Three Sales Strategies for the Post-COVID Business World

  • Organisations must consider how the current crisis will also change long-term interactions, events, personal contacts and what products and services will better serve them in the new post COVID-19 world.
  • A Team Strategy Profile is an essential process that helps set a future for your business as well as ensuring you have set steps in place to determine how best to achieve it.
  • Smart companies will adopt a proactive approach to understand what changes will occur and be ready to adjust their products, services, and strategies quickly to meet current and future customer needs.
  • A Team Strategy Profile ensures you consider the business holistically, with a focus on:
    • Mission Identification– what is the purpose of your business
    • Vision Clarity – clearly outline in one sentence what you want to achieve
    • Plan and Do – what steps will you take to achieve your vision and action it

To find out more contact the KONA Group 1300 611 288 |

The question going forward is, when will customers come back? But even more important, what will your Sales team need need to deliver differently in terms of product and service or features and benefits? COVID-19 is dramatically changing consumer and business behaviours today. Undoubtedly, many of those behaviours will remain long after the defeat of the virus. Many people will certainly have higher sensitivity to germs and the risks of spreading infections. This behaviour alone will change many industries. Customers and workers will be more sceptical of close contact with others. Consumer travel, dining, entertainment and product preferences will be different moving forward. The list of changed behaviours and their impact will surely be long, though still to be formed as COVID-19 runs its course. The number of behaviour changes will grow depending on how many people are directly affected, how severely and for how long. Many new behaviours will be normalised as customers practice them repeatedly over months.


Many customer behaviour changes will require new or modified products and services. New market leaders will emerge while some past leaders fade. Many companies will struggle post COVID-19.


To find out more contact the KONA Group 1300 611 288 |

Knowing your customers needs is always the best way to meet market demands and win—but what you knew before may not serve you well in an altered tomorrow. Smart companies will adopt a proactive approach to understand what changes will occur and be ready to adjust their products, services and strategies quickly to meet current and future customer needs. THREE IMPORTANT STEPS TO TAKE NOW:


Have a Sales Strategy Session with key members of your team and debrief them on what they have been hearing from customers. Having a strategy session to identify what might be changing and importantly, what you don’t know about the “changes” will set the stage for the next step.


 2) GATHER INSIGHT Develop a plan to take to the marketplace. How can we validate new behaviours we are seeing and hearing, and gather the information we don’t know? Don’t assume anything. Your customers can tell you what they will need, but you must ask them. In this time of rapid change, it’s critical to conduct customer interviews, surveys, market research or customer feedback by other means. Gather the comments, attitudes, and data, then analyse. And be objective, that is, be open to things you may have never thought would occur, and to how it can impact your sales and targets! TIP: When interacting with customers during this difficult period, train your people to open conversations with, “How can we help you get through this?” rather than, “Here’s what we’ve got.” In other words, lead with empathy not competence. Try to be part of the solution to their crisis.

To find out more contact the KONA Group 1300 611 288 |


You have your 2020 plans, but clearly COVID-19 requires forward thinking, new strategies and re-planning on many fronts. Armed with these new insights from the marketplace, re-plan and prioritise strategies and tactics in all critical areas. Understanding what your customers will value in the post-COVID-19 business world and acting on it will ensure your survival and success and put you ahead of major competitors. These points cannot be over-emphasised – knowing the customer will sort the post-COVID-19 business winners from the competition.


To find out more contact the KONA Group 1300 611 288 |


History provides validation that major changes will occur. Look back at 9/11 or even the financial crisis of 2009. The post 9/11 world brought us tighter airport security and increased security measures at everything from sporting events and concerts to large office buildings in major cities across the globe. Behaviours changed, industries were changed and created, and they will be again. Many believe that COVID-19 will affect more people and businesses directly and will have a more far reaching impact on businesses of all types than any crisis in the past half century. BOTTOM LINE

On the brighter side, remember that change creates opportunity. Business leaders who act now, communicate with customers, and take a proactive approach to their changing markets will do much better than those who don’t.


For a confidential assessment of your business in a post-COVID world, contact KONA: 1300 611 288 |

Six Key Achievements of Planning

KONA logo with two 'The art of war' books.

“The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus, do many calculations and lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat; how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.”

Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu was a Chinese general, military strategist, writer and philosopher who lived in the Eastern Zhou period of ancient China. Sun Tzu is traditionally credited as the author of The Art of War, an influential work of military strategy that has affected both Western and East Asian philosophy and military thinking.

Full name: Sun Tzu Born: 544 BC Died: 496 BC            

Every Business must have a Plan

Regardless of your working situation, COVID or not, every business must have a plan.

Does your team know what success looks like?

A PR report has found in the current situation we are facing, only 10% of communication executives have done extensive planning.

Recent research has found that approximately 80% of business fail within their first year of operation, while 25% do not have a business plan. It is no coincidence that these two facts are linked – proper planning, budgeting, and forecasting are all an essential part of success.

How can you create a successful business when you do not know where it is going?

Thinking about the future means learning to think differently. Change is everywhere and pops up at any time, as COVID has proven.

How do you combat change in a business environment?

Change challenges all our current practices whether we like it or not. Change challenges:

  • Mindset
  • Decisions
  • Policies
  • Products                         

Implementing the The Three Horizons (3H) Growth Model.

This process when taught to your leaders and team correctly and rolled out immediately, re-frames your team’s thinking to produce results and hit every KPI set.

Three horizons growth model.

The 3 Horizons Growth Model is a learned process that bridges today to tomorrow.

Why Train Your Team and Yourself in the Three Horizons 3H Growth Model?

By implementing the 3 Horizons Growth Model across your business you instantly address and benefit from the Six Key Achievements of Planning:

1. Measured Improvement

What can be measured, can always be improved. A 3H business plan gives you direction and focus in Sales, ensuring you and your team meet KPI. It is only through improvement and growth that a business and employee can maximise profitability.

2. Projected Growth

With a 3 Horizon’s plan in place, you can meet goals ahead of target, which then allows you to think about – what to do next? In other words – GROW. By consistently monitoring and improving your business plan you begin to set achievable goals for growth. When change occurs, you are then able to evolve with the challenges.

3. Progressive Mindset

When you and your team start operating under a 3 Horizons mentality you all begin to operate from the same manual. The entire organisation’s thinking becomes focused on the wider scope and the impact the team’s current day activity has on future results.

4. Team Cohesion and Drive

What is the business’ value proposition?

Does the team agree on a set definition?

Are you all uniform in the eyes of the customer?

A business plan with 3H in place ensures the company’s philosophy is not only front of mind but also actioned daily.

5. Customer-Centricity

Customers are actually more attracted to a bespoke offer that connects them, rather than a one-size-fits-all agreement. Does your team know how to profile a customer? You must have a customer centric plan in place to be able to help the customer that comes knocking.

How will the business operate without a plan? Most businesses fail because of poor Sales Management. Consider the activities the team is going to perform in order to generate revenue in a month, three months and six months. A plan is only the start of the process – but everything has a start or it goes nowhere. Do you have a plan on how to deliver your goods or services on time and to the standards required?

6. Education

Employee knowledge base is the most essential part of a business. What tailored training and education support do you have in place to maximise the intellectual power of your team? Their knowledge is your ROI.

Planning is a crucial part of business life – without a plan for results you are simply left with a plan to fail.

The 3 Horizons Growth Model is being rolled out globally by the KONA Group. DOES YOUR TEAM HAVE A PLAN?

The recent changes in work from home situations globally has seen access to our R.E.A.L Academy (Remote Education Active Learning) skyrocket, so we will continue to fill the learning spots on a first in first scheduled basis. Call 1300 611 288 or email to secure a spot.

Call 1300 611 288 or Email



Is Your Team Still Focused?

Feeling flat? You are not alone. By now we have accepted the buzz word uncertainty has become the other buzz phrase, new normalBut, if we have come to terms with uncertainty, why is there still a feeling of monotony? Well, because there is no end game. There is no finish timeline. No set closure date. During these unclear times, as a leader you need to be asking yourself these hard but crucial 10-Point Action Plan questions:
  1. As their boss, do you know how to drive a remote team?
  1. Do you have the time to get around to every person every day or as often as required?
  1. How are they positively impacting your customers in this time?
  1. Do they have an engagement plan for the next two months?
  1. Are your employees focused daily?
  1. Are they contributing daily to the business?
  1. Can you see daily results?
  1. Are they meeting the KPIs?
  1. Are you driving and supporting them?
  1. What will happen to YOU AND your business if you fail to get momentum during this COVID-19 crisis?


  The first step of coming out strong on the other side of COVID-19 is to sustain the focus of your staff and team. Here’s how:
  • DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT BEING HAPPY: When there is death and illness overwhelming the world and the current mood is solemn, there is a sense of guilt if you are seen to be jovial for fear of being seen to be mocking misery. But in the real world, emotions are inherent. A strong leader doesn’t avoid them but arouses the positive ones. Show your team that in hard times optimism and action are the way forward.
  • PURPOSE: We all want to know that we make a difference in the world – that’s called a yearning purpose. Wise leaders will let their remote employee know what they are doing is meaningful and productive and cleverly refashion daily tasks to satisfy that yearning purpose, which will yield results.
  • DAILY ASSURANCE: Sounds exhausting, but if kept brief and consistent it will bring out quality work in employees rather than stocking-filler to-do lists. A strong leader will on a daily basis elevate the remote communication to remind their staff that their work matters.
  • UNCERTAIN TODAY, CERTAIN TOMORROW: Talk about the future of the business and that the company’s future direction involves them. This ensures your employee knows their value and reinforces their hard work whilst unseen in a remote environment, is contributing to the bigger company picture.
  • DAILY GOALS: Perhaps the most vital tool in your kit is “the action list”. Make sure each employee has a daily to-do list that they will action. Inform them of pressing tasks but also provide them with the opportunity to set their own goals – ask them “what are the five key things you want to achieve today?” This both generates motivation and accountability – a proven formula for results.

In uncertain times make action and positivity a certainty.

To go through YOUR 10-Point Action Plan contact KONA :

1300 611 288 |

Good Leaders make Decisions

Decision making is at the core of solid leadership.

When a problem presents, a Leader must be able to make the call. A decisive leader that leads the team with strength, instills confidence and paves the path to progression.

If nothing happens then *nothing happens.

But Leaders be warned – decision making isn’t just about making the right call – it’s also about the Leader’s ability to bring people with them as well as the skills required to move on!

“Evil Prevails When Good Men Do Nothing” 

Strategic leaders gain their decision-making skill through practice, and practice requires a fair amount of action.

“Action generates action. Inaction generates nothing.” – Garret Norris | CEO KONA | HBB Group

Strong leaders make strong decisions, then take action – pushing power downward, across the business, empowering people at all levels to make decisions. Distribution of responsibility gives strategic leaders the opportunity to see what happens when they take risks. But more importantly – it increases the collective intelligence, adaptability, and resilience of the business over time, by harnessing the wisdom of those outside the traditional decision-making hierarchy.

Decisions made by good Leaders are never off the cuff, in fact they are made by keeping in mind the long term as well as the short-term plans of the business.

And there is in fact a golden rule to decision-making and leadership, and it should not be kept secret, instead shouted from roof tops for all to hear – from business leaders, to sales leaders, to health care leaders to leaders of nations – objectivity! The best results for all involved in a decision-making process is one that is made by a rational leader based on evidence and facts.

“Emotion for Home, Passion for Business” – Garret Norris.

Strategic decision-making skills in Leaders is part of the pillars of strong leadership.

“Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader. Don’t fall victim to ‘ready-aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome’. You must be willing to fire.” – T.Boone Pickens, American Financier.

Are you afraid of making decisions?

Good Leaders always need to be refining their decision-making skills to build effective and productive teams. Make a Decision Now  – sharpen your leadership skills. Contact KONA on 1300 611 288 or email or do nothing (remember what happens when we do *nothing ↑ ).

Are ‘Oxygen Thieves’ Killing your Business Performance?

Coffee break ended ten minutes ago – and they’re still stirring their spoons and gossiping.

You walk past their desk and they spring to life, typing, filing, pushing paper and looking like they are under the pump. But turn the corner and they’re back flicking through Facebook or on their personal phones.

Oxygen thieves, deadwood, time wasters. Whichever definition you prefer, just about every workplace has them: time wasting, aimless, directionless employees who suck up valuable time, money and resources, and produce very little value in return.

But whether you’re driving a project or just taking care of everyday business, as the leader and decision maker, the buck stops with you.

It’s Time to Make Some Changes

Change Your Working Culture

Some workplace cultures are relaxed, yet focused, while others can be hard driving and competitive.

But while you’re negotiating the next deal, or perhaps focusing on other areas of the business from behind your desk, oxygen thieves slip under the radar, taking advantage of blind spots – your work culture may be so relaxed that they put their feet up too much or so hard that you drive them out.

First Consider Your Role as the Leader.

Before you look too hard at the team, let’s first consider your role as the leader.

  • Are your expectations for workplace duties clearly communicated?
  • Are benchmarks for sales targets enforced and defined by you and other team members?
  • Do you have the skills and experience to adequately coach your team?

To be blunt, oxygen thieves get away with it because we let them. So stop them in their tracks by making sure your workplace holds everyone accountable.

Performance Management

One of the best ways to improve your workplace culture is to introduce a performance management program.

In some cases, the term ‘performance management’ comes with a negative connotation, however it does not need to be like this. Evaluate your employees on their workplace performance, showing where they are doing well and where they need to improve.

Jack Welch, the famously gruff leader of General Electric, used annual performance reviews to rank his workforce and then sack the bottom 10%! (Source: It was controversial, it was harsh, but it got results.

Coach Your Team

All great business leaders have had at least one good coach or mentor to help them develop to their full potential. Unfortunately, in this day of ‘lean organisations’ and hectic schedules, many professionals cannot get the level of coaching and mentoring they need to meet their own developmental goals.

Research has proven that coaching develops the capability and skills your people must possess in order to be successful in their role and critical to future business success.

It is all well and good to implement performance management, however ongoing team coaching is prudent to ensure that team morale and motivation remains high and the implementation of training outcomes are consistent for full productivity.

Constant Feedback

These days, leading technology companies like Amazon, Adobe and Google evaluate and rank their teams regularly (rather than just annually), ensuring that feedback and progress on employee’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is constantly provided.

Employees have a real time picture of how they are doing and what can be done to improve things before the issue escalates.

This process ensures that underperformers have nowhere to hide. They can’t sit back, relax and wait for the annual review to jump up and actually start doing their job.

Next Steps

It’s tempting to give underperforming employees a swift kick up the bum or a push right out the door, but if the core of the problem is not identified and fixed, then the issue will continue. With the right kind of performance management and coaching, they can become an employee who you’ll trust to deliver for the business.

KONA Group offers customised executive and leadership coaching programs that have proven successful for several Australian and New Zealand companies.

Call KONA Group on 1300 611 288 or email for more information and to discuss customised training and coaching programs suitable for your organisation.

Executive Coaching in Sydney and Melbourne

Executive Coaching in Sydney and Melbourne

Executive Coaching in Sydney and Melbourne

KONA Group’s Executive Coaches in Sydney and Melbourne have structured the programme in a way that offers a framework to initiate participants into a process of self awareness, and to deal with challenges effectively. That structure is completely customised to suit the specific requirements and challenges of the executive. Whether coaching is desired to improve performance or address certain issues, results are only possible only when the participant wants to change and participates in the coaching programme willingly. We work with your organisation to make sure the coaching goals are understood clearly and the success metrics are clearly defined. Our Executive Coaching Specialists in Sydney and Melbourne will work one-on-one with your executives to build a confidential and congenial relationship.

Executive Coaching in Sydney and Melbourne – Focus Areas

Executive Coaching in Sydney and Melbourne – Your Results and Outcomes

Here’s a look at some of the results you can expect when your executives work with our Executive Coaching Specialists in Sydney and Melbourne

Your executives and managers will:

  • Become much more effective leaders
  • Learn proven delegation techniques that help with prioritisation and time management
  • Have a better work life balance
  • Learn how to generate more quality time for core functions of the business and to take the business towards growth

Your organisation will:

  • See improved collaboration
  • Experience improved effectiveness
  • Become much more dynamic and agile
  • See better retention rates
  • See a boost in bottom line
  • Experience improved productivity

Book Your Executive Coaching Assessment in Sydney or Melbourne Today

At KONA, we are here to see your business grow by honing your biggest assets – your executives, leaders and managers. Our coaches have years of corporate experience and highly passionate about training others to improve and transform. So if you are looking to increase the effectiveness and results of your organisation, contact KONA today on 1300 611 288 or text 0425200883 or email to discuss how we can help you to improve your organisation’s results. The KONA Group is Australia’s Leading Sales and Sales Management Training and Coaching company and provide Customised Training programs that include:  Sales Training & CoachingKey Account Management TrainingCall Centre Training & coachingExecutive Coaching; Negotiation Skills Training & CoachingMotivational Speakers, HR Consulting; and more. Talk to us today to know more about your Customised Executive Coaching workshops in Sydney and Melbourne

The KONA ‘Hour of Power’ can be a million-dollar injection to your sales budget!

The KONA ‘Hour of Power’ can be a million-dollar injection to your sales budget!

The KONA ‘Hour of Power’ can make a positive impact on your sales team.

Do you have any of the problems below?

  • Are your sales people are not speaking with enough new customers and prospects?
  • Are they reluctant to pick up the telephone to call people they don’t know?
  • Do they struggle to make appointments with senior decision makers?
  • Do they struggle to get past ‘the gatekeeper’?
  • Do you have overstocks that need to be cleared?

At the end of the day the best way to fill your sales funnel is activity, and the right activity at that!  Making calls to potential and existing customers is a great way to do it.  This contact between salespeople and customers is critical to sales success and one of the key reason some sales professionals smash their targets and others don’t know what 100% of target is.

There are a few key points to make a calling session a success:

  1. SUPPORT each other by doing it as a group
  2. MAXIMISE the chances of success by getting the language right
  3. HAVE a conversation between people (emails do not work)
  4. PRACTICE some calls with each other before you make the call (I know the dreaded role play but this is so critical to success!)
  5. SET some targets for the hour of calling. (appointments and orders are a great starting point)

KONA has seen this ‘Hour of Power’ work with some stunning results, one client landed over a $1 000 000 in sales.  This works for both Account Management and Business Development teams and is a skill set we know is critical in Sales People.

Sometimes filling a Sales Funnel is a daunting task and when that funnel is emptier than it should be the excuses start to come out!

  • Things are slow.
  • Our competitor is cheaper
  • There are product problems

At KONA we hear them all and they all relate to ‘Price, Product and Problems’.  These are the best excuses in the world for sales teams to find reasons not to act.

Conducting an ‘Hour of Power’ is a tangible action that forces everyone to act.

If you need help running an “Hour of Power’ give KONA a call on 1300 611 288 or email us at

Are we a knowledge based economy?

What’s down the track for a knowledge based economy? 

photo-3 OPINION: Not only is its confrontational industrial relations environment seen as a major constraint on innovation, but government statistics show that its investment in R&D lags a long way behind most other industries. The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data on business expenditure on R&D (BERD) shows that of the total $18,849 million invested in R&D across all Australian industries, manufacturing remained the largest contributor at $4,844 million (26 per cent). That outpaced professional, scientific and technical services ($3,753 million, or 20 per cent), financial and insurance services ($3,093 million, or 16 per cent) and mining ($2,830 million, or 15 per cent). Together, these four industries account for 77 per cent of total BERD, while construction contributed $864,103 (4.5 per cent). While the above data looks depressing, it masks the reality of how much innovation really happens in the construction sector. In contrast to the pre-planned, laboratory-based and scientific R&D that typifies others sectors such as manufacturing, innovation in construction normally happens at the ‘coal-face’ in response to day-to-day problems. This means it is largely ‘hidden’ from formal government R&D statistics. However, given that we are inexorably moving toward a knowledge-based future where intellectual property and new ideas will mean the difference between staying ahead of increasing competition or lagging behind, there are also strong arguments that the construction sector should be investing more in formal R&D. So it is worth knowing something about what R&D involves and the many commercial benefits it could bring, if designed and managed effectively. In simple terms, R&D is a knowledge creating process underpinned by rigorous scientific investigation which leads to the commercial development of new services and/or products. R&D can be applied or pure, the form being a response to market developments and having a practical application. Pure R&D is more conceptual and exploratory with the aim of adding to our knowledge base without any specific application. In contrast to applied R&D which has traditionally been the focus of the construction industry, pure R&D has traditionally been the responsibility of government. Government support for pure R&D has always been considered crucial because research shows that most private construction companies, if left to their own devices, would under-invest in this area. With only a few exceptions, the vast majority of construction companies see pure R&D as too risky and time-consuming and are not prepared to tolerate the long-term risks in capturing its benefits. However, as demonstrated by the world’s most innovative companies, when R&D is targeted and managed effectively, it can bring significant commercial benefits. Take for example, British Petroleum’s (BP’s) highly successful and innovative Venture Research Unit which developed and managed one of the world’s most successful corporate R&D programs. BP’s Venture Research Unit was deliberately located outside any of BP’s existing business units to enable it to generate ‘new breakthrough ideas that would lead to new industries and markets for BP.’ Working under the management of BP’s Venture Research Advisory Council and in close collaboration with the world’s leading universities, BP’s innovation strategy involved signing up the world’s most gifted pioneering researchers whose interests were aligned with the business. Rather than following the traditional approaches to R&D which typically involves commissioning pre-determined business-led projects, BP provided these top researchers with the resources to pursue their own ideas and to launch radical challenges to existing ideas outside any external business influences and constraints. This process not only preserved the ideology of independent, unbiased research, but was designed to promote uninhibited thinking. BP chose its team of researchers on the basis of whether their research would radically change thinking about something that was very important to society and to BP’s business. Once accepted into the Venture Research Unit’s team, BP’s goal was to help these leading researchers bring this about. There was an exceptional lightness of touch in managing this research. The only requirement imposed on the academic team was that they were to keep BP regularly informed of what they were doing so that BP could be the first to translate these ideas into marketable products and services to for their customers. Researchers were not concerned directly with the commercialization process. This was entirely BP’s responsibility and once a researcher received BP’s money, they were free to use it in any way they liked. BP did not dictate projects, fields of study, problems or timescales and eventually the unit’s funding was expanded to a consortium of business partners with complementary interests in BP’s demand and supply chain such as ICI, Sony and DuPont. The beauty of BP’s collaborative approach was that it avoided the classic problem of selecting research proposals and constraining the freedom of researchers to follow their passions and strengths. By supporting individual leading researchers and their research aspirations rather than specific research projects, BP was able to pursue a liberal approach which drew knowledge from a range of disciplines and business partners. Furthermore, by hand-choosing their research partners and by minimizing the normal time, resource and bureaucratic constraints associated with scientific research, BP not only reduced the barriers to innovation but they also reduced risk since the researchers they supported were almost certain to succeed. The key question and risk then became how to convert that research into ideas for BP’s benefit. The research that was implemented proved to be extremely successful and their return-on-investment more than covered the relatively small investment in the overall initiative. While there are too few examples like the above in the construction sector, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, Arup is renowned for investing significantly in both pure and applied research with a longer-term view. Arup is reported to invest approximately three per cent of its annual turnover in R&D and has a clear road map for its R&D which extends over 20 years into the future based on key drivers of change in key business areas. Arup also integrates research-based KPIs into performance reviews for staff who are required to publish and collaborate with universities in creating new knowledge for the benefit of the business and society at large. Arup’s research program is driven by both ‘pull’ from its business leaders and ‘push’ from universities and research network partners. Research is seen as vital for its strategic business planning to ensure that it is equipped for future trends and that it can capitalize on new opportunities to improve its business and enter new markets. As in BP’s case, Arup’s research team’s work involves forging and maintaining links with the best quality universities, researchers and research establishments, no matter where they are. Arup also works closely with government research funding and advisory bodies around the world to lobby for certain priority areas of funding and to leverage its own resources. Arup has arguably generated more knowledge than any other firm in the construction industry and has benefited enormously as a result. Indeed, many of Arup’s most successful business units have arisen out of its willingness to allow its staff members to pursue their own passions and interests within the work environment. Importantly, while this strategy has inevitably involved some risk and failure, it has also enabled Arup to build a global reputation for innovation, attract the world’s brightest and most engaged staff and to be first mover in a number of new markets and reap the significant benefits associated with this. While contracting is not generally synonymous with R&D, Laing O’Rourke also has a strong commitment to R&D through the formation and continued success of its Engineering Excellence Group (EnExG). It is not only Laing O’Rourke’s spending commitment to innovation and R&D (1.9 per cent of revenue) that led to it being recognized as one of the top 10 most innovative Australian organizations in 2014 and 2015. Rather, it is how these funds are utilized through the EnExG, and other activities of the wider organization, that makes Laing O’Rourke’s approach to innovation distinctly successful in an industry that often promotes similarity. The EnExG is a highly cross-disciplinary team that has offices in both the United Kingdom and Australia. Now five years old, it employs a broad mixture of intellects and experiences from both within and outside of the traditional construction industry, with the aim of providing the perspectives and insights that can only be gained at the overlapping boundaries of the traditional disciplines of knowledge. By providing the environment for challenging and disruptive ideas to take seed and grow, the EnExG aims to drive fundamental change in the practices and culture of the broader construction industry. This means much of the work of the EnExG is not solving problems through innovation, but rather providing fundamentally new methods and modes of thinking and working. The EnExG has pioneered the development and implementation of disruptive technologies such as 3D printing, augmented reality and biometric measurements, among many others, for use by the Laing O’Rourke workforce and clients. Along with this foundational development the EnExG acts as a cultivation space for promising and innovative commercial ventures. One of these, SunShift™, has been awarded several highly competitive government grants and been the subject of much media attention for its potential to reshape the economics of renewable power generation. While not every consultancy or construction company has the resources to invest in the types of highly structured and formalized R&D programs described above, it is worth remembering that all construction firms, large and small, exist in an increasingly globalised and knowledge-based economy where there is an ever greater reliance on our intellectual and creative capabilities than on our physical inputs or natural resources. We need to work smarter not just harder and without new ideas the Australian construction industry and the jobs that it provides will wither away in the face on growing and smart international competition. Thanks to Dr Rowan Braham of Laing O’Rourke’s Engineering Excellence Group for providing information relating to its activities.  Martin Loosemore is a Professor of construction management at UNSW. This opinion piece was first published on Sourceable.

2 Insights into Mindfulness and your Executive Coach.

By Timothy Kitching , Executive Coaching Director at the KONA Group.
Choosing the right Executive Coach is the first major decision as you enter into a coaching relationship.  This sounds easy but there are many coaching styles and schools of thought in the marketplace.
Our advice is to have a detailed conversation with your prospective coach before you engage them and ensure your coach has a proven track record across multiple industries (not just experienced in yours) or is accredited by one of the recognised coaching organisations either nationally or internationally.
Executive Coaching is different to Australian Sales Management Training and Leadership Training so another area to explore with your prospective coach is does your coach practice Mindfulness?
Remember you want your coach to be able to create an environment that takes away the limitations that usually come with your history, environment, expectations and assumptions.
In your conversations with your coach you will need a space of open reflective exploration.
If your coach is coming into a coaching relationship with you from a place of inner calm and confidence they will be more effective.
You don’t want a coach who is taken in by the latest fancy techniques or flashy models of executive coaching written by some American ‘guru’ who has no idea of the Australian culture and attitudes to success and failure (read our recent article on ‘Why are Australian sales teams scared of success?
Your Executive Coache’s job is to help you expand your mind, your way of thinking, your emotional awareness and personal performance.
Coaching that incorporates mindfulness is more effective as they have been found to create benefits for clients in everything from personal health and relationships to decision-making and leadership.
Some of the advantages of a coach that practices mindfulness includes:
    1. A clear and focused mind. For the executive coach, mindfulness is characterized by a clear and focused mind. The ever-present, persistent chatter we are so used to in our lives is absent in this type of coaching as it is the key to allowing something to happen in someone else. A busy mind negates efforts to have others express themselves. Remember those conversations with colleagues and family? How often did you get the feeling that they weren’t really hearing you because they were too busy telling you about their own situation or why you shouldn’t let your issues bother you so much. On the other hand when someone hears us with an open, clear and focused mind, we get a sense of our own value and substance and ability to move forward
  1. A measured approach to conversations and exploration. Coaches who prefer working with quiet thoughtfulness are of exceptional value as they give you room to move from one perspective to another, from one idea to another, from one incomplete thought to another until they become whole thoughts and form as a basis for growth.. In conversations with executive coaches, this mindfulness is experienced positively as you have the space to think, feel, wonder and explore while keeping the relationship open and collaborative. An effective executive coach establishes an emotional area where you don’t get worried about being controlled or manipulated.
If you are looking for an executive coach to help you boost your leadership skills and overall wellbeing remember to keep executive coaches who practice mindfulness in mind and contact Tim Kitching on 1300 611288 or

4 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Executive Coach

By Timothy Kitching Executive Coaching Director at the KONA Group. It was not that long ago that having an Executive Coach was viewed in a negative light. executive coachingVery few of a company’s top executives were signed up for executive coaching sessions unless there was an underlying performance concern There was almost always a company-sponsored Australian sales training courses or sales management training and coaching programs, but that was typically for the whole management group. Getting picked-out in particular to go through executive coaching? That might have caused some anxiety in the past but not anymore. The fact is, being chosen today to receive Executive Coaching is viewed as a huge benefit and prerequisite of any effective leader’s growth Executive coaching’s impact on business operations has become so great, seventy to eighty percent (70-80%) of companies now use it. The demands of managing Australian organisations or business units with varied groups of people in ever challenging environments requires different ways of thinking and continued personal development. That is what Executive Coaching is all about. In today’s increasingly complex and competitive business world, executive coaching has become a valuable tool to hone an executive’s leadership and interpersonal skills. So as with all personal development programs the key question is how to get the most out of your executive coach and here are 4 tips to get the most from your sessions: 1. Together with your coach, work-out a feedback mechanismwhere you can tell your coach what’s working and what’s not. Make this a regular thing in each of your coaching sessions. 2. Keep an open mind to the feedback you may get. You may receive feedback that is confronting or challenging or new.  Try not to adopt a ‘BED’ attitude and Blame, Excuse or get Defensive and reject this feedback. Ask questions to get a better understanding and explore the feedback with your coach before making a decision regarding it’s relevance or otherwise. 3. Make it a point to have your executive coach work with youon mapping out and crafting a developmental program. At the very least this should set down your key strengths, areas for improvement and further development, the roadblocks to change. 4. Create SMART goals to ensure you create real change. Your executive coach should be able to tell you how practical or impractical your plan is and help you in measuring its progress at certain points. Remember that a good Executive Coach is there to help you develop personally and professionally The achievements, however, are yours to don’t expect a coach to do the work for you or come up with solutions for you.  That is your job, not theirs. If you are looking for support and help to grow in your role and overcome the challenges of running a business and team please contact Tim Kitching at or call 1300 611288