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Monthly Archives: June 2020

France’s Olympique Lyonnais: Bringing Together Australian and Norwegian Top Female Soccer Players

In case you missed it...did you know that Norwegian women’s football star Ada Hegerberg and Australian female soccer player Ellie Carpenter now both play for France’s Olympique Lyonnais, the six-time European Champions League winner and 14 times champions of France’s Division 1 Feminine.

No doubt, with the addition of the Aussie player, this dynamic combo will show how our two nationals can team together with some of the biggest names in women’s football to power, unite and drive the team with their talent and sportsmanship.



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Spotlight on Norway and Australia – Similarities and Comparisons As We Move Forward Into a Post-Covid-19 Landscape

Following up from our previous co-hosted virtual round-table event, the Norwegian Embassy in Australia and the Norwegian Australian Chamber of Commerce provided insights into the Norway-Australia trade relationship and how the Embassy too in Canberra is now working remotely and remaining connected everyday with their Australian political and trade counterparts, their colleagues in Perth and Melbourne as well as Australian-based Norwegian companies who have shared their Covid-19 feedback and experiences. A number of these companies reported their focus has been on bringing their people together while working remotely. DOF Subsea’s Michael Rosich and Empeiria Consultancy'Miles Ponsonby both noticed and observed that while communications have been less frequent, they have found that while working from home they have had more peace and quiet to focus on the priorities and that they are now seeing business and operations start to pick up here while others are struggling globally. As Michael Rosich shared, while it appears there have been challenges, they are actually doing better than some organisations and not as bad as others which is encouraging.

NORWEP has also been active, using this period to profile and present Norwegian companies’ energy technology capabilities via virtual sessions and by attending webinars and other online events rather than traditional office visits. From what they have been experiencing and hearing from these companies so far is that business has actually not only been positive but even more positive than expected. Norway has also been faring and managing Covid-19 better than some other countries, including one of their neighbour’s, Sweden.  Overall, their interactions have revealed that Australia, New Zealand and Scandinavia in general are doing well, including recovery from the pandemic. They have also cited a shift in consumer focus, with some companies such as Ekornes, achieving good success and positive results while shipping, transport and oil industries are struggling to deal with lower prices. 

Another upside, is the rise and prominence of new sectors such as renewable energy and renewable energy transition. Their conversations and discussions with DFAT have shown how like-minded nations, such as Norway and New Zealand, are ‘safe suppliers’ although there appears to now be a trend and tendency of making countries less reliant and dependent on exports and imports. But seeking reliable and like-minded partners is also coming to the forefront so that in terms of the supply chain, countries are now looking for and seeking reliable and dependable export and import partners, from retail to strategic, and that the Norwegian Embassy in Australia is here to support Norwegian companies, by building bilateral relations that develop business relationships with their Australian counterparts. The Norwegian Embassy also expressed the pleasure for them in building these bilateral relations to support the economic growth, development and exchange between our two countries.

They are also very upbeat and foresee many opportunities and sectors that are coming to the forefront and are looking at how to expand interaction and engagement between both countries and their counterparts. The post Covid-19 focus is getting Norway back on its feet especially as Norway, like Australia, has seen a 5% contraction of its economy. The upside for both our nations is low public debt and strong economies. And on a very positive note, Norway and its markets are showing upbeat and positive signs. While the outlook looks bright, Norway emphasises the importance of and need for innovation and that Norway’s doors are open…and they will continue to open doors for Australian business.

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Remote Working, Remote Teams…and Now the Rise and Evolution of Remote Leadership

What it takes to be a respected, inspirational and effective Leader, now more than ever, in this increasingly virtual business economy we work, communicate and transact in, is fast becoming a key focal point for companies of all types and sizes and geographical reach: local, regional and global. Are their certain personality types/traits, management styles and new ways of working that transcend and succeed in a virtual context, forum and meeting space?  How is remote Leadership viewed and embraced internally by employees and managers and externally by customers and clients?  

According to Southern Cross Coaching and Development, Leadership Coach, Simon Smith and our Corporate and Business members here are some of the takeaways from this dynamic and interactive discussion:

Simon drew our attention to focus on the concerns for companies going back to the workplace and to keep in mind that while many staff are looking forward to and excited about going back to their work place, there are however others who are not. What this means is to look at the different risk profiles, such as those who don’t want to go back due to childcare and/or fear of getting back on public transport. Being back in the office also raises more concerns around staff interactions, with younger colleagues less risk adverse while others preferring to keep a safe distance, which may result or lead to conflict with staff and complaints as they return, in addition to who is coming back and who is not.

While Zoom and similar online meeting platforms have provided an alternative solution for meetings, they nonetheless reveal some difficulties experienced in engaging with people both for staff and clients.  As we return to the new normal, some staff will enjoy going out for meetings over a coffee with colleagues and clients while others will not. It is in these domains that leaders and managers will need to think about how to manage and set the ground rules. And address how some staff are going to feel detached from the ‘mothership’ as they continue to work remotely.

One significant point Simon raised for company heads was ‘trusting people’. As a leader, you have to trust that your team and staff can do the work and be productiveSetting agendas and checking-in on how they are doing is imperative, as well as building trust and making stronger the ‘what’ and the ‘why’. Outcomes and what to achieve should be made clear plus scheduling check-ins to discuss those outcomes. But this can only happen if you have an agenda set with every single person and that all staff are treated the same and equitably. This ensures there is no exclusion or bullying.

A planned strategic agenda with every individual staff/team member is key and essential as it allows and shows that everyone is treated the same so there is no exclusion or bully aspect. It also permits Managers and Company heads to have a Strategic Agenda ‘Check-In’ with staff, so they can start the week and then ‘Check-Out’ at the end of it. Other key aspects include observing the mental health of your team, such as if they are chatty or not. And if they are not, then check-in with them on a separate call.

Another remote leadership dimension is how to integrate this management and approach with hybrid teams: those at home and those who are in the office.  The key here is ‘to ask, don’t tell’. While you can tell and inform your team what to achieve and the outcomes you want, remember that it is up to them to work it out. Make sure they are ‘solution-focused’ in order to be the most productive as possible.  Simon’s example of ‘Software AG’ showed that by asking and not telling, productivity increased by up to 30%.  And be ‘coaching-focused’: ask questions, what can we do to be successful next time and what does a successful solution look like. However, Simon did mention that ‘repair work’ can be difficult at a distance and other participants remarked that company culture, management and workflow can be challenged when you no longer have face-to-face meetings/interactions which can be intimidating for staff and even more so with key personnel and counterparts when they are several continents apart.

Contributions from those participating empathised with Simon’s observations and comments, echoing how they relate to remote leadership and management being challenging when they are not free or able to discuss face-to-face. And, that company culture also has an impact when it comes to employees and teams feeling integrated in the company, while others find it challenging not being able to be face-to-face. Collaborative face-to-face activities and how your staff are dealing and managing emotionally also come into the mix. Simon underlined the need to have a structure and a regular check-in schedule. Be clear as to what are your expectations and the deliverables and remember that check-ins are key

Issues arise when people and staff do not know what they are doing which then leads to procrastination. Ensure you have structured calls and that those staff have time to check-in and get back to you as these regular structured check-ins are crucial/fundamental.

Participants also shared their experiences, observations and input, notably how their staff and teams missed structure and face-to-face team work, catch ups and bonding. Hygiene amongst staff and inefficiencies in the workplace have also improved now that they have to check-in when online. Another positive outcome is that some organisations may no longer need a sizeable office in the CBD.  

Improvement and increase in constant communications with customers, especially in the wholesale and retail space, was another positive observation and outcome, as well as keeping the seller/buyer constantly updated and in real-time. Learning to treat your staff like customers and communicate regularly were also some of the other takeaways.  Many cited seeing working at home to continue with catch-ups over lunch.

Nonetheless, the necessity of a remote, physical office is still important, especially for staff from a social and mental health perspective, as they do miss the office interaction. Moving from office to home, the focus has been clearly on the quality of the work and ensuring everyone is keeping to project guidelines and measuring product outcomes.

The key takeaways from this session that are paramount for successful Remote Leadership include:

  • Be clear on expectations, the outcomes you want, why clarification is required and make sure to check-in with your team. These are absolutely critical and crucial for success.
  • Goal-setting and making sure all your team knows the steps and that the journey itself is part of the outcome
  • Check-out online collaborative tools available that encourage and foster ‘all in it together’ attitudes and behaviour which can be powerful instruments for company heads as we forge ahead in this new norm


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Make It Possible with Remote Employees…Facilitated Work Hub Shows You How

In 2020, workplaces are embracing remote work options and now more than ever remote working strategies are vital to bounce back and accelerate growth. However, according to a global study, one of the drawbacks of remote working is loneliness as it was the second most problem faced by remote workers after struggling to unplug from work. Managers on the other hand are still having difficulty trusting their employees to work productively when working remotely.

If not handled properly, remote working can easily sow seeds of mistrust within the teams, and do more harm than good.

For 13 years Facilitated Work Hub has been providing permanent full-time remote workers. They have been helping companies hire highly skilled and experienced software developers and other tech experts in Vietnam. However, they do not offer project based, part-time or ad-hoc works. They believe a long-term focus offers lasting business success and sustainability.

Facilitated Work Hub is the Employer of Record in Vietnam, handling administration, tax and compliance, in addition to talent acquisition, onboarding, integrating, managing and employee engagement, the remote software developers become an integral part of a company’s work environment

Led by their highly experienced management team, whose role is to prevent risks associated with remote working, they create a stable and cohesive workplace and act as a fail safe. All facilitated through a hub concept. This improves productivity, cost efficiency and stability.  As well as allowing you to have control without taking on risks or sacrificing on talent and business goals.

The Facilitated Work Hub is now open for business in Australia and located in Melbourne. So they are seeking experienced and skilled Business Developers (Sales) to join them in Melbourne and a Facilitation Manager for their hub in Ho Chi Minh City. Talk to their CEO Øystein Baeko for more information.


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Norwegian Australian Chamber Participates in Recent EABC’s Worldwide Network Video Conference To Discuss COVID-19 Pandemic Impact

Recent participation by the Norwegian Australian Chamber of Commerce in the Forum “The Impact of COVID-19 for European Business in the Asia Pacific Region” hosted by the European Australian Business Council

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DNV GL is launching its latest four-part series, DNV GL Talks Energy podcast, focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on the energy transition. Hosted by Mathias Steck, Managing Director, DNV GL – Energy, each week the world’s leading energy experts will join in to explore how industry, business and society are responding to the global pandemic, and the role that policy, investment and technology is likely to play as the world seeks to recover.

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