Resetting Culture to Reignite Your Team: A Deep Dive into Sustainable Workplace Practices

Image of arrows showing two paths showing pivoting business after q1 review can have a major impact on full year

How to Pivot After Q1: Assessing and Adjusting Your Business Trajectory

With the end of Q1 upon us, businesses should pause and reflect, asking: “Are we on the right path for the year?”

Here’s why this assessment is critical and some best practices for doing so: 

  1. Gauge Your Trajectory First and foremost, measure your current trajectory against your annual goals, budget, and shareholder expectations. Are you on track? Behind? Ahead? This initial assessment sets the stage for all subsequent decisions.
  2. Celebrate or Calibrate If you’re ahead or on target, that’s fantastic! But don’t rest on your laurels. Always look for areas to optimize. On the other hand, if you’re off track, it’s crucial to recalibrate. A shaky Q1 can significantly impact the rest of the year.
  3. Diagnose the Divergence Before making changes, understand why Q1 might be underperforming:
    • Is it a continuation of trends from the previous year’s last quarter? 
    • Are there new challenges that have arisen this quarter? 
    • Has there been a change in market demand or your cost structure that wasn’t accounted for? 
  1. Speed is Key Time is of the essence. The longer you take to adjust, the harder it becomes to recover from a difficult Q1. It’s not just about damage control; it’s about capitalizing on newfound insights.
  2. Seek External Insights While internal data is indispensable, looking outward can offer valuable perspectives. What are industry peers experiencing? Are there macroeconomic trends affecting your sector?
  3. Re-Evaluate Strategies, Not Just Tactics While tactical changes can help, sometimes the issue lies in the broader strategy. Ensure your business model and offerings still align with the market’s needs.
  4. Engage Your Team Remember, you’re not in this alone. Engage with your team, seek their insights, and involve them in the solution. Collective intelligence often yields the best results.
  5. Continuous Monitoring Finally, don’t wait for the end of Q2 to reassess. With the pace of today’s business, continuous monitoring allows for agile adjustments.

 In conclusion, the end of Q1 isn’t just a time for reflection; it’s a call to action. It’s a quarter of the way through the year, and the steps you take now can greatly influence the outcome of the remaining quarters. 

How An Advisory Board may help; 

Moreover, this is where an advisory board can be a game-changer. Advisory boards bring in a wealth of external knowledge, diverse perspectives, and expertise that can shed light on blind spots and opportunities you might miss.  They can: 

Provide Objective Assessment: Being somewhat removed from day-to-day operations, an advisory board can give unbiased feedback on performance, ensuring that your assessments are rooted in reality and not clouded by internal biases. 

Leverage Industry Insights: Members often come with vast industry experience and can provide insights on broader trends and best practices that your business can adopt or be wary of. 

Expand Networks: The connections that advisory board members bring can open doors to partnerships, collaborations, or even new markets. 

Offer Strategic Guidance: In situations where you need to pivot or reassess strategies, a seasoned advisory board can guide decision-making, ensuring that changes align with long-term goals and industry realities. 

(Wondering “what is an advisory board” or “when are they the right next step?”
Learn more about why and how business leaders benefit from Advisory Boards here.) 

About Board Associates;

We help business leaders embrace change, be agile, and remember – it’s all about forward momentum. And with the right advisory board by your side, you can navigate the complexities of the business landscape with increased confidence and foresight. 

Board associates is experienced at creating and running advisory boards for companies across a broad array of industries. If you’d like to explore how an Advisory Board can drive strategic growth for assist business, please contact us to schedule a call with one of our experienced Advisory Board Chairs.

Business Advisory Board

What is an Advisory Board?

Increasingly, business owners are starting to hear more about an “advisory board”, but what is an advisory board? At its core, an advisory board is a group of external experts assembled to provide informed guidance, diverse insights, and strategic advice to an organisation’s leadership. Unlike a legal board of directors, which typically has direct governance responsibilities, an advisory board doesn’t have official authority over company affairs or formal legal obligations. Instead, it acts as a reservoir of expertise and perspective to support the company’s mission and vision.

There are several reasons a company might opt to establish an advisory board:

  1. Expertise and Knowledge: No matter how seasoned an entrepreneur or executive team is, they can’t be experts in everything. An advisory board fills those gaps by providing knowledge in areas that supplement the executive team. This often includes technology, financial management, people management, international markets, and specific industry experience.
  2. Networking and Opportunities: Members of an advisory board often come with an extensive professional network. Their introductions can lead to new partnerships, customer relationships, or even potential investors. This is also particularly valuable if you’re considering exiting your business.
  3. Credibility and Validation: Having recognized industry leaders or subject matter experts on an advisory board can significantly bolster a company’s standing in its industry or market. It also supports the sale process if you’re exiting your business and can lead to higher business valuations.
  4. Objective Perspective: Because advisory board members aren’t typically involved in day-to-day operations, they can provide an outsider’s perspective, helping companies identify blind spots and areas of opportunity. We know we should make time to work on the business rather than in the business – an advisory board provides that opportunity.
  5. Accountability: While the primary function of an advisory board is guidance rather than governance, its mere presence can instil a sense of accountability in owners and top executives. Regularly presenting company progress, challenges, and plans to a group of seasoned professionals can encourage better preparation, deeper reflection, and more strategic thinking, knowing that these will be discussed and dissected by the advisory board.

(You can read more about the benefits and the business case for an advisory board here.)

In summary, when considering “what is an advisory board?”, think of it as a strategic tool that offers guidance, broadens horizons, and propels growth. Whether a company is navigating rapid growth, looking to penetrate new markets, or facing complex challenges, an advisory board can be a valuable asset to ensure informed decisions and long-term success. If you’re contemplating strengthening your company’s strategic arsenal, perhaps it’s time to think about setting up your own advisory board.

Board associates is experienced at creating and running advisory boards for companies across a broad array of industries. If you’d like to explore how an Advisory Board can drive strategic growth for assist business, please contact us to schedule a call with one of our experienced Advisory Board Chairs.

Succession Planning for Family-Owned Businesses

Succession planning is a fundamental strategy that ensures the continuity and sustainability of family-owned businesses. It involves preparing for a smooth transition of leadership and ownership to the next generation or successor. Given the personal and emotional ties interwoven within these businesses, succession planning can be more intricate and sensitive, making it that much more important to get right.

Why is it crucial?

For many family businesses, their brand isn’t just a logo—it’s a legacy. The aspiration is often to hand over a thriving enterprise to the next generation. Without a robust succession strategy, the risk of disputes, financial challenges, and even the demise of the business becomes alarmingly high. Remember, a significant portion of family businesses do not make it to the second generation, so it takes careful planning to get it right.

Key Elements of Succession Planning:

  1. Identification and Training: Begin by identifying potential successors from within the family. These individuals should be nurtured, trained, and exposed to various aspects of the business, ensuring they are equipped with the necessary skills and experience.
  2. Open Communication: Transparent and regular communication with all family members is vital. Everyone should be clear on the business’s future direction and their role within it.
  3. Estate Planning: This ensures that wealth and assets are distributed as intended. It also helps in minimizing potential tax implications and ensures that the business remains financially stable.
  4. Legal and Financial Preparations: Engaging legal and financial experts to draft necessary documents like buy-sell agreements, trusts, or wills is crucial.
  5. Advisory Board: Consider establishing an advisory board. Comprising experienced non-family members, they can offer unbiased insights, mediate disputes, and help in key decision-making. The chair can also provide valuable coaching and mentoring for the incoming CEO or Managing Director.

Embracing Change and Adaptability

It’s essential to remember that succession planning is not a one-size-fits-all model. As the business environment and family dynamics change, the plan should be revisited and revised accordingly.

Transitions are inevitable, the success of such changes is not. Effective succession planning not only safeguards a family’s legacy but also ensures that the business continues to thrive for generations to come. For family-owned enterprises, the stakes are personal, and the rewards of meticulous planning are enduring.

When your family-owned business is need of help during these changes, or ideally before, we have specialist programs and experts to assist. Let’s talk about how we can help. The earlier we are engaged, the better.

You can read more about succession planning here on our site.

Business Governance in Private Firms: An Essential Guide

When people hear the term “business governance,” it often evokes images of large, publicly traded corporations with boardrooms, stockholders, and layers of regulatory oversight. However, the principles of business governance are equally important, if not more so, for private firms. So, what does business governance mean for a private firm?

At its core, business governance refers to the system of rules, practices, and processes by which a company is directed and controlled. It encompasses the balance among an organisation’s many stakeholders, such as shareholders, management, customers, suppliers, financiers, government, and the community. For private firms, which often lack the external checks and balances of public entities, strong governance can be the compass that keeps the business on its intended course.

Here are some reasons why private firms should care about business governance:

  1. Transparency and Trust: Strong governance mechanisms ensure transparency in operations, fostering trust among investors, stakeholders, and employees. This trust can be especially crucial for private firms seeking to attract external investment or contemplating succession or a future exit (read more about exit planning here).
  2. Succession Planning: Many private firms are family-owned. Effective governance structures help in smooth succession planning, ensuring that the company’s legacy is secured for future generations (read our article on Succession Planning for more information).
  3. Risk Management: Robust governance practices help in identifying, addressing, and managing potential risks that could derail a company’s objectives.
  4. Performance Monitoring: With clear governance structures, performance metrics and benchmarks can be set. This allows management to measure growth, analyze profitability, and ensure that the firm remains competitive and delivers adequate returns to shareholders.
  5. Stakeholder Relations: For a private firm, relationships with stakeholders, be it suppliers, customers, or financiers, are vital. Clear governance can lead to better contract management, dispute resolution, and stakeholder communication.
  6. Owner Accountability: Private firm owners, much like in the public sphere, need to be accountable for their decisions. Business governance provides a framework that ensures decisions align with the firm’s vision, values, and long-term goals.

Incorporating effective business governance is not about adding bureaucratic layers or hindering agility. It’s about creating a solid foundation that ensures a private firm can thrive in a competitive landscape, adapt to changes, and achieve its vision while maintaining the trust of its stakeholders. Whether it’s through an advisory board, regular audits, or clear internal policies, embracing robust governance practices is a forward-thinking move for any private firm.

The Board Associates team specialises in right-sized governance for small and medium business.  To discuss how an Advisory Board can help you put the right governance practises in place to fuel strategic growth, contact us here.


Family Business Research: How do Boards create value in family firms?


QUT Masters of Philosophy Student, Matthew Dunstan is conducting a study into when and how boards enhance (or erode) financial performance in family business and we need your help! We are surveying owners and senior executives of non-listed, family firms to help us investigate this important question.

Please take a few minutes to complete a short survey. Your input will provide a valuable contribution to this project and the findings may lead to improved guidance for business owners.

Participants will be offered a copy of the benchmarking report from the study (available mid-2022), showing how their firm compares and performs against their peers.

Further information can be obtained by contacting Matthew Dunstan on 07 3138 6611 or by email:

For more information, visit QUT’s Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research

Are you curious enough… ambitious enough?

QUT’s Centre for Future Enterprise and MIT hosted the first of a 3 part series on the future enterprise. Michael Rosemann, Director of CFE, called all leaders to be more ambitious – not in a self serving, ego agrandising manner, but rather in the pursuit of creating more value for all. Here’s a quote from Michael’s opening remarks:

“Future enterprises will be exposed to an opportunity-rich environment, but there is a danger that enterprising in the future will not be ambitious enough, that we are not curious enough and that we are not decisive enough. And if this is the case, we under-capitalise on the power of enterprises and the value they can create, not just as commercial goods, as public services, but also as a greater good for all of us and next generations.”

Some questions for you and your management team:
1. What value are you creating in the world?
2. What is your ambition? Are you ambitious enough?
3. How might you embrace new technologies, networks or processes to exponentially deliver more value?

Budget Setting Is Like Renovating A House

Many of us lack any vision when it comes to renovating a house. The people on TV make it look easy but when we try, the result is just a slightly different version of the same house we’re already living in. The same principle can be applied to budget setting.

Establishing a budget for next year is just good business management. Yet, we come across many owners who struggle with it. Most take an incremental approach – they take last year’s budget. They tweak it a little and cut back a little here and there and then say “that’ll do”. A better approach is to take the “Grand Designs” version of house renovation. We need to envision a different type of business and not just what we want next year but a different type of business over a three to five-year time horizon.


If we apply this thinking to your current budget setting, yes, it’s useful to look at what BAU (business as usual) requires in terms of funds. But, when you go through that exercise, we recommend doing it from the perspective of what return am I getting from that current expenditure. And am I getting a return on investment in the right places?

You’ll find that some of your expenses this year have been about keeping the lights on, producing today’s products and services and selling to today’s customers. No doubt you’ll also have some expenditure which relates to things that you’re doing to generate tomorrow’s customers. However, you should separate these groups and ask yourself:


At Board Associates, we start the conversion by looking at what your future vision is and what it is that you’re trying to accomplish over a three to five-year time horizon, what the potential of the business is and what investments are required to get there.

To give you an example, we recently spoke with the inventor of a motorcycle company here in Australia. This company produces some of the most innovative electric vehicles you’ll find anywhere in the world. These motorcycles have significant market potential as well as social benefit. The thing that’s holding them back is investment. And so the question we posed to the founder was:

“if you have that much passion for getting your vehicles into the hands of as many people as you can, and creating this environmental and social benefit, why would you put the brakes on that by taking an incremental approach to growth and only investing internally? Why not take a more ambitious approach so that your company can live up to its full potential?”

We believe that this is the approach that you should take on all budget lines when planning next year’s budget.


Step 1: Split your current years’ actual figures into two groups

  • Group 1: expenses which are about delivering on business as usual, and;

  • Group 2: the money that you’re spending on investing and preparing for your new customers.

Step 2: Analyse and adjust your current return on investment.

For both of these groups, you should be clear about what your return on investment expectations are and measure them.

For Group One, ask yourself if you’re generating a commercial rate of return.  If not, this should guide how you adjust your BAU budget.

For Group Two, ask yourself how attractive your return on investment will be and again use this to guide decisions about investing more, investing less or changing the balance between BAU and incremental investments (group two). Importantly, get rid of those pet projects if they’re unlikely to generate a sufficient return.

Step 3: Take a fundamental return on investment approach

Ask yourself: what investment would you make in the business now to create the next version of the business and to secure a better return on investment over 10 years?

This step is more like developing a business case for investment than setting a budget but of course the answers to these questions then drive where you allocate funds next year and importantly whether that investment is coming from internal vs external sources.


The team at Board Associates have a significant amount of expertise not only in CFO and financial management services, but also in new venture assessment, investment management and strategic planning. If you’d like some assistance in analysing your current allocation of funds, the return on investment that you’re getting versus industry benchmarks and how you might fuel your future potential, reach out to us and we’d be happy to schedule an initial chat to discuss how we might be able to help.

Why Strategic Plans Fail


We’ve all heard the word strategy many times in our careers. Strategy is believed to get us from Point A to Point B in a seamless transaction. Yet, one of the most common complaints is that strategic plans fall apart somewhere in the execution phase.

Strategic plans are always well-intentioned and they begin with enthusiasm and passion. All too frequently, they succumb to daily emergencies and urgent requests, leaving the business owner’s plans to wither and disappear into the darkness.


At Board Associates, we’ve been able to help many organisations keep their growth aspirations and strategic plans on track. In our experience, there are a number of reasons why strategic plans fail.  


The idea of a strategic plan is to engage the future. In the 21st century, the continual transformation of business environments means that “keep doing what you’re doing” is thrown out the window. Yet, business culture is set around a stagnant environment that is centered on what got the business to where it is today. Changing this habit is often a daunting experience and one business owners find difficult to tackle. There is an enormous amount of anxiety about what the repercussions may be for a game-changing strategic plan. Our recommendation is those fears are tackled head-on and spoken about as a part of the planning process.


For a business to grow and thrive, there needs to be more than just a small group of people driving it forward. When strategic plans are developed behind closed doors, it becomes difficult to get the entire company onboard when it comes to the implementation phase. Obviously, there is a lot of leadership involved in establishing a vision for a company. But we see time and time again, businesses have large pools of talented individuals but are not leveraging this to its fullest potential. It is worth listening to these people to ensure they are feeling heard and that they are also contributing to the company’s successful future. By including your entire team, your strategic plan is more likely to run smoothly.


We live in a world where the constant question of, “what are you doing for me?” is said too often. Whether this is coming from employees, clients, investors or management, everyone is under significant pressure to deliver results on a regular basis. Longer-term strategic plans can contribute to those results in the short-term. Forfeiting short-term performance for long-term growth requires steadfast leadership that can say “no” to the easy way out.


These two go hand-in-hand. People develop plans that sound fantastic and think it will solve everything. But that is where the problem starts. Goals and objectives need to be concrete enough to provide a viable path to the implementation phase. Developed strategic plans need to assign accountability and specific accomplishments within their timeline for each action it encloses. Without accountability, the daily emergencies will quickly supersede moving the plan forward.

None of these challenges are impossible. With a different and innovative approach to strategic planning – one that gets people thinking and keeps them at the edge of their seat both creatively and practically, will include goal setting and accountability and getting all of the fears out in the open. By using these strategies, it will help your business end up with a solid plan that lives and breathes instead of collecting dust.


If you would like to develop a better and more actionable strategic plan for your business, register for our Strategic Planning Bootcamp! It is an online workshop series, running over the 29th & 30th of April.


Join the conversation on Strategic Planning with the Board Associates team of experts on our socials!


Don’t miss this weeks video episode from Board Advisor Martin Bishop & Matthew Dunstan, Founder and CEO of Board Associates.

If You’re Failing To Plan Then You’re Planning To Fail


At Board Associates we have a strong focus on strategic planning, from why it fails and how you can do a better job of it this year.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing our favourite tips and tricks, frameworks for strategic thinking and for subscribers, access to some of the templates and tools we use in our workshops.


  • Register for our Strategic Planning Bootcamp
  • See how you compare in our Benchmarking Survey
  • Read our favourite books on planning and strategy
  • Watch an interview on the common mistakes (coming soon…)
  • Learn our key tips for making plans more effective


Many businesses have succeeded through a combination of serendipity, perseverance and raw talent.  However… “the factors responsible for our success to date, won’t be the same as those required for the success of tomorrow”


Matthew Dunstan (Founder of Board Associates)

Leesa Chesser (Human Services, Innovation and Regulatory Environments)

Justin Cloete (Insight and Strategy)

This event is delivered over 3 x 1.5 hour online sessions.




  1. Get clear on your overall goal, mission and why you exist.
  2. Develop a business strategy that works towards your overall mission.
  3. Translate strategy into actionable plans and drive accountability.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish

— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


To get you thinking and to see how you compare to your peers, you might like to participate in our our 5 minute benchmarking survey.


Effective strategic planning will enable you to put concrete plans in place that drive your business and your profitability forward.

To help our clients be more effective, we’ve developed a framework using Playing To Win: How Strategy Really Works. 

Here’s an overview of how it works.


Martin Bishop will be interviewing Matthew Dunstan on…

  • Why do organisations find strategic planning challenging?
  • What are some of the common mistakes?
  • What is the best way to get started?


Great By Choice

By James C. Collins

Playing To Win – How Strategy Really Words

By Alan G. Lafley and Roger Martin

One Page Plan Framework


Join the conversation on Strategic Planning with the Board Associates team of experts on our socials!