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Finding great success in your business management career

Business management as a career is dedicated to organising, planning and working towards effectively running a business. All tasks in a business management career are aligned with the team and the management of individuals to ensure that systems run smoothly and that people are working efficiently towards the overall holistic success of the business.

An organisation relies on sound management to thrive, no matter the size of the company. From corporate to start-up, if effective business management is evident, there is much more room for success.

What you can do in business management?

A good career in business management is well prepared with a business management degree or by learning the tricks of the trade through an online short course in business management. 

With a business management degree, you can step into the role of the manager in any sector or industry with the right skillset and network. With management as an overall role, rather than an industry, it’s worthwhile considering which field you want to work in before diving in. Having a business management degree is a key component in management but having work experience is equally crucial.

You can get experience in your field in university, working in clubs or taking on extracurricular activity in the field. Alternatively, social clubs in your community and internships are a fantastic way to build your experience in management. Any experience that leads you down a career path will not be wasted, even if it is not necessarily in the field you are wanting to end up in.

Getting a business management career

With a business management degree, you can become a manager in any sector or industry that interests you. Being in a management position means overseeing a team or individuals to ensure tasks are completed. 

To get a career in business management, studying business management is a great first step. If you do not want to commit to a full-term degree and want to keep working or gaining experience while studying, opting for a short course in business management is a fantastic option.

Business management positions

The following careers are professions that a business management degree could lead you towards

  • Business adviser or analyst
  • Business development and systems manager
  • Chartered management accountant and financial expert in a field
  • Corporate banker
  • Data analyst or research scientist managing a team
  • Management consultant or client manager
  • Project and systems manager
  • Risk and financial manager
  • Stockbroker
  • Supply chain management and logistics manager
  • Construction manager heading up the construction team or construction projects
  • Environmental engineer and environmental analyst
  • Human resources officer and human resource manager
  • Distribution manager with logistics oversight
  • Marketing manager and sales director 
  • Mortgage adviser and property expert
  • Sales executive
  • Systems and processes analyst

Is it a valuable degree?

For those looking to step into the world of business and running their own company, having a degree in business management has proven to be a popular option and a good choice in gaining the knowledge you need to excel.

With a business management degree, you gain the right set of skills and knowledge to equip you to succeed in any global career opportunities at which you might look. A degree or short course also helps broaden and hone your understanding of all necessary particulars in business areas, from finance to human resources and from systems to sales. A business degree is crucial in helping set up your business management career as it boasts the following perks:

  • You develop key management skills needed to head up a team effectively.
  • You become more employable as you are trusted to have the knowledge fit for the career.
  • You gain an introduction to the business world before gaining the experience.
  • You can learn to become your own boss.
  • You gain insight into multiple disciplines.`

Triple Crown accreditation and what it means

“Triple Crown accreditation” is a term found in business school and reputable academic institutions of professional and career advancement. Receiving a certificate or degree from a school with a Triple Crown accreditation is worth its gold in business and the achievement suggests not only the stellar reputation of the school but also the individual’s strong work ethic and drive to excel in business overall.

What is Triple Crown Accreditation?

When it comes to business schools, holding a Triple accreditation, also known as Triple Crown accreditation, is the cream of the crop of certifications. Only 1% of business schools across the globe hold Triple Crown accreditation and of those, only three are in Africa.

The accreditation is awarded by the most influential business organisations and schools undergo a thorough, concise process to receive recognition from them. The three leading organisations are:

  • AACSB – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. (Based in the United States)
  • AMBA – The Association of MBAs. (Based in the United Kingdom)
  • EQUIS – EFMD Quality Improvement System. (Based in the European Union)

Receiving accreditation as a business institution highlights the high standard and quality academic offerings the school provides. Awarding the accreditation takes into consideration the school’s teaching, the calibre of staff and faculty and the student evaluation.

While receiving accreditation from one or two of the governing organisations is prestigious as is, holding the Triple is highly esteemed in the world of business schools. This is because of the rigorous set of standards an institution needs to adhere to receive an award from all three of the leading business academic organisations. The accreditation, at its fundamental level, is committed to upholding an advanced level of business education and advancing entrepreneurs and business-minded individuals in their programmes.

What is the AACSB Accreditation?

Awarded by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the AACSB Business Accreditation is one of the awards of the Triple Crown accreditation.

According to the AACSB, the fifteen standards to uphold as a business school are classified according to the following requirements:

  • Strategic management and innovation;
  • Participants (including all faculty, students, and professional staff);
  • Learning and academic teaching; and
  • Professional and academic engagement.

What is AMBA Accreditation?

Awarded by the Association of MBAs, the AMBA accreditation is granted to only the best programmes and praises those with the highest standards of excellence in postgraduate education. Across 75 different countries, only 2% of business schools hold the AMBA accreditation. The organisation looks at ten critical principles before awarding the achievement, including:

  • A high faculty quality;
  • Excellent programme design and
  • The overall student experience.

What is EQUIS Accreditation?

Awarded by the European Quality Improvement System, the EQUIS accreditation looks at the overall business and knowledge sharing experience in a business programme. The standards include components such as:

  • Critical context in business planning;
  • Governance, regulation and strategy;
  • Standards set for and achieved by students; and
  • Thorough research and development.

Why is Triple Crown Accreditation valuable?

Because of the strict requirements and high standards set, receiving the Triple Crown accreditation is highly celebrated and there are only limited business schools in the world to hold Triple accreditation. This makes completing a programme through a Triple Crown accredited school extremely valuable in business. Not only are few able to boast the achievement, but the practical skills gained are also of top-tier quality.

In Africa, only a few business schools hold Triple Crown accreditation, three of which are under MasterStart’s offerings. With the University of Cape Town (UCT) Graduate of Business School (GBS), University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) Executive Development (ED) and the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) online short courses, you can earn the prestigious achievement of becoming a Triple Crown certificate holder.

Risk Management: The need to mitigate problems

What is risk management?

Risk management is a crucial component in business to control and mitigate any risk that might threaten the health and growth of the company. It is the process of identifying, analysing and reducing threats, especially to the company’s earnings, employees and profits. 

Risks might come from a wide range of different places, both internal and external to the company. It is important that risk management exists to avoid the negative consequences of risk that the company might face in every department. This includes financial risk, legal concerns, strategic errors, accidents and information technology (IT) breaches.

The risk manager is in place not to avoid risk-taking (because with risk comes the possibility of reward), but to avoid the uncontrolled threats and the negative side of risk, if things don’t work out. This means putting strategies in place to prepare for the unexpected and mitigate risks that won’t pay off in the future.

The risk management process

The risk management process refers to the bodywork for actionable steps to take to mitigate risk. The framework includes five basic steps taken to manage threats to the business operations and profit opportunities. It’s crucial to analyse which risks are worth taking and which should be avoided. From beginning to end, the risk management process should be automated where possible but manually monitored if needs be.

The first steps in the risk management process are:

Step 1: Identify the risk

It’s important to identify any risks that the business and its operations and systems might be exposed to, within different departments.

There are different types of risks to look out for, such as legal risk, environmental and external risk, profit and market risk, sales and marketing risks, brand image management, regulations and more. When doing a risk analysis, identification to as many risks as possible is the first step – and arguably one of the most important ones to take to reduce unnecessary costs to the company from bad risk management. 

Any identified risks are to be noted manually if the process is done manually. From there, the information should be open to all members involved in order to ensure the right processes and protocols are followed to reduce the threats. If automated, the identified risk should be monitored by the risk management team. This helps ensure everyone is aware of the risks that have been identified. It’s also important to develop systems to consistently monitor the risk once it has been analysed, evaluated and treated.

Step 2: Analyse the risk

Once identified, the risk needs to undergo analysis for several reasons. It’s important to determine the scope of the risk to understand the sort of posed threat. This helps immediately note how many business operations might be affected. There are some risks which might only insignificantly impact one or two departments without any short or long-term major concerns. There are others, however, which might bring all gears to a complete halt.

It’s important to establish which risks might have far-reaching impacts and build a framework to avoid these. 

Step 3: Evaluate the risk

Every identified and analysed risk needs to be ranked and then prioritised. The evaluation of risk places it into a category which will determine the risk management solution plan of action. This depends on the severity of the risk. For example, risks which result in minor inconveniences across a department would be a low category risk. A risk which might devastate the business would be classified as a high risk. This high risk would need to find a resolution quickly.

The evaluation step in risk management is important to offer a full overview of all risks a company might be facing and which need to be prioritised and which can be tended to later. The evaluation of risk also helps determine who and which parties will be needed to treat the risk. A low risk, for example, will not need upper management and chiefs of departments for resolution. On the other hand, a major risk might need intervention from team leaders.

Step 4: Treat the risk

Once risks have undergone evaluation, it is important to contain or eliminate it. This is done by discussing with the team involved and ensuring the right people, experts or departments are briefed correctly. Dealing with the matter becomes an easier process if everyone remains on the same page.

Treating the risk can take more time than might be anticipated, especially when it is a major risk which requires shareholder attention, but coming to a compromised resolution before anything gets out of hand is imperative. 

In the risk management solution, communication is crucial so that everyone can keep close eyes on the matter. It’s important to ensure resolution is met and plans are followed or updated accordingly with everyone involved kept in the loop. Having automated systems or a centralised approach to keep all parties updated helps ensure that no vital information goes amiss.

Step 5: Monitor the risk

Some risks will always be present and require monitoring rather than complete elimination. Market risks, for example, are ever-present and cannot be eradicated because the factors are external. It’s also difficult, and sometimes impossible, to contain environmental risk completely. The best way to deal with these risks is to keep a close eye on them. From there, it’s easier to prepare for a scenario where things might turn for the worse. 

It’s important to make sure communication is an active component in risk monitoring. If everyone is aware of any changes, it is easier to manage a risk than if a team has to scramble to make a plan or follow an action strategy. This not only helps risk resolution, but it also creates a culture of team trust and continuous communication which helps other aspects of business operations and better processes overall.

The five important risk management strategies

Risk management is an inherent part of all business management systems. It’s important to put the right strategies in place to deal with risk. While the risk management process deals with the steps to avoid risks, the approach to risk management strategies deals with the practical methods of combating the unexpected events which could threaten business success. The five risk management strategies to incorporate in your business are:

Risk management strategy 1: Avoidance

Preparation is key in risk avoidance. It’s the process of mitigating risks which might unfold unpredictably. The key is foreplanning and comprehensive thinking about things which might go wrong in business operations. This entails data collation and gathering as much information as possible to have the best approach to identify any risk before it becomes a problem. With the right information and solid planning in place, it is possible to avoid unsavoury scenarios and risky situations. 

To avoid risk:

  • Plan comprehensively;
  • Conduct thorough research before launching any new systems;
  • Make information gathering a continuous strategy;
  • Prepare for worst-case scenarios.

Risk management strategy 2: Acceptance

Some risks are not worth changing systems to mitigate. The inconvenience caused by the possible risk might be insignificant enough that accepting the risk is the best strategy to take. This decision should be made with a solid base of information. 

It’s important to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of the risk and commit enough resources to analyse the possible fallout if accepting the risk. Once accepted, plans to deal with any resultant consequences should be made as soon as possible.

Risk management strategy 3: Mitigation

Mitigating risk refers to the steps taken to reduce or eradicate the risk or negative events as a result of risk acceptance. Minimising the impact of an unfavourable situation is a crucial component in risk management and should be treated in combination with preparation or precautionary strategies. 

Risk mitigation can come in the form of precautions and planning for negative events including insurance. This way, if something adverse happens, the fallout is reduced and provisions are in place to limit the severity.

Staff training is a part of risk mitigation, especially when contingency plans are in place and are trained or are communicated clearly across staff. This teaches positive approaches to dealing with risk as well as highlighting the need for safety and responsiveness to negative scenarios.

Risk management strategy 4: Transferral 

Risk transferral is the process of delegating risk if there is a need to do so. This only happens when someone or a team might be better equipped at handling the risk or dealing with the situation. Risk transferral is only successful with open lines of communication and trust in team members or external parties who might undertake the risk reduction.

If risks are transferred, it’s important to recognise that the resources needed might put strain on another department or the person who will take on dealing with the risk. For example, if there are management concerns, transferring the risk to human resources would take time out of that department which might put that team under pressure with other work. Therefore, risk transferral needs to be taken knowing that time is a limited resource and should only occur knowing that the person or team would be better equipped.

Risk management strategy 5: Exploitation

While risk has a negative connotation and avoiding negative scenarios is recommended, there is a possibility for opportunity with risk. As the expression goes, “high risk, high reward.”

One of the most ideal methods of handling risk is looking for ways to exploit the situation to find the best outcome possible. This means analysing a situation from all different angles and looking at the ones which might yield the best result.

This can be especially beneficial if the rewards come from a financial risk taken successfully. It’s difficult to navigate the exploitation of risks and it could result in a scenario worse than if the risk was reduced or avoided, but it can also pay off if the opportunity is taken well.

How do you identify risk in your business?

1. Break them down to bite-sized chunks

The risk management process can seem like an overwhelming task especially at the beginning. The best way to start the process is to break down the risks in terms of urgent and deal with individual concerns one at a time rather than trying to deal with everything at the same time.

Begin at the beginning and consider the most obvious things which can be resolved. Look at what risk needs crucial attention with a high-level approach across the company. Once those are tackled, break down the risks by department or internal category and delegate accordingly. Financial risk, for example, can be mitigated by the financial team. Operational risks can be reduced by the ops team. This not only deloads the risk manager’s plate from an overwhelming task, but it also means that the right team will be dealing with the risk. It should be noted that following delegation, it’s important to have oversight with team managers in order to ensure systems are operating as they should with the right risk avoidance strategies in place.

2. Think of the worst possible scenario

This takes a little bit of pessimist thinking. Consider what the worst case would be and what you would do if it was to happen. Imagine everything that could go wrong did go wrong and identify what you would do to get everything back and running smoothly as quickly as possible. 

This is possibly difficult to do, because it’s easy to imagine that “this would never happen” and avoid planning for the worst, but assuming the worst can put you in the best place to manage risk successfully.

3. Gain expert insight

This method of managing risk goes hand-in-hand with knowing who might be the best handling person or team to handle different risks. Asking advisories, whether internal or external, can help gain insight into possible risks that you might be struggling to resolve or not able to see. 

It’s helpful to build and leverage relationships or partners with expertise in certain fields. For example, looking to legal or financial advisors might go a long way in identifying, evaluating and mitigating possible risks with their experience and practical skill sets.

It further helps if you can lean on relationships who are familiar with your business and can offer both expert and familiar insight into assessing business risks.

4. Conduct thorough internal research

Your team and internal staff are likely most familiar with the business systems, operations and approaches. This is both beneficial in building efficient practices, but can leave room for a lack of innovation if systems don’t change. Researching and observing what risks the staff might face, both organisational and personal, can help reduce that risk and lead to better operations. 

Recognising the systems work well and which might need improvement is crucial to building better, safer, more efficient workflows which can help avoid negative outcomes.

This requires conducting data and system analysis to explore where negative results exist and how incidents and accidents happen. In observing these, it might be possible to address risk areas and reduce any future problems.

5. Look to gain external assistance

There are firms designed to help manage risk and it is sometimes worthwhile tapping into these as external resources. Learning from professional organisations who can help provide deeper insight into possible risk analysis can be a once-off or continuous event, depending on resources and requirements. 

External firms can also help identify risks that are isolated to your organisation – which is easier to avoid – or external factors in the market or industry – which might require accepting, mitigating or another innovative approach to resolve. This helps gain insight and understanding into competitor companies and the risks they might be facing too. If competition is also facing similar risks, it could lead to exploring options to exploit them to gain an upper hand.

6. Get consistent internal feedback

Getting feedback from your staff consistently is different to conducting research into the systems and looking out for possible risks. Having open lines of communication with your staff and asking for feedback about what they think might lead to negative outcomes as a result of systems, management, or general operations can help in reducing the number of risks faced. If handled well, employees can be one of the most important human resources in identifying risks or improving systems to reduce risk.

To gain feedback and set up systems where consistent feedback loops are possible, work out ways which suit your company and employees best. This might be in one-on-one meetings, through anonymous forms, or in team and group settings. Depending on how close team culture is, anonymous communication might yield the most honest responses which lead to higher identified problems or internal risks.

7. Ask for and respect customer feedback

Internal feedback from your staff is important. Gaining external insight from customer feedback is also vital. If customers are consistently commending one aspect of your company, but complaining about another, it’s worth looking to resolve the problem area. 

Customer insight can offer valuable information about what risks your company might be facing from an external point of view. The associated risk which comes from complaints can be avoided if customer feedback is taken and observed.

Offering possibilities for your customers to offer their feedback is critical. This can be in the form of anonymous feedback forms, complaint hotlines, customer service evaluation and a rating system either in store or online.

8. Automate risk management where possible

There are software and technology-based systems in place to handle automated risk management. These can help identify and classify risk without the manual input and human resources involved. Risk mapping, automated SWOT analysis and simulated scenario-softwares can help take the hassle out of the risk while ensuring risk management is ensured. While it might be an initial expense, automated risk management can pay off in the long term.

Types of risk management

Risk management, at the heart of it, is the reducing the possibility of loss. This can refer to the loss of profit, brand image, employee satisfaction, growth, or customer experience. 

Reducing the risk of loss is important to ensure the possible gains can be explored and enjoyed. The different types of risk to manage include:

Longevity risk

This refers to reducing the chance that profits and funds will run out. Reducing longevity risk relies on long-term financial planning, funding the future with saving and investment and focusing on how to make and retain passive income so that finances don’t slowly dwindle.

Inflation risk

There is always a risk that the economy will turn and inflation will skyrocket. The risk of inflation is an external factor which might be impossible to avoid. However, exploiting the risk inflation with hedge funds and assets which might soar if inflation hits can help alleviate the possibility of financial loss.

Interest rate risk

This refers to the negative impact that interest rate movements could have on your company’s profits or balance sheets. Reducing the risk means longer-term health of the company and more money to navigate other risks.

Liquidity risk

Liquidity risk is negative in the event of not being able to sell locked assets if the market looks good or making a badly timed trade. This results in the unnecessary loss of money or the loss of possible profit. Diversifying your assets across your business or having a flexible portfolio can help alleviate liquidity risk.

Internal business risk

Under the event of mismanagement or ineffective leadership, internal business risk can be at its height. Having human resources in place and employee feedback opportunities available can help alleviate internal business risks. In turn, this helps ensure systems are in place to make sure things run smoothly and staff remains happy and customers therefore will receive the best service and products possible.

External business risk

Not everything is controllable from inside a company’s operations. The external business risks refer to external environmental challenges your company faces. Having contingency plans in place can help ensure these risks don’t damage your business too severely.

Technology risks

Sometimes it feels like technology, which is built to help, is a hindrance to efficient workflow. When it seems as though the printer is conspiring against you, it’s as a result of minor technology risks, as a trivial example. The bigger technology risks can be detrimental to business operations and should be treated with care and caution. These are best avoided with strong information technology (IT) teams in place and preparations for worst-case scenarios if any important tech fails at a crucial time.

Study risk management

Taking a course or gaining practically-implementable knowledge in risk management is vital in up skilling your understanding of identifying and avoiding risks in your business.

Take a short course in risk management to discover the tools, practices, assessment methodologies and necessary insights into learning how to combat risk and tackle the challenge head-on.

Project management steps: Crucial for successful projects

Project management is a crucial component in sticking to all things important. From budget plans to ensuring deadlines are met, it’s important that tasks fall within their allocated resources and it’s up to the project manager to make this happen. Project management, as a process, is a calculated, step-by-step process and following the project management steps is one of the sure-fire ways to ensure the success of a company’s campaign.

Since every company has different goals to achieve and desired outcomes at the end of a project, outlining the steps of project management is broad. However, following the steps is important in order to keep everyone on the same page and with the same understanding. 

The elements of a project life cycle

Before implementing the steps of the project, you should be able to define and answer the following:

  • What work needs to be achieved.
  • What the defined deliverables are.
  • Who will be involved in each process, especially in the first two phases of the project management life cycle.
  • The review process and how to control and approve different phases in the project.

Determining and organising these help achieve success for the project by setting out defined, systematic and controlled processes.

What are the five project management steps?

Phase 1: Project initiation 

The very start of the project requires defining the project at a broad level with a brief overview of what the project is set to achieve and what it might entail. This is where general research begins, where case studies and possible testing for the feasibility of the project is undergone.

It is important for stakeholders to accept a project in this phase, otherwise, it will waste time if a project is rejected later in its life cycle. Once given the go-ahead, a project manager takes the next step towards finer detail planning of the project. 

Phase 2: Project planning

“Fail to plan and plan to fail.”

Planning a project is crucial to its overall end result. Having key focuses in place helps ensure the project roadmap is drawn up with an outlines intention and that the right steps are in place to follow.  

Planning involves setting clear and smart goals with realistic objectives. If planning is done well (which includes planning for the worst-case scenarios or unforeseen circumstances which might arise), the project is more likely going to run smoothly.

Phase 3: Project execution

When a project has been planned, the action is set in motion. In this step of the project management, deliverables are developed, and actions are completed. This is the substance of the project where things happen, and outcomes start getting checked off. 

In this phase, teams are developed and tasks are assigned. With a successful allocation of resources and with team members knowing what their duties are, the execution phase can run smoothly with the right tracking systems in place. 

It’s important to note that adaptability is key in this phase and that changing things can (and most likely will need to) happen to ensure the success of the project to avoid any obstacles.

Phase 4: Project management

Managing the project throughout the process is one of the most important steps during and following the project. This refers to measuring, metrics, performance indicators, managing and tracking goals to ensure that the project is on the right trajectory to succeed. 

Phase 5: Project closure

Concluding the project is just as important as beginning the project and the steps to finish strong should not be missed. This phase represents all the steps that need to be taken to completely wrap up the project before the next one can initiate. For example, contractors should be paid and contracts terminated accordingly, team members should feedback on how they feel the project went and all steps taken should be evaluated. 

Project closure is important in how the next project will go – and the right steps should be taken to improve on anything that went wrong and replicating things which had success.

The 8 Crucial Principles of Risk Management

While there is no step-by-step risk management plan that will work for every industry, there are a number of practices, frameworks and processes that have been laid out by the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) to guide businesses in effective risk management.  These come under the key principles of risk management.

What is Risk Management? 

Risk management is defined as the identification and evaluation of all risks threatening a business or project, along with the strategic implementation of resources to mitigate, manage, minimise and monitor the impact thereof. Effective and successful risk management requires a holistic, consistent approach which takes into account all of the sources from which risks can stem, including global economic uncertainty, project failure, resource shortages, legal issues, natural disasters and political instability.

What are the eight principles of Risk Management?

There are eight principles that are believed to be at the core of effective risk management, with value creation and protection as the chief objectives of risk management in business. The aim of risk management can be considered twofold: firstly, it needs to add value and/or promote value creation within the business; secondly, it must protect the value which has been created, whilst continuing to grow, expand and develop. Here we unpack these principles and what they mean for businesses:

1. Integrated 

Businesses have long since realised that risk management is not something that can be done in isolation; it is critical that risk management is integrated across all aspects and activities of the organisation. That means that risk evaluation needs to stretch across departments and organisational levels, and should be seen as an essential part of all processes. The best thing you can do is create a culture of risk-awareness at your organisation, to ensure that risk identification and evaluation is incorporated into all discussions and planning across all departments.

2. Structured and Comprehensive 

Effective risk management is impossible without a thorough, well-organised identification and evaluation process for a number of reasons. Firstly, you can’t compare apples with oranges.

An important part of risk management is consistent monitoring and reevaluation, which requires that risks are reported in a standard, structured way that can be repeated again and again. This way, trends and patterns can be tracked and used to predict and extrapolate events that could affect the business. Secondly, risk managers need to take all aspects of a business into account, which means recording information across a number of different departments, levels, projects and people. This cannot be done without a thorough, comprehensive reporting structure that lists each and every detail in need of assessment. 

This is not to say that plans, solutions and processes cannot be changed; there is always room for improvement and growth. Rather, the format and structure of risk management assessment tools and processes should be set up in such a way that it covers all bases in a systematic way that, ideally, allows for easy tracking and evaluation of problem areas.

3. Customised 

Every business and project is different, and each will have its own unique risks. It is, therefore, important that the risk management process is customised for each case. If a generalised process is used, such as a template from a website or course, you may not account for certain risks that could cause huge problems in the future. Therefore, you should choose processes and programmes that suit the product or service that you are offering, the team who is actually doing the work, the customers you are targeting, and the state of global affairs. 

Furthermore, customising your risk management plan allows you to ensure that you are honouring the rest of the principles on this list. As will be discussed in the next point, inclusivity is an essential part of effective risk management; with a customised approach, you will be able to accommodate every member of your team. Furthermore, you can work to create a collaborative process in which all team members are included and empowered to offer feedback, suggest improvements, propose ideas and implement solutions.

4. Inclusive 

Although businesses will generally have a designated risk manager, one of the essential principles in the risk management process is inclusive of everyone who plays a part in the work done by the company. This means that you need to consider the input of stakeholders, investors, executives and employees. The reason for this is that different people will be able to provide unique perspectives on problems which could arise, thus allowing you to make your risk management as comprehensive and multifaceted as possible. Furthermore, allowing workers to have input in this essential process will help to foster empowerment, motivation and agency.

5. Dynamic 

It is important for your risk management approach to be both proactive and responsive. This is because the world is in constant flux, and the risks posed to your business will change according to a wide range of factors including economics, politics, globalisation and digitalisation.

You need to be mindful of the changes happening in the world and how these could threaten or benefit the business and its projects; you also need to be willing and able to adapt according to unforeseen circumstances which may arise. The best way to practice dynamic risk management is to have a diverse, empowered and well-equipped team; this allows for more eyes on the ground and ensures that you are guarding against risk from all angles.

6. Get the best available information 

Unfortunately, you will never have 100% of the information that you need or want when it comes to mitigating risk. This principle in risk management is all about accepting the fact that you will have to make some difficult decisions about the problems you are faced with and the solutions you implement. You will often be unsure if you are doing the right thing. To be an effective risk manager you need to learn to trust your knowledge, training and skills to point you in the right direction. And to trust yourself, you need to give your best; be alert, be proactive and never allow yourself to become complacent. If you put in the work, you have no reason not to trust yourself- you’ve got this.

7. Remember human and cultural factors 

When developing risk management plans and solutions, you need to take into account the fact that human beings with needs and limitations will need to be consistently applying risk management practices while performing their daily work. Allow for the fact that mistakes will be made and work with the strengths and weaknesses of your team. Furthermore, tailor your solutions to the specific needs of your team members and allow them to give input. It is essential that each person is equipped with the approach and resources they need to tackle problems with confidence and efficiency.

Alongside tailoring your approach, you should work to train employees in risk management in order to create a competent, confident team with a culture of risk-awareness. A great way to grow this awareness and competence is to enrol your team in an online course that allows them to learn and improve whilst continuing to fulfil their work responsibilities.

8. Continual improvement

Aiming for continuous improvement in risk management is the best way to build a business’ resilience; furthermore, ensuring that this principle is incorporated into your approach will encourage dynamic practices. If you and your team are determined to explore opportunities for improvement throughout projects and business operations, you will be more likely to develop future-fit solutions that speak to consumer needs and our ever-changing world. 

The principles of Risk Management in a nutshell

As mentioned above, there is no step-by-step plan that will work for every business or project; however, these principles provide an excellent starting point for developing a risk management approach that:

  • Is integrated across all aspects of the business
  • Follows a clear, standardised structure that allows for easy progress monitoring and considers all business or project factors
  • Can be tailored to the specific needs and risks of your specific business or project
  • Includes the input and perspective of all relevant team members and stakeholders
  • Is able to be dynamically adapted and developed according to global events, competitor activity and consumer needs
  • Allows you to utilise the best available information and proceed with confidence and competence
  • Takes into account the limitations and individual needs of your team members, while building a culture of risk-awareness
  • Encourages continuous improvement and equips team members to identify opportunities for growth and refinement

It will take time, dedication and hard work to successfully implement these principles and build a successful risk management approach. It may not be easy, but the combination of these factors is sure to set you, and your business, up for success in today’s volatile, ever-evolving world.

Discover the Principles of Risk Management First Hand

Digital Transformation: The Critical Nature of Disruptive Systems

Things are radically different today than they were a few years ago. Changes are happening in business and they’re happening quicker and more thoroughly than ever before. If businesses fail to keep up with the movement towards the integration of digital technology, they will fail to stay relevant. This is why digital transformation is key.

Digital transformation allows for better efficiency in overall organisational structures, more value to customers and better-equipped processes to stay ahead of competitors and adapt to any changing landscapes and shifting markets. Digital transformation, in a nutshell, means processes can be better with the right implementation of digital, technologically-driven systems in place.

What is digital transformation? 

Digital transformation, as a raw definition, is integrating digital technology into all aspects in a business. This has a crucial change, but not overhaul, in the way operations take place which leads from a systematic approach to a cultural shift. Essentially, a digital transformation is when a company transforms elements of the company to include new, better digital systems. 

From a broader sense, digital transformation starts within the company and has an impact – which should be sustainable and positive – on the employees and the customers at the end of the day.

What are the 4 main areas of digital transformation?

Four key areas exist in digital transformation. These are:

  • Business process, 
  • Business model, 
  • Domain, and 
  • Cultural/organisational. 

All four of these are important for a company to successfully experience digital experience. If only one area exists, the company will face a lack of smooth systems in the transition as digital means are integrated. 

Business process transformation

This is the process of shifting operations and systems in a business to enjoy a more digital focus. The business process transformation in digital transformation refers to using the data, such as through all analytic measurements, APIs, machine learning and artificial intelligence software to look at ways to create or reestablish new, better ways of conducting operations throughout the company. The purpose here is to decrease costs, reduce time, cut down inefficiency, promote quality, and save time in all business processes.

Business model transformation 

Business models and the digital transformations refer to the fundamentals of a business and how value is experienced from the business. In a sense, the business model relates to the business’ building blocks. Digital transformation here is less easy to identify, as it’s not all about putting a digital system in place or using technology to increase output. Instead, this process is about the culture of the company as systems integrate with technology. This is critical as it leads to innovative thinking, a culture of curiosity and the hunger for growth. If more employees feel more comfortable using digital methods and are given the freedom to experiment with software and technology, the room for innovation increases.

Domain transformation 

Often overlooked, but extremely important; domain transformation refers to expansion, redirection, or carving of new products and services that a company offers. With new technology that allows companies to break barriers and traditional operations and marketing, it’s important for a company to constantly look for new, fresh ways to add to its offerings. An example of this would be the addition of Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive as a cloud storage to the search engine’s offering. This transformation and additional services means the giant has moved from what would have been only one service (the search engine) to a multi-service suite.

Cultural/organisational transformation 

Similar to business model transformation, cultural and organisation transformation happens within the internal structure of the company. This shift happens with the right processes in place to allow employees to work in a way where agility, flexibility, and innovation are encouraged. If a culture of innovation and experimentation is encouraged in a workforce, it can lead to novel ideas which can have a massive impact on both the products or services delivered as well as the efficiency of the systems. 

One important thing to note when making a cultural shift in a company to enable more digital thinking is allowing employees to feel comfortable in experimenting; even if something doesn’t work. If failure of an idea is frowned on too harshly, the workforce won’t try anything new for fear of reprimand. If there is a culture of innovation, however, there is much more likely an opportunity for agile thinking which leads to digital success in both internal skills and better systems.

Digital transformation strategy

A digital transformation strategy refers to a plan of action which defines how a company will move itself to align more with a digital world of business. Basically, the digital transformation strategy is how the implementation of the company will become more digital successfully without breaking down systems in the process. It is important that this strategy is planned initially and followed with tweaks along the way. 

One fundamental factor when outlining and executing the digital transformation strategy is keeping an eye on the vision of the company and considering the customer at all times. Since customer habits change over time, it’s important that businesses think about how best to align this with their mission.

The three components in a digital transformation strategy:

  1. The shift in processes
  2. The shift of operations, and
  3. The shift of relationships with customers.

Why do we need a digital transformation?

People rely on the internet for work, for shopping for banking. Technology is used in industries across the world. The digital world is not a luxury any more, it’s integral to communication, customer service, retail, and so much more. If companies don’t take advantage of the technology available, they won’t keep up in the moving world. 

There are clear-cut reasons why a digital transformation is critical for companies looking to both remain relevant and stay ahead in the fast-paced world.

Five reasons why digital transformation is essential

  1. On-demand and instant expectations

People don’t only follow a price-tag when it comes to their choice of company. Giving the user or customer a good experience when dealing with your company is critical in retaining their business. This means having more agile systems, whether operations or software, is important in staying on track with expectations and communication with the customer.

Working with IT services and internal networking to improve systems in place can enable companies to scale up more rapidly and sustainably, giving them the best chance to manage expectations.

  1. Employee effectiveness

The better tools in place for efficiency, the more easily an employee can be effective. It sounds simple, and it is, but it’s got to be done right. With the right software and digital tools, core business functions such as logistical administration, finance, human resources and project management can move away from manual protocols. If automated systems are in place, key areas such as task management and payrolls can happen digitally and management and the leaders can focus on more important things.

  1. Security should be a focus

If a customer feels safe or that their data might not be at risk, they will more likely opt to use a company’s platform. Having updated security strategies and consistent focus on safety should be a crucial priority. Information and security officers for companies – especially in the online space – should look to implement digital transformation strategies which look after themselves as much as possible. 

With technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning becoming more widely available, reducing human error should be a focus for user security and it’s only possible with a priority on the digital transformation of security systems.

  1. Stronger business partnerships

If a company is able to build and hone quality digital processes early and implement systems across the organisation, it can focus later on developing business partnerships. With strong internal processes in place which are flexible enough to adapt and scale, the resources available will be able to filter into external partner relationships. 

Digital transformation in a business also helps lend itself to new partnerships which might not have been possible without a technological scope. For example, a business which might have had a focus on retail and selling only could branch to ecommerce, which opens up partnerships which are only in the digital space.

  1. More information and better decision-making

With more access to data and information than ever before, there are incredible resources available to make informed customer-centric decisions. The right tools and correct implementation thereof can ensure that any available data can be turned into business insights. These can be used to make more informed decisions in order to offer customers more of what they might want and alleviate and reduce elements that don’t perform. Not only are these decisions better, but they can also be analysed and implemented quicker with the right software and tools in place too.

What are examples of digital transformation?

How can companies practically implement digital transformation? What does it look like in motion? There are a few examples which show how digital transformation can look:

The launch of an app

Developing and launching an app dedicated to making the life of a customer easier is an example of how digitally transforming an element of a company can look. If a company is an online commerce store, having an app with push-notifications and easy check-outs can make it much easier for customers on their mobile devices to purchase a product. The easier the system for the customer, the more likely they are to use the company.

Moving from traditional stores to online retail

It’s not necessarily new, but it’s a crucial step for retail companies to take. Digital transformation, in its essence, is transforming systems and methods from traditional to digital. Having a space online where customers can shop is an example of how the internet can offer new methods of widening an audience base.

Looking for omni-channel opportunities

An example of a company that successfully integrated digital systems in an omni-channel approach is toy manufacturer Hasbro. Hasbro uses the combination of digital storytelling, marketing video content, social media platforms and other marketing techniques to engage with its audience and connect with consumers. Making use of multiple platforms to reach different audiences is a fantastic way to see the benefits of digital transformation in action. 

Five digital transformation elements

Practically, there are countless ways to implement digital transformation into a business. Fundamentally speaking, here are five different platforms to introduce and execute digital transformation in your business from marketing, processes, and operational approaches:

  1. Social media platforms

Social media offers a means to communicate to and with customers. The use of platforms can also act as a way to advertise and gain wider data into what a company’s audience might want to what they are not interested in. Having the right tools in place to monitor customer interactions, engagement, identify and analyse trends and respond to any feedback can go a long way in gaining a loyal customer base.

  1. Cloud computing and software as services

Cloud computing can be a crucial way to promote digital transformation in a company. This is especially true with user-friendly collaborative tools in place which encourages team-work and enables a central system of information for company’s resources.

  1. Remote access and mobility

If a company can exist away from the brick-and-mortar approach, it opens up a much wider range of audience and opportunity. This can refer to customers, clients, and partnership possibilities. Taking a business online is a significant step in digital transformation and stands as one crucial to take to get an edge on competition.

  1. Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things comprises of devices that have integrated technology with the ability to sync and connect to online data and cloud-based systems. Integrating tools and devices using IoT and internet-based software opens up room to collaborate easily and seamlessly across users, apps, and devices. 

  1. Artificial intelligence and machine learning

The technology behind Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning introduces a new ability for people to use machines and software with human-like thinking without human resources. This means computers can be used to experiment, make decisions, set ranges and work within the scope presented by the information technology (IT) teams.

What is the goal of digital transformation?

The main purpose of digital transformation in business is to optimise and improve systems using technology. This includes automated processes, using intelligent software, using data available, and reducing manual input in order to make time for more thorough work. Successful digital transformation overhauls should put technology in charge of tasks which don’t require much thought and putting human resources in positions where they can collaborate, innovate, think and develop.

In a nutshell, the main goal of digital transformation is to shift a business from manual and traditional methods to digital and technologically-based methods.

12 steps to digital transformation

It’s fantastic to know the benefits of digital transformation and the platforms available to implement a digital transformation strategy, but without the right steps in place to fully integrate technology into business operations, the knowledge is wasted.

  1. Shift to become more customer-centric

The most important first step is for a company to move from a product-focused approach to a customer-focused one. If a company can realise what a customer’s needs and wants are and adapt the product and service from that (with tweaks along the way), they’re far more likely to set up for success. This means harnessing the technology, tools, systems and software available to understand the perspective of the customer and plan from there.

  1. Reorganise the company’s structure

Transparency and innovative culture is key to effectively adopt a digital transformation in business. To fully adjust to a successful digital transformation, the team needs to be on board change of both systems and thinking. Any internal barriers or obstacles of communication need to be broken down and leadership should be able to emphasise the exciting possibilities that a digital transformation can bring.

  1. Opt for modern management

Traditional approaches are often enforced by traditional-minded management. Innovation and digital thinking needs to happen from the top. If a manager is wired to embrace change and experiment with digital possibilities, the potential benefits of a digital transformation are far more likely to be realised. 

  1. Encourage transformational leadership

A strong leader goes beyond looking at the tools employees can use. Effective leadership will encourage employees to embrace change – with a sense of security and not isolation. Transformational leaders will not only help steer a workforce in times of change, but will help promote experiential and innovative thinking in employees too – harnessing a strong culture of digital change.

  1. Make the technological decisions collaboratively

Collaboration in decision making is encouraged in all business aspects and when it comes to digital transformation, this is no different. Effective and long-lasting decisions should be made with the opinion of management, employees and those who might be impacted by any digital changes in mind. When it comes to making and implementing digital changes in a company, the IT department is crucial in the roll out. All decisions should be made and then effectively communicated across the company.

  1. Integrate effectively

Looking and analysing any important data should be the first step in integrating any technology changes in the company. Before making massive shifts, make sure the strategy is based on effective data analysis and then monitor the shifts at each step.

  1. Gain insight into the internal customer experience

Feedback when making any changes is crucial. When making a step to digital transformation, the company and leadership team needs to make sure that the internal customer (internal teams and employees across departments) are feeling heard. Having room for feedback means that the right systems and software can be implemented well and a successful transformation can take place while enabling employees to feel trusted and secure.

  1. Improve the logistics and supply chain

The point of a digital transformation is to improve systems and make them quicker, more resilient, and more effective. Adding a digital layer to the logistics and supply chain is a necessity in improving speed and consistency for product delivery and distribution. 

  1. Add data security and privacy

As mentioned above, if users don’t feel as though their data and information is safe, they’ll opt against spending their money at that place. Ensuring that secure systems are in place to avoid data hacks and security breaches is a fundamentally important step in digital transformation. Once secure systems are in place, it’s equally important to consistently update the systems and maintain safety measures.

  1. Keep an eye on the evolution of customer’s wants

When it comes to digital products, modern generally trumps traditional. When a company thinks about their product or service offering, it is important for them to consider where the audience might be headed. Having a team to watch out for and analyse trends is important to stay up to date and produce something worth a customer’s time and money.

  1. Integrate traditional into digital where possible

The shift from brick-and-mortar to integrate with click-and-mortar as well as full e-commerce is not a new one, but it still stands as a crucial one. Making sure customers can find a company online or be able to look up or purchase products or services is vital. This includes considering how to offer customers the chance for open feedback (such as online reviews) and harnessing the positive as a marketing method and leveraging any negative feedback and improving from it.

  1. Make things personal

One of the best customer service strategies to develop or maintain is personalisation. If a customer feels like a person to a company, rather than an order number, they will likely keep coming back. When setting up automatic systems, it’s important to remember the customer and develop processes which puts them at the centre. It can be as simple as automating messages with the customer’s name from the database. 

Introduction to Business Management: What You Need to Know

Business management involves the supervision, organisation and coordination of business resources and operations to achieve specific objectives. A business manager has a wide range of responsibilities and daily duties that need to be performed to ensure the overall health of the business and its projects, cash flow and team members. In this, we explore the introduction to business management in full.

What is the introduction to business management?

The introduction to business management requires looking at the functions which are commonly regarded as the planning, organising, directing, leading and controlling. In simple words, it is the job of a business manager to ensure that employees and resources are effectively coordinated so that the necessary work may be completed and business objectives can be accomplished. Here we outline a brief introduction to business management, including skills needed and the daily responsibilities of a business manager.

Skills: The introduction to business management

In order to effectively manage an organisation and its resources, business managers need to possess both hard and soft skills in a number of different areas:

Finance 

At the end of the day, a business exists to make a profit through the sale of goods or services; which makes it essential that a business manager is equipped with the financial knowledge, skills and experience needed to make the right decisions for the organisation’s success. Business managers should have a solid understanding of and be skilled in budgeting, accounting, taxes, financial analysis and investment strategies. The combination of these skills allows you, as a manager, to effectively coordinate labour, resources and projects to ensure minimum losses and maximum profit.

Planning 

A large aspect of management is the ability to effectively allocate resources in order to capitalise on opportunities and mitigate risks; this cannot be done without careful and comprehensive planning. A business manager needs to be able to strategise and formulate plans and projects that will drive organisational growth, while also navigating potential risk factors.

This is especially important in times of political, economic and global instability, as managers need to analyse the allocation of funds and decide on the best areas to reduce spending in order to protect the business and its employees.

Leadership 

While the ultimate goal of a business is to make profit, an organisation cannot achieve its objectives without an empowered, passionate and well-functioning workforce. Mangers, therefore, need to have strong leadership skills in order to guide their team and effectively tackle risks and problems.

To be a good leader, a manager needs to have a working knowledge of business operations. More importantly, they need to be able to motivate their team, address interpersonal issues, work with the strengths and weaknesses of their employees, and know when to delegate tasks. All employees should be treated fairly and provided with the necessary support to ensure that they are equipped to successfully complete tasks and projects.

Get schooled in Strategic Leadership

Communication 

Business management relies on the realisation of ideas and plans seeking to further business objectives; for this, effective communication is absolutely essential. You need to ensure that you are able to clearly articulate the goals that need to be achieved, and properly explain what needs to be done by each department or team member. This reduces the chance of confusion and ensures that the company functions like a well-oiled machine.

Brush up on Business Writing

Risk Management

While many organisations have a dedicated risk manager, it is important that business managers are familiar with the principles and practices of risk management so that they can incorporate risk analysis and mitigation techniques into all operations and planning.

Business Development 

In order to stay ahead of the competition, a business needs to protect its value while simultaneously seeking out and pursuing opportunities for growth and expansion. A business manager needs to be able to identify gaps in the market and formulate strategies for investment, product development and restructuring.

The practical introduction to business management: A day in the life of…

A business manager has a jam-packed day that involves a wide variety of tasks including:

Meetings 

One of the most important daily responsibilities of a manager is to communicate with shareholders, employees and other executive personnel. Managers need to check in with their team frequently to ensure that projects are on track, budgets are being adhered to, stakeholders are satisfied with business progress, and to tackle any problems that require managerial intervention.

Project planning 

Business managers need to be involved in the development of projects that will aid in company growth; this comprises identifying expansion opportunities, reviewing available organisational resources, negotiating with various business stakeholders, and assessing the health of ongoing projects.

Human Resource management 

It is important that managers are active in the human and cultural factors of the business. This requires addressing interpersonal conflicts, restructuring teams and hierarchies, and playing a role in the recruitment of new talent. Furthermore, business managers should work to create an inclusive, supportive company culture in which employees are equipped with the resources and tools they need to perform their daily work, address problems and implement solutions.

So, what is business management in a nutshell?

Well, since business managers are the driving force of an organisation’s success, business management carries a vast amount of responsibility and those in the role are required to keep their finger on the pulse of all business operations. Business management may be hard work, but it is an incredibly rewarding and lucrative field that allows you to pursue opportunities in a wide range of industries and locations.

If you are interested in becoming a business manager, consider enrolling in training programmes and courses that will equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills, while allowing you to gain hands-on professional experience.

Enrol to better your business practices today

Project Management Skills: The Most Important

Project management is the process of facilitating teams and coordinating resources to achieve a particular business objective; it is an essential practice for the continued growth, development and success of an organisation. Project managers need to be equipped with a specific skill set, comprising both hard and soft skills, that allows them to effectively guide their team members and mitigate risks along the way. 

Project Management skills – why do you need them?

Project managers carry a huge amount of responsibility, particularly in industries where the successful completion of projects drives success, such as construction and software development. To be trusted with the management of business projects, senior executives need to know that you are capable of carrying out the necessary duties and equipped with the specific skills needed to drive innovation, solve problems, coordinate team members, stick to a budget, and deliver work within the specified timeframe. 

Top nine skills in Project Management

You can expand and refine your hard skill set through training, education and experience. Hard skills needed in project management include:

Budgeting 

Projects are often undertaken with the intention of increasing business profit; therefore, it is absolutely essential that you are able to keep spending in line with a project’s predetermined budget. As projects are constantly evolving and changing, budget management should be a responsive, ongoing process that is integrated into project review stages. To budget successfully, you should have a comprehensive understanding of business finance so that you can accurately analyse project spending and implement cost-effective solutions where necessary.  

Learn Financial Management

Reviewing and reporting 

Reviewing and reporting form an integral part of the project process. You need to be equipped to accurately and reliably assess the progress of team members and the project itself throughout its duration. Furthermore, you need to be confident in your ability to meet with important stakeholders, senior executives and investors, and effectively communicate the project status. Good reporting requires proficiency in relevant software and tools, effective and confident communication, and attention to detail.

Planning 

While a project manager needs to be able to think on their feet and implement solutions as problems arise, they also need to be able to comprehensively and proactively plan all steps of the project process. Effective planning and smart resource allocation ensures that risks are reduced, team members are aligned, and responsibilities are clearly defined. Furthermore, it will be difficult to find project investors unless you have a solid plan of attack that assures maximum chances of success.

Risk management 

Unfortunately, every project is bound to run into some problems at one stage or another. It is the job of a project manager to ensure that a business is taking steps to minimise risks and neutralise threats to a project’s success. For maximum protection, a business’ risk management approach needs to be standardised, structured and comprehensive so that the project can be protected from as many categories of risk as possible. 

While the above hard skills are essential for proper project management, we must be careful not to underestimate the value of soft skills. These are defined as competencies which cannot necessarily be measured or learnt from a book. Nowadays, employers and recruiters tend to place high value on soft skills when looking to hire new talent, as it can be easy to teach a person how to work within specific structures and tools, but it is much more difficult to train someone in emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills. 

Examples of soft skills for project managers include:

Leadership 

At the end of the day, the job of a project manager is to lead a team to success. Therefore, it is important that project managers possess strong leadership skills that allow them to build a supportive culture in which team members feel empowered and trusted. To become an effective leader, you need to have a deep self-awareness and an understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, you need to take into account the human limitations of your team members so that you can provide support and flexibility where needed. 

How to develop leadership skills

Communication 

It is crucial that all members of the project team understand exactly what needs to be done, when it needs to be done by, and who needs to be doing it. Miscommunication is sure to throw a spanner in the works, and is likely to cause frustration and tension. To be a successful project manager, you need to be able to clearly communicate with a wide range of people including employees, contractors, executives, shareholders and investors. Furthermore, you need to be receptive to constructive criticism and able to have difficult conversations with people both above and below you in the chain of command.

Patience and flexibility

Tensions can be high during the planning and execution of a project, and it is highly likely that human factors will hold up the process from time to time. While it is a project manager’s job to keep plans on track, you also need to remember that growing trust and confidence in your team is what is ultimately going to guarantee success. You need to find a balance between enforcing the rules, and allowing your team to make mistakes and learn

Multitasking 

Project managers need to be able to keep their fingers in a lot of pies while maintaining control of the project as a whole. It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed at times, but it is important that you are able to regain composure and do what needs to be done. 

Problem-solving

A large portion of project management involves thinking on your feet and developing solutions for problems that arise due to unforeseen circumstances. It is therefore important that you are able to approach obstacles with a calm, clear and positive mindset.

How to refine Project Management skills

If you are considering pursuing project management, but you are concerned that you do not possess the necessary toolkit, the best thing you can do is gain training and experience. If you can, try to find a course or programmes that work to develop both hard skills, while allowing you to gain industry experience that will refine your soft skills.

Get to grips with Project Management

WOMEN RISING: SUPPORTING A NEW ERA OF FEMALE LEADERS BY BECOMING A BETTER LEADER

Leaning into the discomfort of difficult topics

Have you found yourself in a difficult conversation at work, where what started as casual water-cooler conversations turned into a complex dialogue about gender, race or even multiculturalism? What about the boardroom banter that turned into awkward silences, and left you worrying about the lasting effects it would have on your team and future company culture?

Leaning into these types of difficult conversations can be daunting, and the world has slowly recognised the need to have them. However, as female leaders, we ourselves struggle to know where to begin. Here are some tips and guidelines to better manage your team.

Look inward before looking outward.

Self-awareness has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years, however working on your own triggers, bias and preconceptions in a curious and compassionate way can make all of the difference. Things can get messy and blurred when we project our own experience and perceptions onto our team and this happens often and can be very normal when dealing with people. When we do the ‘me’ work we can help others without standing in our own way.

We’ve seen results in so many women who have found guidance from a therapist, coach or counsellor, and there are also many workshops and books that help us explore these topics in a safe space. Once we gain a deeper understanding of how we feel about gender equality, only then can we challenge our unconscious thoughts about gender.

Recognise the value of equal opportunity

Becoming more conscious of complex gender dynamics is vital when leading a team. Start by becoming more attuned to your team members through active listening and genuine curiosity for their experiences. Develop a heightened awareness around the use of language and power dynamics and address issues on a day-to-day basis. A little bit of work can go a long way, and can lead to improved psychological wellbeing for your whole team.

Equality serves all sides, resulting in a happier workplace where individuals are empowered to take responsibility for living up to their own values as well as the values of their company. Once we become aware and are able to address these issues then we are one step closer to giving the team increased motivation and drive. Let’s work toward building more diverse and inclusive teams that will change the landscape of business for the better.

Change begins with awareness

Those in leadership positions can start the process by recognising if the power dynamic is already leaning in the favour of one side. More obvious signs include having more of one gender in higher ranking positions, being paid more than the other for the same job title, and a work culture that serves the needs of one gender over the other. Subtler indications include: microaggressive behaviour, usually in the form of passive aggressive, sarcastic or facetious remarks, as well as members from a specific gender making the majority of the decisions. These dynamics need to be managed in a gentle and conscious way.

Education is the path to least resistance

Calling out insensitive behaviour can result in more defensiveness, which is why it’s more constructive to inform rather than challenge. Creating an environment where individuals can explore power and gender dynamics allows for deeper learning and an opportunity to learn from mistakes. It’s important that leaders introduce workshops that develop deeper self-awareness or provide information on these topics.

Recognise & Nurture the unique strengths of each individual

As much as broader gender dynamics influence a workplace, real change always begins with the individual – especially you. The truth is that we have little control over how others choose to think and behave. At most, we can become attuned to the unique needs, challenges and strengths of each individual and then choose to model good leadership. This way others can experience what it feels like to be seen and appreciated beyond their ascribed gender constraints.

If you would like to learn how to support women in their careers, or learn to lead a more inclusive team, sign up for our online short course on STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP.

MEET YOUR GIBS ONLINE MATCH

When choosing between our range of world-class digital programmes, you can’t really go wrong. Each of our courses provides you with a unique edge in the new working world, thanks to our expert faculty and future-fit curricula – but which is YOUR perfect fit? Peruse our executive offering and pick your path to prosperity…

BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT

Quick Logistics
Duration: 11 weeks
Weekly Commitment: 4-6 hours
Course Experts: Dr Jonathan Marks, Dr Dorothy Ndletyana, Justin Spencer-Young & Abdullah Verachia

Our Business and Management Development digital programme will transform you into a future-ready business leader who can find success under any circumstances. The programme is designed to develop your decision-making skills within complex and turbulent environments, and improve your ability to design and communicate actionable, integrated solutions across your business.

Course content is focused on building your understanding of business operations and common management challenges, as well as equipping you with a solid understanding of leadership, strategy and financial decision-making skills that will empower you to create the business that you envision. One of the highlights of the course is the elective module, which offers a choice between studying Corporate Innovation or Entrepreneurship – for success in whichever position you may find yourself.

Is This Your Match?

This is the perfect course for anyone looking to find success in the management and leadership spheres, whether you are an employee identified for the management pipeline or an entrepreneur ready to make your mark.

Not only will we equip you with a secure understanding of business operations and strategy implementation, but you will also have the opportunity to explore your own leadership abilities and prepare yourself for the challenges and stepping stones presented by the Fourth Industrial revolution.

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FINANCIAL ANALYSIS FOR INVESTMENT

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Duration: 6 weeks
Weekly Commitment: 4-6 hours
Course Expert: Justin Spencer-Young

This programme examines the dynamics of value creation in business through a close analysis of the financial data of a wide range of listed companies, allowing you to substantially improve your understanding of financial metrics and make the right investment decisions for your organisation. Furthermore, we will teach you the fundamentals of financial analysis for business in South Africa, including cash flow, statements, the meaning of ‘cheap’ and ‘expensive’ shares, and the accurate valuation of JSE-listed companies.

At the end of the course, not only will you be equipped to calculate and identify the levers of company value, but you will also be able to accurately interpret a business’ income statement and balance sheet, work with financial and investment ratios, and develop a list of promising investment candidates.

Is This Your Match?

The accurate and effective analysis of investment opportunities is an invaluable skill for anyone looking to succeed in today’s business world; not only will an understanding of value-creation metrics allow you to identify profitable investments, but you will also be able to assess the value of any business and identify ways to improve. This programme is particularly useful for anyone with training in accounting or finances who would like to deepen their understanding of the fundamentals of financial analysis. Furthermore, this is the perfect course for those looking to profitably invest in listed companies, in either a personal or professional capacity.

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NEGOTIATION SKILLS

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Duration: 7 weeks
Weekly Commitment: 4-6 hours
Course Expert: Lisa Botes

Daily negotiation is an inescapable part of life; this course equips you to wield persuasive power, effectively ‘sell’ your ideas, and enjoy fruitful negotiation for mutual benefit. You will be trained in proven negotiation processes and tools, organisational and interpersonal awareness, and the application of these skills in both the conventional and remote workplace. Furthermore, this programme will lead you in a journey of self-discovery as you tap into your own unique strengths and build the confidence needed to drive successful engagement. We will also examine the benefits of a human-centred negotiation approach, as well as levers of influence that you can use to create a win-win scenario for all parties.

Is This Your Match?

This course will open doors for anyone in business, no matter your field or experience level. This programme is particularly beneficial for those looking to get ahead in these times of disruption and uncertainty, as it will equip you to successfully pitch your ideas and gently persuade others to jump on your bandwagon.

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AI A PRACTICAL APPROACH

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Duration: 7 weeks
Weekly Commitment: 4-6 hours
Course Expert: Dr Manoj Chiba

Our AI a Practical Approach programme is designed to equip you with the knowledge, skills, tools and understanding needed to harness artificial intelligence for both individual and organisational competitiveness. We will start out with an exploration of AI itself, as well as the surrounding data and analytics, and then move into an examination of the ways in which AI is being used in the business realm. Importantly, we will also take a look at the metrics that should be used in measuring AI success, as well as the development of a business case for AI.

The highlight of the programme is undoubtedly the chatbot application assignment, in which you will design, develop and deploy an AI-powered chatbot, along with the business case thereof.

Is This Your Match?

You may be worried that you will be unable to keep up with this programme without a solid, working understanding of AI technology… Fear not! This programme is specifically designed to develop your understanding and demystify artificial intelligence, no matter your experience in technology or your level within an organisation. This is the perfect pick for anyone who is intrigued by the opportunities presented by the corporate implementation of AI, as well as those who would like to enjoy a comprehensive, supported introduction to the workings and development of AI technology.

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DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: A PRACTICAL STRATEGY

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Duration: 7 weeks
Weekly Commitment: 4-6 hours
Course Expert: Nishan Pillay

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution continues to roll through the world, digital transformation is the name of the game. If you want to keep yourself and your organisation relevant and competitive, you need to become comfortable with the technological developments underway and be able to adapt your business accordingly. Our Digital Transformation programme will equip you with an understanding of the leading theories of digitalisation, as well as practical strategies for implementing future-fit solutions across your company.
In addition to learning about what global technological change means for business, you will also be taught design thinking principles, data strategies, the importance of aligning people, data and technology, and how to be agile in placing the customer at the centre of your digital transformation.

Is This Your Match?

If you would like to equip yourself to lead business into the future, this is the course you have been looking for. Understanding the workings of relevant technology and transformation is a sure way to become an asset to any business, particularly if you hold any type of leadership position. This programme is particularly beneficial for all leaders responsible for driving and implementing initiatives concerning IT, data, technology and innovation.

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FINTECH: AN OPPORTUNITY TO DISRUPT

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Duration: 7 weeks
Weekly Commitment: 4-6 hours
Course Expert: Dr Morris Mthombeni

Recent years have seen the financial services industry booming with technological innovation, particularly with regards to financial technology (FinTech). It can be difficult to determine, however, if FinTech solutions are a threat to your company, or a passage to increased efficiency and profit. This programme examines the extent of FinTech disruption in the financial and technological sectors, and explores opportunities for harnessing FinTech for corporate success.

Along the way, you will examine FinTech regulations, the origin of FinTech, strategies used by FinTech players, strategies used by BigTech companies, potential solutions offered by FinTech, and how to best leverage FinTech in your corporate strategy.

Is This Your Match?

This is the ideal course for all individuals who operate in the financial and technology sectors, as well as those whose business can be enabled by FinTech solutions. This programme serves to provide a comprehensive overview of FinTech, as well as an in-depth guide to the navigation of FinTech disruption. As such, this course is perfect for all those who are interested in leveraging financial technology, no matter your level of technological experience. If you have recently entered the field, this is sure to set you apart as one-to-watch. Furthermore, if you are a manager, executive director, entrepreneur or supplier in an impacted industry, this will give you the competitive advantage you’ve been looking for.

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STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP

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Duration: 7 weeks
Weekly Commitment: 4-6 hours
Course Expert: Professor Caren Scheepers

It is essential for current and future business leaders to understand the dynamics of effective leadership, and to be able to identify both strategic opportunities and risks needing mitigation. This course equips you with the tools, theories and guidance necessary to understand the ‘organisation-in-the-mind’ of the leader, allowing you to cut across traditional business silos in order to create networks that stretch across disciplines, and even organisations. Furthermore, you will gain insight into the risks of global expansion for local business, allowing you to stand your ground in the face of formidable competition.

Along the way, you will build a deep self-awareness of your own strengths and leadership qualities, allowing you to develop a cognitive competence for leading strategically and powerfully connecting with your team.

Is This Your Match?

This is the perfect programme for anyone looking to make their mark in the brave new world and lead their business to the forefront. You will be equipped to shift your company’s focus from today’s problems to tomorrow’s opportunities, allowing you to act proactively to implement strategic solutions that will benefit the organisation as a whole. Furthermore, this course will give you insight into business issues and build your working knowledge of strategy formulation and implementation, preparing you for growth in your organisation.

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