I recently attended Brisbane's Biggest Boardroom Lunch which was hosted by the Australian Institute of Company Directors. The discussion included thoughts from some of our most successful business leaders with the main speaker being Graham Bradley, the current Non-Executive Chairman of Stockland Corporation, EnergyAustralia Holdings and HSBC Bank Australia.

The topic for the day was the issues "keeping you awake at night" and there was some sound advice for owners and managers in businesses of all sizes.

  • Ensure that people's responsibility areas in the business are matched to their skills sets 
  • Management meetings should be held at a set time each week/month/quarter and have a set agenda 
  • This agenda should include status and immediate actions to be taken for  all areas of risk and succession planning for the business, a query regarding any bad news that management needs to know about and thinking time in relation to issues raised at the meeting 
  • Management needs to manage and police the flow of information and delegation up from below to ensure there is sufficient time and "brain space" to run the business 
  • The culture of the business is driven from the top down and management needs to keep in touch with what's happening "at the coal face" to ensure that the desired outcomes are being achieved 
  • Business owners and managers/directors need to be aware of the key elements and outcomes of the financial statements produced for the business

Some of those attending may have thought that the discussion was aimed at the upper end of corporate Australia. However I think we can see from the items above that there is plenty that those of us in small to medium enterprises can take from the leaders of corporate Australia.