EMPLOYERS across Australia are being asked to seriously consider employing former Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel and improved transition services are delivering many career change success stories.

Defence Personnel Minister Dan Tehan said improved transition services for ADF personnel had been rolled out across the country after successful pilot programs.

In March, Mr Tehan announced individual career coaching services would be trialled at Townsville, Holsworthy and Adelaide bases.

“ADF transition coaches are helping ADF personnel develop tailored career plans based on their unique skills, interests and career aspirations,” Mr Tehan said.

“This is making their transition from Defence to civilian life less stressful and helping them find meaningful employment. 

“Since the new coaching model was launched, 1145 ADF members have commenced their transition with the support of an ADF transition coach.

“Early indicators show the new system is delivering results, with 67 percent of personnel surveyed rating their transition a ‘success’.

“The government recognises the transition from the military to civilian life is a key phase for ADF personnel and we have targeted support and services at this period to reduce stress and increase opportunities.

“Members now receive an individual transition action plan so they can leave the military with all of their important documentation, such as their Service record, medical and dental records, pay and administrative details,” Mr Tehan said.

“The focus on improving opportunities for veterans to find meaningful employment complements the work being done through the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program.”

Mr Tehan said the model would also allow the ADF to better identify those who required additional support, including providing appropriate links to community support, and referrals to health and wellbeing services.

The transition service provides ADF members with professional career coaching before leaving the military and up to 12 months after they leave.

The service will support around 6000 ADF members who transition each year through 13 ADF Transition Centres on or near all major bases across Australia.

Mr Tehan said ADF personnel had unique skills and experience that were in demand by employers.

He urged Australian businesses that were employing veterans to nominate for the first annual Veterans’ Employment Awards.

Nominations for the Veterans’ Employment Awards are open until December 22 this year.



By Fleur Telford >>

DAY TO DAY tasks once reserved for finance professionals are being taken over by data feeds, bots, and good system integration.

As information technology (IT) continues to evolve, the rise of smart financial applications have given rise to tools that even the lesser skilled can access to improve their clients’ businesses.

What used to be outsourced to minimise cost can now be processed in-house, as technological advances have markedly reduced time-consuming data processing tasks. 

This saves resources, time and money of course, but the question that needs to be asked is: “What happens to the people?” – both within organisations and for the clients they serve, in this Brave New World.

Artificial intelligence (AI) can find a myriad of answers to a specific question but it’s not known for great conversation. AI is also low on empathy and inter-personal skills, despite what we see in the movies.

So today, and certainly for the foreseeable future, no amount of tech supremacy can ask business owners how they feel, what they’re worried about, and where it is they would like their business to go.

When it comes to sharing our fears, woes, hopes and dreams, speaking to another human wins every time. In the professional world, people still matter.

Accountants are, as one of my colleagues wittily put it, “anxiety transfer agents”, interacting as no AI source ever could, giving comfort that help is at hand.


Technology is merely a tool, and should be treated as such, and we should keep our focus on what is truly important: our client relationships. Clients will far prefer a meaningful chat about their business than a slew of reports emailed to them once a month.

The reassurance we bring to our clients by working with them personally can never be replicated by software. If new technology has given us more time, then we should invest those hours in our clients, broadening the way in which we assist them.

Tech should empower, not disempower, complement, not be subject to compliment.  It should make us consider why we entered professional services in the first place: the emphasis should be on service.

Sometimes, I think we forget this in the rush to implement the next shiny app that will relieve all of our bottom line woes (or so the hype would have us believe).

How does this impact the workplace of the future? I believe it means a reassessment of the values and attitudes we look for in the next generation of employees.


We hear talk of ‘soft skills’, but these have never been more important than in these technological times. It is an age of the increasingly impersonal, so we need to be looking for graduates who are equipped with a much broader skill set than before.

Some professional service firms will only interview soon-to-be graduates if their marks fall within a Distinction or High Distinction average. But this doesn’t mean they are necessarily ‘people people’, capable of active listening, discernment and understanding a client’s concerns.

Our ‘next gen’ employees need to be able to hold conversations, tell a story, be able to explain complex scenarios in everyday language, and give practical guidance to clients on how to build their businesses.

If undergraduates are wondering how to get these skills, I would suggest actively seeking work in businesses during semester breaks, learning what it means to run a business, face a cash flow crisis, handle difficult staff members.  Undergraduates should seek mentors who have great interpersonal skills, sound experience, and who are willing to pass this on.

In this way, we can get back to the basics and listen to what our clients want for their business and for themselves.

Technology may provide answers, but we deliver solutions and deeper insights, while building rapport through great service delivery.


*Fleur Telford is KPMG Enterprise director of technology.

EMPLOYEES who are empowered by their bosses – by being given independence and the responsibility to self-manage – are more likely to thrive at work.

That is among the key findings of a Curtin University researcher, published in the Journal of Organisational Behaviour. The research concluded that empowering leadership enhanced work performance, creativity and a willingness to take on extra roles outside of normal duties, at both the individual and team levels. 

Co-author of the report, Amy Tian, from the School of Management at Curtin Business School, said it was important to analyse the concept of empowering leadership given it was increasingly being used by organisations.

“Increasing competition in the business landscape, economical shifts, and technological developments have brought with them changes in organisational structures and the nature of work,” Dr Tian said.

“Alongside efforts to maximise efficiency, many employers are flattening their hierarchies and therefore expanding the responsibilities of lower-level employees and the complexity of their work roles.

“The concept of empowering leadership, a popular concept in business philosophy, is particularly relevant to such situations given its focus on promoting self-management and offering employees a greater sense of power in their workplace.

“This research confirms that employees thrive when they are working with leaders who are willing to share information with them, delegate authority to them, and promote their self‐directed and autonomous decision-making.”

Dr Tian said empowering leadership resulted in a positive influence on employees’ sense of trust in their leaders, psychological empowerment and leader-employee relationship quality, which therefore enhanced the employee’s work performance, creativity and organisational citizenship behaviour, or their willingness to engage in extra-role behaviour at work.

“These findings have important theoretical and practical implications for workplaces all over the world as they grapple with how to maximise their performance in the changing nature of their organisations,” Dr Tian said. 

The research, which involved the analysis of data from 89 publications and 105 independent samples, was also carried out by Dr Allan Lee from the University of Exeter and Dr Sara Willis from The University of Manchester in the UK. 

The Empowering leadership: A meta-analytic examination of incremental contribution, mediation, and moderation’ is available at www.curtin.edu.au


By John Karagounis >>

LONELINESS was one of the first things I noticed when I started working closely with CEOs a decade ago, right at the height of the global financial crisis (GFC). Not my loneliness, but theirs.

Many were feeling the intense pressure that was coming to bear on the corporate world at that time. These highly intelligent and competent people, who seemingly had it all, were feeling emotionally isolated. 

Many confided in me that they felt they had no one to talk to, no one who could relate to them. 

It was an exceptional time because the GFC put an incredible amount of pressure on everyone in corporate management, especially chief executives.

However, this feeling of loneliness is about more than dealing with the external pressures of an event like the GFC. It’s something many CEOs feel at an existential level.

Over the past decade as the CEO and managing director of The CEO Circle, I have interacted with more than 500 CEOs around the country. At The CEO Circle, we bring them together in confidential surrounds to connect, share, learn, develop and grow for their greater personal, professional and organisational success. 

John Karagounis.

They tell me nothing prepares them for their role. There is no manual, no handbook, no preparation whatsoever.

When they start in the role, they soon realise it’s the loneliest job in the world. They have a yearning to connect and engage with like-minded CEOs because they understand that the best advice they could possibly receive is from their peers, who have been where they are and empathise with what they are going through.

This sense of loneliness and the need for connection is something I have explored in my new book Why I Wrote This Book: For Greater Success.

These captains of industry possess incredible skills and capabilities, have deep insights and are fully equipped to run billion-dollar companies. But do they understand the essence of connecting?

The short answer is generally no. They’re usually not good networkers. There are exceptions; those few with gregarious, extrovert personalities or those who really commit to the task.

However, the reality is most do not invest time in connecting and engaging with people on a proactive basis. They do it when a need arises, like when they lose their job.

It’s at this stage of their journey where reality hits hard. Suddenly they feel isolated and alone.

But there are three key things CEOs can do to mitigate this loneliness: learn to network properly; stay involved and active in the outside world; and genuinely appreciate people.

What does it mean to network properly? Networking has a bad name for some because social media platforms like LinkedIn have made it easy to just click ‘accept’ and believe that is the extent of it. This is networking at its most superficial.

Networking is about building meaningful and mutually beneficial professional relationships that will stand the test of time. It might start with clicking ‘accept’ or swapping cards but it has to go deeper. Think quality, not quantity.

Work on connections where you can bring real value to the table. Don’t think about networking as a means of profiting from a relationship; start thinking about it as a means of giving something to a relationship. Giving is the essence of connecting.

Why should you stay involved in the world beyond your workplace? Because this is your life support system. Your friends and your family provide the buffer between you and the often harsh realities of work. I’m not a believer in the concept of work/life balance as such; I believe it is more about integration and finding harmony. Part of this harmony is making sure you don’t shut out the people in your life who are special to you.

I would extend this to things like hobbies and community activities too. These things give you a chance to switch out of work mode and dive into another aspect of your life, connecting you to different people and having different relationships than those you would have at work.

Do you genuinely appreciate people? My wonderful friend Jon Burgess espouses this simple ideal: “Who matters? Everyone matters.” This is at the base of what it means to connect and engage, and to move beyond feelings of loneliness and isolation.

It is about genuinely appreciating not only the people in your immediate circle, but also the wider world. Chatting with a stranger in an airport lounge; making time to really hear what a client has to say; or talking to your kids and their friends to get a new perspective on the world. These interactions can bring colour to your world when it starts feeling grey.


Loneliness is a silent pain. By reaching out to give, share, and connect, you open the door to a community of people around you. Share yourself with these people and you will be richly rewarded in return.


* John Karagounis is the CEO and managing director of The CEO Circle, an exclusive peer group forum for business leaders. www.theceocircle.com



STEVE ARTHUR knows a lot about start-ups – successful and otherwise – and he has some unusual words of advice for those starting a new business, well informed by experience.

“You don’t need money to start a new business, you need customers,” Mr Arthur said.

In fact, Mr Arthur – who was involved with the launch of natural fruit blended producer Nudie and is the founder of Australia’s first co-working and incubator site, Desk Space – has distilled what he calls “unusual advice for start-ups” from his observations and experiences.

“So many people think that if you don’t have capital, you can’t start a business,” Mr Arthur said. 

“This is incorrect. Any new idea or concept needs to be reverse engineered initially.

“If you do this and you can work out that you have a customer, you can start a company, because this is how you will generate revenue.”

While being involved with five of his own start-ups, Mr Arthur has been involved with advising and overseeing more than 200 other new businesses. 

This vast spread of experience has largely come about through his involvement with Desk Space companies. He described Desk Space, founded in 2009, as “a hybrid between a co-working space and incubator”. He said it operated as a “transitional space – from what you are doing now to what you could be doing next”.

Today, the members of Desk Space are known to collectively turn over more than $100 million a year.

Mr Arthur said while the expression ‘cash is king’ was the most common catch phrase heard when starting up a new business adventure, it was “an antiquated view for anyone thinking about their first entrepreneurial steps”. 

His five top tips for start-up entrepreneurs may be initially viewed as unusual, but they are borne of hard experience, covering how to save money, how to attract grants, attracting investors, offering equity partnerships and moving on to licensing.

By using the five tips, Mr Arthur believes start-ups can “cut to the chase” and more rapidly drive their businesses.




Steve Arthur’s unusual top five tips to start a new business are:



“Use existing technology so there is no need to spend on web developers. White labels are pre built platforms that allow you to put your brand over the top. The hard work and the bulk of the cost is already done for you.”



“The government wants to drive start-ups. Each State has its own way of funding and assisting start-ups, so don’t miss out on these opportunities.”



“People believe this is the hardest way to raise money. If you are prepared, know your product and market, and you have perseverance, people will want to invest money with you.” 



“Offer equity in your business to other people. They will assist with setting up the business in the areas you are weak in and at the same time provide you with a service.”



“Look for companies abroad and offer to be their Australian arm. You can use their name, knowledge, skills. They can use your knowledge of the Australian market.”



By Lyndon Broad >>

CYBERSECURITY is a hot topic. Businesses of all sizes are becoming acutely aware of the damage caused by data loss, leakage and theft.

They are aware of the threat posed by malicious intrusions such as denial of service attacks and ransomware infections.

Business leaders know they need to develop strategies based on technology, processes and education to mitigate these risks. Yet many fail to make the link between digital and physical risks. 

Protecting business systems from unauthorised physical access is a vital first step in preventing malicious or inadvertent damage.

To properly mitigate cyber risks, it makes sense to adopt an engineering-based approach. This should include three levels of cyber-risk assessment – physical, information security and industrial control systems.



So while businesses must be alert to the risks presented by high-profile ransomware attacks like WannaCry and Petya, or employees opening emails containing malicious code, they should also be shutting the door on unnecessary physical exposure.

A recent story in the Seattle Times highlights the cyber risks posed by physical breaches. Washington State University warned a million people that their personal data may have been accessed by thieves who stole a safe.

This contained a backup drive used by the university’s Social and Economic Sciences Research Center.

FM Global is developing a risk assessment framework to cover all aspects of cyber security risk. We currently conduct physical assessments on all commercial and industrial properties we insure, supplemented with a digital security risk assessment which is about to be released.

We’ll start assessing industrial control system risks in 2018. Our analytics team is working with external cybersecurity experts to gather intelligence and develop this comprehensive framework.

The FM Global research team then apply our proven loss-prevention approach to create thorough account-level cyber-risk assessments.

Our approach extends beyond providing insurance coverage that helps clients manage risk. We also provide coverage for loss of business due to a cyberattack.

For example, if a large manufacturer’s industrial control systems fell victim to a malware attack, we would cover loss of production as well as the hardware damage.



We have recently started physical assessments of cyber risk at client premises. These have revealed a number of common mistakes that are easily prevented:   


  • Having a network port on a door intercom.
  • Unsecured server rooms.
  • Server racks installed in open areas.
  • Easily accessible cables and ports.
  • Data backups stored in accessible areas.
  • Infrequently used building entrances that are unsecured.


Our in-depth research and physical assessments show how the physical component of cyber risk is often overlooked.

This exposes companies to considerable financial and reputational damage.

We encourage all businesses to evaluate the physical risks inside their doors and implement solutions to protect their future.


  • Lyndon Broad is the operations manager at FM Global, a business insurance, loss prevention and risk management organisation that uses engineering rather than actuarial principles to help protect organisations.




By Rod Richards >>

WE GO into business for many reasons, following our dreams, ambitions, making a difference in the world, and hopefully a great future.

More often than not, people have compromised their futures, been bought for the money.

We can't live a limited life, where we haven't experienced the joys of meeting our objectives and our achievements.

How good would it be to find your passion, and go after the dreams and ambitions you want for yourself and the future.

Take a clean sheet of paper and write down the key things you want to do in life. Please don't limit your thinking by current or past circumstances.

Add time lines and key dates when you want this to happen. 

I often ask this question: “What do you really want to do in your life?"

We know there will be all sorts of challenges, but successful people are driven, determined, focused and meet the challenges head on.

We are only limited by our thoughts, and our fears.

A lot of owners I speak to fear failure and others fear success.

Take the time to look at the risks, the rewards, the challenges; what skills and talents do I have to meet my goals? If I don't have these skill sets, how then to attain them?

You will find them. I believe that everyone should spend time expanding their knowledge, learning and gaining new skills.

For me, learning is a life -long journey and I enjoy it. Find your passion, not just the money and commit to what you want to do in your life.

Life is a journey and I reckon we should do the very best we can with what we have, enjoy the journey and have a crack at achieving our dreams.

Find your passion, don't just do it just for the money.




Rod Richards is the founder and owner of Richards Consulting, a consulting firm that specialises in practical and innovative solutions for small business entrepreneurs. He is a best-selling author and well-regarded business consultant. Richards Business Success Series can be accessed at www.businesstipstosuccess.com.


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