Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Travel - Is it From a Positive or Negative Emotion?

It is a few days short of 5 months since I removed myself from the rigours of daily Corporate Life filled with Finance, Investment, Funds and Egos, plus some excellent people too.

I probably enjoyed 60% of what I was doing and happily tolerated another 10%.

I did not enjoy the petty politics, fragile egos free of substance, pretence of care and meetings without purpose. I did not enjoy integrity and honesty practiced without conviction, messages of convenience or working with Leadership colleagues who operated in subservience at the expense of honesty and ethical conviction.

On the whole though, I have worked with many excellent and professional colleagues.

I will shortly embark on my 4th travel adventure of these five months and it has occurred to me just how different travelling is now I am out of the day to day clutter of the Corporate World.

Prior to my European departure back in September, I wrote about the difference having a less stressful life made by way of having proper time to pack and consider what was needed.

But it is much more than that.

I have realised I now look forward to travel opportunities more so than ever. I get to  better plan my travel and already have three trips organised for next year and only this week said no to an opportunity to go to London in April.

I was contemplating today just what it is that makes travel feel so much better now and more looked forward too.

I have come to realise travel now comes from a purely positive perspective.

I now look forward to going to my destination or destinations. I look forward to the experience of the journey as well. I look forward to what I will discover and learn and what I will see, hear and smell. I am also more open to who I will meet and the conversations I will have.

My focus is wholly on travelling too somewhere; it is a positive emotion.

My realisation is that previously, it was more about travelling away from something. It was about escape and recharging. It was about re-energising in order to come back and do it all again, and again.

In other words, the emotional driver was a negative one.

My self-promise is, if I return to a more structured or more formal work life, I will maintain a positive travel perspective. Further, I will encourage, coach and mentor others to do the same.

I do hope my flights are on time.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Bad Workplace Behaviour Resolved - A New Approach Needed

I have a question for every Board of Directors, Executive Management/Leadership Team, Board of Trustees and Business Owners.

Just one question:

Are you absolutely confident that any member of staff who feels victimised, bullied, harassed, assaulted (verbally, physiologically, emotionally or physically), racially or sexually vilified or subjected to inappropriate behaviour has a totally safe avenue for raising it ensuring proper investigation and if need be, necessary action will follow?

It is a “Yes” or “No” answer but before you do, the key issue is your confidence it can happen, not satisfaction there is a process for lodging a complaint.

I am not interested in your vision statements, behaviour policies, anti-bullying or anti victimisation procedures. I am not interested in the corporate values doctrine hanging on the wall or the training modules for new employees or annual reinforcement training about behaviour standards.

While policies and procedures are necessary, they are also a cop out.

I am not suggesting for one moment the Corporate entity. the Employer is not seeking a safe, a fair and an equitable workplace.

However, I am suggesting that a key motivation for such policies and procedures is to ensure a defendable position in the event any incident or incidents of poor behaviour become public.  

Sadly, in too many cases, the employer is concerned about reputational risk or brand damage when the first, second and third priority should be the welfare of an impacted employee.

All the processes, vision and values statements, policies and behavioural training are pointless if there is a lack of trust in what will happen after an incident is reported.

I am aware of Human Resource Areas that refuse to consider an issue raised with them if the complainant is to scared to formally lodge an official, documented complaint.

I recall raising just this with a Senior HR Manager only to be told that they have to be very sure of their legal standing. My response was to question the responsibility to the distressed employee and the impact on their life and career. The HR Manager shrugged their shoulders and looked at me blankly.

From my experience, very few employers enjoy the confidence of their staff that allows matters to be raised and properly investigated. Furthermore, there is lack of confidence that if concerns raised are authenticated, that appropriate action will follow.

The accusations raised in recent days about a successful, high profile media personality read as vile, disgusting and extraordinary. I hasten to add, they have been aggressively denied by the accused.

It has been suggested the financial value of the accused had much to do with the lack of action when concerns about their behaviour was raised often over many years.

During my many years in business, I witnessed a numerous cases of inappropriate behaviour. I can console myself with the knowledge that I have fronted the offender face to face on each occasion. This includes confronting Executives several levels above my level of management.

Perhaps I have been reckless in my actions and I certainly have not been popular on occasions. However, on other occasions, including the most recent example, my frank and open communication has been greeted with appreciation and thanks, if not exactly at the time of the conversation then certainly at a later time.

However, not everyone is as reckless as me.

If an employer is serious about having an avenue whereby complaints and concerns about behaviour can be made with total confidence and where if necessary, an investigation follows, a new approach is needed.

The process for lodging a complaint needs to be outsourced to an independent entity. It needs to be taken out of the hands of a Manager, Supervisor or Human Resources Staff Member.

Further, a decision as to the need to counsel the accused or conduct a proper investigation needs to be an independent decision, totally separate to Management.

Finally, the Employer must commit to executing whatever course of action is recommended by the Independent Entity, without exception.

If you are a Leader reading this suggestion, you will be outraged. You will be concerned that your reputation will be tarnished by way of a disgruntled employee making a frivolous or vindictive complaint.

You will be concerned that this is an easy way out for an employee you have had cause to discipline or to discuss poor performance with.


If you have followed due process when having such discussions, recorded the issues appropriately, you will have nothing to fear.

However, for the sake of the argument, let us accept this is a risk.

In my opinion, it is a risk worth taking because at the moment, careers are being sacrificed, mental and physical health is being compromised all while the Employer is protected.

Besides, a professional independent arbitrator of complaints will very quickly weed out the frivolous or vindictive matter, and the innocent will be protected.

Does your employer have the Courage to move from the protection of defensibility to one of meaningful care for employees and behaviour, or will it be “business as usual”?

Monday, 27 November 2017

Dear Mr Turnbull and Mr Shorten

Dear Messrs Turnbull and Shorten,

As much as you repeatedly say you are hearing the message the electorate is sending you, nothing changes.

We continue to see voters flock to minor parties and independent candidates.

To many of us, there is nothing about One Nation and The Greens that we find appealing. We are actually voting against the Liberal/National Parties and Labor and not for the others.

It would also be wrong to believe Labour is bleeding votes to The Greens and Liberal/National to One Nation.

In last weekends Queensland election, I know of many traditional LNP voters who voted Green and many rusted on ALP voters who voted One Nation. 

In one case, a 50 year ALP voter gave his vote to One Nation prefrencing in order, the independent, ALP and LNP.

I also know of a long term Liberal voter who voted Green, preferencing Independent, LNP and ALP in that order.

The vote is against you, not for the minor parties.

Mr Turnbull,

We welcomed your second ascendance to the Leadership with great optimism. We looked forward to a return to conviction based leadership and took comfort from your stand on Climate Change issues during your period as Opposition Leader. You had conviction.

I understand the desire for power however surely it must be far more satisfying to be true to yourself and your beliefs and achieve long term "power" based on substance.

It is difficult to believe you are truly committed to a policy setting that prolongs coal fired power generation. It is easy to believe this is a Right Wing compromise.

You have an interest in technology and an understanding of what it can do for us in the future. Take us there. 

As long as you continue to pander to the far right and the resulting neutral policy settings, you and your Party are doomed.  

Mr Shorten,

You are viewed as an opportunist, taking a popularist position to most things and a neutral position on others.

Sure, the banks have had some poor practices and people have suffered however compensation has or will be provided in most, if not all cases.

We, the voters have a poor opinion of banks, except for the bank we are with which is ok.

Banks are an easy target, but are also well regulated and we have the necessary legislation in place to prosecute poor behaviour. If you think we don’t, set a policy position outlining what you would change and what regulations you want to implement.

Your background suggests a passion for helping the cause of working people. Concentrate on this rather than corporate bashing.

Your acute understanding of industry from an employee viewpoint means you can best prosecute policy positions to prepare us for working class jobs of the future. 

I could go on and on, but I really have a few basic messages.

1.       Get back to conviction based politics and policy positioning and prosecute your beliefs.
2.       Be prepared to argue your case rather than simply criticise each other.
3.       Take a leaf out of your predecessors, Hawke, Keating, Howard, Costello. They believed in what they were doing and argued it accordingly. Like them or not, they displayed conviction.
4.       Ignore the short termism of social media banter. It is just that, short term

Finally, both of you and your front bench colleagues come across in the media as being indecisive and shifty. You all refuse to address the subject matter or if they do, it is in the negative.

For example, when asked a question about a position on a topic, answer it rather than saying, “we certainly do not have the position of the other".

In the meantime, we have no definitive policy position on most things and no clear alternative position of the opposition, at least on things that are important.


We will continue the trend of one term Governments or of Governments where the numbers in the second term are so tight, little gets achieved.

You both pander too easily to the extremes of your party. Stand up for what you believe in or hand over to the extremes, because they will stand up for their beliefs.

Alternatively, resign yourselves to the inevitable decline of your primary vote and cobbled together compromise coalitions, and coalitions where you may find yourself Leader of the Junior party.  

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Coaching For Confidence in Business

Pretend for a moment you are a very good golfer. You have a reputation for hitting every approach shot closer than 120 metres to within a metre of the hole. You always manage to execute the shot no matter what the lie and always judge the perfect elevation of the ball and the run of the green.

Then without explanation, you start missing the green.

What is the business equivalent?

It might the IT expert, the one who is sensational at solving user problems, quickly, accurately and happily. They always seem to understand the problem and guide you through the solution.

Then without explanation, questions asked are greeted with confusion and solutions are delayed and ultimately incomplete.

It may be the Financial Adviser who is highly skilled at discussing financial and investment strategies with clients, simplifying the seemingly complex and in doing so, achieves consistently high Nett Promotor Scores.

And without obvious explanation, their high scores start to drop and complimentary letters are replaced with the occasional letter of complaint.

In all three cases, we can expect some time in a coaching situation will follow. In the case of the Golfer, it will be the club coach and for the IT Expert and Financial Adviser, it will be their immediate Manager/Leader.

The first point addressed may be to look at process. The grip on the club, the online information being accessed to resolve the IT issue or the flow of the Adviser s appointment dialogue.

The IT expert will be “double jacked” on the phone, the Adviser will have an observer and the golfer will hit endless shots under the watchful eye of the coach. The golfer may also start with a conversation.

Is this all complicating the solution, particularly the Business cases?

There is a high probability, everything looks and sounds fine. Chances are, all three appear to be doing what they have always done. However, given the results of late, the Coach will suggest changes, because surely a change is needed.

Very quickly, the problem compounds as new, unfamiliar practices are implemented that do not necessarily align with the coaching subject’s physical abilities or personality traits.

If someone has always, up to a point performed superbly, the first thing we should look at is their confidence.

Elite sportspeople always reference the importance of confidence in their decision making and skill execution.

The coach of a sporting team will often reference the need to restore confidence and self-belief, however we rarely if ever reference “confidence” when dealing with a non-sporting situation.

Consider how easy it may be for a negative impact to arise from a simple conversation, or even the most casual of comments may have on a staff members confidence?

What might the impact be on the IT expert if he hears a comment that a new system is needed, and it is one he has no experience in or knowledge of.

There may be no intention of such a new system and if there is, it will be years in development anyway, but their confidence is rocked regardless.

The Financial Adviser is subjected to ever increasing governance and compliance scrutiny. A throw away line from a colleague suggesting they all need to be very careful to fully explain product technicalities may have resulted in them questioning, and then changing the way they illustrate the benefits of a product or strategy. Their explanations have become highly technical and therefore confusing.

The Adviser will be questioning themselves and changing what doesn’t need to be changed.

The Coach of the elite sportsperson will start by talking about events or occurrences that may be impacted their players thought process and confidence. This is often the starting point to remediate a problem. The result is often to mutually arrive at a physiological, and quick solution to what appears to be a physical problem.

By reinforcing the robustness the sportsperson skills and their ability to execute their skills, they are restoring their confidence. In the elite sporting world, there are few if any matters that are more important to consistent elite performance.

In our workplace coaching, we should also consider commencing a Coaching process with a discussion aimed at confirming the person’s ability and track record and discovering what has changed.

Our elite staff members have similar needs to elite sportspeople.

In business it is rare that we consciously address matters of confidence. Whether it is sport or business, confidence is king.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Project 100

Back on 17 April 2017, I issued myself the challenge of writing a Blog Post each day for 30 consecutive days.

This morphed in to a Post per day for 140 days and subsequently, I have published an article on all but about 10 days since.

Last week, I issued myself another challenge. My new project is to take at least 100 photos with my camera (not phone) per week for 6 weeks.

My objective is to better understand my camera, its features and what it will allow me to do. I also need to improve my editing and my ability to asses a photo. Finally, I want to improve my skills at deciding on the topic to write about and then set out to take a photo or photos to compliment it.

With all that in mind, refreshed with details about ISO, Aperture, Camera functions and lens options, this week I set off on several photography excursions.

And of the 135 photos, this is my favourite.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Basketball, Meat Pies, Politics and Citizenship Woes.

Ben Simmons Pie Controversy.

So, an American Sports presenter has consumed a Four N Twenty pie using a knife and fork and Australian Twitter users have gone berserk.

Four N Twenty have signed a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers to sell pies at Philly home games. The 76ers are the team of Australian Basketball sensation Ben Simmons,

A Fox Sports presenter decided to review the product and committed the sin of eating it with knife and fork.

Fortunately, we in Australia always honour international food by always eating it in the means of the country of origin. Put the forks away everyone and get out the chopsticks when next you serve a rice dish.


I have to wonder at the intelligence of our Federal Politicians. It seems that only our Federal lawmakers have so little knowledge of their family history that they do not know where their parents were born.

How can John Alexander take so long to discover his Father was born in Scotland and now Skye Kakoschke-Moore has made the discovery her Mother was born in Singapore.

Lets get this sorted before we have zero international credibility left.

Politics in the USA

Roy Moore is a Senate candidate for Alabama on behalf of the Republican Party, the same Party of President Trump.

Roy Moore is vehemently denying accusations levelled against him of inappropriate behaviour towards girls.

The Republican Party Leadership have distanced themselves from Moore, in some cases advocating a vote for the Democrats candidate.

However, the President continues to support Roy Moore.

The disunity within the Republican Party is unheard of, that is unless you listen to the carrying on of our own Federal Government.

In the meantime, in Australia, the Government are so concerned about having a tough time in parliament, they have moved the sitting days back a week. It is not unheard of for the parliamentary sitting days to be re-scheduled, however this has always been done in consultation between the Government and other Parties and independents. Seems a little Trump like?

This will end badly, for Trump and Turnbull.

And in other news, there is the story of the overweight Kookaburra.

We really have our priorities right.

Happy hump day

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Workplace Negativity - Chances are it's all about you

I have been working with a very frustrated Entry Level Manager over recent weeks.

His negativity and disengagement reached new levels a week or so ago.

My questioning resulted in him expressing a lack of faith in what was happening and that it is all just getting more difficult.

At one point, I had to convince him that no one is sitting around the executive table thinking up ways to make life more difficult and there is always a very good reason for decisions that are taken.

He was not convinced I was telling the truth because he feels his Leaders are all about making his business life and that of those he supervisors more difficult.

He even suggested there was a conspiracy to drive them out of the business.

I took up his suggestion to look at employee reviews on a website called and they were certainly less than positive. 

At the start of our next session, he asked if I had read the reviews and when I said I had, he referenced these as affirmation of how he feels.

I suggested there was primarily one area of the business being referenced in the negative. He agreed.

I asked about his daily dealings with this area and the daily impact on his team. He admitted the interaction with the area is close to Nil. On further questioning, he admitted that when he does deal with this area, it all goes well.

With that out of the way, we went on to talk about some actions he can take to address his frustration. 

These included seeking to better understand why decisions are being made, taking responsibility for addressing communication shortfalls between him and his Leader and seeking feedback as to areas he can improve.

Several things stood out from these interactions:

1.      If we are not careful, we can allow the negative sentiment to impact us in a negative way even when there is little or no basis for it at all. This starts a downward negative spiral and in this case, it was being transferred from a Leader down to their team.
2.      We always have responsibility for our own mindset and attitude. We can select our thoughts and how we react to situations and events. 
3.     Seek feedback from peers, team members and other leaders, however, also provide feedback to your leader, thoughtfully and respectfully.
4.     Seek to understand why decisions are being made. There will be a sound reason and a linked strategy.

We have choices, we always have choices. 

We can choose to drown in a sea of negativity or to accept responsibility for our own attitude.

Ultimately, we may not like a decision or initiative, but it makes a huge difference if we understand the basis for them.

And how are things now with the person I am working with?

He has decided to become the “negativity wall” and turn it back rather than perpetuating it and passing it along.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Your Label - We All Have One - Are you comfortable with yours?

We tend to stick a Label on people. We also tend to Label ourselves, or perhaps we try to fashion our own.

In business, we may undergo psychometric testing as part of an interview process or during a management seminar.

We receive the results, or our prospective employer receives the results and we are “Labelled”.

I estimate doping 20 or more psychometric tests during my Corporate Days. I also confess to enjoying them.

And then there are the less scientific Labels.

We may be deemed or judged a team player or Individualist, outgoing or quiet, thoughtful or instinctive. 

All are Labels, irrespective of if they are justified or not.

We may have a preferred Label, or strive for a certain Label and image. We may structure, or attempt to structure our behaviours according to how we perceive we want to be viewed.

A Leader may inflict behavioural standards on others so they fit the Label they want for them, or perhaps more correctly, the Label they are most comfortable with.

Then again, a Leader who does this can in no way be Labelled a Leader.

For all that, I am wondering of there is a single Label that is worth us all striving for. A Label that doesn’t care what any testing tells us or anyone else about us. It is also a Label that compliments any other we may wish for ourselves.

It is also a Label we can wear all day, every day, everywhere.  

The Label is ENTHUSIAST.

Imagine such a working environment where every team Member is an enthusiast. Imagine the energy and innovation, the communication and joy of such an environment.

Imagine a place where everyone brings their unique personality and skill set with them, and expresses it as an "Enthusiast".

Picture this flowing over to everything we do.

Who wants to work and live in such an environment?

Who wants to be a Leader creating such an environment?

Now that is, a Leadership project waiting for a Leader of talent and…………….. enthusiasm.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Eliminate "Don't" - The Results May Amaze

I have received some queries and feedback following my Post on Thursday 16 November and specifically, the closing paragraph and the comment about eliminating the word “don’t” from your dialogue.

In response, I am pleased to expand on this today.

The creation of good and positive habits starts by what we input and embed in to our sub-conscious, or seek to programme in to others.

Let’s start with an incredibly basic example:

You want your 3 year old to walk on the footpath (sidewalk) rather than on the road. Your instruction can be:

1.       Don’t go on the road 
2.       Always walk on the footpath

It is easy to say “don’t” but in reality, staying off the road can only be achieved by doing something else, such as walking on the footpath.

Our subconscious is incapable of storing the concept of “don’t” so when it hears the phrase starting with or containing the word “don’t” or “something not to be done”, it is incapable of recognising nor can it store the “don’t”. In the above example, what is stored is “go on the road”.

To the golfers, have you ever stood ready to take a shot over a water hazard and said to yourself “don’t hit it in the water”? What happens next? The ball gets wet.

Interestingly, if you play off a handicap of 18 or better, you won’t even consider the water hazard, concentrating only where you want the ball to land.

How often have you heard the coach of a sporting team, particularly a junior or amateur team make a half time or mid game address where their language is all about what not to do? Don’t drop the ball should become “when catching the ball, be sure to have a slight bend of the elbows and have your fingers equally spread”.

It is far easier to say “don’t” but far more valuable to explain what to do. It is also more challenging to state the what to do.

Try it for a week as in really try it in all aspects of life. Change your “self speak” too.
You will amazed at the difference it makes.
"Don't" simply does not work. "Do" does.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Do it - Or is it doing you?

I had an interesting revelation today about the way I have lived much of my working life.

I also became aware I have transferred out from a Corporate World where so little of what you do is within your control and where you are at the mindless subservience of the Corporate Beast.

Is mindless the right word? Perhaps not.

The correct term is at the relentless subservience of the Corporate Beast where you become caught up in the ever-increasing pressures and momentum of whatever it is has to be achieved, or seen to be achieved.

So much of my working life, and that of many others, has been spent running, then running harder and harder again in the pursuit of the elusive something and the activities required to get there are largely of it out of our control.

I was having coffee this morning in a favourite City café and became involved in conversation with two articulate and obviously intelligent professionals.

I gathered they each perform a similar role with the same employer, or if not the same employer, at least in the same industry. We didn’t discuss their actual role and only made general references to an employer and on reflection, never by name.

The younger lady mentioned how she needs to find a way to do her work without always feeling like “crap”. The work she does is increasing in intensity, growing in volume and under ever increasing real and perceived compliance and governance scrutiny.

We got to talking about resilience and I put forward my theory that resilience and the training and counselling provided by some employers to help staff become more resilient is in fact creating more pressure than it relieves. Should not the employer be understanding as to why greater resilience is needed and addressing the problem before providing the cure? By way of example, I suggested increasing the pain relief medication to address ever increasing headaches is not addressing the problem, it just increases the resilience to the headache.

The more experience party to the conversation could not hold back any longer. She suggested the only resilience training required consisted of three words and they are “Suck It Up”.

We talked this through a little more and the debate ranged from “that is what the job is, suck it up and just do it” through to “the inevitable outcome when it can be sucked up no longer”. (when the pain relief no longer fixes the headache)

I walked away from the conversation with a clear thought.

One of my conversation partners this morning wanted to “do the work".

The other was happy for the “work to do them”, and to "suck it up" in the meantime.

Take this further in to life itself.

Ask yourself:

Am I living my life, or is life living me?

It is Saturday tomorrow. Do something you love.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Value, Listen and Encourage Innovation and Creativity - From Day One

“From the Moment I Could Talk, I was Ordered to Listen” sang Cat Stevens in his hit “Father and Son”.

I wonder what the industrial, financial and artistic cost is of the sentiment expressed by Cat Stevens?

We enter the world free of prejudice and free of inhibition. From virtually minute one, the process begins to dampen the expression of our creative mind. We are programmed to keep quiet about  thoughts we assess others may view as being “alternative”.

The general inclination is to tell us what not to do and what we cannot do. Our uninhibited imagination, or at least the freedom to express our imagination is dampened from very early on.

Many businesses talk about the want for feedback, for ideas from all staff. The reality is, almost all suggestions are shut down at the next level of Supervisor. I hate to think how often I have heard it said:

“We tried that and it doesn’t work”.
“Great idea but insert reason

And my favourite:

“Leave it with me”

We default to instruction ahead of encouragement. We have evolved to be better at saying what not to do rather than what to do. We do this as parents, leaders and educators.

Our dialogue may indicates we value new ideas and innovations but our actions rarely reflect this.

We prefer to avoid change rather than seek it and profit from it. We are programmed this way from our early years.

Just imagine the intellectual power, the creativity and he awesomeness that remains untapped in an organisation employing 50 people. What about 1000 people?

From a young age, we are “facilitated” to value the status quo, adhere to someone else’s expectations and conform. We stifle our creativeness, or at least keep it to ourselves.

We learn that encouragement to speak up, express an alternative opinion is not genuinely valued, so we stop doing it, or maybe never start.

Imagine if Cat Stevens had sung:

“From the moment I could talk, I was respected and listened too”.

The discoveries would be limitless, the positivity boundless and the world a better place, societal, family and business.

It is never too late to start to change the world, one attitude at a time. Perhaps a good place to start is to eliminate the word "don't" from your dialogue. After all, it is only possible "to do something", meaning it is impossible to "not do something".

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Political Rant - Denial and F@rt Noises in the Back of the Classroom

How about our Politicians select just one day to talk only about what they have planned for their electorates?

How about for just a single day, they present a positive picture of what they want to achieve, without the associated “barb” directed at an opponent or a sector of the community that may oppose them.

How about, they refrain from calling the truthfulness of their direct opponent in to question and put on the record what they will do.

And the media, for just a single day, every interview is to be conducted live to air and is not to be recorded or posted on catch up media such as IView .

Our politicians are so scared they will say something that will be used against them, they say nothing.

And for this single day, all Politicians will commit to never using their opponent’s words to their own advantage.  

We have an election campaign underway in Queensland at the moment. There is a chance minor parties will play a role in the outcome.

I would prefer a Leader of a Party to have a plan to negotiate with one of the minor parties in the event there is not a clear majority achieved. I want them to at least be open to doing so.

The ALP Leader is refusing to even acknowledge this possibility so I ask, what else are they deluding themselves about?

The LNP Leader is at least acknowledging there could be a minority situation and has said they will negotiate. The problem is, he comes across as still being the kid up the back of the class room making farting noises.

They each claim to be truthful, which means if I believe they are telling the truth, I must also believe each is not.

In a coffee conversation yesterday, a friend was lamenting how hard is it for politicians today and the scrutiny they are under, the relentless questioning by the media and the need to be on top of so much information. Sure, it may be hard but they go in to it with eyes wide open and every seat with a reasonable chance of victory comes with a bitterly contested battle for pre-selection.

Perhaps the most impressive interview I heard in recent days was when a new candidate was asked about a particular policy of their Party and they answered something similar too “I am not yet familiar with our Policy and can’t answer your question right now”. It was refreshing and waffle free, and the journalist moved on to the next question.

Yes, I am dreaming. I am also fed up with the way us electors are having our intelligence insulted by our Politicians.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Experience - What Is It Good For?

Experience, what is it and why is it important? 

Is it important?

I was reminded today of a phone conversation earlier this year between a (then) Manager Colleague and a Team Leader in another division. There was quite a debate taking place about how to measure the success of an upcoming seminar series. 

Naturally, I could only hear half the conversation however I was aware of what could be called “past tension” between the two in conversation and was not at all surprised they were struggling to reach a consensus.

Eventually, my colleague said “I have been doing this for 30 years. I know what I am doing”.

The conversation concluded shortly after.

What is the ideal level of experience and is there such a thing?

Experience is often confused with knowledge. 

I may have all the knowledge needed to explain a complex financial scenario to the Finance Committee but do I have the experience necessary to present it in a way that will hold their attention and garner the decision that is needed?

Conversely, because of my past experience, I may encourage the submission to the Committee be postponed because I know they always say no to funding product enhancements. I am sure you will agree that this is hardly a way forward.

Back to the phone conversation.

My colleague was leveraging his experience to refute the credibility of a new tool aimed at collecting feedback from seminar attendees. From his experience, nothing beats a paper and pen based process.

My colleague was not prepared to look at alternative, perhaps better data collection options. He possessed vast experience but if he had been more open, chances are he would have been able to use his experience to enhance the online tool therefore creating a win/win situation. 

Many times I have witnessed the cloak of experience be used to dismiss an initiative or shut down a proposal. 

My conclusion is, experience is an extremely valuable commodity, as long as its owner is able to apply said experience with an open mind to new ideas, processes, products, concepts and products. 

As soon as this ability deteriorates, experience becomes counterproductive and it is probably time to move on.

Monday, 13 November 2017

"BE" First - "DO" Later

Monday – the best day of the week.

We have made the most of the weekend, or should of.

With renewed energy, we set about the start of the working week, eager and enthusiastic to get things done, to achieve, to make a contribution.

The familiar “start of the week” questions or comments are passed.

What have you got on this week?
What is happening this week?
This week I must do…….. or catch up with……..

We make the “To Do List” and set about “The Doing”.

What we do is how we measure ourselves and how others measure us.

We are addicted to “Doing” even if we are not authentically engaged in what we are doing or why. It is what “we do”.

Is there something far more important than “Doing”? Is there something that should be prioritised, each day, each week?

Is there another list to prepare, a more important list?

An article came across my LinkedIn feed earlier that was a reminder of the perils of the To Do List, alone.

I was reminded of the “To Be” List.

Until we know what type of person we want to be, day in day out, how can we possibly know what we need to do, and more importantly, how we will go about doing it.

Some people want to be overtly assertive and be seen to be so. If this is the case, it is how they will go about their “Doing”.

In other cases, being conciliatory, inclusive and collegiate is important, resulting in a very different approach to the task of “Doing”.

I wonder how many feel pressured to being more of the asserter rather than the conciliator, or perceive pressure to be so.

If the behaviour is in response to perceived expectations rather than authentic belief, it is certain to be a bumpy path to satisfaction and happiness.

The environment we operate in would be enhanced by simply prioritising the “To Be” list over the “To Do” list. How positive would the employment environment be at the Corporate who had "To Be" as the sole behavioural value because nothing else would matter.

And that may lead to a higher conviction and a tougher question. Is my current employer able to allow me “To Be”?