Commercial Public Sector

Regardless of geography, the public sector is striving to deliver exemplary services to a growing, aging populace at a time of rising youth unemployment and benefits claims. ‘Breaking the cycle of dependency’ is a nice theory – but how can the public sector achieve this?

Spinning out an enterprise should not just be about profit & loss – this is not what drives the public sector. What should we be looking for in a spin-out?

The public sector has dealt with programs of efficiency, cost-cutting and austerity for almost 20 years and yet is expected to identify so much more. Is it achievable or is it time to develop commercial mindsets within the organization?

Part of the commercial way is to divest the organization of non-core, non-strategic functions but also offers opportunities to look at what front-office services would benefit from spinning out.

How can we build an environment that encourages our people to see an opportunity for spinning out? How can we create a new kind of culture?

Contact us if you would like a copy of the PDF sent to your desktop.

What Happens When Your Leader Leaves?


MICHELLE FOGARTY Operations Director

Operations Director

As someone working in the field of leadership, I was interested to see an article by the UK’s Financial Times.

If the figures released by the FT are to be believed, Twitter has seen more than 450 staff leave in the year since CEO Dick Costolo stepped down and the hunt for a new CEO continues.

Admittedly, the FT’s ‘research’ into this is a little loose (an analysis of changes to LinkedIn profiles, supplemented by the assumption that not every Twitter employee is on LinkedIn and not every Twitter employee on LinkedIn has updated their profile).

It’s not the most scientific research, I admit but the FT does raise some interesting points that are a bit more based on fact:

  • People have left Twitter at all levels of the organization including the CEO of the 2013 acquisition MoPub;
  • Shares in Twitter have fallen 31% since April 2015 as there are rising concerns about Twitter’s management’s ability to make the product more relevant to a wider audience;
  • Quarter-on-quarter growth has slowed;
  • Twitter’s Head of Communications has left after the CFO bought in by the now-departed CEO took on the responsibility for marketing;
  • Many members of Twitter’s corporate development team have gone (including the head of corporate development)

Now, it’s true that, in such a dynamic environment as the technology sector, there will be continual movement of talent (particularly if they are working for an organization that has been acquired for large sums and people can cash in their shares – maybe to go work on another pre-IPO) but there is an interesting, central point: when the Leader leaves, what do they leave behind?

The CEO bought in a ‘numbers person’ from Goldman Sachs who may be more focused on spreadsheets more than a cool messaging platform (clash between numbers and product) and he has ensured that the co-found (Jack Dorsey) is at the helm but it does feel (from the facts above) that what he really left behind was a vacuum.


What is the impact of a poorly-managed exit?

  • The lack of a permanent CEO can make it difficult to attract the best-and-brightest talent (the person recruiting you may not be there in the longer term);
  • The lack of a viable workforce plan;
  • The people ‘left behind’ by a popular leader can feel disenfranchised / directionless;
  • Stakeholders / shareholders become concerned at the lack of foresight;
  • Employees look to their own job and re-evaluate their position (and may leave too);
  • Corporate strategy can be put on hold

Does a leader have to leave in order to be absent?

In many respects, the absent leader is more dangerous than one who resigns as it is a slow and painful death for the business – and, with the absent leader still actually being in post, it’s harder to make the necessary changes.  

Of course, we all see organizations where the CEO hasn’t actually left, but they aren’t really there either.
There are certain indicators that I have seen to suggest the ‘absent leader’ which includes:

  • Showing no interest in helping others achieve their goals;
  • Lacking the desire to engage with stakeholders / shareholders;
  • Misleading teams with false information (this includes not telling them everything);
  • Expecting people to do as you say, not do as you do;
  • Creating barriers that stop your people developing rapport with you;
  • There is an increase in self-interest rather than what’s best for the organization as a whole


The mistake made by Twitter is the lack of a workforce plan that promotes leaders from within but the mistake of many organizations is allowing the absent leader to keep walking through the door!

A former troubleshooter for local government, Michelle is a Reiki Master, counsellor and performance coach. She specializes in leadership, management and team development – and is the senior stakeholder for the leadership development program Spark PlayMakers®. Michelle also has active involvement in the delivery of our women-in-business initiatives. Email Michelle for more details about how she can help your organizational health.

The Mindful Contagion

Yoga lotus icon / logo

MICHELLE FOGARTY Operations Director

Operations Director

There’s a lot of talk about ‘mindfulness’ at the moment as if it is the new silver bullet / magic pill that will solve every single problem that you feel you have. Much like we have all kinds of diets for weight loss and amazing gym programs for rapid muscle gain, we have ‘mindfulness’ to reduce anxiety, improve our mental state and generally make us nicer people.

Mindfulness is effective but mindfulness is no quick-fix.

The thing is, while we know that people will quickly gravitate towards this interesting approach – and that in itself is no bad thing – many workplaces suffer with an ’emotional contagion’ which can either transmit negative or positive energies.

My interests include organizational health – the way an enterprise lives and breathes – and whether you talk about what’s at the heart of your business or what is in your corporate DNA… your people are pretty much everything.

In the modern workplace your people build the relationships for sales, develop the right engagements with suppliers / customers / partners, create collaborative and innovative cultures, and so on.

So if the health of your people suffers, you can expect to see relationships, sales and revenues decline.

“With employee health being one of the key factors of your success, mindfulness is increasingly becoming a business critical issue.”

In a recent paper, ‘Catching Rudeness Is Like Catching a Cold: The Contagion Effects of Low-Intensity Negative Behaviors‘ (Foulk T, Woolum A, Erez A.), 3 studies were carried out to investigate the contagion effect of rudeness and the cognitive mechanism that explains this effect. The first work-based study showed that low-intensity negative behaviors like rudeness can be contagious, and that this contagion effect can occur based on single episodes, that anybody can be a carrier, and that this contagion can pass on to other people that we engage with. The subsequent laboratory-based studies explored the thinking that sat behind these negative patterns.

We see it often in the workplace and hear many (possibly apocryphal) stories of people being rude so it should be no surprise to anyone that we are told that if someone is rude to you, there is an inclination to ‘pass it on’ – the nice thing is that this paper in The Journal of Applied Psychology gives some measurement to it.

But is it just negative contagion in the workplace?

Can we create our new contagion?

Whilst it can be difficult to define and measure your happiness, there is no denying that happiness is a fundamental object of our existence. And our happiness is contagious – just as negativity can transmit to others, so can positivity.

Research is still being carried out to determine if happiness can spread through technology – can we transfer happiness through social media?

“Teenagers are seen as particularly vulnerable because 75% of mental disorders begin before the age of 24, with half developing by the age of 15.”

In 2015, a major study is being launched to find out if “mindfulness training” for c. 6,000 schoolchildren between the ages of 11 and 14 from 76 schools over a 5-year period can help cut the risk of depression and other mental health problems.

A London-based teacher who has given mindfulness training to her students, said: “I find that mindfulness techniques are used by different students in different ways, for example some might prefer breathing techniques, whereas others find visualising thoughts more helpful.”

Mindfulness has always been here

Mindfulness is an ancient Buddhist practice which is very relevant for life today. The Four Noble Truths express the basic orientation of Buddhism and one of these truths (The Truth of the Path Of Liberation from Dukkha) refers to behaving decently, cultivating discipline, and practicing mindfulness and meditation.

“The general concept of mindfulness is easy to grasp – pay attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally. This increases awareness, clarity and acceptance of our present-moment reality. The reality of actually doing this can take a lifetime to master.”

If we accept that our working adult life is determined by what happened to us as teenagers then:

a) we need to help our teenagers to ‘train their brain’ with mindfulness (or similar) techniques
b) we need to unpack entrenched beliefs and behaviours in order to welcome mindfulness into our adult lives

Mindfulness can be applied to any age group (including the UK government) but my main work is with adults.

I work face-to-face with my customers, encouraging them to ‘clear the desk’ – to take time out of their day to focus on clearing their minds of negative thoughts, thinking about their breathing and generally reflecting on how they can feel better about any problems or stress in their life. A large part of this falls into the category of emotional intelligence which is a principal that many corporations are already comfortable with.

Like any meaningful approach, mindfulness is not a quick-fix and, in a large number of cases, is not even the right answer but if you do go down a route of bringing social emotional learning including reflective thinking and mindfulness into the workplace, whether this is at a leadership, management or team level, you will see the ROI.

A former troubleshooter for local government, Michelle is Operations Director of Spark Global Business, responsible for all operational aspects focusing on advice, consultancy and training. As a Reiki Master, counsellor and performance coach, she specializes in leadership, management and team development – and is the senior stakeholder for our leadership development program, Spark PlayMakers®, Michelle also has active involvement in the delivery of our women-in-business initiatives. Email Michelle for more details about how she can help your organizational health.

e-learning in The Gulf

e-learningSpark Global Business has been designing building and implementing solutions with customers since 2001 and has worked with such organizations as Viva in Kuwait, Qatar University and Tamkeen in Bahrain. During the course of our delivery of training in the Middle East, we have identified what works and what doesn’t!

It’s an interesting phenomenon: knowledge is power, but getting that knowledge can sometimes feel like such hard work – and then there is the issue of the new knowledge ‘sticking’ – how much do you remember of the workshops that you have attended?

So where do a lot of training programs go wrong?

Our assessment of what is on offer shows that there are still far too many training departments and external training providers following a model of talking A LOT at the learners and expecting them all to retain and then use the new information.

The problem with this is that it is:

  • Boring
  • Lacks engagement
  • Not wholly relevant
  • Standardized
  • Lacks originality

And, maybe the worst thing of all… you are paying for this.

What are we doing that’s so different?

Digital Blooms
Well, we work along the lines of Bloom’s Taxonomy – taking your people from the simple stage of explaining a point / principle, testing their understanding, role-playing so that they apply their new knowledge in a ‘safe’ environment and then progress into case study sessions, projects and professional simulations.

In reality, most of the training that we have seen is based on explanation and testing… and sometimes no more than that.

How will we help you?

Our Learner Management System
We recognized very quickly that, to stand out in The Gulf, we needed to have a Learner Management System (LMS) that not only manages all of the learners but also tracks their progress from initial registration through all of our different courses – and that it should be able to connect into corporate HR Systems too.

Our LMS allows corporations to outsource their entire training department.

Blended Delivery
We believe that the lessons should be shorter, better presented and fun – and, importantly, accessible. This means that our learning programs are a mix of the real-world workshop, virtual classrooms and e-delivery – and the e-delivery isn’t just to your laptop but also to your tablet and smartphone. Our units are broken down into modules where some can even be as brief as a 2-minute video clip – the emphasis is on engaged learning.

Your learners can work on the different modules and units in small amounts of time, building their knowledge and skills.

Social Learning
We encourage discussions about the courses that we provide – Spark specializes in facilitating peer-learning: in many cases, you will learn more from your colleagues through simple conversations – our online forums, virtual classrooms and real-world workshops are designed to help your people to put new knowledge into the context of their role.

We create a sense of community for your people.

We know that, sometimes, your employees feel that attending training courses is punishment rather than investment! On top of this, there is a general lack of motivation, people being too busy with work (managers being called out of sessions; team members checking their emails; everyone turning up late or wanting to leave early).

Engaged employees generate 43% more revenue (source: Gallup) and take less than 50% of sick days compared to disengaged colleagues (source: Hay Group).

The main reason for this is simple: they expect to be bored for a day and will do anything to get out of it.

In many cases… who can blame them?

To make our programs more enjoyable, we applying gaming techniques to non-gaming environments – these ‘serious games’ ensure learner engagement – people want to complete a module; they want to advance through the unit and they want to hit the marks in the quiz at the end.

Gamification works to ensure that your employees are engaged – and so they are willing to learn.

Gamification lets you put the fun back into learning – we use a mix of badges, achievements and awards to celebrate successes and the completion of modules and units (and a leaderboard so that you can healthily compete with colleagues for prizes). We are also developing full simulation games for entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship and leadership development.

We can deliver our e-lessons, games, workshops and mentoring in Arabic, English or both.

Learner Support
We provide advice and support both through the integrated instant messenger as well as through the Q&A Forums and our real-world ‘engine room’ – a mentor-led space where learners come for quick-hit workshops and to engage with our facilitators 1:2:1.

We help to embed the knowledge with your learners and ensure that it can be applied practically in their everyday work.

How can we work together?

We build this innovative and exciting learner solution through collaboration: we work with you, our technology partners and our facilitators to design the best gamified blended training programs. If you are interested in working with an innovative and fresh-thinking partner, then contact us for an informal discussion.

Supporting the spin-out

MICHELLE FOGARTY Operations Director

Operations Director

Within Spark, our three service lines are based around enterprise & employability, innovation & intrapreneurship and leadership development. Sometimes, we see situations where all three are touched upon – and ‘spinning out’ is one of these.

This can get pretty interesting as the different teams within Spark come together to build specific solutions for a client – whether this is central or local government looking to commercialize what they are doing (front-line or back-office services) or corporations looking to develop new revenue streams in current or target markets.


A spin-out is a type of corporate restructuring that occurs when an organization breaks off parts or divisions of itself to form a new entity. The new company that is spun out brings with it some of the parent company’s assets and equipment and the parent company retains equity of the newly formed company. Parent companies then often provide support by investing equity in them or becoming their first major customer. In many cases, the management team of the spin out is drawn from the parent company as well.

When your organization explores spinning out, we see the need for strong leadership, the organizational alignment to the corporate strategy, the organizational capability to deliver, and a commitment to innovation & intrapreneurship.

All of these things help to contribute to the Quadruple Bottom Line where enterprises can build profit whilst also contributing to social and ecological initiatives – and keeping ahead of the game through a constant commitment to innovation.

Sometimes, we speak about spin-outs because of our leadership development work whereas it can also come from directors looking into how to transform the business or from expanding businesses trying to work out how to take their companies into other geographical regions.

Whatever the starting point, we see six fairly common steps which we call ‘the pathway’.

Sample Spinout Pathway

When we work with organizations in this area, the first part is always the same: where are you (really) on the pathway?

With a toolkit for each stage, we can help you to identify, design, build, launch and manage your spin-out.

Feel free to email me and we can talk about how Spark can help you in this very interesting field of work.

A former troubleshooter for local government, Michelle is Operations Director of Spark Global Business, responsible for all operational aspects focusing on advice, consultancy and training. The senior stakeholder for our leadership development program, Spark PlayMakers®, Michelle also has active involvement in the delivery of our women-in-business initiatives.

Middle East Leadership Development

Spark NajahThe Middle East is a strategically-important region for business and Spark Najah recognizes that a growing number of foreign-educated Arabs are returning home to assume key positions formerly occupied by expatriates.

For example, Qatarization is a strategic initiative to provide employment for its citizens in the private and public sectors. As one of the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030, Qatarization targets positions that are integral to the business plans of private and public-sector entities. The objective is to provide 50 percent or more of Qatari citizens with meaningful permanent employment. (source: Qatar Foundation).

Whilst such initiatives as Qatarization, Emiratization, Omanization and Saudization are serving to redress the balance of how many local people are in post, the softer skills are still to be transferred to the next generation of business leaders.

With a presence in Bahrain, Lebanon and Egypt, our team of Arabic and European consultants works with the leaders, managers and teams of governments and corporations to support startups, business growth and meaningful employment – and this means that we work actively in the fields of enterprise, corporate entrepreneurship (innovation & intrapreneurship), leadership development and women-in-business.

Working with local people in local offices, we support your national ambitions for successful enterprises and employment.

Bearing in mind the imperative for strong leaders in a changing local & international economy, our structured approach to Leadership Development includes:

  • tailored programs aligned to your strategy, organizational culture, or corporate objective;
  • easy to explain and simple to follow;
  • recognized toolkits;
  • measuring program success (e.g. revenue, career development, cost savings, etc.)

Spark PlayMaker Model

By working with your key decision-makers, we are able to design build and deliver a leadership development program that helps your people to develop the skills, knowledge and personal abilities necessary to succeed.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
SEL is a process for learning life skills, including how to deal with oneself, others and relationships, and work in an effective manner. In dealing with oneself, SEL helps in recognizing our emotions and learning how to manage those feelings. In dealing with others, SEL helps with developing sympathy and empathy for others, and maintaining positive relationships. SEL also focuses on dealing with a variety of situations in a constructive and ethical manner. Click to read more…

Time Line Therapy™ (TLT)
TLT is a highly-effective ‘talking therapy’ that provides one of the most powerful processes and techniques for personal change and growth by aiding the elimination of painful emotions attached to memories or events in the past. TLT also focuses on what we can learn from those events and use what we learn as a resource for the future. Click to read more…

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of ‘talking treatment’ that focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour, and teaches you coping skills for dealing with different problems. It combines cognitive therapy (examining the things you think) and behaviour therapy (examining the things you do). Click here for more…

Performance Coaching
With TLT reflecting on the past, and CBT considering the present, Spark’s mentoring & coaching helps to determine the future. We actively contribute to you achieving organizational change and talent development. Click here for more…

The Peaceful Mind
One of the common issues facing leaders is time: being able to reflect upon their role from a strategic point of view and to then set out a plan of action. Spark provides a space with a focus on calming the mind and enabling the ‘reflective leader’ to come to the fore. Click here for more…

Collaborative Intelligence
Impactful leadership calls for someone who can inspire and motivate people – using skills in rapport-building and co-working in order to achieve corporate objectives. Importantly, the leader needs to be trusted. We build your collaborative intelligence at an individual and team level.
Click here for more…
Institue Leadership Management

Not only do we deliver our leadership development through experiential learning but have ensured that the majority of the education is subject to academically-recognized certification.

How can we work together?
If you are interested in working with an innovative and fresh-thinking consultancy partner, then contact us for an informal discussion.

If You Have To Ask The Price…

MICHELLE FOGARTY Operations Director

Operations Director

I have just spent a weekend in Paris: partly to meet with our Associates to discuss entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, and leadership development and also partly to decompress after a fairly manic few months delivering for various clients.

There’s no denying that it is so much easier to work in a business that you love – long hours, difficult conversations and onerous tasks are all so much easier – but, sometimes, it’s nice to park work to one side and just give your brain a rest!

After the meetings (including hot chocolate in the rain on the banks of the Seine), we walked the streets of Paris, sometimes discussing the business but mainly chatting about our wider aspirations for ourselves and our children. One of the things that we have always focused on in Spark is a realistic and fulfilling work/life balance – and, in our 14th year of trading, we still have it.

Arc De TriompheOur walking took us from Moulin Rouge down the Boulevard des Batignolles and the Avenue de Wogram to the Arc de Triomphe before opting to walk to the top in order to take a few pictures of the city.

We then headed down Avenue d’Iena to the river and on to the Eiffel Tower, along the river until crossing back on to the northern side at the Place de la Concorde; a walk around the glass pyramid at the Louvre and then back over the river to Notre Dame.

As if this wasn’t enough miles, we then walked back through Tuileires Garden and past Place Vendome, and back up towards Montmartre!

All that walking and all that time to reflect on life in general was amazing – and to be surrounding by mile after mile of such brilliant architecture (and friendly people) made for a great day.

So I guess lesson #1 for us was this: take time out of your daily work – ditch the office – find space to think and enjoy. If your work doesn’t give you the option to think, or the option to enjoy hat you do then is it the right job?

The next day, seeing as we were recovering from a 10-mile city-stroll from the day before, we headed to Sacre-Coeur Basilica… more steps!

Sacre Coeur BasilicaAfter checking the city skyline from the steps of the Basilica, we found a nice cafe for lunch and then started to check out various window shop fronts along the way back to the train station – studiously avoiding the (many) Eiffel Towers for sale as well as t-shirts, t-towels and more.

What soon grabbed our attention was the number of jewellers who had their various wares on display (some fantastic; some too garish and gaudy for my liking) – and a few of them didn’t put any prices on them. This got us thinking: if we have to ask how much a gold ring is, are we able to afford the gold ring?

Is the act of having to ask about the price telling the Parisian jeweller that we are price conscious?

And this was our Lesson #2: we sat on the train and talked about the organisations that we worked with that always asked about price – and then we worked out how soon in the conversation price was mentioned. After that, we looked at how easy or difficult the working relationship was with such organisations.

We aren’t Parisian jewellers but we did see that our most productive relationships are with organisations that focus on value rather than price and, yes, if the organisation wants to know ‘how much’ before we even start… then they probably can’t afford us!

On top of everything else, there is a Lesson #3 – and it is a very important lesson, I feel. Simply, the lesson is that I really love Paris.

Maybe Paris is where our European HQ should be situated – particularly as there is ready access to Eurostar and we would be based in continental Europe as opposed to being in (a very expensive) UK. Something for us to think about, for sure.

If you are interested in what we do, then contact us and we can arrange a meeting.

A former troubleshooter for local government, Michelle is Operations Director of Spark Global Business, responsible for all operational aspects focusing on advice, consultancy and training. The senior stakeholder for our leadership development program, Spark PlayMakers®, Michelle also has active involvement in the delivery of our women-in-business initiatives.

All change?

ROGER MANNERS Senior Associate USA

Senior Associate

I have been involved in business for over 40 years (yes, there are still some of us around!) and it should go without saying that the corporate world has changed radically – but has it?

When we strip away the veneer of some of the major brands of today, what do we have?

Amazon and eBay are retailers; Google is, among various things, the Yellow Pages / A-Z; whilst Facebook has replaced the water cooler. Behind this is the same kind of organizational structure of businesses going back to the 1950s and beyond: a managing director and a board leading a workforce.

There is still profit, loss, cashflow, innovation, employment, redundancy, customer satisfaction… so what has changed?

The Enterprise Paradox

As a business growth adviser with Spark, I see that the fundamentals of business remain the same but that there are a great deal of paradoxes in the modern workplace.

  • increased technology enabling greater opportunities for work/life balance but people working longer hours (‘shackled’ to their smart phone, for example)
  • growing interest in employee engagement at a time when ‘agile & flexible’ organizations encourage homeworking, collaborative workspaces (web-based) and deployment on client sites which all lead to a fragmented workforce
  • the majority of employees are either actively discouraged from innovating in-job or, when they do innovate, they are neither recognized nor rewarded for it

The three paradoxes mentioned above are only a small sample of what any modern organization is battling with as they fight to strike a balance.

There is no denying that, whilst the mechanics of business have been constant over the decades, globalization and both economic and civil instability are creating tough trading conditions: operating a successful business is harder today than ever before.

Yet employers and employees alike have vested interests in ensuring the full potential of all parties is achieved. Employers need to make profits to reinvest in the business to safeguard jobs and see off competitors and employees must produce the best work they can to enable companies to perform to their best capabilities.

You know your business

When I was a managing director, I had many advisers, consultancies, mentors (and 101 other ways to describe such a business) pitching to me, offering to ‘help’ me. In many cases, the pitch from these companies seemed to be based upon their insistence that a) they knew what issues faced my business even without research and b) they had the ideal solution for this mythical ‘problem’!

One of the best ways to address this is to retain a Critical Friend – someone who can coach, mentor and train the board – someone who can be a soundboard to the CEO as they seek time to reflect on their business (slightly different from strategy and more to do with sitting back and thinking).

Beyond this, experience has shown me that you need to reduce the ‘us and them’ culture: provide opportunities for employers and employees to understand each others’ needs and creates an environment where everyone can win.

Corporate Entrepreneurs

One of the things that I am seeing more and more of is the desire of employees to be entrepreneurs.

Some are full of good ideas that lead them to start their own businesses and others may be unwilling or unable to conform to the position of employee – being led by people perceived to be less capable than themselves and confined by glass ceilings and ‘dead-men’s shoes’.

Whether they are true entrepreneurs who will take on the risk of going it alone, or a frustrated employee convinced that they can do so much more than they are allowed to do… the better employers understand that it is in their interests to train and develop their staff whilst rewarding them in an equitable manner to create the stability needed for long-term growth and therefore increased worth of both employee and business.

Let’s be honest – most of us work because we have to, not because we want to. That said, most entrepreneurs love what they do. They have a sense of achievement and provide employment for people who have bills to pay and mouths to feed. They also create the opportunity to achieve financial security for themselves and their families.

Many of the better business leaders have created those traits in their companies enabling employees to share rewards. So why isn’t intrapreneurship more commonplace in business?

A corporate entrepreneur’s full potential is rarely developed thus limiting their ability to add real value to most businesses – in simple business terms, an intrapreneur is an employee with entrepreneurial instincts when it comes to taking responsibility, improving processes and adding to the bottom line of the business. An intrapreneur is a valuable (and valued) employee.

Where’s the trust?

Some employers see their top employees as a threat to their positions. Some employees see co-workers as a threat to their positions and therefore everyone loses. Microsoft’s abortive ‘Stacked Rankings’ bears witness to this.

However, the most common reason for the failure of most businesses and employees in reaching their full potential is the lack of trust and understanding. The employee feels under-valued and unappreciated – and largely they are right. Too few employers praise their employees when a ‘well done’ or ‘thank you’ is all it takes to make an employee feel wanted and happy.

Using an external advisor

As I mentioned earlier, work with someone who has taken time to understand the mechanics of your business before offering ‘solutions’ but here are a few more things to look out for:

  • be sure to engage with someone who has run a business (ideally with experience of business failure as well as success);
  • retain an adviser with a wide network as they have a broader view of the world;
  • avoid engaging with someone ‘from your sector’ – they will have preconceived ideas on what you should / shouldn’t be doing;
  • have an open mind;
  • commit to a minimum of 11 months – show everyone that you are in it for the long haul;
  • invest-to-grow – ringfence a budget and don’t be afraid to turn the engagement into a bigger program of work;
  • look at how you develop ideas – and how successfully your organization kills ideas;
  • remember that it isn’t ‘innovate or die’ – it’s ‘be excellent in what you do… and THEN innovate’

Based in the UK, Roger Manners is a Senior Associate for Spark and is experienced in entrepreneurship, intervention change management, coaching for growth, intrapreneurship and project management with clients in the private and public sectors. In 2012 he was appointed as an accredited UK Central Government’s Growth Accelerator program coach and Access2Finance operator. He also works with elite amateur and professional golfers in the field of mind management.

Crack On, Ghana 2015

crack on flyer
We have talked about working in Ghana since 2013 and it has always been the same obstacles to it happening: time and money.

As we have been so busy outside of Africa, it has always been hard to catch up with colleagues in Ghana to establish a meaningful program.

Yes, we could have worked in Ghana in 2013 but it would have been without the full budget and resource necessary for us to create a sustainable, self-sufficient program.

In November 2014, we were able to bring all of the right pieces of the puzzle together and so, in February 2015, we host the inaugural ‘Crack On Ghana’ event.

Listen to our latest radio advert here

Named after the book, this event is a 2-day program of workshops and meetings as well as the opportunity to hear local and international entrepreneurs speak about their experiences.

If you are interested in being an entrepreneur; involved in a startup or wondering how to grow your SME… then book your place.