Friday, July 8, 2011

It is all a matter of perspective!

A bit of swearing but funny.....especially for us Queenslanders

Two boys in Brisbane playing football in the park when one of the boys is attacked by a savage Rottweiler. Thinking quickly, the other boy rips a board off the nearby fence, wedges it down the dog's collar, and twists, breaking the dog's neck.
A Courier Mail reporter hears about the incident and rushes over to interview the boy.
"Young Lions Fan Saves Friend From Vicious Animal," he starts writing in his notebook.
But I'm not a Lions fan," the little hero replies.
"Sorry, since we are in Brisbane just assumed you were," says the reporter, and he starts again.
"Bronco's Fan Rescues Friend from Horrific Attack!” he jots in his notebook.
"I'm not a Broncos fan either," the boy responds.
The reporter starts again: "Maroons Supporter Risks Life In Heroic Rescue"
"I'm not a Maroons fan either," the boy responds.
"I assumed everyone in Brisbane was either for the Lions, Broncos or the Maroons. What team do you cheer for?" the reporter asks.
"We are both from Sydney and I'm a Blue's fan," the boy says.
The reporter starts a new sheet in his notebook and writes: "Little Redneck Cockroach Bastard Vandalises Fence And Kills Beloved Family Pet."

Thanks to young Greg for this.

Monday, July 4, 2011

5 Leadership lessons from the handling of the Australian live cattle export.

When a national TV show broadcast the bad treatment of live cattle exported to Indonesia, the Australian Government moved to immediately suspend the $320m a year industry.

Now, people involved in the industry are losing jobs, companies are facing ruin and there are doubts Indonesia will want to import Australian cattle ever again.

To be fair, not everyone thinks the Government's decision a bad one. Some think the decision failed to go far enough. Whatever one's position, there are some valuable leadership lessons to be learned from the affair.

1. It's a Mistake To Confuse Action with Leadership

The Government, facing plummeting opinion polls and with a reputation for failing to solve problems (think mining tax, carbon tax, national health scheme, the Malaysian Solution) wanted to be seen as decisive and able to take action.

By acting in order to be seen to act the Government was actually re-acting rather than leading.

2. It's a Mistake To Think Through an Action After Taking Action

The decision to ban live cattle exports to Indonesia was made without any written submissions to cabinet.

It was two weeks AFTER the trade ban was announced that the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences began surveying farmers to "determine the effects on farm businesses of the suspension of trade to Indonesia".

Initially the government said there would be no compensation to the local cattle industry. Then they announced a $3m fund and later a $30m. The Government looked like they were making things up as they went ... because they were, and this makes people nervous.

People want to be confident their leaders have thought decisions through before, not after, they are made.

Anyone can have hindsight. Leaders exercise forethought.

3. It's a Mistake to Act Without Considering Other Actions

Media reports state that nothing but a full and immediate ban on the Indonesian cattle trade was considered by the Government. No other options were suggested, let alone entertained.

When making decisions, Option A might indeed be the best option, but one can never know that without at least considering Options B, C and D.

Good leaders consider options. In fact, they demand options, even when the solution seems obvious.

If Options B, C and D are all duds, nothing is lost. What is gained is added confidence in the initial response of Option A.

On the other hand elements of Option B, C, or D might improve Option A or indeed prove all together better than Option A.

The point is, leaders have thought about options even if only to discount them.

4. It's a Mistake to Act Without Involving People Smarter Than Yourself

The Foreign Affairs Minister was advised of the decision to cease trade with one of our largest trade partners AFTER the decision. One would have thought the Foreign Affairs Minister could have added insights during the decision making process (I use the word process very loosely) that may have informed Cabinet's decision.

According to media reports, the Foreign Minister was only really engaged in the affair when it became apparent that the action taken was creating all manner of unintended consequences.

The lesson here is simple. It's far more prudent to admit you need help making the right decision than to ask for help cleaning up a bad one.

Better to choose humility and ask for help making a decision than to suffer the humiliation of having to beg for help when your unilateral decisions have turned to custard.

5. It's a Mistake to Act Without Preparing Those Affected

It is claimed that neither those in the cattle industry or affected state governments were advised of the decision to ban cattle exports before it happened. Further, it's said that Indonesia found out their meat would no longer be delivered, via a letter delivered by Australian consulate staff.

This Government is often accused of over-consulting. On this occasion we learned what happens when people are not consulted.

It's inevitable that most decisions will result in some people being worse off for it, or at least perceiving themselves to be worse off. I'm rather depressed to admit that, on more than one occasion, I've made decisions without stopping to consider who might feel the poorer for it and without communicating directly with them the reasons for the decision.Then, like this Government, I've been shocked at the adverse reaction to my decision.

It's amazing how people who might 'lose' from a decision will nevertheless go with it if they feel like they were considered in the process. It should not be so surprising that when decisions are 'handed down from on high' and communicated indirectly, after the event, that those same people react angrily.

The decision simply adds insult to injury; the injury being that they were obviously not considered important enough to be properly considered.

The above was from james macpherson as a tweet

On Monday 4th July 2011, @jamesmacpherson

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Red shirt day for Australia - Why not get involved!

I received this as an email and I thought that it warranted further exposure.

If the red shirt thing is new to you, read below how it went for one

Last week, while travelling to Brisbane on business, I noticed an army
sergeant travelling with a folded flag, but did not put two and two
together. After we boarded our flight, I turned to the sergeant, who'd
been invited to sit in Business Class (across from me), and inquired if he
was heading home.

'No', he responded.

'Going home', I asked?

'No. I'm escorting a soldier home.'

'Going to pick him up?'

'No. He is with me right now. He was killed in Afghanistan ; I'm taking
him home to his family.'

The realization of what he had been asked to do hit me like a Rock to
the head. (I felt sick in the stomach) It was an honour for him. He told me that,
although he didn't know the soldier, he had delivered the news of his passing to the
soldier's family and felt as if he knew them after many conversations in so few days.

I turned back to him, extended my hand, and said, 'Thank you. Thank you
for doing what you do so my family and I can do what we do.' He took my hand and
said "Thank You Ma'am"

Upon landing in Brisbane , the pilot stopped short of the gate and made
the following announcement over the intercom.

'Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to note that we have had the honour
of having Sergeant Jamison of the Royal Australian Army join us on this
flight. He is escorting a fallen comrade back home to his family. I ask
that you please remain in your seats when we open the forward door to
allow Sergeant Steeley to deplane and receive his fellow soldier. We
will then turn off the seat belt sign.'

Without a sound, all went as requested.. I noticed the sergeant
saluting the casket as it was brought off the plane, and his action
made me realize that I am proud to be a Australian.

So here's a public Thank You to our military Men and Women for what you
do so we can live the way we do.

Red Fridays

Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday.
The reason; Australians who support our troops used to be called the
'silent majority.' We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love
for God, country and home in record breaking numbers. We are not
organized, boisterous or overbearing.

Many Australians, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to
recognize that the vast majority of Australians supports our troops. Our
idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and
respect starts this Friday and continues each and every Friday until
the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that every
red-blooded Australian who supports our men and women afar, will wear
something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make Australia every Friday a
sea of red much like an AFL Grand final game in the MCG Stands. If
every one of us who loves this country will share this with
acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family, it will not be long
before Australia is covered in RED and it will let our troops know
the once 'silent' majority is on their side more than ever, certainly
more than the media lets on. Don't let this be like it was for our poor Vietnam Vets

The first thing a soldier says when asked 'What can we do to make
things better for you?' is 'We need your support and your prayers.'
Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example, and
wear something red every Friday.