Even before the starter’s gun fires, Fiona De Jong has run a years-long marathon to prepare the Aussies for the Olympic Games. By Hannah Flannery
Fiona De Jong is not an Olympian, coach or trainer, but much of the responsibility for Australia’s performance at the London Olympic Games will be on her shoulders.
Director of Sport for the Australian Olympic Committee, De Jong has the enormous task of managing the delivery of the Australian Olympic delegation to the Games.
“We have set the ambition of finishing in the top five in the overall medal tally, which is going to be tougher than ever. But it is do-able,” she says.
De Jong is “cautiously optimistic” the Australian team will reach this goal.
The challenge De Jong faces in London will be to swiftly react to whatever curveball is thrown. And if the Beijing Games are anything to go by, the trickiest curveballs will be unexpected.
“Some of the issues we will face in London just can’t be anticipated,” De Jong says.
In preparation fo
Trying to forge a bright new future. By Gerard McManus.
Three federal MPs recently launched a program to lever politicians out of the rarefied air of Parliament House and into real work experience in manufacturing and farming enterprises around Australia.
Queensland’s Bob Katter, South Australian independent senator Nick Xenophon and Victorian Democratic Labor Party senator John Madigan have resolved that the gap between the chauffeur-driven, business-class life of an MP and the demands of everyday Australians needs bridging.
The first two MPs are household names, but the third is less well known. Depending on how you look at him, Madigan is an accidental senator, a throwback to a bygone era in politics, or the visionary voice for Australia’s manufacturing sector.
Madigan was sworn in as the DLP senator for Victoria last July – the first such representative from the party in 37 years.
The DLP played a significant role in Australian politics from 1955 (when it split from the Labor Party) through to 1974, when the last of its sena
As traditional travel agents struggle, Flight Centre CEO Graham “Skroo” Turner has helped ensure his company continues to soar. By Tom Skotnicki
There is nothing obvious that distinguishes Flight Centre CEO and co-founder Graham “Skroo” Turner from any number of middle-ranking executives nearing retirement age. His uniform of short-sleeved shirt and a tie lacks the style one normally associates with a CEO – particularly one worth well over $360 million.
A few minutes in his company and it is obvious he cares little for the accoutrements of wealth or position.
In his Brisbane head office when holding a private meeting he goes into one of several conference rooms near his cubicle. There is an informality about the company structure which reflects an egalitarian philosophy to which many companies pay lip service but few adhere.
As the CEO and co-founder of Flight Centre, Turner grew his business in the good times after international leisure travel had boomed with the emergence of cheap flights from the mid 1970s.
There’s no magic dial for resolving conflict and improving poor performance. It requires careful understanding of the dynamics of internal change, writes Gerard McManus
Encounters with difficult people in the workplace are often the result of a clash of cultures rather than a clash of personalities.
The good news is the former is easier to resolve than the latter.
The not-so-good news is such resolutions require the application of judicious people-management skills and an understanding of the dynamics of internal change.
Unless you are a hermit or a deep-sea diver, it is inevitable there will be encounters with difficult people at work.
For managers or team leaders this can be doubly difficult because they have to act as judge, jury and sometimes executioner in dealing with a person who does not get on with their colleagues.
Melbourne-based leadership and management specialist Clare Coffield says the critical thing is to differentiate between the person and the situation.
“I prefer only to talk about difficult situations
Having trouble solving a problem at work? You’re not alone – and plenty of people are turning to unexpected sources for answers, writes Amy Birchall
‘If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” When Sir Isaac Newton wrote these words in 1676 he was not just referring to physicists. In the past few years respect for the “renaissance man” appears to have waned.
But searching for solutions outside of your professional sphere can yield surprising results. Recently, a scientific journal article about freezing sperm helped to solve one of the biggest challenges faced by Massachusetts-based ceramic composites firm CPS.
The company, regarded as one of the most innovative in its field, was struggling to find a solution to prevent ice crystals forming in ceramic slurries (a liquid mixture that later hardens like concrete) and weakening the final product.
A CPS engineer stumbled across the solution after reading a paper about artificial insemination.
He discovered biologists routinely fa
There’s little doubt Gen Y has a different view of life and work than other generations. But their way of life may soon be the norm as they graduate to become managers. Leon Gettler reports
There has been a glut of stories written about Gen Y, the mob born from 1982 to about 1993. But few commentators have asked what kind of managers they waill be.
Still, with the oldest of them turning 30 this year, we can expect to see more Gen Y employees becoming managers.
Contemplating what they will be like is a challenge for everyone.
The best known of the new breed run IT start-ups – the outstanding example being 27-year-old Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who, according to Forbes, is worth $17.5 billion and whose net worth will be even higher after Facebook’s float in the next few months.
There are also some senior managers in the not-for-profit sector. The Gen Y management movement has yet to take off, but one thing is certain – it will be different.
Here is a generation who would not remember a time without mobile phones
Gina Rinehart has taken a shredded mining empire and turned it into one of the world’s greatest fortunes. Tom Skotnicki reports
It would be easy to attribute the success of Gina Rinehart to the legacy of her father, Lang Hancock, who pioneered the development of iron ore deposits in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. However, it would also be a mistake. There is no doubt when her father died in 1992, the Hancock family interests were in crisis.
The chairman of Qantas, Leigh Clifford, has been known to privately recount the story of his 2005 negotiations with Rinehart over the Hope Downs development. Clifford, then chief executive of Rio Tinto, claims he gave Rinehart a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum to proceed on the basis of an equal partnership or have Rio Tinto withdraw. Rinehart was under pressure from the then Geoff Gallop WA Labor government to proceed with a development plan no later than July 1. She had also agreed to buy out a minority interest in the development.
Despite some nibbles from other potential investors, she accepted a partners
With a starting budget of $3000, Kristina Karlsson now runs an empire with annual revenue of $30 million. Amy Birchall reports
In 2001, 24-year-old Kristina Karlsson convinced her partner to sell his house to finance the opening of her boutique stationery store kikki.K in Melbourne. It was a risky move for Swedish-born Karlsson, who had no retail, design or business experience, and spoke English as a second language.
The gamble paid off – kikki.K now boasts more than 80 privately owned stores worldwide (the company doesn’t offer domestic franchise opportunities), 500 staff during peak retail periods and annual revenue estimated at $30 million.
“I’ve always set high expectations. I’m very straight about that,” says the company’s founder Karlsson about the rapid success, which has earned her a swathe of Australian and international awards, including 2007 Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year.
“From day one I had a clear vision, and I used that to empower people around me. Everyone was always working towar
Our role in Japan’s time of need. By Tim Harcourt
A year on from the tsunami and earthquake disasters that killed 19,000 people, Japan continues to rebuild domestically as well as in international trade.
Resilience and the generosity to offer a helping hand in times of crisis are Japanese traits, of which I got my first taste at age four, when my father was taking a sabbatical at Keio University in Tokyo. A Japanese family moved out so we – a family of six – could live in comfort.
I was reminded of this as the Japanese community pulled together, helping each other cope with one tragedy after another in the biggest catastrophe Japan has faced in more than 60 years.
It is well-known Japan is Australia’s second-largest export partner, but for many years it was our first. Perhaps not as well-known is that Japan enabled Australia to be a successful trading partner with Asia, something we now take for granted.
In 1957, just 12 years after World War II, we signed an economic partnership agreement. Australian National University E
Kodak’s downfall was partly a result of being product-orientated, rather than customer-orientated. By Leon Gettler.
Kodak filing for bankruptcy protection is a lesson for managers. Commentators say Kodak was blind to the disruptive forces that transformed an industry, but it’s more complicated than that.
Founded in 1888, Eastman Kodak was the Apple of its day with its pioneering technology, while its marketing was well ahead of its time. At one stage, Kodak gave away cameras in exchange for getting people hooked on paying to have their photos developed. And it innovated. In 1900, Kodak launched the Brownie camera, a basic cardboard box camera with a simple lens. It cost $1 and was marketed as the kind of camera anyone could use. The Kodak slogan said it all: “You press the button and we do the rest.”
Former Telstra chief Ziggy Switkowski, who also served as chairman and managing director of Kodak Australasia, told Management Today Kodak’s problem was its rigid orientation.
“They were not lacking in vision, but Kodak w