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Let’s go surfing now …

20 Dec

Source: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/b6hoBp7Hk-A/maxresdefault.jpg

The world of work has changed. Many of us may never have a fulltime job. This can be daunting for students who undertake qualifications at either a tertiary or vocational level. But there are some core skills that can help you surf from one industry sector and multiple workplaces to another.

Core skills keep you on the wave

Core skills are ‘skills’ that are highly regarded in the workplace. These transferable skills are around these main areas:

  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Team skills
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity

Leaders know when to paddle out

In these times of uncertainty around politics, climate change, increased competition and the digital environment, effective leaders use emotional intelligence to keep their people buoyant and centred. They know who their people are and what drives them. They also know the road ahead and the work that has to be done. True leaders are selfless and have their ‘fingers on the pulse.’ Leaders are strong and calm. They are also resilient and can manage and harness change. Leaders continually develop their people so that they have the skills and knowledge to function in a changing environment. They are well prepared for the waves and when in doubt … paddle out.

Managers should surf too

Skilled managers are not just task driven. They can see the big picture and the scope of the projects they work on. They find the best people and nurture them just as leaders do (a manager can also be a leader,) and they communicate and collaborate regularly in often informal ways like quick ‘catch ups) or ‘how you going?’ sessions. In that way they get to know their people and know where a project is at and if there are any risks or difficulties that need to be managed.

Teams surf together

High functioning teams work together to achieve outcomes. They have less of the ‘storm’ and more of the ‘norm.’ In that way they can move across the waves to not just get the work done, but also to build and sustain a team when the waves get choppy.

Communication in big wave surfing

Communication skills are vital in the workplace. Leaders, managers, teams and individuals need to be on the ‘same page’ and fully informed especially when unexpected change occurs which is often. Communication encompasses emails, meetings, presentations and reports. Skilled ‘surfers’ move across the wave and as they do, they keep their colleagues abreast of situations. Skilled communicators are smart enough to know who their stakeholders are and how to communicate with them. Skilled presenters are a key to the workplace. They have a voice and they know how to use it without boredom or drama. They engage to communicate. And … they are aware.

Collaboration when competing or rescuing

Surfing can be a solitary sport. That’s one of the things that make it attractive. Just you out on the board in the waves. But surf clubs work together to keep the beach a safe environment. They train constantly; they build skills in swimming, using the surf boats and first aid. They collaborate and work together. Collaboration is the key to getting the work done and to the encouragement of new ideas and ways of doing things. It’s the beginnings of creativity.


Source: http://www.live-swell.com/surfrentals/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Your-wave-image.jpg

Creativity in surfboard design

Surfing was practiced thousands of years ago by indigenous people using logs to ride the waves. But over time, surfboards have evolved to better catch waves and turn surfing into a dynamic and athletic sport. Surfing innovators used their knowledge of the topography, the sea, wave patterns and human physiognomy to design better boards. We are all creative. It’s just a key we can unlock by shifting our perceptions and training our minds to look for newer and better ways of doing things. 

Keep on developing transferable core skills

Manglement v’s Management

22 Sep

Mangle

source: https://www.findmypast.co.uk/

Leadership and Management have never been more important in this era of disruption that some are calling the 4th Industrial revolution where:

  • Traditional business models are breaking down and being replaced by big tech (the so called FAANGS of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google)  – add to that the gig guys = UBER et al.
  • Traditional politics and government seems to be in a freefall with demagogues and political de-stabilizers running amok.
  • Traditional Work and employment being replaced by AI, robotics and software.
  • Intergenerational skepticism regarding the threat to the environment and climate change

This can lead to manglement (see above illustration of the old fashioned mangle … used to wring clothes out manually.)

Manglement leads to problems in organisations and businesses such as:

  • Lack of communication = people unsure of their role or status or even what they need to accomplish
  • Loss of motivation from former high performers who feel misunderstood and sidelined
  • Heightened loss of a positive culture
  • ‘Office’ gossip and backbiting

Manglement breaks down teams, loses productivity and often leads to high performers taking their talents elsewhere.

Manglement doesn’t care. Manglers don’t have the emotional intelligence to understand or even care. They see people as just numbers. They are unaware of the impact that this type of non management has on the people and ultimately the organisation.

Leaders and managers know their people and the value they bring and they communicate, consult and recognise.

Sometimes they even reward.

Energy, enthusiasm and entrepreneurship … new pioneers 2018

31 Dec

I can’t help it. I admire entrepreneurs and pioneers in small business. People with energy and enthusiasm who take an idea and make it work. I call them the new pioneers. More often than not the ideas don’t always work straight away.

Pioneers can face resistance and moments of failure. And it hurts. But we don’t learn from success.

New pioneer #1 THE LUCKY BEE AT FRANKIES ROOFTOP. 

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting, drink and indoor

Matt Bennett and Rupert Noffs from The Lucky Bee at Frankie’s Rooftop. Who would have thought that a New York restaurant would land in Woy Woy on the central coast of NSW. Always scenically magnificent but not always classy (no offence!) – this dynamic duo has turned a pub into a destination for foodies. The boys have so much energy and  enthusiasm … you could bottle it. There’s an idea!!!

New pioneer #2 BREW HA HA 

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting, table and indoor

Denis & Mirjana Dordevic from Brew Ha Ha Coffee Roasters in Lilyfield, Sydney also rank as pioneers and entrepreneurs with flare and enthusiasm + great coffee and food. I’ve watched this business grow with the energy and love the owners and staff put into it. They regularly change their offerings to keep things fresh. 

New pioneer #3 JACK RABBIT SLIMS

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people standing and text

Andrea and his team from Jack Rabbit Slims Barbershop in Kings Cross have energy in spades. I remember when Andrea started out in a little concrete box next door to the Piccolo Bar. Just one chair and a toolbox but Andrea can cut hair. He’s not your ‘grab the clippers and mow the lawn type’ barber. He understand the nuances of hair and the directions it can take. I know because I have a lot of it and it grows fast in weird directions. Andrea takes a lot of care and it shows. It’s sometimes hard to get a booking.

New pioneer #4 GREENWICH MANAGEMENT COLLEGE

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing and text

I’m biased here. I do some teaching and instructional design for Greenwich and I have to say that in my experience in this field and with numerous colleges and RTO’s, this place stands out in a crowded space. The management and staff have built the machine but the students have brought the energy. They come from all parts of the world … from Mongolia to Brazil, Italy to Macedonia, Colombia to Azerbaijan, the US and Ireland. Often they work multiple jobs as well as study but they are amazing. The college services are fine tuned and the management skilled listeners and entrepreneurs.

Here’s to all the new pioneers of 2018. Doing things differently with enthusiasm and love.

It shows.

Did Leonardo Da Vinci have a Macbook Pro?

7 Oct

McKinsey Quarterly recently published an article about the rising importance of creativity in the digital world … and it’s good news!

The creative economy

As we labour away in a frenetic 4th Industrial Revolution where WORK is being transformed by algorithms and bots … some of us wondering where we will fit, the one shining star is digital creativity.

Screen Shot 2018-10-07 at 10.35.49 am

See machine learning is great for programmed processes but not so great for human creativity. That’s where Leonardo fits in. I know for sure he didn’t have a Macbook Pro but his fecund mind and total genius produced art and engineering and product design.

leonardo-da-vinci-fa2252

Who cares if you are marketing on Instagram, Facebook or Youtube – it’s still all about great content and that has to start with big ideas.

Screen Shot 2018-10-07 at 10.36.54 am

This has to start with an existential approach to business thinking and that will come from the top.

source: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/five-fifty-Creating-Creatives

Like … I’m just doing this in between auditions

12 Mar

Australian Youth Hotel

It is a funny name for a pub, The Australian Youth Hotel but it’s a great experience.

Yesterday my family popped in for lunch at this inner city of Sydney establishment. We ate in the dining room which was ‘classily’ designed with no blonde wood in sight.

We were served by a young lady who was exceptional in her friendliness (un-robotic), knowledge (food and wine) and general manner. I asked her if this was a part time gig (was she studying?) No, it was her job full stop and she did it well.

Sometimes wait people (don’t you hate that expression,) can be over the top with fake bonhomie which can be invasive and repellant. Like I’m just doing this in between auditions scenario. Often it can be non existent. This experience was real.

It’s good when people serving you like people!

On the way out I kind of discovered the secret. I spoke to the boss (family run business,) and told him how great the experience had been and pointed to the young wait um person.

‘Oh.’ He said with a smile. ‘You got her on a good day!’

Good bosses who make for happy workplaces create a customer service culture naturally. There’s no training needed. It’s natural, which is why Richard Branson is so correct when he says look after your people and the service will follow or words to that effect.

I love small business.

 

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.

The newer consumer decision journey

27 May

The consumer decision journey traditional

According to McKinsey, the way consumers purchase and the journey they travel to get to that purchase has changed. The traditional model (above) suggests that the process is fairly uncomplicated from awareness of a need > to familiarity with a range of solutions > to the consideration stage > next to purchase and finally loyalty (we hope.)

The consumer decision journey

The newer consumer decision journey model describes a more circuitous approach which fits with the digital age where research and comparison shopping is far easier and online reviews can make or break a product/brand. It also looks at buyer perception of brands which in itself is no new thing.

This old coke ad is all about building brand perceptions which they do nicely with their image – modern for it’s time.

old coke ad

To quote the authors ‘Our research showed that the proliferation of media and products requires marketers to find new ways to get their brands included in the initial-consideration set that consumers develop as they begin their decision journey. We also found that because of the shift away from one-way communication—from marketers to consumers — toward a two-way conversation, marketers need a more systematic way to satisfy customer demands and manage word-of-mouth.’ (+ online reviews.)

The research, according to the article, identified two different types of customer loyalty, challenging companies to reinvigorate their loyalty programs and the way they manage the customer experience. It also reinforced the importance of aligning all elements of marketing—strategy, spending, channel management, and message—with the journey that consumers undertake when they make purchasing decisions but also of integrating those elements across the organisation.

No more silos!

Source: McKinsey Quarterly

Image

Making america great again

17 Oct

wake up

Hands on works

1 Oct

Bee a hands on leader

Real leaders often get in there and get their hands dirty. They come up with coal dust directly from the coal face. They do the do and lead by example. They show the ‘how’ to their people. They take the strategy and implement it. They man (can you still say that?) the phones and provide excellent customer service and in the process delight their customers. They fill in when staff aren’t able to. They work shoulder to shoulder and win respect from their people while at the same time gaining an understanding of who their people are (Emotional Intelligence.)

In small business owner/directors have to be hands on.

I was always taught that in order to be a ‘boss’ I would need to know what was entailed in even the most menial task. Only then could I delegate correctly.

Bees are workers and they build amazing structures that hold up human existence. They are pollinators who manually transfer pollen and seeds from one flower to another, fertilising the plant so it can grow and produce food. Without bees to spread seeds, many plants—including food crops—would die off.

Be like a BEE.

 

Donald Trump and the Shoulds

11 Sep

“The upheaval of our world and the upheaval in consciousness is one and the same. Everything becomes relative and therefore doubtful. And while man, hesitant and questioning, contemplates… his spirit yearns for an answer that will allay the turmoil of doubt and uncertainty.”

So wrote Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology. Jung was also interested in and influenced by philosophy, sociology, religion and spirituality.

carl-jungI

Trump, Kanye and Kimye and the blur between reality and reality TV 

We are all living in a period of great uncertainty where our politicians and the major parties are no longer trusted (see the political rise of showmen like Donald Trump in the US and our own One Nation’s resurge.) The problems of globalisation, immigration, warfare and refugees, economic cycles, ageing populations, industry and technology and of course climate change have rendered us all into a state of unknowingness and sometimes fear. Trump and his often unstructured and simplistic rants wouldn’t have made it to second base in past US Presidential campaigns let alone get endorsed by the conservative Republican party if he wasn’t striking a chord with alienated, scared voters who no longer trust their politicians.

Trump is also a reality TV star so maybe Kanye and Kimye could be future Commander in Chief and his first lady. This says a lot about the pre-occupation with celebrity and branding. It’s more fun hanging out in billionaires mansions than listening to men in suits talking about fiscal policy + we get to live their lives vicariously (and escape our own) for an hour a week.

As human beings, we crave certainty around our lives as this gives us control. 

In reality there is no certainty much less control. We can be comfortably off and get sick. We can be employed and lose a job through no fault of our own. Our bread winning industry can go off-shore. In a lot of ways, life is random and full of paradoxes.

It’s hard to live this way but there is no choice and often pain and hardship open doors that were not visible through the haze of contentment.

The shoulds

Many years ago I was introduced to ‘The shoulds.’ It goes like this:

We should have a job and do well. We should be happy in our personal lives and have rich and fulfilling relationships. We should always do the right thing and not make mistakes.

Shoulds also relate to others in our lives:

Friends should be true and stick by you.

Family should be there for you.

Managers and employers should recognise you for your work and enthusiasm.

Shoulds let us down and make us naive.

Let go of the shoulds both for yourself and others in your life.

Be open to change because it’s rapid nowadays.

Instead enrich yourself with learning, creating and thinking outside of yourself.