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Daily Archives: July 28th, 2012

 

Posted July 26, 2012 15:36:52

It’s a pity about the timing of last weekend’s Melbourne by-election. It’s a pity it wasn’t being held this weekend, and in a seat where the governing Liberal National Party was forced to contest.

While it was useful academically to get a sense of the relative strengths of the ALP and the Greens in inner-Melbourne, it would be far more illuminating right now to get a steer on how the electorate feels about the near collapse of the disability insurance system.

On the face of it, the failure of the richest states to cough up a relative pittance towards the trials appears to be the dumbest – and meanest – act by leading politicians in a very long time.

Perhaps there is a plausible explanation to the intransigence of Barry O’Farrell, Ted Baillieu and Campbell Newman; perhaps it does go beyond the suspicion that they are merely playing a political game, denying the Prime Minister a “win” no matter what the issue.

If it does go beyond that, then so far the premiers have done a lousy job of putting the record straight.

The most offensive contribution came from Premier Newman, pleading poor while presiding over resource-rich Queensland. Even at its most basic – the argument that they don’t want to lock themselves into a future funding model that will become unaffordable when it is extended – doesn’t hold water.

What’s wrong with a separate arrangement simply allowing trials to go ahead, with a view to thrashing out the longer term deal down the track, especially given that everybody agrees the scheme is first class and essential?

Make no mistake, the politics of this are all negative for the state premiers. This is not a situation like asylum seekers, or the mining tax, where the competing parties can at least make an argument on policy direction. There is no dispute here, no issue and no alternative proposals being put.

Now, whenever a state premier spends $10m or more, and they often commit to these sorts of sums between budgets, that money will be lined up against money for the disabled. The premiers’ priorities will be put to the test every time: no matter whether it’s money for public events like a grand prix, money for lobbyists or overseas trips, the comparison can and will be made as a regular test of the values of the government.

Here’s one hot off the press. Just this week, the Baillieu Government committed to spending – according to media reports – $5m to install automated boom gates at a level crossing in well-off Brighton. That was after spending $2m on a feasibility study.

The politics are baffling to say the least, but not inconsistent with the level of public discourse that the country has been enduring for some time now.

What on earth drove the premiers to think they could go down this path and emerge unscathed politically?

The alarm bells would surely have been ringing if advisers were listening to 2SM’s John Laws as he interviewed the Minister for Families and Disability Reform, Jenny Macklin.

After listening to her presentation, he said: “I really don’t understand how anybody could argue with that …”, and again after a pause, “I really do not understand.”

“It’s a tragedy,” he said, “because, I mean, as Australians … we are a very compassionate race of people … we should be looking after people who simply can’t look after themselves.

“This place is not Bangladesh, it’s Australia; one of the greatest countries – the greatest in my mind – in the world, yet we can’t look after people properly with disabilities.”

A test of the State Government’s strength in Victoria would have been interesting even before the rejection of the disabilities insurance scheme.

Even though the Baillieu Government won just a single seat majority at the November 2010 election, the shock of the defeat of a well-established Labor Government had most pundits assuming the LNP would grab incumbency by both hands and consolidate for years to come. Few of them believe that any more.

The decline started with the virtual neutering of one of the government’s finest performers, the deputy premier, Peter Ryan, over the plot to get rid of the chief of police, Simon Overland.

Along the way there were extremely messy pay negotiations with well-regarded public sector workers like teachers and nurses.

Then the coup de grace: the budget decision to cut into TAFE in some of the most politically sensitive regions in the state.

Now the momentum is running against the government and the opposition leader, Daniel Andrews – considered by some up until now as a stop gap leader – is re-energised and hitting targets.

None will be as easy to hit as the one erected when the premiers of the biggest states shirked their responsibility to the disabled.

Barrie Cassidy is the presenter of ABC programs Insiders and Offsiders. View his full profile here.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-26/cassidy-shirking-responsibility-for-the-disabled/4156844

 

by Anthony J. Bradley and Mark P. McDonald | 7:00 AM July 20, 2012

In just a few years, social media has come to dominate many of our personal communications. We collaborate daily, sometimes productively, sometimes not. Most organizations, however, still view social media as a threat to productivity, intellectual capital, security, privacy, management authority, or regulatory compliance. In fact, this is the most common attitude among the more than 250 organizations that have taken our Social Readiness Assessment.

We’re not surprised. When we first wrote about The Six Attitudes Leaders Take Towards Social Media, our analysis showed that most organizations had yet to embrace a positive attitude towards using social media for true business value. Results of the Social Readiness Assessment reflect this continued struggle. But they also show progress. Overall, respondents were split 50/50 between a positive and challenged attitude towards social media with many indicating that they recognize the potential for social media to address strategic needs and generate durable change.

The figure below shows the distribution of the six social media attitudes we identified.

bradley 1.png

Fearful, folly and flippant attitudes keep organizations from realizing the benefits of mass collaboration. Simple social media solutions that generate ‘likes’ may be easier to embrace but they offer little in the way of meaningful change.

The trouble with a fearful attitude is that an organization often doesn’t take a specific stance: it discourages and even prohibits the use of social media. While this approach reduces the potential for undesirable behavior — that’s the reason for restriction — it also stifles any business value that might be derived from grassroots use of social media.

In companies with a formulating attitude, organizational leadership recognizes both the value of community collaboration and the need to be more organized and strategic in its use. They actively plan how to use it with well-defined purposes. They are no longer fearful of its misuse nor flippant about its potential to drive results back into the organization.

bradley 2.png

Progression Path to Becoming a Social Organization
Source: The Social Organization

Moving Beyond Fear
Social media sponsors who want to move beyond the three negative attitudes tend to build their social media capability in one of two ways: They either use it to demonstrate executive support and build confidence throughout the organization, or they start small with a narrow and specific purpose. Note that this is different than starting with a pilot. Social media pilots don’t work because they might limit the initial audience, which needs to grow organically and aggressively for success; or they tend to launch with a half-baked scope or technology that doesn’t inspire the community to participate.

The large grocery retailer SUPERVALU provides a good example of how to overcome fear in an organization by demonstrating executive support. CEO and President Craig Herkert saw social media as a way to respond faster to market needs, create a flatter organization, and share ideas and innovations, according to Wayne Shurts, the company’s CIO. To this end, Herkert uses social media both to communicate with the company and also to respond to questions and comments directly and quickly. He encourages his executive team to participate and even assigns comments and action items to them via social media where everyone can see. This creates a cultural intimacy in a company with multiple brands and acquired chains.

SUPERVALU’s executive team’s use of social media has encouraged the formation of collaborative communities across the stores and departments. Whereas ideas and experiences were previously kept within local store brands, now collaborative communities have formed based on commonalities that exist across the store brands. For example, a grass roots “Shores Stores Group” formed among the more than 100 store managers with stores located in vacation communities. These stores face unique challenges from staffing during the busy season to handling peak demand during the summer months. The tools, techniques, and approaches to handling these issues are unique to this type of store and social media provides a platform for sharing ideas.

The second option to overcome fear entails defining a purpose that engages people without threatening the organization. For example, instead of deploying a social network for all its employees to collaborate more effectively (but only starting with a pilot for the “western region”), a company can build a social media solution for sales people to network specifically on how to successfully identify and overcome the top three sales objections.

In other words, consider a starter set of social media purposes that are highly magnetic to individuals to attract them into collaborative communities. Purposes related to employee health and safety, customer support, or even organizing the company picnic have all been used to move beyond fear and into action and experience.

Any organization can get lucky and have a single successful implementation of social media. Social leaders, on the other hand, build collaborative capability through a learning process that starts with understanding their current attitude and taking the steps required to building confidence and trust. This turns a single social media success into a sustained source of competitive advantage.

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/07/most_organizations_still_fear.html?cm_sp=blog_flyout-_-cs-_-most_organizations_still_fear

 

When New York career coach Sarah Stamboulie was working at financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald in the human resources department some years ago, she was about to hire a support staffer. At the final stage in the process, she called the woman’s last employer, expecting to hear a glowing recommendation. Instead, the employer spoke haltingly and without enthusiasm. “It was totally damning with faint praise,” says Stamboulie. “They were basically saying this person never showed up and their attendance was bad.” Stamboulie, who has also worked in human resources at Morgan Stanley and Nortel Networks, before a stint in Columbia Business School’s alumni career services office and then in her own coaching firm, says she has seen this problem frequently over the years. Job candidates give out references who only grudgingly endorse their qualifications.

That’s just one of the frequent mistakes job applicants make during their search. I interviewed Stamboulie, and two other New York coaches, Anita Attridge, who is affiliated with the national career coaching group, The Five O’Clock Club, and Ellis Chase, a coach with more than 30 years of experience, and they shared some of the most common, and egregious, job-searching errors.

Often candidates scotch their chances early in the process with an illegible résumé. Stamboulie says that even at a time when it’s easy to change type styles and design layouts, too many candidates use such a small font that it’s tough to read. Attridge and Chase see this too. “There’s something about trying to get everything all on one page,” says Attridge. “They forget about readability.”

Chase, who worked inside Chase bank, and as a managing director at staffing firm Right Management before starting his own coaching practice fifteen years ago, says another common mistake is that job seekers belabor their résumé for days and even weeks on end, while telling themselves they are working hard on their search. “On my list of important things to care of, the résumé is about no.23,” says Chase. “It can create an enormous waste of psychic energy.”

Once candidates have landed an interview, they make several frequent errors. One is a failure to muster enthusiasm about their former employers. “People don’t realize how positive they have to be to be positive,” says Stamboulie. Being neutral doesn’t suffice. Also, say the coaches, candidates are misguided if they think they need to be totally frank about their perceptions of their employers’ missteps. “The hiring manager doesn’t identify with the candidate; he identifies with the old boss or old management,” explains Stamboulie. Was your division cut in a move that you think was unwise? Better to say that it was a decision the company realized it had to make and that the change helped streamline operations.

Along similar lines, candidates too often tell grim stories about themselves in interviews. One of Chase’s clients, a private equity professional who needs to find a new job because his niche venture is failing, was talking about himself in an utterly self-defeating way. “He was representing all the work he’s done for the last two years as a failure,” says Chase. “There is a much better way to frame it.” The candidate should talk about his venture’s successes and achievements, and play down the weaknesses.

Another interview problem, says Attridge: talking too much at the start, instead of demonstrating curiosity about what the hiring manager needs. A client of Attridge’s, who was interviewing for a marketing job, launched into a lengthy description of why her skills matched the job description, only to learn halfway through the interview that the open slot emphasized different skills. “She found herself backtracking,” says Attridge. “She hadn’t realized that digital experience was a critical part of the job.”

One more interview mistake job-seekers make: talking about how tough it is to find a job and how long they have been looking. Though the media has been full of reports about long-term unemployment, hiring managers don’t want to hear about it. Stamboulie says it’s important to come up with a story with a positive spin, like saying you decided to take a sabbatical and that you’ve been having a lot of meetings over the last few months.

Yet another common interview mistake: being honest when the hiring manager asks about your weaknesses. One of Chase’s clients, who worked in pharmaceutical marketing, admitted to him in a mock interview that he was impatient and didn’t like to spend time with subordinates who were slow to catch on. “I said to him, ‘you’re applying for a senior management job and you’re telling us you’re a lousy manager.’” Instead, the candidate should have kept that to himself and talked about an accomplishment from his previous job.

One more common interview pitfall: bringing up salary prematurely. “He who brings up salary first, loses,” says Chase. Many candidates think they need to resolve the money issue early on, when it’s best left for the final stage of negotiations. It’s also a mistake to answer questions about how much money you want to make. If you are asked your salary requirement, try saying, “money is very important to me but at this point in my career, the fit is the primary issue. Toward that end, could we talk about this a bit later on, when we’ve established there’s a good fit?”

As the job interview and vetting process goes on, Stamboulie says that many candidates make the mistake of becoming impatient and pestering recruiters and hiring managers too frequently, especially by phone. It’s a good idea to follow up and stay in touch, but know that the process can take time. Impatience or testiness will only alienate your potential employer.

Finally, I have to mention the most common and worst mistake job seekers make: Spending all their time answering ads, or sending out their résumé to blind contacts, instead of making meaningful connections and doing face-to-face networking. “It’s the number one, catastrophic job search mistake,” says Chase. “It fools people into thinking they are doing a pro-active search when in fact it’s very passive.” Stamboulie and Attridge agree. “More than 50% of jobs are never posted,” notes Attridge. “Eighty percent of jobs are found through networking or direct contact.” We’ve written it many times but it bears repeating.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2012/07/27/stop-screwing-up-your-job-search-in-these-ten-ways/