IT wasn't just lunch and chat when 30 business leaders met at Osso last week — it was also a chance to explore the challenges of getting the most from their teams.
It was the first time the team from the Western Sydney Business Growth Centre (WSBGC), led by Anil Puri, Greg Mitchell and Saul Fuentealba, had tried such a format with the aim of encouraging discussion among members.
Attendees were asked to list their main concerns in running a business and these were covered in subsequent discussion.
The first session covered staffing, often the most expensive element of a business: seeking new employees, interviewing and profiling.
"Market yourself for staff as you would market your company — and be prepared to take a risk," said HR specialist, Greg Mitchell.
Next on the list was culture, with some discussion on the tricky issue of staff members who were good at what they did, but not necessarily the right fit in a company.
"Reinforce your expectations — if staff don't meet those, have the tough conversation," said Mint IT Solutions managing director, Tony Nicholson.
This led to a discussion on leadership and performance management, and the need to do this in some form every day, with a formal interview every six months.
Resistance to change was also canvassed with managers urged to lead well, nurturing a culture of continuous improvement.
Staff needed to know the rules and their responsibilities as well as feeling ownership of changes, with managers having to find time to deal with problems as they arose, attendees were advised.
Other members of the WSBGC at the lunch were Anthony Walker from Bank of Queensland and Aaron Tyers from @print.