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This why we need special rooms to be innovative

10 Jun

innovation cave

One of the myths around innovation is that you need some kind of ‘special conditions’ to bring out the creative in you. See the Google workplace and just about every ad agency in the known universe.

I love these rooms with their funny pics and pinball machines and pool tables.

And I like how I get to wear my jeans – wow I feel so free!

Hang on there … I’ve got an idea coming. Here it is.

No wait. It’s stopped somewhere up the line to get some new passengers on board.

The names of those passengers are Mr Tired, Ms Bored, Mr Lazy and the Count of no account.

We’re all creative and we don’t need any special conditions to think of new ways. Just some energy and imagination.

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The Fourth Wave

20 May

Digital Age: The Fourth Wave of Technology

Marketing and Mindfulness

24 Nov

marketing-and-mindfulness

There’s a revolution going on not just in politics but in other areas.

An interesting article from B&T about the new consumers who value sustainability, health and well being above therapy shopping.

http://www.bandt.com.au/marketing/marketing-mindfulness-future-holds

We need to listen to our customers.

The revolution says goodbye to Henry Ford?

6 Nov

There’s no doubt about it – there’s a revolution going on which is affecting politics globally (see Brexit and the rise of Trump) and the way we live and will live in the future.

This revolution has been driven by technology and the internet which is not new news. However when you read an article like this one from the head of George Soros’ economic think thank the Institute for New Economic Thinking and ex boss of the UK’s former financial watchdog the Financial Service Authority it does give one pause to think.

The world of work and jobs is changing.

The tech breakthrough companies generate huge wealth but fewer jobs.

Work has gone part time with “British economist Guy Standing argues that most of the people who work on these types of platforms are part of what he terms the “precariat” — low-paid workers with precarious job security.

lord

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/lord-adair-turner-tech-capitalism-wages-inequality-precariat-2016-11?r=US&IR=T

VET FEE HELP … is THE PARTY OVER?

9 Jan

vet feeI’ve been involved in vocational education and training now for over 20 years initially entering the sector by pure chance. I started with TAFE and found that my real experience in business and in a number of industries was key. In other words I wasn’t just a teacher.

Over time I worked in the not for profit sector managing the NEIS program for small business entrepreneurs, worked as a trainer/assessor for international colleges, became an instructional designer because of the lack of or poor quality of training materials, became experienced in the online environment and then worked for VET FEE providers.

With VET FEE – I started with face to face and suddenly found myself in classrooms with diverse people (many of whom didn’t want to be there.)

I’m a skilled and entertaining trainer so I was able to gain the respect of the students and turn the focus around. In one particular group I had a mix of an 18 year old right up to a 60 + . We had fun and they learned.

In the online sphere I worked as a course coordinator/program advisor/training manager while also developing learning materials designed to tell realistic stories around workplaces making the experience valid and interesting.

Online can be a lonely place so I worked with a team of mentors who managed students/learners to assist with progression and motivation. I quickly found out that just because your online, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be treated personally. I worked directly with learners and found that they were tremendously happy to have some help that transcended a downloadable pdf with too much information (or not enough) and a few distended assessment tasks.

Working with and managing mentors and trainers/assessors has also been interesting. I found that for the most part they are hard working, dedicated and creative if they are given the opportunity and the leadership.

So it’s still people to people: online or off.

Yes. There have been changes and it seems that the money tree has lost its leaves. There are more hurdles to jump for providers and brokers and this will see a downsizing of the industry as it’s no longer viable to employ vast numbers of employees to service the learners.

It will also be harder for RTO’s to sign up students and there are so many other hurdles (LLN etc) it’s looking like a steeplechase.

But one thing hasn’t changed. People still need to be trained. They still need qualifications on their CV’s.

CUT YOUR OVERHEADS NOT THE QUALITY. 

My advice to RTO’s who are scratching their heads … have a small but dedicated team who know what they are doing. Make the content interesting and current by discontinuing/limiting off the shelf content and providing other content.

One good trainer and a small team of mentors who understand the content can train and progress your learners … and they’ll be happy.

Australia in a state of change…so what’s new.

Industries grow and shrink but my family had a business that started in 1933 (midst of the great depression), and operated for 70 years.

How did we do that?

By keeping our eye on the ball, changing when trends changed, offering personalised service and our own unique products + promoting our brand personality.

Skilled operators will keep operating and make money.

Contact me and redefine your business model.

 

 

 

Working with Gen wotever

30 Aug

dobell

Quite recently I have had the privilege of working with a team of Gen Y’s. I think that’s their gen name (as opposed to genome) anyway. Their a bit older than Charles Lloyd Jones in this William Dobell portrait. They’re younger than me anyway. 

We have been working on a huge and creative project – something I couldn’t do on my own. These gens have been working with me and I have been managing them and their output. 

And yes … it’s true, they do work differently. They are definitely not your old time bank clerk types. They have different clocks and they can drift off but never too far.

What I have enjoyed is telling them stuff. It’s creative and we do a lot of writing. I tell them about The Confederacy of Dunces and the Catcher in the Rye. About original writers who also wrote and thought about freedom and how it dwells in the mind a lot of the time.

I give them tasks and I check up on them with a ‘how’s it going?’ lame style of management. I don’t get too concerned when they wander off and they do from time to time but I do keep track on deadlines.

We get along fine and they are producing – and more often than not, they surprise me with their work.

So I say Gen wotever. Show people respect and listen to them. When you delegate tell stories and have a laugh. 

Oh yeah … and say thanks.

Often

it’s a mad mad mad world of metrics

12 Jul

harold lloyd

We all know about metrics. The back end of the internet. The analytics. The tracking mechanisms of sites. 

They come in all shapes too. Line graphs. Dials. Segments. Bar charts. 

And they are great and necessary. How else do we know ‘how we’re doing!’

This is about productivity and we all have to be productive don’t we? Work, work, work …

There’s no time in an asynchronous world to stop and think. 

Why would you do that? There’s stuff to do. People are restless and they want it NOW.

I’ve spent time in organisations where metrics are key drivers, and that is fine. But when dials and graphs are key drivers, then strategy can go out the window if there is weak and lazy leadership.

Strategy is of the utmost importance. It’s the beginning of innovations. It’s the way to do things differently and better.

The fast knee-jerk get this done now attitude is a band aid solution.

Metrics can freak poor managers/leaders out because these measures make them or their area look bad, so they rush to fix something and it sets an unrealistic pace where mistakes are made and people break down or worse – feel like galley slaves, rowing to the beat of a drum.

I’m all for measurements and monitoring because I like change. 

But don’t let it freak you out. Sit down and think about things. Come up with new ways of doing things.

Calm down

resilience and taking it on the chin

14 Jun

Image

This is the Alcántara Bridge in Spain, built by the Roam Emperor Trajan between 104 and 106 AD. That’s almost 2200 years ago. It’s not modern engineering but it’s lasted. It’s prevailed. Can you imagine the hordes of people and animals and vehicles that have crossed it. The fights and battles. The life and death it has seen in that time.

The bridge has resilience built into it. That’s why it’s still here. It has strong foundations.

People at work work together. Sometimes they’re called teams. Teams support each other if they’re functioning. It’s a necessary element in all teams including sporting and in families. That’s nice isn’t it?

But guess what. S%$t happens (I censored that for you!)

But it does, even in the most highly functioning teams because people are people and we have moods, emotions, short comings. We’re not all nice all the time.

I heard about a man who was known as a man of god. That was his life. Doing good things for people who others shunned. He was also a boss. I heard that every morning he would walk into his offices and lose his block. He would systematically fire people and then an hour or so later re-hire them (or something like that.) This was devastating to his team of kind hearts and do gooders. But they stayed with him. Why?

Because they allowed him his childish behaviour because they recognised that he was angry and stressed. It wasn’t them.

It’s hard dealing with difficult people. But when you do and the sky doesn’t fall, then you build your understanding and resilience so the next time the boss loses it they know what to do. It’s called emotional intelligence.

Great teams have this resilience and it allows them to build trust and understanding one block of stone at a time.

Edvard Munch and social networking

28 Jan

the scream

I haven’t posted anything for a while because I’ve been busy living my real life.

That’s the life I have that’s actual not virtual.

My real life includes spending time with my family > my son is starting his 1st year of high school (that’s what we call it here in Australia,) and there were text books and stationery and uniforms to buy … oh and a digital tablet too! Cost a lot of money.

He’s full of anticipation and some nerves I guess. We’re happy and sad hoping to hang on to our little guy for a while longer before he thinks we’re total freaks.

Meanwhile, I’m checking emails and the emails that communicate new posts from Facebook, blogs I follow, tweets from Twitter.

Made me want to SCREAM

Too much now. Way too much.

As a marketer or a communicator both in the business and personal worlds … give us all a break.

Ask yourself:

Is this relevant?

Will it piss people off? (pardon me)

Does it add any value?

Like in sales, know when to shut up. Don’t oversell after you’ve heard those words, ‘I’ll take it.’

Just smile and start gift wrapping.

In the real world, we have real lives to live too.

Don’t we?

Anger = no training

14 Jan

Image

This is a true story. The names have been changed to protect the protagonists …

Just recently, while staying at a friends house while they travelled, I had to wait for a new pool pump to be installed (the old one had broken down under warranty.)

Days went by and there was no communication from the company involved.

Meanwhile the pool was getting greener and the weather hotter.

My 12 year old son was waiting to have a swim but couldn’t because of the state of the pool.

I rang the company and spoke to the owner. She seemed quite cranky when i asked her what was happening to the pump.

After much to and fro-ing, the guy finally arrived to install the new (replacement) pump. As the guy was fitting it, he discovered another problem with a valve. He told me that he would ensure the owner of the business would call me re fitting the extra valve. By 11.00 am the following morning there had been no call so I rang them.

When I expressed my frustration, the owner lost her temper.

I told he that I wrote training packages on customer service, but she kept right on talking.

I said ‘but I’m the customer!’

She didn’t hear me but finished up by saying “we’ve gone out of our way for you.” She clearly hadn’t. She then hung the phone up and I was left feeling a little bit (not a lot) unhappy. Because I train in these areas I thought about how she must have felt. Stressed, unappreciated and just plain angry.

Dealing with difficult customers is something all business people need to do with the one aim of keeping the customer happy, because every angry customer tells another 10 people and so on.

Try this:

Depersonalise and strategise

Listen

Come up with solutions

Make a friend of an enemy …

and they will tell 10 people how great you are.

The issue is that many people in business don’t have any training in these areas.

They do take things personally.

Things go wrong. That’s natural.

But if you handle the situation calmly and strategically you make many friends.