Category Archives: Professional Development

Top 5 – Keys to Effective Business Writing

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This weeks Top 5 – Keys to Effective Business Writing

  1. Know the basics
  2. Be clear and concise
  3. Know your writing structure
  4. Choose the Best Medium for the Message
  5. Be creative

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Filed under Business Writing, Corporate Training, Human Resources, Leadership, People Management, Positive Psychology, Professional Development, Uncategorized

TOP 5 – To Increasing Your Financial Literacy

FinanceMeasuring the financial success and viability of a business is not just the role of the Finance Department, in fact the most successful organisations make it part of each departments overall responsibilities.

You do not need a degree in accounting to help count the ‘beans’ and help steer your business to financial success.

Below are 5 examples of common business units within an organisation and some top tips on how they can measure their financial health.

1. Revenue
Revenue, also known as your ‘top line’ is simply a reflection of your sales. Most organisations measure this in dollars but you could also measure it in any unit of measure that is relevant to your business.  Eg Kilos sold, hours billed or cartons sold. Most organisations measure revenue performance as a percent increase or decrease on the previous year.

Departments that this would be most relevant to are the Sales and marketing teams of a business.

2. Costs of Goods Sold (COGS)
Refer to the raw material costs a business incurs to make its products.
For example the cost of stock in a bottle shop, the cost of wood for a furniture maker or the costs of parts to build a car.  It is often calculated by measuring opening and closing stock positions measured via stock takes.   It can be expressed by the formula; Beginning Inventory + Inventory Purchases – End Inventory = Cost of Goods Sold

Departments that have the greatest influence over this financial measure are the procurement and operational teams.

3. Gross Margin
Gross Margin = Sales Revenue – Costs of Goods Sold.  It is a measure of how much a business gets to keep from every sale made. The aim is to maximise the sale price whilst minimising the input prices.

This measure is key to the sales and operations teams.

4. Cost of Doing Business
This refers to all the expenses it costs a business to make and sell it’s goods and or services. A business needs to focus on keeping each cost line as low as possible to maximise margin.  Some examples of cost lines include, rent, wages, utilities, insurance etc.

This measure is key to the operations and support departments of the business as they have the greatest ability to influence this area of finance.

5. Net Profit or EBIT
EBIT or Earnings before interest and taxes is the net profit or loss of an organisation.

EBIT can be expressed as EBIT = Revenue – Operating expenses (OPEX) + Non-operating income.

EBIT is all profits before taking into account interest payments and taxes.  Some organisations use EBITDA which is earnings before interest and tax minus depreciation and amortisation of assets. In simple terms EBITDA is the end result of an organisations financial profitability.

This financial measure is the responsibility of each department as they all contribute to the EBIT or EBITDA.

The bottom line is often the most important driver in any organisation and managers in all areas of an organisation need to make effective decisions to maximise equity. Happening People offer a very successful program “Finance for Non-Finance Managers” This program will provide participants with the knowledge, skills and confidence to be financially literate. For more information click here or contact us on 1800 68 67 69 or www.happeningpeople.com

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Filed under Corporate Training, Finance, Leadership, Professional Development

Top 5 – Motivating Others

followIn today’s highly competitive world, a highly motivated team is vital for any business seeking to be number one.  Therefore it is a critical skill for managers and business leaders to be able to motivate others.

There is a long standing debate that begs the question ‘Do managers actually motivate their staff or are the staff motivated by the environment they are in?

It is more likely the latter, an effective manager and leader has the tools to create and impact the environment of the workplace to ensure it is a positive and sustainable one.

This week’s Top 5 looks at some of the best ways managers can motivate their staff.

1.  Give people responsibility
More than they think they deserve and as much as they are capable of handling. This will empower them assuming they are already motivated. Demonstrating your belief in them will boost their confidence and their beliefs about themselves.

2. Make them feel they matter.
Here are some ways you can instantly make the members of your team feel they matter. Take time for one on ones, use active listening, help them champion causes they believe in and provide feedback, support their career ambitions and ask them ‘what is it that I do that stops you from doing your job?’

3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Knowledge is power and power is motivating. You can never communicate too much but be careful on what and how you deliver the message to avoid  information fatigue. The optimum approach to delivering information is to remember that everyone  should know everything about the business that concerns them.  Ask your staff what they would like to know about and provide them with this information promptly.

4. Treat people with kindness and respect
There is an old adage that says ‘do unto others as you would be done by’. In other words treat people the way you would like to be treated. Demonstrate trust in your team and they will show you trust in return.  There are simple things you can do like ensure ensuring you handle personal problems in a sympathetic yet positive manner. Ensuring your teams salaries and benefits are looked after and paid promptly.

5. Find out what motivates them individually.
No two people are the same; some might like to head home to see family early on a Friday.
Others might like team drinks night once a month. The ability of a manager to recognise what motivates each individual is a contributing factor to the overall teams’ success.  As a manager you need to be aware of what these ‘motivational forces’ are.  Theorist Abraham Maslow grouped them into five areas. 1. Physiological needs (food clothing shelter etc), 2. Safety Needs (a sense of security), 3. Social Needs (interaction with other people; having friends), Esteem Needs (being well regarded and having the appreciation of others) and Self Actualisation (realising individual potential).

Motivating others through affecting the environment takes time and skill.  As a manager these skills can be gained or developed by attending our highly successful and sort after Happening People Leadership Academy.  Start the year with a real boost and develop a highly motivated work force.  We are looking forward to your call! 1800 68 67 69 or find out more by visiting http://www.HappeningPeople.com

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Filed under People Management, Positive Psychology, Professional Development

Top 5 – Boosting the Effectiveness of Your Team Meetings

istock_Boardroom Image_Board of SecretsYour team meetings are they entertaining yet redundant? Boring yet effective or something else entirely?

In a recent social media survey conducted by Happening People 58% of respondents felt their team meetings were boring and only 42% of respondents felt their meetings were fun and effective.

When you consider how much money it costs an organisation to run a meeting are you really getting your money’s worth? A simple exercise is to work out the basic cost of a team meeting by working out the hourly rate of each individual present at the meeting and adding up the hours. You may need to factor in the ‘hire’ of the room, the Telco equipment costs and the revenue lost (i.e. no sales calls that hour).  Some companies have found that by doing this simple exercise they are able to keep the meeting effective, on topic and on time as the cost of the meeting is too great not to get solid actions from the meeting.

Happening People have more great ideas to boost the effectiveness of your team meeting in our Top 5 To Boosting the Effectiveness of Your Team Meetings. We would love to hear your feedback and what you or your organisation has implemented in the comments area below.

1. Consider the Time Frame
A team meeting needs to run as often as it is effective to do so.  As a manager you will need to work out what is appropriate. Whether the meeting has been running for years weeks, or is yet to commence it is important that the timing reflects the work that needs doing.  For example if you are running a call centre or sales team  where the work and responsibilities are fairly consistent then you only want to run the meeting for one hour  fortnightly or monthly. However if there is daily scheduling of tasks that need to occur like in a hospital or  you are managing a group of trades people who travel from job to job you may want a  twenty minute meeting each morning.

2. Rev up the Fun Factor
Nowhere is it written down that team meetings need to be boring or that your team needs to dread the idea of the team meeting approaching. Here are some ideas to inject some interest into the meeting. Organise someone to bring a ‘treat’ each meeting. Play word ‘bingo’, “fidget boxes” aka little bins one each table of Koosh balls, squishes or the like for team members to play with when they are feeling antsy. Another idea is to remove the chairs and make everyone stand – meeting will end sooner! Guaranteed! Or finally how about at your next meeting you go around the table and get each person to sum up their day, mood, week or weekend in one to three words.

3. Be Organised
A timely, well organised meeting that has a structure and consistency will always be more effective than one that doesn’t. Make sure you or whomever you have delegated sends out the agenda as well as the minutes of the previous meeting.  Make sure the minutes are prepared well in advance of the next meeting to allow stakeholders and participants time to review.  There are a lot of templates available on line to help structure the minutes.

4. Reduce Interruptions and Tardiness
The best way to reduce interruptions (some of them unavoidable) is to set ground rules.  Do not assume that everyone has the same ambitions or respect for the team meeting as you do.  You may need to reiterate these ground rules at the start of every meeting or make it clear on the each agenda set out what the ground rules are.  Some ideas for these rules might be;
-All mobile & electronic devices off or on silent during the meeting
-If a call does need to be taken advise the Chair prior to the start of the meeting
-Take such calls outside the meeting room
-If you cannot attend the meeting advise the Chair prior to the meeting, send your apologies and a replacement if required
-During the meeting all agenda items will have at least one action point and owner against them at the conclusion of the meeting.

5. Engage Participants
When you are able to engage participants then you are more likely to have an effective meeting.  Get participants involved; help them ‘own’ the meeting and its outcomes by doing some or all of the following;

-Rotate the Chair person and the Minute taker
-Keep participants accountable to the tasks they need to deliver on
-Ask one person each meeting to give a two minute presentation on a particular industry hot topic
-Have a person prepare and tidy the room prior to and at the end of the meeting.

There are many ways to conduct a meeting that ensures effective results.  Happening People have worked with many organisations to boost the effectiveness of Team Meetings through our Leadership Academy.  If you would like more information, feel free to call 1800 68 67 69 or contact us at http://www.happeningpeople.com

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Filed under Corporate Training, People Management, Professional Development, Team Meetings, Time Management