By Seshnie Naidoo, Chief Financial Officer, Logicalis
Ways to spend your leftover B-BBEE budget
Give an interest free loan to a small enterprise. These loans are usually for a period that stretches over a few years and it will not only contribute to your B-BBEE score every year, but it also helps a small business become more sustainable and provide it with some investment it needs to grow.
Unemployment is at an all-time high, and these small businesses can help create more jobs. The loans get repaid and can then be used to help other small businesses or start-ups, thus growing the reach of the assistance provided.
How to create trust in your brand
Ensuring that we consistently deliver quality service with quality products. I have always believed that having qualified, passionate, and happy employees would enable a service organisation to deliver quality services. Partner with other trusted brands to ensure you are delivering quality products and services.
Tips on generating more revenue
Being in a service organisation, we offer a wide variety of services. A good way to generate more revenue is to start with the customers we currently have. Assess their needs, what services we are currently providing to them and how we can assist them even further.
Not only is upselling a good way of generating more revenue, but it also enables you to ensure your customer service offering stays relevant and enables you to build your brand.
How to manage change within an organisation
Change is always constant, but hardly ever welcomed. Change in an organisation is always a slippery slope. People are afraid of change as it brings along unknowns. For me, the three important steps to managing change are:
Plan: Develop a clear and understandable plan for the change. Include assessment of the current environment, the changes being considered, the reasons for these changes and a timeline.
Communicate: Communicate the plan to all parties involved. Allow questions and concerns to be raised. Provide opportunities to suggest alternatives.
Implement and assess: Implement the required changes. Continuously assess the implementation, keep the lines of communication open and be flexible to allow for improvements where needed.
Communication is very important when managing change in an organisation.
The biggest business mistakes leaders make and how to address
Most leaders in a business have been in their industry for a significant amount of time, which has given them a world of knowledge. Leaders in an organisation have done the detailed work. It becomes difficult for a leader to pull away from the detail and often we end up “just doing it” ourselves.
We know by doing it ourselves the work will get done the way we expect it to. This takes up a lot of time and shifts the focus from strategic aspects. As leaders we need to believe that we have hired the right people for the job and train our managers to be able to handle the detail while we focus on the strategy.
We need to encourage growth and confidence by providing opportunities and the knowledge that should guidance be needed; we will be there to give it. It isn’t easy, but it is necessary.
How to develop effective people skills
It is important to take the time to understand your own personality. Be honest with yourself and understand your strengths and weaknesses. Once we understand our own limitations, it will be easier to learn how to relate to others.
I had to understand that people are individuals and need to be seen as such. What might work with one, might not work with another. Being able to understand that people are different and unique, is an important start to developing effective people skills.
Tips on being sensitive to diversity and inclusion
Consciously try to treat everyone equally and fairly. At Logicalis D&I is a strategic objective for the group. We recently did a micro-behaviours course, which was very insightful. Micro-behaviours are subtle gestures, which can be interpreted in different ways.
These are often unconscious and can hinder our ability to objectively interact with people. I have now begun to stop myself and evaluate if I have made any preconceived assumptions about a person and how that has affected my ability to treat them fairly, then try to eliminate those assumptions and see the person for who they are.
Problem-solving techniques every leader should know
I have always had a four-step approach to solving a problem:
Step 1: Investigate and determine the root of the problem
Many times, the issues we are seeing are just the symptoms of a larger problem. It is important to dive deep into the issue and understand if you are seeing a symptom or if you have come to the heart of the problem.
Step 2: Find solutions to the problem
Discuss and document the different solutions that can be used to solve the problem. Use scenario planning to rank the solutions. Consider the effectiveness and longevity of the solutions when considering rank. You might find that the best solution isn’t always the quickest.
Step 3: Decide on the best solution
Based on the scenario planning decide on the best solution to the problem. I feel having a team to help with larger problems is always a plus.
Step 4: Implement and assess
Implement the solution and ensure continuous assessment of its effectiveness. Be prepared to make changes where necessary or completely throw out the entire solution. Being flexible will ensure that should a solution not go as planned, it is easier to admit it and reassess.
How to handle conflict in the workplace
Communication is key to managing conflict. Should conflict arise, it is important to understand what the cause of the conflict is, who does it involve and to try and remain calm and logical. In many instances when conflict arises, we face it emotionally which leads to misunderstandings.
I like to ensure that I am clear headed when having a conversation to try and resolve the conflict. Give myself an opportunity to calm down and be able to think more logically and less emotionally.
I would then address the issue directly with the other party, through clear and precise communication. Always ensuring that the other party understands that I am only trying to find a way to move forward and not attack anyone or get defensive.
How to motivate a demoralised team
We often forget how significant small gestures can be. In my mind, motivating people starts with the small gestures. Celebrate every small step that gets you close to that goal. Let your team know how much you appreciate their hard work.
Ensure that the team has opportunities to learn and grow. Knowing someone sees potential in you is a great motivator. Openly praise achievements and constructively address shortcomings. I believe that we follow our leadership when it comes to being motivated.
Thus staying motivated yourself and focussing on solutions instead of problems, will set the foundation to having a motivated team.
Seshnie Naidoo currently occupies the position of Chief Financial Officer at Logicalis SA, having amassed more than 15 years of experience in finance, within many industries ranging from Telecoms, Education, FMCG, and Pharmaceuticals, through to IT.
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