In The News

15 heads ARE better than one

Source: inbusiness page 49, Issue 7 July 2002

Arguably the most important role in any company, many CEOs are finding it difficult to address their own needs for professional and personal development. Increasing demand for this type of resource for CEOs has seen rapid growth of an organisation called The Executive Connection (TEC).

TEC is an international peer group networking organisation for CEOs, offering executives at the CEO/MD level a professional development program addressing the pressures that are unique to their type of business and to their role as leaders. TEC has been operating in Australia since 1986 and currently has more that 650 CEO members.

Membership is by invitation only for the CEOs of companies whose annual turnover exceeds $3.5 million. TEC members participate in monthly confidential group meetings with 12-15 fellow CEO members, all from non-competing businesses.

Dr Adrian Geering, Regional Chair for TEC in South Australia, says it is a forum for active businesses that want to grow, not for sick businesses seeking help. He says TEC impacts executives in five areas – decision-making, personal and professional growth, accountability for follow-through and focus on strategic issues, overcoming isolation and networking. The group also acts as a representative cross-section of the business community, allowing members a resource to keep abreast of the latest business trends, technology innovation and management practice.

Groups of 13-15 CEOs from non-competing companies meet for a full day each month. In the morning, each group works with a Resource Speaker, either from overseas or Australia, on a topic of immediate relevance to members. In the afternoon, in an Executive Session, four or five members raise issues about the running of their business and the other members contribute their ideas and share their experiences about that issue. Special activities during the TEC year are designed to build on this process. Each member undertakes a 2 hour coaching one-on-one monthly with their Chairman and networks with the members internationally.

Adrian Geering maintains that all businesses are “90% the same”, facing similar challenges of workforce, capital and systems problems.

“There is very specific expertise in certain industries which is integral to success, but people are what make it all happen. If you put the right people in the right positions, with the right motivations, you’re half way to growing a successful business”, he says. “One of our members was struggling with a 1950s/1960s type dictatorial management structure which had existed for decades and which he inherited when he took over as CEO. He recognised a need to streamline the organisation and reduce the layers of management, but didn’t have personal experience in a restructuring of that scale. Through the input of his TEC group and Chair and the strategic planning advice which evolved, he successfully reorganised eight levels of management down to four. As a result, the company now enjoys a leaner and more productive management model with everyone encouraged to share in the ownership of the management process.”

Members can interact in a way that Adrian describes as “robust”; if the peer group doesn’t think much of a member’s action after advice, he hears about it!

TEC began in the USA in 1957 and has since spread to Canada, the UK, Malaysia and Australia. Groups have recently been established in South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Argentina, China, Germany, Ireland, The Philippines and Singapore. In Australia, The Executive Connection Pty Ltd is a private company owned by Dr Phil Meddings. It holds the licence for TEC in Australia and New Zealand.

Adrian Geering has published several business books and will release “Business Diagnostics: how to grow and evaluate your business” this month which is a collaborative effort with two Canadian TEC colleagues.

Adrian Geering honoured

Source: inbusiness page 41, Issue 10 2003

Each year, management networking organisation, The Executive Connection (TEC) International, honours one group Chair with its highest accolade, the Donald Cope Award.

This year, for the first time in TEC1’s history, the award has gone to a non-American: Dr Adrian Geering.

Adrian, the longest serving Chairman in Australia, established his first TEC group in South Australia in 1987. He established a second group in April 1989. Mr Richard Carr, CEO and President of TEC International said at the presentation ceremony (Irvine, California) in the presence of 430 Chairs from 14 countries that Dr Geering, while at the same time displaying his remarkable ability to keep his own groups full, has been a dedicated and passionate promoter of TEC who fostered the starting of new groups and coached new Chairs. Not only that, he has served as a TEC speaker for 12 years all over the world including Australia, UK, Malaysia and USA; he has facilitated workshops at national and international TEC conferences; and has developed learning materials which are used internationally by TEC Chairs.

TEC has 8,500 members in 14 countries including USA, Canada, Australia and UK. TEC in Australia started in 1986 and has more than 700 members nationally.

The honour is well timed, coming on the heels of Adrian’s latest publishing effort, “Business Diagnostics: evaluate and grow your business”, in collaboration with Canadians, Richard Mimick and Michael Thompson.

Executive Call

Source: The Advertiser, 8 December 2007

Adrian Geering, Business Coach and Mentor Practising leadership, which is vision plus passion plus action, are the three themes which come through in my 20 years of coaching successful chief executives. Leadership development in its simplest form is personal development – to become more than you are through personal, ongoing learning, mentoring and feedback.

One of the most important roles of the CEO’s leadership skills is to be the chief strategist, to clarify vision and purpose. This can translate into extraordinary outcomes in aspects such as brand development, three-year plans, one-year plans, and 90-day contracts with key performance indicators focused on customers, staff, systems and finance.

Related to this is being the employer of choice, being the chief team-builder and creating an evolving management structure with the right people in the right places to enable a business to grow. Another important factor is succession planning and to have an exit strategy through always having the business ready for sale. The CEO also needs to develop a company’s internal capabilities with systems, processes, technology and operational capacity to keep pace with external change.

Most of all, the CEO should be the company ambassador, always focusing on customers.

Geering’s guide to CEO excellence

Source: inbusiness page 12, Issue 38 December / January 2007/08

Management mentor Adrian Geering is about to publish a new wealth of advice in a book that captures the experience of SA’s most prominent business people. In Secrets of Successful CEOs Adrian shows he is a thorough-going mentor who’s not slow to challenge those on top – confronting CEOs’ paradigms about business, life, leadership, personal development and success. He never hesitates to push CEOs to greater heights in both their personal lives and their business ventures.

It is difficult not to be inspired when Adrian speaks about his thoughts on life and business, learned over the past 20 years helping CEOs to leverage and transform their lives. The author, speaker, business owner and former university lecturer, with a background in management, HR, sales and strategy has spent more than 18,000 hours coaching some of the world’s leading chief executives.

In 2003 he was named the World’s Best Chairman, Leader and Mentor by TEC International. For Secrets of Successful CEOs, due for release in December, Adrian interviewed 19 of the nation’s best leaders, who have survived and thrived in this high pressure corporate environment.

“The most incredible thing I have found through my research and experience is that the CEO role is about leadership and helping people become effective leaders”, says Adrian. “The speed of the leader (is) the speed of the pack. And not only that – how are you going to break from the pack? In today’s competitive environment, to break free from the pack you really need to be ahead of the game and building cultures. Leadership development, probably in its greatest and simplest element, is personal development. If I am going to lead a company, I have to grow as a leader, grow as an individual, grow my understanding of the business, and grow my effectiveness in the business. If I don’t do these things, how can the business grow?”

CEOs featured in the book, such as Andrew Downs (Sage Automation), Scott Hicks (Adam Internet) and Roger Drake (Drake Food Markets) – reveal the lessons they learned on the job, their approach as CEOs, their advice to others and offer personal details about work-life balance. Adrian says today’s CEOs have these challenges in common.

“It’s called the ‘being-doing gap’ – that gap is about “I’m not a human doing, I’m a human being”, he says. “People have been taught a lot of lies by another generation about work and work ethics. What is the point of work hard, why not work smart? It’s about transformational learning and challenging the paradigms. You have to change your belief system – what is money, what is work? Work is, by definition, what your thoughts say it is. If a boss says to his employees that they have to come to work from nine to five, does that mean attendance? Does attendance equal effectiveness? It doesn’t.”

Amongst Adrian’s key findings was a common theme of applying the right style of leadership to a business. This discovery played a major part in the featured CEOs’ progressive business success. “One of the most important issues that came up was about leadership and having the appropriate management structure”, Adrian says. “The leadership style of the best leaders is humble and they empower their staff to the point where you often don’t know who the leader is. Their success was also related to having an incredible passion and commitment to service and clients and having the right internal capabilities in the business. To me, though, the critical factor is having a growing leader who will take the staff and company to the next level – a leader who is willing to change, willing to have people around who will challenge them, where there is no hierarchical system. True organisational change occurs today when people feel empowered and have the responsibility to manage themselves. Staff need to feel part of a connected group of people – and successful CEOs form these relationships with their staff.”

Adrian’s message and his mentoring experience is all about challenging the traditional belief systems of people, particularly CEOs; to unlock and harness the potential of their lives; to achieve greatness as a leader and to facilitate the leverage of their business. It is about a new way of thinking – about success, life, money, happiness, business and self.

This is the edge that empowers successful CEOs to greater heights and Adrian’s thesis asks the question: life, leadership, business – what type of future do you want to create?

 

Pointing out the Path to Success

Source: The Advertiser, 1 December 2007

Adrian Geering has spent much of his career helping businessmen transform their lives and become more successful. He has mentored about 75 in the past 20 years, ranging from chiefs of $2 billion enterprises to small businesses.

His company, Geering Solutions, has taken him on speaking engagements around the world. Mr Geering currently is mentoring 20 leading South Australian chief executives with combined annual sales of $2.5 billion and 10,500 staff. He has said his mentoring was about helping people articulate the greatness within themselves and then achieve it. Mr Geering started mentoring in 1987, after leaving a career lecturing in higher education.

“I’m very interested in helping people leverage their life, their leadership and their business”, he said. “It includes helping them achieve extraordinary outcomes and helping them get great clarity to achieve those outcomes.”

The chief executives include Drake Supermarkets boss Roger Drake, who has lifted a $28 million turnover into about $600 million in the 17 years he has been working with Mr Geering. Another is Scott Hicks, from Adam Internet, a company that began as a schoolboy hobby and has become a $21 million business with more than 100 employees. Others are insurance broker Terri Scheer, Nigel McBride from law firm Minter Ellison and Chris Stathy from Philmac.

His latest book, Secrets of Successful CEOs and a supporting book, Lessons on Leadership and Business and a 20-CD series on 20 successful CEOs will be released this week.

 

Quality, not quantity of workforce most important for SA business

Source: NewsMaker, 19 May 2011

Business leaders in South Australia are shifting their attention to the quality of their workforce by focussing on investment in training rather than increasing the quantity of skilled workers a survey reveals.

The survey by leading CEO peer support organisation, The Executive Connection (TEC), found that 40% of business leaders named investing in staff training and boosting skills their number one priority in 2011. Only 15% were concerned about the quantity of prospective employees in the state, with the remaining 45% listing a range of other priorities including securing higher income and increasing work-life balance as their focus.

TEC Chairman for South Australia, Dr Adrian Geering, is a mentor for business leaders in SA and believes the focus on quality above quantity is a growing trend and reflects business leaders’ recognition of the talent that can be found in South Australia.

“Recruitment of ‘the right people’ is a concern for leaders of SMEs in South Australia. Many TEC members discuss spending time and effort on training, education and development of their employees. The members who have invested in improving the knowledge, skills and attitudes of employees have found it benefits their business operationally and strengthens their employees’ commitment to the company,” he said.

Mark Lewis, Executive Chairman of Bernie Lewis, is a TEC member who offers his staff ongoing training that is tailored to their personal and professional needs. Through ongoing mentorship from his TEC Chair and discussions with his peers, Mr Lewis was given advice to spend time finding out where his staff members’ strengths and weaknesses were and to develop specific extra training or education that would benefit each individual personally and professionally.

“During round-table discussions, my peers highlighted to me the fact that ongoing training and development doesn’t need to be prescriptive, that my employees may become more engaged simply by being offered the opportunity to talk about areas they would like to improve in or explore further. Providing my staff with opportunities for extra training continues to be a valuable investment and through a great deal of hard work I have a dedicated team who are capable of delivering the results our customers are after,” Mr Lews said.

Dr Geering recommends business leaders engage with their employees to ensure ongoing learning and development ‘check-ins’ are conducted alongside performance reviews in order to stay on track. Peer support groups like TEC can also provide leaders with access to fresh ideas and new ways of thinking about their employees and their developmental needs for the organisation.

About The Executive Connection

The Executive Connection (TEC) is the Australian affiliate of Vistage International Inc. with more than 14,500 members in 16 countries worldwide. It is the world’s foremost chief executive leadership group for ongoing professional and personal development, helping business CEOs become better leaders, make better decisions and drive better results for their organisations.

TEC membership provides unparalleled access to new ideas and fresh thinking through monthly peer think-tanks, one-on-one business coaching and speaker presentations from the top industry experts, social networking and access to best practice articles, white papers and webinars. TEC was founded in 1957 by US businessman Robert Nourse, to test a simple, yet revolutionary idea: business leaders sharing knowledge and experiences to help other business leaders to generate better results for their organisations. The idea was a great success and subsequently TEC began in Australia in 1986 and currently has more than 1200 members.

TEC/Vistage member companies generate nearly US$300 billion in annual revenue and employ approximately 1.8 million employees around the world. For more information please visit www.tec.com.au

Quality of staff a key priority

Source: The Advertiser, 1 June, 2011

The quality of staff, not quantity, is the focus for many South Australian business leaders, a new survey reveals. Leadership organisation, The Executive Connection found the main priority for 40 per cent of small to medium enterprise managers was investing in staff training and boosting skills. Just 15 per cent expressed concern about the number of prospective employees in SA. TEC’s SA Chairman, Adrian Geering, said the focus on quality over quantity is a growing trend.

“Recruitment of the right people is a concern for leaders of SMEs in South Australia”, Dr Geering said. “Many TEC members discuss spending time and effort on training, education and development of their employees. The members who have invested in improving the knowledge, skills and attitudes of employees have found it benefits the business operationally and strengthens their employee’s commitment to the company.”

Secrets of Successful CEOs

Source: Entrepreneurs’ Digest, March/April 2008

As the CEO of a Small Medium Enterprise (SME), have you ever asked yourself these questions?

  • What does it take to run a successful business?
  • How can I be a successful leader as a CEO?
  • Do I have a balanced life?

Dr Adrian Geering, an international mentor and business advisor from Australia, reveals answers to these questions in an exciting new business book, “Secrets of Successful CEOs – Insights into life, leadership and business”. This extraordinary business book featuring about 20 Australian CEOs from SMEs is designed to inform, inspire and enrich. The world of business has changed dramatically in the past few years as a result of 9/11, rising oil prices, increasing global competition, severe staffing shortages, the looming Baby Boomer exodus, the changing attitudes of Generations X and Y, multicultural conflict and the rate of technological change.

These accelerating changes create an environment of considerable stress and pressure. Many current day CEOs of SMEs have struggled to deal effectively with prevailing issues such as constant pressure for immediate responses and results generated by being accessible 24/7 via email, mobile phones and texting; the pressure to perform in an increasingly competitive marketplace; and the increasing cost of doing business because of labour scarcity, cost of raw materials and other business inputs. These all exacerbate ongoing demands and excessive pressure, as well as increased uncertainty and unpredictability.

On a daily basis, CEOs not only deal with the external business environment, but also the internal challenges of staff, business development and profitability. Concurrently, they are the leader and mentor, the trainer, teacher, facilitator and coach of their team who must ooze strategy and innovation at every corner. They also have to deal with personal issues of purpose, health, wealth creation, family, fulfilment and community.

“Secrets of Successful CEOs” highlights CEOs who have not only survived in this difficult yet incredibly rewarding task, but thrived. Topics covered include: leadership, accountability, strategy, management, teamwork, company capability, succession planning, life balance, mentoring, implementation, personal effectiveness, and managing change. This book is particularly easy to read, with each chapter divided into sections, including discussion questions.

In “Secrets of Successful CEOs” Adrian shows he is an accomplished mentor who is prepared to challenge a CEO’s paradigm about business, life, leadership, personal development and success. It is difficult not to be inspired when Adrian speaks about his thoughts on life and business, learned over many years helping CEOs leverage and transform their lives. His commitment and passion for mentoring was acknowledged in 2003 when he was named the World’s Best Chairman by TEC International.

“The most compelling thing I have found throughout my research and experience is that the CEO role is about leadership and helping people become effective leaders”, says Adrian. “Leadership development, in its greatest and simplest element, is personal development. The one who would lead a company must grow as a leader, grow as an individual, grow their understanding of business, and grow their effectiveness in business.”

CEOs featured in the book, all mentored by Adrian, reveal the lessons they have learned on the job, their approach as a CEO, their advice to others and offer personal details about work/life balance. The success of the best leaders is the undeniable result of having incredible passion and commitment to service and clients combined with the right internal capabilities in the business, including growth percentage, return on capital employed, growth of shareholder value and cash flow.

In essence, Adrian’s mentoring experience and message is all about challenging the traditional belief systems people hold, particularly CEOs, in order to unlock and harness the potential of their lives, achieve greatness as a leader and to facilitate the leverage of their businesses. Asking the question “What type of future do you want to create?” Adrian has enabled successful CEOs to move on to greater heights.

Skill over numbers

Source: The Advertiser, 2 June 2011

The quality of staff, not quantity, is the focus for many South Australian business leaders, a new survey reveals.

Leadership organisation, The Executive Connection, found the main priority for 40 per cent of small to medium enterprise managers was investing in staff training and boosting skills. Just 15 per cent expressed concern about the number of prospective employees in SA. TEC’s SA chairman, Adrian Geering, said the focus on quality over quantity was a growing trend in the state.

“The (TEC) members who have invested in improving the knowledge, skills and attitudes of employees have found it benefits the business operationally and strengthens their employee’s commitment to the company,” Dr Geering said.

Workforce quality, not quantity most important for SA business - TEC

Source: inbusiness, 20 May, 2011

Business leaders in South Australia are shifting their attention to the quality of their workforce by focussing on investment in training rather than increasing the quantity of skilled workers a new survey by CEO peer support organisation, The Executive Connection (TEC) has found.

The TEC survey found 40% of business leaders named investing in staff training and boosting skills their number one priority in 2011. Only 15% were concerned about the quantity of prospective employees in the state, with the remaining 45% listing a range of other priorities including securing higher income and increasing work-life balance as their focus. TEC Chairman for South Australia, Dr Adrian Geering, is a mentor for business leaders in SA and believes the focus on quality above quantity is a growing trend and reflects business leaders’ recognition of the talent that can be found in South Australia.

“Recruitment of ‘the right people’ is a concern for leaders of SMEs in South Australia. Many TEC members discuss spending time and effort on training, education and development of their employees. The members who have invested in improving the knowledge, skills and attitudes of employees have found it benefits their business operationally and strengthens their employees’ commitment to the company,” Dr Geering says.

Mark Lewis, Executive Chairman of Bernie Lewis, is a TEC member who offers his staff ongoing training that is tailored to their personal and professional needs. Through ongoing mentorship from his TEC Chair and discussions with his peers, Bernie was advised to spend time finding out where his staff members’ strengths and weaknesses were and to develop specific extra training or education that would benefit each individual personally and professionally.

“During round-table discussions, my peers highlighted to me the fact that ongoing training and development doesn’t need to be prescriptive, that my employees may become more engaged simply by being offered the opportunity to talk about areas they would like to improve in or explore further”, he says. “Providing my staff with opportunities for extra training continues to be a valuable investment and through a great deal of hard work I have a dedicated team who are capable of delivering the results our customers are after”.

Dr Geering recommends business leaders engage with their employees to ensure ongoing learning and development ‘check-ins’ are conducted alongside performance reviews in order to stay on track.

Peer support groups like TEC can also provide leaders with access to fresh ideas and new ways of thinking about their employees and their developmental needs for the organisation.

 

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