Sunday, 18 December, 2011
ABV is building a solid reputation as a provider of excellent corporate social responsibility programs, training tomorrow’s leaders and creating win-win partnerships with organisations in developing and emerging countries as well as at home, working in indigenous communities.
With high profile organisations such as IBM already on board (IBM’s Corporate Services Corps program facilitated in a range of countries by ABV has been named the No. 1 leadership program in US magazine Fortune, as well as being lauded by Harvard Business School research) and several other significant companies poised to commence, future is looking extremely bright for the ABV Partnership team.
In order to forge new partnerships with large multi-national organisations who will benefit from the leadership programs, ABV CEO, Michael Lynch and ABV General Manager Partnerships, Helen Bird, embarked on a whirlwind trip through Africa, United Arab Emirates, Germany and the UK in October and November.
The aim of the trip was to introduce Michael Lynch, CEO to contacts and opportunities made on a previous trip by Helen and to continue discussions with these corporate organisations around their adoption of ABV leadership programs, ABV Training courses and ABV Expert Advisor opportunities. They also introduced the concept of international corporate volunteering to new audiences.
“The trip introduced us to many senior decision makers ranging from several Heads of Government Ministries and their teams in Botswana, top business leaders in Johannesburg, Maputo and London and to a memorable meeting with a member of the Royal family in Dubai . The calibre of several meetings was such that the Australian Trade Commissioners in UAE and Germany attended to act as hosts and introduce ABV,” explained Michael Lynch.
Countries visited by Helen and Michael included Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban in South Africa, Botswana – Gaborone, Mozambique – Maputo; Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE; Michael returned to CEO duties in Australia as Helen continued on to Frankfurt, Essen and Cologne in Germany and London. In total six countries and 11 cities were visited and 44 meetings were held during this time.
As an international Rotarian, Helen was invited to be a key speaker at both the Rotary Club of Frankfurt and Rotary Club of Westminister West (London). A co-hosted event run by Austrade West Europe and Australian Business in Europe (ABIE) featured a roundtable in Frankfurt attended by a number of European business leaders and chaired by Helen.
“The work of ABV was well received at the various meetings we attended,” said Helen back on Australian soil. “The flexibility of ABV to tailor programs for different types of industry groups and senior leaders through to graduates was well noted and the role of ABV programs and personnel in supporting local communities in Southern Africa was welcomed by both government ministries and also mining companies, who have since requested proposals and next steps. It reinforced that there were potentially some good opportunities for ABV in markets that we traditionally have not worked in before.”
A highlight of the trip was an invitation to attend a Business in the Community (BITC) seminar on Public Reporting Guidelines: Employee Wellness and Engagement, which was attended by over 200 HR and CSR executives from major UK companies. This is a hot topic, as the outcomes of Engagement combined with Wellness enables sustainable employee performance and companies are realizing that this in turn offers better recruitment and retention, better brand image and higher productivity. ABV Leadership Programs provide similar outcomes and it is useful that companies are now provided with a way of reporting outcomes.
So where to from here you may ask?
After their busy trip, there is still much work needed to set up potential partnerships. Thank you emails and carefully costed proposals have been sent out and then there are regular follow-ups. A business development professional, Helen is used to doing the ground work it takes to make partnerships a reality. “Our experience tells us that we work on long sales cycles, so the work that is put in today could take some time to come to fruition. The decision makers that we met need to take our proposals to their CEO’s or Boards, which usually takes much longer than we would hope. Having been doing this work for a long time I also say it’s like playing the board game Monopoly – the roll of the dice can quickly change the outcome. One moment you are progressing well and then you pull the ‘go to jail card’ and need to start all over again. It’s all about developing and growing relationships, persistence and working with the decision makers, who are the best ally and champion for ABV. “
Stay tuned to hear more about ABV’s new partnerships and for more information on how ABV helps businesses to create tomorrow’s leaders and help emerging and developing communities here and abroad see http://www.abv.org.au/corporate/