As Managing Director of MindShifts, which specialises in competitive intelligence, strategic planning and strategic marketing projects in the Australasian region, I am passionate about leadership, future trends and new ways of thinking.
As the decision-making Maverick, I assist organisations to make better competitive decisions and assist individuals to make better decisions about their life, careers and leadership. To support this passion, I am a professionally accredited coach.
Working with Australian and global Fortune 500 companies, government departments, and SMEs, I seek to enhance the quality of leadership and strategic thinking that surrounds us in our everyday lives.
My honours include the SCIP Meritorious Award – internationally, the highest award and recognition in the field of Competitive Intelligence. I have taught Competitive Intelligence in undergraduate business and MBA programs both in Australia and overseas and now am an Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology Sydney, School of Business.
I have had published numerous articles on strategic planning, competitive intelligence, and business analysis and am an invited speaker and guest lecturer domestically and internationally. I have co-authored seven books. A second edition of Analysis without Paralysis was released end 2012 and due to popular demand a second updated edition of Business and Competitive Analysis was also released in early 2015. Amazingly these two books remain in the top 1% of best-selling books at Amazon.com and are ranked the No. 1 best-selling CI books. They have also been translated into multiple languages.
What boards do you currently sit on?
Volunteering Sunshine Coast. I have been on Boards since 1997 with my first appointment being to the Board of the National Australia Day Council reporting into the Prime Minister.
When and why did you decide to become a director?
I have always been most interested in the strategy of organisations and the impact of future trends on an organisation’s ability to compete. I believed that my unique skills in these areas would add value to the normal Board skills of legal and accounting.
What are your short and medium-term board aspirations?
I'm interested in a couple more board roles that can leverage my unique strategic skills and provide compensation.
Outline your career background.
Throughout my career I have successfully operated as an entrepreneur, a consultant, a company director, a board member, an author, an academic and a business coach. My personal presence and communication skills, in addition to my other accomplishments, have awarded me the status of being one of the most internationally sought after corporate speakers on Competitive Intelligence and Strategy.
For more than 25 years I have served as an advisor to organisations and business leaders around the world. I am a recognized global authority on Competitive Intelligence, and one of the most published authors and well-regarded speakers in my field. I am known to bring valuable insights to entrepreneurs, business leaders and senior executives.
Further, I have extensive academic credentials, and have held teaching positions at many of Australia’s leading universities and business schools. I am currently an Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at the University of Technology, Sydney.
My experience and dedication to teaching and communicating have resulted in my business coaching and mentoring sessions proving to be an invaluable source of support and inspiration to leaders, employees and anyone with a keen interest in business strategy.
Touch on the challenges and hurdles that have presented themselves, either being on or getting onto a board, and how you overcame them?
My key challenges have been the lack of strategic thinking at board level in general, not being a lawyer or accountant, and not having the right connections to pave the way for board entry. The focus of many boards seems to pertain to legal and financial obligations with little challenge or thinking around future challenges and innovations.
My biggest hurdle has been not having the right connections to be supported into board roles. This is one of the reasons I joined Women on Boards and the Australian Institute of Company Directors to connect hopefully with the right people to pave the way for future board roles.
Are there any directors/leaders you look up to? Why?
Louise McCann who is currently Chairman of Grant Thornton and a member of numerous boards is without a doubt my No. 1 role model. She has quietly achieved an outstanding reputation in the marketplace and is generous with her time and support.
Catherine Livingstone’s achievements on public boards and her ability to withstand public scrutiny and the media is a good example of calm under fire.
Have you had mentors and sponsors and how have they helped you in your career?
Catherine Livingstone has supported my registration for government boards and Louise McCann is a referee for me.
WOB has also been wonderful in guiding me to opportunities for board roles.
So apart from these three, I don’t believe I have had specific mentors or sponsors into any specific board roles.
What is the diversity (gender & other) like on your boards? If you sit on a mix of diverse and non-diverse boards, what differences have you noticed?
On my current board, we are fairly well split with 50/50. Interestingly this has been the case on all the boards I have sat on.
How did WOB help you in your journey to the boardroom?
WOB has been outstanding in promoting women into the boardroom. Their emails identifying board opportunities, their naming of companies who don’t have women on their boards, and their presence in the media for more women to be placed on boards is definitely reflected in the increasing number of board opportunities.
Any tips for women starting out in their career?
My number one tip – become a member of WOB subscriber as a great place to start.
My second tip – find a board mentor and/or supporter who can endorse you for potential board roles. It is not what you know but who you know.