Home' acuity : Acuity April 15 Contents Activity Outside the Square Benefit Inside the Square
Improve writing skills, eg client proposals or
the angle of a business case in board papers.
Get straight to the key issue.
Work in Charity
Improve affinity with people and sense of
reality – keep one’s feet on the ground.
Make valuable contacts with successful
people involved in charities.
Understand customer intent and the sales
cycle allowing critical review of roll out
assumptions in a business plan.
Learn a language for fun
Strategy for a new market, eg the domestic
Chinese sector or Saudi Arabia.
Fly (pilot’s licence) for fun Fly to clients – reduce reliance on airlines.
Make contacts with people from many
different walks of life who fly.
Learn a martial art
Calmness under pressure.
Courage and discipline.
Neutralise opponents’ aggression.
“Three of the main ways CAs can use
life outside the box to add value in
the box are study, work and play.”
surprising – from the pure pleasure of helping people, to the
characters one meets and the stories they tell. A Kiwi CEO
new to Melbourne was given the following advice: “The best
way to meet the who’s who in Victoria is to get involved in
charity or the arts – that’s where you’ll find them.”
Examples of activities “outside the box” adding value “inside the box”.
Becoming a pilot has given many people wings including:
actors John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie and Clint
Eastwood; sportspeople Phil Mickelson, Nigel Mansel and
Arnold Plamer; super model Gisele Bundchen; US presidents
Dwight Eisenhower. George Bush and George W Bush; royals
Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Prince William, Prince Harry
and Prince Phillip; and business people like billionaire
Howard Hughes, who set multiple world records, and
Australia’s Dick Smith.
Learning a foreign language can also have surprising
benefits back at the office. Chinese or Arabic, considered the
hardest languages for English speakers, open up enormous
opportunities for doing business in China or the Middle East,
or indeed cultural marketing in Australasia.
Kim (name changed for article), the CFO of a major listed
Australian company, reached his early 50s and started to wonder
if there was life outside accounting, to which he had devoted his
life to the exclusion of almost everything else. He felt stale and
wanted to reinvigorate himself. Seeking advice he was surprised
to find rekindling of an early interest in all things Brazilian, a place
he fell in love with during travel in his twenties. Maybe there was
an opportunity to start a new business or association in his spare
time – perhaps even a Brazilian Carnival in Australia.
Hamish Blair, former valuation partner at one of the big four,
and facilitator of the Australian Institute’s business valuation
course, opted for change, accepting the position of business
manager for the Presbyterian Ladies’ College in Melbourne. He
also became a director of 89.9 LightFM, Melbourne’s positive
alternative broadcasting station. Blair says: “I used to be 80%
technical and 20% people. Now it’s the opposite. But I’m sure glad
I had the technical base first. What I do have now though is so
many more perspectives for solving problems than I did before.”
Gordon Jenkins, CEO of Davidsons Accounting, is a big
fan of accountants having an outside interest and says his
firm actively encourages and supports staff providing pro-
bono services, participating in charity events and supporting
fundraising activities. Jenkins says: “As accountants we all
have something very similar to offer our clients but what really
differentiates us is our passions, because when we connect with
people via our passions – when we have interests outside work,
the art of doing business becomes very simple.”
And in relation to charity work: “You must have interests
outside work that stimulate you as a person, that develop you
as a person, because you learn the most from other people.
At Davidsons we encourage people to realise how much what
they do can influence other people’s lives and what that
means to them.”
So remember to think and act outside the box, and see how
that helps your thinking – and activities – inside the box.
APRIL 2015 | acuity
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