September 2015

1. Special Guest Presenter, Cr John Mc Morrow, City of Stonnington

How to connect and engage with democracy

Business insight
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”  (Albert Einstein)

After a near death experience John did some rethinking of his path and contribution to the community.  

John sought Council election independently and was elected.  As Councilor he is  surprised at the workload and spoke of balancing needs and priorities while providing assurance to residents.    

He has delivered many projects including, helping to create the car park by Prahran Market with park on the top.  

John suggests first go to your local councilor if you have an issue and discuss the list of Council priorities and ask what the decision making process is; starting with land use planning and how it can change the face of the land.  

He then gave an overview of his city’s developments and issues involved.

In a stimulating discussion, John covered the skills capacity requirements of Councilors, underlined the need for strong accountability and ethics, and the nuances between Federal, State and Local Council.


2. Uniform technology can assist democracy

You can engage with democracy by engaging effectively with Government departments by assisting them to effectively disseminate their message and information through more uniform and efficiently run websites.

Alfred Deeb, Director Salsa Digital


3. Know government channels - online sources are key

Understand that Government undertakes community consultation through a variety of channels including online sources.

David Micallef, Director Says David


4. Stay true to your self

Ethics are important in a democracy,  particularly when financial objectives are at play. Remain true to yourself; challenge and expose unethical behavior.

Peter Burch, AM BM


5. Be wary of manipulation

Democracy can be manipulated easily, if unchecked.  Superfunds are an areas where superfunds managers can monopolise the system in order to get paid by both sides.

Raydn Nolan, Financial Consultant, PPF Partners


6. Australian Democratic structures work

Experienced various democratic structures at community camp organizations, e.g. Burning Man.  The most successful example was found in Australia at one that played to people's strengths.

Amy Kliever, no fussing about | collective


7. Articulating vision is key

A good way to lead is to empower people by articulating the goal and asking them how best to achieve it.

Ben Walkenhorst, Managing Director, no fussing about |


June 2015

1. Special Guest Presenter, Executive Consultant, Wheelton Group, Simon Wheelton:

Driving markets and innovation in Retail

  1. We ignore technology at our peril
  2. Convenience is key
  3. Online sales are increasing rapidly
  4. Having an internet presence and high ranking in Google search results is imperative
  5. Changing times always lead the way for market innovations i.e. crowd funding, email marketing
  6. Still need to understand who your customer is to get the best ‘bang for your buck’, whatever channel/strategy you use
  7. Customers jump ship easily these days due to choice; service needs to be your point of difference. This is crucial
  8. Human interactions
  9. Education never ends
  10. “While we live, we learn”
  11. Treat customers as you would have them treat you
  12. Over exceed expectations
  13. Practice what you preach
  • Remember, “Love in action is service” Mother Theresa


2. Challenge the way you think

  •  It’s about ask the hard questions
  • During transformations in technology – different rates of change, social change etc., we need to think differently
  • Think differently i.e. Uber, Airbnb
  • 68% of people find it difficult to think differently

Simon Madden, Winning


3. Consider population growth

  • Population in Melbourne will increase by 25% in next 15 years (1.5 million)
  • How do we handle this growth as business people and make money?

Paul Wheelton OAM, Wheelton Group


4. Professional persistency and questions

  • Be genuinely interested and passionate about what you do
  • Profits come second
  • Demonstrate sincerity

Alfred Deeb, Salsa Digital


5. Passion

  • The What and the How of what you do is a given
  • But if you’re not doing it well then you shouldn’t be doing 

Michael Royal, Chairman Kepler Analytics


6.  Influencing community mindset and public policy

  • Speak to the movers and the shakers
  • Ripple effect (of speaking to the courts)

Name withheld, Barrister at Law


7. Empowerment is...

  • Speaking to the right audience.
  • Knowinging what’s important.
  • Making progress (with small steps) rather trying to conquer the world straight away

Jason Andrews, Empowered Financial Partners


8. Think, Plan, Act!

  • Businesses need to think; the WHY! (Simon Sinek)
  • Act immediately and prioritize 
  • We get bogged down in the day to day (like emails) and miss opportunities

(Example: 1 million people now live between Werribee and Melton and there seems to be no planning for this growth)

John Perkins, Interlease


9. Be Customer Centric

  • Understanding your customer
  • Understand what a day in the life of your customer looks like
  • What do THEY want?
  • Listen and solve problems for them

Campbell MacKintosh, Focalise Consulting


10. Get on board!

  • Technology has always disrupted business (so get on board)
  • Understand what business you are in
  • Help them reinvent themselves; reinvent your very best competitor

Gary Lewis, Promotem


11. When launching new concepts to market...

  • Be persistent
  • Use an Integrated approach
  • Follow the Marketing Mantra; Tell them, Tell them again, Tell them you told them, Tell them again.

Case study: Life Resolutions Australia - the first psychology franchise in the country, which attracted suspicion and criticism from the industry and Peak Body. Using an integrated marketing/comms strategy that included advertising, sponsorship, promotions and critically - upskilling franchisees with company messaging to present at industry professional development forums; RESULTED in among many achievements, being listed as the #8 BRW Fastest Growing Franchise in 2012, the Principal Psychologist and Director being invited to the Peak Body's Advisory Committee.

Ben Walkenhorst, no fussing about |




March 2015

1. Special Guest Presenter, Metropolitan Fire Brigade Communication & Media Manager, David Jarwood:

There are five principles to managing crises:
1. Pre-Crisis - get your planning right
2. Dealing with the Crisis - Respond quickly, openly and honestly. If you don't know the answer, say that but advise when you will respond by and do that.
3. Post Crisis - Make sure you 'mop-up' all areas
4. Know when to admit fault - if you are at fault admit it. Be transparent.
5. Overarching the principals above - be prepared in each area.

In summary: Plan, Inform, Engage.


2. Always deliver open, transparent communications.

Tony O'Dea, The Agenda Group


3.  Be strategic in your crisis management planning and gain wide consensus in order to influence decision makers.

(Name withheld) Barrister at Law


4. When a crisis occurs, think on your feet. Act decisively and calmly, even if you risk getting stabbed!

Peter Burch, Musica Viva Victorian Branch Manager (Retired)


5. Most people are reasonable and understanding. In a crisis, keep people informed and involved - and let them know what's going on.

Diana Wolfe, Wolfe Wors


6. Develop a plan and take control of the issue.

Margot Gorski, PR Matters


7. There is a looming crisis in personal financing.  

There are 7 Principals in financial management; principally, educate and inform people.

Uwe Jacobs, Property Friednds


8. Keep Calm and Carry On - Be solution focused and respond to a crisis, don't react.

Di Percy, Percy Vogel


9. Think on your feet.Strength is in collaboratively solving the problem when it arises. Be flexible together.

Darren Taylor, Taylor & Grace


10. Imagine that you are on the other side receiving the crisis management strategy communication - how would you like to be kept informed?

Dianna Lennel, Madgwicks


11. When designing your crisis management plan, ask "What could go wrong?", "What do we do if it happens?", "What do we do to stop it happening?".

Ben Walkenhorst, no fussing about |


September 2014

1. Special Guest Presenter, Paul Wheelton OAM:

  • Success happens with long term hard work
  • Work on the business, not in the business 
  • Ensure you have a work/life balance
  • Find a mentor/find a peer group - don’t travel the journey by yourself
  • You don’t plan to fail – you fail to plan
  • Your staff are the best asset you have – look after them
  • Use technology – time & cost efficient
  • Copy World’s Best Practise
  • Cash flow is King (profit is not)
  • Embrace paying tax
  • Give back to the community


2. Earn respect, be thankful for your customers.

Rosemary Sharman, Sharman Consulting


3. Set a good example, lead by example.

Gavan Wirnarski, Mercy Health Foundation


4. Have values, ethics, accountability, transparency.

(Name withheld), Barrister at Law


5. Sharing your knowledge and being a mentor is rewarding for self, as much is it is for the person being mentored

Peter Burch AM BM, Musica Viva (Ret.)


6. Try to do one kind thing per day.

Liz Sharman, Sharman Consultancy


7. Corporate social responsibility: Be involved in active participation,  not just token gestures.

This is the way of the future - your employees and society will expect this.

Di Percy, Vogel Percy


8. Always have integrity in both personal and commercial dealings.

Most particularly in this age of digital transparency.

Damian Mannox, The Agenda Group


9. The core philosophy of your business/business ethics/corporate responsibility.

Engage your staff with this in a real way, in involvement & action.

Simon Wheelton, Wheelton Group/Budget Car & Truck Hire


10. Generation Like - Get them to participate by giving them control

Read more here .

Ben Walkenhorst, no fussing about |


June 2014

1. Transformational Leadership: There's power in vulnerability. Connect to your humanity. Stand in it and own it.

All leadership is transformational.

If you're not transforming in some way, you're not leading. You're most likely managing.

The leader needs to be in a state of transformation themselves. Remaining open to that is critical. Face your own demons.

Move beyond the intellect. Use the original mind, the complete mind. It encapsulates the emotional, spiritual, personal mind as well. Find your humanity. 

Leaders need to go back to source (or essence) in order to generate ideas, solutions, etc. - Ways back to source are reflection, journalling, meditation, being in nature, etc.

Finding and owning your unique talents, your aspirations, is of utmost importance. Rediscover the idealist in you and nurture that. It forms the essence of our purpose.

One way to find purpose is to return to what inspired you as a child or youth, before you were told 'no' or had too much logic/ reason dull imagination, conscience and possibility.

(Special Guest): Di Percy, CEO Vogel Percy


2. Seek to understand the customer value proposition.

 Get into the minds of the customers. Ask them what they want. Be willing to dig deep. 

Simon Wheelton, Budget Car & Truck Hire


3. Client relationships: 

Take an attitude of working with the client, from your heart. Understand them and do what you can to help them.

Lucy Liu: Epoch Times


4. Switch the focus to values and ethics based leadership.

Work with leaders who have integrity.

Cr John McMorrow, Stonnington City Council & Leadership Management Australia


5. Be succinct.

Understand, define and articulate your businesses' value in one word. An example for Taylor and Grace is 'Clarity'. 

Darren Taylor, Taylor & Grace


6. Truth.

Be willing to bring the personal into your leadership. Speak from truth and be willing to ask people for what you need.

Ben McEwing, Story Lab & no fussing about | collective


7. Self.

The key is to be inspired personally. Stay true to yourself. Remain open and always exploring. 

Richard Meredith, Richard Meredith Consulting


8. Service real need.

Transform your business into a service or product that is really needed and used every day.

Ben Walkenhorst, no fussing about |


March 2014

1.  On intercultural inclusion: We need to engender cultural diversity in every organisation . To give your organisation the capacity to adapt and thrive, as well as avoid ‘group think’ and staying stuck in old patterns, adopt the ‘requisite variety’ approach. This means your organisaiton should reflect the variety of the culture or area in which you work.

(Special Guest) Dr Marrian D Sison, Deputy Dean (International) RMIT


2. On profits: Don’t focus on profits at the expense of the healthy culture of your organisation. Focus on building the strength of your organisational culture, and the profits will come.

Ben Walkenhorst, no fussing about |


3. On diversity: There’s always room to improve. Diversity is the tapestry of life.

Ant Gaddie, Green Ant Marketing


4. On creativity: Refer to TED Talk by David Kelly, How To Build Your Creative Confidence. Everybody has creative capability, they just need the right environment to help build their capacity and confidence.


Darren Taylor, Taylor & Grace


5. On leadership: What’s desired is mature, healthy cultures where diversity is embraced – calling for mature, healthy leaders. In part, this stems from healthy children and teens, plus a shift in the collective mindset of overvaluing strategy and logic to one of recognising wisdom and spirit. Imagine our major leaders could be wise, enlightened and creative. 

Di Percy, Vogel Percy


6. On cultural curiosity: We need to work on having an ‘Asian ready’ culture in Australia, and foster a sense of cultural curiosity.

Alicia White, Victorian Taxi Commission


7. On diversity: So often, we seem to employ people who are ‘different’ from our organisational norms, in a bid to improve our diversity, but then we force them to become part of the herd. The human condition is to be ethnocentric but we miss out if we don’t challenge that thinking.

Barabara West, Culture Works


8. On cultural diversity:It’s incredible being part of such a culturally diverse organisation of mainly volunteers such as Joy 94.9 FM Radio. We need more like it!

David Hunt, Joy94.9FM


9.  On ‘love’ in business: It’s OK to feel a sense of human love for one’s clients; it doesn’t need to be ‘shut down’ or considered unprofessional. You don’t need to necessarily tell clients that you love them, but it’s good to let love suffuse your work, every day.

Diana Wolfe, no fussing about | collective



November 2013

1. Simon Sincek (9/09) says great leaders inspire action by explaining their services staring with Why they believe, How they deliver services and finally, What they do.  Most companies explain visa versa, which is not inspiring.

See Simon explain it here.

Ben Walkenhorst, no fussing about |


 2. Centre everything around the user; ‘why’ do they care?  Create a story and "talkability".

First question to a should be client ‘why is your product or services important to you?’  

Volvo example: a new vehicle wasn’t launching for a  year, but they needed to promote so Volvo centered the story around a blind artist who could see the car without actually seeing it.  He created a painting of a pink car, which went on an eBay auction. 

Get the user to tell you a story, instead of you telling them.  Refine the marketing strategy to revolve around it.

Mark Pickering, Little Big Epic


3. What’s your super power? The Power of listening...

Listen to clients; get them to talk, get their insight.

Ben McEwing, Storylab


4. In the early stages of humanity, we listened a lot more.  Work with what you hear.  

"Life is what happens when you’re busy doing everything else".  John Lennon

Listen to that voice screaming in you that tells you to something different. Have the courage to do it.

Matt Coldrick, Kindred Studios


5. Convince people in your initial sales/new business meeting that you are the only person that can deliver what they want.

Focus on hearing what they want and speak only to that. As a results your proposals will be shorter and less time consuming

Darren Taylor, Taylor & Grace


6. Be authentic.

 Do you present as a sales person or as a yourself?  

The side effect of authenticity is high level brain function.  It gives you a sense of ‘I’m me, I know who I am’.  

Allow yourself to be, not someone you aren’t.  Don’t lose you a sense of yourself.

Michelle Soo, Wellness for Leaders


7. Be aware of the physical reaction you are having to business.  

Don’t allow yourself to succumb to stress, anxiety, or any other negative reaction for too long.  

Strive for balance in all things.  

She became more aware of this after becoming pregnant and realizing these reactions were probably effecting the baby inside her.  Whether you’re pregnant or not, your body is important to listen to and take care of.

Amy Kliever, Blooming Footprint


8. Always ask, "Why".  

Questions should be welcomeed; just listen.

Kylie Harker, Squirrel Business Hub


9. What you resist, persists

Possess acceptance and surrender to what is happening.

Alignment of how is the end of suffering.  Success is the progressive realisation of goals - have the goal to have the direction.

Simon Wheelton, Budget Car & Truck Hire


10. "If you think you can or can’t, you’re right"

It has everything to do with your attitude.  Think positive.. 

Cr John McMorrow, City of Stonnington & Leadership management Australia



August 2013

1. More and more the virtual space is used for meetings, seminars and interviews these days. An important part of that is how to convey yourself professionally, without invading privacy...Use JoinMe

You log in, give your client/colleagues a meeting number and whoever is in the meeting can see the presentation screen online e.g. a website demo. It can be used, locally, nationally and internationally!

Ben Walkenhorst, no fussing about|


2. When running events, remember your objectives.

What do you want to achieve? What is your budget? Are you aiming for profit generation or spreading awareness of your brand?

Be more targeted. If attendees dislike wine, don't spend hours sourcing fine wine.  Find out what attendees like to drink and you will spend less money. 

Focus on the operational details, rather than sourcing huge talent or over the top features. A well run event will result in more referrals from clients.

Like any strategy, you cannot perform events effectively without careful consideration of the objectives.

Kelvin Tan, Plan Ahead Events


3. On average people spend 44 hours at work per week.

At Designscope, we encourage and recommend for people to have a 4 and 1/2 day week.

The benefits of having time out are invaluable and outweigh the overworking tendencies of today's workplace.

You need to have time to let your head unravel by doing recreational things like playing basketball or exercising.

Four Hour Working week by Timothy Feris

Morgan Williams, Designscope


4. Business dynamics are extremely important.

Consider in the client brief: the personality that creates it and understanding the objectives of that person.

Charlie Porter, Burning House


5. You're only as big as the people around you.

Kim Percy, Designscope


 6. You can use the internet to find statistical to prove or disprove what ever you like.

Putting words into Ad word campaigns can be really helpful to test fire words.

Nat Abood, Three's A Crowd


7. We rise by lifting others.

Lilibeth Hall, no fussing about |


May 2013

1. Nielsen Online Landscape Review - Lots of useful Australian on line and video user statistics for free. 

Ben Walkenhorst, no fussing about|

Summary: Meaningful, Relationships. Focus!


2. Read, Marketing/ Band 'Lurch & Chief' 

- Facebook: Scheduling updates are useful and can be timed to reach target audience at peak times. 

- Visuals receive more likes

- Assuming brand personality with updates and shares. 

Lilibeth Hall, no fussing about|


3. VCP stands for VisibilityCredibilityProfitability. One leads to the next, but often we're not as far along with our clients as we may believe.

We may be credible to them, but haven't evolved to the point we're they're referring us work from their network. That's why checking in with them and maintaining the relationship is important. 

If you wish to receive referrals from your clients, connect/ Audit who you have and see where you stand with them.

Ben McEwing, Storylab


4. Managing and prioritising time.

Sometimes supporting others can take up too much of your time.

Get the single most important thing in your day done.

Have trustworthy people to refer clients to that have jobs you don't want to do.

Michelle Robin


5. Focus and get into the right headspace.

Mono-Task: Deliberately concentrating on one thing at a time in order to avoid procrastination, maintain focus, and achieve a state of flow in your work.


Building strong relationships gives you an 'edge'.

Margot Gorski, PR Matters


6. What do you do better than anyone else? Focus (only) on that.

Simon Wheelton, Budget Car & Truck Hire


7. Mission statements and vision statements are quite long winded.

Distil down to the absolute core.

Choose three words that are most important.

All people in organisation make decisions based on these three most important words for the vision.

ie Walt Disney - 'Make people happy'.

Kylie Harker, Change Agent Coaching


8. Focus, be in the moment.

Specialise in one area 'Halo effect'.

Social media: Act as you would with the person face to face.

ie LinkedIn: Walking up to someone at a barbecue and handing them an invitation and saying nothing. Also Manners/social niceties such as a quick message along with LinkedIn invitations 'Nice to speak to you' 

Gene Stark, Stark Reality/The Marketing Network.


9. Don't be afraid to collaborate.

Say NO If you're not going to do the best job

Janie Schwartz, HROwl


February 2013

1. Be a better time manager with emails.  Any thing CC'd put in the "Cover Myself Folder" to access when asked. Ensure Subject lines are specific and relevant to each email. Downloads: Time Management ProcessMaking Time Management and Organisational PriorityA personal approach to time managementMichelle Robin.


2. Invest in a brand strategy for your own company - you can't do it yourself even if that's your trade. Get in outside help.Nat Abood, Three's A Crowd.


3. Sincerity - make sure it's in the brief and the client is. It makes for a better project and working relationship down the track. Shamus Hoare, Gozer Studio


4. Test, Test and Test again - make sure you test your campaigns. Unbounce is a great lead generator and A/B testing tool. Alison Fraser, Key Response


5. The entrepreneur strives to become dispensable. Focus on what you're good at and delegate or outsource what you're not.  Simon Wheelton, Budget


6. The small choices you make now will have a big impact on your future.  Read The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. Diana Wolfe, Wolfe Words


7. Our bodies operate on 90mins up cycles - have a break from work every 90mins and you'll be more productive. Alex Pantea, Making Meaningful Connections


8. We are all connected. Our shared problems are shared solutions.  Read the Fuller Map to see the world in a real perspective.  Ben Walkenhorst, no fussing about|


9. Be aware that we all have areas that we are challenged in. By realising this, we can help each other overcome them by using each other’s innate strengths. Gill Victor, VicDeaf



October 2012

1. Be a 'Benevolent Expert'. Give away your knowledge, to those who ask without fear or favour. You will develop a reputation as an authority and increase the likelihood of people coming back in the future or recommending you to others.Charie Porter, Burning House


2. When presenting an idea, recommendation or pitching for new business, deliver all negative messages and cover off all objections in one spot in the room. Communicate all positive messages, answer the questions you are most confident in answering and articulate your final message, the one you want them to walk away remembering, from another spot in the room, preferably on the opposite side to where the negative messages were delivered. 

The reason for this is known as anchoring. An audience will unconsciously associate negative messages with one place in the room and positive messages in another so make sure they are well spaced apart. Jen Burrows, Value for Life


3. To engage people, show rather thantell and use emotionally motivating content-short fiction films are one way of doing this. Helen Booth, ACCC


5. Always be appreciativeby thanking the customer for theirbusiness . In our case at Budget we thank the customer and give thema toy truck if they have a child with them otherwise a $10 off their next rentalvoucher .It leaves a last impression that we are good guys. Simon Wheelton, Budget


6. Think before you speak.

T is it true, H is it helpful, I is it inspiring, N is it necessary and K for being kind. Birgit Siegel, Birgit Siegel Events


7. My tip was to ‘do business with people that you like’. Leanne Henderson, Best of Breed Communications


July 2012

1. In a level negotiation the person with the next best alternative will always win. So never limit your options to one source.

 2. " A good leader follows his people"  ( from the I ching )  . In other words the wellbeing of your community is theclearest indicator of the effectiveness of your leadership and a should be the first
consideration .

3. Sometimes you shake the tree for apples and you get Pears. The point with this is that you must always show up and put in the effort. The trick is to have detached your desire for the original quarrythusmaintaining clarityand awareness when a new opportunity presents itself.

4. Which Test Won (
Simple little weekly email (from Anne Holland, original founder of Marketing Sherpa) - each with a tease-your-brain live marketing test example. A variety of a/b split tests - typically emails, landing pages, web optimisation and such - with a chance to vote for what you think is the winner - find out if you're right (or wrong) - and comment/follow comments on the results. In a content overload world, one blessedly compact bit of hard, evidence-based wisdom, once a week.

5. Plus a constant reminder that (as I said on the day) things work funny - and if you depend only on your own judgement v. evidence-based testing, there's a good chance you're making lots of mistakes!

6. Also, for anyone interested in the no-bull world of measurable testing and optimisation - get on the Marketing Experiments list and follow their blogs and reports on hundreds of optimisation tests and lessons learned. (

 7. Automoate your systems and contente delivery - click here for FREE tools

8. When presenting an idea, recommendation or pitching for new business, deliver all negative messages and cover off all objections in one spot in the room.

Communicate all positive messages, answer the questions you are most confident in answering and articulate your final message, the one you want them to walk away remembering, from another spot in the room, preferably on the opposite side to where the negative messages were delivered. 

The reason for this is known as anchoring. An audience will unconsciously associate negative messages with one place in the room and positive messages in another so make sure they are well spaced apart.


MarCH 2012

Unfortunately, we didn't record the shared tips from our first Tabel9!