If you have five minutes…

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It’s the end of a busy week. Staff concerns, customer calls, emails, financial reports, and you find yourself with five minutes spare.

Spend the time on yourself. You have achieved something this day or this week towards a goal you have set yourself. Maybe you have decided to listen more and there have been a number of times today where you can definitely say that happened.

Whatever your goal is, if you have displayed some of your target behaviours this week, then reward yourself. Book that pedicure, order that book, secure your movie tickets, make the call and book the seats to the play you want to see. Of course none of these may be a reward for you – rewards are personal and what one finds rewarding – another finds punishing.

The point is that this week you have achieved a planned change in your behaviour, choose something you find reinforcing and celebrate your achievement. It’ll take you a step closer to achieving your goal.

By Joe Moore. Joe is the founder and principal of Kimber Moore Associates. He and his team are highly skilled in helping leaders and staff deal with uncertainty, change, complexity and conflicts. You can contact Joe here

Jack’s Legacies

Jack Simpson Kirkpatrick with Duffy his donkey and a wounded soldier. Taken by J.A. O'Brien sometime between 25/4 - 19/5/1915 (Wiki Commons)

Jack Simpson Kirkpatrick with Duffy his donkey and a wounded soldier. Taken by J.A. O’Brien sometime between 25/4 – 19/5/1915 (Wiki Commons)

Today, May 19th, marks the 100th Anniversary of the death of Jack Kirkpatrick.

Never heard of him? Maybe you are familiar with the stories of  “Simpson and his donkey” which came out of the early stages of the Gallipoli campaign during WW 1 – it’s the same person.

Jack was born in Britain in 1892, joined the merchant navy at an early age, deserted ship in Australia in 1910 and lead the life of a modern-day backpacker. Apparently to secure a free trip home to Britain he enlisted in the Australian Army as a field ambulance stretcher bearer in 1914 and used his mothers maiden name of “Simpson” so his desertion escapade didn’t come back to haunt him.

But, as with most things in life, everything didn’t quite go to plan for Jack. Instead of returning home, he, with thousands of others, was put ashore at Gallipoli, in Turkey, on 25th April 1915. The idea being that allies would take control of the Dardenelles and restrict the Ottoman Empire’s participation in the War. In reality the invading force hardly got off the beach. For Jack and his mates, like it or not, they were straight into it and immediately went to work carrying the wounded from where they fell, back to the beach for evacuation. He did this for three and half weeks until his luck ran out and was shot on 19th May.

Just another casualty of another stupid war you may say. Well in one sense that is true, but in Jack’s case it is the legacy of his deeds during those 25 days that ensures he was not just another statistic.

Firstly, Jack was totally committed to his cause – and that was to ferry wounded soldiers back to treatment stations. He reportedly transported approximately 300 injured and dying. Without his diligence so many would have no doubt died in no mans land of their injuries.

He was also highly resourceful and did what it took to do his job well.  On the first day of the campaign, simple military plans were beginning to fall apart. He was supposed to be in a 6 man stretcher bearing team. But this number dwindled quickly due to casualties and being assigned to other duties. Also, they ran out of stretchers so he had to resort to carrying people back over their shoulders. It was at this point that he spotted a donkey, commandeered it and it became his “field ambulance”.

Jack also taught us that despite adversity it is best to just get on with it. As Colonel (later General) John Monash wrote:

“Private Simpson and his little beast earned the admiration of everyone at the upper end of the valley. They worked all day and night throughout the whole period since the landing, and the help rendered to the wounded was invaluable. Simpson knew no fear and moved unconcerned amid shrapnel and rifle fire, steadily carrying out his self-imposed task day by day, and he frequently earned the applause of the personnel for his many fearless rescues of wounded men from areas subject to rifle and shrapnel fire”

And finally Jack leaves the world with a legacy of hope. At a time when the media is awash with debate about whether millennial can make the world a better place in the future, lets remember Jack was 22 years of age when he fell 100 years ago.

By Chris Gandy – Founder of Cause & Effective. We link exceptional subject matter experts with cause-based organisations that are making a positive social, cultural and environmental difference.

Why You Need to Know About the Future of Work

 

Our "Friday in Field" expert this month is Nina Sochon seen here sharing her knowledge with delegates at the recent "Future of Work" Conference in Melbourne , Australia

Our “Friday in Field” expert this month is Nina Sochon seen here sharing her knowledge with delegates at the recent “Future of Work” Conference in Melbourne , Australia

The future of work has never been such a hot topic in business circles as it is today.

Forbes, Fast Company and the Economist are just a few of the major media outlets dedicating significant space to the topic, no doubt because major change is afoot in today’s workplaces.

The exponential pace of technological change is driving widespread shifts in where, when and how we work. With economic and demographic shifts also at play, there’s a lot to get your head around.

Future of Work: People. Place. Technology.

These shifts were the discussed at the recent Future of Work conference, at which I was a speaker. It was themed ‘People, Place, Technology’, and hosted by the Centre for Workplace Leadership in Melbourne. The conference brought together leaders and innovators to share insights on how the world of work is changing.

Leading social commentator Bernard Salt focused Australia’s changing demographics and relationship with technology. He talked about an increasing demand for flexible work by parents, older workers and Gen Y. He stated that “Telecommuting is the ideal Aussie lifestyle of the future”, allowing workers to organise their work around their life.

Best-selling author Daniel Pink’s presentation on Day Two was thought provoking. His view was that engagement is needed more than ever by today’s organisations. By focusing on compliance, managers are using an outdated ‘technology’ that doesn’t fit with the workforce of today. Leaders and managers should use purpose, mastery and autonomy to achieve greater engagement – essentially, by enabling their staff members to be self-directed.

Uncertainty formed a major part of the discussion: namely that the pace of change and the factors driving it are creating a future that is even less certain than the future previous generations anticipated – several presenters referred to this increasing uncertainty.

Futurist Chris Riddell outlined four key elements of the future of work: volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Bernard Salt stated “The skills you need for the workforce of the future is flexibility, fluidity…” – he didn’t just mean more flexible work, but a more agile, versatile way of working where people can apply their skills in a range of areas.

With all this uncertainty, does that mean organisations need to be ready for change? Well, yes, but Dale Fisher, CEO of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre said it’s time to throw out your books on managing change – that the future of work requires transformational change, not the types of change that organisations have been used to.

Collaboration was highlighted by many of the speakers: to prepare teams and whole organisations to ‘connect the dots’ in times of uncertainty. Simone Carroll, General Manager People and Brand at REA Group said that REA measures collaboration as  it’s an important objective in their business and CISCO General Manager Vaughan Klein outlined his view of collaboration: that collaboration is about enabling people to discuss, connect, share and recall.

I presented in a session, shared with Vaughan Klein and Dr Jesse Olsen, that looked at how to make virtual teams effective. I spoke about the leadership and management style needed for virtual teams and the future of work – where results are more important than effort. Only by managing by results can managers prepare themselves for a future that is more flexible about when, where and how work gets done.

I can’t help thinking that the organisers left the best ’til last: a keynote by Frederic Laloux, author of Reinventing Organisations. While most managers today consider a good organisation to be like a good machine, Frederic Laloux believes that leaders are emerging who design their organisations to be more like a living organism: able to respond intelligently and immediately. He believes that we’re entering a new, fundamentally different management model to what we’ve seen in the past. To find out more, hear him speak about reinventing organizations.

Leaders and managers today need to spend some time thinking about the way work is changing and planning for the future of work.

If you missed the Future of Work conference in Melbourne, it will be in Sydney on 4 June 2015 with a different theme: ‘Culture, Values, Leadership’. I encourage you to attend if you can.

By Nina Sochon : Nina is a Cause & Effective Associate and a leading voice in Australia on flexible and remote work and high performing workspaces. Find out how to work with Nina here

There’s No Future in Looking Back When Recruiting NFP Executives

We need to focus on the road ahead and not the rear vision mirror when recruiting executives

We need to focus on the road ahead and not the rear vision mirror when recruiting executives

 

Typically when a not for profit CEO, or perhaps a member of the Leadership Team, announces their intention to leave we rush to……

  • Dust off the latest position description for the role – which could be anything from years to months old.
  • Tweak the PD based on the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the dear departing – Must have someone with the same entrepreneurial flair; would be good if we could find someone who is a wiz on Rolling Forecasts etc.
  • Based on this information, cobble a job advertisement together and get it onto a Job Board as soon as possible.
  • Maybe engage an external Recruiter to help with the search and selection. But hey, we have a HR person or a board member who recruits for her own company, they can handle the nuts and bolts.
  • Keep our fingers crossed that we can find someone half-decent who can fill the role preferably before the incumbent leaves or a matter of days after.

What possibly could go wrong?

Well, plenty, I am afraid!

The issue with this all too common routine lies in the often held belief that Executive Recruitment is simply a TRANSACTION. This is what we want and these are the steps we must take to find the right person. A tried and true process to follow to solve a particular problem.

Unfortunately, the success of this process is predicated on the big assumption that our starting point is correct. And here is where things often fall down.

You see, a PD that is rooted in the past and amended only to deal with today’s problems will result in the organisation hiring someone who can fix what has been broken. It is a big ask to expect that same person to also steer the ship to where it needs to be in five years’ time.

This type of thinking will, at best maintain the status quo and not take the organisation forward.

Clearly, what is urgently required is a change in how we view executive recruitment in the sector. Rather than seeing it as a difficult process to be endured, the departure of a senior executive must be viewed as a pivotal moment in an organisation’s history. A time that can unleash transformational opportunities. A time for the Board or a CEO to recognise that it will only know the kind of person it needs after it knows where it is going. And the more stakeholders it consults – staff, departing executive, clients, advisors, community – the more accurate its roadmap for the future will be.

Only when we have a firm handle on the organisation’s strategic direction and a sense of what the immediate future will look like, can we determine the skills and attributes of leaders to guide us there.

The departure of a Senior Executive, for whatever reason, is an organisational development opportunity, take advantage!

By Chris Gandy – Founder of Cause & Effective. We link exceptional subject matter experts with cause-based organisations that are making a positive social, cultural and environmental difference.

Chopsticks, Hammers, and Social Media

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My dear father could never master the use of chopsticks.  He resented people who did.  Whenever we went out to a Chinese restaurant and other people reached for the sticks, he would grumble, “A fork has always been good enough for me.  I don’t know why it’s not good enough for you.”

I think of my father sometimes when I hear colleagues ask why they need to use social media.  I’m a big believer in print, video, and face-to-face contact myself, but I have to wonder: how much resistance to adopting social media comes from the fear that we won’t use them well?  That we’ll be still dabbing away with tools we don’t understand while other people have eaten our lunch?

This fear is unnecessary.  Anyone can learn to use social media well enough for company.  Once we stop worrying about how to master them, then we can really ask why–and get good answers.

Contrary to what enthusiasts sometimes think, it is not self-evident why organisations should use social media. I see people who leap on board each social media trend as it comes along.  They remind me of the saying, “To the person who owns a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”  Social media are tools.  One size doesn’t fit all.  We need to know what they can do, and what we want to accomplish.  Then, we can pick the right tool for the job.

Here are some questions we can ask ourselves to figure out what we really need, whether we are communications conservatives or early adopters:

  1. Who are we trying to reach?
  2. Where does our audience spend its time, and how do they like to get their information?
  3. What can we do for them?
  4. What are we hoping to get them to do?
  5. How much time can we invest?

Then, and only then, can we figure out which social media we should use, and how.  That’s a social media strategy.

By Dennis Fischman : Dennis is a Cause & Effective Associate who helps not for profits and small business discover better ways to communicate and, in the process, win friends and get the support they need. He is also the author of The No-Nonsense Nonprofit Guide to Social Media

What To do When Things Go Wrong?

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  • So why is it important for us to stay positive?
  • What would be your reaction if your boss came in and was in a panic and talking about the sky falling in?
  • What about if your boss came in and advised we had a problem and is looking for a team approach to possible solutions?

I am not referring to being overly optimistic and ignoring the downside risks of any activities. People that go around and ignore problems or downside risk are eventually going to fall on their face.

Being positive is about being realistic, not just hoping, and looking for solutions. So the first step to keep up a positive attitude is to be realistic, look at the problem, what is the downside risk with the activity?

When you have acknowledged the problem then check what can be done to solve it. Take a solution seeking approach. Brainstorm the problem, no idea is too crazy to start with.

When looking at the downside risk, we use the same process. Look at what can be put in place to cut the likelihood of the event occurring or reduce the impact if the event occurs. Also what contingencies can be put in place, just in case.

Now that you have a list of possible solutions, or even half solutions at this point, prioritise the list. Prioritise the solutions and contingencies based on best impact and also the ease of implementations. With considerations for the impact of the solution and also the ease of implementation you will be able to develop Plan A. The bonus is that you will have a Plan B and C from the other ideas that you are not going to implement.

The brainstorming and development of ideas, along with the prioritised solution is now ready for implementation. Hopefully you have involved a team of effected stakeholders in the process which will ensure that the implementation of the solution should be easier.

In summary, do all you can to maintain a positive outlook when things go wrong. Remember, people would rather have their leader deal with problems from a structured approach than go into a downward panic cycle and follow these simple steps:

  • Be realistic, acknowledge the problem or the downside risk with the activity.
  • Develop solutions to the problem and contingencies for the downside risk.
  • Prioritise the solutions / contingencies, forming Plan A, B etc
  • Implement the plan

By Attila Ovari : Attila is a Cause & Effective Associate. His mission is to help people become more effective leaders.

Getting Ahead of the Game In a “Uberfied” World

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On-demand service apps like Uber aren’t just changing the way people buy products and services but will have tremendous implications for workers and organisations alike.

In the not for profit sector, those organisations providing direct services to clients will be the first to feel the impact. If you have any doubts about this have a close look at the delivery model for the National Disability Insurance Scheme – which will be in place in less than 500 days!

Enabled by technology, rapidly changing consumer sentiments about choice and, I suspect, a parochial dislike of “out of towners”, service provision will be all about the personal choice which, in turn, will be driven by the individual provider/client relationship. To most clients, the organisation’s brand behind the provider (if there is one) will become incidental.

For the organisation of tomorrow, structures and roles will be very different to today.

Leadership roles will essentially continue to be focused on marshaling resources. However, how this is done will change markedly. Traditional command and control models will, by necessity transform to supply chain leadership. Here the focus of leaders in organisations will be on:

  • Complete client satisfaction – Clients of non for profit services can no longer be regarded as passive recipients but as valued customers with a need to be satisfied.
  • Extensive use of data – Everything will be measured and swift intervention expected when performance ventures outside strict limits.
  • Service innovation – Informed by the information being collected, services will be continually tweaked to meet individual demand.
  • Talent alignment and retention – Clients will want the best providers and organisations will want them on their teams too. Individual providers of the future may not be employees but contractors. Contractors will align themselves with organisations not so much because of the proclaimed mission or values, but how well the organisation can meet their personal needs. This will create a completely new dynamic for many organisations and the need to develop a level of negotiation skills not required by the current employer/employee environment.

With the help of on-demand apps and the changes these are creating in terms of community thinking and expectations, not for profits are entering a brave new world of service delivery. For many organisations, there will be a deal of pain in adjusting, but for the majority they should find solace in the knowledge that their clients will benefit enormously. And isn’t that the name of the game in the sector, not how you do it.

By Chris Gandy – Founder of Cause & Effective. We link exceptional subject matter experts with cause-based organisations that are making a positive social, cultural and environmental difference.

Your Big Chance to Build Resilience as a Leader

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I’m working with a Managing Director who was facing a potential mutiny by his staff three months ago. His staff respect him immensely for his meticulous issue management but many felt afraid when he interacts with them.

We’ve been working together on distinguishing the differences between two mindsets. The first is the mindset required to resolve issues in a command and control environment. This is the one that the client loves and feels is his real value-adding strength in the business. The second is that required to build relationships of trust, improvement, mutual respect and resilience between the staff and the Executive Team, including the MD. This is the mindset that the client had low personal awareness of and when he did think about it dismissed it as “fluff.”

In our early conversations he defended his professional standards, expecting his staff to acknowledge that operating to high quality expectations was the name of the game. “If they don’t like that they can lump it,” he said at one stage, implying that the problems brought about by his approach were actually caused by those who were suffering.

Through conversations of exploration and reflection he came to see that it’s not a case of “either/or” for resilient leaders but “this and this and this and this.”

Resilient leaders build resilience for their people by they way they embrace multi faceted thinking.

Resilient leaders also build their own resilience by the ways they engage in reflective leadership practice.

In the moment when resilient leaders exercise leadership it seems they bring several levels of awareness from the background of a leadership situation to the foreground.

In that split second before they begin to expel their breath to speak or they flex their leg muscles to take a step, resilient leaders marshall four levels of awareness to help them exercise leadership that will make a difference.

The first is that they bring a deep awareness of the situation that they are experiencing. They have done their homework. They know what the context is. They know the players, their agendas, values, thoughts and dreams. They know the history.

The second is that they have a deep mindfulness about their own self. They have reflected. They have dreamed the dream. They have counted the cost. They have summoned the intellectual insights to understand for themselves what is going on and what needs to be done. They have considered their own state.

The third is that they have clarified for themselves their intention. They have sifted the chaff of all the competing priorities and objectives and possibilities. From all that they have identified a clear intention or a couple of intentions that they find noble, worth the effort and that they hope will be effective The fourth is that they have a deep regard for the followers who are involved and who will be affected. They have developed an appreciation of who they are as people rather than statistics, They have dreamed the followers’ dreams. They have walked in their shoes at least metaphorically.

In the moment when they open their mouths or they take the first step, resilient leaders summon these four states of awareness and leadership occurs.

When my coaching client saw this for himself it revolutionised his approach to his people. Over a couple of weeks of practice he progressively saw that as issues arose, instead of just practising meticulous issue management he also could appreciate how his staff were being affected by the issue. He began to explore with them the processes they were using to solve the issue before he became involved. He began to offer his wisdom on different ways to approach complex problems, not just barking solutions.

In a month the whole office environment changed. Several staff who were contemplating leaving have suspended their plans. Others are tentatively engaging with the MD in new ways, testing the waters to see how he responds and how consistently he engages with them rather than merely seeks to “control.”

The MD is noticing that he has more energy and has recaptured his enthusiasm for his business. He has even been freed up from the unspoken mental anguish that this situation has caused, to allow himself to think about the future strategy again.

If you are a leader at any level in an organisation, this post serves as an invitation. If you are feeling “out of sorts”, “off your game”, if you are losing sleep over an issue involving your relationships with others you lead: get a coach. It may not be me but you owe it to yourself and your people to rebuild your passion for your own life and for your business.

By Ian Sampson – Ian is a Cause & Effective Associate. If you are facing obstacles as an executive, CEO or Director contact Ian here for a no-obligation exploratory chat about how coaching can offer new ways forward.

Excuses Make Us Feel Better But Don’t Fix A Problem

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For Leaders by far the easiest part of the role is to find excuses. They are everywhere.

  • “We have this major media crisis because of the insensitivity of a frontline staff member”
  • “You just can’t get good loyal staff anymore”
  • “We have to pull that program because of a lack of funding”
  • “My board wont listen”
  • “Its the government’s fault”

The truth is we don’t have to try too hard to find a good excuse for every failure. And the thing is a good excuse makes us feel better. Its the sweetener that takes the edge off the bitter taste of failure.

The problem, of course, is that organisationally, an excuse takes us no-where. It provides no remedy or solution.

So how do we overcome those feel good excuses?

A few years ago I came across a book by John Foppe called “What’s Your Excuse?: Making the Most of What You Have”. You may have read it, if not I highly recommend it to you. One quote from the book has really stuck with me and it is this:

“I have a basic message: every problem has some type of positive resolution. Avoid the excuses. Find the resolution. Run with it. And enjoy both the challenge of the struggle and the reward of the accomplishment”

My learning from this is that just a excuses can salve the emotions so too can finding a resolution. The big difference being with the latter, is that not only do you feel better for finding a great solution, but your Cause benefits enormously.

By Chris Gandy – Founder of Cause & Effective. We link exceptional subject matter experts with cause-based organisations that are making a positive social, cultural and environmental difference.

 Image: 123RF/Andrew Grossman

Flexible Work : It’s Not Just Staff Who Benefit

"It isnow easier for businesses to tap into the potential of flexible work, thanks mainly to our new ability to stay remarkably connected"

“It is now easier for businesses to tap into the potential of flexible work, thanks mainly to our new ability to stay remarkably connected”

 

Whether or not today’s businesses recognise it, flexible work is now the number one tool for reducing office and workforce costs, and for doing ‘more with less’.

Just as technology has become an increasingly important part of the workplace in the past decade, there is a similarly helpful tool now at our disposal.

It is now easier for businesses to tap into the potential of flexible work, thanks mainly to our new ability to stay remarkably connected. As a result, working in other locations for part (or all) of the time is now cheap and accessible.

New factors are also driving employees’ increasing interest in flexible work: more households are dual-earners, travel times have increased in our large cities and stress levels are on the rise.

Today’s flexible work imperative

Flexible work can cut the high direct and indirect costs of staff turnover. In a recent, large-scale global study, 43% of staff would choose flexible work over a pay rise. This means your staff would rather stay with you, if you offer flexible work, than go elsewhere for a pay rise.

A quick question for you: if one third of your existing customers indicated an intention to leave and buy elsewhere, would you consider this a significant threat to your business? Interestingly, the same UnifyCo study showed that one in three staff would accept a new job if it offered better flexible working conditions. A long string of research has made similar discoveries.

To keep top talent, it doesn’t take much to discover that flexible work is an effective method.

Cost savings and productivity gains

There are other costs to be saved. Take the case of working from home. Having your staff work from home a few days a week is an effective method to reduce your accommodation bill: lease costs, utilities, parking and so on.

Costs can be saved in other ways through flexible work. For example, you can avoid the significant costs associated with getting new staff. Estimates of the cost of staff turnover range between 25 and 250% of an employee’s salary, depending on the complexity of the role and the ease of rehiring. These costs include the costs of rehiring; retraining and on-boarding new staff.

Deloitte Access Economics recently estimated that large organisations could save $350,000 per year on rehiring costs alone by being flexible, while small organisations could save $22,000 per year.

Today’s opportunity

Despite the flexible work imperative, I regularly come across businesses that are stuck seeing today’s workplace through the lens of the past, which leads them to think that flexible work is primarily a benefit for their employees.

All of this points to an incredible opportunity for today’s forward-thinking businesses: offer flexible work and avoid the costs of losing valuable talent, plus make other savings and productivity benefits along the way.

By Nina Sochon ; Nina is a Cause & Effective Associate. She is a High Performing Workplace Consultant and a leading expert on remote and flexible work. Learn more about Nina here