I have just returned from a 4-day visit to Hong Kong where yet again I was starkly reminded of how technology is controlling a significant part of our daily lives, both professionally and personally.
As we sat at dinner in a Michelin star Chinese restaurant, with beautiful surroundings, classical music, exceptional service and delicious food, I noticed with frustration and sadness that at every table, except the one occupied by myself and my two friends, people were on their mobile phones, either texting or on social media.
I asked a number of Gen Y female entrepreneurs on social media the following two questions:
What are your top 3 issues for the election?
Are you engaged, disengaged or disillusioned with the current election campaign? Why?
“It is better to remain quiet and be thought of a fool, than to speak up and remove all doubt”
Most of us don’t actually listen, we simply hear. This means that we comprehend less than 50% of every verbal conversation we have, so much of the message is either forgotten or lost. Many of us practice the art of “half an ear” or “stunned mullet” listening. We are so busy these days that I believe our capacity and willingness to truly listen has diminished significantly in the last two decades. I truly believe that the greatest gift you can give anyone – your team members, peers, clients, partners, children and friends is to actively listen with intent, and to be truly 100% present.
Yes, that is correct – we need quotas for men! As we approach yet another International Women’s Day, and face questions such as:
- “When is International Men’s Day?” to which I usually respond with: “The other 364 days of the year!”
- “Should we have targets, or quotas?”
- “Won’t quotas result in reverse discrimination against men?”
- “Aren’t we risking not selecting people based on merit if we have quotas?”
- “Aren’t most women themselves against quotas?”
I have always found it both perplexing and amusing that the people who have the most to say about feminism, misogyny, sexual harassment and gender discrimination are people who have NEVER experienced it – often men! And they tell you to: “Lighten up and get over it.” I am hugely in favour of experiential learning where you are introduced to the experience in a controlled environment, and have an insight (not the real thing) into what it may feel like.
Over the past few months the media has been flooded with stories of corruption, bad behaviour and a complete lack of integrity in sport, politics and business! What must young people think when they look to supposed role models of leadership? I know what they are thinking because they tell me. Generation Y and now Generation Z (born 1996 – 2010) see no people in politics and business who they want to emulate, and now they are beginning to lose confidence in sports heroes too. And why wouldn’t they. What they are seeing is not what they would like to become as leaders themselves!
Congratulations to David Morrison on being named Australian of the Year 2016. Many have seen this as a great choice given David’s public commitment to gender equality, even being called an "equality warrior", while others in the media (and probably quietly in private conversations) have said it was a "politically correct" decision. I disagree with the latter. I know that David Morrison does care deeply about wounded soldiers; those suffering from PTSD; he loves the soldiers, male and female; and can care about all these things simultaneously. He does not have to choose one over the other, unlike the suggestion by a journalist in one of today’s papers.
Over the past decade I have interviewed over 100 effective and inspiring leaders prior to, and subsequent to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) about what enabled them to transform their organisations and actively engage their people, in both the good times and more challenging times. These leaders have been from different industries and organisations; and what my analysis has shown is that they share twelve identifiable characteristics that have shaped their transformational leadership.
Is it just me, or are others over the use of the three latest buzz words: innovation, disruption and inclusion? If you are not using these words in everyday language you are so not cool, and out of touch! But let’s examine each of these words carefully, because unless they are truly new, we are just calling something by a different name!
To examine these three words I went to the Thesaurus to seek the most common synonyms for each of these words. Not surprisingly many of the synonyms used words and descriptors that we all already know and use.
There are currently a multitude of articles, interviews and conversations taking place in Australia and around the world about greater gender equality. This is a good thing because when we start talking about difficult, challenging topics it means we are thinking about it more, and therefore questioning the status quo.
Though the past four decades have seen significant generational shifts with more women entering the global workforce, we have a long way to go and much needs to be done to advance women to senior leadership roles. The promising news is that the number of women is growing, albeit it in middle management roles rather than at senior levels.