How to perform better in business and life

on Fri, 06/02/2023 - 13:01


We have had some real heavyweights attend and share at our several Nurture Business Retreats in the past… Knowing that times are harder for businesses today, we wanted to share some timeless tips that some past speakers at Nurture had previously shared. May they be helpful for you as you focus on your business and yourself doing as well as possible in the short to medium term in these harder times.


Murray Thom (marketer extraordinaire) said “the quality of today’s work determines next year’s opportunities”. Are you doing enough today to make the next year or three the best years ever in your business, even in these harder times? What should you be doing today to have a super successful 12 – 24 months ahead? Murray also believes that good ideas do not happen in the office (and often do happen in Fiji at a business retreat of course!).


Diane Foreman (read her book ‘In The Arena’ if you have not - it’s a great read by this fantastic entrepreneur) challenges businesses with the question, are you actually proud of the standard that you are delivering to your customers today? And if not, what do you need to improve so you have today’s customers coming back to you next year and to help you get more word of mouth sales growth in the future?


Chris Quin (CEO of Foodstuffs) shared how you need to constantly listen to customer insights and you have to understand why your customers are doing what they do, and not rely solely at looking at what they do. Customers drive more transformation than any technology ever will. Act as if your most threatening potential competitor were here now (and what do they know about customers that you don’t?). A winning business is ten steps ahead on customer wants and needs and put a huge amount of thinking and focus into knowing this.


Victoria Crone (who has led many great NZ businesses like Callaghan Innovation and Xero) said “the best person to disrupt your business, is yourself”. What are you doing to disrupt your business so you (still) exist in 10 years’ time? You might have fears about what product or service will come along to replace whatever you do. If you could click your fingers, what would you do to create the product or service that will be replacing you in the future? The longer you hold off doing this, the higher the chance of you not being around tomorrow. Very apt in today’s world of huge AI advancements.

Vic also shared her standout leadership lesson which was the importance of authenticity and purpose in leadership. Authenticity means that you shouldn’t try to be something you are not. Instead embrace who you are – your strengths and your weaknesses – and lead from these. And leading with purpose is so powerful because it’s inspiring, engaging and your outcomes are so much more when you lead from this place.


Sir Graham Henry (a.k.a Ted, who guided the All Blacks to the 2011 historic RWC win) said “Good coaches have good teams, good businesses have good teams.” How good is your team in your business and what could you be doing to make it greater? You cannot be a great leader if you have the wrong team. The term “get the right people on the bus” is so important for a business to be successful. If you were to re-employ your entire team again tomorrow, how many of your current team would you would decide to not re-employ again?

Of course success in business is not all about your team being great, it is also about you, the leader being great, leading by example and holding people accountable and giving the team the environment to succeed. Ted learned (and evolved) over time how to be a more effective leader, no doubt you will need to evolve your leadership style as well to remain at the top of your game.

Ted said after 2007's failed Rugby World Cup campaign, one of the reasons why he and his core team got rehired was because their players wanted them back as a management team. It's something you have to ask yourself as a leader: if they had a choice, would your team choose you to lead them?

Speaking of good leadership, something I see day in and day out is that the most successful businesses have strong leaders who are able to make hard decisions and follow through on them in a timely manner. Many leaders have been sitting on their hands for too long on things and turn a blind eye. It’s likely your team will be looking to you to help fix this situation. What decisions and things in your business have you been turning a blind eye to? Are you strong enough to do something about them this week? Or stick with status quo and continue to ignore?


Frances Valintine (futurist and behind the very successful academyEX) said “How do you know when the sacred cow in your business needs replacing?” Every product and service in your business will have its use by date – make sure you act sooner than later so when it declines you have other products on the up to replace it.

Frances also believes a key to success is constant simplification. How can you simplify both how you do business with customers and how you run your business internally?


Justine Flynn (co-founder of Australian social enterprise Thankyou) said “no change, no change”. What in your business are you wanting to change but are doing nothing to make it change? What in your own personal performance do you know you need to change yet you do nothing to improve?

This applies to your personal life too. What do you truly need to change and how will you actually do something about this ie. make the first steps to change.


David Downs (one of the best human beings around who has beaten terminal cancer and impacted hugely on ‘NZ’ as an international brand) challenged us to keep one eye on the present and another looking 5 years out.


The best way to do that (without going cross-eyed), is to have a set of advisors and peers around you who challenge your thinking and force you to look ahead at the things you might not have the time – or desire – to think about. Good governance is about planning for an uncertain and exciting future, not only about compliance for today or looking back at yesterday’s results.



Hamish Carter (Olympic Triathlon Gold Medallist) shared his views on the competition. He said operating in a competitive marketplace is often seen as a negative factor, with your competitor often blamed for your lack of achievement.


Hamish sees it the other way round. He believes if you are in competition with a strong competitor, you stand to learn more and improve faster. It should be seen as an opportunity – to the point where you want your competitor to excel because this will undoubtedly push you to improve beyond what you thought possible. Interesting food for thought.



Jeremy Moon (founder of Icebreaker) shared how a big part of his and Icebreaker’s success came from regularly pondering the question “Where do we want to be in three years?’. This taught Jeremy to have a strong constant vision for the future and then work backwards to find the steps to get there. A business requires constant reinvention based around a clear vision and a core set of ideas. 


At Icebreaker, they referred to it as "shedding skin" and they did this every 2-3 years, often quite radically, to ensure they stayed relevant. If the external rate of change is higher than the internal rate of change, that should be a massive watch out. It also keeps the journey exciting.



Aaron Callaghan (a leading men’s wellness expert) said if you want your business to be better, you must be better personally. You need to embrace the journey of continual self-improvement physically, mentally and spiritually and build this journey into your life noting that most of us just ignore it and it then happens to us when we actually could have taken control of it and ended up in a very different place.


According to Aaron, the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzo said it best with, “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”. Significant change is about understanding the small steps necessary to get to where you want to be. Small steps add up – they are what will get you to your end goal.


Embrace the small wins, knowing doing many small incremental things well will add up to being successful. Enjoy the journey along the way (and if you aren’t enjoying it, how can you change this?). Understand the small steps and acknowledge the wins to help keep your motivation high. It provides proof that you’re getting closer to the end goal.



Sir Ted is very well known for his saying ’Better never stops’. You need to have a growth mindset to be successful, as opposed to a fixed mindset. A growth mindset means you learn from setbacks or difficult times. With a fixed mindset you withdraw or feel incapable.


From what we've seen, successful people and companies focus on constant improvement through executing well each day. Remember that you are not the finished product.  How can you get better both individually and as a team and a business?


It will be interesting to see what great learnings we get from this year’s Nurture speakers this year… is happening in Fiji on June 7th to 11, 2023. We have 155 like-minded business owners and senior leaders from both sides of the Tasman attending who will get some extra clarity and motivation on how they and their business can succeed.