Systems equal Freedom

As I am getting to the end of the audit for ISO9001 certification for an organisation I am working for, I am am impressed with the way that the organisation has embedded the Quality Management Systems. The embedding of the systems has made the process much simpler and easier.

Coming from a business background I have always seen systems as a way to ensure that things get done without consistent direct involvement. A good system will enable the processes of a business to run efficiently and provide some control measures for quality.

Without systems you will see management and staff running around constantly dealing with the same issues over and over again. So I believe that good systems will reduce the time and effort required to maintain a process. Yes, there will be a time and effort investment into the development of the system, however it will reduce the long term cost.

As I am being audited, I can see that the systems implemented to date will save time and effort in the future, have provided management with better decision making information and have made the whole process of being audited much easier.


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Are you Real and Authentic?

c219bb760746ce4c317d73d4780b1d6dI am normally a happy, upbeat and optimistic type of person. To most people I seem happy all the time. And honestly mostly I am. There was several months at the start of this year where I was not my normal self. I was down, lost my mojo, felt weak and without energy. During this time I ask for and received help. And now I am back to my normal me.

During this downtime I received some advice not to tell anyone and hide it. I was advised that if I shared my experience it would impact on career and the way senior people in an organisation would view you. It would also impact on the way people in junior roles would view you too. The advice I received was that sharing the experience was not a good thing.

I was thinking about the advice I received and being the rebel I am I am going to go against it. I am going to do this for two reasons. The first is that by sharing the experience all the way through to getting help and getting back on my feet can assist others having similar experiences. I would rather be real and authentic and help others than be selfish and worry about my career.

The second reason is that if people do not like me because of my experiences then stuff them…. I do not need them to give their approval. I would rather be real and authentic. If senior people in an organisation do not like this about me, then they can lose my services, I am worth far more to them than they are to me.

When sharing about yourself, there is way to this. It is about being real and authentic in order to help others. It is not about getting special concessions from others. Yes some people will lose respect for you and it may be a career limiting move. But I believe that being real and authentic is the best way to help others and live with yourself.

Are you real and authentic?

Has being real and authentic affected your career?

Through being real and authentic how have you helped others?


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Half Full or Half Empty

DSC_0792There is a lot of talk about the way we talk. Do we view a glass of water as half full or half empty? Both are factually correct, however the way we say it will have a lot to do with the way we see the world. Some will see a positive side to things, while others will play more the devil’s advocate. Both views are important when planning and running projects and programs.

Yesterday afternoon a little bit of a storm came through near where I live and one of the trees in our front yard came down. My wife called to tell me and she was more on the glass half empty side of the fence. Meanwhile I was all excited as a tree had not come down before on a property I lived at. I could not wait to see it.

My daughter, who I picked up from music lessons on the way home thought I was nuts. I was talking about the fallen tree and could not wait to see it. I was hoping it fell across the driveway and I would have to plan some cool action to clear the way to the house. On arriving home I took some photos and was still bouncing with excitement.

I must admit that I knew no one was hurt and the locations of the trees in the yard would have meant no property damage. In the end the tree has not blocked anything and I will clear it up on the weekend. However even now I am thinking like “I was not sure if I wanted to keep that tree and now I know it is to go”….. Glass half full.

That said it is important for me to ensure that I do not become overly optimistic and have a balance in my outlook. For me that is having other people around that can give me the glass half empty story to ensure that I have not missed anything in my optimistic planning and outlook.

  • Are you a glass half full or half empty type of person?
  • How do you ensure that you balance this out for a balanced outlook?
  • What can you do to ensure a more balanced outlook moving forward?


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Celebrate Each Day


  • How often have you been so busy that you forgot to enjoy the moment?
  • How often have you missed the beauty in the present?
  • How often have you prioritised the wrong things in your life?

I know for myself I have often prioritised work that really did not matter over the family. I know that I have often been so busy with tasks that I missed the beauty around me. It can be hard to balance purposeful and meaningful pursuits with family and enjoying the moment. This is one of the challenges in life.

It may be that we swing between things, it may mean that we operate at a different pace to what we can….. However whatever the solution for you, remember to celebrate each day. Each day is an opportunity for you to see beauty in the world and make a difference.

It may be small things that bring beauty like the flower above…. The flower has push through the fence to smile at me and my family. the flower brings beauty into the lives of my family and though it does so for a short period of time, it is something that we need to stop, enjoy and celebrate.

  • What beauty do you see in the world today?
  • What purposeful and meaningful pursuit are you going to do today?
  • How are you going to celebrate the beauty and purpose of today?


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Worrying about being Popular

11830a20a5a121630669f401cb2c79d6When I was in school there was the cool kids and the not cool kids….. Most children were somewhere in between. From what I can tell from my children not much has changed. These groups seem to just exist. It must be human nature as I see this too with adults. Groups form and people think they are cool or perhaps others think they are not.

I think there are three groups of people when it comes to being popular:

  1. Those that are popular
  2. Those that are not popular
  3. And those that do not care

It has intrigued me how being popular is something that people care about. Maybe I am strange, but I just want to have my world the way I want to be. Being popular for the sake of it, just seems like a waste of time. In my opinion most people are insecure in themselves and hence need the approval of others. With a good level of self worth what does it matter what other’s think? Be free to make decisions for yourself.

A few years ago when I was a Venturer Leader in Scouts, I was with a bunch of teanagers in Europe and I was going for a run most mornings. I was not very fashionable….. White runners, green socks, red shorts, orange t-shirt and blue hat. Not cool at all. I had one of the teanagers say to me that I would not be cool if I wore that. I replied with a “okay, I do not need to be cool”. To which the teenager responded “That is so cool, you are so cool”.

Isn’t it funny how by not being cool, I was cool…… Go figure…. I was not trying or wanting to be cool, but it seemed to be cool to make decisions my way.

  • What group do you fall in?
  • What have you only done to seek the approval of other?
  • What decision are you going to make today for you and not for the approval of others?


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Support the Canberra Community Sleepout

CatW-Vinnes-sleepout-logo-oncard-01For the third year in a row I am involved in the organising of the Canberra Community Sleepout. From humble beginnings three years ago the Canberra Community Sleepout is growing and becoming an event that many in the community look forward to. As a partnership between Communities@Work and St Vincent de Paul Canberra/Goulburn the event raises funds and awareness about homelessness, particularly in the Canberra Region.

When talking homelessness most people think about the people sleeping rough on the street, but it is far more than that. It is about the people and families that are experiencing housing stress due to the high cost of housing and rents, it is the people sleeping in cars and it is the people that have no permanent home and sleep at friends and family member’s homes, also known as couch surfing.

What causes homelessness? I am no expert on homelessness, but there are many causes… One this year that we are focusing on is family abuse. Just imagine, what would you do it you had an abusive partner, but the cost of housing prevented you from taking you and your children to a safe home. Abuse is not just physical either….. Abuse could be emotional, sexual or even financial to name a few.

Then there are those people that say that Canberra is a wealthy city, surely there can not be homelessness in Canberra. Wealth is a double edged sword. It is good for most, however the wealth of the city also leads to a higher cost of living and in particular housing. So if you are on a below average income, lose your job or have any number of other challenges the cost of housing in Canberra can cause homelessness faster than in most places.

On the 16 October 2015, I will be sleeping out as part of the Canberra Community Sleepout. So far two of my daughters will be joining me. If you are local you can register and join us in Sleeping out. Otherwise, I would encourage you to sponsor our efforts and together lets fight homelessness. My sponsorship page is

  • Are you going to register and sleepout?
  • Are you going to sponsor our efforts?
  • Are you going to promote the cause to others?


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I am sleeping out to raise funds and awareness for Homelessness, please support my efforts through sponsorship at

Always Landing on Your Feet

d4c981356a63c040fa233dede9080c43Have you noticed that no matter how bad things get some people always land on there feet? Likewise have you noticed that no matter how good things are some people always complain?

I was having  cuppa with a friend yesterday and we were talking about life, work and family. As I mentioned in an earlier post I was having a hard time of life earlier this year and she commented that I was looking better and sounding better. I had to agree with her on that. As we talked about different things that are coming up in our lives and potential pitfalls, I casually mentioned that I am not concerned as things will work out one way or another.

With that she commented that I always land on my feet….. She is right I do in the end… I told her that is due to two reasons:

  1. I believe that things will always work out
  2. I look at the positives of wherever I end up

The first is a mindset that I have confidence in myself. I believe that I have the ability to work through whatever happens and I believe that God will not burden me with more than I can handle. Though at times God certainly tests me. Also, it is not just about me, I can ask for help and this additional support also helps me land on my feet.

The second is a key way of viewing the world. Have you ever met someone that lands in a bed of roses and complains that it is not tulips? All I have to say get real, smell the roses and enjoy where you are at. It is not where you have to stay, but certainly look at the benefits and see the positives of where you are at.

I would add a third thing to the list that I did not think about yesterday and that would be “being prepared”. Some may refer to it as Risk Management or Contingency Planning. Being prepared involves being prepared mentally, emotionally, socially, physically and resource wise to name a few.

  • Do you believe that things will work out for you?
  • Do you look at the positives of where you are at or end up?
  • Are you prepared for what may happen?


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Making money online is Child’s play

6a62d01229e89d9c2f672801abbfb30fAt this stage I make most of my money offline and make very little online. It is an area that many people are looking for a quick way to make a buck. For most there has been little return, but for a few there is good money to be made. My daughter sells designs and graphics online and makes more online than I do. It is not a lot of money, but it is better than the pocket money she gets.

So what is the difference better those that make money online and those that do not. I think there are many factors but I would like to share two:

  • Treating it like a business
  • Doing something that you are passionate about

Too many people think that online is easy and it is a cash machine, well it is not. It is a business and as such needs to be treated as one. There is marketing, delivering value and ensuring that the customer is happy.

The other thing is about passion. If you are doing what you love then the internet can open up global markets to you. It is just a tool, a means to an end, not the end itself. By doing what you are passionate about it will be easier to ride the lows that will happen in your business.

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Audit Time….. Are you relaxed?

saig_logoI have been working on a project to implement a quality management system throughout an organisation. The quality management system over the next few weeks is going to be audited against the ISO9001:2008 Standards by SAI Global. As we get down into the start of the audit I have come to realised how well prepared the organisation is.

This preparedness has led to a stress free preparation with the upcoming audit. I am relaxed not in a way where I do not care, but more about a lack of stress. So what lead to the preparedness? It is the realisation that the organisation has all the systems and procedures in place and embedded in the processes of the organisation. As I travel around the various sites of the organisation I talk with staff and realise that we have implemented everything that we need to have in accordance for the audit.

This is the way preparation for an audit should be. The preparation for an audit should not be a stressful process with lots to do at the last minute. It should be a process that confirms that the processes of the organisation are in place and about making tweaks as they are required. Being ready for an audit in a stress free manner is about everyone in the organisation doing what they are meant to be doing….. Embedded processes.

Yes…. Of course I realise that there will be areas for improvement and there will be things that will need to be adjusted after the audit. However this is all part of a continuous improvement cycle which is part of any quality improvement plan. Though it is good to know that we are ready for an audit. Though we had notice for this one I am sure that we would be ready even if it was sprung on us without notice….. That is relaxing to know.

If you had an audit on your program tomorrow, would you be ready?

How can you ensure that everything is in place if you were to be audited tomorrow?

How much work is there to have the systems in place to have a stress free audit?

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Coming Home in the Light

DSC_0694As winter comes to an end the days are getting longer. As I settle back into a normal schedule I am getting home earlier. All in all over the last week I have been getting home while it is still light. Ohhhh it brings a smile to my face. To walk up the driveway and it to be light brings a smile to my face. I am smiling from cheek to cheek.

I know that there is no more hours in the day, however with the sky still a little blue it seems that I am spending more time at home. It is funny how coming home in the dark makes it seem like it has been a longer day in the office. Well this last week I have been smiling more… It may be due to the children being back with me or or may be due to winter coming to an end. Either way I am smiling more.
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