Archive for the 'Management' Category

Testosterone

Keith June 26th, 2008

As a counterpoint to the earlier post on my opinion of how to do Change Management, this is an unedited extract of an article about Telstra that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 30 May last year. 

Mr Winn earlier updated business leaders on Telstra’s five-year transformation program…  As well, Mr Winn, who began his career as a linesman in the US, delivered a testosterone-charged description of the new management style at the telco.

“We’re not running a democracy. We don’t manage by consensus,” he said.  We’re criticised for it. The fact of the matter is we run an absolute dictatorship,” he said.

A cultural shift was needed at the former government-owned enterprise, along with changes in business processes, he said.  “If you can’t get the people to go there and you try once and you try twice … then you just shoot them and get them out of the way.”

I offer this without further comment.  Please compare this with the earlier post and tell me which view you think offers the best business result…

Problem solving

Keith June 26th, 2008

“It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problem just with potatoes.”
 - Douglas Adams

The idea monopoly?

Keith June 24th, 2008

When leaders learn to creatively engage their subordinates in everyday decision making, they can make change happen.

I have written here before about Change Management.  I am still of the opinion that this is an entirely misunderstood function in most of today’s organisations.  It was thus rather refreshing to read in the current issue of IABC’s Communications World magazine that someone has actually done some research that supports my view!

The quote above is from John Smythe, the author of the article Engaging Employees to Drive Performance.  (This is available to IABC members online at the magazine site above.)

The usual concept of change is that it is “done” by executives (usually aided and abetted by consultants).  We have more recently introduced the discipline of Change Management as a way of helping people to adapt to the agreed change.  Today, we focus more on Employee Engagement as a way of more actively getting staff involved in understanding the change, rather than just being told about it after the fact.

Continue Reading »

Our timid collective age

Keith December 18th, 2007

“There was no filling in of forms, no demanding of a fortnight’s notice in writing, no referring to some remote impersonal authority for a decision, or any other of the devices used by our timid collective age to eliminate the individual equation in life.

“The senior official merely said: ‘Come on, there’s no time like the present.’  No platitude to me has ever sounded more profound and original.”

From Laurens van der Post, in The Lost World of the Kalahari, when in urgent need to fly out for more assistance for filming the expedition.

This was written in 1958.  How much have we learnt about true empowerment in 50 years?

Laugh, eat, drink…

Keith December 17th, 2007

… certainly sounds like the right thing to do at this time of year!  As per an earlier post here, the VPS-CIN ran a Christmas Celebration last Thursday, featuring Humour Australia.  You can read more about what happened on the CIN site. 

Since I attended this session, Troy Swindells-Grose of Humour Australia left some interesting comments on my earlier post.

It was a great session.  Like a lot of these things, it strongly reinforced a lot of what I already knew, and added in some new ideas as well.  I was reminded of one of my favourite quotes:

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
 - Mahatma Gandhi

Of course, there is another great Gandhi quote:

Reporter: “Mr Gandhi, what do you think of Western civilisation?”
Mahatma Gandhi: “I think it would be a good idea.”

I was interested to hear about the existence of “laughter clubs” – groups of people that just get together and laugh!  A great way to release endorphins.  During the session, Troy referred instead to “dolphins”, and how when you laugh they swim around and tickle the pleasure centres of your brain…

Continue Reading »

Laughter – the stress medicine

Keith December 10th, 2007

“Creativity and humour are identical.  They both involve bringing together two items, which do not have an obvious connection and creating a relationship.  Laughter improves creativity.  Laughing… is a very sophisticated brain function, which sweeps our entire cerebral cortex, and is terrific for improving mental flexibility.”

This quote is from the web site of Humour Australia, an organisation that “inspires positive change and healthy working relationships.”  (Aka “HA!”)  Thanks to Frank Connelly and the VPS CIN for bringing this to my attention!

This is based on some fairly impressive research.  I am particularly interested in the connection to creativity, bearing in mind earlier posts here about the importance of creativity in knowledge work.

Also interesting to see the research on stress:

“Humour and laughter affect a physiological response, which is actually opposite to the effects of stress, according to Lee Berk & Stanley Tan – Loma Linda University School of Medicine.”

Continue Reading »

Innovation and competitive advantage

Keith November 18th, 2007

A couple of quotes from the Ark Group Promoting a Culture of Knowledge in the Public Sector conference:

“In the global race for innovation, it’s not as much about leveraging what’s inside your factories’ machines as what’s in your employees’ heads.”
 - John Seeley Brown

“The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.”
 - Arie de Geus

(Un)written Rules of Management

Keith October 16th, 2007

“A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, or to others, is not a nice person.”

Bill Swanson, CEO, Raytheon.

The Chessboard of Management

Keith October 4th, 2007

“In a chess match, each position has its own unique possibilities and each opponent has his or her own ideas about how to capitalise on them.  But as a leader of a team or an organisation, you have one enormous advantage over the chess player sitting alone at the board.  All of your chess pieces can think, too.  The pieces on a chessboard are ranked according to their power.  But as all good chess players know, any piece on the board can deliver a great win if its potential is fully unleashed.  The same holds for each and every member of the team you lead.”

 - Carol Kinsey Goman

Small is the New Big

Keith September 12th, 2007

Just got a newsletter from Helen Paige of The Paige Group.  (We met at KM Australia recently.)  She included some great ideas from Seth Godin’s book. 

Godin advises us to “Relax.  Don’t work so hard.  Take a little time off.  Chill out!”  So how do we get everything done?  Godin says, “there’s no correlation between success and hours worked”.  He suggests:

  • Maybe the new economy does not favour the speed-to-market; first-mover-advantage, winner-takes-all mind set.
  • Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate this work ethic.
  • Maybe the current marathon work culture is nothing but an excuse to avoid making the hard decisions.
  • Maybe work expands to fill the time allotted for it.
  • Maybe understanding the key issues and making decisions about how to act on them can be the secret to success.

… which leads to these questions:

  • How would you rate your corporate work ethic?
  • How is your time-management?
  • How well do you understand the key issues your best clients are facing?

« Prev - Next »