Health, Wealth and Wisdom

Welcome to October 2022. Many good folks have been asking what I am now doing, and I trust that this release of The Martin Haese Report amongst other things provides some answers.

I’m not quite sure where to start, but it’s fair to say that the last three months have been extraordinary. After three and a bit years with Business SA, I successfully completed my contract as CEO at the end of the financial year where I handed over the reins to Andrew Kay. What a privilege it was to guide, support and advocate for the business community during the global pandemic. A big thank you to the Chair of Business SA Nikki Govan, the Board of Directors, my former team of 60 talented individuals, many valued stakeholders and most importantly, the Chamber of Commerce’s 4,000 members.

Having finished up with Business SA, I made my way to Singapore to visit my wife’s family, reconnect with business associates and meet new ones. All was going to plan until I contracted a roaring fever and a very nasty case of Cellulitis that put me in a Singaporean hospital for a week followed by a long couple of months of recovery. If you, like me, have not heard of Cellulitis, I hope that you never have cause to. In summary, it’s bacterial skin infection and in my case, a serious one.

Returning to Australia to recover from my ailments, this brush with the potential loss of my right leg has had an impact on what I consider is important and how I intend to spend my time and set about designing the future. Although confronting, I like to see the good in everything and this has certainly made me reassess.

Having recovered to the point where walking was no longer painful, Genevieve and I made our way back to Singapore and then on to London where we had planned to tour the UK. Our travels took us to Windsor and while coincidently sitting in the charming Royal Adelaide Hotel we heard the unfortunate news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Royal Adelaide Hotel Windsor, United Kingdom
Royal Adelaide Hotel Windsor, United Kingdom

Our travels then took us to the university town of Oxford in England and to Edinburgh in Scotland where we again coincidently arrived late the night before Her Majesty’s cortege was due to travel along the Royal Mile of Edinburgh with King Charles III and the Royal Family walking behind.

Our accommodation was 200 metres from the Palace of Holyroodhouse gates and once we had made our way through an amoury of security personnel, we had a few hours sleep before joining many others to pay our respects to a dignified lady and much-admired Monarch. To say that this was a truly unforgettable experience would be an understatement.

On a brighter note, as a former Chair of the Bay to Birdwood community event in South Australia, current Chair of the Adelaide Motorsport Festival Advisory Board, an inaugural Board Member of the State Government of South Australia’s new SA Motor Sport Board and a long-time historic motoring enthusiast, I was excited to attend The Goodwood Revival in the UK in September. This was a bucket list item and I hope to visit again. After battling the seemingly endless traffic from London and securing accommodation an hour away from the Goodwood Estate where the event is held, we were more than rewarded for our patience and perseverance.

With 50,000 highly enthusiastic people arriving from across the UK, Europe and beyond, the Goodwood Revival is to be seen to be believed. Since 1998, this event has celebrated and re-enacted the glory days of British motor racing. The event includes racing cars and motorcycles that would have competed during the Goodwood Circuit’s original motorsport heydays of 1948 to 1966. With almost all of the 50,000 attendees dressed in period attire (mostly 1940s), it makes for quite a spectacle.

The Goodwood Revival is unique. While most vintage festivals focus on looking back, this event is trying to move us forward. With a focus in honouring the quality of items and manufacturing practices of the past, this year’s theme was ‘Make Do and Mend’. In a world where too many things are disposable, the Goodwood Revival challenges us to take a cue, recycle more and secure a more sustainable future. I admire the values of this event.

With South Australia’s rich automotive manufacturing heritage, amenable climate, many active car and motorcycle clubs and an attractive historic vehicle registration scheme, I have long believed and advocated that motoring tourism has significant upside unrealised potential. Thankfully, the Malinauskas State Government seems to heartily agree. This is why I have stepped up over many years to contribute significant amounts to own time to help realise this potential, often on a pro bono basis. In addition, with the imminent growth of electric vehicles the automotive industry is undergoing a not so quiet evolution and I want to be a part of it.

The Goodwood Revival, Goodwood Estate UK
The Goodwood Revival, Goodwood Estate UK
The Goodwood Revival, Goodwood Estate UK
The Goodwood Revival, Goodwood Estate UK
The Goodwood Revival, Goodwood Estate UK
The Goodwood Revival, Goodwood Estate UK

Twenty-four hours later we arrived at JFK in New York City. In my role as Chair of the Premier’s Climate Change Council in South Australia, I was registered to attend Climate Week 2022. Held annually, this is where politicians, policy makers and global business leaders converge to discuss and take action on climate change and explore economic opportunities in the low emissions economy.

Having attended and delivered a keynote speech as Lord Mayor of Adelaide at COP21 in Paris in December 2015 and presented online at Climate Week last year, it was an honour to represent the Premier’s Climate Change Council, Deputy Premier/Minister Dr Susan Close MP and the State Government of South Australia at this conference. With Australia’s Federal Environment Minister Chris Bowen, former Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd and former Premier of South Australia Mike Rann all playing prominent roles, our nation and state were well represented.

I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow members on the Premier’s Climate Change Council to strengthen and accelerate South Australia’s national leadership in climate change adaptation and mitigation and enable the further growth of the low emissions economy. I believe that this is the biggest challenge of our time. However, it is also a huge economic opportunity for South Australia and again I want to be a part of it for our great state.

Climate Week Manhattan New York City USA
Climate Week Manhattan New York City USA

As I have shared with you before, I believe in education and its ability to transform lives, including my own. With my insatiable thirst for lifelong learning, I am now studying a Real Estate Diploma, learning Indonesia Bahasa and soon to brush up on my French. This month, I am working with the University of Adelaide and Her Excellency the Governor of South Australia to fulfill my annual obligation on the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee where we carefully review scholarship applications for Oxford University. Having been on this committee for four years, I cannot tell you how much I look forward to this as it always restores my faith in the brilliance of South Australia’s youth.

Not one to rest, I have more exciting projects in store. But more about that another time.

With kind regards,

Martin Haese MBA

Thank You

Business SA

Thank you is a word that can never be used enough and as I prepare to complete my tenure as CEO of Business SA this Friday and hand over the reins to Andrew Kay, it’s a word that I am using frequently.

Business SA is the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the independent peak body for the business community in South Australia. Having been a public voice for many thousands of business owners over the last few years during times of drought, bushfires, a global pandemic and now inflation, supply chain disruption, labour shortages, rising energy costs and spiraling cost pressures, I have drawn upon my own leadership, business, policy and advocacy experience to support our members across all industries as they have navigated so many challenges and hopefully some opportunities.

However, as we all know, teams achieve much more than any solo effort ever could. Thank you to Nikki Govan and the Business SA Board of Directors for supporting our team and members with such strong governance, insight and strategy. Thank you to my executive directors and valued team of 65 employees who have individually and collectively risen to the challenge of supporting our members with unwavering advocacy, expert advice, programs and services.

With almost 4,000 members employing over 100,000 South Australians, Business SA deeply values the vitally important and sometimes under recognised contribution of small to medium sized businesses in South Australia. Thank you to everyone who has taken a risk to build a business, build a better life for themselves and their families, provide career opportunities for others and prosperity for our state. If South Australia loses its appetite for risk, we lose everything.

With 20% of our members located across regional South Australia, thank you to regional business owners and our colleagues at the regional chambers of commerce across the state. Business SA values your contribution and collaboration. Thank you to the leaders of the other industry and business associations in South Australia. Together we achieved so much more.

Thank you to our peak body in Canberra, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Your advocacy for JobKeeper along with the support of former Treasurer Josh Frydenberg saved thousands of businesses from collapse. Thank you to my fellow CEOs who lead the other chambers of commerce around the nation. Your counsel is so valuable.

Thank you to former Premier Steven Marshall, former Treasurer Rob Lucas and former ministers for working closely with Business SA as we responded to the uncertainties of what seemed like daily challenges being thrown at the business community over the last two years.

Thank you to Police Commissioner Grant Stevens and Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier. Your tireless efforts were so vital during the heat of the COVID storm.

Thank you to Premier Malinauskas, Treasurer Mullighan, Minister Michaels and other ministers and state government executives for being so proactive in working with the business community. Long may it continue.

Thank you to Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor and the Mayors, Chief Executives, and staff of many local councils around our state for stepping up to support your local business communities.

I believe in free enterprise and value experience over opinion. Thank you to over 60 mentors who volunteer so much of their time and expertise to help the participants of Business SA’s Encore and SAYES entrepreneurship programs. I believe in freedom of speech and thank you to the media for working so closely with Business SA to ensure that everyone is kept informed about the issues that really matter.

Most importantly, thank you to Business SA’s valued members. You are the lifeblood of our organisation. I plan to take a leaf out of your books and return to private enterprise. However, more about that later. For now, it’s thank you to everyone. Anon.

Business SA Farewell

With kind regards,

Martin Haese MBA

Principles with life changing benefits

Welcome to June 2022. I’m not sure about you, but I’m finding it difficult to believe that we are almost halfway through this year. Although don’t we say that every year? Either way, it only goes to emphasise how important it is for each of us to live our lives to the very best of our own abilities.

I was recently invited by the University of Adelaide to deliver a graduation address for their graduates on 6 May 2022. I accepted that invitation with gratitude. Having stood in their shoes some years ago, I know what an important moment it was for the graduates. Having worked hard complete their qualification, it was time to pause, reflect, celebrate and acknowledge those who had helped them get there.

In my speech, I share some valuable life lessons that serve me well even today.

With an insatiable thirst for lifelong learning, I believe in education and its ability to transform lives. In the following short video, I discuss the power of reinvention and how our personal comfort zones determine our results, two of the most transformational principles that have guided my life and career. I hope that these principles are just as valuable for you.

With kind regards,

Martin Haese MBA

May you live in interesting times

May you live in interesting times

Welcome to 2022. May you live in interesting times. While there is conjecture as who authored this quote, it remains true today.

This edition of the Martin Haese Report explores the relationship between change, evolution and progress and given that these have been the hallmark of the human condition for ages past, let’s first consider what history has taught us. The most tumultuous periods in modern, medieval, and ancient history are filled with upheaval. Ironically, discomfort and disruption have been the catalyst for progress on many of these occasions. Although stories of plague, insurrection and war can provide compelling reading, those living through these momentous events were undoubtedly experiencing considerable trepidation and pain.

It was however those experiences that built resilience, not always by choice but more often by necessity.

As a student of political history, I am fascinated by how nations have evolved. Russia is case in point as one could be excused for thinking that it epitomises the very definition of upheaval and change. With the Tsars ruling Russia from 1547 to 1917, followed by the Russian Republic from 1918, Soviet era from 1922 and the Russian Federation from 1991 until today, the Russian people have defended their homeland from invasion on more than one occasion and have suffered and prospered at the hands of their own leaders. Russia is however only one example of a nation that has been shaped by upheaval, yet has endured and prevailed. There are many others.

French Emperor Napoleon invaded Russia on 24 June 1812. After waiting for a surrender that never came, Napoleon’s starving troops faced the onset of a Russian winter and retreated out of Moscow. There was no victory here for the French, only a devastating long march in perilous conditions.

Two years into this global pandemic there have been few victories either. However, one thing is for sure, we are still living in interesting times. How have you endured and prevailed? How has the uncertainty of the last two years impacted upon you personally? Have you processed the relationship between security and change?

I encourage you to watch this short video which contends that “you need to dispense with the idea that you have any permanent security outside of your ability to content and adapt.” It’s a confronting statement, but nonetheless quite true. As counter intuitive as it sounds, the truth of the matter is that the only real source of security we have is our ability to adapt.

Now that we acknowledge that change is at the core of evolution and progress, let’s consider why.

In his book first published in 1859, On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin wrote that the theory of evolution is the process of natural selection by which nature selects the fittest and best-adapted to reproduce, multiply and survive. While some have debated Darwin’s theories over the years, they are a plausible explanation for explaining that evolution is far from stagnant and that nature, the environment and everything that lives in it are in a fluid, constant state of flux.

Come for a ride with me, my entrepreneurial friends, and let us now look at some developments that will shape 2022 into a year not looked upon with trepidation but with giddy anticipation.

The lessons are learned, it’s now time for implementation.

2020 and 2021 were years of reaction and pivot, years where some innovated and some faded away. Every one of us has done something new, many for the first time. 2022 is the year that we put into practice the lessons learned over the last two years.

By very definition, an entrepreneurs’ glass is always half full and 2022 is a year to dispel the voices trying to sell you on the idea that the glass is half empty. Let’s remember that luck is nothing more than preparation meeting opportunity. The last two years of this pandemic have prepared the entrepreneur, and 2022 is the year to claim your opportunity.

Trends for 2022

Having spent the last couple of weeks reading widely about the most likely business trends for 2022, I credit Bernard Marr, contributor to Forbes, as authoring the following insights. In sharing these with you, I have added my own anecdotes.

Trend 1: Sustainable, resilient operations

“Every organisation must seek to eliminate or reduce the environmental costs of doing business. Decarbonising the supply chain is a sensible place to start, but forward-thinking businesses are looking beyond the supply chain to improve sustainability across all business operations. And of course, sustainability is linked to resilience, as resilience means being able to adapt and survive for the long term. Any business that ignores sustainability is unlikely to do well in this age of conscious consumption.”

As Chair of the Premier’s Climate Change Council, I see firsthand the competitive advantage that South Australia has in climate change adaptation, mitigation, renewable energy and circular economy. However, what is sometimes overlooked by entrepreneurs is the megatrend of the low emissions economy that is being driven by customers, financiers, insurers, policy makers, regulators and governments. This is an opportunity rich environment for entrepreneurs and business owners.

Trend 2: The balance between human workers and intelligent robots

“We now have increasingly capable robots and artificial intelligence systems that can take on tasks that were previously done by humans. This leaves employers with some key questions: how do we find the balance between intelligent machines and human intelligence? What roles should be given over to machines? Which roles are best suited to humans? There’s no doubt that automation will affect every industry, so business leaders must prepare their organisations – and their people – for the changing nature of work.”

Having spent some brief  time in Singapore over Christmas and being served by a robot in a restaurant, I can certainly relate to this. The future has arrived. Are you ready?

Covid has accelerated the use of intelligent and autonomous robots in the workplace.

Trend 3: The shifting talent pool and changing employee experience

“The way we work is evolving, with more younger people entering the workforce, more gig workers, and more remote workers. In their book The Human Cloud, Matthew Mottola and Matthew Coatney argue that traditional full-time employment will be a thing of the past, as organisations shift to hiring people on a contract basis – with those contractors working remotely.”

Trend 4: Flatter, more agile organisations

Traditionally, organisations have been hierarchical and rigid in their structures. But that is changing, as leaders recognise the need for flatter, more agile structures that allow the business to quickly reorganise teams and respond to change. It is also, in part, a response to the changing nature of work, particularly the proliferation of freelance and remote workers. This is the age of flatter organisational structures, which are more like flexible communities rather than a top-down pyramid structure.”

Trend 5: Authenticity

“Today’s consumers are seeking a more meaningful connection with brands. And this need for connection has given rise to authenticity as a business trend in its own right. Authenticity helps to foster human connections – because, as humans, we like to see brands (and business leaders) display important human qualities like honesty, reliability, empathy, compassion, humility, and maybe even a bit of vulnerability and fear. We want brands (and leaders) to care about issues and stand for more than just turning a profit.”

Trend 6: Purposeful business

“Linked to authenticity, this trend is all about ensuring your organisation exists to serve a meaningful purpose – and not just serve up profits to shareholders. Purpose defines why the organisation exists. (Not what the organisation is or what it does or for whom. Therefore, purpose is different to mission and vision.) Importantly, a strong purpose has the promise of transformation or striving for something better – be it a better world, a better way to do something, or whatever is important to your organisation.”

Trend 7: Co-opetition and integration

“We live in a time where pretty much anything can be achieved by outsourcing. The global business world has never been so integrated. And it’s a good job, because the need to work together to solve key business challenges (not to mention humanity’s biggest challenges) is great. Indeed, in the future, it will become increasingly difficult to succeed without close partnerships with other organisations. In practice, this means greater supply chain integration, more data integration and sharing of data between organisations, and even cooperation between competitors.”

I subscribe to this notion as I built my national retail company based on the principle of collaboration, instead of competition. In fact, for fifteen years, I had little idea as to who my competitors were, let alone what they were doing. Instead, we chose who we wanted to collaborate with and ignored the rest. It sounds counter intuitive. However, it freed us up to set our own agenda, and to innovate and collaborate as we saw fit. It enabled us to become an industry leader, not an industry follower. I have no doubt that my business grew to $25m annual sales and challenged so many industry norms as a result of focussing on our own customers, not those of others. Not viewing other industry players as competitors proved to be remarkably liberating.

Trend 8: New forms of funding

“The ways in which companies can generate finance is also changing. New platforms and mechanisms have sprung up to connect businesses with investors and donors – think crowd funding, initial coin offerings (ICOs), tokenisation and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). Many of these new methods are driven by the decentralised finance movement, in which financial services like borrowing and trading take place in a peer-to-peer network, via a public decentralised blockchain network.”

When I look back on my time as a national retailer, I clearly recall my mentor telling me that I would never understand the business unless I was financially literate. It was the best advice I ever got.

Knowledge informs action

“In addition to these eight trends from Bernard Marr, there will also be transformative technology trends in 2022 including artificial intelligence and increasing digitisation, which every company must be ready for. Read more about all these and other future trends in Bernard’s new book, Business Trends in Practice: The 25+ Trends That are Redefining Organizations. Packed with real-world examples, it cuts through the hype to present the key trends that will shape the businesses of the future.”

Be inspired and fight for your entrepreneurial vision.

Thank you for reading my blog : The Martin Haese Report.

If you haven’t already joined my network, you can sign up for free. Please do not hesitate to recommend my blog to any of your friends, family or colleagues who share our common interests.

With kind regards,

Martin Haese MBA

United Nations COP26

United Nations COP26

With the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP26) taking place in Glasgow Scotland, and Australia’s recently announced plan for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, Australia as a nation is standing at an inflection point as the world pushes towards a more rapid uptake of renewable energy.

However, this is an inflection point that South Australia has already confronted.

In my role as Chair of the Premiers Climate Change Council, I presented online on behalf of David Speirs MP, Minister for Environment and Water, at the United Nations COP26 on Thursday 4 November 2021. Some years ago, I had the good fortune of doing the same at the United Nations COP21 in Paris, where I presented in person to a global audience in my former role as Lord Mayor of Adelaide.

Much has changed over the last 6 years and for South Australia, much of that change has been resoundingly positive. Following is an extract of the speech that I recently delivered at COP26 where I acknowledge the valued assistance of the team from the Department for Environment and Water.

 
To learn more about the United Nations COP26, visit www.ukcop26.org
To learn more about the United Nations COP26, visit www.ukcop26.org

South Australia has a proud history of environmental protection and climate change action including energy transformation, circular economy leadership and sustainable management of natural resources. Adelaide was recently ranked the 3rd most liveable city in the world, placing it ahead of all Australian cities.

South Australians have understood the economic benefits of ‘clean, green growth’ for a long time and with the state’s emissions having reduced by 33% since 2005, our economy has also grown and prospered.

The South Australian Government has set clear policy targets to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% on 2005 levels by 2030. It was recently announced that the State Government will be legislating these targets, providing a clear market signal about the seriousness of the government’s intent to accelerate progress toward a low emissions economy.

Advances in clean energy provide a solid basis upon which to achieve our ambitious emissions reduction targets and to grow our economy. With world class natural resources in solar and wind, South Australia is ranked second in the world for the annual variable renewable energy it generates.

In just 15 years, South Australia has transformed its energy system from 1% renewable energy generation to around 60%. This is well on the way to achieving our goal of 100% net renewable energy generation by 2030.

By 2050, our state plans to be generating 500% more renewable energy than we need to meet current grid demand. This will make us a renewable energy exporter and allow us to help other states and nations to reduce their emissions.

One of the keys to our success has been to build on previous work, make new investments and provide opportunities for the private sector and regional communities to benefit from a low emissions energy future. Our last coal-fired power station, located in the state’s Upper Spencer Gulf region, closed in 2016 and there are now 14 renewable energy projects in this region, including Australia’s biggest wind and solar hybrid project - the 317 megawatt Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park.

At the same time, South Australia is solving the challenges of intermittent energy in renewables, through battery storage, interconnection with other states, and new approaches to managing demand. Initiatives such as large grid-scale battery storage help stabilise the grid. In its first two years of operation, the Hornsdale Power Reserve - the world renowned ‘big battery’ - saved the market and consumers over $150 million.

The State Government also supports a number of distributed renewable energy generation and storage projects which are important for South Australia, where one in three households have a solar photovoltaic system. South Australia has 7% of Australia’s population, but 29% of home batteries installed across the nation and this has been a result of our two world leading home battery schemes, including our $118 million Home Battery Scheme, which have resulted in the installation of more than 26,000 home batteries.

South Australia is also on track to becoming a world-class supplier of green hydrogen, with the government working with the private sector to facilitate investment in hydrogen infrastructure, establish export hubs, and integrate hydrogen into our energy system. The level of global investment interest in South Australian hydrogen projects has capacity to transform our state into a renewable energy exporter of world standing in the next decade. The South Australian Government also has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Port of Rotterdam to study hydrogen export from South Australia to Europe.

A demonstration project comprising Australia’s largest electrolyser is a first step to decarbonising our gas network, beginning with 700 homes in a local area receiving gas blended with five per cent renewable hydrogen.

Climate change mitigation is a matter of choice whether to lead or follow.
Climate change mitigation is a matter of choice whether to lead or follow.

To learn about the South Australian Government’s Climate Change Action Plan 2021-2025, please click here.

As CEO of Business SA, I am also aware of the role that business can play in influencing the market. Businesses in South Australia are engaged and understand the economic opportunity that comes with renewable energy and action on climate change.

In our state, there is a healthy relationship between government, business and community, with each party willing to play their part to meet our goals.

Martin Haese presenting at a recent Business SA Climate of Opportunity event held in conjunction with Minister David Speirs MP and Consul General Stephen (Steph) Lysaght of the UK Government.
Martin Haese presenting at a recent Business SA Climate of Opportunity event held in conjunction with Minister David Speirs MP and Consul General Stephen (Steph) Lysaght of the UK Government.

Thank you for reading my Blog : The Martin Haese Report.

If you haven’t already joined my network, you can sign up for free.

Please do not hesitate to recommend my Blog to any of your friends, family or colleagues who share our common interests.

With kind regards,

Martin Haese MBA

We need a Bigger Budget for Small Business

In my role as CEO of Business SA, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for South Australia, and my former roles as Lord Mayor of Adelaide, University lecturer, GM of Rundle Mall and as a national retailer, I have always taken a keen interest in how State and Federal Governments craft their annual budgets to support those who take risks and make things happen in the economy. I am of course referring to entrepreneurs.

Over the years, I have seen some budgets hit the spot and others miss woefully.

With the vitally important 2021/22 State Budget for South Australia handed down on Tuesday 22 June, and with the end of the financial year now upon us, I reflect on what a different position the business community was in only twelve months ago.

Although many businesses were gradually returning to trade in June 2020, most were still riddled with uncertainty and hoping that last year’s State Budget would support them through the turbulence. Treasurer Lucas delivered the goods and as the peak body for business in South Australia, Business SA was grateful for it.

COVID-19 wreaked havoc across the business community in 2020
COVID-19 wreaked havoc across the business community in 2020

The bounce back following the first lockdown in 2020 was pleasantly unexpected and other than the disruption caused by a subsequent lockdown in November, business confidence has continued to build. As we learned from the results of the March 2021 Quarter of the Business SA William Buck Survey of Business Expectations, business conditions have again risen now to their highest level since just prior to the Global Financial Crisis, and business confidence was not far behind. Fingers crossed that this continues.

In valued partnership with William Buck, Business SA has published the Survey of Business Expectations every quarter for almost 40 years
In valued partnership with William Buck, Business SA has published the Survey of Business Expectations every quarter for almost 40 years

Although the majority of businesses are doing better than expected, the survey also revealed that 21 per cent of businesses expect for their revenues to be below 70 per cent of pre COVID levels by the end of this quarter. That’s of real concern and why the recent State Budget needed to back all businesses, with a focus on initiatives that both grow our economy and support small businesses that are still experiencing hardship.

The unfortunate reality is that this pandemic is far from over. Although on a local level, South Australia is thankfully performing well, the risk of COVID outbreaks is still front of mind for many small business owners, as demonstrated by lockdowns in Victoria earlier this month and current localised lockdowns in Sydney and several other places.

In April this year, I handed our pre-budget submission to Treasurer Rob Lucas. It included a suite of 13 recommendations from Business SA. These recommendations are far more than hours upon hours of work from my expert team, let me tell you. Instead, these are genuine pleas from our members, the coal face of the business community across South Australia.

Small to medium sized enterprises are the backbone of the South Australian economy
Small to medium sized enterprises are the backbone of the South Australian economy

We asked for the State Budget to address a funding mechanism to support South Australian SMEs through future periods of severe restrictions and why it MUST support the events, arts and live performance sectors who are still heavily impacted by restrictions.

We asked that temporary payroll tax waivers be extended for businesses most acutely impacted by ongoing restrictions including closed international borders, and that Adelaide’s CBD should have a bright spotlight shone upon it through a cold and dark winter, with hospitality, retail and accommodation sectors struggling to perform without international tourists and students. These things, along with a continuation of the incentives for employers taking on an apprentice and/or trainee, were mostly included in the 2021/22 State Budget. On behalf of the business community, we appreciate that.

We also hope for stronger measures in the future that enable the growth of industry, build local manufacturing capability, support jobs growth, fast track important infrastructure plans with more local procurement and capitalise on our state’s global renewable energy and circular economy leadership.

Business SA State Budget Luncheon on Friday 2 July 2021
Business SA State Budget Luncheon on Friday 2 July 2021

Providing there are no monumental disruptions, Business SA will host Treasurer Rob Lucas at Adelaide Oval on Friday 2 July for our State Budget Luncheon with the Treasurer presenting a detailed business briefing on the 2021/22 State Budget. This event includes a response by Shadow Treasurer Stephen Mullighan and a budget analysis by an expert business panel. Limited tickets are available at www.business-sa.com or contact my team on (08) 8300 0000 today.

As they say in show business … “The show must go on!

Thank you for reading my Blog : The Martin Haese Report.

If you haven’t already joined my network, you can sign up for free.

Please do not hesitate to recommend my Blog to any of your friends, family or colleagues who share our common interests.

With kind regards,

 

Martin Haese MBA

International Women’s Day

In my role as CEO of Business SA, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for South Australia, and my former roles as the 78th Lord Mayor of Adelaide, General Manager of Rundle Mall and as a national retail entrepreneur with over 200 employees, I have never taken for granted the talent, commitment and contribution of the individuals and teams that I have either employed or worked alongside. The majority of which have been women.

On Tuesday this week, Business SA celebrated International Women’s Day with a 300-person event in Adelaide’s CBD. It is timely to reflect on what this day means and why it is important.

To go back to its earliest days, International Women’s Day was born out of the USA and Europe. The first National Women’s Day was held across the United States on 28 February 1909. In 1910, when the then leader of the Women’s Office of the Social Democratic Party in Germany tabled the idea at the second International Conference of Working Women, a unanimous vote was secured, and the first International Women’s Day was officially celebrated the following year on 19 March 1911. The date was then moved to 8 March in 1913.

Times were certainly different then, including in Australia where it had been only 9 years since the Australian Commonwealth Parliament passed an act enabling women to vote in Federal elections.

How times have changed, and mostly for the better.

International Women’s Day was first held in Europe in 1911
International Women’s Day was first held in Europe in 1911

In local history, Dame Nancy Buttfield became the first SA woman elected to the Federal Parliament in 1955. In 1966, the first woman was sworn in for jury service. In 1969, women were awarded equal pay for the same work as men and on 24 June 2010 Adelaide expat Julia Gillard was sworn in as the 27th Prime Minister of Australia, the first woman to hold the nation’s highest office.

There are so many more examples I could list including my own godmother Dame Roma Mitchell who was Australia’s first female Judge, first female Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, first female Vice Chancellor of an Australian University and the first female Governor anywhere in Australia. Dame Roma was also a strong advocate for social justice who backed her words with action.

Dame Roma Mitchell AC, DBE, CVO, QC (1913 – 2000)
Dame Roma Mitchell AC, DBE, CVO, QC (1913 – 2000)

I now encourage you to consider your own workplace and take some time to appreciate the extraordinary achievements of so many South Australian women, past and present. In fact, dating back to the pioneering days through to today, my wife Genevieve has devoted her energies toward uncovering and sharing the stories of many great South Australian women. These stories have been recorded in HerStory, a project supported by the City of Adelaide and the History Trust of South Australia.

Genevieve Theseira-Haese, Lady Mayoress of Adelaide 2014-2018
Genevieve Theseira-Haese, Lady Mayoress of Adelaide 2014-2018

Age and experience are not prerequisites for making a difference in society. With social entrepreneur Isobel Marshall named as Young Australian of the Year for 2021, International Women’s Day takes on extra significance for younger women across our nation. Bravo to Isobel and to her business partner, Eloise Hall.

Isobel Marshall, Young Australian of the Year 2021
Isobel Marshall, Young Australian of the Year 2021

It’s important to remember that although significant progress has been made since 1911, this work is far from over. Equal opportunities are still being fought for in some industries. In many countries, women’s rights are vastly different than our own and in others, almost non-existent.

As a man, I cannot understand on a personal level every struggle that women encounter. However, I can lead by example. As a former business owner, former Lord Mayor of Adelaide and now CEO of Business SA, I value the equal contribution of women in commercial and civic life.

Over 75% of the workforce of my own company were women, I led the first gender balanced Council in the history of the City of Adelaide and Business SA proudly has a 65% female work force. Business SA’s Chair, Nikki Govan, is a strong leader and successful businessperson and many of Business SA’s senior team are qualified, skilled female professionals who add value to the organisation every day.

Business SA team members
Business SA team members

Let’s aspire to a time when a nominated day representing the achievements of women in business may not be entirely necessary, as they will be celebrated every day, with fair conditions, safe working environments and equal pay.

Let’s also aspire to a day where for every single organisation it’s not about filling quotas, it’s instead about filling the organisation with hard working, capable employees that span genders, preferences, ethnicities and religions.

While we work towards these important outcomes, I encourage you to watch the following stories that were shared at Business SA’s International Women’s Day luncheon event held in the SkyCity Ballroom in the City of Adelaide on Tuesday 9 March 2021.

Thank you for reading my Blog : The Martin Haese Report.

If you haven’t already joined my network, you can sign up for free. Please do not hesitate to recommend my blog to any of your friends, family or colleagues who share our common interests.

With kind regards,

Martin Haese MBA

Did you find your purpose in 2020?

Did you find your purpose in 2020?

Today, I write to you in my role as CEO of Business SA, the peak body for the business community in South Australia. When 2020 started, never did I imagine that I would be standing on a ladder in Adelaide’s CBD addressing a 150-strong crowd of business owners at breaking point.

In all the twists and turns of 2020, for myself and my team, this was THE defining moment.

It exposed the pure heartache and despair that business owners have endured in the wake of COVID-19.

This show of solidarity from the hospitality sector was raw and emotional. People were open and honest about their fears for the future and in many ways, this was the moment where Business SA, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for South Australia, truly found its PURPOSE.

In terms of Business SA’s role to support business owners, not only in the hospitality sector but right across South Australia, this moment doubled our resolve to support those who take a risk.

It is the risk takers who will ultimately drive our economy forward from this pandemic. Not business associations, not Governments. Entrepreneurs are our largest employer. They are also creators and seekers of opportunity. It is our role to support them through the good times and bad.

This year saw pivoting, resilience and mental health become words that we have become all too familiar with.

However, these words are much more than cliches. They have helped businesses to survive … and, we say to you all, a very big WELL DONE.

As the State’s independent and local Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Business SA has played its role in supporting 17 different industry sectors in 2020.

When the Summer bushfires devastated South Australia, Business SA personally contacted and offered support to more than 100 businesses impacted by the fires.

We then “pivoted” ourselves, delivering more than 40 virtual events and webinars throughout the year while our Business Advice Hotline answered 12,800 calls from business owners.

We brought together 50 industry associations to discuss their concerns and ideas to assist economic recovery from COVID-19 and later launched a 9 Point Plan to Skyrocket SA.

We held South Australia’s biggest Mentally Healthy Business Breakfast, which was livestreamed across 10 regions and attended by almost 200 business owners and more than 3,200 people online.

Business SA also advocated consistently to Federal Government, State Government and even Local Governments to fight for more financial support for businesses.

But we know it has been you, the business owner, who has done the heavy lifting this year.

We have stood with you, but you have done the hard work and we thoroughly commend you for it.

We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and success into 2021. We hope you have an opportunity to re-charge over the break and we encourage everyone to buy local this Christmas.

When you support local businesses, you are supporting local jobs. This is something we’ll need more of next year. Also, when you support others, your organisation’s PURPOSE all of a sudden has more clarity and becomes a lot more meaningful.

Thank you for reading my blog : The Martin Haese Report.

If you haven’t already joined my network, you can sign up for free. Please do not hesitate to recommend my blog to any of your friends, family or colleagues who share our common interests.

With kind regards,

Martin Haese MBA

Environmental Leadership

ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERSHIP

Welcome to the Martin Haese Report, the sixth in my series of musings on entrepreneurial leadership. With COVID-19 having wreaked havoc across industry sectors around the world and in turn disrupting how many do business, a growing number of people are asking whether it’s time to reconsider the business community’s relationship with the natural environment. I am one of those who believe that it is now timely to discuss how entrepreneurial and environmental leadership intersect.

COP21 Paris 2015
Before we commence, some context that qualifies me to share my thoughts on this topic. In my former role as Lord Mayor of Adelaide, I was invited to attend the United Nations COP21 in Paris in December 2015 where I spoke at several functions including the Sustainable Innovation Forum. It was at COP21 that I grasped the significance and strategic importance of South Australia’s renewable energy leadership and the high regard in which the State is held on the world stage.

It was also in Paris that I signed the Compact of Mayors, met with world leaders who are committed to environmental and economic leadership, and committed to educating myself about climate change adaptation, mitigation, the growth of low emissions industries and the circular economy.

Over the ensuing years as Lord Mayor, I focused my energies on translating South Australia’s renewable energy leadership into practical actions within the City of Adelaide. These included the City of Adelaide’s Carbon Neutral Strategy 2015-2025, the Carbon Neutral Adelaide Action Plan 2016-2021, Sustainability Incentives SchemeSolar Savers Adelaide, the roll out of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and many tree planting, waste and water management programs.

In January 2019, South Australian State Minister David Speirs MP appointed me as Chair of the Premier’s Climate Change Council (PCCC) where I have since worked alongside a talented group of fellow Council members to advise and inform the State Government on climate change adaptation, mitigation and the importance of low emissions industries in South Australia.

In September this year, I (virtually) attended a number of sessions at Climate Week 2020 in New York City where I watched HRH Prince Charles’ inspirational address;

Has COVID displaced climate change?
While the global pandemic continues to dominate the headlines, there is a growing anxiety that some other pressing issues are being neglected, most notably climate change. This is a topic that was swept to the top of the national agenda when the drought culminated in last summer’s devastating bushfires, but was quickly set aside with the onset of COVID-19 only three months later.

But rather than despair, I suggest that the pandemic may in fact provide an opportunity to reassess, recalibrate and refocus on climate change issues, as COVID-19 has resulted in many people developing a greater awareness and appreciation for the natural environment.

For many, COVID-19 has forced a rethink about how we consume, where we consume, and who we consume from. This is resulting in a protracted shift towards people wanting to buy from and do business with organisations that either have an environmental sustainability policy (ESP), a goal for carbon neutrality, are actively involved in the circular economy, or have greater transparency about their waste cycle.

Consumer behaviour is changing
Consumer sentiment and behaviour is changing and if businesses don’t respond to the needs of their customers then they are often not in business for much longer. With more organisations putting measures in place that govern how and where they invest, there is a stronger emphasis being placed on whether organisations are making investments into climate aware and climate appropriate companies.

Insurable risk is another key consideration in business decision making, and assessing climate risk is already driving behavioural change within the business community. To illustrate the point, in January 2020, the Vice Chairman of BlackRock discussed their plan to avoid investments with high sustainability-related risk as climate concerns are driving a sweeping change in the way the firm invests and manages its $7 trillion in assets.

An opportunity rich environment
With rapid advances in technology, changing consumer behaviour and new demands being placed upon institutional investors, the low emissions sector is clearly the next big thing. If the steel, plastic, aluminium, cement, food and agriculture sectors were each to adopt circular and low carbon practices, not only would 9 billion tonnes of carbon be saved by 2050, a multi-trillion dollar carbontech sector would be unleashed.

In the following video, I share my thoughts on how climate change and technological innovation are catalysing the growth of low emissions industries and greater innovation within the circular economy.

However, while the economy is clearly important, I caution you against thinking that every climate related problem or opportunity must be considered in pure economic terms. After all, it has been that very thinking that has got into the predicament we currently find ourselves. Sometimes doing the right thing should be justification enough.

Thank you for reading my blog : The Martin Haese Report.

If you haven’t already joined my network, you can sign up for free. Please don’t hesitate to recommend my blog to any of your friends, family or colleagues who share our common interests.

With kind regards,

Martin Haese MBA

Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

A quick lesson about the importance of being agile.

The inter-relationships between creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship are already well documented. With organisations operating in such highly competitive environments, creative thinking has become a crucial way to differentiate in a crowded marketplace.

Whether that manifests itself as the next big idea or as an improvement to an existing process, it almost always starts with creative thinking.

It is well documented that in order for an organisation to embrace creative thinking, management must tolerate failure. The old adage of ‘fail small and succeed big’ has never been more true when it comes to the application of creative thinking within organisations.

Welcoming creative thinking within organisations also requires a degree of agility. A few short years ago, I was asked to keynote a musical gala at Adelaide Town Hall. Prior to going on stage, it was brought to my attention that there were slight issues with the schedule as the next artist was caught in traffic and running late. This is how I helped the emcee get everything back on track before I delivered the keynote speech!