- In ‘Perform Under Pressure’, Ceri Evans explains how to retrain your brain to cope better with stress.
- Other titles examine the human element of company mergers and EY’s “seven drivers of business growth”.
- All CA library resources are free for CA ANZ members to borrow, excluding the costs of returning.
Reviews Alexandra Johnson
Dr Ceri Evans is a consultant psychiatrist who coaches companies, organisations and sports teams – including the All Blacks – to cope effectively with high-stress moments of all kinds.
Evans says the stress system in humans evolves predominantly in the first two years of life, but is constantly revised through life experience. The brain’s ability to change through experiences means you can establish better ways to respond to stress.
He divides the emotional regulation system into two main states, RED and BLUE. The BLUE system involves higher mental functions such as logic, problem solving and decision making. The RED system looks after essential functions such as sleep and hunger. It’s also the system that processes external information and alerts your ’fight or flight’ response to potential threats. It’s this system that Evans puts under the microscope to help us better manage stress.
Evans explains in detail how the brain’s stress response works and how the RED and BLUE systems co-exist. He points out that your stress reactions are as essential as your cognitive ones as they keep you primed, interested and alert.
It takes a mental shift, he says, but you can teach yourself to feel fear and discomfort, yet accept deep inside that you will survive the moment. Once the threat of a situation is contained, stress loses its power to overwhelm you. Instead, you’re able to gain emotional control and face the challenge. In that way, you can use pressure to your advantage to unlock your potential.
Sound too simple? Simplicity is probably the best aspect of Evans’ technique. Stress is unavoidable, but this approach helps you maintain emotional control, rise to the occasion and succeed under pressure.
“Once the threat of a situation is contained, stress loses its power to overwhelm you.”
The failure rate for mergers is somewhere between 70% and 90% – yet, forever hopeful, business folk press on with acquisitions. Perhaps they should all get a copy of Leading for Organisational Change, a practical guide to the human side of mergers and other organisational change.
Jennifer Emery has spent 20 years leading change projects in professional services organisations. She says corporate leaders can generally manage a project and fix a deal, but don’t put the same effort and investment into people and culture, leading to the previously mentioned failure rate. She says businesses need to tell stories so staff can find a common sense of purpose to help them make sense of what’s going on around them.
She offers key lessons and examples related to the ‘people’ aspect of organisational change, and looks at how leaders can do better. Her ebook provides leaders with ways to navigate periods of change and allow people – and the new organisation – to thrive.
What makes a successful company? Drawing on years of comprehensive research, and its extensive “EY Entrepreneur of the Year” network, EY has created a model of sustainable business development it’s dubbed “the seven drivers of growth”.
In Daring to Compete, three past winners of EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year program explain the ideas behind those seven drivers: the customer, funding and finance, transactions and alliances, risk, people, behaviours and culture, digital technology, and operations.
The book, however, focuses more on practical strategies than theory. It includes real-world insights from a range of entrepreneurs on how each driver functions in an actual business.
The most significant driver of growth, by far, is the customer. Successful companies put the customer’s needs first because without them you have nothing. But how do you do that, exactly? Daring to Compete breaks down ‘the customer’ and other growth drivers into doable and understandable concepts and provides examples of success.
While no companies excel in all seven drivers, the businesses that manage a balance across them grow the fastest.
In business, challenges come from all directions, including industry peers, new entrants with fresh perspectives, and emerging technologies that turn tried-and-true business models on their heads. Daring to Compete is an inspiring read and encourages you to reflect on how you are driving your own business.
Also recommended this month
To reveal how Australia’s financial sector became riddled with lies, tricks and spin, journalist Annelise Nielsen dives into both the history of the financial services industry and the Hayne Royal Commission into Australia’s banks. She also peers into the financial industry’s future and asks, where to from here?
Matt Allington is a Power Pivot and Power BI consultant and offers clear lessons on writing DAX for Power Pivot. This ebook presents theory, sample exercises demonstrating the concepts, and practice exercises to consolidate your knowledge.
Make your data presentations pop with this easy guide to creating targeted and inspiring data stories. With practical guidance and more than 100exercises, this ebook will help you captivate your audience with stimulating data stories through graphs and visualisations.
Is creativity an innate trait or something that can be learned? Photographer and entrepreneur Chase Jarvis makes a convincing argument that everyone should step onto the path of creativity and pursue a creative existence. He says creativity is not a talent but a habit available to everyone.
Recommended to watch
(Run time: 18 minutes)
Why are more and more of us experiencing depression or anxiety? Journalist and author Johann Hari spoke with experts across the globe about what causes these problems and, crucially, what solves them.
(Run time: 15 minutes)
Psychologist, behavioural economist and author Dan Ariely offers a funny, information-packed talk about why we willingly make bad decisions – and what motivates people to make good ones.
Available from the CA Library
All resources featured are available for members based in Australia and New Zealand to borrow from the Chartered Accountants ANZ Library. Electronic resources are available for all members to download from the library catalogue.
All library services, excluding the cost of returning books, are free to members. The CA Library also offers tools, templates and resources tailored to both public practitioners and members in the corporate sector.
Members can also use the CA Library to access EBSCO, an online journal database that includes accounting, business and management journals such as Harvard Business Review and Strategic Finance, and newspapers such as The Australian Financial Review.
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