Martians to save planet Earth?

Breakthrough leaders come from Mars In the classic business development book “Good to Great”, Jim Collins describes the special type of leaders that create sustainable, breakthrough results as “leaders from Mars”. They are a unique combination of personal humility and professional will – quiet and unassuming, shunning the limelight. They have time for family and friends and time to make …

Ducks and mad koalas at the Commonwealth Games

I watched the opening ceremony of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games on television. I’m a local girl and I love Michael Leunig, so I “got” the boy and his duck. The koalas were confusing. There were several different teams of frantic koalas, all vigorously in action. The koalas were all working really hard in their groups, each team desperately trying to save the hero “their way”. …

Thorpie, our Dawn and business in the 21st Century

There’s talent and there’s science When Dawn Fraser was Australia’s world champion swimmer in the 1950’s and 1960’s, she did it on talent and hard work, strategy and gamesmanship. In the 21st century it takes a lot more to get world class results. Stretching, weight training, nutrition, mental strength, biomechanics. A high tech suit it takes 20 minutes to get in to. Absolute commitment and self discipline. …

White Roche takes the positive sustainability challenge

Saving paper saves money and the environment Lilydale accountancy and financial services group White Roche and Associates has taken up the positive sustainability challenge, working with Balance3 to make positive sustainability part of their long term strategy. Environmental issues were added to their regular planning meeting in May 2005. Their first focus was paper – a substantial cost in an accounting …

Strategic Purchasing

Some of our downstream impacts around the world can be difficult to see. Coffee and chocolate, for example, are mainly produced in third world countries with little or no labour and environmental protection. One difference that even a small business can make is in their purchasing. Getting informed and acting strategically about regular purchases can be a way of making …

Designing the Sustaining Organisation

Making new assumptions As human beings, what we see is in many ways a result of what we are looking. As Henry Ford said: “If you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right”. If we assume that green business is a fad, that our Environmental Management System is an overhead and that being sustainable is expensive …

Greening the Health Sector

Eastern Business and the Environment (EBATE) is a network group that has been helping businesses to reduce their impact on the environment AND improving their profitability. EBATE is supported by Least Waste (the Regional Waste Management Group for the Eastern Region of Melbourne) and holds seminars on issues such as minimising waste, efficient energy use and water consumption. In October 2004, Manningham …

Country businesses for living built on passion

What do I love? = What’s my business? One of the fascinations of our recent outback road journey was some of the unique businesses we came across: the coffee farm near Mareeba where the coffee is (almost) organically grown by Bruno, Maria and Mama; the fossicking tour on the road to Karumba that taught us how to find topaz; the woodwork workshop …

Back from the bush

So how long is 12 weeks? It has been 15 weeks since our last newsletter was published. For 12 of those weeks, we’ve been on a camping/caravanning tour of Northern Queensland. During this trip, as in previous trips, our experience of time changed dramatically. Time stretches… Getting up with the sun (and going to bed soon after); lazy evenings by the …

Taking a chance and taking to the road

We’re skipping winter this year On the first of May 2004, we’re hitching up the campervan, loading up the boat, and heading our 4WD north for 3 months. After a challenging two years that included the death of a parent, we’re planning to skip winter this year. “Oh, aren’t you lucky?” Well, yes and no. Yes, we are – lucky to …

Will your new year REALLY be new?

What will be NEW for you in 2004? Everyone says “Happy New Year!” It’s on its way, a whole new 366 days that haven’t happened before. Some people take full advantage of them, but too many people just re-run a previous year – same work, same relationships, same list of “one day I’ll …”. Avoid insanity Albert Einstein is quoted as defining …

Sustainability and coaching

Business and sustainability Business has traditionally tended to treat environmental issues as an additional overhead to the production of quality products. Recently, a variety of businesses of different sizes in different industries have found that a more pro-active, creative approach can actually IMPROVE the bottom line. Done well, sustainability is PROFITABLE. Business coaching Business coaching is an emerging professional service …

Continuous improvement and Enterprise Resource Planning

The MRP production line When a manufacturing business installs a new production line, the installation doesn’t stop the day the line is turned on. Excellent performance isn’t expected on Day 1, in Week 1, and often isn’t achieved in Month 1. The performance achieved initially isn’t accepted as the best possible – for a big investment, you have an ongoing …

Building your sustainability vocabulary

When a new field emerges, a new language (or jargon) emerges with it. Knowing the language gives you access to opportunities you might otherwise miss. From time to time, we take a look at some of these words, giving you our interpretation of them. Sustainability Leaving the planet in a better condition than we found it – with its environment …

How do you keep score in the success game?

As a business, you can measure your performance against other companies in your industry through benchmarking. Standards are identified which are relevant to your industry, and you measure your current performance against them. These standards could be anything from phone response time to number of weeks of inventory coverage. In a game of football there are a range of statistics relevant to the game, not just the final …

We apologise for the break in transmission

Some of you may have noticed a long gap since our last publication (in fact, it’s a gap of 12 months). This has been due to my father’s losing battle with cancer. He died at the end of February, and now life has become more predictable, if sadder and a bit emptier than before. During this time, and particularly in the past three months, …