IOD winter cover_Layout 1 12/11/2010 11:30 Page 2
winter 2010 www.iod.com/suffolk
future challenges ahead...
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Thoughts from the chair
5 - 11
Across the region
12 13 future challenges ahead...
front cover A tranquil moment at The Port of Felixstowe, the UK’s largest
A word from the accountants
18 - 21
s we approach the end of the year there is much to reflect on. The new Government is busy ripping up the rule book... Where will it lead? To gain some insight we take a look at Suffolk’s response to a changing economy, and seek responses from five key business sectors to garner a consensus of opinion.
The outlook seems positive on the whole See pages 18-21
and among the genuine concerns for the business community there are really
Image courtesy of the Port of Felixstowe
encouraging stories of growth and profitability. Additionally we speak to two local business
Publisher Tilston Phillips Magazines Limited firstname.lastname@example.org www.tilstonphillips.com Printed by Micropress Printers Ltd Halesworth, Suffolk
leaders whose businesses are bucking the recessionary trends.
23 - 25
Elsewhere in the magazine we examine how
business is portrayed in the media. Do the
endless caricatures on prime-time television of
28 - 29
business ‘celebrities’ do anything to aid our
IoD member benefits
credibility especially as it looks like we are the
ones charged with saving the economy!
Our regular contributors spotlight pertinent
business issues and the across the region
section brings you up to date with the latest business developments. With the festive season upon us it seems fitting to thank all our contributors and advertisers as well as our readers – whatever stage of business you are at – and wish you a great Christmas and a genuinely
All rights reserved. Reproduction, in part or in whole, without the prior consent of the publisher is strictly prohibited. The content of this magazine is based on the best knowledge and information available at the time of publication. All times, prices and details of events were correct at time of going to press. The views expressed by the contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers, proprietors, the Institute of Directors or others associated with this production. © Tilston Phillips Magazines Limited 2010
prosperous new year.
37 Jonathan Tilston
Mind your own business
IoD committee and new members
IoD events To help Suffolk Branch members to plan ahead and organise their diaries, this programme summarises the last two events planned for 2010. We hope the wide variety of our events gives you ample opportunity to entertain partners and guests and to get full benefit from your branch membership. All events are open to IoD members and non-members. For further information regarding our events visit www.iod.com/suffolk or call Caroline Kearney, Suffolk Branch Administrator on 07917 699498 or alternatively email: email@example.com
our treasurer retires 18.11.10 Real Beer Real Food Tasting Evening Greene King Brewery, Bury St Edmunds 6.45pm for 7.00pm (finish 10.30pm) Join the IoD Suffolk branch for an evening tour
fter 20 years’ distinguished and dedicated service to IoD Suffolk, our Treasurer, Graham Reid, retires at the end of the year. Well-known in the Suffolk business world,
of the Greene King Brewery. Guests will arrive
Graham arrived here from London in 1977 to
in the visitors’ centre at 6.45pm to meet the
set up the regional offices for Grant Thornton
tour guide and enjoy a welcome drink while
Accountants. He joined the IoD in the 1980s,
exploring the brewery museum. The tour will
getting valuable business sector news and
start at 7pm with a visit to the mill room, malt
contacts throughout the business community
stores, mash-tun floor and the fermenting
as well as the chance to meet new clients. He
rooms. You will then enjoy a tutored tasting in
became a local centre committee member and
the Brewery Tap where you will be served your
in 1990 took on the role of Treasurer when
meal while continuing to sample Greene King’s fine cask ales.
december 7.12.10 Members’ Open Evening
Suffolk became a full IoD branch.
Suffolk business, with its natural entrepreneurial base and considerable
During the 1990s Graham helped the branch
engineering and design skills, is well placed to
widen its activities, funded by the introduction
move from past high reliance on the services
of sponsorship (Suffolk was one of the first
sector into areas such as carbon reduction and
branches to involve sponsors). In 2002 he
green energy technologies, where financial
retired from practice but continued as Branch
support is likely to be on offer during the
Treasurer and a committee member and was
difficult years ahead.
instrumental in developing the extensive and fully-funded annual event programme. He saw
In terms of social capital in the community he
Saints Winebar, Ipswich
branch membership grow steadily over the
reflects: “Many of us are highly involved in our
5.30 – 7.30pm
years and pass the 600 mark in 2007,
local business and residential communities,
Join us at Saints winebar cafe in Ipswich for a
doubling the original size.
sharing whatever expertise we have to offer
Christmas drinks party with wine and canapes.
where we can. Voluntary support is particularly
Come along and listen to our brief
Known for his dry sense of humour, Graham
necessary in rural counties, like Suffolk, where
presentation highlighting the key benefits of
answers the question ‘What have you got out
village life depends on active residents. We all
being a member of the Institute of
of business life and the IoD in Suffolk?’ with
need to contribute – and to find time for
Directors. Also learn more about the Suffolk
‘Money!’ In reality, he takes a modest view of
some fun along the way.”
branch activities and the services and facilities which are available to IoD members. We will also be launching our events
his 20 years’ voluntary and consistent hard work as Treasurer, crediting his employees at
Now, Graham plans to spend more time on
Grant Thornton with much of the support for
his narrowboat and travelling overseas with
the years before he retired.
his wife, but he has no intention of straying
programme for 2011. This is a member-only evening with the opportunity of bringing
for too long from his beloved home village Graham feels it’s high time for younger blood
of Rattlesden where he values the enjoyment
along guests who would be keen to learn
to take the lead in rebalancing both the
of watching the abundant local wildlife in
more about what the IoD has to offer.
national and the local economy. He believes
2010 programme is kindly sponsored by:
thoughts from the chair
s 2010 draws to a close it is a good opportunity to look back on what has been a successful year for Suffolk Institute of Directors. A full and interesting programme was well-received by our members, with many events sold out. A particular highlight was the annual conference. With a refreshing new format, it was overwhelmingly well-received. The year has brought about some of the biggest changes in politics for decades, with the first coalition Government since the Second World War. It remains to be seen whether it will last a full term and whether it will survive with a majority when difficult issues come before Parliament. The comprehensive spending review has taken place and we now know what cuts there will be in the next few years. It is clear that we should expect the next few years to be difficult. For the first time in over a decade growth in the economy is going to come from the private sector rather than money being poured into the public sector. However, I remain confident that Suffolk businesses are well-placed to withstand this and IoD Suffolk will help wherever it can â€“ both businesses and business people. I would like to thank our sponsors and Caroline Kearney and the committee members who make everything happen. The programme of events for 2011 has many new, exciting events and I look forward to meeting many of our members throughout the coming year. Finally, please accept my best wishes for a merry Christmas and a happy new year.
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across the region group focuses on Sizewell plans On the day the Government confirmed
has now reduced the list of suitable sites for
Sizewell as a suitable site for another nuclear
future nuclear power stations to eight,
power station, Suffolk Coastal’s new task
which includes Sizewell. His announcement
group met for the first time.
should not be misunderstood as being the
‘too much hype’ over equality act
final go-ahead as there are still many hurdles The Sizewell Task Group is the council’s latest
to jump, not least his insistence that any
initiative to ensure it is ready to represent the
future developments must occur without any
interests of local communities if and when
plans for the development are submitted. “We have long recognised the potential The group’s chairman, Councillor Andrew
benefits of a new Sizewell, which could mean
Nunn, said: “The Energy Secretary Chris Huhne
up to 5,000 construction jobs for six or seven years, and employment at the new power station for up to 900 people. “However, there are also significant local concerns that must be positively addressed – such as the fact that Sizewell is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Heritage Coast and close to internationally-important sites for wildlife. The choice of the design of any proposed station, and the overall effect on the landscape, must fully take this into account.“
Business owners and HR professionals are facing too much hype about the implications of the new Equality Act 2010, according to an employment law specialist. Simon Quantrill, managing partner at Quantrills Solicitors, said that many commentators have suggested the Act was introducing fundamental changes at work
Denise offers power to the people…
and, in his opinion, such comments were very unhelpful.
illustrating the benefits of accessible, inclusive and interactive online consultation during the
He said: “Spreading misinformation like this
planning and build phases.
creates a fear of employment law changes and makes business owners and HR
Denise has more than 15 years’ brand and
professionals vulnerable to unnecessary anxiety
product development experience with blue-
at a time when most are already under
chip clients including BP, Santander, Land
enormous pressure to perform well during
Rover and Macmillan Cancer Support.
difficult financial times.
With the Government’s commitment to
“While the Act is very important it does not
encouraging more people to become involved
radically change discrimination law. There
in decisions about their local environments
are a few changes which all employers need
and neighbourhoods, Consense has developed
to be aware of – one of the most important
a practical solution to help the construction
being the ban on an employer asking health
industry manage public consultation
or medical-related questions (save for a
few limited exceptions) before a job offer is made.”
Denise said: “The ‘Open Debate’ system has been used extensively by renewable energy
The Essex, Ipswich and East London branch of
Consense has appointed Denise Parkinson as
developers – a sector which has very strong
the Chartered Institute of Personnel and
business development manager – a role aimed
anti-groups to consider – and more than 70
Development (CIPD) called in Quantrills to
at developing the company’s client base in the
per cent of the 94 live consultations are
explain the implications of the Act at a series
construction and property industries by
running in support of proposed plans.”
of employment law update events.
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across the region law firm’s new managing partner
East Anglian law firm Ashton Graham has elected Alan Brown as the firm’s
big tea contract comes to boil
managing partner. He said: “I would like to thank Mark Merriam for the enormous contribution he has made to the firm over the past nine years as managing partner – successfully navigating the firm through the recession and working with me over the past 12 months to ensure a seamless transition. “The success and strength of the firm is also due to the dedication and commitment of our talented staff.” One of Alan’s first priorities as managing partner is to oversee the recently-announced
Tea and coffee merchant, Taylors of Harrogate,
merger talks with Kester Cunningham John
has awarded PD Ports a 10-year contract to
and to develop further and maintain high
handle all its tea and coffee imports, securing
standards of client service.
around 10 jobs.
top tourism award for Stoke by Nayland
This follows a successful 12-month trial, handling 50 per cent of Taylors’ tea and coffee UK imports through PD Ports-owned Teesport on the north-east coast. The family business will now import 100pc of its tea and coffee through Teesport, rather than southern UK ports with further transportation via road to its production facility at Harrogate – saving about 100,000 road miles a year. Keith Writer, commodities director at Taylors, said: “Not only does the move to Teesport help us greatly improve our environmental footprint,
The family-owned Stoke by Nayland Hotel,
conferences and corporate business to the
it also reduces costs. We’re committed to
Golf & Spa won the award for Business
region. Its golf and leisure facilities were a key
buying the best tea and coffee the world has to
Tourism at this year’s “Tourism in Suffolk”
factor in its success, for combining business
offer for our Yorkshire Tea and other blends,
and the partnership with PD Ports ensures
Awards dinner in Ipswich.
we’re able to maintain these high-quality It won the accolade for its excellence in
At the awards ceremony Choose Suffolk’s
standards throughout the import and
service, catering, staff training, customer care,
tourism manager Alex Paul said that tourism is
marketing campaigns, sustainability and
now worth £1.75 billion to the county’s
involvement with the local community.
economy and added: “The county is gaining an enviable reputation for its high-quality
The hotel was praised for its new website and
accommodation and attractions, which
for attracting both national and local
combine to make Suffolk one of the UK’s premier tourism destinations.”
PD Ports invested more than £350,000 in upgrading two warehouses to store the sensitive products. PD Logistics offers warehousing and distribution services at UK locations, including Felixstowe.
winter 2010 /suffolk www.iod.com
To view a digital version of this magazine, visit: www.tilstonphillips.com es future challeng
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building for the future
Ensors Chartered Accountants has joined CPA
West Suffolk College has exchanged contracts on
Associates International (CPAAI), a worldwide
the premises of CML Innovative Technologies in
association of independent accounting and
Beetons Way. The premises will be renamed The
business consulting firms.
Milburn Centre in honour of college governor Betty Milburn and will house construction and
Danny Clifford, Ensors managing partner, said:
building services training.
“As the world gets smaller and advances in technology encourage businesses to expand their cross-border activities it is essential to be on hand with up-to-date, quality advice to support clients. “In the UK alone we have an ever-increasing Business adviser Grant Thornton, which has
quantity and complexity of accounting and
offices in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, is
taxation legislation for which we have
urging Suffolk businesses to prepare now for
specialists providing clients with the highest
the January VAT rate increase.
levels of service and advice. We are proud to now be able to provide this level of service
The rise, from 17.5 to 20 per cent, will affect
across the globe.”
any business that sells or buys goods or
A period of refurbishment will follow, including
services that are subject to the standard rate
asbestos removal. The target date for the
of VAT. These businesses will need to make
buildings to be ready for occupation by the
sure their computer systems, budgets and
college is the end of May.
procedures are adapted accordingly and that staff are aware of the right code to apply to
David Howells, deputy principal, said: “The
avoid complications arising from different
college is recognised as one of the leading
sales and invoicing scenarios.
centres in the region for construction and
Grant Thornton's VAT director for the East
with the potential to grow that provision in
Anglian region, Anne Holt, said: “The rise
engineering training; the facility will provide us
presents a potential minefield for businesses which are not prepared. If you are in doubt,
“A significant advantage to us is that there is
seek expert advice from a professional who
ample parking space and grounds that can be
can help you navigate the difficulties and
used for recreational purposes. The site is close
avoid unnecessary risk and costs.”
to the main campus and on a bus route.”
fantasy turns to reality for EWS
nine years ago. There are now 27 teams who regularly take part, representing a wide range of businesses in the town. It’s obviously a bit
Gotelee Solicitors has given EWS Chartered
of fun, but on a more constructive note it
Surveyors cause for celebration with an award
creates a great networking opportunity within
for the Gotelee Fantasy Football League Team
an informal environment. “
of the Month. Paul Edwards, who received the award on Jonathan Ripman presented the award
behalf of EWS, said: “We are delighted to
to EWS at a breakfast event at Gotelee’s
win as competition is always fierce and the
overall title, as ever, will be fiercely contested. The award will be taking pride of place in
He said: “We took on responsibility for
our offices and we hope our winning streak
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across the region leadership skills for tough times
new forum for county issues Gotelee Solicitors has launched a Suffolk Business Dialogue initiative, with a lunch forum to discuss the impact of the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review on the local economy. Business leaders from the county’s construction, logistics, business services and manufacturing sectors debated whether funding cuts and structural changes to the public sector would have an adverse effect
University Campus Suffolk (UCS), in
The cuts will slash an average of 25 per cent
or if, in fact, it would create business
partnership with Ipswich Borough Council, has
from department budgets, placing greater
launched the 2010/2011 Executive Master
importance on the leadership skills of those
Classes – aimed at executives and senior
guiding public-sector businesses.
managers who hope to lead tomorrow's public-sector businesses.
The majority of those attending were optimistic, but there were some concerns.
The classes are designed to develop
One was where new private-sector jobs will be
leadership, motivational and strategic skills.
found for those leaving the public sector. It
With the Government aiming to reduce
Delegates will learn through the knowledge
was generally considered that without the
public-sector spending by £83 billion by 2014,
and experience of resident chief executives
creation of a Local Enterprise Partnership
UCS hopes the classes will help prepare
from the public sector. The programme will
which included Suffolk it would be difficult for
individuals for the tough times ahead.
run over six days and these can be booked
the county to be recognised in UK plc. The
individually or as a group.
majority of new jobs nationally are expected to come from the largest companies. In Suffolk, the jobs will have to come from smallto-medium enterprises. The forum chairman, Brian Morron, senior
hospice funds boost is on the cards…
partner at Gotelee Solicitors, said: “We’ll be holding these lunches five or six times a year to sound out views and concerns about issues
St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich will benefit
affecting our region. The response from
this Christmas thanks to a new e-Christmas
everyone who attended this first event was
card package developed by Itineris, the
extremely positive and while people did
Suffolk-based digital marketing agency. This will allow businesses that support the hospice to send a branded e-card instead
express a number of concerns, it was Matt Horsup, business development manager at Itineris (right) and Carl Brooks, business income generation manager at St Elizabeth Hospice (left) are collaborating on a new e-Christmas card service, designed to raise funds for the charity over the festive period
of a paper version to customers and
businesses to support us in an
suppliers – saving time, money and waste.
Carl Brooks, business income generation
Matt Horsup, business development manager
manager at the hospice, said: “We have
at Itineris, said they have developed three
never run a Christmas e-card scheme
options: Basic – a card and message from a
because of the costs involved. As we are a
set template list; Custom – where a design is
charity, this is the perfect solution for us; we
created from scratch and Bespoke – a special
don’t have to spend a penny and our
animated landing page online.
supporters can send a card to help raise funds for the hospice. “The scheme will provide us
For further information go to
with a new income stream and allow
reassuring to find a generally high level of optimism about the future.” The next lunch will be in January.
Kevin Robertson Sales Director for Glasswells demographic which offers an excellent environment for independents to flourish and yet at the same time thrive alongside multinationals. Q: Is salesmanship purely second nature or can it be taught? A: If someone possesses a natural, friendly and open personality then it’s possible that they’re more likely to thrive in sales than someone without those qualities. However you can nurture and coach in sales techniques, and indeed someone with the right credentials will still need training. Kevin Robertson (left) pictured at the IoD Suffolk’s 2010 Annual Conference
evin Robertson, Glasswells’ Sales Director, is out to create a better shopping experience for Glasswells’ customers.
Q: How do you keep your staff motivated? A: By making sure they enjoy their work and learning about what motivates everyone as
With stores situated throughout East Anglia, including the largest in the East of England at Bury
individuals, one size definitely doesn’t fit all
St Edmunds and their new state-of-the-art Ipswich store, Glasswells offers more than high-
when it comes to managing people. Some
quality, affordable, handpicked home furnishings. It also offers a contracts division, commercial
people in sales for instance are motivated
and domestic storage as well as home and international removals. Kevin shares with us the
purely by money and target-related rewards,
challenges of retail and commercial sales in these ever-changing economic times.
whereas in other areas it may be loyalty or taking pride in being part of our heritage.
Q: In light of the current spending
Q: Has experience helped to improve
Q: What's the most important quality to
review how do you think it will affect
be a successful salesman?
A: Definitely, but as with everyone else, new
A: Quite simply open-mindedness and the
A: Clearly cuts to public expenditure wouldn’t
experiences bring with them new
belief that the customer is there to buy and
be helpful for retailers. For us working in the
improvements. An important lesson I’ve
will, providing they’re sold the right product
retail sector it means we will all have to work
learned throughout my career, however, is to
harder to maintain sales and keep our fair
be more considered and less dictatorial,
share of customer spend.
especially when making the larger decisions. I
Q: How important is community to
insist on discussing all aspects that will help
me determine such decisions with the people
A: Very important we look upon ourselves as
sales techniques changed since then?
it will affect, that way I attract support and
part of the local business network where
A: I started out in 1986 in Allders department
buy-in from the team from the start.
support from everyone involved is crucial to us
Q: What was your first job and how have
stores as a YTS trainee in the menswear
all being a success. All our staff live locally,
department in Croydon, eventually becoming
Q: What is important when managing
who in turn support communities and local
merchandise controller. From there I moved to
charities with full encouragement and backing
DFS in 1996 and from there on to Glasswells
A: It is important to remember who may be
in 2008. Sales has become much more
affected down the line by a decision to keep a
sophisticated nowadays. It’s a profession that
customer happy. An off-the-cuff judgement
has started to be taken more seriously and as
may have a knock-on effect on a loyal
balance in business?
a result has had a positive effect on the
manufacturer or our staff for instance. Getting
A: I don’t believe it’s always about how many
standards and commitment of the people
the balance right, however, maintains integrity
hours you work but about what it is you
pursuing sales as a career. Training is also
with everyone whose relationship we value.
achieve during those hours. People with
better, resulting in an improved all-round
Q: Is there such a thing as work-life
happy and stable lives outside work bring that
consumer experience by emphasising the
Q: What advantages are there to being in
to the workplace and are often much more
importance of customer dialogue and truly
business in Suffolk?
successful in their careers as a result.
understanding their needs – a website still
A: Suffolk has an intriguing, possibly even
can’t replace a person with those skills.
unique retail landscape and customer
business briefing with Jackaman, Smith & Mulley
e were delighted to welcome solicitors, Jackaman Smith and Mulley, to our Suffolk branch Breakfast Briefing last month. Active supporters of the IoD, they were invited to share some advice and to answer delegate questions about employment and commercial law.
leaders need to be clear about the basics of employment and commercial law many will need specialist support to take them through the myriad of associated nuances as they adapt their business to best fit the law and their commercial needs.
“Legal language is so precise it can be very trying to read and digest if you are not trained to interpret it. A number of business leaders had
Together with four other sponsors, Jackaman
questions for us at this business briefing and I
Smith and Mulley have sponsored the local
trust we were best able to answer those in a
branch this year, enabling them to continue
language that made sense of the jargon and
to run a very successful events programme
could be tailored to meet their needs.” The
business briefing events give members and nonmembers the opportunity to network at a very
Stephen Firmin: said “The Institute’s work in this
high level, with the opportunity of meeting
region is important to the region’s commercial
directors of some very high-profile businesses
development. Whilst the majority of business
within the region.”
For more information regarding the events programme you can visit www.iod.com/suffolk
social media activity language and our subconscious can influence perceptions of character and ultimately the outcome of conversations. Mills, a psychotherapist, discussed with the group the role that the subconscious plays in the relationships we have with other people and how body-language and facial expressions can influence the behaviour of those we’re speaking to.
usiness leaders learn to finetune the human psyche and social media activity for more effective networking...
Guest speaker Ian McKendrick, founder of
Caroline Kearney, Suffolk Branch Administrator
KillerSEOSuperBlogs.com, demystified social
for the IoD, said: “So many businesses
networks and led delegates through those most
understand the importance of networking both
suited to business.
online and at events and our speakers helped
With networking playing an important role
Providing practical tips, McKendrick offered
in business, it’s vital that time spent doing it
advice on how to maximise the use of the
is as effective as possible and offers the
different networks available and demonstrated
examples of companies that are using social
make both options more palatable for the delegates – it was a very well-attended event.”
The IoD Suffolk programme is kindly sponsored by
networking channels effectively and imaginatively.
Jackaman Smith and Mulley Solicitors, London Stansted,
The latest breakfast networking event presented
Ensors Chartered Accountants, Leema Risk Management
by IoD Suffolk covered the subject of traditional,
Tim Mills spoke next on the subject of
and White Space Public Relations. For details of
face-to-face networking and the opportunities
communication and how understanding the way
forthcoming events and membership of the IoD contact
available through social networks.
we receive and convey messages through body-
Caroline Kearney on 07917 699498
minority reports by Andrew Fleming, Partner, Blocks Solicitors Andrew Fleming
henever two or more parties enter into a corporate joint venture, consideration needs to be given to the weaker party or parties and its or their contractual rights and protections.
distribution of profits; • rights of access to accounting and other information; and • rights of exit from the joint venture in given circumstances.
usually contained within that document . Factors to take into account include: the public nature of articles of association and the confidential nature of shareholders agreements; whether there are personal aspects of the relationship between shareholders which do not
These rights are typically included in the articles of
relate directly to the governance of the
association of the relevant joint company and/or in
company itself; the likelihood of changes being
Minority shareholders need to have legal
a shareholders agreement between its members.
needed in future and the formalities required to
protection in order to reduce the risk of possible
Careful thought needs to be addressed as to the
effect those changes; and whether class actions
misuse by majority shareholders within the
most appropriate document to place these rights.
or derivative claims by the company may need to be taken against directors.
company. They will therefore need to agree a raft of contractual rights at the outset, which
Key provisions of the running of the company,
such as appointment and removal of directors,
Although care should be taken to try to make
• right of representation on the board;
conduct of board and shareholder meetings, class
the documents compatible, if there is any
• rights to be counted in the quorum of a
rights and pre-emption provisions for transfer of
conflict between their provisions, it should be
shares, tend to be contained within the articles.
clearly stated which document prevails.
• rights to block or veto major decisions;
Because shareholder agreements are private,
For more detailed information or for advice.
• protection against dilution of their
funding arrangements, distribution policies,
tel: 01473 230033
shareholding and voting rights; • rights to insist upon an appropriate
covenants and contractual arrangements between
members, deadlock and winding-up provisions are
employment law training for people managers keeping you awake! Simon Quantrill
ave you sat in a training session wondering how long before it ends because you are falling asleep? If the content is not suitable or if the presentation is simply uninspiring it is not surprising if you start to feel your eyes close. You then wake with a jolt and hope no one has noticed.
emphasis is on “how to” rather than “this is
concentrating on understanding the true
the law”. Even though we are employment
implications of the new Equality Act
law solicitors we are good at avoiding giving
provisions. We made sure we did not overly
law lectures and putting delegates to sleep!
complicate, scare or exaggerate the risks and
It seems there is a stream of new employment
this approach was reflected in the feedback.
law each year to keep up to date with. Some
As one delegate said: “An excellent overview –
is more important than other changes. The
I can stop panicking now.”
new Equality Act 2010 is an example. While important, all the hype that surrounded it
To find out more of how our hrlegal training
made many HR professionals view its
can help you call 01473 688100 or go to
introduction with trepidation.
feeling motivated, more knowledgeable and
Quantrills was delighted to provide a series of
For a free copy of our Equality Act 2010
confident. These are our goals we set for every
employment law updates for the CIPD Essex,
Briefing Notes please email
employment law training event we give. Our
Ipswich and East London Branch,
Done well, a training event will leave you
a word from the accountants
as if the recession wasn’t enough… By Malcolm McGready, partner – Ensors Chartered Accountants
f you’ve either not heard of iXBRL or haven’t a plan to deal with it I would recommend that you read on. The timing could hardly be worse for ‘under-pressure’ SMEs.
after March 31, 2010 will need to comply
• Remember that you only need to comply
with the new requirements if they file their tax
with HMRC’s minimum tagging
returns after March 31, 2011. It does, of
requirements (which HMRC have
course, present a window of opportunity that
if you can get your tax return in before this date you have effectively deferred
• If you use an accountant to prepare
implementation by 12 months.
your accounts and tax return it is worth checking that they will be ready
Despite this, implementation is looming. HMRC are allowing some leeway on
In a nutshell, HMRC will require corporate tax
implementation where they will not penalise
returns to be submitted electronically from,
tagging errors, provided that the company
If you are doing it yourself or have any doubts
March 31 2011. It sounds innocuous enough.
can demonstrate that it has taken reasonable
about whether or not your accountant will be
But they also require the data to be
efforts to comply with the new requirements.
ready it is worth considering outsourcing conversion to a third party. iXBRL is something
electronically tagged using inline XBRL (or The headline messages for companies are:
iXBRL). XBRL is a standard for reporting can interpret. The ‘data’ means both the financial statements and tax computations
that Ensors is prepared for and if you need further information please contact
financial data that uses ‘tags’ that computers • File your tax return before March 31,
Malcolm McGready on 01473 220072 or
2011 to avoid having to use iXBRL.
that accompany the tax return. All of a sudden it doesn’t sound quite so innocuous.
• If you produce your accounts and tax computations yourself using a software
Accounting and tax software providers have
package, make sure that you have a
been busily upgrading their packages to
version that supports iXRBL.
support iXBRL. If you use one of these don’t take it for granted that it will be compliant.
• If you produce your accounts and tax
And for those who produce accounts and
computations in Word or Excel you can
computations in Word or Excel, these won’t
look at an iXBRL conversion program.
be compliant either. The go-live date is March 31, 2011. This means that those companies with year-ends
Bury St Edmunds 01284 722300 Cambridge 01223 420721 Huntingdon 01480 417800 Ipswich 01473 220022 Saxmundham 01728 603005 firstname.lastname@example.org
corporate news Gary Riches, Director,
will you minimise inheritance tax?
n recent months there has been a significant increase in activity in the area of inheritance tax, no doubt due to the ‘freeze’ on the inheritance tax (IHT) threshold at £325,000 until 2014/15 and the realisation that the Government is no longer able to increase the IHT threshold to £1m, (due to the state of the public finances). We have seen great interest from clients in IHT planning and the release of a raft of innovative inheritance tax solutions that as independent financial advisers, we are able
value of the family home, plus investments and chattels, (such as contents, cars, jewellery), means many are facing tax deductions before their estate is passed to beneficiaries. So what can be done?
An example of one of our solutions – rather
• Ensure you have made a will. Dying
than retaining e.g. £2,880 and suffering 40 per
‘intestate’, (i.e. without a will) virtually
cent IHT on death, pay this into children’s,
always results in a complex and
grandchildren’s and/or great grandchildren’s
unsatisfactory financial mess. It is
pensions, (e.g. stakeholder). This is increased to
important to consult a solicitor to have a
£3600 (108pc increase, without growth),
will drawn up properly.
compared to no action.
• Consider using annual exemptions, (£3,000 each), plus small gifts, weddings etc.
to consider for clients. • Consider ‘gifts of surplus income’ directly A couple can transfer £650,000 free of inheritance tax on second death. However, the
to family, friends, etc., or to a trust. • Seek professional advice.
No longer is it necessary to have to lose access to capital or income, or use trusts etc., in order to save inheritance tax; we have many solutions, so it is essential to seek professional, fee-based independent financial advice from a specialist in this area of IHT planning.
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personal liability of directors – an alternative to wrongful trading by Lisa Keane | Dispute Resolution
t is well known that a director who allows his company to wrongfully trade, can be made
personally liable. However, the number of wrongful trading cases
used statutory law from the early 19th century.
a document which contained a promise that the
Section six of the Statute of Frauds
company would pay for goods to be ordered in
(amendment) Act 1828 states that: “no action
the future. The trial judge found as a matter of
shall be brought whereby to charge any person
fact that the company did not have the ability
upon or by reason of any representation or
to pay, nor had it any chance of doing so in
assurance made or given concerning or
which actually get to court are
relating to the character, conduct, credit,
perhaps surprisingly few.
ability, trade or dealings of any other person to
The submission on behalf of the director was
the intend or purpose that such other person
that he had signed the document on behalf of
In part, this is because the action has to be
may obtain credit, money or goods upon,
the company, rather than in his personal
brought by a liquidator who will, almost
unless such representations or assurance be
capacity. However, it was clearly established in
inevitably, be bringing the proceedings from a
made in writing, signed by the party to be
the House of Lords Standard Chartered Bank v
position of weakness. The more insolvent the
Pakistan National Shipping Corporation 
company, the less money he has to commence
that a director cannot avoid liability for his own
proceedings against delinquent directors.
The language used is archaic and certainly not
fraud by claiming he was acting on behalf of
Moreover, there is little or no incentive for a
the easiest to understand, nor is it helped by
creditor who feels himself to have been
being expressed in the negative. However if it is
wronged to offer to fund the proceedings, as
changed into the positive, its significance
The Court of Appeal accordingly found the
any recovery made by the liquidator goes into
becomes more apparent: “an action may be
director personally liable on his fraudulent
his pot, which is for all creditors. The court has
brought where a person has made a
deceit. Clearly this is a useful case as it is now
no power to target the award in the direction
representation in writing and did so
open to sellers to consider asking directors of
of a specific creditor, i.e. the one who funded
fraudulently; as to the ability of another person
companies buying goods or services from them,
to be in a position to pay for goods or credit
to write a letter confirming the ability of the
supplied to that other person”.
company to pay. In the event that the company
In very specific circumstances the Court of Appeal has recognised the possibility of a
was ultimately unable to pay its indebtedness In Contex Drouzhba Limited v Wiseman 
creditor suing a director and recovering for his
the court was faced with the following facts.
own benefit. This right appears under a little-
W, a director, signed on behalf of his company
then the directors could personally be liable.
www.ashtongraham.co.uk Lisa Keane | Solicitor, Dispute Resolution T: 01473 232425 | E: email@example.com This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice. You should not act or rely upon this information. Ashton Graham is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Ashton Graham Solicitors is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No. 50075.
Ipswich: Waterfront House, Wherry Quay, Ipswich, Suffolk IP4 1AS | T: 01473 232425 Bury St Edmunds: 81 Guildhall Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 1PZ| T: 01284 762331 Felixstowe: Anglia House, 22/24 Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk IP11 7AN| T: 01394 277188
can Suffolk’s private sector deliver growth and employment?
Entrepreneurs have been the bedrock of our civilisation and they are the life-blood of our future economy; it is through the development of an enterprising economy and the inspiration of a new generation of inventors and innovators that the UK will once again help to lead the world in new idea generation.”* Europe and the USA are facing some of the most trying economic situations in living memory. Unemployment figures in the UK are predicted to soar as the effects of worldwide slowdown, spending review cutbacks and the banks’ reluctance to lend conspire to thwart business growth. Nonetheless, the UK’s new coalition Government is looking to the private sector to take up the slack. Some estimates suggest as many as 1.6 million jobseekers will enter the market in the next five years (not allowing for those entering for the first time), a situation exacerbated by the raising of the retirement age. Recruitment agencies and HR departments are already reporting overflowing inboxes. But with the private sector facing tough times itself, how well is it able to take up the employment challenge? The IOD Suffolk magazine consulted a number of different – and well respected – industry sources. We then spoke to successful local business people in diverse industry sectors to ask how well equipped they were to tackle the challenges ahead.
* according to an IoD blog published on 4th November 2010
Robert Peston, business editor of the BBC,
In Pall Mall, the mood is more upbeat. The IoD
blogged on October 20, as the details of the
has broadly welcomed the spending review and
spending review unfolded:
the Government’s tough stance on the economy. Its expert team dismisses the view of the CIPD as
“Well, the Chancellor confirmed today that he
overly pessimistic, believing that the private sector
expects public sector job losses to be 490,000
is perfectly capable of taking on the burden of
or around eight per cent of all public-sector
employment. In its own blog, published on October 28, it “That is a substantial reduction in public-sector
suggests: “The Office for Budget Responsibility
employment. But it will take place over four
predicts that around half a million public sector
jobs will be lost as a result of the spending review. This is undeniably a large number of
“Now the private-sector employs just over 23 million people, almost four times as many people as the public sector. So private-sector employment needs to rise by ‘just’ two per cent,
people, but if we look at the period between 1991 and 1997 a similar number of jobs was
plants. This has been replicated in Ipswich to a
lost, and yet this period saw sustained economic
lesser degree by the closure of Cranes and British
Sugar, leaving sites ripe for regeneration,”
to absorb all the jobs lost in the public sector.
she said. “The economic position is not as favourable now
“Which doesn't look absurd, so long as the economic recovery is sustained. But there are three important caveats.
as it was then, but we still believe the private
“In the meantime, Felixstowe continues to
sector is capable of creating the growth, which
expand and has seen an upturn in business with
will create new jobs.
higher volumes coming in and out of the port. Substantial sites have been let in and around
• First, not everyone made redundant by the public-sector may be wanted by the
However, its experts warn: “The private sector
the port in recent months, with the prospect
will have to lead the recovery, and it can only
of new jobs. At the same time there are
do this if the Government provides a stable
new opportunities in renewable energy
those the Government wishes to
One hundred or more miles away from
She reports that demand for commercial property
‘encourage’ off benefits and into work
Westminster, Pall Mall and Broadcasting House,
remains strong in some sectors. “There are still a
Suffolk faces its own problems.
few seeing some activity – mostly food, with the
• Second, those made redundant by the public-sector will be in competition with
• Third, in the past year employment of nonUK people has risen by 114,000, whereas employment of UK nationals has fallen by 15,000 John Philpott, chief economic adviser at the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development), speaking early in November, said that the private sector needs to create 300,000 new jobs a year to offset his forecast 1.6 million job losses over five years. He said: “If the coalition Government completes its planned fiscal consolidation with unemployment no higher in 2015-16 than it is today, it will have made a significant achievement.”
supermarkets hungry for sites with or without Suffolk County Council has made national news
planning consent. At the same time, many
with radical plans to outsource services and pare
retailers and public-sector departments are taking
staff numbers to the bone. Thousands of
advantage of the lower rental values by
jobseekers are set to enter the local jobs market,
negotiating shorter leases and lower rents with
some with little private-sector experience.
their landlords across the country.”
At the same time, private-sector posts are
While new employment opportunities may be on
also being lost. Some of the area’s largest private
the cards, how are Suffolk’s existing employers
employers have been shedding jobs – albeit more
feeling about their own prospects?
quietly than their public-sector counterparts. In many ways, our respondents – drawn from But according to Vanessa Penn, who launched
across the region and its industry – reflected
Penn Commercial property agency three years
the view of the IoD. They recognise there will
ago, Suffolk has proved itself to be very resilient
be pain, are realistic about the situation but,
in coping with significant job losses in the past.
at the same time, are concerned about the impact on business.
He believes that it is only achievable if the economy grows faster than 2.5 per cent a year on average.
“Some parts have suffered seriously already in recent years. For instance, Lowestoft has suffered
The immediate past chair of IoD Suffolk, Tim
from closure of three major manufacturing
Ryan, who is managing director of one of
operation with 25 offices, 220 staff and a
Nowadays the region’s economy is affected as
turnover approaching £40 million, agrees. He
much by global factors as local conditions. We
says: “We need to give it time, but I do believe
have only to cast our thoughts back to what many
that sound decision-making is taking place.”
believe sparked the recession – the banks’ involvement in the toxic American ‘sub prime’
John is in a sector that is feeling more upbeat than a year ago, and he believes that business has turned the corner. He has significant expansion plans under way with the opening of two new offices in 2011. Tim Ryan
Paul Milsom, managing director of Milsoms
Ipswich’s leading privately-owned businesses,
Hotels, which has luxury hotels and restaurants
Ryan Insurance Group, summed up the feeling
in Dedham, Kesgrave and in Harwich, agrees
of many business figures.
with Vanessa that the region has a bright future.
“Anyone who tells you that things are good is
He said: “East Anglia has perhaps suffered less
not telling the truth. National and local
than other areas. It has a good business mix with
property market – to recognise that. Brussels, too,
economies are struggling,” he said.
lots of small entrepreneurial companies rather
has a huge impact on some market sectors.
than big traditional employers.”
David Barker, farming in a quiet part of Suffolk,
Within the catering and leisure sector, though
because of outside pressures – not always within
prospects are very variable, he says. “It’s a mixed
the control of the management.
John van Bergen
believes the success of businesses is often –
For things to change, he says, banks need to play their part. “They are not delivering at the moment, as most
picture with the best places still doing well. Pubs
ventures seem too risky and therefore fall outside
in particular are faring badly unless they
He explained: “Farming is very much at the mercy
their acceptance criteria. This lack of confidence
are doing good food.”
of world commodity prices and currency
stifles spending and makes price the prime driver
fluctuations these days. They have a huge impact
in the decision-making process,” he added.
on the industry’s viability.
“Standing still in the current climate, for any
“To farm well is not always good enough. Selling
business, is a good result.”
wheat and purchasing fertiliser at the right time can have a bigger impact on the farm profitability
Despite his concerns, Tim welcomes recent
than striving for higher crop yields. And because of
Government moves. “It’s good to see the new
global droughts, the price of wheat has increased
Government rising to the challenge of managing
from around £95 a year ago to £150 today.”
the country’s debt. They have no choice and I But one man’s meat is another’s poison.
admire them for facing up to responsibility David Barker
without sugar-coating our position.”
“Livestock farmers that rely upon wheat and
Statistics bear this out. Earlier this year the British
other cereals for their main feed supply will have
David Barker, who farms 1,250 acres at
Beer and Pub Association reported nearly 40 pub
a difficult time,” he added.
Westhorpe and Great Ashfield, is a partner in an
closures a week, although that figure was slightly
environmentally-aware, award-winning business,
lower than in 2009.
Paul Milsom believes that the county’s farming heritage plays an important part in its economy
EJ Barker and Sons. He echoes Tim’s assessment. “Generally the industry has done better in this
now and for the future. “Agriculture is a key
“There is not much more that the Government
recession than the last, because dining out is
component of our economy and it has done
can do other than follow the present policy. We
now part of people’s lifestyle and not just a
reasonably well, so that has helped all the
do not want high interest rates or rampant
luxury,” he added.
to have the country steeped in the debt left by
He sees a difficult year ahead despite his plans to
David added: “Increased prices will help the local
the last Government,” he said.
peg prices. He said: “The region depends on the
economy because farmers will invest in newer
inflation and it is not fair on the next generation
public purse less than other areas, but at the
machines and repairs to existing machinery, as
John van Bergen, managing director of Cory
same time if disposable incomes fall then our
well as farm buildings. This should reflect in the
Brothers, a worldwide ship-related services
business will naturally be more difficult.”
2011 Suffolk Show. Farmers will attend with a
view to investing and absorbing new ideas from the large number of agricultural stands that take space at the show.” Despite an overall positive assessment of the future, few of our spokespersons could say with confidence what the future holds. Tim Ryan, like others, is looking to Government to create the conditions that will enable business to rise to the employment challenge. He summed up his strategy and cautious optimism. “The challenge of working well in such an environment is in controlling costs, managing debt and investing in sales and development,” he said. “Most good businesses in our sector are already doing that. So when the economy recovers and banks release money again we can hit the ground running.” So, Government has thrown down the gauntlet. The IoD believes it is possible. According to its experts: “We cannot predict that growth over the next few years will be the same as in the nineties, nor can we say exactly which sectors will provide the jobs. IoD members, however, think the private sector is capable of creating the employment and they are supported by the hard data we have.” The Government has undoubtedly set a brisk pace with new initiatives, which have been broadly welcomed by local business. However, the efficacy of these is yet to be seen. As part of the South East – the UK’s economic power house – much is expected of businesses here in Suffolk. Whether they can keep pace with the rate of change, rise to the challenge, take advantage of new opportunities and make the contribution demanded of them, only time will tell.
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spirit of success
pirit Yachts recently won ‘Best Sail Boat’ at a boat show… that’s good I hear you say, but when you find out it’s the third largest boat show in the USA – the 40th Newport International Boat Show 2010 to be precise – you’ll probably change that to WOW! In a worldwide economic slump this is a remarkable achievement for a UK business – Sean McMillan is the MD, yacht designer and businessman… we caught up with him to find out more about his success. Sean McMillan says he is often asked how Spirit Yachts has been affected by the recession. He says: “At Spirit Yachts we were
fortunate in having a good long order book
Such an example was at the recent prestigious
Kent childhood where his mother and aunt
before the world economy began to be hit
Antigua Classics, where the 100-foot Spirit
were part of one of the first all-girl dinghy
and this saw us through a period that was
Yacht ‘GAIA’, the largest built by the team,
crews in the 1950s. “I was thrown into it. I
certainly tough for some. We were able to
secured an impressive third place in her first
learnt to sail before I can remember learning
retain our highly-talented workforce and
ever race, proving her ability beyond doubt.
to sail.” In his teens he made the transition to
indeed are now recruiting more boat builders
While building boats from wood may seem a
crewing on bigger boats and later became
and engineers to handle the increased
rather old-fashioned approach in a world of
enthused with the idea of building a boat he
workload. At the same time we have
carbon-fibre and glass-reinforced plastic, Sean
could live and travel on. In a former canal yard
continued to further enhance both
quickly makes a strong case for the natural
in Uxbridge, Sean set about constructing a 48-
specifications and build quality…
material. “We’re not making traditional
foot yawl. “It became my home for eight years
replicas of wooden boats, but using multi-
and took me all over Europe.”
laminate technology to produce very lightweight hulls, which gives our boats the
Spirit Yachts started building yachts some 18
reputation for being very quick. Weight is
years ago and now the company is going
crucial for racing success. They are lighter than
from strength to strength in its waterside
glass and about on a par with carbon-fibre.
setting at the Ipswich Haven Marina, winning
Cost, and environmental considerations are
the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2008,
other plus factors for the material. Wood
being selected as James Bond’s yacht of
comes from a renewable resource, certified by
choice in the biggest-grossing 007 film
the Forestry Stewardship Council, while carbon
‘Casino Royale’ – it has placed Spirit Yachts as
is very expensive, rather unpleasant to use and
one of the world’s leading design and build
yards for modern classic yachts.
…2010 has brought more orders for new Spirits than any previous years, most but by
“Then, of course, there’s the unassailable
no means all being for various versions of our
beauty of Spirits material of choice. We use
new Deckhouse range. Whilst we would
traceable and valuable timbers from around
never dream of being complacent, we cannot
the world: cedar, teak and mahogany. We also
help but feel fundamentally bullish about the
believe that just because we’re building
long-term future of this company, of which
modern boats, they don’t have to be fat,
we remain inordinately proud.”
white and ugly. At boat shows, when you have wooden boats in a sea of plastic, you
Leaning on the railings at Ipswich Haven
will see people stroking them. It’s entirely
Marina, looking down onto one of his
subconscious, but there’s something deep in
lovingly- crafted wooden yachts being buffed
our souls that relates to wood. I’ve never seen
and polished in the sunshine, it’s difficult to
anyone stroke a fibreglass boat."
argue when boat-builder Sean McMillan says:
For Sean, however, it is the thrill of producing world-class wooden yachts that, in Spirits
"I’ve got the best job in the world - I love it."
Of course, such creations don’t come cheap,
18th year with the 50th yacht in build,
and the cost varies between hundreds of
continues to float his boat. And sailing them
As designer and managing director of
thousands to upwards of £5 million. Who,
is an equal pleasure. “It’s an extraordinary
Ipswich’s Spirit Yachts, Sean and his team
then, is buying these floating works of art?
sport – it’s the least efficient, most expensive,
build stunning wooden boats that combine an
They’re always very experienced sailors who
sometimes the most unpleasant way of
irresistible elegance with state-of-the-art
are looking for something special, fast and
getting from A to B ever devised by man. But
technology. Much more than mere vessels,
very beautiful. Inevitably, they are very wealthy
when the weather is right, and the wind is
Sean rightly talks about his yachts as works of
as these boats are extremely expensive to buy
sending you hurtling along in one of these
art. These boats are pieces of sculpture, but
and then run.
boats that you wear like a second skin, there’s
pieces of sculpture that have to function, sometimes in very difficult circumstances.
nothing like it.” Again, it’s difficult to disagree Sean’s own love of sailing stems back to his
with the man.
Images used in this article ÂŠ Spirit Yachts 2010. All Rights Reserved.
using air-conditioning all year round
sing your air-conditioning in the winter months has many benefits. It removes moisture from the air which aids visibility by preventing windows misting up.
system and damage to the components. To prevent this, Lindacre recommends that you have your system checked periodically. At Lindacre our full air conditioning service includes: Re-charging the system with gas;
By controlling the relative humidity in the vehicle
checking for leaks by injecting a special dye into
you can enjoy warmth without being stuffy.
the system; disinfecting the system to neutralise
This cleaner, fresher air will enhance driver
odours. Lindacre has recently invested thousands
awareness and help prevent drowsiness, making
of pounds in a state-of-the-art air-conditioning
It is worth remembering that a service will
for safer journeys.
service system which is totally environmentally-
prolong the quality and life of your system â€“ so
friendly and to comply with recent legislation it is
whether you are cooling in the summer or
certified in F-Gas handling.
heating in the winter, treat your vehicle to a
So it is vitally important that you keep your airconditioning in good order. The rubber seals in
Lindacre air-conditioning service.
your air-conditioning system dry out after a
It is capable of pressure-testing the vehicle
period of inactivity and the gas in the system
system, using oxygen-free nitrogen, ensuring that
Telephone Sally or Gary on 01473 461751 for
can leak out. This can lead to failure of the
no refrigerant gases escape into the atmosphere.
more details and competitive prices.
the thinking behind conference staging
here is an awful lot to think about when organising a conference or a seminar but all the hard work to make it a perfect event could go to waste if you fail to engage fully with your delegates.
may mean your presentation is excluding a large
There’s no question that with all the marketing
Anyone who has undertaken a VAK learning
efforts and the time it takes to pull in attendees
style test will know that they fall into one of three
and heighten the satisfaction of your delegates.
proportion of your audience. AV Unit’s tips for audience engagement: It’s a fact that some people prefer just to listen to the presenter speak and yet other people like to have visual prompts or interact and get involved.
• Use all three modes in any presentation; visual, auditory and kinaesthetic • Use slides to support the key messages with strong images and photographs
to an event that you want them to leave as
categories of learning, either visual, auditory or
satisfied as possible, and that’s particularly
kinaesthetic or more simply put, seeing and
pertinent if they’ve paid to attend – your
reading, listening and speaking or touching and
reputation could depend on it.
It’s true that a memorable experience can be
As a general rule, the population is split into
key points and break up the delivery of the
achieved through selecting the correct venue,
thirds in respect of learning styles, so it’s probably
• Limit the use of text on slides and avoid lists of bulleted text • Use video film and animation to highlight
providing great food, having an excellent speaker
fair to suggest that if you adopt only one style,
and presenting your audience with spectacular
around two thirds of your audience will benefit a
staging, outstanding lighting and impressive
lot less from your presentation.
punctuate your verbal messages. Not the other way around
screens. They’re all important but that approach alone can be somewhat shallow if the majority of
In providing event support, AV Unit’s role is to
your delegates leave remembering little else and
ensure that an event delivers and so considers it
the key messages are missed.
absolutely vital to begin at the centre of what is
If that is the case, has your event delivered
• Use visual aid to support and
• Involve the audience by asking questions, seeking
most important – the objective for the event and
feedback or participating in
the messages to be communicated.
on its promise? When working with clients on the principle of the
• Ensure the lighting and
However you dress it up, the information that’s
three learning styles, AV Unit can help develop a
viewing of the presenter is
being imparted at an event is the most important
presentation with various layers to help enhance
correct so that body language
reason for attending and indeed running the
the audience’s overall experience.
and facial expressions can be read
event in the first place, whether that information is a sales message or training instruction, and yet
By introducing balanced and strategically-placed
this element is often overlooked.
soundtracks and videos, opening up for
The mistake that is repeatedly made is assuming
electronic voting handsets, for instance, you can
communication is clear and
that the method of delivery of information being
begin to make a presentation or lecture engage
the audience don’t have to
used is the most engaging and therefore
the whole audience and create a much richer
memorable for everyone. Or in many cases, the
learning experience. Using a mixture of
many different methods of delivery aren't
techniques throughout your presentations will
considered. As human beings we all absorb and
resonate with people of varying learning styles
Tel: 0845 678 0390
and will help add that final level to your events
discussion and encouraging interactivity through
retain information in different ways. Ignoring this
• Use quality vocal sound reinforcement so auditory
ith reality TV shows such as The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den a permanent fixture on our screens, how is this affecting people’s perceptions of the world of business? Do these shows give a taste of reality or are they just entertainment? Reality TV shows focusing on the nature of business are not exactly a modern phenomenon. In the 1990s, Sir John Harvey Jones, who was chairman of ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries) and voted industrialist of the year in 1988, became well-known for Troubleshooter, a programme that involved him giving advice to businesses across the country. In the past 10 years or so, reality TV shows have exploded in popularity and now reach all corners of the globe. Although no doubt gaining high viewing figures, business-based shows such as Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice have come under fire for being unrepresentative and giving airtime to people who simply want to be famous.
with regret, you’re fired…
Indeed, many people admit they watch such programmes because most of the candidates seem to have very little business sense. Of course, it can be said they are featured for this very reason: put simply, their failings and floundering make good TV. These days it seems everyone can be a celebrity. Lord Sugar, Duncan Bannatyne and other famous entrepreneurs are much betterknown for their appearance on these shows than their day-jobs. Personalities increase popularity and thus, businessmen and women in the media have grown into caricatures, having a brutal, merciless and power-hungry image. Take Lord Sugar for example. His most famous phrase is: “You’re fired” – not something a real manager would want to say as often as once a week.
Although sometimes seen as farcical or
situations. In the real world, however, no one
virtues of apprenticeships and match
satirical fiction, do these shows tell viewers
excels at everything.”
employers with the right apprentices.
anything about how real businesses work? Many understand that the X Factor is not the
So, although not entirely accurate, are these
way most artists go about trying to secure a
programmes doing businesses any good?
record deal, but do they appreciate that the
Perhaps surprisingly, many believe the
same goes for businesses, too?
answer is yes.
The ‘journey’ involved in real apprenticeships
The key to succeeding well in business is
and business-pitching is very different from
essentially a mix between working hard and
that portrayed on Dragons’ Den and The
being extremely competent. While this is not
Apprentice. Real entrepreneurs do not enter a
perhaps the main message in entertaining shows such as those mentioned, they do promote motivation, creativity and forwardthinking to the masses. Famous faces such as Jamie Oliver have also The Home Learning College survey showed
helped. His apprentice-chef scheme, named
that 21pc of viewers feel more ambitious
Fifteen after his famous restaurant, has taken
when watching The Apprentice. One third
on a considerable number of Neets (Not in
also said that watching The Apprentice
education, employment or training) since it
makes them feel better about their current
began, helping shape their lives for the better.
job and colleagues – not surprising when
In 2002, the first group of young trainees
you see the arguments exploding on some
were filmed for a TV series and since then the
of these shows.
scheme has gone from strength to strength. Showing the value of such apprenticeships,
Last year, Alan Sugar spoke out against what
not only to the individual but to the employer,
‘dragons’ den’ with only a two-minute pitch
he thought was a ‘scandalous neglect’ of
has helped demonstrate to other businesses
to deliver to investors who are sitting in front
apprenticeships. This year, however, the
how they can invest in their future workforce.
of cameras, preparing to make or break
number of apprenticeships and companies
dreams with their “I’m in” or “I’m out” (or
offering these training schemes has increased
Essentially then, while we have to remember
“oot” in Duncan Bannatyne's case). Indeed,
considerably, perhaps as a result of the
these TV shows are there to provide
what these shows do not always show is the
popularity of these shows. In the
entertainment and to make money, they also
hard graft and research that has to go into a
comprehensive spending review this year the
act as a walking, talking advert for motivation.
successful pitch. Nor do they always show the
Government pledged that this increase would
Women all over the country will be pleased to
work that goes into the process after money
be maintained and has upped spending on
see a strong and successful female sitting next
has been invested; they simply screen the
apprenticeships schemes, promising that up to
to Alan Sugar week after week in the
most entertaining snippets.
75,000 extra people will be able to get on-
boardroom during The Apprentice, and the
success of all these characters shows what we
Commenting on results of a survey that
can potentially achieve, even if not in such
found that 42 per cent of the 3,000 working
With university fees set to rise dramatically
adults asked wouldn’t want to work with the
under the coalition government more and
candidates on The Apprentice, Dave Snow,
more people are turning to apprenticeships
It seems that although popular culture may
academic director at the Home Learning
and this is particularly true in Suffolk. Local
not help the audience understand the exact
College, said: “Watching The Apprentice can
companies have reported increases of seven
nature of business, it does encourage more
give the impression that the best way to
per cent or more in the number of young
people to discover the nature of business for
progress in business is to shout louder and
people wanting to undertake apprenticeships
themselves. This alone must be a positive and
be pushier than anyone else. In reality, there
and there seems to be a growing focus on
almost makes watching the catfights on The
are far better ways to get noticed in the
helping people into work. Services such as
workplace …The show is designed to test a
free apprenticeship-listing services (available
wide range of skills, albeit in often unrealistic
to Suffolk employers) can help promote the
IoD member benefits
Suffolk members to benefit from even more…
Creative thinker - Dr David Hall speaking at this year’s IoD Suffolk Annual Conference
hether you have been taking advantage of IoD benefits or not, the Suffolk committee has been working hard to introduce additional perks for members to enjoy.
audiences and customers, which has obvious
opportunities, the IoD Visa Gold Card, IoD
benefits in a period where stand-out is vital.
Chairman’s lunches, health and fitness
It has also been decided that members will be
discounts as well as office resources.
Following the success of this year’s annual
“A number of our events are over-subscribed.
benefits extend well beyond the office to
conference and in particular the interest shown
We feel that it is important that non-members
your personal life as well. Tracy Hendron,
in the Creativity Club techniques explained by
are made welcome as this broadens the
director of Hendron Wood, said: "IoD
our keynote speaker Dr David Hall, we have
networking opportunities, but we thought it
membership isn't something I've considered
decided to run a series of Creativity Club
only right that our members should receive the
before now as I hadn't realised the extent of
sessions. These will run in parallel to our usual
first option to reserve their places.”
member benefits and how that might add value
given priority booking on all of the events within our usual programme. As IoD Suffolk
The reason this benefits package works so
Chairman, Paul Winter explains:
well is because it can be adapted to your business no matter what the size and the
programme of events and will be strictly available to members only. The Creativity Clubs will help you gather
to my recruitment business. These new creativity The IoD website fully details all the benefits of
clubs would be ideal for my team and I'm going
membership but you may not realise you can
to take a closer look."
take advantage of entitlements designed
techniques for generating ideas which are both
especially for directors, such as travel, personal
For more details on Suffolk IoD membership
novel and useful and will at the same time
indemnity insurance, loans, corporate finance,
and the new benefits please contact
energise your team. The way the various
business news, exclusive network opportunities,
Caroline Kearney on 07917 699 498
methods are structured often results in
the LinkedIn IoD forum, specialist business
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
producing a fresh approach in how you take
advice and support, free listings for your
The Suffolk IoD can be found at
your products and services to your key
business, Pall Mall meeting rooms, promotion
Bruizer provides film resources for London 201 2
he London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games offer a wealth of opportunities for businesses, large and small, across the whole of the UK.
opportunities for London 2012 and provides
policies in place which proved extremely
access to business-support services.
beneficial when it came to registering on
Tim Wright, director at Bruizer, said: ‘'It's very
us to respond to relevant contract
CompeteFor. This has subsequently allowed rewarding to be involved with such an exciting
opportunities that we would not have
project. It's been a pleasure to be able to
had access to otherwise.
One company that is benefiting is Bruizer Ltd
document the progress of young athletes for
from Suffolk, which won two contracts, putting
the Get Set films, but also to see how excited
“The contracts have been hugely advantageous
it on the roster to provide film resources for
and motivated young people around the
to us and we feel that we will benefit
LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the
country are about the Games, especially on the
significantly from our work for the Games. They
Olympic and Paralympic Games), including the
Young Leaders programme, which is supported
have been vital in providing future security for
Get Set Education programme. Bruizer employs
by BP and is designed to give a group of
the organisation and if the opportunities
eight full-time staff and has a turnover of
disadvantaged young people the chance to
continue to grow we may need to employ
make a positive change to their lives.
more staff to improve our capacity.
The contract was posted on the CompeteFor
“We found the registration process for
“I’d recommend CompeteFor to businesses
system, a brokerage service between buyers
CompeteFor very straightforward. As a
whatever their field of expertise. There are still a
and potential suppliers. CompeteFor offers
company, we have always been vigilant in
lot of opportunities appearing on the system
businesses the chance to find out about
ensuring that we have up-to-date and effective
and many more contracts to be won.”
Stunning contemporary extensions
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prestigious office space meets current demand in Ipswich
ondon-based Sint Asset Management is one of the most active development companies in Ipswich, speculatively refurbishing office buildings to suit the needs of today’s occupiers.
splendour. The facade, entrance hall, large reception room and staircase all have high ceilings and original period features, while staff will be accommodated in modern and flexible open-plan space over three floors. The 18,500 sq ft (St Mary’s House 6,885 sq ft
Investment director, Neil Sint, said: “Low rents make it difficult to justify new buildings, so we target best of breed with potential. The market in Ipswich is changing with tenants recognising the need for modern space. Good natural light and generous parking are essentials, along with refurbishment to the highest standards.” St Mary’s House and St Mary’s Court, both in Museum Street, are prime examples excellent open-plan space with all the key
and St Mary’s Court 11,700 sq ft ) are available as individual buildings or together. Sint Asset Management has also just bought the
work in progress
Friars Courtyard complex of seven buildings on Princes Street in Ipswich and is refurbishing this attractive town centre site. Two bright, selfcontained, open-plan office suites offering 650 and 1,325 sq ft – with parking are now ready for occupation.
services. More than £1million has been spent on equipping these adjacent buildings with Daikin
Next up is the “old” Savills unit, which fronts
VRF air-conditioning with heat recovery,
Princes Street, one of the most prominent
passenger lifts, underfloor and perimeter
buildings in the town with an exceptional
trunking, new entrances, double glazing and 30
frontage and display windows. It provides just
plus parking spaces.
over 4,000 sq ft of office space over three floors,
work in progress
plus parking and extensive storage. “Cost-saving environmental issues were key,” he said. “We’ve used the latest WRAS approved
Elsewhere in Ipswich, Sint Asset Management
water-saving fittings, added insulation to the new
has fully let St Vincent House, turning it into a
roof and ensured every tap or toilet can be
prestigious office location. A major refurbishment
isolated. We’ve retained state-of-the-art server
is now under way creating a prestigious meeting
rooms with independent electricity, air-
room suite for occupiers and members of the
conditioning supplies and fibre optic telecoms –
St V Club.
something tenants really value.” By reconfiguring the interior, client-facing rooms in St Mary’s
Ipswich-based Penn Commercial is the letting
House have been returned to their original period
agent working alongside Sint & Co.
for a personal and proactive service
work in progress
Stimulate your senses
Dine in our boutique restaurant where Simon Barker and his team prepare modern British food sourced locally.
Wherever you sit you can enjoy the hotelâ€™s collection of contemporary paintings, sculptures and interesting nic-nacs. In summer, dine alfresco and watch the harbour from our courtyard. Book a table now and enjoy. Reserve by telephone 01473 226789.
Creative thinker - Dr David Hall speaking at this yearâ€™s IoD Suffolk Annual Conference
Seckford Hall Hotel & Restaurant
wines of interest...
gift of wine at Christmas is always a good idea, isn’t it? Well, it depends. Your gift needs to be drinkable. That might sound obvious, but every year thousands of bottles of wine given at Christmas are poor because they were bought with only cost in mind.
goes down the sink. That’s so counterproductive that it would have been better not to bother. So what do you do then? The budget has to go that much farther than last year, but the answer is actually very simple: buy fewer, but better, bottles. It works because excise duty and the fixed costs are all about the same for
We all have a budget to work to and three
dearer bottles. VAT and the profit element will
bottles for a tenner in the local supermarket
be a bit higher but the vast majority of your
may sound like a cracking deal – it’s only
increased spend will be going on the quality
£3.33 per bottle after all, but what are you
of the wine, and it will show. The sums show
actually buying? Not much wine that’s
that optimum value for money lies between
about £5 and £10 a bottle.
Even before VAT goes up to 20 per cent in
Of course, if you don’t think the people you’re
January, a huge proportion of your spend is
giving the stuff to can tell the difference you
taken up in tax. 50p is VAT and a further
can try giving them any old dross, but one day
£1.69 is Excise Duty, so £2.19 goes straight to
it will backfire. No-one will ever tell you,
Mr Osborne, leaving £1.14 for the wine, an
maybe it already has…
element of profit, shipping, the cork, bottle, label, capsule and any bond charges. Knowing
If you’d like the confidence of giving super
these costs, we reckon that bottles selling on
wines to suit your budget, why not see what
the ‘3 for £10’ ticket ought to be empty (or
we can do?
contain free juice), because there’s nothing left for the wine. Even at £4 the wine is
Wines of Interest
worth only a few pence.
46 Burlington Road,
Still sound like a good deal?
The unlucky recipient, initially grateful for the
gift, opens the first bottle to discover that
they have actually been given three bottles of
badger’s widdle, and then blames the giver. They feel they can’t palm the remaining
Ipswich’s last remaining
bottles off on someone else and the whole lot
Independent Wine Merchant
promotion not hibernation
s the cold weather has finally hit us we begin to think of the opportunities or potential threats to our businesses. Should we be cutting back or developing further? For some there will be additional opportunities over the winter months but for others their most prosperous part of the year may have already passed. Although at this time of year daylight hours are
your game all year round at a floodlit driving range. Some even have heated bays to make Stuart Robertson
the experience more comfortable, especially for ladies and juniors.
(ideally after consultation with their local golf professional), with their games of golf, so that
For the types of business who have an ‘off peak
they can start the new season with an
season’, this winter period could be the time to
improved, more consistent game.
analyse your business, to ascertain what worked
and what didn’t, areas where things can be
Head PGA Golf Professional
improved and ideas put into place for the
The Doctorgolf Academy
forthcoming season with mail-shots, advertising
Best Western Ufford Park
campaigns or specific press releases.
Hotel Golf & Spa
reduced, and assuming your local course is still
playable, the opportunity for most people to
The more competitive golfers will seek
play golf is now only at weekends. However,
opportunities to improve their game in the off
there is still the chance to practise and develop
season, by combining a detailed practice regime
Christmas & New Year at Best Western Ufford Park Venetian Open Party Nights from £38.95pp (Fri 3rd & Thurs 23rd Dec. remaining) Christmas Day Lunch £62.95pp Boxing Day Lunch £21.95pp Bed & Breakfast over the festive period from £69 per room per night Burns Night - Saturday 22nd Jan 2011 Includes a traditional 3 course meal with live music from Inertia Reel & a Piper.
Call Events on 0844 4771832 or visit www.uffordpark.co.uk Yarmouth Road, Melton, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 1QW
Gateway to Suffolk Suffolk’’s Heritage Coast...
ocal businesses get behind Suffolk’s brightest 2012 prospects.
Once adopted, the company will allow and encourage staff to raise money to help the athlete. It takes commitment, dedication and a large of amount of money for a sportsman or
‘Destination Gold’ is an innovative approach by
woman to reach the top with some talented
the Suffolk SportsAid Foundation to use the
athletes slipping through the net because of lack
excitement of the London 2012 Olympic and
of funding. An aspiring athlete spends on
Paralympic Games to raise money to support
average £5000, a year on equipment, training
some of the most talented athletes in the county.
and travelling. At the very highest levels it can be
The Suffolk SportsAid Foundation is a joint
much, much more.
initiative between Suffolk Sport, the national charity for sports people and ‘Rising to the
We asked those businesses who had already
Challenge Suffolk’, the campaign to maximise
‘adopted’ an athlete why they decided to get
the benefits for Suffolk from London 2012.
involved with ‘Destination Gold’
This exciting initiative has already grabbed
Customer Services Direct:
the imagination of five local businesses that
Adopted Helen Decker – Marathon Runner
are supporting some of Suffolk’s brightest
Sue Garbett, Customer Services Direct
“We are delighted to be associated with the
Adopted Joshua Tonner – Rowing
Destination Gold Initiative. As a company we
Vicky Le Fanu, Ufford Park
Ipswich Building Society, Adnams, Prettys
want to help our people improve their health
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to
Solicitors, Ufford Park and Customer Service
and well-being and encourage participation
support a local athlete who has the potential to
Direct (CSD) have all seized the opportunity to
in the local community. We decided to get
attend a UK-based Olympics. Joshua Tonner is a
associate themselves with a world-class athlete,
involved on the back of the Healthy
superb rower and our involvement with him and
to support them and raise money to help them
Ambitions Programme, motivating staff
his success is a great way for our business and
on their journey to 2012.
through fitness activities.”
staff to connect with the Olympic Games. We
The concept is simple, a business, and their staff
Ipswich Building Society
Destination Gold Business Supporters
are proud to support him.” officially ‘adopt’ one of the Suffolk SportsAid
Adopted Caroline Maclean –
Foundation’s aspiring athletes. “It is an ideal way
Adopted Abbie Thorrington - Triathlete and
to engage your businesses workforce in the
Paul Winter, Ipswich Building Society
Brian Allldis - Wheelchair Racer
excitement of the Games”, commented Adam
“Ipswich Building Society are heavily involved in
Emma Hibbert, Adnams
Baker, Suffolk County Council’s Project Manager
the local community and we see this as a way to
“Adnams has committed to support two of
for the London 2012 Games. He added:
leave a lasting legacy to Suffolk. Our local athlete
Suffolk’s brightest 2012 prospects - triathlete
“Destination Gold is your opportunity to be part
is Haverhill-based women's wheelchair basketball
Abbie Thorrington and wheelchair racer Brian
of a team effort, have fun whilst raising money
player Caroline Maclean. Caroline is an
Alldis. This is a fantastic project, which Adnams
and align your business to one of these
enormous inspiration both as a motivational
is proud to support. London 2012 presents
incredibly talented individuals. In return, the
speaker and on the basketball court. Our staff
many opportunities for businesses in Suffolk and
Suffolk SportsAid Foundation will provide
and the whole organisation get great enjoyment
by ‘adopting’ Abbie and Brian, Adnams will feel
companies with a fantastic motivational tool,
from following her events.”
very much involved in the run-up to the Olympic
team-building opportunities and the chance for staff to work towards a common goal.” Andy Wood, Adnams with Brian Alldis and Abbie Thorrington
and Paralympic Games.” Prettys Adopted Harry Martin – Hockey
Want to get involved?
Georgina Raymont, Prettys Solicitors
There are still a few athletes awaiting adoption!
”We are supporting Harry Martin as he’s a local hockey player and it has really enabled our staff to connect with the run-up to the Olympics themselves in 2012. Prettys have always been keen to support campaigns and initiatives to further develop local sporting talent and it’s great to be part of Harry’s future from the grass roots up!”
Interested? If you would like to get involved with ‘Destination Gold’ contact: Adam Baker, Suffolk County Council’s Project Manager for the London 2012 Games, on 01473 260821 firstname.lastname@example.org or Sonia Shelcott, Suffolk SportsAid Foundation Board Member, Millriver Publicity, on 01473 410278 or email email@example.com. Alternatively full details can be found at www.suffolksportsaid.com
business books for winter... Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
Levitt, the original rogue economist, and
Steven D. Levitt and
terrorist; are people hard-wired for altruism or
Stephen J. Dubner.
selfishness; which cancer does chemotherapy
work best for; and, why is saving the planet
2010, Allen Lane,
easier than we think. With this illustrated
edition, Levitt and Dubner bring alive their
Family firms are to be found in every sector of
unique analysis and storytelling with an
commercial activity, and their special strengths
Stephen Dubner look deeper, question harder
Family Businesses: The Essentials
and uncover even more hidden truths about
our world, from terrorism to shark attacks,
cable TV to hurricanes. They ask, among other
2007, Profile Books.
things: what's a sure-fire way to catch a
Bigger, better and more controversial, the
explosion of visual evidence to reveal the
mean that they flourish best where their
international bestselling "Freakquel" is here in a
world in a bold, new way.
advantages can be fully exploited. "Family
super-deluxe, super-illustrated edition. Steven
Seeing is believing...
Businesses: The Essentials" is a comprehensive guide to every aspect of managing a family-
Whoops!: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay
paying for it. What went wrong? And will we
but are the sort of person who finds it hard to
tell the difference between a CDO, a CDS, an
2010, Penguin Books.
MBS, and a toasted cheese sandwich, John
Lanchester has mastered the finer points of
learn our lesson - or just carry on as before, like celebrating surviving a heart attack with a packet of Rothmans? If you want to know,
We are, to use a technical economic term,
finance so you don't have to. In "Whoops!" he
screwed. The cowboy capitalists had a party
explains, in language everyone can
with everyone's money and now we're all
understand, what really happened - and what on earth we do next.
owned firm, from day-to-day issues to longterm planning for future generations. This new and completely revised version of the author's previous "Guide to the Family Business" (Kogan Page; last edition 1999) provides an accessible introduction to newcomers, and also offers knowledgeable business people fresh insight and solutions to the special problems they face. All family businesses are different, but it is critical for each to define its shared family values, vision and purpose. "Family Businesses:
100 Great CostCutting Ideas
successful business. It’s not about saving
increasing profitability. A saving in one
costs, Hawkins reminds us; it’s about
Published June 2010,
isolated area could damage service levels or
even increase costs elsewhere in the business.
The book reminds us to keep the bigger picture and the core objectives always in mind and, most importantly, to get the whole
Intelligent, highly readable, and full of sound,
organisation involved. The ideas presented
workable ideas drawn from the real
range from the simple but effective to the
experiences of companies of all shapes and
complex but potentially transformational.
sizes, 100 Great Cost-Cutting Ideas is also a
Every one of them will help you to run a more
refresher course in the essentials of running a
profitable business. What’s not to like?
The Essentials" shows how to achieve this, and how to allow each generation to reinterpret and revitalise that vision. Fresh, updated and more sharply focused, packed with real-life case studies, and drawing on the author's extensive research into thousands of family businesses, this is essential guidance for every stage of a family business development.
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mind your own business
should employees come first?
ecent research into what motivates key people to stay with their company has identified a significant gap between the views of employers and those of their employees.
So how can companies combat such debilitating low morale? They could start talking more to their workforce – and listening to them – about what they feel. And by talking, I don’t mean talking down to them. All too often corporate communication is
Bosses believed that the main reasons for
still a one-way channel with no meaningful way
people staying put were the influence of
to reverse the flow. This simply reinforces the
corporate brand and culture, plus the benefits
“management knows best” mindset among
package offered. Workers, on the other hand,
those who have their hands on the company’s
valued the level of remuneration, training and
control levers. Of course some organisations go through the motions of introducing communications
Why does this disparity not surprise me?
great talkers, but they do have to be great listeners.”
development, a good career path and flexible working conditions.
successful they will be. CEOs don’t have to be
systems that purport to make two-way dialogue a reality. Sadly, most of these are doomed to
Because, in my experience, many companies
failure because they remain hierarchically
are notoriously bad at knowing what their
weighted, with staff in the lower echelons
employees think about anything. I have lost
reluctant to say what they really think.
The proof of the pudding? HCL’s sales and operating income have tripled over four years and it now has five times the number of lucrative contracts than in 2005. Some years ago a consultant with a successful track record in implementing change projects
count of the number of times I have heard a senior manager enthusing madly about the
Many years ago there were moves to champion
latest initiative, oblivious to the fact that what
a genuinely bottom-up approach and there was
was being proposed would go down like
enough empirical evidence to suggest that this
the proverbial lead balloon among those
could be a highly potent way to liberate latent
on whom the ultimate success of the new
knowledge and talent hitherto suppressed by
the stultifying structure of the organisation.
across disparate disciplines in large organisations advised me that the most valuable act any manager could perform before trying to persuade staff to do anything differently was first to put him or herself firmly in the other individual’s shoes (trying as much as possible to imagine truthfully what the world
The fear of being thrown out of work –
Such freer thinking is not always popular with
especially prevalent these days – means that
those in supervisory roles who do not take
many workers are increasingly compliant and
kindly to any perceived threat to their authority.
must really look like from their perspective) and then ask: What’s in this for me? All managers should try this some time. I
afraid to be seen to be rocking the boat. That does not mean, however, they are happy with
More recently, Vineet Nayar, chief executive of
HCL, India’s largest IT services company, has revived the concept of reverse accountability in
Interestingly, another survey conducted at the
his paradoxically-titled book Employees First,
same time found that the UK’s workforce was
guarantee they will be amazed at how, on reflection, their precious plans – a product of their own very personal paradigms – will often not seem quite so universally compelling. It may seem like an uncomfortable option to
the second most dissatisfied in Europe – topped only by the Irish. It found that 47 per cent of
Nayar observes: “My view is that CEOs in the
employees in this country said they intended to
traditional sense are fast becoming irrelevant,
look for a new job by the end of the year.
and the sooner they realise that, the more
contemplate, but it could pay dividends in the long run. G C Armstrong
introducing the IoD committee
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