Business Soutions    July 2009

As a manager, how do you identify your own strengths and weaknesses?


By being brutally honest with yourself! We know pretty early in life what we are good at and not so good at and mostly learn to capitalise on our strengths and look for ways to compensate for our weaknesses. Successful business managers intuitively seek out support personnel with the skills they don't possess and frequently leverage off them to cover their own personal weaknesses. In time, through observing others and working hard on weaknesses, they can be significantly enhanced.



The culture of a business is one of its strongest assets. It's how a business differentiates itself from other like businesses. It takes years for a culture to develop within a business therefore it's not something you can change to meet varying challenges or circumstances. Thus, in my experience the only way you can have a ‘positive, buoyant culture in a poor economy' is to already have one in existence prior to the economy turning poor.

So how do you get a ‘positive, buoyant culture'? It starts with characteristics of the leader. If he, or she projects confidence, optimism, courage and has good communication skills a foundation exists to build upon. Next there needs to be an environment conducive to bringing out these same characteristics in others.

Create an environment-


  • In which people look forward to coming to work each day.
  • Where employees get job satisfaction.
  • Where everyone receives recognition for their performance particularly when consistently doing the ‘ordinary things extraordinarily well'.
  • Where they work as a Team with clearly defined team goals.
  • Most importantly have fun along the journey.

Of course it requires the employment of like-minded people with similar aspirations to work within this environment. In my business we used to hire people with what we assessed to be the ‘right attitude' rather than simply employ ‘experience'. My theory was, you can train people to do a specific job, but it's very hard to change a person's attitude.

For people to look forward to coming to work every day there must be a daily challenge, an expectation of the unexpected, confidence in knowing your performance is recognised by your peers and management alike. It requires a full comprehensive understanding of the businesses objectives and values and total confidence in its leaders.

Thus the marketing of a business to its employees is a primary task of a leader in creating and maintaining its culture for if you are unable to sell the special features of your business to your employees it's unlikely they will be able to sell your products or services to customers.

I believe the leader of any organisation, large or small must have a direct line of contact with every employee enabling him or her to keep the team fully informed on a regular basis on what is happening within the business, what challenges they are confronted with and the opportunities that may exist at any point in time, to improve performance and capture more of a market.

This is particularly so during tough times as it's all too easy to blame general economic conditions for a market downturn, but a strong leader will be trumpeting the opportunities that exist through getting a larger share of a declining market. As competitors re-trench employees, reduce R&D, cut back marketing expenditure, inevitably customer satisfaction levels decline and their customer base becomes vulnerable. For those with courage there is an opportunity to inexpensively increase a market share by continuing to do what you have always done but doing it just a little better.





Bob Ansett was interviewed recently on Sky News, on the Business Channel


Bob Ansett in the ABC-hosted debate on De-amalgamation, held on the Sunshine Coast.  Bob and 'Friends of Noosa' went on to win victory in a historic vote in March 2013 that saw a landslide 80% in favour.  Read more.