Posts Tagged ‘business’

What Can You Do For the Climate Crisis?

Monday, September 30th, 2019

It was 1976. I’m looking out of the cockpit window of a plane as we fly past Mount Kilimanjaro. The snow caps shine brightly. The pilot hands me a certificate, congratulating me for flying over the Equator for the first time.

Things have change since then.

Passengers are no longer allowed upfront into the plane cockpit. Kilimanjaro is no longer snow covered all year. I’m no longer a child. 

If you are reading this on the internet, you probably aren’t either.

The child that was on that flight would have been out of school on Fridays. She’d have marched for the climate and the planet. I’m applauding Greta Thunberg.

The adult in me has asked myself, what responsibility can I take? What can I influence? How can I help you and other to too?

I can write, I can speak, I can do what good business mentors do – ask the questions that’s help the tough answers be found.

I can do what good leaders do, create better futures. As a board member I can. As a human being I can too.

Business Leadership in the Climate Crisis

As a business leader, I can ask is my business CO2 neutral today? Congrats, Jeff Bezos for committing Amazon to this by 2030. Go further, commit to being climate positive across all the SDGs by 2030.

After all, CO2 is part of the climate equation. So is plastic, clean water and waste.

Big business is more than 60% of the global GDP. Leadership decisions here count. Kudos for GoldmanSach’s for their advocacy for proactive climate investments and BNPParibas for your action too.

As a CEO, I know that if we set KPIs and reward the behaviors, the business will find solutions. They’ll look for them. New services, products and solutions will be created. New businesses and economies will be created.

To be clear, I’m advocating designing the future not simply responding to it.

“Rather than being screwed, if we act quickly, a sustainable future could be cleaner, quieter, safer, more technologically advanced and more prosperous than the alternative”. Paul Romer, winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in economics

Romer identifies the challenges to this are not primarily economic, nor are they primarily technological, they are institutional, cultural and organizational. This is the leadership space.

The challenges are leadership.

A climate positive business economic system even more prosperous than the current destructive system is possible. In the last GFC, four trillion dollars was pumped into the US economy, a few years later, it had resulted in a $34 trillion dollar expansion. Good ROI. #ClimateCrisis is as strong a reason for central bank action as the GFC.

As a stakeholder and shareholder and board member, vote and expect Boards to look at sustainability as more than business sustainability. Go for climate positive across the SDGs by 2030.

Some Boards are interpreting the Environmental, Societal and Governance (ESG) reporting requirements required of listed companies as business sustainability alone. I contributed expert input to Board Governance needs in Asia to the CPA Australia earlier this year. It’s clear that national legislations vary significantly.

Go further than the legislation. Ask yourself, do you plan on being alive in 10 years? Do you want to breathe? Do you want a business and a planet that’s dealing with the warfare that comes from a billion people being displaced from storm, floods and collapsed food systems?

As a human, it is frankly scary. I look back to that young girl in a plane looking out at the majesty of Mount Kilimanjaro and realize there is a lot I can do as a human.

Wisdom of the ages says we reap what we sow. I’d prefer to sow a prosperous human economic system with a sustainable green planet. 

I know it’s not over night.

Instead of saying it’s too hard or that it’s impossible. It’s about ‘do it’. The climate crisis is up there with nuclear war (negative) and man on the moon (positive). We avoid that bad. We got man there in under a decade. We gained that good.

Climate varies
Cold in some places

Getting Practical about Business Action for the Climate Crisis

As a business woman, I’m practical. I like visions and goals to have a road map and practical frameworks.

Here is a practical framework to measure progress to sustainability. It was developed for a client’s business and it’s shared with permission. May it spark your own business goals.

The columns represent goals, while the rows address key elements of their business success.

Business Goals for Climate Crisis

* SDG #5 highlights that economic equity between men and women is an accelerator of sustainability.

** Unicorns have a super agile adaptive mindset. Necessary for the pace of change that climate and IR4.0 have for business.

Do I know how their business will achieve this at this precise moment? No, but then no unicorn knows how it will achieve it’s goal when it starts.

Climate neutral is a good start. The foot needs to get off the polluting peddle. Kudos to L’Oreal for your work piloting this across your supply chain.

Climate positive is next. Stabilize what’s already out there currently creating damage. And then, to get to the deeper need to systematically operate our business and economic system on the basis of climate sustainability. 

It means clean up work.

Take Climate Action Personally

I’m looking at my life. I’ve a backlog of pollution, of CO2, of plastic and waste to consider.

I get how China can say to the West that you sunk masses of carbon into the system in the past. While much of the focus is about getting to climate neutral, it’s also about getting the past pollutants out of the system.

I was on that flight over Mount Kilimanjaro. Even though my parents were flying me back to see my grand parents, as an adult, I can say I was there. I can choose to offset and clean up on my past at the same time as I focus on my business being CO2 neutral now and being systemically climate positive by 2030.

On Sunday, in honor of that girl on the plane, in honor of the kids who march Fridays and in honor business leaders who are showing up, I did something practical. You can do this too.

I got out excel.

I worked out how many flights I’d taken in my life. I included the ones my parents had put me on when I went off to boarding school. I counted the ones I’ve taken for business.

Total so far: 980 flights.

This is 1960 takes offs and landings – where the most fuel is consumed.

I estimated the flying hours with short haul flights and long haul flights. It’s 7134 flying hours.

I’m committed to offsetting these and to do the same to new flights.

I put money where my mouth and words are and took action. To begin to offset this, I’ve invested in protecting fruit trees planted by a women’s society. 14974 days of protection. It’s a start. Thank you #B1G1 for making this possible. 

Unicorns begin small, and they work it out. 

I invite you to see your business as a climate unicorn. Imagine the change it can make, the billions that it can benefit, and yes, the value you will create in the process.

It includes prosperous people, successful business and a thriving planet. It’s possible.

Do you believe it’s possible? What’s your experience with going for the impossible and making it happen? Does your business get why it’s important to act today? What suggestions do you have for action in your business?



Where is 87% of your Capital Value?

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

There are three myths in the capital raising journey. The first is that it’s about “the capital”. The second is that it’s about “the deal”. And the third, is that it’s about “the one”.

In this article, I am going to re-frame how you look at the value of your company and capital raising.

This is from a keynote given to 300 CEOs, Founders and Executives from USA, Asia and Europe late 2018 at Anthony Robbin’s Wealth Mastery Program.


87% of your stock market value comes from 6 forms of value, yet traditional capital raising focuses on just 3 forms. These only make up 13% of stock market value*

Source: Unicorning™ Analytics, Standard & Poors, Additional Analytics

At Unicorning, when we analyzed at the stock market value of businesses that have been super successful over the last decade, we noticed that they have huge valuations in non-traditional forms of value. In fact, we found that non-traditional forms of capital make up 87% of the stock market value. This trend is only increasing.

We found the executives, founders and businesses that build great business are ones focusing on six non-traditional forms of value. They articulate, measure and grow each of these capitals.  

What does this mean for you?

The capital that is not on your balance sheet is your capital for success. This is true even if you are simply focusing on growing your business.

The capital that is not on your balance sheet is your capital for success

Joanne Flinn

Grow Your Business and Valuation With the Critical Six Capitals

Our analysis found that each of each of these capitals is an answer to an important business question. Here are the six non-traditional capitals to help you articulate, measure and grow your business.

They are framed as questions to spark your thinking.

1.    WHY Possibilities

What’s the greater value? What’s the greater vision? What are the possibilities for the world, if this actually can happen? What’s the change your business is making in the world? Example: Tesla sells the possibility of transportation (cars, rocket ships…) powered by renewable energy. People who buy Tesla cars are making a statement about the future of the planet as much as they are investing in bringing the vision to life. 

2.    WHEN Time

Are you making time an asset? Are you utilizing and managing it well? Getting services and products to market swifter has concrete value. Fast paced hyper growth businesses know this – a month of market is valued in the millions. This holds true for customers too in a super busy world. Example: Atlassian is a software company built around helping business teams use time super effectively so their clients get things done focused, faster and better.  

3.    WHAT Brand Promise

What will the business deliver? How will people see you? Example: BMW is a lifestyle car with superb engineering. The brand promises that you will be seen as part of the high-net worth elite. It works this promise through may levels of the car, the organization and your experience as a BMW owner.

4.    WHO Relationships and Networks

Are you who you know? Who do you know? Where is your influence? Example: Grab and Uber sell you access to a network of drivers while Oxford and Harvard give you access to an entirely different sort of network. In this increasingly social world, the networks are valued and valuable.

5.    HOW Technology and Processes

How are you creating opportunities to scale? Are you innovating how things are done? Is your technology helping customers lead better lives, have better experiences or take their business further. Are your processes smoother, more effective and secure? Example: R3, a blockchain company that works with banks, recently had one of the biggest series A funding rounds ever. 

6.    Intellectual Property

How do you scale your creativity? Which parts are so valuable people will pay for it? Example: LVMH owns many of the world’s luxury brands, its intellectual property is its key source of value, which we can tell by how diligently it tries to shut down fakes.

87% of the stock market value is above the line.

13% of the stock market value is below the line. This is the world of the traditional P&L and Balance Sheet.

7.    Contracts

Do you have a cashflow pipeline? Is there proof that people value what you are selling? Are the partners you depend on committed? Contracts have measurable value. 

8.    Cash

Do you have money in the bank? Do you have reserves to respond to emergencies? Do you have a means to invest forward? Can you manage your money? What’s in your P&L and Balance Sheet?

9.    Physical Property

Do you have assets that can be used to recoup losses? Have you made enough money to invest in physical assets? Do you have physical assets? In the tech start up world, physical capital is considered old fashioned and slow growth, yet, physical capital has value. Just ask WeWork’s CEO who has made millions leasing property to WeWork’s co-working business.

These three forms of capital are well measured, they’re in the P&L and the Balance Sheet – but if you are growing your business, looking for capital or wanting to increase the valuation of your business, pay attention to whats in that 87%.

Case Study: GRAB, the Unicorn

Have you ever taken an Uber or a Grab? What they did was they created a network where they were always available and relationships where we trust, now we get into a car with a complete stranger. And a complete stranger is happy to pick us up and take us somewhere. What they were able to do was create a who (4) and a how (5) combination that created value and service. Think about how much data they’ve got on us and where they can create new forms of value to us ‘the customer’ and thus to the investor. Grab, which is based out of Singapore, is worth a billion dollars. It’s a Unicorn. 

Reframing the capital-raising journey

This journey begins with you. As much as capital raising about the logic and the numbers, the truth is that you are absolutely critical to capital raising journey. You show up in two ways. Firstly, there is your heart, the passion for what you are creating and the belief that you and your team is able to do it. But there also a less talked about element of you: who do you want to be in the journey?

For example, let’s take a look at the mindset around capital raising. You’ve heard of the Dragons Den? It is a great image, it appeals to our inner knight-in-shining armor. Yet, when we see capital raising as going into the dragon’s den, what do we find? We find dragons and danger.

What happens if you shift this perspective? If we see capital raising as a journey into new territory with unknowns to discover and work out, what happens? You are now an explorer or adventurer.

One mindset is about defense while the other the explorer/adventurer keeps you in a growth mindset.

Reframing it this way, you will have a different relationship to the information that comes back to you when you put your proposition, pitch and product out there. You’ll see the information that comes back with a spirit of inquiry, with interest and you’ll have a greater capacity to respond. You will be able to adapt to what’s actually happening. Data from the markets, your customers, or your business partners becomes clues and sign post on your journey towards your business goals.

Unicorning this year

What are you doing to raise your value in 2019? Do you want to be a Unicorn? You and thse 9 forms of capital are behind every successful business.

Let’s converse about your capital raising priorities. 

8 things you get from good business coaches

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

I interviewed my coachees to see what they found most valuable. In their words:

Access & Ease.  Really high caliber introductions. Just the speed of that versus trying to find them yourself and going in cold.

Interviewees included: Investment funding, branding, economics for business, disruptors, transformations, team dynamics

A Friend.          In a weird way, a friend. Over time and through the process of deep sharing and understanding between a client and a business coach, you can’t help but form some degree of friendship and attachment because they become people who know more about you than pretty much everyone else. Unexpected.

Frameworks.    You get teachable frameworks with language and symbols that you could use internally in the company that helped you communicate better with the team and talk in a shorthand. It helped the teams align to insights. They give you ways to think and structure thoughts.

Focus on the Mission.    Relying on them to help you prevent mission drift. Actually dragging you out of the present and back into the context when you get snowed under from things strategically.

While there is a part of not relying on them as it’s my business but, relying on them to say ‘this is what we are here to do’.

Handling it.     If something comes up and you’ve got a coaching, a weekly call or bi-weekly call or a session, you can start to triage issues. It allows you to clear them out of your brain instead of carrying them around with you.

Keeping your mental whiteboard clear for what you really need it for instead of trying to solve something which is already easily solvable by somebody else.

Gifts.               Unexpected meaningful little gifts that were again, little teachable lessons.

Perspectives.   You can’t necessarily work through it by yourself. If things are happening that are beyond your competence or if things that require, or everybody as it really does, you have competence in one area, you need someone who’s looking at it from another perspective.

Reassurance.    Reassurance and the comfort of having somebody I could say anything to. Which, in business, is a privilege because you don’t normally as the head of a company get to say anything to anyone, because you have to maintain appearance and face at all times. That’s hidden advantages of business coaches.

The sleeping easy at night factor with the stress drop of knowing that you had somebody to speak to.

Me to Them:      What’s the last piece? The one you go, “Oh my god. I can’t believe I forgot this.”

Them:              Well, my business coach was, I think the second or the third person I told about my divorce. They were the call after my parents. … I think the response was, “F**k!” Which was great.  Life isn’t always smooth. Having somebody that has an eye on your interests, personal and professional, when shit hits the fan is invaluable because you have places of perspective and you have somebody there who’s there keeping you running or keeping the wheels on, or stopping everything becoming a big mess.

Also I think, someone to commiserate with. By commiserate with, in terms of just a source of empathy. It’s not necessarily grieving or commiserating, but it’s somebody who has empathy and feeling for your situation and what’s happening.

Me:  the human side of business. These interviews remind me that as much as it takes 200 people to raise a child, so too for a business.

Interviewee profiles: founders/ C Suite, age 32-42, high growth companies over $10,000,000 in revenue with visions of a more human business world.

I mentor and coach business executives, business leaders and business founders through the growth journey. I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I love being able to help people with great visions who have built the foundations of a business take it where it needs to go next.

Sometimes it’s pitching, other times it’s an internal issue or it may be simply the very real need for a sounding board and an ear that understands what your journey really is like.

If you are ready to be mentored and coached by me, book a time with me at Mentor and lets get started.

10 things to look for in a business coach

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

How do you pick a business coach?

Good hair. But jokes aside, you want someone who is put together, because how you do anything is how you do everything.

Interviewee profiles: Founders and C Suite, age 32-42, high growth companies over $10,000,000 in revenue with visions of a more human business world…In their words…

Disarming. They need to be able to put you at ease, because you need to be very unfiltered with them.

Experienced. Older than you. Not wanting to be age-ist here, but. It’s not necessarily about age, but someone who’s been there, done that, in an area … someone who either has tangential competency, or greater competency parallel with yours.

You need someone who has more experience than you have in your domain of expertise, or someone who has experience outside of your domain.

Fun. You have lots of deep and dark conversations with your business coach, so you need someone you can drink wine with.

Teachable Moments. Someone who has clear methods and frameworks and they are able to articulate complex concepts simply in a way that you can understand. Someone who has good stories.

Been there, done that. Has worked with lots of previous clients, can pull on expertise from been there, done that situations. It’s real life experience.

Engagement. Someone who has a flexible engagement agreement that is appropriate to your stage of business and place in life.

Whether they’re being paid in equity or in fees, it’s that they’re invested in the future, not the present.

Adaptive. They have the ability to react and keep working with you as things change on different arrangements.

Let’s face it, the entrepreneurial journey, one thing, it’s not as predictable.

Emotional Intelligence. Someone that can read you, understand where you are, and unpack things with.

Connections. Your business coach should have people at their fingertips that they can refer you onto if they hit a block in their own expertise or if there’s a strategic benefit in doing so.

Humility: You need to get a sense from them that they don’t know everything, and they know they don’t know everything, but they have the willingness to find someone who does if something that comes up which is out of their area.

If you counted… it’s 11… see it as a bonus!
Next>>> What do you get from a great business coach?

I mentor and coach business executives, business leaders and business founders through the growth journey. I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I love being able to help people with great visions who have built the foundations of a business take it where it needs to go next.

Sometimes it’s pitching, other times it’s an internal issue or it may be simply the very real need for a sounding board and an ear that understands what your journey really is like.

If you are ready to be mentored and coached by me, book a time with me at Mentor and lets get started.