Wednesday was an amazing presentation on speaking / presentation effectiveness skills by one of the worlds leaders – Joanna Martin. All day she captivated the audience with how to command an audience, be more effective in team / board meetings and lead a seminar. She also taught them how to ‘sell from stage’. Either sell product, next step or something different. She actually demonstrated by selling to the audience. The RAN TO THE SERVICE DESK to sign up for her 3 day seminar. It was an amazing sight to see Accountants running to a desk to give money. What a skill.

Thursday was the grand finale. We opened up with the legendary Paul Dunn talking about how Accountants and Entrepreneurs can be a force for good.  I have known Paul for 25 years now and was simply outstanding. My business partner then took the stage and interviewed 3 firms about their success. We call it ‘Heroes Journey’ – always a hit. After that Colin & I revealed our revolutionary product which will give an Accountant real time client data on their phone/device/laptop/desktop. A staggering 100% of firms said they would use it with around 70% of their clients. We have been working very hard to get this solution finished.

It’s done, complete, finished and ready now. I’ll put some screen shots up next week.

The conference concluded with the ‘Accountants night of all nights’ – a Rio/Carnivale inspired gala dinner. We gave out a string of awards and everyone laughed and danced the night away until the wee hours of Friday morning.  It truly was a superb finish.

Thank you to everyone who attended this years conference. Delegates, Speakers, Event partners, my business partner Colin, my wife Nat  and especially our team who worked night and day to make it a HUGE success. Thank you!

That’s the conference for another year. That’s 5 in a row – every year is better – next year is the challenge to make it better than this one!

If you attended and you read this blog please comment on your thoughts/feelings/observations or words of praise. A few snaps below! By tech guru will fix up the distortion later.

Colin & the roudy lot

Nat Brenton Ben

Rob & Paul Dunn

It’s been a very busy 2 days at my annual conference.

On Monday we had Verne Harnish (@thegrowthguy / www.gazelles.com) speak all day. He captivated the delegates the entire way through. Never before have I had some great feedback from so many people regarding a speaker I have hired. The learnings, inspiration, stories and thought provocation will change a lot of Accountants – for the better.

Monday night was my annual ‘presenters dinner’. This is where I book a private room at a top restuarant just for people on stage during the week. So we had Verne, Naomi Simson, Paul Dunn, Colin Dunn (no relation), Phil Pitt, Nat, myself + 12 Accountants for the evening. It was a hoot. We drank superb wine, ate like kings and laughed and laughed the entire night. What fun.

Tuesday morning was fun activities. We had golf, scuba diving, sailing, frisbee throwing (one of my team is a world champion), snorkelling and a variety of other fun things for the delegates. I chose the golf – which was not the smartest decision after a BIG night out the night before. The first 4 holes were most untidy!

Tuesday afternoon we had the legendary Naomi Simson (www.redballoon.com.au) speak for 90 minutes on team engagement. Naomi is a previous winner of Business woman of the year (Australia), Entrepreneur of the year and ‘best place to work’ (Australia) winner. She shared her wisdom on how she attracts and retains people.

I then took the stage and gave a candid look inside my business. Then I interviewed 4 leading Accounting firms on how they have implemented Verne Harnish’s growth ideas into their firms.

Oh, we were also joined by Freddie Mercury (and back up singers) for a couple of quick numbers to warm the group up.

More photos coming later. Here a couple of the room. It’s quite a show!

CCC Av deskCCC crowdCCC crowd 2CCC Freddie and friends

Awesome day today – after a round of golf with some clients we started our conference with nearly 400 people in attendance. My favourite photo from the cocktail party last night was when our key speaker, Verne Harnish, paid hommage to my marketing chief – Michelle Henson. Verne was intrigued how Michelle was able to marshal 20 companies to sponsor our event.

I also launched our new branding and company name – Proactive Accountants Network. We have 4 membership levels where Accounting firms around the world interact with us and get massive value for their firms and their clients.

Our plan is to take the Network around the world by licensing ‘chapters’ in countries, states & territories. On April 16 we officially launch the Proactive Accountants Network outside of Australasia.

Rob golf Michelle VernePAN LogoPAN membership levels

Saturday was a fun day. Nat & the kids arrived mid day which was great. It’s Ollies 14th birthday and unfortunately my conference clashed with it. So we decided to fly all 3 kids up to the island and have a 24 hour party – 14 year old style!

It started with fish & chips on the water. Then we went shooting –  rifles, pistols and a 44 magnum! And then it was off go karting (which was a lot of fun) and ended up at a cafe for pizza & cake.

I was amazed at how good all 3 kids were are shooting and racing. Might be something in that.

The kids are in a separate hotel (under 18’s not allowed @ Qualia where we are staying) so we are presuming they watched some movies last night and got some more room service.

Today we have more fun planned in the morning then the kids depart. I am playing golf with some clients in the afternoon and then the conference proper starts tonight with a cocktail party for 385 people.

Ollie shootingOllie targetOllie go kart

It’s affectionately called ‘Hammo’ – Hamilton Island, Queensland that is. I have arrived on the island 2 days before 385 accountants / partners & sponsors  arrive for our 5th annual conference. It’s our biggest one yet.

We have a big line up of speakers and announcements. Speakers include Verne Harnish, Naomi Simson, Joanna Martin & Paul Dunn. Yours truly will do a few spots and there maybe even a book launch and a major product announcement! Stay tuned each day for what is going on.

Today for me was a travel day, get settled and then play some golf. I played quite well but my opponent (an Accountant) played better. I do hate giving money to accountants! I would rather take it off them. Tonight I am hosting some of my team and my golfing partner (and lovely wife) to dinner. Should be fun.

We (Nat and kids join us tomorrow) are staying at the 6 star Qualia. Well to be precise – Nat & I are staying here and the kids are at the Reef hotel.

Qualia service is impeccable and the facilities first class. More than I can say about the airline that brought us here today – Jetstar! What a joke they are.

Had dinner with colleagues on Saturday night @ Qualia. Awesome degustation menu with matching wines. Very lush.

The business action starts Sunday night – check back often or follow the twitter feed – @proactiveactnet

Some initial photos below:

Putting greenHamilton Island Yaght club

Boat on hammo

Every year I organise a “Dads & Lads” camping trip. This year is the 9th year in a row. We go to the same spot on Moreton Island (the Northern end called Yellow Patch) every year and our record is 11 dads and 17 boys! This year we had 7 dads and 11 lads.

It is an epic event over 5 days that takes months in the planning. We take everything we need as there are limited supplies on the island. The island is 35 km’s off the coast of Brisbane and it takes 1.5 hrs to get their by car ferry. All roads are sand tracks (4WD vehicles only) and it is the 2nd largest sand island in the world and it has the highest sand dune (on an island) in the world. We do a day trip that includes climbing the very large sand hill.

Our days are filled with critical decisions like “is it too early for a beer?” and “when are we going fishing?”

For the first time this year I backed it up with the inaugural ‘Dads & Daughters’ trip with a very modest 3 dads and 3 daughters.

Although we go to a very remote location and we are practicing ‘real camping’ some would say that it is more like ‘glamping’ – glamorous camping! We have the usual things like no running water, tents, sleeping bags, wood fire etc however we back it up with some of the finer things in life..

  • Generator – so we have power for lights
  • Proper fridge – gotta keep the beer cold
  • 4pm wine and cheese tasting
  • The best food – some comment that they eat better on camp then at home
  • BBQ – can’t cook a good steak on anything substandard
  • Wine rack – always a hit that sits proudly in the middle of the table
  • Quality wine to go in the rack – this year one of the dads had a $500 bottle of Grange on offer! He can come again
  • Small run about boat (‘tinny’) – good for fishing, tubing and general skylarking
  • A gadget of the year contest – which for the first time I won with a $20 rubbish bin – there are strict rules around this.

And the best 4WD vehicle set ups you have ever seen.

Each year something ‘eventful’ happens. It was my turn this year. Among minor cuts and abrasions I was tossed out of the ‘tinny’ by a rogue wave (mind you I was not holding onto the steering bar at the time) and it went round in circles on full lock for 15 mins before it conked out. And on top of that I was driving my epic ute (4WD truck) through a small creek and it bogged in soft  quick sand. The water came 8″ into the cabin and it killed the winch and the electrics – it is currently at the smash repairers to see how much damage it got. Luck for us we were saved by 2 fisherman who towed us out of the rising tide.

The 2 incidents are the videos – the other pictures show the beauty of the location.

The beast

Where we camp

Grange camping

All dads & lads

This afternoon I took the kids to a movie. On the way out 2 of the 3 kids were mucking around in this tiny school bus. I said ‘give me a go’ and when I go into it I realised…well – you get the idea – I had grown to big for the school bus.

We all grow by physical size but are you growing your intellect, your language, your attitude? I am a big believer in personal and business development growth.I have been for 25 years since I started my journey into the world of marketing, sales, service, people, personal and business development. The people I associate with are growing and developing. The most successful people on the planet are growing and developing.

Early on in my learning career – after I left school at 16 – someone said to me “in the future, you will become the same person you are today other than the material you absorb and the people you associate with”.

Some things you hear you have heard before. If it is still a good idea and it has not yet been implemented then it is still new. I was listening to someone the other day (I still devour books, audio, video, internet and other materials every day) and they said:

“As an adult, if you don’t read anything other than news and entertainment then you are no smarter than the person who can’t read”

Are you growing and developing or you groaning and moaning – your choice!

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Every year I organise a father & sons camping trip. Real camping with tents and no power. Mind you someone did describe our style as ‘glamping’ to me the other day (glamour camping) due to the fact that we have a camping wine rack, cheese & wine tasting, awesome coffee and the best food. We may rough it in a tent but we do not rough it in the food & beverage department.

This year marks year no. 8 in a row. It’s one of the highlights of the year for both dads and the boys. Special bonding time and a whole lotta fun. We fish, we laugh, we swim, we climb giant sandhills, we play beach sports, we tell stories, we toast marshmallows on an open fire and generally have a very wholesome time. Every year we have a ‘gadget of the year’ award. I thought I was sure fire winner this year with my new camping ute and boat (we caught decent fish for the first time) however I was outdone by a pair of $50 fluorescent lights. Lighting is always a problem – not any more.

We are creatures of habit and go the same spot every year. Yellow patch on the northern end of beautiful Moreton Island – a short ferry ride + 1hr 4WD drive from Brisbane. This year we had 8 dads and 14 boys – although the photo only shows 7 (one left early) – and every year it fluctuates between 6 – 12 dads. Very special time. Enjoy the photos!

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