Janice Chaffin says finding ways to help people innovate and flourish is an ongoing challenge for managers, and it is the key to success for Symantec’s consumer business unit, Norton. By Hannah Flannery.
Information is the lifeblood of modern business. The limitation of risks to information, technology and processes is a major priority for all enterprises, from the smallest to the global giants.
Thirty years since its foundation, data, software and hardware security firm Symantec has grown to become a $6.7 billion enterprise, ranking among the Fortune 500.
Leading Symantec’s consumer business unit is Janice Chaffin, group president of its Norton division.
Chaffin has built her career with the protection software business, which has been around since the dawn of the PC industry and now has a customer base of 74 million users.
Her division generates $2.1 billion in sales, putting it near the top 30 for all Silicon Valley companies.
Based in the US, Chaffin frequently travels internationally to meet Symantec’s section manage
Australia is in the midst of an innovation and productivity crisis. It could do worse than look to Lego for solutions, Amy Birchall reports
This Christmas season, Lego will sell 28 products every second. This is an impressive figure for a company whose small plastic building bricks are competing with PlayStations and iPods for pride of place in Santa’s stocking.
Lego’s global profits were up by 17 per cent last year to $745 million, but it hasn’t always been so successful.
Just a decade ago, productivity and inefficiency issues, combined with a loss of lucrative licensing agreements with Marvel Entertainment and unsuccessful legal battles with competitor MEGA Brands, meant Lego was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.
Lego general manager for Australia and New Zealand Glenn Abell says this experience taught the family-owned Danish company some valuable lessons about innovation and productivity.
“We’ve been the type of company in the past that has done the same thing over and over again, you know, the definition of in
With 1.3 million retirees set to enter the healthcare system in the next decade, we need to find new ways to cope with the demands and costs. Tom Skotnicki talks to Medibank’s George Savvides about the challenges.
Medibank CEO George Savvides, in an exclusive interview with Mt, was obviously energised by the prospect of transforming Australia’s largest health insurance fund, Medibank, from “a payer to a player”. It is more than a slogan. It is the basis of a strategy that will have a profound effect on Medibank and, if it succeeds, the Australian healthcare system.
Savvides, an MBA from the University of Technology in Sydney and a former industrial engineer, is convinced unless Medibank has a strategy to deal with rising health costs, its business model is unsustainable.
The engineering honours graduate, of the University of New South Wales, says the health system is not designed to cope with the coming influx of retirees with up to another 1.3 million people expected to enter the 65 to 90-year age bracket within a decade. This can only
Want to be a manager with all the perks and power? Sounds great, but there can be a downside to being the boss – sacking people. By Leon Gettler
The toughest job for managers is having difficult conversations. Some examples: we’re going to have to let you go; you didn’t get that promotion; there’s a problem with your performance.
Managers may worry about the impact those conversations may have on a person (what if they cry? what if they turn violent?). They may also be aware other employees are watching. A badly communicated message could affect productivity. And the worst part about it is the manager is never praised for doing it well. You become the bastard for the day.
The problem is many managers are not trained to do it. After all, many got the job because they were technical experts in their field. They were good at processes and products. More often than not, they were not promoted for their people skills and ability to tell people home truths.
For many, it is a completely different skill set and something they have needed
Negotiating a pay rise can be a tricky task for any employee, but if you’ve done your research you’ll reap the rewards. By Victoria Murray
If you’re not sure why you deserve a pay rise, why should your employer be?
Too often, employees find themselves unprepared when pay discussions arise. Read your position description before having any pay discussion, says Carmel Ackerly, director of client solutions for AIM Victoria.
“Do some background research on your job,” Ackerly says.
“Go online and visit Career One or Seek.com and scan the newspapers. That way you can get an idea of what your remuneration is worth and also the market standard.”
Scott Martin, general manager of sales and training for AIM Queensland & Northern Territory, agrees: “Do your homework. Know how much you are worth and where you sit in the market.”
Many people find pay discussions difficult for fear of rejection or appearing ungrateful, says Shani Langi, managing director of brand agency PLAY Communication.
It’s easy to believe the world’s richest people attain wealth by luck, but most will say it’s about creating your own good fortune. By Amy Birchall
At first glance, billionaires such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates appear to have been blessed with more than their fair share of luck. Buffett, for example, has a net worth of $41 billion and is considered by many as the most successful investor of the 20th century. He has claimed he won the “ovarian lottery” by being born at the right time and in a country where his skill set allowed him to become rich. Had he been born 2000 years ago, or on a desert island without a capital market, his gift of allocating money would have been almost useless.
“I was born in the United States … I was born white … I was born male … I had all kinds of luck,” Buffett said last year at the Fortune Most Powerful Women summit.
Similarly, Microsoft’s Gates was born into an upper middle-class family in the United States just as the field of micro- electronics was advancing
Boeing Australia’s president Ian Thomas puts higher productivity and innovation into his flight plan. Tom Skotnicki reports
The tragedy of September 11, 2001, marked a turning point for the Boeing Corporation. The world’s largest aviation company scaled down production of passenger aircraft in the wake of the terrorist attacks.
It reflected an American-centric view of the global aviation market. The reality was that although there was a downturn in demand in the United States, the growth in other parts of the world, particularly the rapidly expanding Asian market, continued unabated. The lay-offs and downturn in Boeing production lines were mistakes which, in 2004, gave passenger aircraft market leadership to its major competitor, Airbus.
Ian Thomas’ eyes glaze as he recalls the events of September 11. The president of Boeing Australia had just left the Pentagon. It was the day he put his Washington townhouse up for sale in preparation for the move to Boeing’s office in St Louis.
He recalls hearing and feeling the explosion and t
Faster and better decision-making is a key to success, so why is there not more focus on hiring or promoting decisive people? By Gerard McManus
Finding who has the “right stuff” to be a trainee pilot has traditionally involved a rigorous selection process that seeks to identify whether applicants have the capability to make fast and correct decisions.
In fact, pilot judgment, or the ability to gauge risk based on obtainable data within a time constraint during pressure situations, is arguably a more important selection component than grades, knowledge, skills and other aptitudes. There is, of course, no margin for error in aviation and with 75 per cent of crashes still caused by human factors, it is no wonder air forces try to find people among their many applicants who are good at making decisions.
In a similar vein, one of the masters of management, Peter Drucker, divined decision-making was misunderstood on two fronts.
First, the wrong belief that good decision-making was less important to organisational success than other leadership trai
It’s not just everyday people who need to be wary of the pitfalls of social media. By Leon Gettler
Social media is reinventing activism, and managers who ignore it are making a big mistake. If they regard social media as just a marketing tool for sending out cheap press releases, they will be caught out.
Just ask Nicholas Curtis, the chief executive officer of Sydney-based Lynas.
The mining company had planned to build the world’s biggest rare earths plant in Malaysia, but the project has been put on hold as local activists, worried about possible contamination from the Pahang plant, used social media to rally local and foreign opposition to the facility. Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas!, a lobby group, has more than 40,000 followers on its Facebook page. It also has a blog and uses Twitter.
Its activism has held up the project and every month of delay costs Lynas up to $10 million. In an interview with Bloomberg in July, Curtis admitted his company had underestimated the power of Facebook and Twitter.
“We probably didn’t recogn
The skills shortage is already here – and with baby boomers exiting the workforce quicker than gen Y replaces them, it’s only going to get worse. Leon Gettler investigates the issue and looks at some possible solutions.
Over the next decade, Australian managers will struggle to find the talent to fill key positions. The skills shortage is getting worse and that will create enormous challenges for managers and force organisations to restructure work.
The problem is exacerbated in Australia by a big skills shortage looming because of the pipeline of projects in the resources sector and related infrastructure, and the needs of other sectors that risk losing out to fast- growing, high-paying industries.
At the same time, the skills shortages, particularly on the west coast, are happening at a time when people on the east coast are losing jobs in struggling sectors such as manufacturing and retail, as well as from government cutbacks.
The skills crisis is likely to shape politics. The debate over the Gillard government’s decision to allow 1