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Dare to Be Different This Dare Day

Although many of us are affected by the global economic impact of COVID-19, it’s important to remind ourselves of the tenacity that is within us all – the same tenacity that has gotten us through bad seasons before. 

Today is World Dare Day, and we’re encouraging you to further exercise your resilience muscles with these three challenges to get you back on the path to success…

“All serious daring starts from within.” ― Eudora Welty


1. We dare you to do something completely out of habit.

When it comes to habits, we’ve all been adjusting to a different routine. With this comes a different way of thinking, and – eventually – a different way of being in the world. Today, we dare you to take a long, hard look at the habits you’ve adapted to adjust to the new normal, being honest about what is serving and what is hindering your success.

2. We dare you to get up and get confident!

Perhaps the most difficult part of having to work from home or in isolation is finding the motivation to do so. That’s why we dare you to get up and get confident by wearing your best clothes to the couch. Even if it’s only to take a few pics (don’t forget to tag us).

3. We dare you to learn something new

Learning something new has got to be one of the most rewarding things you can experience, regardless of your circumstances. That’s why we dare you to take this opportunity to learn a new skill online. 

We can help with this one! Our online courses offer flexible, modularised learning so that you can enjoy a programme that is structured through manageable and engaging weekly material. 

Are you ready to challenge yourself and push towards the future you desire…despite the odds?

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“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great” – Zig Ziglar

How the Internet Benefits the Environment

While the world’s focus has been glued to the coronavirus recently, there is another pressing crisis looming: climate change.

World Environment Day, the United Nations’ driving force to encourage awareness towards the protection of our environment, falls early in June. Activists like 17-year-old Greta Thunberg dedicate their time to promote action to preserve the environment, and they’re making a difference, but it’s arguably too slow-moving to generate enough change in time. 

However, as a result of quarantimes and lockdown levels, there has been a significant acceleration in the adoption of technology in the workforce. From remote work to reduced industry hours, the resultant shift the environment has seen has been remarkable – and it’s a radically needed one.

Staying Home is Advantageous to the Environment

While it’s a major economic contention, people staying at home are proving less harmful to the environment. Statistics back this up. Looking at data comparing December 2019 to April 2020, remote work is undeniably beneficial to the environment:

  • In China, gas emissions fell by 25% as people stayed home.
  • Coal use dropped by 40% at China’s six largest power plants since October 2019.
  • “Good quality air” has surged by 11.4% this year, compared to this time last year.
  • In New York, carbon monoxide gas levels have dropped by nearly 50% compared to last year.
  • Countries are experiencing temporary falls in carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide of as much as 40%.
  • Traffic in the UK has fallen by over 70% (to levels last seen in 1955).
  • Noise pollution has reduced too. Seismologists are recording lower vibrations from “cultural noise” as the world has quietened.

It would be facile to believe that the world could rely on remote work across industries. It’s simply unfeasible. However, it’s completely reasonable now to consider a world where more people rely on the internet, rather than the four walls of an office. 

Sustainability Meets Success

What has become certain in this bizarre time of uncertainty is that it’s crucial to consider things with long-term thinking when making decisions now. This means seeking success with sustainability at the forefront. One way to do this is to secure a future where personal, professional, and planetary wins are all part of the package. 

By taking Digital Programmes through GIBS Online, you will be able to satisfy the sustainable success your career deserves. Harness the immense efficiency of the internet and you’ll not only gain valuable insight, but you’ll also be working towards protecting the planet on which your future depends. 

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Reset Your Company Compass: The ABC of Developing Your Business’ True North

The development of a strong and clear systematic True North is fundamental to a company’s success, and yet this topic is not discussed nearly enough in business circles – in fact, many may not even know what this entails. 

What is a ‘True North’?

In the most basic terms, a business’ True North is a key set of goals and values that dictates all business operations. Most importantly, a True North is a tool that a company can use to guide decision-making. By setting up a clear objective and systematically integrating it into all aspects of the company, your business will become united, making the path to success clear and conquerable.

How do You Develop a True North?

Success looks different for each business, and it is essential to determine exactly what your company values most, and where you want to end up. For some, success might be a particular profit margin or maximum efficiency, for others, it could mean an increased customer base or a reputation as being the best of the best. 

The trick is figuring out what your company hopes to achieve and determining the values that inform those goals. 

ASSESS YOUR AMBITIONS

The first step in figuring out how to get where you’re going is to determine EXACTLY where that is. What were the company’s initial goals? Have they changed at all? Sit down with your team and ask everyone to write out what they believe the business should be aiming towards and, using these, draw up a list of key ambitions that everyone can get behind. Next, work together to draw up an honest review of the company’s performance in the pursuit of these goals – how has it operated in terms of profit, efficiency, reputation, and unity? Take a look at what areas need improvement, and what factors could be holding you back. Is it poor communication, or low employee motivation? Perhaps your production costs are too high, or your marketing needs work. 

In order to accurately assess your company, it’s essential to have the necessary skills and knowledge of business theory. Before you begin this process, consider registering your management team for one or more of our online courses in management, finance, marketing, strategizing, and business analysis.

BRAINSTORM

After you have determined your business’ weaknesses, you will be able to see more clearly how it can be strengthened. You will probably end up with heaps of ideas for how you can improve, and it’s important to narrow these down to just a few key concepts. The trick here is to determine what values will support the business’ growth and success and to place these at the core of the company. It is also essential to ensure that these values are aligned with each other. Once you have established these core values, discuss potential strategies for how you can implement these into business procedures. 

Knowledge of business management, risk assessment, marketing management, and customer-centric management strategies will really come in handy here, so consider educating yourself and your team in these areas.

COMMUNICATE AND CONSOLIDATE

Once you have determined your goals, values, and strategies (i.e. your True North), make sure to communicate these clearly across all departments and sectors. It is essential that the entire company is united in understanding where the business is heading, and what needs to be done to get there. 

To help your employees fully understand and internalise this True North, send out an email that explains the concept of a True North and informs them of the process that management has undertaken. Better yet, have each head of the department draw up a list of goals and strategies that their department should be focusing on. As a final step, ask each employee to respond with a shortlist of ways that they will be able to contribute to the overall success of the company, along with one short- and one long-term professional goal.

By following these easy steps, you will be able to determine where your company needs to be headed, and what steps can be taken to ensure that you get there. But there is one special ingredient that is essential to success – leadership. You have to set the example for your colleagues and prove that you are dedicated to implementing values, being guided by goals, and doing your part to take the business towards success. 

If you are aligned with your True North, your team will follow suit, and you will find success together.

Find Your True North Today!

How to Secure Your Business in Uncertain Times

“The only unchangeable certainty is that nothing is certain or unchangeable.”
John F Kennedy

Nothing is certain.

We are well acquainted with this hard truth by now. The impact of the coronavirus has hit us all hard, impressing upon us the urgency of adapting in order to overcome hardship. Everyone from corporate owners to individual consumers has felt the deep shockwave caused by the quarantine, but none have felt it quite as hard as freelancers and small business owners.  

Keeping your head and your feet moving forward is key to surviving the uncertainty. Other tips to make sure you, and your business, come out of this time with safety and security intact include…

Make Sure Your Priorities Are Where They Should Be

First things first, make sure safety around you is the first thing you are thinking about when making any decisions. This means putting all business-related ideas through a safety filter. If you have staff, you likely have precautions in place by now. As the dust settles into the ‘new normal’, stay in touch with them and make sure they are feeling as secure as possible. Panic is not far from the forefront of most people’s minds. Create room for honest, candid communication. 

Get Used to Adaptation

It’s unlikely that things will go back to business as we knew it for a while. Even if the regular rhythms of working ‘in office’ return in a few months, the shockwaves will have surprising ripple effects down the line. The sooner you can add ease of adaptation to your skillset, the better you will set yourself up for survival and success.

Think beyond the panic and uncertainty now, and adapt around the situation with the future in mind. What you do now could set you on an exciting path, without you even knowing it!

Seek a Sound Insurance Strategy

Take care of insurance as soon as possible. With solid insurance in place, you can secure your business to get through the crisis even if you aren’t able to continue operations. Check with your insurance provider and find out whether you can claim for any losses as a result of a business closure.

Consider Your Back-to-Work Approach

While it’s difficult to plan anything when nothing is certain, it is important to remember that the crisis will not last forever. Before things start winding back to ‘normal’, consider how you will approach this. Whether it’s adopting remote work to your regular business operations or it’s back to the office as soon as possible, think about how this will work for you, your staff and your business.

The best bet to make sure your business is set up to head back-to-work (in whichever capacity this might be) is to ensure that they are as well equipped as possible. Consider offering training for staff members through online Digital Programmes.

Covid19 Crisis Control: Managing Your Cash Flow

In times of health crises, there is a fine balancing act between protecting the people and protecting the economy. The coronavirus has turned the world upside down, and turning it the right way back again is a timeous, finicky process.

While the times we face at present are inarguably unprecedented, there are lessons we can borrow from previous pandemics and economic recessions to ensure that the impact from the virus is limited as much as possible. 

Follow these strategies and practices to control your cash flow in the face of the crisis:

Cut Non-Essential Costs

Carefully consider how you can make your payments as lean as possible. Reduce the outflows from your business, and cut any variable costs you might have. Freeze hiring processes, luxury spending, and non-essential payments. While it might sound simple in theory, it takes calculated thought regarding what is crucial and what is a nice-to-have.

Think Beyond the Immediate Pressure

The full impact of the global pandemic is unknown. Not only has the South African economy been affected in the last week, but the world’s financial system is facing a troubling situation too. 

This will undoubtedly result in long-term corrective measures, which means it’s important to consider long-term victories above short-term wins. When making decisions, think of the implications they will have on your finances in the long run. Consider that the methods you use to save now can be implemented in the future. 

Break Out of the Four-Wall Mentality

Think beyond the four walls of your office space and, where possible, offer your staff the option of remote work moving forward. This pandemic has shown that working away from the office is possible. It’s also undeniably better for the budgets of businesses (and the sustainability of the Earth). Cut massive overhead costs and break the traditional office thinking.

Prolong Your Payables Where Possible

Wherever it is an option, try to defer or delay payments. Do this with due consideration, ensuring that it does not damage any supplier or client relationships that you might need to rely on in the long term. Open up honest, straightforward conversations with your clients, and see whether it is an option to ask for payment extensions and rent reductions.

Make Your Money Work for You Passively

Now more than ever, investing is an important part of staying afloat in the long term. Ensure you are set up to sustain your savings and consider viable and healthy investment options. Sign up to a Financial Analysis for Investment Digital Programme and learn the fundamentals of valuation and investment analysis. The more your money grows passively today, the better your future finances will be.

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The 5 C’s of Project Management in the COVID-19 World

The coronavirus pandemic has turned the world of work upside down and inside out, with the majority of businesses having to do one of two things – shut down operations, or continue to work in a remote capacity. Although those still working from home are immensely lucky, it must not be forgotten that they are facing a multitude of challenges that come with suddenly and unexpectedly being thrown into remote work. 

As for those in managerial positions, it seems a bit like the blind leading the blind as they attempt to motivate and guide their employees through the same dark and wild landscape that they too are experiencing for the first time.

As a result, project managers have had to regroup and completely rethink their approach to their work, and there is one key shift that can do wonders for the motivation, efficiency, and success of your team – the move from project management to ­people management.

Although the management of teams and individual employees is a vital part of project management, much of the job really comes down to the effective and efficient management of tasks. Now, as a leader, your priority needs to be making sure that your people are taken care of – once you’ve got that sorted, the tasks will take care of themselves.

Here are 5 key strategies that you can use to make sure that your team is in tip-top shape:

1.     Communication

It’s no surprise that effective communication should be your number one priority when coordinating a team, especially when everyone is working remotely (possibly for the first time). You need to make sure that everyone knows exactly what they need to do and when they need to do it, furthermore it’s important to check in with your teammates to make sure that they are handling everything okay. The enemy of open communication is fear – if your employees are afraid to tell you that they’re confused or falling behind then your project will suffer. Open the dialogue by expressing some of your own worries and issues with working from home, and give everyone the opportunity to voice their concerns early on in the process – that way, when a problem arises, they will feel comfortable voicing it to you. 

2.     Calculation

As a project manager, you should be used to doing calculations to figure out timelines, schedules, and risk factors. Now, more than ever, you need to be using all of the resources that you can to plan for all that can go wrong. Try and figure out the minimum and maximum amount of time needed to complete your project, and communicate with all of your superiors to work out negotiables and non-negotiables e.g. it’s alright if one task is completed after deadline, as long as another is ready by a certain date. By trying to anticipate how and where things will go wrong, you won’t feel overwhelmed if/when they do, and you’ll have a plan of action.

3.     Collaboration

By now we have all become familiar with Zoom, Skype, Slack, and every other group communications programme – use this to your advantage! Set up group work sessions to encourage your employees to connect with each other even if they are working on separate tasks. You can also use devices like Google Docs to have multiple people collaborating on the same task – this is a great way to make sure that everyone is on track and on the same page regarding what they need to be doing and where the project stands.

4.     Contemplation

Encourage your employees to reflect on how they are managing – you could even facilitate this. Ask your employees to start a document where they track their mood, sleeping habits, general productivity, exercise, eating habits, social activity, and other emotional factors. Sometimes people don’t even realise that they are struggling, and by forcing them to think about their own wellbeing you could be alerting them to the fact that something is wrong. Plus, tracking your emotions and productivity right next to other factors like sleep and exercise makes patterns apparent so that you and your teammates can work to get everybody emotionally healthy

5.     Compassion

Your projects are important, your people are more important. We are in a worldwide crisis and nothing is business as usual – it’s okay if you aren’t working at maximum efficiency and there are slip-ups along the way. What’s essential is that you and your team are connected and working together as a unit. So cut your employees some slack and most importantly, be kind to yourself. We are all living through the hardest of times, and doing okay is okay. A great idea is, at the end of each day, write down the things that are nagging at you – the negative thoughts saying that you aren’t trying hard enough or that you aren’t capable of managing what you have to – and then tear up that piece of paper. Acknowledge where you’d like to improve and where you’ve had shortfalls, and then move forward.

The journey ahead is a difficult one, but if you stay connected and compassionate, you will always come right. 

Learn More About Project Management with MasterStart

3 Things Cyril Ramaphosa Has Taught Us About Leadership

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the leaders of the world into dark and dangerous waters as they have had to balance public safety, economic concerns, nationwide lockdowns, travel bans, and many other interconnected factors. The strain has been immense, and some have certainly handled it better than others – among them is none other than our very own Cyril Ramaphosa. 

Ramaphosa’s response to the crisis and the decisions that he has made along the way – particularly the choice to extend the nationwide lockdown – have been praised for their sensibility, wisdom, and courage by people across the globe.  

Leaders in politics, finance, business, and management can all take a leaf out of his book, and we’re here to tell you how!

Here are the three key things that have been at the centre of President Ramaphosa’s exemplary leadership:

1.     Be Guided by Compassion

It is clear that every single step that has been taken by Ramaphosa in the COVID-19 response has been informed by deep and genuine concern for the people of South Africa. The decisions that he has had to make have been impossibly difficult, and often highly controversial because they have affected each and every South African in drastic ways. He may have made the right choices and saved thousands of lives, but that does not mean that immense pain and loss have not been felt across the country.

Among other things, businesses have had to close down, thousands of students will need to extend their studies, families have been separated by provincial borders, and the mental health of so many South Africans has been threatened.

Nonetheless, we will continue to have faith in our president, because every single call that he has made has been motivated by the sincere hope that he will be saving his people from disaster. Despite the difficulties and struggles that will be faced as a result of the lockdown stages, South Africa will survive because of Cyril Ramaphosa, and he will have the support of his nation behind him.

The Lesson: You can never go wrong if your choices are always informed by genuine compassion and concern for your employees, team, or colleagues.

2.     Be Proactive

It is undeniable that one of the biggest factors in the success of our government’s emergency response has been Ramaphosa’s proactivity. First world countries like Italy and the United States have ended up in much bigger messes than us, even with their superior budgets and healthcare systems – all because their leaders did not enforce proper policies in time. It took less than three weeks after the first COVID-19 case in South Africa for our president to announce a 21-day nationwide lockdown – as far as global responses go, South Africa has been one of the quickest. On top of this, Ramaphosa has achieved what he set out to do – current statistics show that we are, in fact, managing to flatten the curve. This will make all the difference, not because the coronavirus will die out in South Africa (that is, unfortunately, impossible until a vaccine is developed), but because we have stolen time which has allowed for the strengthening and expansion of healthcare supplies and resources. This means that even though COVID-19 will continue to spread, we are far better equipped to handle it, and thousands of patients can be treated and saved. 

The Lesson: Be swift and bold in your decision-making.

 3.     Enlist Help

Of course, Ramaphosa is not alone in his leadership – he has had the support of loved ones, parliament, his cabinet ministers, and several other institutions. Furthermore, no success would be possible without the people of South Africa – and that doesn’t just mean healthcare workers and essential goods and service providers. It also means the thousands of housewives who have made face masks for their communities, the people working in soup kitchens and feeding schemes, those fostering animals so that shelters don’t get overwhelmed – every single person who is doing his or her part to help the country. 

And so why do leaders, so often, forget that they cannot lead alone? Once a badge of authority has been placed on you, you may feel that you will appear weak or stupid if you ask for help – this could not be further from the truth. Leaders may have heightened responsibility and accountability, but that does not mean that they have to carry everything alone. The people below you may not be able to carry your burden, but together they can carry you, and make it a little lighter.  

The Lesson: A leader is never alone.

Compassion, Courage, Connection – a combination that will take you to the top and carry your employees with you.

Inspired by Ramaphosa but unsure of how to become the leader you are destined to be? Let us show you the way with our 7-week online Leadership course, where you’ll learn how to identify your leadership style, inspire your employees, formulate bold solutions, and implement them effectively.

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Rethinking Your Strategy During Covid-19

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”
–  Albert Einstein

Those plans you might have had for 2020. It’s time to dissect them, pick the implementable parts out, and discard the rest. It’s time to remember lessons we have learnt in the past, and to adapt them – considerably. It’s a time of improvisation and innovation, adaptation and adjustment.

It’s safe to say that what we are looking at now – in addition to the uncertainty – is the idea of a new normal’. Which leads us to two questions: What now? And what next?

Strategising in Uncertain Times: Step One

The first step in rethinking your strategy for 2020 is to discard the idea that you can still use the plans you might have had in place. They were thrown out the window as soon as the first case was reported in South Africa.

Pick apart the strategies you had, and see if there is anything you can still use moving forward in a completely different, almost fully-digital world. A hard truth is that no-one is certain when things will normalise again. This means that it’s imperative to adjust according to the current ‘normal’ in order for a business to survive. 

Take full advantage of the internet – it has a unique immunity to withstand the current challenges of the crisis. It also has the potential to reach a wide audience – as individuals are stuck at home, they’re spending more time online than ever before.

Strategising in Uncertain Times: Step Two

The second step is to make sure you are equipping yourself with all the resources you need to excel in your industry. Research as much as you can to make sure you are standing on the right foot to move forward with confidence.

Sign up for an Online Digital Programme today to gain practical industry knowledge

Strategising in Uncertain Times: Step Three

The third step is to continue branding and advertising. If you own a business, do not stop marketing. Now is when it counts to have a presence. If customers don’t know about you, they cannot support you. If you haven’t already, prioritise building and maintaining a strong online presence. For long-term success, make sure you focus on optimising your site to rank. This means putting time into building up your search engine optimisation (SEO). For short-term success, put money behind paid advertising. While it’s crucial to manage your budget, it’s equally important to make sure you are reaching new customers.

If you are an individual, the same sentiment applies. Do not stop marketing yourself or your personal brand. Connect with like-minded people in your industry through the online space. Take advantage of professional platforms such as LinkedIn to network under lockdown. Think of yourself and your skills as a brand, and build that brand. If you can become an authority in your industry, you will thrive – both under the current circumstances and when things readjust after the dust settles.

Strategising in Uncertain Times: Step Four

The fourth step might sound absurd, but it is perhaps the most important. 

When strategising and adjusting, remember to focus on your health and sanity.

There is massive pressure to be the most productive hustler under lockdown, and if you fail to work hard all the time, you’re missing out. Simply put, this is ridiculous. Make sure you prioritise your sanity and safety, and you will set yourself up for more sustainable success. Don’t burn yourself out from the stress of the global crisis and professional pressure. 

Set yourself up for mental stability by keeping your mind strong and active. Sign up for a Digital Programme, keep your mind sharp, and learn practical steps to stay ahead of the game without external pressure.

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