7 Magic Phrases That Can Save an Awkward Conversation

1.Pay a compliment

Why is it so easy to forget someone’s name within seconds of meeting them? Because, you weren’t really listening – you were too busy thinking about what to say next. One easy way to skirt that natural selfishness and propel any conversation forward is to open with flattery. When you meet someone for the first time, ‘Pay that person a compliment when repeating their name, thus helping to anchor and embed it even deeper into your memory,’ says professional mentalist Oz Pearlman, who sometimes has to remember the names of hundreds of people he just met for his act. If you compliment Alyssa on her necklace, you instantly prime you brain to recall her name the next time you see that necklace, Pearlman says. ‘As a bonus, everyone enjoys flattery, so that compliment can go a long way toward you being remembered as well.’

2.Ask lots of questions – good questions

Research shows that in conversations with unfamiliar people, we tend to rate the experience based on our own performance, not theirs. What’s more: the experience of talking about ourselves can be more pleasurable than food or money. So, how do you give your conversation partner the pleasure of a good conversation? Ask them questions – a lot of questions, and ones that call for more than vague one-word answers (a good rule is, if your question can be answered with ‘fine’, don’t ask it). Avoid work if you can; instead, ask about play – ‘What keeps you busy outside of work?’ is a good place to start. According to Debra Fine, author of The Fine Art of Small Talk, one question pretty much guaranteed to put someone in a positive mindset and open doors to their personality: ‘What has the highlight of your year been so far?’ This allows the person to show you her best self and, if her highlight includes a topic you’re interested in too, may lay the groundwork for a true friendship.

3.Make a game out of small talk

If you keep feeding a person questions and they keep giving you nothing back, go for the jugular and make it a game. According to Jeanne Martinet, author of The Art of Mingling, small talk should be playful like a game of tennis, not serious like a job interview. Her go-to game? ‘I’ll say something like, ‘Tell me three things about your company, and I’ll guess what company it is.’ Or, ‘What’s that you’re drinking? Wait – let me guess.’ Get them into the spirit.’

4.Try to make their day better

If your conversation partner still isn’t biting, make things even easier for them by asking games research Jane McGonigal’s favourite question: ‘On a scale of one to ten, how was your day?’ Anyone can think of a number between one and ten, McGonigal says, and they’re likely to elaborate on their answer as they go. But it gets even better. After they respond, ask them this: ‘Is there anything I can do to move you from a six to a seven (or a three to a four, etc.?’ You’d be surprised how happy this little gesture will make someone. This is what good listeners do in daily conversation.

5.Play the sympathy card

Ready for a cheater’s way to advance a conversation? Memorise three magic words: ‘that sounds hard.’ ‘Nearly everyone in the world believes their job to be difficult.’ Entrepreneur Paul Ford wrote in his viral essay, ‘How to Be Polite.’ ‘I once went to a party and met a very beautiful woman whose job was to help celebrities wear Harry Winston jewellery. I could tell that she was disappointed to be introduced to this rumpled giant in an off-brand shirt, but when I told her that her job sounded difficult to me she brightened and spoke for 30 straight minutes about sapphires and Jessica Simpson.’

6.Seek their opinion

This tip has been tested by perhaps our most tactful founding father, Benjamin Franklin. In his memoir, Franklin describes an ‘old maxim’ that helped him along in his political career: ‘He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.’ In other words, if you ask someone for advice or a favour and they oblige you, they will be psychologically primed to like you and help you again (today this phenomenon is known as The Ben Franklin effect). So, if you truly want to endear yourself to a stranger and show them you value their mind, ask for their advice on something. If they give it to you, they get to feel important and valued – and you might just learn something in the process.

7.Exit gracefully

When your conversation reaches a natural conclusion, pull the trigger by saying ‘I won’t keep you’ or ‘Give my regards to [mutual acquaintance]’ before making your escape. Adam Dachis, co-author of The Awkward Human Survival Guide, adds that context can provide you the perfect exit strategy. ‘If you’re at a party, excuse yourself to get a drink; if you’re at work, you can leave to get some coffee. You can also say, ‘It’s nice talking to you, but I have to talk to someone before they leave.’


Source – Readers Digest

Learn about the Alkira Centre - helping others.

1. Ray, you have been the CEO of Alkira for over 20 years, that is quite the milestone! How did you get end up working for Alkira, was it an industry that had a special connection for you?

Following on from an accountancy role with International Harvester; Human Resources, Production Planning and Marketing Services positions within a family Pet Food and Soap manufacturing company in Melbourne and Shepparton, I entered the Disability field in 1985 in Shepparton as the General Manager of the Goulburn Valley Centre for the Intellectually Handicapped. I then moved back to Melbourne with my family to join Alkira Centre – Box Hill in 1995 and 21 years later I am still here!

The attraction to this industry is THE PEOPLE – not only the dedicated and talented staff that are part of Alkira and are responsible for delivering the quality services, support and opportunities for the adults with intellectual disabilities that are involved in our services, but especially the people who we provide services for – their uniqueness, friendliness, joy for life and achievements are the reason why I come to work each day and have done so for so long. Like John who almost every day takes the time to come and say hello, ask about my family and “how are you today” or the big smile on Bernie’s face as she struts the catwalk in a ‘Wearable Arts’ event

2. According to your website ‘Alkira’ means a ‘happy place in the sun’. Can you tell us a bit more about how and why this name was chosen and how Alkira is different to other disability support providers?

From “A Short History of Alkira” (2000):

“And so it was that on 18th June 1955, the training centre at Thurston Street Box Hill was officially opened. One of the guests at this opening was Mr. Crosbie Morrison, who had been asked to provide a name for the training centre.  After seeing the centre he stated it to be a bright and sunny place, and chose the aboriginal name “Alkira”.

The word “Alkira” comes from an Aboriginal language meaning “bright

and sunny”. For many it has come to signify “a happy place in the sun”.


3. What do you love most about your job or (this industry)?

Again, THE PEOPLE! People with disabilities, work colleagues, family members, industry colleagues, Board Members – all are generally dedicated to the cause and align with both my and Alkira’s values.


4. What would you struggle with the most in your job or in this industry?

Time – trying to balance the vastness, complexities and breadth of the role alongside the personal lifestyle and family commitments. The role is complex because it crosses over many aspects of management – from financial oversight to capacity building and development projects, property maintenance, transport logistics, keeping up to date with industry and funding changes, dealing with a range of external people and organisations and internal people management. It also has a high focus on monitoring service delivery performance to ensure Alkira is delivering what people tell us they need and want, within financial and staffing capabilities.


5. Tell us about a rewarding moment for you in the business and your involvement in it?

The closure of a 30-bed hostel and relocation of people into houses in the community. This involved gaining the commitment of the Alkira Board, convincing family members of residents at the time and the residents themselves of the potential massive benefits to their future lifestyle.

The most rewarding moments was seeing the changes in people – residents have expressed that they are now much happier, can cook their own meals, take pride in their own rooms and enjoy the homely atmosphere of where they live. Family members have also commented very positively on the changes and progress in their sons and daughters and that were also healthier now they are part of a smaller houses in which they participate in a homelike environment and have their ‘own space’ to enjoy.


6. There must be many interesting and funny incidents you would have experienced while at Alkira, can you tell us about one or two?

Staff Christmas parties, where staff members relaxed and ‘performed’ and where we saw aspects of character that were not normally exhibited in a normal work day. The classic was the handing out of staff Christmas gifts by our own in house personalities ’Kylie Mole’ and ‘Uncle Arthur’.


7. Tell me about a memorable client you have gotten to know while working at Alkira?

Vincent Pederson is an Aboriginal client who always says hello, has a unique and special handshake that he insisted I learnt and also has a collection of different caps that must require a separate wardrobe to house.


8. If you had to sum up your time with Alkira using 5 words, what would they be and why?

  • Long (but seemed short)
  • Ever-changing
  • Stimulating
  • Engaging
  • Rewarding

9. What do you do when you are not working or to relax?

Bike riding, social tennis, family time, travel, camping, beach time.


We would like to thank Ray Cranwell, CEO, for his time and for sharing his insights into this great organisation, thank you.


You can read more about Akira by visiting their website.

15 Things successful people do in the last 10 minutes of the workday


Perhaps you spend the last 10 minutes of your workday staring at the clock, counting down the seconds until you’re free. Or, maybe you bury yourself in work until the very last minute – then you grab your stuff and run for the door without saying goodbye to your colleagues.

If either of the above scenarios sounds familiar, it may be time to assess your end-of-day routine.

‘How you finish the workday is very important’, says Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of ‘The Humour Advantage’. ‘It can set your mood for the rest of your day; it may impact your personal relationships, overall level of happiness, and how well you sleep that night; and it will set the stage for the next day.’

1. They stay focused.

‘This is a classic time when your mind can drift,’ explains Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of ‘Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behaviour and Thrive in Your Job’. Typically, you’re not as sharp at the end of the day.’

Try not to allow yourself to get distracted or caught up in non-work related activities at the very end of the day.

2. They update their to-do lists.

Successful professionals always keep an eye on their ever-changing to-do lists, Taylor says.

‘But in the last 10 minutes is when they also check their final progress against that day’s objectives,’ she says. ‘They revise their final list accordingly while in the moment, rather than abruptly leave and hoping they will remember all the nuances of that day in the morning.’

3. They review what they achieved.

Taylor says in addition to focusing on what you still need to do, its important to look back on what you’ve done.

Kerr agrees. ‘Taking even one minute to review what you achieved can give you a sense of accomplishment, and on a particularly trying and busy day it can remind you that you got more done than you realised,’ he says. ‘Happiness research tells us that doing a simple routine like this, and taking the time to reflect on what you accomplished, is a key way to boost your overall level of happiness.’

4. They determine their primary goals for tomorrow.

Successful people have a list of items ready for the morning, and they identify their primary objectives for the following day. ‘You may have two or three of them that are top of mind, but commit them to writing so you have a core foundation to work from the next morning,’ says Taylor.

‘The more you can get everything down on paper that is swirling through your mind, the more likely it is you’ll be able to focus on the rest of your life with a clear head and be prepared and ready to go the following day,’ adds Kerr.

5. They vet ‘urgent’ communications.

You’re down to the wire on your day, but the communications keep flowing; some urgent and some not – but all at the last minute. ‘This is when your time management skills are put to the test.’ Says Taylor. ‘Successful people are able to decide what requires a response and what can wait.’

You want to defer long conversations that are sensitive until you and your colleague are at your best: in the morning. ‘Consider a response that suggests the discussion be held at a specific time the next day’ she says. ‘Otherwise, the matter could last well into the evening when your mutual energy is low and you feel rushed. This deferral also gives you overnight to step back and think through your immediate reaction.’

6.  They take a moment to reflect on the day.

Successful people not only think about the projects they have handled that day; they try to analyse when and why things went right and wrong. ‘Savvy professionals know that if they’re not learning, they’re not growing,’ says Taylor.

7. They say thank you to someone.

Great workplaces are built on foundations of gratitude and recognition. ‘Creating a habit around thanking someone at the end of your workday is an incredibly effective way to boost your own happiness level and allow yourself and others to leave on a high note,’ says Kerr.

8. They review their schedule for the next morning.

There’s no worse way to start your day than arriving at the office and learning you have a big meeting in five minutes.

‘Successful people know to review their schedule and plan for the following day – and most importantly, visualise how the day will unfold,’ Kerr says. This will allow you to go into the next workday feeling better prepared, more confident and less stressed.

9. They don’t leave people hanging.

How terrible would you feel if you found out a co-worker waited around all night for you to send that file you promised, only to eventually realise you’ve already left for the day, and that file probably isn’t coming?

Successful people don’t always accomplish everything they planned to, or respond to every email they said they would – but they do at least let others know that they weren’t able to get to the task, or make the decision, or respond to their email today, and they usually provide a status update, as well.

10. They organise their desk and desktop.

Your projects take much longer to complete when you’re not organised. ‘Having an orderly desktop and desk will help you think more clearly and prioritise more effectively. It will also help you quickly find important documents when you need them.’ Says Taylor. ‘File digital and hard copy documents for easier access and greater efficiency when you need them next.’

11. They let everyone know they’re about to leave.

Successful people give their colleagues or employees a heads-up that they will be heading out in a few minutes.

This way, if anyone has anything urgent to discuss or ask you, they won’t do it when you’re literally walking about the door.

12. They let colleagues know how accessible they will be between now and the morning.

The most successful people take a minute to determine how accessible they can and need to be between now and the following day, and then they communicate that to whoever needs to know.

13. They say their goodbyes.

A friendly ‘goodnight’ is highly underestimated and requires very little effort. ‘It reminds your boss and team that you are a human being, not just a colleague,’ Taylor says. It also gives your co-workers a heads up that you’re leaving for the day.

14. They leave on a positive note.

Before you head out, give yourself a psychological boost by smiling, Taylor recommends. ‘It will prepare you to exude a more upbeat vibe as you check out with your co-workers.’ Successful leaders leave a good impression at the day’s end, as that’s the demeanour that sticks until the next morning.

15. They actually leave.

Successful people avoid the temptation to linger. They know how important work-life balance is, so they try to leave the office at a decent hour.

‘Staying around for no good reason will limit your level of energy and success when you need it tomorrow’, Taylor explains.



Jacquelyn Smith – Business Insider



The Wheel of Life

The Wheel of Life has been used throughout time for measuring the quality of our lives. Look at the example below and imagine that each piece of the pie represented an area of your own life. Imagine that each line is a spoke in a wheel, with the centre of the wheel representing 0% satisfaction and fulfilment in that area of your life and the outside represents 100% satisfaction and fulfilment with that area of your life.


If this were your Wheel of Life where would you currently be in each area of your life?

Take a few moments to draw a line in each piece of the pie representing where you believe you currently are in that area of your life. When you’ve finished, shade in the areas to get a true sense of the depths of each section and a sense of where to focus your energy.

Here are some suggested headings for each segment, feel free to use these or create your own to represent what is important to you in your life.

• Physical environment
• Business/Career
• Money
• Health
• Family
• Relationships
• Personal growth
• Fun time

If this were a wheel on a car called LIFE, how well would your car run?
How would it run if you were travelling at 25 kilometres per hour? How would it run if you were travelling at 100 kilometres per hour? What if you wanted to be a high achiever? Would the gaps cause you to stay on the road or would you be heading for the ditch?

If you’re like most people, you’re probably experiencing a certain level of discomfort with the quality of your ride! What about if you could find a way to round off your Wheel of Life so that you experienced balance across the areas that matter most to you? Imagine putting your energy, focus and time into the areas that matter most to you…what would that feel like? How would your life look? What would be different?

If there is any part of your current financial situation that you would like to improve, please feel free to con tact our office for a confidential chat.

Three Trends Family Businesses Should Watch

Audit picture
Generational Handovers with Baby Boomers planning their retirement, family businesses everywhere are facing a high-risk changing of the guard. As the Baby Boomer generation moves into their retirement years, Australian family businesses are facing the largest intergenerational transfer of wealth and leadership in history. Recent statistics shows that nearly two-thirds of current family CEOs are aged over 50 and two-thirds of family businesses intend to pass ownership on to the next generation in the next five years. Unfortunately, surveys have shown that family businesses are not prepared for succession. A 2013 national survey by KPMG found that just one-third of Australian family businesses considers themselves succession-ready.

Success rates are poor
Statistics about intergenerational business and wealth transfer are grim: the vast majority of families lose their wealth by the second generation. By the third generation, the situation is worse; 90 percent have lost most or all of their wealth. The reasons? Succession failures usually happen because of poor planning, poor communication, and family conflict after the death of a parent. Solution: Start planning for succession now. Usually, a five- or 10-year horizon is necessary adequately prepare the business and its new leader for the transition. Proper planning involves a business valuation exercise and the establishment of formal timelines. Family businesses often have the added complications of competing successors, as well as family members having differing perspectives on the future of the business. Business leaders who are uncertain about how to go about creating a succession plan would do well to attend one of the many courses offered on succession, or consult with a family business adviser who can provide recommendations.

Multiple generations in the kitchen
Many family businesses are moving into the second or third generation. With life expectancies increasing and current leaders reluctant to retire, businesses will have to learn to cope with the perspectives and priorities of multiple generations. Just as "too many cooks spoil the broth", too many generations can cause a variety of problems within a business when their roles aren't defined, or younger generations feel shut out of decision­ making by their elders. Solution: Communication, communication, communication. Giving family members space to air grievances and have their opinions heard is critical to the healthy functioning of a family business. Many business leaders, accustomed to being the family visionary, aren't able to let go of their privacy when new generations start to take leadership roles. Creating succession plans that clearly outline when and how new leaders are to step up can help smooth the eventual transfer of leadership. However, until then, allowing each generation of the family to feel included in the strategic direction of the firm is vital to family (and business) harmony. Retreats, family councils, and other non-business forums can also offer opportunities to bridge the generational gap.

Non-traditional structures
The definition of a "family business" and the makeup of its family and non-family employees have evolved considerably in the past and will continue to change. Families are complex entities and the introduction of second spouses, half­ siblings, adopted siblings and new family members makes ownership and management issues complicated if any businesses have non-family employees and executives who contribute to business success at a very high level. Not all family members participate in the family business the same way. Finding ways to recognise contributions to the business while defining ownership is critical to maintaining business function while avoiding family drama. Solution: Family businesses that intend to become multi-generational concerns should separate the ownership structure of a business from its management through the issuance of shares, or another mechanism. This separation has the dual effect of keeping ownership of a firm within the family while allowing for professional management. Families should also institute financial agreements such as shareholder agreements, pre-marital agreements, and other documents that define expectations and protect family wealth. •

This article has been written by Kim Harland is director, client services, at FINH

Success Will Come and Go, But Integrity Is Forever

Portrait of a liar

If I could teach only one value to live by, it would be this: Success will come and go, but integrity is forever. Integrity means doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching. It takes having the courage to do the right thing, no matter what the consequences will be. Building a reputation of integrity takes years, but it takes only a second to lose, so never allow yourself to ever do anything that would damage your integrity.

We live in a world where integrity isn’t talked about nearly enough. We live in a world where “the end justifies the means” has become an acceptable school of thought for far too many. Sales people overpromise and under deliver, all in the name of making their quota for the month. Applicants exaggerate in job interviews because they desperately need a job. CEOs overstate their projected earnings because they don’t want the board of directors to replace them. Entrepreneurs overstate their pro formas because they want the highest valuation possible from an investor. Investors understate a company’s value in order to negotiate a lower valuation in a deal. Customer service representatives cover up a mistake they made because they are afraid the client will leave them. Employees call in “sick” because they don’t have any more paid time off when they actually just need to get their Christmas shopping done. The list could go on and on, and in each case the person committing the act of dishonesty told themselves they had a perfectly valid reason why the end result justified their lack of integrity.

It may seem like people can gain power quickly and easily if they are willing to cut corners and act without the constraints of morality. Dishonesty may provide instant gratification in the moment but it will never last. I can think of several examples of people without integrity who are successful and who win without ever getting caught, which creates a false perception of the path to success that one should follow. After all, each person in the examples above could have gained the result they wanted in the moment, but unfortunately, that momentary result comes at an incredibly high price with far reaching consequences. That person has lost their ability to be trusted as a person of integrity, which is the most valuable quality anyone can have in their life. Profit in dollars or power is temporary, but profit in a network of people who trust you as a person of integrity is forever.

Every one person who trusts you will spread the word of that trust to at least a few of their associates, and word of your character will spread like wildfire. The value of the trust others have in you is far beyond anything that can be measured. For entrepreneurs it means investors that are willing to trust them with their money. For employees it means a manager or a boss that is willing to trust them with additional responsibility and growth opportunities. For companies it means customers that trust giving them more and more business. For you it means having an army of people that are willing to go the extra mile to help you because they know that recommending you to others will never bring damage to their own reputation of integrity. Yes, the value of the trust others have in you goes beyond anything that can be measured because it brings along with it limitless opportunities and endless possibilities.

Contrast that with the person who cannot be trusted as a person of integrity. Warren Buffet, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway said it best:, “In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first one, the other two will kill you.” A person’s dishonesty will eventually catch up to them. It may not be today, and it may not be for many years, but you can rest assured that at some point there will always be a reckoning.

A word of advice to those who are striving for a reputation of integrity: Avoid those who are not trustworthy. Do not do business with them. Do not associate with them. Do not make excuses for them. Do not allow yourself to get enticed into believing that “while they may be dishonest with others, they would never be dishonest with me.” If someone is dishonest in any aspect of his life you can be guaranteed that he will be dishonest in many aspects of his life. You cannot dismiss even those little acts of dishonesty, such as the person who takes two newspapers from the stand when they paid for only one. After all, if a person cannot be trusted in the simplest matters of honesty then how can they possibly be trusted to uphold lengthy and complex business contracts?

It is important to realize that others pay attention to those you have chosen to associate with, and they will inevitably judge your character by the character of your friends. Why is that? It is best explained by a quote my father often says when he is reminding me to be careful of the company I am keeping: “When you lie down with dogs you get fleas.” Inevitably we become more and more like the people we surround ourselves with day to day. If we surround ourselves with people who are dishonest and willing to cut corners to get ahead, then we’ll surely find ourselves following a pattern of first enduring their behavior, then accepting their behavior, and finally adopting their behavior. If you want to build a reputation as a person of integrity then surround yourself with people of integrity.

Article written by Amy Rees Anderson, sourced from Forbes Entrepreneurs.

How people rationalise fraud - Kelly Richmond Pope

If you ask people whether they think stealing is wrong, most of them would answer yes. And yet, in 2013, organizations all over the world lost an estimated total of $3.7 trillion to fraud.

Kelly Richmond Pope explains how the fraud triangle, (developed by criminologist Donald Cressey) can help us understand how seemingly good people can make unethical decisions in their daily lives.

Profile of a Fraudster

Behavioural Red Flags

Research shows that 40% of frauds are reported by a whistle-blower. If you saw a fraudulent act, would you report it?

Box Hill Golf Club - Interview

Golf Club - Client Interview

Two years ago marked a major milestone in the history of the Box Hill Golf Club – the centenary of the name, Box Hill Golf Club. The Box Hill Golf Club is a client of McPhail & Partners and we were delighted when Russell Donovan, General Manager, agreed to sit down with us and reveal what it takes to manage this great club.

1. How did you get involved with Box Hill Golf Club?
It has been a long involvement. I literally lived 500 metres away when I was growing up, I played all my junior golf at Box Hill and my family was heavily involved in the club. After my schooling, I worked for the Commonwealth Bank in business banking, then left the bank and managed a large pub in Hawthorn for five years. Long and late hours took its toll so I decided to try to get into golf club management, which resulted in General Manager’s positions at Churchill Park Golf Club, Mornington Golf Club and then to come full circle, back to Box Hill Golf Club as the General Manager.

2. What do you love most about your job or (this industry), and what do you see as the biggest challenge golf clubs face?
Everyone who visits the club is coming for an enjoyable time. Whether this is to play golf, coming to eat in the bistro or attending a function, we are in the hospitality business, in a role that I thoroughly enjoy. Concerning challenges, most golf clubs are struggling with retaining members. We are fortunate to be located in the Box Hill area, however maintaining a golf course and a clubhouse that is open 18 hours a day has its economic challenges. As you read regularly in the paper, penalty rates do affect a business of this size.

3. How do you rate your golfing abilities, do you play often?
I used to be a good player in my teens, now days with a busy business to run and a young family; it does not leave much time for golf!

4. Which is your favourite course in the world and why?
I was fortunate enough to attend the US Masters this year at a golf course called Augusta National. It would be the most pristine piece of land in the world. Every piece of grass is perfectly manicured, there was not one leaf on the ground, and if a tree dies, they replace it with a replica and this can mean a 30-foot tree is simply planted where the old one stood. But my favourite courses were in a place called Bandon Dunes, on the coast of Oregon in the United States.

5. Who is your favourite golfer?
I honestly do not have a favourite golfer, but always like an Aussie to win.

6. Tell us about a rewarding moment for you in the business and your involvement in it?
The club is very lucky that it can give back to the community. Every year, the club hosts a charity day for Eastern Health (Box Hill hospital), which raises approximately $25,000 each year. Our ladies committee hosts a second charity day and this raises in excess of $10,000 each year. We receive constant requests for donations such as golf rounds, bistro vouchers etc. that can be used at school/kindergarten auctions which we provide. Although we are a large business, we fully understand that we are a community-based club and will always continue to be community focused.

7. What untapped potential do you see with the golf club?
Box Hill Golf Club is different to most golf clubs in that we do allow social members, (at a cost of $2) to be members at the golf club, which allows them to visit the golf club, have a bite to eat in the bistro and take in the views of the course. The club undertook a renovation in the bistro/members area a couple of years ago and business has increased significantly in these areas. The club runs a very successful give golf a go program which is targeted at beginner ladies and the club is heavily focused on junior development.

8. How does BHGC differentiate itself from its competitors?
The simple response is that we are not just a golf club! The clubs bistro is open seven days a week, lunch and dinner and overall, we pride ourselves on being a friendly club where members and guests can visit in a safe, friendly environment with great views.

9. What do you do when you are not working?
I would love to say fitness fanatic, but running a golf club is a busy lifestyle so when I do get home, there is nothing better than playing with my two kids, aged 7 and 4, (when they are behaving). They are just starting to get into sport, so I am enjoying running after them.

Thank you Russell and we look forward to joining you in a game of golf soon at the Box Hill Golf Club!
[team size="one-half" last="true" name="Russell Donovan" title="General Manager, Box Hill Golf Club" icon="http://www.mcphail.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/August-Client-Interview-e1439869878857.jpg" facebook="" twitter="" gmail="" skype="" youtube="" linkedin="" ][/team]

The Kimberley Foundation

The Kimberley Foundation is a Private Charitable Trust which funds many programs and projects of Australian and some international not for profit organisations. They support organisations that are working towards long-term solutions to problems experienced by disadvantaged children and youth in our society in the areas of health, education and the arts.

McPhail & Partners are proud to be associated with this foundation and we would like to share a recent news update that Mitty Williams [Foundation Manager] wrote about the terrific work the foundation and others have recently achieved. The foundation works with a variety of programs and we thought you might be interested in some of the work that is being achieved across Australia.

Always another chance to get back on track!
August - Dogs
BackTrack is a wonderful program up in Armidale in northern New South Wales helping young people like those you see in this picture ‘put a head on their shoulders’.

The team, led by Bernie Shakeshaft, has been turning lives around. You can see in the young men, who jump right in when given a chance to learn and do some meaningful work, and you can see it in the statistics; juvenile crime in Armidale has dropped by 77%, a drop ‘unheard of’ anywhere else in NSW.

You can also see it in the community. There’s trust there, which has developed as the young people in the program learn and work and show they can be relied on. Paws Up, a terrific program that trains up a prize-wining dog high-jump team, has clearly helped the young people to re-learn trust too, along with self-discipline, confidence and communication skills.

This visit has been a highlight. It’s heart-warming to see the young people in the program thrive and I’m deeply impressed by the persistent hard work from Bernie and his team. Right now, Bernie is on a Churchill Scholarship researching how organisations like BackTrack have become financially sustainable.

To learn more about this private foundation and the organisations that they help, click here.

The Best Skill Set for Bolstering Your Finance Team

InnovationIf you could bolster your finance team with one particular skill set or expertise, which would it be? Deloitte reports on what the top finance executives are thinking and doing. Below is an extract from their findings.

Very strong demand for people who can effectively use data to influence business decisions:

Strong demand for analytics expertise: about one-quarter of CFO’s say they would like to bolster their team with expertise around the gathering, analysis, and presentation aspects of analytics.
Business acumen over technical finance skills: While some CFO’s mention a desire to add technical skills to their finance team [especially around FP&A and tax], many more voice a need for stronger business understanding and acumen.
Leadership and influence highly valued: CFO’s voice a strong demand for people who can not only analyze and synthesize data, but also for those who can persuasively communicate insights and ideas to people throughout the business. Central to their comments, traits they believe go along with influential staff – curiosity, confidence, consultative skills, and big-picture thinking.

If you could bolster your finance team with one particular skill set or expertise, which would it be?
Audit Table
* This chart presents a summary of CFO's free-form responses. CFO comments have been consolidated and paraphrased.

Extract taken from Deloitte