Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Importance of *expletive* Intermissions

It's the Cabaret Festival in Adelaide, and last night we went along to support a friend's show - you know one of those things where it's probably not your cup of tea, but you want to see your people succeed. Well within the first 5 minutes, it was so NOT my cup of tea, I had checked out mentally and couldn't make eye contact with the one-woman show. It was making me cringe, I didn't want to be there, I was counting down the minutes until it ended.

And then 1hr 25min into the show, without a break, the one-woman show was singing an upbeat song supposedly from our shared childhoods (I'd never heard of it, and it would have been played on a radio station I would have switched off). And during the song, she spied little ol' me and my absolute fascination with the zip on my purse. And she walked right to me and sang right to me and made eye contact right to me. And I made some godawful attempt at smiling back, but had murder in my eyes, because all I wanted was for the goddamn show to be over.

Sometimes people just don't want to sing the same song you're singing - sometimes folks would rather cut off their arms than sway a lighter to your tune. Last night I felt the most intense desire to be elsewhere and was totally trapped. There was no way I could fumble my way towards an exit without interrupting the entire performance. I didn't know how to get out, I didn't know when I could get out. It made me hate that goddamn show even more.

So if you're suddenly singing a now song in your organisation, and you're expecting employees to join the kumbaya circle, here are two things I learnt from last night:

1. Don't bother with the folks who have checked out. Last night I was OUT, and I was not even remotely interested in being brought in. I was looking at my feet, my purse, people in the audience, the stage floor - anything but that horrible show. I even winced a few times at the songs... Could my body language have been any clearer? So when the one-woman show tried to pull me back in by singing at me, it was just a dumb waste of energy for both of us. She should have sung to someone who was loving it, and given them the show they were cheering for.

2. For the love of all things good, give people the path and the opportunity to exit. Last night I was praying for an intermission, but it never came. Imagine how much pain could have been prevented if I could have just left half way through? I'm pretty certain my bad energy was radiating throughout the place, and how unfortunate is that for an intimate cabaret setting? You would have wanted me out, I wanted to be out. Employees who are hating it want out. Show them the way out.

I suppose my conclusion from the ordeal is the importance of the flipside to change management. When you are creating change, and asking people to join in a new song and dance, it's just as important to focus on those who have said "hell no" to it. There is a seriously slim chance they're going to change their minds if they have honestly checked out. So leaders have got to be fair to them, and the rest of the team exposed to that 'checked out' energy, and give them an intermission. Inter-mission. You know, a checkpoint within the mission to let someone off the bus. Intermissions are really *expletive* important.

They're also a great opportunity to get more delicious snacks, and I'm always heartily in favour of that.


Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

You're Better than Samsung

I will never buy a product that needs to shit on the competition to advertise itself.

That's probably why I find Samsung phones unattractive.

And why I change the channel every time this Ford Territory MkII ad comes on:

It just makes me cringe at all the ugly traits coming through... insecurity... meanness... I don't know, why is it necessary to shit on other products and people to sell ourselves?

If that's the territory you are veering into with anything you are doing, you are playing a losing game. Because it's all about how you perceive yourself: if you are saying the other people are worse, that's not saying you are the best. I think that's a distinction that can often get lost.

Ultimately, you sell by convincing people you are what they want. And really, what do people want - something that's comparatively better than something that's been shat all over, or the best?

I believe everyone of us has the possibility of being the best in our own way. Do you believe that about yourself?


Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Be The Asshole Who Says It

Those special relationships at work aren't doing anyone favours.

Think of that team mate that's really liked, but needs extra guidance with 'careful cotton gloves'- they're not getting the real picture. And that respected colleague who can't print a document, and isn't improving despite an extra 20 minutes of daily help - not getting it either.

Nobody will intuitively know the truth about their incompetence if everything is signalling that they're ok.

And that's not fair on them.

They need to know about resilience, taking feedback, using initiative and meeting expectations. They need to know about keeping relevant skills, remaining employable, and continuous learning.

Because when change happens - and it inevitably will - the truth will come out and totally blindside them.

And just because I like to harp on to drive my point home, what about this for a kicker? "Research has shown that a teacher's expectations can raise or lower a student's IQ score, that a mother's expectations influences the drinking behavior of her middle schooler, that military trainers' expectations can literally make a soldier run faster or slower." 

So if you want to change your life, listen to this podcast, because it will inspire you to never expect anything but the best from anyone ever again. I'm expecting you to be wowed.


Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


It’s spring, and although everything is green, I was surprised that when I actually looked at the garden, a huge amount of weeds have sprung up.

It was a good reminder that in times of growth, we have to be really on guard about what’s establishing in our lives.

Are you learning – pushing yourself – getting out of your comfort zone?  
Or are you being challenged – feeling stretched – making lots of tough calls?

Whether it’s growth you’re choosing, or that’s being imposed on you, while you are concentrating on everything else, just take a moment to look at what’s established during these times … your sleep habits, eating habits, stress relief… Is there some weeding to do?


Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I was 'one of the boys' and it made me a bitch

The danger of the boys club is not the fact that there’s multiple men in one space, it goes code red when a girl becomes ‘one of the boys’. How do I know? Because I used to be the chosen one. I was one of the boys with a bunch of guys that I absolutely adore and who really are great people – except that privileged position made me feel like a queen bee. And did I use that power to break open the gender restriction and bring in more women? Hell no, why would I want to lose my incredible position of being their confidant, spoilt bitch and special chosen one? Any other woman was competition (except when she was a mate's target, because I'm your wing man bro!!). And I cringe at it now, because it goes completely against my ridiculously raging feminist core – but it also obviously pandered to my total adoration of acceptance and feeling ‘special’.

Why do I tell you this? Because from my experience, I don’t think women particularly change a culture just by their mere presence in a merry band of men. In fact, any hint at change will whip a queen bee into a defensive frenzy, afraid that the new order will mean she’s not the chosen one any more. What can I say - I'm just not that confident in measuring culture by numbers.


Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Forgiving yourself for your full time job

How amazing are biological rhythms that we just accept, like REM cycles, tides, moons, seasons – flowers that open and close at certain hours of the day. We say “yes of course, these things should have this rhythm because they are from nature and part of nature and are participating in the natural order of things.” But when it comes to ourselves, we forget we are from nature, we forget we are part of nature, we forget we are in a natural order of things. We must compete and fight and find glory and excellence in ourselves. We think we tap into our wild side, all the while forgetting what the wild is really like. A plant doesn’t strangle another plant for its own glory, it has no concept or interest in glory, it merely does so for survival. It is fulfilling the purpose of being that one particular plant. So why fight and work tirelessly to seek out things we neither need for survival or fulfilment of our purpose?

I’ll tell you why – because we hear about things like portfolio careers, and see the current dotcom boom as websites are snapped up for $1 Billion Dollars, and are people who have weathered recessions and GFCs and terrorism and wars on terrorism, and have seen the hard work of our qualifications melt into the new status quo, and can wake up and read the news, celebrity gossip and see our vain friend’s selfies all before 8am. The competition, the fear, the intensity, it’s all right there - a relentless beating of the drum. We keep getting told over and over that our purpose is not enough, that we need to aim higher, be harder, better, faster, stronger. ‘All’ isn’t the job and the family, having it ‘all’ is the job, the family, the blog, the daily jogs, AND the adorable dog.

I dunno, this is just a really long winded way of me saying, if you work a full time job, go easy on yourself that you’re not also writing a book and running a blog and living in a hospital-grade-clean house and having a fabulous social life to publish on Facebook. It’s ok to just do the simple things like surviving and fulfilling the purpose of being you. And survival doesn’t have to mean that whole bullshit happy clappy business perk up of ‘don’t just survive, thrive’ – it can also mean the very basics of being a human being – working for a roof over your head, food on your table, being with people you love and using your natural gifts for good. I have never looked at a plant that has survived an Adelaide summer and thought, “if only it had pushed itself harder.” I don’t know why I keep looking in the mirror and saying the same thing to myself.  


Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

When Friction with Leadership Pays

The 2 key points to working with leadership

A leader acts like a grinding stone sharpener - you know that huge wheel of stone that you hold metal objects to and it sharpens them down to a fine edge? There's some that come with finger guards, some that are just one big round wheel and you have to know how to approach the bugger. Whether they have a bit of user friendliness, or are just old school gruff, there's no denying one thing about a grinding stone - it will destroy you if you don't leave it alone.

Point One: Get sharp, get effective, and then move on.

You see people who like to carry baggage and go back for more goes at the grinding stone - whether they perceive there's an injustice that's happened to them, or they're in a pride showdown - they just keep going back to the grind. It's like they perceive a debt needs to be paid, and they'll get repaid if they just butt against that grinding stone enough. Maybe in some delusional state they feel the stone will eventually make them sharp enough to destroy it.

Point Two: Rock always beats scissors.

So if you're taking on the leadership, well there's no problem on giving a little push back. You need some friction to create your edge. But if you're taking on the leadership yet again, as in, yet again, maybe start looking for your motivation. Because if you're out to destroy it, refer to point 2.


Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

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