Mike Beckett is caring for business and taking no liberties…

Pragmatic, productive and proactive

Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

Mission critical: Events, risk assessments and business fluidity

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Coping with reality means dealing with things which were unexpected at the time or when we are distracted by what seems important at the time. This is true of all staff team members from customer service, sales, technicians and those in the Boardroom. Identifying what is truly important and Mission critical, without it you can’t do what you set out to do, it is so vital.

Change is inevitable although how we handle it is within our control. Generally people approach this with a mixture of principles and rules, although most people have a preference for one or other as their base approach. Rules turn into tick box methodology and often have a by rote response by regular and  staff which means they are only looking for what they normally look for, which generally leads to tightly process managed activity and efficiency when everything functions as it should. The principles approach is somewhat looser it encourages more initiative and innovation. As it is values driven this helps staff to make the ‘right’ decision in a responsive manner rather than wait for someone else to notice and sort it out.

Vigilance is important  and to deal with issues such as customers theft or missing “borrowed stock”. Often this is not staffs first consideration especially if they do not have a specific responsibility for it or through restructure business process no longer provide adequate checks and business processes are not robustly monitored. Sometimes staff can take advantage of the systems for example in banking Mr Nick Leeson or more recently Mr Kweku Adoboli unauthorised trading led to a $2bn (£1.3bn) loss for UBS. These events not only affect operation profitability but share prices, in the second example UBS shares closed 11% lower on Thursday 15th September 2011 after they announced the rogue trades were being investigated.

Ongoing evaluation of organisational risk
The risk management cycle

Solutions after the event are less helpful than prevention, but how do we prevent this from happening?

The answer is preparation by robust risk assessments looking at what may go wrong and what the likely impact of such an event are. To do this effectively you need good corporate governance and operational management able to review process, procedure and to review what is done by who, to ensure business continuity planning. Implementation to build in safeguards to enable operations to flow through at a competitive rate even if certain key personal are missing or problems occur as trading should continue if at all possible and too limit the possible damage and eliminate or minimise the opportunities for rogue people to play your systems. Vigorous risk assessments is time consuming but the consequents of not doing it are horrific, so a regular review of your monitoring regime must be incorporated into the risk management cycle, fresh sets of eyes might see what others have missed so balance continuity, with different people’s expertise applied.

As with being on a plane or a ship when choosing to spend time paying attention to putting on a Life jacket and what to do in an emergency. This is an investment of time one hopes is wasted… but this preparation will save lives and when Caring for Business through risk assessments  could save your businesses from all sorts of troubles and minimise industrial accidents and perhaps thinking about what you do will enable new ways of working to be imagined as well how to mitigate potential risks. It is mission critical that the ship of your business does not assume a RMS Titanic invulnerability, as acting as if ‘it will never happen to us’ is not good business sense!

From my perspective as a cross sector UK Business leader it is of the utmost importance that in caring for business the people at the heart of an organisation must regularly perform due diligence preparations to mitigate against unforeseen circumstances, as business must go on.

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Institute of Directors, Director of the Year awards

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Mike in Leeds

Mike Beckett on his way to the Director of the Year awards

Yesterday was a great day, attending the Institute of Directors, Director of the Year awards at the beautiful Aspire venue in Leeds on Thursday 8th of  September 2011.

It was back in 2010 that I joined the Institute of Directors, having decided to embark on their Continuing Professional Development by studying at Leeds Business School, which is part of Leeds Metropolitan University. In July 2011 the Institute of Directors notification arrived, which said that Mike Beckett was to be awarded a Certificate in Company Direction, with Distinction.

So it was a real honour for me when yesterday Barbara Colledge, the Dean of the Faculty of Business & Law presented me with the certificate. The Yorkshire and Humber Regional Director of the IoD, Kenton Robbins, introduced me to receive the award with some very kind words, saying “Cllr Michael Beckett from Caring for Business Ltd is a promising young entrepreneur of whom we are expecting great things”. On a personal note the best part for me was that my wife and parents were able to be present to witness this.

Mike and Cal at Aspire York with certificate of Company Direction just recieved

Mike Beckett's delight at receiving the Institute of Directors Certificate in Company Direction, with Distinction.

Nick Beech, the Principle Lecturer, from Leeds Business School at the Lunch told me that over the last 10 years of running the course, they have had just 7 students achieve a Distinction on this course. This reminded me of the economic principle that rarity enhances value! The IoD programme has a strategic focus on the development of high performance boards. As a cross sector leader I have found the course beneficial in improving  standards and practise in achieving KPI outcomes  and this has demonstrated to me its value as an investment of time and money.
 

The awards winners were Hayley Erner of High Flyers Business Coaching Ltd was awarded the Business Advisor of the year (sponsored by ABDN), for impressive achievements in increasing the size of client businesses.  Gareth Barker from Sheffield Forgemasters was awarded the Young Director of the Year (sponsored by Totally Exec) for leading an efficiency drive in making the business profitable. James Lambert from R&R Ice Cream received a Lifetime Achievement award  (sponsored by Grant Thornton). Kenton had earlier said that as an austerity measure there was no desert today, so James raised smiles from everyone by agreeing to provide ice cream for next years event. Peter Roberts of Pure Gym, providing no-nonsense budget gyms, received the Judges Special Award (sponsored by The Insurance Partnership). Christopher Hopkins of Ploughcroft was awarded Small & Medium Size Enterprise Director of the Year award (sponsored by The Alternative Board) for growing his business and for innovation in solar roofing technology. Christopher has also receiving support from an encounter with the Dragons Theo and Deborah from Dragon’s Den.

The finale was the award to Lawrence Tomlinson of the LNT Group which is ranked 28th in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 Companies. He was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year and followed this us with the award for overall Director of the Year 2011 (awards sponsored by Leeds Business School and Welcome to Yorkshire). Congratulations Lawrence, well done. I hope he goes on to have a Yorkshire win for us all in the National Director of the Year competition, happening later this year in London!

Welcoming our new Finance Director!

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Mike Beckett welcomes new Finance Director to Caring for Business Ltd

A.C. Stokell Beckett welcomed as Caring for Business Ltd's new Finance Director by Mike Beckett

Caring for Business Ltd works closely with other consultants as partners, working on joint projects. We take pleasure in announcing our company expansion due to increased demand for our services.

As you probably know Caring for Business Ltd works as a Business Development Contractors, we do this with a team of associates to offer the best package that fits where our clients need more expertise and/or capacity to help them get to where they are aiming, problem(s) solved, or avoided and the client’s business capability enhanced.

To help us deliver our services better we welcome our new Financial Director to our Board of Directors: A. C. Stokell Beckett. With her experience and passion for business improvement we believe we are better placed than ever to deliver our commitment to implement our sustainable growth strategy and to ensure our quality assurance systems help provide services for our clients that meet or exceed client’s expectations.

Caring for Business and our team of associates offers prospective clients a free assessment to see how we can help improve your business. As the people at the heart of business are our greatest resource, we offer a free assessment of how we can help you to support and challenge  appropriately to optimise performance, please contact us for further details.

We at Caring for Business Ltd love to connect with you, you can like us on Facebook,  Follow our company on LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/company/caring-for-business-ltd  and follow us on Twitter.

Growing Innovators

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Innovation is the game changer for each of us personally,  for our shared ventures and for businesses and government globally. By working smarter we can achieve more, through specialisation and adaptation to our environment and adaptation of our environment.

Our economy’s growth rate and the rate of employment are functions of Innovation. I define Innovation as to conceive new ideas and adaptations and the subsequent implementation of these concepts.

Individual’s potential when optimised through self-awareness enables  self-fulfilment. The more control and ownership they have of their life journey the more potency they can have to meet new challenges. We all need to work to achieve, to create, to make a difference we can be encouraged when we see for good or ill the impact our actions have. It is not enough to fear failure or to give up so as not to fail. It is in this struggle that the process of personal growth is engaged. By developing individuals and teams we generally become more efficient and effective. While some may go on a road trip of self destruction before hopefully tuning in and accepting a work ethic. Engaged creative individuals devoted to being and growing as innovators. This change is the prerequisite for dynamic economic growth for our society.

Ways to assist this are environmental, providing access to resources such as learning, team dynamics and finance. Interventions and motivation to help stimulate this can be to focused and rigid or to loose and unfocused. Individuals need personalised support and challenges to perform optimally and differing environments will favour differing outcomes. Certainly the most creative and game changing ideas and individuals are usually external to traditional large steady enterprises including governments. To be adaptable and innovative does require a vision that is invested in at all levels of the organisation to achieve success.


 

My fear is that if as a nation we do not do this and our national debt continues to rise. Then sooner or latter we will default on our debt and then I think the nation will face a stark choice bankruptcy or something as radical as the mass nationalisation of property to give to the creditors. In the past when this nation has needed to raise money Henry the Eighth did undertake the dissolution of the monasteries and then sold the estates. I see no reason, why this won’t be repeated, unless the Economy improves markedly. If I was a creditor of UK Ltd (I note we are no longer UK PLC) and I feared the nation would go bankrupt I would most likely threaten sanctions if we went bankrupt and demand the nation seizes and hands over collateral in payment. In a property-owning democracy I see this as the real underlying dilemma and the only palatable way to avoid it is to grow innovators now.

Written by Mike Beckett

2011/06/12 at 05:26

Support our British Olympics

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London Olympic 2012 Mascots

Wenlock and Mandeville

With only 18 months before the Olympics in London begin it is important for the British Peoples to rally behind the Olympics and to make them the best we can. We will be showing hospitality to every nation and together we can make this a time of great cultural learning and increase of international mutual understanding and respect as well as the focus of sporting prowess and fair play.

With businesses making sure it happens creating jobs and lasting local community resources. An army of volunteers supporting it and taking part gaining experience and giving a useful service so the Olympics happens more efficient and more friendly.

With interesting regional events scheduled enabling everyone to get involved locally. The merchandising of the games is interesting with this teapot as perhaps the most British iconic memento.

Loved the video introduction to the mascots Wenlock and Mandeville although Mandeville couldn’t help remind me of a certain Lord of spin…

Written by Mike Beckett

2011/01/30 at 21:28

Alan Johnson

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Sad to learn Alan Johnson has stood down. I guess he might have been asked to resign unsure of the reasons at this stage. While I like Alan Johnson MP as a person and I think he is one of the more reasonable and optimistically I had hoped liberal Labour MPs, I am therefore only somewhat  saddened to see him go. The resignation letter and acceptance letter leaked on the internet appear sanitised and for public view so not sure what has caused Alan to jump but suspect Ed’s hand was behind it.

Interesting article by Stephen Tall

The new Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls comes across as more of a bruiser and I suggest that debate on the economy may become more heated in the future. Although I believe he has some responsibility for causing the deficit from his work in the previous government. I suspect Ed Ball’s will put clear water  between his party and the others which will make policy distinction easier. I also suspect popularist and short-termist policies will be adopted more readily under Ed Balls.

I think the tabloids will have a field day with balls related headlines especially around the economy. I think Ed Balls will come out fighting but whatever he attacks with as much damage he lands on the coalition he will damage Labour as the author of the present woes and the first cause. If he hides or ignores the reality and encourages others to believe a delusion that spending is the only answer to all our problems based on an extrapolation of  Keynes. Rather than being simply partisan I would find him moving towards blatant opportunism and irresponsibility. As Dicken’s Mr Micawber would say “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.” With low interest rates and a deficit that is still growing we need to control spending and have controlled investment to stimulate the economy to help us be able to start repaying the UK national debt and to put our house in order.

Economic theory about a balanced budget or investing in growth through statutory spending are both with merit but I suggest only optimal Keynesian spending should be engaged in and all would agree it is better to have interest coming in from a surplus than spending additional money paying interest especially if the cost of borrowing is to increase. The only controversies are the route to achieve this, the timescale, the sacrifices and who would make the required sacrifices as is so often the case the rhetoric of investing a surplus is laudable the devil is in the detail of getting there. If we as a nation don’t plan to get out of debt, when will we ever? … the only other choice involves default and bankruptcy and the loss of sovereign power and the severe reduction in services we would experience then this must be avoided by continued planned action now!

(EDIT: I have since this post re-designated this blog as a business blog and political views are now in Mike Beckett’s Political Blog: Mikish Musings thank you)

Taking care of business for good in 2011

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Dear reader ,

Today’s announcement by the Bank of England is that base rates remains at 0.5% is welcomed news for those with a mortgage. With the European Central Bank warning of increasing inflationary pressures how long can this last? Higher interest rates may increase the number of business failing as historically more businesses fail coming out of recession than going into it, so what is coming next?

What businesses needs to thrive normally, is stability however in times of volatility there are opportunities  for the brave and with the potencies of governments looking less robust and with less wiggle room to cope with crisis as Stephen Foley suggests in the Independent with increasing risks, it does seem that we are living in more ‘interesting times’ where fortune will as usual favour the brave but what to actually do?

Having asked on Linkedin ‘2011 Economic Predictions – What do you predict will happen? with lots of interesting answers some i hope for and some I fear but they are interesting projections of current trends. I have reflected on what is the best route to ‘competitive advantage’ for UK-based businesses and I am concluding innovation as the most logically answer…

Taxis are really useful to get from A to B and the idea of small taxis in the air is s a logical next step and a potentially lucrative business which Richard Farleigh (of Dragons Den fame) is promoting in his blog well worth a peak!

Is social networking or social media placement to enable individualised discovery of what you do the answer to innovation or conversely could private social networking be the answer as so often counter trend investment of time, money and energy has the biggest potential rewards. As always investment advice remains dont risk what you can’t afford to lose and with every opportunity, it’s possible the value will fluctuate possibly going down as well as up…

Please do comment and or keep in touch with me on Twitter:  thank you for reading my blog!

Written by Mike Beckett

2011/01/13 at 19:55