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1
WE are always right? Or keep questioning our old ways of thinking?
2
5 Key Social Media Policies
3
Are high-end businesses any different from budget-goods businesses?
4
Work out your divorce before you get married!
5
Managing People? Learn about 3 skills

WE are always right? Or keep questioning our old ways of thinking?

For a brief moment women wearing burqas and niqabs were banned from sitting in the Australian Parliament’s public galleries. This was later changed as long as they revealed their faces for identification at security checkpoints.

In a show of protest three men wearing a Ku Klux Klan uniform, a motorcycle crash helmet and a niqab tried to enter the Parliament building. They were met by security outside who told them that the helmet and the KKK hat were not allowed inside whereas the person wearing the niqab would have to reveal their face but could then put the veil back on.

There followed a (mild) furore on social media about inequality and the overblown political correctness. People rallied around the cry that “we” shouldn’t bow to the powerful minority as “we” had our own standards.

However the social media commentators seem to have missed various points:-

1. They themselves had probably lived or visited overseas where local law meant that drug possession was punishable by death, that you couldn’t chew gum on the streets, that many other things we did not agree with was law, and we protested that “they” the majority should listen to “us”;

2. They recognised “our” team’s views and believed they were right but they did not recognise the “other” team’s views could possibly be right;

3. The burqa, hijab and niqab, along with saffron robes, and nuns’ habits are part of a particular religion’s accepted dress;

4. The KKK uniform is a recognisable uniform of hate and racism; and

5. A motorcycle crash helmet is a – hello – HELMET!

But what does this have to do with business?
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5 Key Social Media Policies

Social media is now huge part of everyday life. Social media can be used as a positive tool in the branding of your organisation or it could become the bane of your organisation’s credibility. It’s not only a Facebook page to share food photos with old school friends and post emoticons.

Even though they may have a social media advertising strategy, some organisations ban it internally, not allowing staff to access social media during work hours, even to the extent of blocking it on the organisation’s IT systems. Why not embrace it, show your staff trust and give them responsibility to use social media responsibly?

Why not create and use a corporate social media policy? What should this policy include to ensure that people are using social media responsibly? Here are the 5 key items to include.
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Are high-end businesses any different from budget-goods businesses?

A friend of mine is an artist. She and her husband, another artist, operate a gallery where they sell their paintings and run art classes.

She asked me recently if I could help them look at new ways of doing things as finding new business was as hard as ever.

I don’t know much about how good quality art galleries work, except that artists value their work because of the effort and the pain of creativity put into their creations. An artist does not paint a painting in one or two weeks. Ask any artist and they will say that each painting took a lifetime, because it was a lifetime of experience and emotion that went into each painting.

So that means they sell high-end value goods.

However I do know that selling high-end works of art is nevertheless a retail business, and retail is hurting at the moment, whether it is a high-end store or the local $2 budget store. People are more careful with their money, they look for bargains, they haggle, and if they can, they buy online. At the same time, costs are rising – from shop rents to wages for staff, and, as the cost of the shopping basket rises, the owner has to make more profit to afford their own shopping basket.
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Work out your divorce before you get married!

As a business advisor, I have advised my fair share of start up businesses where the owners have been friends or colleagues starting as co-owners. I have also sat through many a business dispute between these people who started off as friends, colleagues, and co-owners!

You will be well familiar with the much touted statistics of the large proportion of start up businesses that fail. Yet even businesses that succeed may eventually (and more often than you think) have a falling out between co-owners.

It is predictable that when you are at the beginning of an exciting idea you think it will last forever. Yet, it is also predictable that circumstances will change and the business is unlikely to stay the same. The business may ebb and flow and different people may have different risk tolerances for that ebb and flow. Opportunities may arise and different people may view those opportunities very differently depending on their own priorities.

If nothing else, relationships change with time, emotions change with time, energy levels change with time. Profits and growing wealth (or the opposite!) raise questions never asked at the start of the relationship.

So, when asked what is the single most important structural thing to consider when two or more people start a business together, I don’t say type of entity or share values, I say “write up your divorce papers before you get married!”
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Managing People? Learn about 3 skills

Yes, we have read about “Leadership” and how that is different from “Management”. Yes, we are well aware that moving a large group of people towards common goals require vision and the ability to translate that vision to the employees. Yes, we are clear about how productive a vibrant and self-motivated workforce can be.

But wait, what if we are talking about managing rather than leading (some of us remain “managers” of people after all). What if we are talking about managing the work of individuals? After all you can’t “lead” 50 individuals individually.

What do you have to do?

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