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Issue No. 65 - 2015

When Appraisal Systems


The Value Proposition explained: p.7

an overview of the Skillsoft eLearning Platform: p.29

Anthony Guillaumier: the man the businessman the philanthropist: p.38


Multi-stringed, Multi-asset The harp is often perceived as a complex instrument which emanates harmonious tunes when left in the hands of its musician. Likewise, our Fund Managers ensure the professional management of exposure to different asset classes in the equally complex world of investment opportunities.


BOV Branches / Investment Centres & Licensed Financial Intermediaries Past performance is not a guarantee to future performance. The value of the investment can go down as well as up and any initial charges may lower the amount invested and the amount received upon redemptions. Investments should be based on the full details of the Prospectus, Offering Supplement and the KIID which may be obtained from Valletta Fund Management Limited (“VFM�), Bank of Valletta plc Branches/Investment Centres and other Licensed Financial Intermediaries. VFM is licensed to provide Investment Services in Malta by the MFSA. The Vilhena Funds SICAV plc is licensed by the MFSA and qualifies as a UCITS. Issued by VFM, TG Complex, Suite 2, Level 3, Brewery Street, Mriehel BKR 3000, Malta. Tel: 21227311, Fax: 22755661, Email:, Website: Source: VFM






Smart Technologies Limited, Smart Technologies Limited, Smart Technologies Limited,Pantar Road, Lija. LJA 2021, Malta 1st Floor, ‘Navi Buildings’, Smart Technologies Limited,Pantar Road, Lija. LJA 2021, Malta 1st Floor, ‘Navi Buildings’, 1st Floor, ‘Navi Buildings’, Pantar Lija.Lija. LJALJA 2021, Malta T: (+356) 21 443 327 | 327 F: (+356) 21Road, 443 328 1st Buildings’, Pantar 2021, Malta T: Floor, (+356)‘Navi 21 443 | F: (+356) 21Road, 443 328 T:E:(+356) 21 443 F: 21 443 W:(+356) T:E:(+356) 21327 443||327 | 21 328 443 328 |F: W:(+356) E: | W: E: | W:

Issue No. 65 - 2015

The Executive

Editor’s Letter


hat befuddles me is that whilst the Porters and Ansoffs and Maslows of the world are cited as deserved in business books, arguably the greatest connoisseurs of negotiation are never ever mentioned; the Sherman Brothers wallow in obscurity, at least within the sphere of business academia. Our authors can however be forgiven for not referring to these gentlemen, as they aren’t business advisors, lecturers or veteran leaders, but rather past employees of Walt Disney. Very successful songwriting employees whose careers rewarded them with multiple Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts by their American President, their very own star on the Holywood Wall of Fame. And so on and so forth. The relevance is that a by-product of their work is an utterly brilliant song line which embodies the very essence of strategy. Though they are remembered, unknowingly or not, every time one hears Walt Disney’s “It’s a Small World After All”, or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s title song, I remember them most of all for their work on ‘Mary Poppins’. “A Spoonful of Sugar” carries within it the immortal line “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”. It seems to me that if our leaders were to hum their song on the way to work every morning, Malta would be a far better country to work from. This is exactly why the referendum to close spring hunting couldn’t possibly have worked. An attempt at forcing medicine down evidently reluctant throats has happened without any promised following spoonfuls of sugar at all. The most plausible argument I have heard against abolishing spring hunting is that there isn’t much of an alternative to it in Malta for hunters. But what about abroad? I reckon that had we offered our current licence holders tax subsidies to travel with licenced agents to hunting destinations abroad - which in turn would have prompted turnover, the referendum outcome would have been different.

Enjoy your read.

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The Executive 3

your business ability, our financial support Whatever the size or nature of your business, we know that running a successful enterprise takes ability. That’s why we offer the best support on the Maltese Islands – a personalised banking service which will take you as far as your business can grow. Talk to us today to see how we can help.

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Issue No. 65 - 2015


The Executive


PEOPLE When Appraisal

The Value Proposition explained

Systems Fail

Jill Konrath

Calvin Cassar






The Toyota Auris 16.

Anthony Guillaumier

an overview of the Skillsoft e-Learning platform

The man the businessman the philanthropist


convenience, effectiveness & reliability


COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS Palazzo Castelletti



Malta Business School


The Applicability of Knowledge

Rabat’s very own Historical palace

Multigas chooses Exigy

Acoustical Solutions for every business

pg. 15

pg. 19

pg. 27

Green initiatives led by business entities pg. 35

pg. 37 The Executive 5



straight to the point

135, Kyle Building, Mediterranean Street, St. Julians (The Village) STJ 1870. Malta. e :

m : 7947 3405

Issue No. 65 - 2015

The Executive


The Value Proposition explained Jill Konrath

Without a strong value proposition, it’s much harder to sell your products or services in today’s economy, and to even get in the door of big companies. But what exactly is a value proposition? And how is it different from other commonly used terms?

The Executive 7


aking meetings matter

Discover what distinguishes a meeting or conference at Hotel Phoenicia. Impeccable service. At the Phoenicia we realise how essential it is that the events you plan are extraordinary, so that's what we set out to support. With state-of-the-art facilities and timeless meeting rooms paired to superb dining options, you can look forward to a stress free visit. Our Grand Ballroom will happily accommodate 300 delegates or we can provide you the intimate scale you need with a choice of well designed meeting spaces and business lounges. We also have dedicated Business Services should you need anything during your meeting, and a wide variety of award-winning business dining options that will tempt your taste buds and keep you going throughout the day and night. At the Phoenicia, you will find that we always mean business.


To make Hotel Phoenicia your special meeting point call our Sales Team on 2122 5241 or email Hotel Phoenicia Malta, The Mall, Floriana Tel: (+356) 2122 5241

Issue No. 65 - 2015

The Value Proposition explained

The Executive


value proposition is often confused with an “elevator speech” or a “unique selling proposition.” It’s essential to understand the difference between these terms because their purposes and sales impact are very different.

a statement about what makes you and your company different from other vendors. Its primary value is to create competitive differentiation. A USP is often used in marketing materials or in talking with customers who are ready to buy.

An elevator speech is a short, 1-2 sentence statement that defines who you work with (target market) and the general area in which you help them. About 10 seconds long, it’s used primarily at networking events to attract potential clients and stimulate discussion. The following elevator speeches show you how some people describe what they do:

Here are a few good USP examples:

• I work with small businesses who are struggling to sell their products or services into large corporate accounts. • We help technology companies effectively use their customer information to drive repeat sales. • I help small-to-medium sized manufacturing companies who have difficulties with unpredictable revenue streams. An elevator speech is the foundation of a value proposition without the specifics that are needed to sell into the corporate market. A unique selling proposition (USP) is

• We specialize in working with financial institutions. (speciality) • We guarantee service in 4 hours or your money back. (guarantee)

Synopsis Helping customers understand your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is imperative when they’ve already decided to make a purchase decision. But USPs have absolutely no impact when customers haven’t yet decided to change supplier. USPs are far more effective in the

• We use a unique tool called SureFire! to analyse your critical needs. (methodology)

business-to-consumer market than in

Helping customers understand your USP is imperative when they’ve already decided to make a purchase decision. But USPs have absolutely no impact when customers are satisfied with their situation or when they’re frustrated but haven’t yet decided to change. USPs are far more effective in the business-to-consumer market than in business-to-business sales.

Both the elevator speech and

Both the elevator speech and the USP are cousins of the value proposition, but lack the punch of a value proposition when selling to the corporate market.

It’s outcome focused and stresses the

business-to-business sales.

the USP are cousins of the value proposition, but lack the punch of a value proposition when selling to the corporate market. A value proposition is a clear statement of the tangible results a customer gets from using your products or services. business value of your offering.

Why in the world would corporate decision makers take time out of their already overcrowded schedule to meet with this seller? They wouldn’t. Pure and simple. Even though the seller mentioned a benefit, it was weak - very weak


The Executive 9

Issue No. 65 - 2015

The Value Proposition explained

The Executive

Stressed Out Buyers Corporate buyers, after years of continual downsizings and reorganisations, have way too much work to do and not nearly enough time to do it in. Under constant pressure to deliver “results,” they zealously protect their schedule, refusing to meet with anybody who can’t help them achieve their business objectives. Busy decision makers screen all callers, using an administrative assistant as a gatekeeper or their ubiquitous voicemail. And, if you’re selling something – you’re an undesirable interruption. Customers don’t have time to update you on their company, sit through an extended needs analysis or explore the possibilities of working together.

Corporate decision takers don’t have time to update you on their company, sit through an extended needs analysis or explore the possibilities of working together.

A value proposition is a clear statement of the tangible results a customer gets from using your products or services. It’s outcome focused and stresses the business value of your offering. A strong value proposition is specific, often citing numbers or percentages. It may include a quick synopsis of your work with similar customers as a proof source and demonstration of your capability. Here are several examples to stimulate your thinking: • “We help large companies reduce the cost of their employee benefits programs without impacting benefit levels. With the spiraling costs of health care today, this is a critical issue for most businesses. One of our recent clients, a large manufacturing company similar to yours, was struggling with how to reduce spending in this area. We saved them over $800,000 in just six months. Plus, 10 The Executive

they didn’t cut any services to their employees, nor did their employees have to pay more.” • “I help technology companies who are launching an important new product into the marketplace – and need it to be successful to achieve their sales forecast. Where I help my clients is in the often dropped hand-off between marketing and sales. As a result, they’re able to more easily meet projected sales goals and significantly shorten time-to-profitability.” Again, notice the specificity of the value proposition and the use of business-oriented language. Prospective customers should be able to visualize exactly what value you could bring their organization. The Epidemic of Weak Value Propositions If you’re selling to the corporate market, one of the biggest challenges you encounter is getting face time with decision makers.

They don’t want to learn about your products or services just so they can know what’s out there. With every dollar they spend being scrutinized by higher-ups, wasting money on frivolous products or nice-to-have services is out of the question. So unless something can be cost-justified and provide a significant return on their investment, they don’t want to take time to hear about it. Not only that, but they’re also bombarded with people and companies trying to get their attention. It’s not unusual for corporate decision makers to average over 100 emails per day. Their voice mailbox is flooded with calls from coworkers, customers and outside vendors. And what do they usually hear from people like you who are trying to get in and sell their products or services? A typical phone message sounds like this: “Hi Mr./Ms. Decisionmaker. This is Tony from Super Duper Products, Inc. We specialize in leading-edge financial software applications and have been rated as having one of the best software by Krumstock Research.

Issue No. 65 - 2015

The Value Proposition explained

The Executive “The reason I’m calling is that I’d like to set up an appointment with you to introduce myself and to tell you more about how we might be able to help your company speed up your reporting capabilities. “I’ll be in your area in two weeks and was hoping to sit down with you for about a half hour. Please let me know if that will work for you. My number is …” Why in the world would corporate decision makers take time out of their already overcrowded schedule to meet with this seller? They wouldn’t. Pure and simple. Even though the seller mentioned a benefit, it was weak – very weak. Ineffective and Unappealing One of the biggest reasons businesses struggle in today’s market is because they have weak value propositions. Over and over again, I hear people who sell deliver ineffective statements about the value customers get from working with their organization. It doesn’t matter if these sellers are from big companies, small firms, or are independent professionals. They just aren’t saying things that get prospective buyers to say, “Come on in. We need to meet.” And the worst thing is that many of the products or services these people sell have extremely high value to corporate accounts! But their failure to articulate it in words that appeal to corporate decision makers is their downfall. Instead, they limp along trying to drive sales but unable to even get in the door. For example, in discussing their company’s products, many people use weak value propositions such as: • It’s the most technology-advanced system in the market today. • We offer the most robust enterprise system with the widest range of capabilities available.

Getting through to your prospect is almost entirely dependent on the strength of your articulating your value proposition in words that appeal to him or her.

• Our system was rated best-in-class at the recent Big Deal Conference.

• I help companies decide which technology best meets their needs.

• We are the low-cost provider of this kind of product/service.

• I’m an attorney. I do corporate tax work.

• We offer one-stop shopping.

BORING! If you’re like most people, you’re saying, “So what? Why should I waste my valuable time talking to you?”

• We have a full range of products to meet your every need in the manufacturing area. Service firms and independent professionals often say: • I’m an OD consultant. I do team building and process re-engineering. • We design brochures, web sites, and packaging materials. • We help improve creativity and innovation in organizations. • I do sales training.

Plus any time people hear words such as best, leading, superior and so on – they immediately dismiss them as self-promoting aggrandizement. These words are simply not believable and detract from your message. So now that you know what doesn’t work, it’s time to figure out what does attract the attention of busy corporate decision makers.

Jill Konrath’s career is defined by her relentless search for fresh sales strategies that actually work in today’s business environment. Jill is a frequent speaker at sales conferences and kick-off meetings. Sharing her fresh sales strategies, she helps salespeople to speed up new customer acquisition and win bigger contracts. The Executive 11


The Executive

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Issue No. 65 - 2015

The Executive

COMPANY HIGHLIGHT: Palazzo Castelletti

Palazzo Castelletti Rabat’s very own Historical palace Palazzo Castelletti is a historical palace situated in the heart of Rabat that promises to provide patrons and guests alike with a unique cultural and culinary experience. This architectural gem has long been kept hidden from the public as it has undergone over 10 years of painstaking renovation to finally restore the palazzo to its past glory.


alazzo Castelletti now houses a number of high standard catering establishments: • The San Andrea Restaurant is a unique dining experience in the heart of Rabat that offers something for the palates of all good food lovers. San Andrea offers a blend of contemporary Mediterranean cuisine with French influences while making use of the best Maltese produce in a creative and innovative way. • REDWHITE is ideal for Pizza, Pasta and Grill lovers or for those after a good Wine or Cocktail night out served in conjunction with freshly prepared house antipasti and platters. • The Castelletti Salumeria & Patisserie caters for quick, healthy lunches and snacks at very low prices. The menu allows patrons to select from a wide choice of salads and antipasti made with the gourmet products on display, or even design their own antipasto by choosing their preferred ingredients.

Palazzo Castelletti offers a rustic setting that is perfect for both indoor and al fresco dining during all months of the year. This idyllic location is also fully equipped to cater for meetings, banquets and private functions and can accommodate up to 500 people from cellar right up to the roof terrace.

When you step inside Palazzo Castelletti, you become part of the long and great legacy that is Maltese history. This noble building, built in the 17th century, bears witness to 2,000 years of turbulent, often dangerous, times that shaped the fate of this island. Here, in the suburb of Rabat, Palazzo Castelletti is surrounded by reminders of a past that is still present in the minds and hearts of local inhabitants. A stone throw’s away from the ancient capital of Mdina, Palazzo Castelletti has recently been restored and renovated to its former splendour. The Palazzo’s exquisitely converted interior befits the site where dignitaries assembled to pass the keys to the fortresscity of Mdina to Malta’s former rulers, the Knights of St John. The Palazzo was originally constructed for an aristocratic Maltese family, the Theuma-Castelletti family, who built a residence consisting of several interconnected rooms in keeping with the stately architectural style of that period, with high-vaulted rooms and ubiquitous use of arches. The function of these rooms has changed throughout the years: from housing nobility to being used as a school and shelter for children during World War II as well as briefly being the residence of a holy woman, the venerable Adeodata Pisani. It was recently discovered that the building rests on the remains of an ancient Roman village that were unearthed and are open to viewing by the public.

The Executive 15

Issue No. 65 - 2015

The Executive

AUTO REVIEW: Toyota Auris

Auto Review The Toyota Auris – convenience, effectiveness and reliability

A correspondent at The Executive was recently offered to test drive the new Toyota Auris - and agreed without a second thought. Much has been heard about the new Auris: its gadgets, smooth drive and punch. What was not expected was the level of internal comfort and luxury of the drive. Getting into this car gives the driver a feeling of comfort and security. 16 The Executive

Issue No. 65 - 2015

The Executive

AUTO REVIEW: Toyota Auris


he Auris is spacious and the level of equipment is pretty impressive. I let myself bathe in the feeling of security this car offers and relax in the comfort of the driving seat. Everything is within reach of the driver and designed to make the drive a pleasant experience - which it certainly was. Road holding and overall vehicle control whilst driving is impressive to say the least. The Auris is the only car in its class to offer a Hybrid version efficient and green, and it is affordably priced whichever version you choose. Legroom is impressive and the car can accommodate five passengers comfortably not least due to the fact that there isn’t much of a ‘hump’ on the rear floor (unlike many other cars) thereby contributing to more legroom for the fifth passenger. Split rear seats allow for a combination of one passenger and some bulky luggage or long items that need to be transported in the car. The luggage boot itself is smaller than that of the VW Golf but quite a bit smaller than the Skoda Octavia’s. The split level feature of the Auris however allows the size of the boot to enlarge exponentially, enabling this car to match the luggage space of larger cars. Additionally, at the front of the vehicle there are several generously proportioned cubbyholes which are very useful for storing assorted items and adding to the storage space. This car was built with comfort in mind and the suspension is complimentary to this concept. There are petrol and diesel versions available and both seem to be offering very smooth, quiet and comfortable rides for driver and passengers alike. Whilst the Hybrid version is the quietest of all - as to be expected, when accelerating on a straight long road - such as the Mriehel By-Pass there is a slight droning noise - however in traffic it is a dream to drive and as silent as one would expect. Thus, though the noise level might be somewhat higher than other hatchbacks, the Auris’ drive is far smoother and more exciting! Whilst the front seats are comfortable and roomy (and ideal for long journeys too), they could do with a bit more side support and backing. Furthermore, the buttons and controls are within easy and comfortable reach of the driver and are reassuringly solid to the touch. The dashboard looks interesting but it’s a shame the lower plastics do not feel as solid as the internal upper parts of the car do. The steering wheel has the tendency to feel somewhat light until gotten used to, particularly when driving at higher speeds. An interesting and useful feature is the central consol Touch Screen, which controls many features of the car; not least the music sound system. It is simple to use and can be used (carefully) while driving due to the large screen. The windscreen offers a good overview of the front of the car, but side views are a bit restricted. There is a rear view camera for parking which is fitted to all models except the lower end ones. Pedals and Gest tick are easy to use and smooth, requiring minimal effort from the driver - and so the drive is ultimately less tiring. The Automatic version is available with the 1.6 - litre petrol, or the Petro Electric Hybrid models - being offered standard in the latter. There is no high performance model of the Auris - it doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t, but what it is - is a great city car which is nippy and small; meaning that parking is easier

the Auris hybrid dashboard

and driving in traffic is surprisingly simple and pleasant. The road holding is great, making the drive safe and comfortable at the same time. With 78.5 mpg it is to be expected that the Hybrid version grabs the headlines and leads the way in energy conservation and economy. The 1.4 - litre Diesel engine comes a close second with an impressive 74.3 mpg and this version is better suited to longer motorway journeys than its hybrid brother. In cut and thrust traffic, the Hybrid fares better than the diesel version although the emissions are a low and appealing 99g/ km! Unfortunately, Maltese roads do not contribute positively to emissions due to excessive traffic so in reality, emissions will likely by higher. These figures compare very favourably with other cars in the same class namely the Ford Focus and Peugeot 308 although the petrol versions fair slightly worse. Toyota have priced the Auris very reasonably and competitively, especially the entry levels and is therefore lower priced than the VW Golf and the Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Hyundai i30. And the Icon model should hold its value yet better, being fully equipped and loaded. Conclusion The versions on offer are the Icon, Active, Sport and Excel specifications levels and can be combined with any engine size and version. Even the basic Active comes with standard Air Conditioning, electric front windows, and steering wheel mounted controls for the sound system. If you upgrade to the Icon version this adds Alloy Wheels, Rear Electric Windows, Bluetooth, phone connection and rear parking camera. The Sports model offers all the above but with more stylish controls and touches - both inside and out. And the top of the range Excel adds larger wheels, keyless entry and ignition start, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers plus lots more.... A final verdict is that the Auris is an impressive car for its class with all that you would expect from a city car albeit with a little bit to be desired in the steering side, and I would wholeheartedly recommend this car which is a combination of style, comfort and economy. A car for the present. The Executive 17

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Issue No. 65 - 2015

The Executive


Multigas Chooses Exigy to Implement their Quality Management Solution

Exigy has been appointed to deliver a Quality Management Solution at Multigas, a leading local organisation that provides a complete range of atmospheric and special gases. Operating mainly within the industrial and healthcare segments, Multigas aims at being a supplier of choice, and is thus committed to ensure constant adherence to international quality standards.


he primary objective of the solution is to provide Multigas with an effective collaboration platform where employees can organise and share their quality procedure documents. Based on Microsoft Office365 technology, the solution will simplify file storage and promote file sharing. Besides promoting the collaborative aspects within the organisation, Microsoft Office365 technology ensures that files are stored securely and are accessible anytime, from anywhere, by authorised users. Having implemented numerous enterprise collaboration projects over the past 12 years, Exigy boasts the highest level of competence and experience with Microsoft technology. In fact, Exigy holds a Microsoft Gold Partner status in Collaboration and Content Solutions. The Quality Management Solution will enable Multigas to move away from their current manual system and streamline document management within a permission-based environment. Specifically, the solution will enable the company to have a quality review process in place to consistently meet the quality levels required by international standards within the field of medicinal gases.

“Based on Microsoft Office365, the solution that Exigy is implementing at Multigas will provide a secure mechanism that connects all aspects of the business within a single platform”, explains Francois Grech, Executive Director at Exigy. The solution will also feature a review and approval workflow, introducing an automated approval mechanism for any new quality procedures created. To further support standardisation, a quality document template will be created, allowing users to create new quality procedures based on a company standardised template. “The solution Exigy proposed will help us safeguard our commitment to international quality standards, which is a core aspect of our business operations”, says Ing. Michael Mifsud, CEO at Multigas, “Once the system is in place, it will become a dynamic platform where our employees can create active sites with highly structured information for easier dissemination with colleagues, partners and customers. This will dramatically improve document management and enable higher levels of knowledge within the organisation.”

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Issue No. 65 - 2015

The Executive


When Appraisal Systems Fail Calvin Cassar

The French revolution was a peculiar point in history in that quick judgements and vindications were carried out not only for those that were initially perceived to be perpetrators of social injustice, but shortly after, even for those that were deemed to be the paladins of the people. Thus Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, but also Maximilien Robespierre and Louis de Saint-Just had opportunity to taste the effectiveness of Joseph Guillotine’s nefarious invention. Within organisations, employees often fear the appraisal much in the same way as the French monarchs feared the guillotine and it is important that organisations develop the appropriate processes, technical tools, and the right communication channels to ensure that the employees’ fear is averted. In what follows, consideration will be given to technical characteristics relating to good appraisal systems, and an attempt will be made to outline how these characteristics can be espoused within the company’s cultural milieu.

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“Higher favourability ratings in performance appraisals can be achieved by adequate notice, fair hearing and judgement based on evidence.”

Gary Cokins Though King Louis XVI, who had inherited a wounded France, advocated the abolition of serfdom, an increase in religious tolerance, and fewer taxes on the poor, a frustrated populace soon blamed him for the nation’s financial woes and proceeded in 1793 to lop his head off.

Issue No. 65 - 2015

When Appraisal Systems Fail

The Executive


n its essence, the performance appraisal system is a measurement tool, which is used by organisations to “assess employees and develop their competence, enhance performance and distribute rewards” (Fletcher, 2001, p. 474). Performance appraisals allow measurement and comparisons between individuals but also provide persons information relating to their strengths, weaknesses and training needs (Cleveland, Murphy and Williams, 1989; Falcone and Sachs, 2007). Despite holding a strong importance within organisational structures, performance appraisals are one of the human resources activities rated most unpopular among employees (Jackman and Strober, 2003) and have been found to be strongly related to turnover intention, particularly when administered incorrectly (Rudman, 2003). Performance appraisals interact with political, financial, economic and organisational systems and attempting to manipulate variables in the former without consideration to the latter, could potentially lead to inaccurate interventions (Wiese and Buckley, 1998). Improving Measurement Ratings As with all measurement tools, it is important to carry out an evaluation of the system’s effectiveness and measures in relation to reliability, validity and fairness (Armstrong, 2006; Kaplan and Sacuzzo, 1997). Reliability relates to the consistency of measures (Armstrong, 2006) and in this instance it is important to arrive at a system where consistent ratings are provided over time, across assessors (rater reliability - managers rating the same employee in a similar manner), and across work tasks (internal consistency - ratings are presented consistently across the different work departments).

Arnold, Silvester, Patterson, Robertson, Cooper and Burnes, (2005) provide criteria for improving assessment procedures. Amongst other factors, the authors suggest the importance of standardisation and structure in the process. Having a common set of procedures for different administrators can allow a more rigorous assessment and strengthening of reliability indices (Arthur, 2008). Armstrong (2006), reflecting trends in literature, argues for the need of having trained assessors engaged in the assessment process. Training interviewers in the use of performance appraisal rating systems has been found to increase the psychometric strengths of the tools used, as trained raters have been shown to produce ratings that are more accurate than raters who do not receive this training (Arthur, 2008).

Synopsis Performance appraisals are one of the human resources activities rated most unpopular among employees.

They have been found to be strongly related to turnover intention, particularly when administered incorrectly.

Performance appraisals interact with political, financial, economic and organisational systems and

Improving the Validity and Employee Reactions in the Performance Appraisal System

attempting to manipulate variables

Validity relates to the extent to which a tool measures what it purports to measure (Kaplan and Sacuzzo, 1997). Performance appraisals are tools designed to measure ‘performance’ and unless this concept is clearly defined the validity of all ratings becomes immediately jeopardised (Cokins, 2009).

to the latter, could potentially lead to

Arthur (2008) suggests that assessment procedures should be job-related and evidence based, meaning that they should have good construct validity (they should cover the domains they seek to assess). ‘Hard’ information such as time taken on tasks, could be coupled with ‘soft’ information such as performance ratings by managers to increase the job-relatedness of any appraisal process. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) could be identified in collaboration with supervisors and managers within the organisation.

seek to assess.

in the former without consideration

inaccurate interventions.

Assessment procedures should be job-related and evidence based, and they should cover the domains they

The garnering over time of evidence documenting the system’s effectiveness in providing feedback, developing employees and handing out rewards is as important as the actual devising of the appraisal system.

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Issue No. 65 - 2015

When Appraisal Systems Fail

The Executive another, due to the mixed evidence in the results (Arnold et al., 2005). As a general trend, employee involvement in decision making has been closely associated with employee satisfaction, decreased turnover, and increased citizenship behaviours amongst others (Levinson, 2008). For example, Howard (2005) demonstrated how involvement of employees in the development of BARS scales led to increased ownership of the system and to better outcomes in the systems evaluation.

Evidence on the appraisal system’s efficiency must be gathered and examined.

Tools should assess employees in a fair way, discriminating between them on job-relevant issues, however not as a result of in-group characteristics.

” 24 The Executive

The issue of participant reaction to the use of measurement tools is a growing concern across psychometric instruments (Arnold, et al., 2005), however this is possibly more so in the performance appraisal literature. The concept of employee reactions relates to face validity, but it also extends its domain to attitudes and perceptions. The significance of employee reactions has been highlighted given the risks of legal questioning of the systems and possible litigation. In addition, performance appraisals, when run inadequately, can lead to a reduction in performance and outputs (Rudman, 2003). Performance Appraisal Systems – Technical Considerations A distinction that is generally drawn between performance appraisal systems is that of traitbased assessments, which aim at obtaining a rating of the charac-

teristics of the person, and behaviour-oriented ratings, which focus on the presence or absence of key behaviours. There is general agreement that behaviour ratings, particularly when worded in positive terms (Asmuß, 2008), are perceived more favourably than trait based ratings (Arnold et al., 2005). A procedure aimed at improving the quality of performance ratings is the Behaviourally Anchored Rating Scales (BARS). When using BARS, raters are presented with specific and measurable behaviours associated with discrete points on each scale, thereby allowing a clear delineation of the meaning of each point (Arthur, 2008). More recent developments, have seen the use of the Behaviour Observation Scales (BOS), which also incorporate reference to the frequency of behaviours (Arthur, 2008). Despite technical progress and developments, research has failed to indicate unequivocally the superiority of an approach over

Tools should assess employees in a fair way, discriminating between them on job-relevant issues, however not as a result of in-group characteristics. There is a general consensus that direct discrimination is unacceptable, however in some instances, tests also encounter challenges in relation to adverse impact, whereby members of one group obtain systematically lower scores than another group (Kaplan and Sacuzzo, 1997). It will be important to ascertain that any performance appraisal system used within a given organisation meets these pre-requisites prior to implementation. Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Performance Appraisal System Devising an appraisal system is an important first task, however equally important is the evidence garnered over time documenting that the system is in fact an effective means for providing feedback, developing employees and handing out rewards. Evaluating the performance appraisal system itself requires turning the investigative lens towards the tool itself. Despite the importance of evaluation of outcomes, academics and practitioners present limited guidelines in relation to the evaluation of performance appraisal systems (Arthur, 2008).

Issue No. 65 - 2015

When Appraisal Systems Fail

The Executive Levy and Williams (2004) see performance appraisal effectiveness as resting on three main concepts, namely Rater Error and Biases, Rating Accuracy and Appraisal Reactions. Their system calls for an evaluation of the reliability of performance appraisal tools (emphasising rater errors and biases as well as rater accuracy), and validity (with particular emphasis on appraisal reactions). Rater Errors and Biases and Rating Accuracy Rating errors and biases, as well as inaccuracies can compromise the effectiveness of a given rating or evaluation system (Levy and Williams, 2004). The authors argue that the effectiveness of the tool depends on the correspondence of organisational members’ views on constructive behaviour and the information obtained from the appraisal. They suggest that through the use of construct analysis, a qualitative approach featuring interviewing and observation, it should be possible to arrive at the construct of what represents good performance. Appraisal Reactions While a tool may provide strong mathematical indices in relation to reliability, validity and fairness, the perception held by the employees is ultimately as significant, if not more so than the numerical properties (Levy and Williams, 2004; Arnold et al., 2005). This consideration, has led researchers to describe employee reactions as one of the cornerstones for the evaluation of performance appraisal systems. This viewpoint, whilst acknowledging the validity of psychometric information, places due weight on cognitive considerations and individual factors.

Cokins (2009) suggests that higher favourability ratings in performance appraisals can be achieved by adequate notice, fair hearing and judgement based on evidence. In essence, the viewpoint emphasises the importance of the technical merits of the systems, the appropriate communication of such matters to employees and the consistent implementation of the systems. Feedback on the use of the system should be sought by both the administrators and the employees engaged in the appraisal process. Tools such as employee satisfaction surveys, could be used to identify a base line estimate on the current standing of the performance system used in the organisation, whilst also presenting additional information on other aspects of organisational functioning (Cokins, 2009).

Arnold, A., Silvester, J., Patterson, F., Robertson, I., Cooper, C., & Burnes, B. (2005). Work psychology. Understanding Human Behaviour in the Workplace (4th ed.). London: Prentice Hall. Armstrong, M. (2006). Performance management: Key strategies and practical guidelines. USA: Kogan. Arthur, D. (2008). Performance appraisals: Strategies for success. New York: American Management Association. Asmuß, B. (2008). Performance appraisal interviews. Journal of Business Communication, 45, 408-429. Cleveland, J. N., Murphy, K. R., & Williams, R. E. (1989). Multiple uses of performance appraisal: Prevalence and correlates. Journal of Applied Psychology, 74, 130–135. Cokins, G. (2009). Performance management: Integrating strategy execution, methodologies, risk and analytics. USA: John Wiley. Falcone, P., & Sachs, R. (2007). Productive performance appraisals. New York: American Management Association. Fletcher, C. (2001). Performance appraisal and management: The developing research agenda. Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology, 74, 473–487. Howard, R. (2005). Getting serious about performance management. Compensation and Benefits Review, 6, 18-26. Jackman, J. M., Strober, M. H. (2003). Fear of feedback. Harvard Business Review. 81, 101-108.

C onclusion An effective measurement and reward system can go a long way in promoting a meritocratic culture and can act as a means for motivating and retaining talent within the organisation. When “rolling the dice” in the appraisal system, it is important that technically correct and fair judgements are made in that otherwise there is the very significant risk that the persons judging will end up themselves being the subject of vindication.

Kaplan, M. R., & Sacuzzo, D. P. (1997). Psychological testing – Principles, applications and issues (4th ed.). California: Brooks/Cole. Levy, P. E., & Williams, J. R. (2004). The social context of performance appraisal: A review and framework for the future. Journal of Management, 6, 881–905. Levinson, H. (2008). Psychology of Leadership. USA: Harvard Business School. Rudman, R. (2003). Performance planning and review: Making employee appraisals work. London: Allen & Unwin. Wiese, D. S., & Buckley, M. R. (1998). The evolution of the performance appraisal process. Journal of Management History, 4, 233-249.

Calvin Cassar is Human Resources & Administration Manager at Mizzi Motors Limited. He holds particular interest and expertise in recruitment, assessment and quantitative analyses having gained exposure in these through academic as well as work experiences. The Executive 25

Issue No. 65 - 2015

The Executive


Acoustical Solutions for every business by Rudolph Spiteri Sacco, Director, Evolve

A combination of ceiling tiles and planks offers a modern acoustical solution

A fleece finish to the ceiling offers a smooth, elegant surface whilst providing excellent sound absorption

When endeavouring to design a good acoustic environment there are two main factors to be aware of: the ambient noise within the room and the reverberation time of the space.


mbient noise can come from a number of sources including sound transferring from adjacent rooms or corridors, speech, mechanical equipment inside the space and noises coming in from outside. Sound insulation or attenuation prevents noise from outside disturbing those inside the building. Acoustic absorption within a room is important if you want to reduce the reverberation time which can help improve speech intelligibility and clarity. By installing sound absorption and insulation materials architects are able to control and alter the reverberation time in a space. High sound absorption is achieved because of the light weight porous materials the ceilings are made from which is why suspended ceilings are an extremely cost-effective solution for controlling ambient noise and reverberation.

Suspended ceilings offer a number of options to choose from in terms of appearance and performance. A wide selection of face patterns, sizes and shapes are available to suit any interior design, offering everything from enhanced sound absorption for areas such as atriums and halls, to higher sound attenuation for corridors and circulation zones adjacent to teaching or office spaces. In older buildings, a suspended ceiling is not always viable because of architectural features or a low ceiling height. In these situations, ceiling rafts or baffles are a good option to provide the necessary

acoustic control. Rafts offer flexible and stylish solutions in a wide range of shapes and colours. They allow the creation of elegant designs and produce a contemporary look; their bright and colourful appearance is particularly appealing to young children. In schools, high noise levels mean that teachers sometimes end up leaving work with headaches and suffering with sore throats from having to shout to be heard. The installation of ceiling tiles and rafts with high sound absorption makes a dramatic difference to the staff and pupils and classrooms can be turned into calm learning environments with acoustical solutions. Wall absorbers can be used, either in conjunction with an acoustic ceiling or independently, to improve room acoustics and many offer higher impact resistance to cope with tough daily use in leisure centres or educational environments. Wall absorbers manufactured from mineral wool panels offer superior sound absorption and can make eye-catching decorative wall coverings. At Evolve we provide solutions for all acoustical issues faced in different buildings and various workplaces. And a good number of the solutions can be even achieved with minimal disruption to the day-to-day workplace as installation is done on walls and ceilings without having to change the building structure and by simply adding decorative material to the current space.

For more information about acoustic solutions, contact Evolve on or by calling (+356) 2780 5486.

The Executive 27

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Issue No. 65 - 2015

The Executive


an overview of the Skillsoft e-Learning platform

Phaedrus, written circa 370 BC is an interesting Socratic dialogue addressing the question of love, but also delving in some depth in the area of rhetoric. In the passages relating to the latter, Socrates puts forward the argument that the spoken medium is superior to the written medium as discourse offers space for questioning, challenging and responding. In addition, Socrates argued that the spoken medium can reach more easily the masses and that writing leads to a weakening of the mental faculties through the reliance on an external agent for recollection. It is somewhat ironic therefore that Socrates’ arguments made their ways through our own age through the written medium, the initial sharing of Plato, the transition through the Arabs and on to the modern age. Socrates could not have been aware of the revolution that Johannes Gutenberg would bring about in 1439 through his invention of printing but he definitely seems to have eschewed on the potential of a tool and medium that revolutionised the communication of information. We now seem to be at a new junction and further change, as we are now accessing resources and information through a digital revolution. Skillsoft, an e-learning platform is a further step in this direction and provides resources relating to training, preparation for certification, e-books and a conglomeration of other tools that has the potential to change the way information is stored and shared within organisations.

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Issue No. 65 - 2015

Skillsoft e-Learning platform - an overview

The Executive


killsoft is an international e-learning platform present in 58 countries and represented in Malta by ISL. The Skillsoft platform has grown over the years through organic development as well as mergers and acquisitions and is now used by over 15 million users worldwide. The scope of the platform might initially come across as daunting with access to literally thousands of assets and courses divided into Business Skills, IT and Desktop Courseware the user might find it challenging to decide at which point to start off from. This is where the role of a good manager comes in - the tool presents the resources, however the identification of gaps and training needs should definitely precede any attempt at implementation. Once courses are selected, end users

will then access to a portal containing the target material selected, potentially branded with the company colours and logos. The training manager will be able to assign study areas, track user progress, and see which courses have been started and completed. The Skillsoft product features content and material that can allow users to achieve certification in over one hundred distinct areas, covering business and IT programmes of relevance ranging from six sigma, software development, networking (CCNA, CCNP, CISA and others), Project Management (Prince 2, PMP, Agile and others), and desktop products. Users can be presented content relating to these areas, but Skillsoft also offers additional tools to allow persons to prepare for exams and certification. As all

training managers will be aware of, training and certification in the mentioned areas is important, but expensive, and Skillsoft can allow good savings to be made through its structure and assets. The product catalogue allows the provision of access to assets relating to test preparation (challenging questions, relating to the material covered), business impact series (content addressing areas that are directly relevant to business needs), challenge series (top notch and fun interactive tasks allowing identification of consequences following specific courses of action) as well as mentoring support. Mentoring takes the form of direct, chat-based interaction with subject matter experts, who can provide guidance and address issues encountered during the review of content material.

The Leadership Advantage series also covers ‘must have’ information on leadership subjects and offers short courses of two hours duration.

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Issue No. 65 - 2015

Skillsoft e-Learning platform - an overview

The Executive All material in Skillsoft is web based meaning that there is the possibility and potential for users to gain access to the resources from different devices. Through a username and password, individuals would be able to access content from the company’s training room, laptops or from a PC at home if granted access. As a word of caution, at present a good part of the content is Flash based meaning that users might not be able to access some assets through smartphones or tablets (although Skillsoft representatives have confirmed that content accessible through mobile is in the works). An important asset of the Skillsoft platform is that the content and material can be revisited as often as required so users will not end up ‘stuck’ after a training session unless they internalised the material or took notes. A simple log-in will grant access to resources, mentors and all that would have been covered. Skillsoft also offers the means to develop a course structure without the need to make micro selections - the Knowledge Center offers the opportunity to make high-level selections and will grant the user access to material

relating to a key subject matter. For example, in selecting the human resources Knowledge Center, one would gain access to a collection of Business Impact Series, Challenge Series, a Practice Zone with links to relevant articles. This in effect allows a company to help build the knowledge base in its workforce without the need to go into detail as to what each course offers. Additional assets in the product include the Leadership Development Channel which includes bite-sized videos covering areas of interest for executives, who mightwish to use these for PR initiatives within the organisation or for pushing forward specific messages in a targeted manner. The Leadership Advantage series also covers ‘must have’ information on leadership subjects and offers short courses of two hours duration. A further important asset in the Skillsoft portfolio is the provision of access to e-books - there are literally thousands of books available for review through agreements with over 300 publishers worldwide. Content is relevant and up to date and the e-books feature key tools including summaries,

Key Takeaways •

access to vast online resources

cost effective means of delivering training to small teams or large groups of employees

rich multimedia content

good means for employees to achieve accreditation in specialist areas

the possibility to skip directly to specific chapters, and tools to annotate and review. Business content is well covered throughout. Conclusion Some might eschew e-learning platforms for their emphasis on content rather than direct faceto-face communication. Doing so, however misses the point in that these tools should not be seen as a replacement of traditional learning, but as a new way of doing things. When Socrates highlighted the weaknesses inherent in the written medium he definitely missed out on the positive characteristics relating to distribution, permanence, and resource effectiveness. As far as e-learning tools go, Skillsoft is one of the larger, better organised and occupationally relevant in the market place. Content is rich and the level of support provided exceptional. Further developments are warranted (particularly in enhancing mobile compatibility) however the product is an amazing tool which can redefine how learning takes place within a working environment. ISL can offer free trial access to the system meaning that there is the possibility of taking a well informed decision prior to taking the plunge in the investment of resources.

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Issue No. 65 - 2015

COMPANY HIGHLIGHT: Malta Business School

The Executive

the Applicability of Knowledge

Malta Business School is the education division of Allied Consultants Ltd, and is licensed as a Higher Education Institution by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE) Malta.


he School delivers a vast range of accredited programmes that include Masters Degrees, Bachelor degrees, Diplomas and Certificates. The school is the proud representative of various providers of high-level, sought-after accredited programmes such as Henley Business School and The City Law School. Programmes vary from the prestigious Henley Flexible Executive MBA, to the City Law School’s LLM in International Business, ATHE Diploma programmes in management which can lead to accredited Bachelor degrees. The School also carries out both in-house training for companies and mixed industry training. Typically such training services are customised to the client/s requirements so as to ensure maximum benefit. Furthermore delivery and interventions are not just classroom based, but are also coupled with mentoring and coaching prior and following the training as the need may be. Malta Business School prides itself in delivering high quality, applicable knowledge. All trainers have excellent experience within their fields of expertise, as well as an academic background. Trainers encourage interaction by means of activities, teamwork and

discussions related to the subject matter from a practical point of view. The training premises are bright and spacious and equipped with advanced facilities to offer a high quality training environment. A library, study room and lounge area are also available for all participants to be used at their own convenience. Lorenzo Mulè Stagno, owner and dean told us “We strive to always give the best service and help the participants achieve positive results both individually and on their work place. We are constantly working on several new projects with major universities and awarding bodies to increase the portfolio of programmes in different areas of study. My vision is to establish Malta Business School as a leading business education centre in the Mediterranean, with multicultural cohorts spanning the globe.” The high value on quality and commitment makes Malta Business School a unique institution. Their world class masters, diplomas, degrees programmes and specialised training, make the school a learning hub for all those who would like to improve their creative thoughts, build business skills and stretch their natural abilities to achieve success in their career.

Kindly contact the school for more information on its educational provisions on tel. (+356) 21311326 or on

The Executive 35






Triq l-Imdina, Żebbuġ ŻBĠ 9019, Malta +356 2180 5486 | +356 2780 5486

ACHIEVING A PERFECT BUSINESS EVENT IS NO EASY FEAT. This is why we take pride in assisting you every step of the way and ensure that your business event does indeed become one to remember.

Surrounded by breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea, the Paradise Bay Resort Hotel’s unique position, make it the obvious choice as an ideal venue for your next business event. The hotel offers a number of halls, suites and outdoor venues, including halls with sea views and natural daylight, which can host various tailor made functions, conferences, business meetings or other related events. The property’s extensive grounds and outdoor venues also make it the perfect venue for larger events. Our conference rooms, equipped with all requirements, come in a variety of sizes and guarantee efficient working conditions. Our food and beverage team can also assist you in choosing the right catering requirements to compliment your event.

Contact our events department now on 21 521166 or

Issue No. 65 - 2015


Green initiatives led by business entities

The Executive WasteServ is committed towards establishing and maintaining an innovative waste management infrastructure which also protects the environment and society. The Company is also the national promoter of

Tonio Montebello, CEO, Wasteserv

waste management education in Malta. Speaking about the Company’s purpose, WasteServ Chief Executive Officer, Tonio Montebello said that “WasterServ is also responsible for the management of municipal waste and recycling methods. We manage waste by maximising the extraction of good quality recyclable materials and by generating renewable energy as part of our sustainable contribution to the Maltese Islands.”


r Montebello added that “we are also responsible for the organization, supervision and control of the provision of major waste management facilities and related services throughout the Maltese Islands. WasteServ also develops sites and facilities in accordance to local and international legislation, in order to ensure sustainable waste management.” WasteServ’s educational commitment is ongoing and involves all strata of society including children, adults and businesses. In doing so the organization regularly participates in international waste education initiatives such as, The European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR), which is the biggest gathering of awareness raising actions about waste prevention in Europe. This year’s edition of this pan-European campaign will be held between 21st and 29th November with the theme, Dematerialisation. Speaking about this year’s theme Mr Montebello explained that “the theme for this year’s EWWR, ‘Dematerialisation’ is in line with our commitment do more with less. Our aim is to use less or no material to deliver the same level of functionality to the user. We need to provide the public with more information on which products have the least impact on the environment.” Whilst encouraging Maltese and international companies based in Malta to join in this initiative and build on the success of last year’s campaign, Mr Montebello, said that “Throughout this week we aim to mobilise as many people as possible to implement awareness raising actions on waste reduction, product reuse and materials recycling. As in previous years, schools, public authori-

ties, private companies, civil society as well as citizens will be encouraged to participate.” Over the years, the local European Week for Waste Reduction has continued to gain popularity. Last year a host of Maltese and international companies based in Malta took part in this panEuropean initiative. These companies included Bank of Valletta, ST Microelectronic, Le Meridien Hotel & Spa, Middlesea Insurance, FTIAS, Malta Freeport Terminals, MPS Marketing, The Bakery Shop, AQR Group, Konnekt Capital Business Centre and V.G.Tiles Co Ltd amongst others. The projects hosted by these companies were extremely varied and innovative which included recycling of used toners, collection of vegetation waste, creation of a herbal garden using plastic bottles, clean-up activities, talks on waste management, separation of organic waste, reduction of construction waste and reuse of old items and furniture amongst others. Mr Montebello concluded that “adopting green policies is a noble cause as it helps safeguard our environment for tomorrow’s generation. We encourage the public as well as businesses to deploy waste management procedures consisting of prevention, minimization, reuse, recycling and energy recovery and only as a last resort - disposal, as part of their everyday strategies to reduce waste. Just as we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, but borrow it from our children, the notion of waste as a precious resource has never been so true.

For more information kindly contact Wasteserv on tel. (+356) 2385 8000, via email on or view the website at

The Executive 37

Issue No. 65 - 2015

Interview with an Entrepreneur: Anthony Guillaumier

The Executive

The Executive Visual Interview Series Interview: Victor Calleja Photography: Charles Calleja, Foto-ish The Studio

The man,

the businessman, the philanthropist

Tony Guillaumier is a man of many hats. He is a most successful businessman, a prominent man in various local organisations and also the man who set up the Richmond Foundation. He is an innovator, a mentor and a man who is looked up to by most people who know him or have heard of him. In interviewing Tony, Victor Calleja was accompanied by Charles Calleja, who recorded Tony’s facial expressions. Unlike most people faced with a barrage of questions, Guillaumier never faltered. And even without a lie-detector, one would say from his body language and eye-contact that the man is genuine and relaxed with all he has done and achieved. In the frank interview with pictures that follows you too can gauge not just his words but also his various expressions. Except for very minor editing for continuity the interview is basically in its raw state.

The Executive 39

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Philanthropist and businessman. Have you ever tried using philanthropy to increase your business?

Never! Never even crossed my mind. It is really the other way round. I used my business and my contacts to make the causes I worked for more reachable.

Was your interest in good causes a way to fight guilt that sometimes comes with material gain?

You are one of the businessmen who are most looked up to. So maybe not all business is based on greed and getting the most out of workers and colleagues?

You are maybe referring to my big frame? But really I believe that how one is looked upon reflects his own mileage and what he did. I always tried being fair with all my colleagues and employees— and fair with people who needed the products connected to my business. You seem evergreen and continue finding new avenues. Do you feel the age?

No, never felt that at all.

I’m 75 but try to remain young at least in heart. I find it strange when I look at myself—that bulk of me—and think how many years have passed. But I’m happy with what I did and what I am even now. And I still go in for challenges regularly even if I shouldn’t. The Executive 41

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Issue No. 65 - 2015

The Executive You have had great partnerships and also some bad ones. Was it always the other’s fault?

The man, the businessman, the philanthropist

And what if someone walks in now and says to you here’s the mega deal of your life. Would you say NO?

One learns from partnerships. Even the bad ones teach us but some have been my fault because I am known as a trusting person so sometimes I tended to be naïve. Although it is seen as a fault— especially by my own family-- I feel I am better off in my life like that. The way to be trusted is after all by trusting.

You mention your family a lot. Do they want you to wind down your business activities and to unwind?

(in a hush): How can you say no? But I would not want something long-term.

So family can be laid aside?

Yes they do and I have an arrangement with them now not to go into new deals, new business.

Yes a bit if there is a mega-deal! The Executive 43

Issue No. 65 - 2015

The man, the businessman, the philanthropist

The Executive

People say you laugh a lot. True?

Any situation can have its comical or less serious side. And yes I love laughing—makes life easier to see the light-hearted side of it. Even in serious matters if one tries finding the funny side one can de-stress even faster. I take life as smoothly as I can and avoid worrying for nothing, when that worry won’t or can’t solve the problem. I do admit that sometimes small things bother me unduly but on the whole a smile is all I need to move on. What has your biggest success been? I feel satisfied with all I have achieved. I was never over-ambitious and kept my feet well-planted on the ground at all times. I lived a tranquil life doing my duty and sometimes trying hard to go beyond my expected duty. But while the intention was to do good I am not the one to judge what I did. However, when I look back I do feel satisfied.

You were the brains behind and sustainer of the Richmond Foundation. Is that part of your legacy?

It would be great if it were to be seen as my legacy. But others were involved and many strove to turn mental issues from a completely taboo subject to one that is discussed in the public arena. I feel Richmond was instrumental in doing that and I am, yes, more than satisfied that I was part of that story, the Richmond story. It started as a small idea which mushroomed and now Richmond employs over 40 full-time staff along with relievers, part-timers and volunteers.

Although you were younger you took over the company from your father. Wasn’t that overreaching and overly ambitious?

Actually I was led to it. I didn’t seek the position at all. My father, in league with my own elder brother, chose me as the natural leader of the company. It was not ambition that got me there but it did give me a lot of satisfaction though obviously I knew I had to prove myself even more.

Issue No. 65 - 2015

The Executive So you didn’t cheat to grow in your business?

I never even thought it possible to cheat. I think my main attribute is I can only do things the proper way. And maybe that is why the people you said look up to me in the business circle have that feeling about me. They know I will say it and do it in the only way I know - straightforwardly and honestly. Do you see good leaders emerging in Malta’s business circles?

Several are innovative and have a great urge to move on, maybe even more than was the norm when I started in business. We were more tied to this rock while today’s entrepreneurs see the world as their playing-field. I like the local way of doing things.

The man, the businessman, the philanthropist

Do you believe in crystal balls?

Not really. All I know is that I will not be retiring - as long as I am healthy and alert enough to be active in business or philanthropy. But yes, I will go on downsizing. Day out in space or fishing? ?

Fishing - being on a boat was always something I thoroughly enjoyed. I always owned a boat but now I have managed to retire from that and only go on others’ boats. I love the sea’s serenity and vastness and also the inner strength it has to unleash its powers. The sea is to me like life - calm most of the time but a small incident can turn it all upside-down. The Executive 45

Issue No. 65 - 2015

The man, the businessman, the philanthropist

Did you fire anyone and hate it?

The Executive Alone or with others?

Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d always choose others with me but I am also happy alone. If you could would you ever have fired yourself?

Always hated it but never regretted it as it was always done conscientiously and when justified. I always made it a point to do it myself and not send someone to do it for me. I had to show I believed it was done for the right reason and if redundancy was involved I had to be there to explain, to discuss and to, as much as possible, offer sympathy because of the situation. 46 The Executive

I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think I ever would have as I feel good with all my choices. Some were disastrous but all had a good rationale to explain why they were taken. The rest of the disasters were because I was too trusting. That is, I accepted dangerous things as a good calculated risk in all my business deals.

Issue No. 65 - 2015

The man, the businessman, the philanthropist

The Executive Once you were called na誰ve, are you?

What is happiness?

Yes I was called that by someone abroad. I accept it. My biggest defect is being too trusting. Maybe that is why I should have fired myself after all!

Being stress-free and preferably in the best of health or in a position to accept what you have or lack. I have no baggage of regrets so I sleep well at night and know how to push aside anything that could worry me. I move it to a compartment which I will see and confront when needed.

Do you always say the truth and nothing but the truth?

Yes - but one then needs to ask, what is truth? Do we know what it really is?

The Executive 47

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