Ambrose is a group of consulting companies founded by four business consultants (who were ordinary golf players) to provide business advice, support and assistance to clients.
Ambrose by definition is a golf competition including four players that makes a hard game capable of being more enjoyable and invariably rewarding. Each player hits their ball and then the team chooses the best placed ball to hit their next shot from. Logic suggest that by continually taking the best approach the ‘team’ outcome is far better than that of any individual.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 December 2008 03:37
Communicating- a ‘wicked’ problem
|The Indigenous Board representing a major island off the Australian coast did not have a strategic plan. The Board was ultimately responsible for a large range of services on the island but there were a number of interrelated problems that made it difficult. The Board members were not comfortable that a plan was in place to deliver these services efficiently, effectively and sustainably.|
|Ambrose believes that tools are the key when communicating cross culturally. After being introduced to the Board by Australian Government representatives Ambrose worked to establish a rapport and gain the respect of the Board, who were all indigenous, in a culturally sensitive manner. Our advice after listening to, and understanding, the Board’s issues and meeting with a number of various stakeholders was that a planning process had to be undertaken to enable the Board to - take control, reduce confusion and communicate needs.|
|We developed a series of capacity building workshops that assisted the Board members to be trained in good governance and planning and give them ownership of the plan.|
As part of this process we developed a visual representation of the plan that the Board members who had difficulties with numeracy and literacy, were more able to use when communicating to the Tiwi people; or Government ; and Non Government stakeholders instead of a white paper document.
The Board members themselves where very proud of the strategic plan they had produced together. The visual plan was used to present to the Indigenous Affairs Minister in early 2006, enabling them to communicate more effectively the needs of Tiwi Island Local Government and the Tiwi people.
‘handITback’ - back to basic accounting
|People in business need an understanding of financial literacy and financial management competencies to ‘survive’. The introduction of computer based accounting systems into the micro and small business segment has in a number of cases led to a reduction in the level of understanding of accounting fundamentals.|
|Ambroses’ advice is to keep it simple. A person in business should understand budgeting, procurement control, recording of transactions and reporting so that they are better able to understand and manage their business.|
|Ambrose developed a ‘simple to use’ book keeping system called handITback. This utilises visuals to give people with poor numeracy, literacy and technology skills the tools to understand a computer accounting system and better manage their finances.|
|The handITback accounting system is used by micro and small businesses and organisations. There are a number of financial institutions and international organisations interested in its development.|
From egg to handbag – a crocodile story
|A successful crocodile farmer in the Northern Territory wanted to create a Joint Venture with the Indigenous Traditional Owners (TOs) of a major swamp in Australia to build a satellite crocodile farm. This would enable the crocodile eggs from the swamp to be raised to crocodiles for skins. The problem was that the TOs had not seen a crocodile farm or understood how one operated or knew how a joint venture would work.|
|Ambrose believes that to be in business one must understand the business. Our advice to the client was to utilise a top down approach to explain the business. We also felt that innovative accelerated learning techniques to keep people’s attention should be utilised. This was especially the case as the audience had limited education and vocational skills.|
|The crocodile farm was mapped out using a visual display to illustrate the ‘journey’ on a time line of the crocodile egg through to the sale of its skin for handbags. Costs were assigned to the time line so that the costs of goods sold could be understood. Crocodile money and share certificates where utilised to create a board game that would reinforce business principles, such as capital raising and return on investment.|
|The visual tool (map) was utilised to conduct workshops with all stakeholders represented. This ensured that the TOs capacity was built to a level where they understood the business concept thereby better enabling them to participate as an informed Joint Venture partner.|
Dreams to reality – I have a plan
|Many business people do not have ownership of a plan that they understand or adequately represents their vision. |
|Ambrose believes that a business plan should address one’s vision in a logical framework that details; the related opportunity; the cost involved; the associated risk; and benefits. It should be prepared with the end user in mind and enable the owner of the plan to present it like they own it.|
|Understanding that many personalities that are intuitive visual types have entrepreneurial tendencies, we have developed a planning process that involves the business person and gives them a tool that aids in the presentation of the vision of their business that is firmly based in reality.|
|We have prepared a number of custom made plans for both mainstream and Indigenous businesses, from micro tourism to property developments, that have better enabled the client to understand their business and present their plan to stakeholders.|
Background Art BY Geoff Todd www.geofftodd.com