As more people take redundancies and work as individual traders under the new phenomenon known as gigonomics, companies will be forced to rethink their management styles. By Leon Gettler
It’s a trend that’s transforming business and the workplace, creating new challenges for managers. More people are now taking redundancy and are working as individual traders. They don’t have jobs anymore, they have gigs. It’s a phenomenon that’s been described as “gigonomics.
How do managers handle that? How do they ensure these people interact with staff and company fabric? How do managers protect intellectual propertywhen they’re dealing with so many fly-by-night employees?
One thing is for sure: bringing in a bunch of people focused on how much money they’ll make on each gig will change companies and their cultures. These aren’t lower- end temps either. Witness the number of interim managers, even interim CFOs, taking on gigs for up to six months at a company.
As the interim army become more dominant, companies w
Pulling back your ambitions may lead to better results. By Gerard McManus
Some management ideas are extremely fashionable for a while before being overtaken by a shiny new trend, but they may linger for years afterwards as imitator experts continue to hold on and run with them regardless of their inherent merits.
One such concept is that of stretch goals – a concept popularised by the most macho of modern management gurus, Jack Welch.
Welch revolutionised and energised General Electric during the 1990s, and in the process institutionalised a virtual new movement of aggressive middle management downsizing, and “Six Sigma” quality control techniques.
Welch decided that if GE wasn’t in the top one or two markets in a category then it should get out of the business, with many of America’s leading companies following the “Jack Welch Way”. So great was Welch’s reputation at one point Forbes Magazine named him Manager of the Century.
Another of Welch’s legacies is stretch goals, which are still in the ling
The key to initiating change in your business is to ensure management is committed to the cause. By Leon Gettler
Change management sounds like a great idea – after all, in life and business, change is inevitable. Why shouldn’t companies decide to change and then work towards achieving that objective?
However, for various reasons, many change management programs end in failure. Dr Malcolm Johnson, general manager of Professional Development & Research at AIM Queensland and Northern Territory, says change management programs often fail because organisations do not sufficiently involve employees.
He cites one government department he examined where most senior managers had virtually no commitment to the change which had been mandated from above. Change management efforts there were a disaster.
“We were stunned by how the individuals and aspirations were not aligned to what the organisation was trying to deliver,” Johnson says.
“The things that were important to those individuals were fun and enjoyment, socialisation
Could positive thinking have negative outcomes? A specialist in social psychology has set out to investigate, writes Ainsleigh Sheridan
Many self-help books will tell you that wealth and health – or happiness of any definition – is just a matter of applying the right attitude and outlook.
But British journalist Oliver Burkeman, who specialises in reporting on social psychology, has written a book on how relentless positivity can be a negative.
Burkeman writes a weekly article, This Column Will Change Your Life for The Guardian, in which he challenges the self-help industry with rigour, yet humour.
So it is ironic to discover his latest book, The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking, in the self-help section of bookshops.
“I’m resigned to this!” Burkeman jokes. “Actually, I don’t think there’s anything intrinsically bad about self-help, per se. The urge to seek out help from a book is a perfectly noble one and plenty of books that meet that urge are excellent ones.”
Organisations large and small can always borrow from the wisdom of the military. Gerard McManus discusses 10 enduring, but unique, characteristics of the military that are worth imitating.
Modern leadership often portrays the command and control, top-down, ask-no-questions methodologies of the military as out- dated and even unnecessary in the more holistic and “fun” working environments sought by contemporary businesses and other organisations.
But some principles of management unique to the military remain effective simply because they have to be effective.
Military operations are not only inherently hazardous and life- threatening for the personnel involved; there are existential consequences for failure for the greater nation that pays for it to exist. Hence, military organisations spend an inordinate amount of time “getting it right” through training, planning, drilling and strategising.
Counter-intuitively, though, the military operational model is also built in and around things going wrong. Though never broadcast, there a
Transforming an organisation’s culture is no easy task, but the benefits from getting it right are substantial. By Amy Birchall
Children’s cancer charity Camp Quality knows laughter is the best medicine – and not just for sick children.
After negativity almost crippled the business (both financially and emotionally) in the early 2000s, it transformed its culture to focus on positivity and hope, boosting staff attendance, donations and corporate partnerships in the process.
Camp Quality CEO Simon Rountree recognised the organisation was facing high employee turnover, low team morale and was running at a $1.5 million loss due to a decline in donations. Gripped by a culture of grief, despair and a focus on cancer equalling death, Camp Quality was also at risk of losing its New South Wales and Victoria fundraising licenses.
Rountree enlisted founder and CEO of Emotional Intelligence Worldwide Sue Langley to assist in transforming Camp Quality’s culture.
“We needed to uncover what we stood for – our soul – and develop a credo t
Tasmanian salmon producer Tassal came close to extinction just a decade ago, but it is now becoming a global player, thanks to a unique turnaround strategy adopted by its CEO Mark Ryan. Gerard McManus reports
“You are not here to work with me, you are not here to work for me, you are here to work instead of me,” sums up the broad managerial philosophy of Mark Ryan – a simple but powerful philosophy about empowering people.
For someone whose background is in the rolled-up-sleeves, punctilious methods of a corporate insolvency practitioner, it is an unlikely way to want to operate. But the CEO of Tassal Group says because expertise is increasingly so critical and specialised, particularly in his industry, there is little choice but to leave many of the important things of his business to other people.
“We have intentionally built our people strategy on engaging local and international capability in all aspects of our business, ranging from marine scientists, veterinarians, safety people, engineers, fish farmers, sustainability, sales and market
Australia’s dependable and respected public service head Dr Ian Watt talks leadership with Tom Skotnicki
Public service chief Dr Ian Watt, secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, is well aware the organisation still has a reputation for laziness among many Australians – and he admits it causes some irritation.
He told Management Today that everyone is aware of the pejorative terms with which public servants are sometimes labelled.
“In my experience people in the public service work hard,” he says.
“By the way, when you talk to people in the private sector who know how Canberra works, none of them say to us, ‘You are bludgers’.”
Watt adds he is sure these senior private sector figures would be prepared to call them slackers if that is what they thought.
The challenge in the public service may be greater because it is difficult to dismiss unproductive staff, but nonetheless there are a wide range of motivational drivers available, including promotion, remuneration and recognition.
You would think a simple word such as sorry would be easy to say, but some people still struggle to get it out – and if they do, they sound insincere. By Leon Gettler
Most apologies from managers and people in public life are not well considered.
We are now in the era of the non-apology apology, what New York Times writer William Schneider called the “past exonerative”, where people seem to apologise without taking responsibility (as in “I’m sorry if what I said offended you”).
Two recent cases were Lance Armstrong and Alan Jones. What do they have to do with management? Only that managers also seem to struggle with apologies. They can learn from the mistakes of those two celebrities.
The vitriolic public response to Armstrong and Jones, both in the mainstream and social media, tells us the corporate mea culpa will be an enormous issue for managers who run into trouble when they mishandle people, inadvertently bully them, overload them with work, chew them out in public or just say the wrong thing.
As psychiatrist Aa
From league to football, David Gallop has grand goals, including ridding the sport of its rat-bag element and growing into Asia. By Gerard McManus
David Gallop’s recent elevation as Football Federation Australia CEO is a sign that professional management in Australian sport is coming of age.
A cricketer by upbringing, and after having successfully run rugby league through its most tumultuous decade, Gallop’s move to football brings with it vast amounts of corporate skill, marketing experience, expertise and connections, but no intimate knowledge of the code as a player or coach.
Gallop’s predecessor, Ben Buckley, was a former AFL player – and his predecessor, John O’Neill, a former rugby union player and coach – making Gallop’s appointment a step closer to full maturity in Australian sport.
It is an inspiration to the many hundreds of young people studying at college for a career in professional sports management. David Williamson’s folkloric play The Club is becoming, like the black and white television replays of o