The Last Month

689b7a8bae0c5dcd06529cb879893049Wow…. A month has past since I started blogging again. As explained in an blog earlier this year I took a break from blogging as I had a lot on and my head was not in the right space. I did miss blogging however I had to get through a few big projects. But since re-commencing the blogging I have enjoyed the experience.

My blogs cover a range of topics from my life through to leadership. During the month I have been inspired by what I have seen in my travels and I am fortunate to live the life I do. I have been at home in Canberra, travelled to Sydney a few times for work and pleasure and I am writing this blog from Singapore.

However the month has had it’s downs too. Not everything goes as planned, expected or desired in one’s life and sometimes you need to roll with it. I have had people question my abilities, family members sick and projects not going the way expected. But life goes on and I have confident in my ability to move through these things.

So the re-commencement of blogging was one small step for me towards the life that I have planned for myself…..

What small step did you take in the last month to move towards the life you have planned for yourself?

What challenges do you need to put behind you and move on?

What small step are you going to take this month to move you towards the life you have planned for yourself?

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Making sure you take time to Celebrate

  • When a project comes to an end what do you do?
  • When you have a good year what do you do?
  • When a major task is completed what do you do?

I was delivering a training session on project management the other day and went I got to the closing phase and asked “what happens in this phase?” Most people came up with things like complete a report or acquit funds. All good answers however no one mentioned thanking the team or celebrating. Have we got all caught up with the tasks in our life that we have forgot to celebrate?

I believe that appreciation of ourselves and our team is an important part of reviewing a program or completing a project. If a project has been a success it may be easy to think of a celebration. Celebration of successes seem normal. Thanking the team and sharing the appreciation for a successful project outcome would be expected.

But what happens when things go wrong or things do not turn out the way you were expecting? Does this mean that a celebration is not called for? I still think that a celebration is in order to celebrate the effort that the team puts in. It may not be as upbeat a celebration as if there was a more successful result. This is all part of recognising the efforts that everyone has put in.

  • Do you celebrate your wins?
  • How do you celebrate with your team?
  • How are you going to celebrate your next win?


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How quickly can you Change?

We live in a world that is full of change. With the internet business is done at the speed of light. Changes that have previously taken a generation to change are changing in a few small years. Companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon have used technology to build a business that is changing the world.

What is the impacts of his change on people? After all is that not what the world is about anyway, people? I have noticed that some people adapt to the change and the speed of change better than others. Why is this the case?

Roger’s develop an innovation theory that talks about how people fall into different categories when it comes to being able to handle change. There are the innovators, the early adaptors, the early majority, the late majority and the laggards. The early groups jump in when things are new and untested, while the majority wait for things to be true and tested. Meanwhile the laggards just do not handle change.

In a fast changing world, where do you sit in these groups? If you are in the first two groups you are most likely handling the change well, however just remember when dealing with the majority, not everyone is on the same page and may need a little longer. If you are in the majority I would challenge you to try something new once in a while, get out of your comfort zone.

  • ·        What group do you fall into?
  • ·        If you are an innovator or early adopter how can you ensure that you can bring the majority along with you?
  • ·        If you are in the majority how can you ensure that you are challenge yourself to try something new?

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Too Much on your Plate


  •         Do you ever feel overwhelmed, like there is too much happening in your life?
  •         Are there deadlines that you are not meeting?
  •         Are you working long hours and spinning your wheels?

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above I know how you feel. I have been there before. At the end of last year there was a lot closing in on me. Mostly self-inflected, I certainty take on more than I can handle at times. That said I have made changes and got back on top of things.

So what did I do when I had too much on my plate? I have one word “focus”. Focusing on one thing at a time and focus my life on less roles. Through focus I was able to move from feeling overwhelmed to feeling back in control of my life. Clearing the plate also cleared my mind.

When I focus on one thing at a time I can get in a zone of productivity, I can sit there on task for hours to get it done. Without distractions I get the task done quicker and to I higher standard. Without distraction or multi-tasking the mind will allow you to process task quicker and allow your creativity to come out.

At the same time I also cut back on some things in my life. My studies came to an end, I stopped blogging for a period while there was lots happening in other roles and I resigned my scouting role. In the end through doing less things I am actually doing more. And the more I am doing is more of what I want to do, like family.

  •         What is on your plate?
  •         Do you need to review what you are doing?
  •         What is your life’s priorities?

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Leading People not Machines


“You do not lead machines, you lead people. Unless you understand human nature, I don’t think you can lead.” David Morrison, former Chief of Army

While on a flight recently I was flicking through the inflight magazine and saw an article on leadership and management. The saying above was at the start of the article. It had a number f leaders from the business world and David Morrison, former Chief of Army. The article describe the rise to the top as being around people.

At the lower levels of management it may be possible to get things done through authority, planning, using systems, assigning tasks and do things right. However in order to be effective in leadership the focus needs to change away from systems to people. In doing so leaders promote a vision and inspire people to do the right things.

Focusing on people does not mean that it is a popularity contest. Being popular is different to having influence with people to inspire them to work towards the vision for the team or organisation. David Morrison tells inspiring leaders to remember the three Fs: Fair, Firm and Friendly.

  • ·        How do you inspire your team?
  • ·        Do you have influence in your organisation outside of your authority?
  • ·        Are you doing the right things or do things right?


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Mission Driven Workplace

There is a lot of talk about purpose driven organisations. There are not for profit organisations, government organisations and even commercial organisations that are for benefit. Does this mean that they do not think about profits or the financials? No, not at all, I think that resource management is important in all organisations.

I think that being a mission driven workplace is about ensuring that everyone knows why the organisation exists and this is beyond just profit. This mission has to be clear, concise and specific. Then the organisation’s decision making processes and outcomes would all align with this mission. The team and individual team members would review their tasks and make decisions in accordance to this mission.

The organisation would also monitor and review operations through the lens of the mission. Is the organisation achieving the mission? Where can the organisation improve in order to better achieve the mission and better serve the customer?

So does this led to more or less profits? I would argue more. With a sustainable business model being mission driven will ensure that your organisation better serves its customers. Doing so will set the organisation as a leader in its field. It will ensure that the organisation’s customers are better served and hence this will keep them coming back.

I have experienced this focus in my current army role. Through setting a mission and setting objectives the team was able to build on the capabilities and the capacity of the squadron. It was easy for the team members to understand what was happening, what needs to happen and why? This is truly a way to be able to empower the team.


  • What is the mission of your workplace?
  • How do you ensure that your team are working on a common mission?
  • What benefits that you see from a mission driven workplace?


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The Rush of Planning

This week I was talking with colleague about the rush that comes from planning in the military context. Often there is time restraints, there are resource constraints and there is a critical mission to achieve. The planning has to be done and produce deliverables within a short timeframe that meet the mission requirements, is achievable within resource limits and has a tolerable risk level.

The military has a defined framework for planning to occur, everyone on the planning team understands the process and the terminology. The team is also all focused on finding the best way to achieve the mission. There are heated moments and long hours. Many people would say that it sounds like a horrible environment to be in.

However I get a rush from it. To have everyone focused on one thing, planning the task at hand and to see the result that the planning achieves in a short period of time is very satisfying. There is a buzz to achieve so much in a limited timeframe. I often wonder why so much can be achieved in a military context and often I do not see this happen in my civilian work. I think it comes down to the following things:

  1. A single focus for all of the team
  2. There is a methodology that is used
  3. The team is all speaking the same terminology
  4. The team does not stop until the planning is complete

I do not see these things come together in many workplaces and I am not sure that they could… What do you think?
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Missing the Children

38165711a8c2f850ca024e70c94588caWith the custody arrangements for three of my children shared with their mother, I do not see my children all the time. In some ways this means there is time to do things without worrying about what to do with the children. However it is a little sad when the children are not around. The house is quieter and I miss the little conversations we have about everything and anything in life. I miss playing cards with them…. Even if I am a little competitive….

This last twelve months has been even harder with the amount of time I have been away with work. It has been crazy busy. I have enjoyed all that has been accomplished with various projects, however this has meant even less time with my children. Over the last couple of weeks I have enjoyed spending significant time with the children. Yes, I am about to go away again, however on my return I look forward to spending more quality time with the children again.


  • Who do you enjoy spending time with?
  • What are some of your favourite activities?
  • Do you spend enough time on these activities?



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Starting the Day on a Positive Note

DSC_2424We all start the day in different ways. Some people like to start the day with a coffee, some like to start the day with exercise, some start the day with yoga, others start the day with meditation….. and then there are some that just roll out of bed. The start of the day is a very important part of the day. The way we start can often impact on the rest of the day for us.

Ideally, I would start with exercise and listening to podcasts….. However that is not always the case. What I do do more often than not is roll out of bed and say to myself “What a great day.” I like to start the day on a positive note. I just find that by doing so my day tends to go better. I find that when I do I tend to bounce into the day.


  • What do you do to start your day?
  • Does this set the stage for your day?
  • What could you do to improve the start of your day?



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Using Informal Networks

Every workplace I have worked in has it’s own set informal networks. What is an informal network? It is the communication channels and networks that exist in an organisation that is not in accordance with the official organisation chart and communication channels. It includes the conversations at the water cooler, the staff member that has influence across the organisation due their personality, rather than position and also what some would call is gossip.

Many times I see organisations fight with the informal networks for communication bandwidth. Informal networks are often seen as a threat to management and viewed as all bad gossip. However I wish to challenge this outlook. Yes, sometimes informal networks can be a negative gossip fest, however how can an organisation utilise these informal networks for the good of the organisation?

I am a believer in empowering one’s team members as much as practically possible. To this end I believe that someone that is good at developing informal networks can be rewarded with using these networks to communicate with the organisation and also to seek feedback from within the organisation. Instead of fighting with these influencers within the organisation, what if we worked with them?

One example I have used recently was the implementation of a social media platform for internal use by my team. Instead of appointing the administrator from the top and then implement the platform from top down, we appointed an administrator from the lower levels of the organisation. Someone that had influence. Yes, management still had administrator access, however the main driver was from within the organisation.

And what was the outcome? My belief is that we had a quicker implementation and take up of the platform than we would have otherwise if it was implemented top down and not through an influencer. The other outcome was that we provided leadership and growth opportunities to the influencer in making them responsible for the platform and accountable to management.


  • Do you use your informal networks in your team or fight with them?
  • What do you do to use your informal networks for?
  • How do you develop the influencers in your organisation?



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