifically proven to increase

Even starting off with a small budget

play rates. It also ensures you can

and targeting a specific audience can

get consistency in the branding and

have super impressive results. Don’t

imagery. This helps people develop

feel the pressure to pay above what

an association with your videos, and

your budget allows. Smart targeting

when they revisit your pages, they

can be way more effective, and fully

will know what to expect. This will

engaged audiences will do more to

make them more likely to watch.

boost the organic value than lots of short few-second views.

About the author Sydney-based Michael Langdon is the founder of Serious Levity, an award-winning eCommerce video strategy house that specialises in increasing conversion rates for ecommerce sites through product reviews produced at scale. He is also the author of Welcome to the age of Emotion: How to attract and connect with customers using video. For more information visit

issue issue no.17 no.15

35 37


spark magazine

by Gabrielle Dolan

THE HIDDEN CONSEQUENCES OF USING jargon Jargon is all around us. Everyone is “moving the needle,” “pivoting,” or “thinking outside the square.” Ironically the term thinking outside the square was first used decades ago, so if you are using this metaphor, perhaps you are not demonstrating the innovative and creative thinking qualities you are looking for in others. As there are hidden consequences to using jargon, let’s look at the three reason why we use jargon and the potential consequences.



TSometimes people default to jargon when they have something to hide. We often see this when companies refer to cutting jobs (that is, making people unemployed) as ‘downsizing’ or ‘rightsizing.’ In December 2018, General Motors took this to a whole new level when they referred to the closure of five plants in the United States and Canada — with a loss of up to 14,000 jobs. Instead of saying words like ‘sack’, ‘closure’ or’ job losses’, they referred to these factories and people as ‘unallocated.’

Importance Some of us use jargon for importance. We use it to make us sound more credible or knowledgeable than what we are. Sometimes you feel like people are just talking in clichés such as ‘valueadd team player’ or ‘design led philosophy with a customer centric focus.’ You see no greater example of this than the increasing number of job titles that make even the most boring jobs sound thrilling. For example, Galactic Viceroy of Research Excellence at Microsoft. This was assigned to someone who did cloud-related research. Job interviews can be another situation where jargon is also used to sound important.

Acceptance Finally, and perhaps the most common reason why we use jargon, is acceptance. One of our greatest desires as humans is to be connected to each other and accepted, often at any cost. We act in a certain way to fit in. We dress in a certain way to fit in. We talk in a certain way to fit in. All it takes is a senior person or an external consultant to start using a particular phrase and, in most cases, gradually

issue no.17

everyone else starts to use it. If we start a new job and everyone is pivoting around their robust and sustainable customer centric strategy, it does not take long before we start using those words ourselves. Regardless of why we use jargon, there are consequences.

Consequence 1 – Lack of trust Believe it or not, research does show that using jargon and clichés can make us appear more credible (at least at first, and only in certain forums). At the University of Munster, Germany, Dr Regina Jucks and Maria Zimmermann published ‘How experts’ use of medical technical jargon in different types of online health forums affects perceived information credibility: Randomised experiment with laypersons.’ The results showed that using high amounts of jargon when talking to other medical experts resulted in higher credibility than using less jargon in these forums. Conversely the opposite was true. For the layperson, using low amounts of jargon resulted in higher credibility than using high amounts of jargon. However, in both situations, the more jargon was used the less it was perceived as trustworthy. Another study at the New York University concluded that there was a lower level of trust when vague words were used (such as, ‘An apology would be needed if my words have caused offence’) and a higher level when more concrete words were used (such as, ‘I am sorry’). We tend to use jargon when we want to avoid something but, ironically, the more you use jargon, the more people think you are just flat out lying. So, when we overuse jargon,


people trust us less and doubt our intentions.

Consequence 2 – Miscommunication As well as lack of trust, overuse of jargon can mean people disconnect from your message, feel isolated and ultimately lead to miscommunication. If everyone understands the jargon, then it can be a very efficient way of communicating. But beware, just because people are saying ‘move the needle’, does not mean they understand the phrase. What’s more, their interpretation may be different to yours. In 2014, Richard Branson wrote a LinkedIn article titled ‘Why you should do away with jargon’. His opening paragraph read, Some people love speaking in jargon, using fancy words and turning everything into acronyms. Personally, I find this simply slows things down, confuses people and causes them to lose interest. It’s far better to use a simple term and commonplace words that everyone will understand, rather than showing off and annoying your audience. In summary, unless you are positive everyone understands the jargon term you are using, you are potentially confusing them, annoying them or losing their trust. As George Orwell advised, ‘Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent’. Gabrielle Dolan is a best-selling author and international speaker on business storytelling and authentic leadership. She is also the founder of Jargon Free Fridays. Her latest book Real Communication: How to be you and lead true, is published by Wiley. Follow this link to find out more about Gabrielle.


spark magazine



your personal

issue no.17

by Lisa Stephenson

Here’s the bottom-line up front: you are your brand, and it’s a good idea to know what people are saying and feeling when your name is mentioned. There is nothing complicated about it. Your brand is what it looks like and feels like to be around you.



spark magazine


here’s no need to run

what they way.

off and research this

6. Design a strategy – Be deliberate and specific when it

The decisions you make, and the way

comes to what you want to achieve

an understanding that your brand

you handle challenges, creates your

with your brand. Write down what

is directly linked to your career

personal brand story. It’s smart to

you want to be known for and your

progression, salary and reputation.

know what you want to be known

plan for making that happen.

one. What is critical is

for in your organisation you’re your We live in a complex and fast-paced


world where our brains can barely process the data we receive in any

So, to help you manage your

given day. We know some people

personal brand, here are 10 things to

are feeling busy to the extent that

think about:

they can’t sleep at night. Despite the rate at which we work and evolve, one thing will never change, and that is how you behave, perform and make people feel, determines how successful you are in all elements of your life. We have always been aware of

1. Seek external feedback – Asking others, ‘what’s it like being around me? is one of the most important questions you can ask when it comes to determining your brand.

organisations focusing on their

2. Identify your strengths –

brand. We could all list business

Your uniqueness and strengths are

names that we know and love. We

your greatest currency. Make sure

could also likely describe their logo

you are clear about where you add

and products: Nike, Google and

value and what you are awesome at.

Coca-Cola are obvious examples;

7. Be consistent – Adults like to know where they stand and what to expect. When you do what you say you will do, people will trust you and what you stand for.

8. Self-awareness is king – Always be looking for ways to learn about yourself. Don’t just look for evidence to make yourself right. Have real and ongoing conversations with people from all aspects of your life.

9. Own all of it – This means saying sorry when you get it wrong. Take responsibility for your role in the team and be authentic when you do it. People do appreciate those who know when they’ve got it wrong.

you couldn’t think of Lego without

3. Collaborate – Identify

the bright colours popping into your

opportunities to work with others

mind; you could probably have a

so you can learn, but also give them

10. Engage a mentor – Find

good go at drawing that blue bubble

time and opportunity to experience

someone who has a personal brand

that appears around the skype logo;


that you respect. Ask them to spend

but would you know the three words most people would use to describe you?

What do you want to be famous for? Every day you are communicating your values, beliefs and goals to the people around you. They are watching you, even when you don’t think they are. They are talking about you even though you might not hear

some time with you exploring their

4. Contribute – Look for ways to support others with their career, projects and brand. Investing in other people’s success is always a good idea.

5. Communicate – tell others

greatest learnings. In every meeting, sales pitch and email, you are saying something about who you are. Consciously choose your personal brand and watch the benefits flow. If you don’t like your current brand, you can

about yourself. Celebrate and

absolutely start to change it today. If

communicate your activities. You can

you’re proud of your brand, consider

be humble while sharing what you

how you can leverage it to create

are working on.

your most successful life.

issue no.17

About the author

Lisa Stephenson is the author

of Read Me First (Major Street Publishing), a book filled with thought provoking coaching

questions, strategies for success

and life’s must-haves. Lisa draws on decades of experience as a global speaker, leadership consultant

and success coach. She is also the founder of the global, Australianbased consulting firm, Who am I

Projects. Over the years she has

worked with some of the biggest

global names, CEOs, elite athletes and entrepreneurs.

For more information on Lisa go to



spark magazine


by Dr Amantha Imber

digital distractions

issue no.17



ix minutes. This is the

small rewards or breaks after having

They create subtle changes to nudge

amount of time people

done a large chunk of deep, focused

themselves towards healthier habits

can stay focused on a task


before succumbing to the lour of

Avoiding digital distractions doesn’t

“I actually find some of those

have to mean making big changes in

distractions to be useful mini breaks,”

your life. Sometimes it’s the smaller

explains Grant. “When I’m stuck

changes that can have the biggest

on an idea or a sentence when I’m

impact. Matt Mullenweg, a founding

writing, I’ll actually go over to Twitter

developer of WordPress, the open

and check it for a minute or two, but

source software used by over 31% of

I limit myself on a clock. I also have

the web, is a big fan of making subtle

goals for how much work I have to

changes to nudge himself towards

The research also found that we

finish before I’m allowed to go over

healthier digital habits.

only spend 2.8 hours per day doing

and check.”

email or messaging apps, according to research by Rescue Time. After analysing 185 million working hours worth of data, the research revealed that people check email or instant messenger every six minutes, on average.

“productive” work. Given the average American works 47 hours per week, most of us spending less than a third of our working hours doing focused, impactful work. Through the podcast I host, How I

“If what is closest to me in the bed

“I’ll use it as a small reward for

when I wake up is the Kindle and

making progress on the things that I

not the phone, I’m more likely to

think are important.”

read,” describes Mullenweg. “But if

They reflect on their motivation for wanting to check social media

the phone is on top of the Kindle, I’m more likely to look at the phone.” Making sure he leaves his Kindle on

Work, I have spoken to dozens of

For Grant, being conscious about

top of his phone is therefore a small,

successful entrepreneurs, business

his motivation for checking social

but effective strategy for doing more

people, and innovators about how

media is critical. He warns people

reading and less phone checking.

they buck the trend against these

that if the urge to scroll through

statistics. My guests on the show

Facebook or other social media sites

are all world class performers in

is constantly taking you away from

In today’s world, being disconnected

their domain and have all developed

your work, then your work probably

from the internet is rare. We are

strategies for fighting the temptation

isn’t motivating enough.

never far away from wi-fi and if we

to do a “just check” of their email every few minutes.

“I actually feel the opposite impulse. If I’m scrolling through Facebook,

They work offline for hours at a time

are not in range, our phone probably is.

They use checking so called “digital

I’m like, ‘Ah! I’m going to have this

But for the world’s most productive

distractions” as a mini break

exciting work to do! I want to get

people, deliberately taking

back to that’”, Grant describes.

themselves offline is key to making

Wharton Professor and best-selling

progress on their most important

author Adam Grant isn’t a fan of

So while checking social media at

going cold turkey when it comes to

work isn’t something Grant frowns

social media, email, and other digital

upon, being cognizant of your

“Going offline is really great,”

distractions. Instead, he uses them as

motivation is key.

describes Mullenweg. “I do this on



spark magazine

aeroplanes, but then occasionally at

what he describes as “brute force

which is effectively the same thing as

home I’ll just turn off the network,

approaches” and discovered a

putting it in a kitchen safe from 6PM

literally unplugging it, and then just

product called the KSafe.

to 8AM.”

The KSafe, a lockable kitchen safe

But at the end of the day, the world’s

force myself to look at all the things that are there in front of me.”

with a built-in timer, was originally

most productive and high achieving

Sarah Green Carmichael, former

designed as a dieting product where

people are human. They have days

executive editor at Harvard Business

dieters could lock away unhealthy

where they struggle with digital

Review, adopts a similar strategy. “I

food. But in recent years, the product

distractions like the rest of us.

get a tonne of editing done on trains

has found a dual purpose for those

and planes because you’re strapped

struggling with mobile phone

into the seat and you don’t have wi-

addiction whereby they could lock

fi. So if I’m travelling for work, I try

their phones in the safe.

to take day flights so I can have that time on the aeroplane to work.”

When thinking about staying off his phone for significant periods of time, Kendall says, “I find it hard and I go through withdrawal, but I also think

Kendall, himself, tried experimenting

that it has a meaningful impact on

with locking away his phone on

my relationship with my kids and my

“That time becomes

weeknights, and then for a few hours

wife. I just feel less anxious and less

disproportionately precious to me.”

on weekends. While he doesn’t use

psychologically toxic if I can take a

the KSafe regularly anymore, he

break from my phone.”

They sometimes go to extreme measures Prior to becoming CEO of Moment, a company that helps people reign in their mobile phone usage, Tim Kendall was President of Pinterest and struggled a lot with his own phone usage. He started to research

found it effective at the time. “The thing that works for me today is in my house, I have an office when I leave that office before I go have dinner with my family, I just leave my phone,” explains Kendall. “On my best nights, I don’t go and get my phone until the next morning,

About the author Dr Amantha Imber is the Founder of Inventium, Australia’s leading innovation consultancy and the host of How I Work, a podcast

about the habits and rituals of the

world’s most successful innovators.

issue no.17



spark magazine

by Darren Walsh



steps to an autonomous business

issue no.17



spark magazine


tories are often told of business owners who have made it to the top

on the back of hard work, as if hard work alone has meant they could push through adversity to finally make it. Well, unfortunately, these days hard work won’t get you there.

Step 1 - Build financial awareness

target %, the business owner can

Many business owners are not

Compare this to the actual selling

financial experts (and nor do they

price, and you will know if your

need to be). However, a business

product is profitable.

must be able to use its financials to

Step 3 - Creating structure

set targets. The way to do this is to create a ‘Trading P&L’. The four key elements of a Trading P&L are: •

Start from the bottom up. Determine what profit the

where it is going.

Separate the director’s / owner’s

Not every role is needed now, but for

Rid the business of any expenses it doesn’t need to incur (reduce or remove every expense you

businesses of all sizes prove that


sole weapon, it was only a matter of time before they lost the battle for their business. For a business

where the business is now, but for

(including labour)

staff to make it. Every day, failed

nothing. With hard work as their

The organisational chart is like a

The organisational map is not for

the hard work of its owners and

their hard work has all been for

to employ as the business grows.

Your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)

trading expenses (overheads) •

business is knowing when and who

people map for your business.

remuneration from normal A business needs much more than

One of the main issues for any

business should be returning

must incorporate all direct costs

determine the required selling price.

Step 2 - Understand what price is needed to sell at to make the required profit

a business to get to where it wants to be, it must behave like it’s already there. To be a world champion, an athlete must behave, train and believe they are a world champion. A business must do the same.

Step 4 - Plan, but not too early

Ideally, there is no such thing as

Most businesses either don’t plan at

a loss leader; every product sold

all or make plans that are so hard and

should achieve a minimum profit

so far in the future that they appear



Think of the product you offer as the

Don’t plan more than three years

recipe for making a cake. The selling

ahead (10 year plans are ideas, not

price is a function of each ‘ingredient’


that makes up the recipe (the end

The business owner should set their

product on offer).

personal life plan first - this personal

Like making a cake, every recipe has

plan should cover three areas:

Without these core foundations,

waste. Account for all waste, no


businesses may not survive

matter how small it is.



to survive and thrive, it needs to be both self-managed and ‘autonomous’. Every business should have in place the three core foundations of: •

Cost control


Customer attraction.

(regardless of how much hard work is put in). Here are the 10 recommended steps to have an autonomous business:

Account for all direct labour costs (including downtime). Now by applying the gross profit

Ensure this life plan (focused on

issue no.17

personal goals) is solid before

sentence. If this can’t be done, the

creating the business plan.

role either doesn’t exist or it’s more

The business is an asset and if it isn’t helping the owners move from

than one role (and might need to be split into its individual purposes).

Accountability (performance)

Profit point - the role’s

Solving issues (outcome).

contribution to profitability

Every week a business should have

Key tasks - tasks that ensure the

an accountability meeting (with a set

role meets its purpose


Activities - unlike tasks, these

Hold a focus meeting every day to

cannot be defined by a set of

ensure all employees know what

actions (activities form part of

must be achieved to ensure the

the culture of the business)

weekly goals will be reached.

Accountability - what does the

When things are off track, use an

The business plan should provide a

What does the business need to achieve? •

This year

This quarter

This week.


elements to make it accountable:

to be, it is no longer an asset, but a

the owners’ three-year goals.

There are three reasons for a

Focus (expectation)

Each role also needs four key

pathway for the business to achieve

many meetings or too few.

where they are to where they want liability.


outcome meeting to identify what success looks like.

Step 7 - Set standards for performance Realistic expectations that are part of the financial performance of the business will stop the business from setting itself up for frustration (and failure). Every business should have a standard that each employee can realistically achieve and a goal to aspire to. The standard for each role can be set by implementing the formula P = U x E: •

P = Productivity (a function of U and E)

Step 5 - Create a purpose for every role

role need to deliver to show it is

meeting its purpose?

U = Utilisation (how much time is used compared to how much

is expected of them. The business

Step 6 - Keep the team focused

owner should tell each employee

The difference between a meeting

action must be repeated to be

their purpose for being there.

and a conversation is an agenda.

completed correctly).

Every employee wants to know what

Define each employee’s role in one

Some businesses have either too

time is available) •

E = Efficiency (how often an

The standard (or benchmark) for a


spark magazine

business can be set by applying the

the Lifetime Customer Value (LCV)

solution to the problem a customer

productivity target to a role.

and Cost of Acquisition (COA). The

has, and quality is providing what was

COA is not measured directly by each


The productivity target should meet the financial goals of the business. If an employee can’t meet the productivity standard, then there are three choices:

customer, but by the actions required to acquire the customer. The emotional attachment of a customer is the yard stick for service

There are four pillars to integrity and quality: •

People - how do they contribute to the success of the customer

cost. No matter what the figures


are, if a business truly loves working


with a particular customer, then

makes to the customer must


it probably will. No matter how

fulfil the customer’s need

Step 8 - Know your customer There are three key issues that every business needs to know about their

profitable a customer is, if they are

must be focused towards fulfilling the needs of the

probably should).

customer, not just those of the business

Who they are

What they are worth (to the

An organisation perhaps only has the


right to call itself a business when it

What you need to do to win and retain their business.

To know who your customers are, a business needs to move past its own WHY and connect with its customers’ WHY. The moral of the story is that customers don’t buy for the business’ reasons - they buy for their own reasons. The worth of a customer is NOT devoid of emotional attachment, but should be guided by financial performance. A customer’s worth is measured by how much it costs to acquire and service that customer, compared to

Plant - the assets of the business

break from that relationship (and

Product - the offer a business

painful, then any excuse will do to

Step 9 - Quality and integrity


has quality and integrity at the core of its culture. Integrity is offering the appropriate

Process - the steps, tasks or actions of a business must be repeatable and repeated every time.

issue no.15

Step 10 - Stay relevant Strategy is first and foremost about

alive and he wasn’t even paying

cash in the business that he was able


to pay himself, take a holiday, move

relevance. A business must always

As we worked through his financial

be relevant to its customers.

position, we created financial targets

Does the solution the business provides, still solve the problem the customer has?

to a better apartment and yes, even buy a TV.

to build a business that, in the first

Client A has big plans now. His

instance, at least survived.

business is thriving, and he has the

After only four months of targeted financial decisions, Client A had paid

steps in place to realise his passion and fulfil his dreams.

Are there alternative solutions?

back his credit card debt of $19,000

Client A is now in charge of his

Can the business prove its on-

and no longer had to ‘chip in’. The

autonomous business.

going relevance compared to

business was still only just surviving.

that offered by its competitors?

Client A was still working long hours

About the author Darren Walsh is the Chief

The longevity of a business

and still wasn’t paying himself.

depends on its ability to critically

Now the business costs were under

and continually assess itself and

control, it was time to grow the

its flexibility to stay relevant to its

business. Client A was already

customers’ needs.

working as much as he could, and

An autonomous case study

nobody could sell like he could.

Client A has a simple business where

or the sales targets wouldn’t be met


(or at least, that’s what he thought).

it buys stock in at one price and sells it for another price. A common and

Client A had to be there all the time

simple business model.

More hard work wasn’t going to be

Client A, was following his passion

step up and take the load. His team

- the business he had wanted to establish since he was a teenager. However, there was a cost. Even though Client A was working hard and spending every hour of his working day in his business, he wasn’t making any progress. His drive was so great, he didn’t even own a TV as he didn’t want the distraction to stop him from

enough. Client A needed his team to needed purpose and focus so they could perform and be accountable. By implementing performance, expectation and outcome meetings, within just a few months, Client A was no longer the best salesperson (actually, he was now number four … and loving it!). Now Client A could grow, and grow

achieving his dream.

he did.

Financially the business wasn’t

For the next 18 months, Client A

adding up - this meant that Client A had to ‘chip in’ to keep his dream

achieved record annual and monthly sales, producing enough profit and

Strategist at Business with

Strategy. He is dedicated to

helping business owners get more return for their efforts. You can

learn more or contact Darren by accessing this link:



spark magazine

by Ian Plowman



issue no.17



spark magazine



back off, back off until the fist is back

the protagonists leading to an

meetings are

to the starting point.’

expectation of similar future

often a forum

That is the end of the exercise. The

behaviour. Once negative history

debrief asks a couple of questions:

is established in a relationship, it is

within which participants strive for

difficult to get back to zero.

influence, demonstrate competence and establish social status.

1. What did the palm do?

Observe what happens when two

2. How much energy was expended

The fist/palm experiment illustrates

or more people in the meeting,

by both parties?

what happens psychologically when

either consciously or unconsciously,

3. What was the net result?

one party attempts to assert his/her

have this agenda of striving for

The palm had no specific instructions

will over another. The second person

influence or dominance? The

and could respond however it

is likely to immediately engage in

meeting potentially becomes a

chooses. Yet, because it is joined to

a defensive or counter-offensive

contest of personalities. And what is

a human being, it tends to do one of

response. Active listening vanishes.

far less obvious, yet correct, is that,

three things.

Neither morale nor commitment are

in a contest of personalities, the



protagonists tend to stop listening

the harder the fist pushes, the harder

to each other. Winning becomes the

the palm pushes back. Defending

It is common in conversations and

only game in town.

one’s position becomes the name of

meetings for people to disagree

the game. This response by the palm

with comments made by another.

Here is a neat two-minute exercise

is unconscious and automatic. It is

It is almost as common for that

that will confirm this assertion.


disagreement to be expressed. ‘I

At the start of a meeting, invite


disagree with that’ - followed by

participants who are seated adjacent

the palm will not resist. Rather it

the expression of an alternative

to each other to form pairs, facing

will just follow the fist, including

point of view. Or the disagreement

each other and within touching

returning to the neutral position.

is less direct and preceded by the

distance. Next, invite one of the

Here the owner of the palm has

word ‘but’. Responding to someone

pair to hold up their preferred

chosen not to waste any energy. Yet,

else, beginning with the word ‘but’,

hand, like a stop sign, open palm

nor has it changed its mind.

signals to the meeting participants

towards their partner. Next, invite


that the earlier statement is about to

the second of the pair, with their

cases, the palm remains in the new

be refuted. At this instant, the first

preferred hand, to form a fist. From

position it was placed in after the fist

person unconsciously tends to stop

this moment onwards, announce

arm was fully extended. Here the

listening and slips into defensive

that all instructions will now only be

issue is one in which the palm has no

mode. There is now a contest of

directed towards the person with the

particular interest.


‘Place the fist very gently against the

In relation to energy expenditure

Users of the word ‘but’ are frequently

partner’s palm. Next, very slowly

and net result, participants generally

unconscious they are using it. Yet

extend that arm, a little further, a

acknowledge considerable energy

the frequency with which they use it

little further. Now hold it there,

was spent for no gain at all. Yet,

is a measure of how adversarial they

being aware of the sensations and

this is not quite correct. This is

are. Because its use is unconscious

the palm’s response. Next, gradually

not a zero-sum gain. Rather, it

to the initiator and yet conscious

creates negative history between

to its target, conversations within

Ninety percent of the time,

In a small percent of cases,

In a very small number of

fist. These instructions follow:

issue no.17

meetings (and elsewhere) can

opinion is valid for them at that

become problematic. Contests of

moment in time. People are more

personality become the norm and

likely to shift their opinion when they

productivity and collaboration suffer.

have not been forced to defend it.

Now consider the use of the word

Therefore, all opinions can be held

‘and’. When this is used by a

lightly and are open to evidence.

second party at the beginning of a

Disagreements are interpersonal.

response to a first-party comment,

By expression or implication,

the psychological response is

disagreement involves the word

totally different. The first party’s

‘you’. Disagreements assert that one

curiosity is triggered rather than

party is wrong. The aggrieved party is

their defensiveness. Active listening

likely to stop listening and to respond

is triggered. The conversation now


begins to move towards a dance of ideas.

In contrast, dissent is personal, not interpersonal. It makes no claim

Here are two simple suggestions

about the veracity of the other

that can enhance the quality of every

person’s opinion. Rather, it merely

meeting, strengthen morale, and

makes transparent the opinion the

nurture innovation and commitment.

speaker currently holds. An example

First, forbid the use of the word

might be: ‘My experience has been

‘but’ in meetings. Whenever the

different to yours’.

word ‘but’ is used, it is beneficial for another person to assertively

The intent of expressing dissent is to

respond by yelling ‘and’. While

be authentic. Because two people

this might seem ridiculous, if it is

differ in their opinions, this does

intended to improve the quality

not make either of them wrong. It

of meetings, then all participants

is perfectly possible for two people

can benefit by having undesirable

to hold contrasting opinions on

behaviours gently drawn to their

the same topic and for both of

attention. A dollar into a bowl in the

them to be correct. Dissent is

middle of the meeting table for each

acknowledgement of difference.

transgression is a great way to fund

This can trigger curiosity and in

the corporate Christmas party as

turn lead to a dance of ideas rather

well as build a positive, collaborative

than a contest of personalities.


Energy previously expended on

The second suggestion, related to

defensiveness can now be redirected

the first, is to forbid disagreement

towards exploration, mutual respect,

of any type. This suggestion might

active listening and the spawning

also seem ridiculous and so warrants

of new ideas. Meetings become


far more productive. By changing the nature of the conversation, the

People have opinions. Any person’s

culture itself changes.


About the author Ian Plowman, PhD Ian is a consultant, facilitator and social researcher with over 30 years’ experience as an organisational psychologist. He works with individuals, organisations, industries, communities and government agencies. He holds a Doctorate in Management (researching blockages to innovation), an Advanced Master’s Degree in Business Administration, a Master’s Degree in Organisational Psychology and an Honours Degree in Clinical Psychology. Ian helps clients to develop skills and awareness to remove organisational blockages and raise levels of engagement, creativity and innovation. He can be contacted via: Web: www.cooperativeconversations., or LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin. com/in/ian-plowman-meetings


spark magazine

by Ian Plowman

WANT IMPROVED PRODUCTIVITY? then think like an employee

issue no.17



hat would be the

replacing a skilled employee can be

not and (c) that a person’s creative


the equivalent of 12 months’ salary.

contribution receives permission to

• If employees

fly, or is quietly crushed.

looked forward to meetings as an

In almost every survey of employee

opportunity for engagement and

wants, there is a significant mismatch

Standard meeting processes can be


between what employees want and

unconsciously adversarial by design.

• If every employee was creatively

what employers think they want.

Discussion allows unconscious and

focussed on the shared purpose?

detrimental social influences to

• To morale if organisational

In 2017, ArcTree (an Australian HR

come into play. The shortcomings of

communication was multi-

consultancy) collated many of these

discussion were neatly captured by


surveys which showed that the top

Jonathan Swift, in 1738:

• To an organisation if employee

three (out of 10) employee wants (i)

turnover was reduced?

Being appreciated for work done, (ii)

What if these issues could be

Being informed about what is going

addressed while achieving a 230%

on, and (iii) Sympathetic support for


personal problems) were ranked as

The challenge

the lowest three by employers.

‘an impatience to interrupt each

other, and the uneasiness of being interrupted ourselves; flooding

listeners with self-indulgent talk;

overemphasising the importance of being witty; using jargon to show off; and the custom of

Personnel are one of the greatest

Employers thought that the

expenses of many businesses. In

following three would be highest

Australia, the annual employee

for employees: (i) Remuneration,

serious discourse.’ A Complete

turnover rate is 15%, and

(ii) Job security, (iii) Promotional

Collection of Genteel and Ingenious

substantially higher among younger



of Employment), a rate that has

A pivot point for a person’s

Employers want and pay for

been steadily trending upwards.

satisfaction in the workplace is

focussed, dedicated, productive

The most reported reason for

often conversations with others. It

and engaged employees, yet

employees leaving is high levels of

is during those conversations that a

the conditions they create can

dissatisfaction with one or more

person is (a) inclined to feel validated

unconsciously suppress what they

aspects of their experience of

or not (b) know whether they are


the workplace. And the cost of

the right fit for the organisation or

pushing women aside during

workers (HILDA, Department


spark magazine

Employees will happily offer their hands, heart and head, though not merely because they are being paid. While wages and salary will buy compliance, something more is needed for people to freely offer wholehearted commitment. And that ‘something more’ is employee engagement.

The solution ‘Cooperative Conversations’ are a structured framework for productive organisational meetings. More than that, ‘Cooperative Conversations’ operationalise a philosophy - a philosophy of empowerment and engagement. Every ‘Co-operative Conversation’ is also a team-building exercise, an innovation incubator, and a bridge between organisational layers and/or functional/geographic divisions. Each ‘Conversation’ builds confidence within individuals, respect between individuals, and wisdom across individuals and groups within the organisation. Each ‘Conversation’ builds morale, strengthens employee engagement, showcases talent in a noncompetitive environment, liberates ideas and generates commitment. Cooperative Conversations are efficient (meetings take half the time), full of fun and yet decisive, with the power to unconsciously change a culture.

The investment

others. For an explanation of this

So, here’s the rub: to achieve a

principle, see ‘Meetings: contest of

better outcome, management will

personalities or a dance of ideas’ in

need to change its behaviour. The

this edition of Spark Magazine. And

beauty is that the changes being

all participants, through refraining

recommended are effective, simple

from agreement or disagreement

and inexpensive.

with the ideas of others, leave themselves open to be disrupted

An example of the behavioural

or surprised, or prompted to a new

changes that will bring productivity

perspective. The conversation is

to the workplace:

more likely to be a dance of ideas

The client has a chain of 40 service

rather than a contest of personalities.

centres. Each month, the managers of those centres attended a meeting.

At a more macro-level, the

The 40 managers sit in a large

regular repetition of these new

U-shaped configuration with the

communication tools across the

business owners seated at the head

whole organisation can, over time,

of the open U. The client owners’

change the culture to one that is

complaint: ‘All the managers are

engaged, participative, innovative,

passive. They won’t say anything.’

productive and efficient. People’s experience of meetings As Wilkinson and Pickett (2010)

informs them that some meetings

point out in the top selling

work better than others. There are

publication, ‘The Spirit Level - Why

many reasons why this is the case.

Equality is Better for Everyone’,

Two factors that are particularly

societies that have greater equality

important, and these factors are

outperform those that don’t on

related, are (a) the number of

almost every economic and social

participants, and (b) the physical

measure. Organisations that

setting. Reflect on an informal

combine participative democracy

social occasion such as a party,

with distributed ownership can

BBQ, or informal chit-chat after a

have double the productivity and

church service. How many people

profitability to those that don’t.

normally gather in a conversation cluster? Rarely is it more than six; it

A 2014 study by PwC showed there

is generally less.

were financial benefits for those employers who invested in creating

The greater the diversity in a group,

mentally healthy workplaces. Every

the richer will be the conversation.

dollar invested in positive programs

Yet, on the downside, the larger the

returned $2.30 in benefits such as

group, the greater the possibility that

reduced absenteeism (ABC News, 16

(a) some voices may not be heard,

March 2018).

and (b) that side conversations will

Central to ‘Cooperative


Conversations’ is the principle that

As the adage says: ‘Insanity is doing

people do not talk to each other.

what people have always done while

What is the ideal number for a

Rather individuals talk to the topic

expecting a different outcome’.

conversation or meeting group? The

in the presence (real or digital) of

recommendation from the author

issue no.17


is for the group to be as large as

‘power’ position. Avoid those larger

Periodically, a conversation summary

possible (to provide diversity) and as

circular banquet tables commonly

or recommendation within table

small as possible (to provide intimacy

used at weddings and business

groups is shared across table-groups.

and participation). Experience

breakfasts, and seating ten to twelve

The transformation in energy,

suggests that five or six is an ideal

people. Conversation across these

engagement, idea-sharing and

number, a size akin to sharing a meal

tables is all but impossible.

commitment has been remarkable.

with friends. If small circular tables are What happens if there are more

unavailable, then rectangular tables

than six people choosing to attend

work, three people per side. If there

the meeting? The answer lies in

are multiple tables, arrange the tables

accommodating participants in

like a fan, so the long axis of each

multiple table groups, each of five or

table faces the rostrum or screen.

six people.

People are seated at the sides of

Yes, this may well be different to

these tables, looking down the long

current practice. It all depends on


whether the goal is compliance or commitment. If the latter, then

In a rectangular room, presentation

behavioural change may well be

facilities are normally at the narrow


end of the room. Where possible,

What is being suggested here will make more sense when combined with other supporting recommendations to be covered in future articles. One piece of a jigsaw puzzle rarely makes any sense. All the pieces are needed together to create a comprehensive picture. Back to the physical geography for the meeting? Up until the turn of the century, formal meeting spaces were commonly rectangular and designed with either theatre-style seating or with a large rectangular table with a senior person seated at the head of the table. These two formats work if the intent of the meeting is for the powerful to ‘tell’ those with less power. However, if participation and engagement is beneficial, then other formats work better. A more productive format is for meeting participants to work at small circular tables, thus eliminating any

consider rotating that orientation 90 degrees, so the screen and rostrum is in the middle of the long axis. Here the fan-like table configuration works particularly well. Where the number of tables is greater than will be comfortably accommodated in this fan configuration, then place a second array of tables behind the first array, with the tables in the second array offset, creating a line of vision between the tables in the first array. Returning to the clients and the monthly meeting of 40 managers, the secret to invigorating the meetings was to change the physical setting. Managers now sit at diverse table-groups of six. Each of the owners sit at a different table, together with their managers. At each natural break, everyone moves to a new small group, with a different combination of people.

About the author Ian Plowman, PhD Ian is a consultant, facilitator and social researcher with over 30 years’ experience as an organisational psychologist. He works with individuals, organisations, industries, communities and government agencies. He holds a Doctorate in Management (researching blockages to innovation), an Advanced Master’s Degree in Business Administration, a Master’s Degree in Organisational Psychology and an Honours Degree in Clinical Psychology. Ian helps clients to develop skills and awareness to remove organisational blockages and raise levels of engagement, creativity and innovation. He can be contacted via: Web: www.cooperativeconversations., or LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin. com/in/ian-plowman-meetings


spark magazine

PROSPA ENDS IT’S FIRST DAY LISTED AT A $750Mvaluation Greg and Beau’s Prospa listed on the ASX

The business has a great culture with

closing the day ending up at a valuation

awesome people who seem to love what

of $750m.

they do, and they do it well, and are

It was just the other day that I was on

proud to do it as a team with their core

the bus with Greg, who was on the way

values being teamwork, speed, customer

to work at his start up, where he was

obsession, simplicity and boldness.

developing algorithms to work out the risk of lending money to SMEs .

Prospa raised $110 million from investors ahead of the IPO, valuing the company at

Prospa was being backed by their

$610 million. It listed at $3.78 and closed

investors when they had a team of 30

at $4.46, valuing the company at $720m

writing around $26m of loans per year.

Airtree Ventures invested circa $30m in the various rounds and today, together

Their mission - to help small business

with the other shareholders including

grow by making it easy for them to

AustralianSuper and Entree Capital , is

access money.

their payday! This is a big day for Venture Capital in

7 years later Prospa is now largest online lender to small businesses, lending circa $1b pa (circa. 5pc of the SMe market employing over 200 people.


issue no.17


Bring your growth plans to life with a BBG Business Growth Bundle


spark magazine

BBG ENTERPRISE FORUM ITS ALL ABOUT BALANCE Attend the BSI Enterprise forum with Brett Jones, the President of JF Capital and founder of Relationship Warriors.

Date & Time


Tuesday, 25 June 2019

The BSI Seminar Room Lvl 7, 14 Martin Pl Sydney 2000

7:30am - 10:30am

To enrol click here:

issue no.17

Brett is an expert in investing for wealth

About Brett Jones

- and for relationships. He is an expert in building for the future WITHOUT

Brett Jones created a $400m company

sacrificing the present. After all, there’s

in his mid 30’s, yet this does not rate

no point in a legacy if you have to

on his list of highest achievements.

disconnect from those for whom you are

Instead, he values his long term marriage

building it.

to his wife Marie and his close family relationships far more.

Brett Jones tackles this hardest balancing act of all - head on - and

After a profound life experience, he

shares how you can do the same.

underwent a growth journey. His newly evolved mindset allowed him to build

His insights will show you how to:

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- Transform your interactions with those

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About Our Monthly Forum

business back from making changes that matter.

Brett’s presentation will be followed by

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having more than you ever thought you

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