Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

Life in Israel

Israeli commercial life and society

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.


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As a business coach and mentor, what is your mantra?

I have been practicing the profession of business coach and mentor for over a decade. I am often asked if there is one key phrase or anecdote that applies to just about everyone.

By way of background, many of my clients are in the Jerusalem region in Israel, although some are located further afield, if not overseas. The scope of commercial activity and development ranges enormously from high-tech start ups to large public institutions. The issues commence with finance and strategy, and will work their way round to production, human resources, time management, and much more. The social and religious diversity of those in the room only adds to the challenges – all this in a country which has more than its fair share of political conflagrations.

This week, I was talking with an entrepreneur that has come up with a very practical commercial solution for a problem in the entertainment sector. I have an immediate task- to help the team develop a prototype within a short timeframe. That means that I have to find a way through the customary ‘web of issues’ in order to find the key problem that is restraining progress.

So, as our session finished and after I had set a list of tasks to be completed before the next meeting, I added my customary challenge. Looking at the less than sportly characters that were sat in front of me, I insisted that they go speed-walking for 20 minutes, 5 times a week.

A wealth of recent research, including a new study published this month, suggests that any type of exercise that raises your heart rate and gets you moving and sweating for a sustained period of time — known as aerobic exercise— has a significant, overwhelmingly beneficial impact on the brain.

I happened to come across this article from Business Insider just 24 hours after my meeting. What is even more fascinating is how it went on to mention that:

…the evidence that aerobic workouts have a wide range of potential beneficial impacts on the brain — from reducing the symptoms of depression to strengthening connections in parts of the brain linked with memory — is robust and growing.

And what results do I achieve with my exercise mantra? First, I never believe the answers to corporate issues lie solely in front of your computer. You need to engage with and learn from the real world. In addition, people return to my meetings with greater clarity and improved purpose. That significantly enhances their likelihood of achieving the change / corporate development that they are seeking.

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