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Articles

To Make Better Decisions, Scan Wider

To Make Better Decisions, Scan Wider

Like many others, during our strict lockdown early in the pandemic, we used jigsaw puzzles to while away the time. If you enjoy solving jigsaw puzzles, you know the most common tactics: start with the edges, sort the pieces by colour, sort them by shape, tackle a difficult section together, ...
Shut Up And Listen

Shut Up And Listen

It’s now almost two years since COVID-19 first spread through the world, and there’s no doubt the pandemic has created huge stress and anxiety in many workplaces. So if you’re a leader or manager, you might be heartened by some recent research from the Society for Human Resource Management about ...
Give Them Meaning, Not Just Money

Give Them Meaning, Not Just Money

A few weeks ago, Harvard Business Review editor-in-chief Adi Ignatius interviewed Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella about his ideas for a post-pandemic future. Not surprisingly, Nadella talked about some technology things, like Microsoft’s new collaboration platform, virtual reality, and the Facebook metaverse. But, to me, his most important insight was about ...
Here’s How to Lead in 2022: Be An Avocado Leader

Here’s How to Lead in 2022: Be An Avocado Leader

As we’re coming to the end of 2021, you might be putting plans in place for 2022. Of course we’re not through this pandemic yet, so 2022 still holds some uncertainty and doubt. If you’re a leader, manager, or business owner (or all three!), this gives you a double challenge: ...
Your Employees Really Want This – Why Aren’t You Doing It?

Your Employees Really Want This – Why Aren’t You Doing It?

In October last year, during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oracle and Workplace Intelligence surveyed 12,000 employees globally about their mental health. You won’t be surprised to know that three-quarters rated 2020 their most stressful year ever. But you might be interested to hear about their approach to dealing ...
Flatten Your World

Flatten Your World

In 2011 – a whole decade ago – I wrote my book ‘Fast, Flat, and Free’ to help business owners understand and leverage the online world for their offline business. That book is out of print because so much of the technology is obsolete. But the principles of ‘fast, flat, ...
Digital Transformation Won’t Disrupt You – Unless You Ignore It

Digital Transformation Won’t Disrupt You – Unless You Ignore It

For the three years before COVID-19, KPMG’s annual survey of Australian CEOs reported that digital transformation was their #1 priority. Even the pandemic didn’t slow this trend – and many leaders say it even accelerated their digital transformation by 5-10 years! And yet, McKinsey says 70% of transformation efforts fail. ...
Freedom Ahead? Not So Fast!

Freedom Ahead? Not So Fast!

Right back at the start of this pandemic, you might remember all the talk of ‘flattening the curve’. Australia’s goal at the time was not to eliminate COVID-19 altogether, but to keep infections at a low enough level that it wouldn’t swamp the healthcare system. For a while last year, ...
Power Up Your Team

Power Up Your Team

In March last year, when the reality of a global pandemic first hit us, we kept hearing the word ‘unprecedented’ as a way to describe how our lives had changed. Now, 18 months later, some of the changes we’ll face in the next few months are just as unprecedented. For ...
Move Fast But Stay Loose: The Secret For Success In An Uncertain 2022

Move Fast But Stay Loose: The Secret For Success In An Uncertain 2022

As we’re nearing the last quarter of 2021 – which has been yet another chaotic and uncertain year for so many people – many leaders are making their plans for the year ahead. Two weeks ago, I was working with a group of leaders in regional Western Australia who were ...
Trust Them!

Trust Them!

In the book ‘No Rules Rules’, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings explains how Netflix leaders trust their staff and demonstrate that trust in practice. For example, they post high-level strategy documents – with confidential information they wouldn’t want to leak to competitors – on a public bulletin board and trust staff ...
Don’t Just Learn Something – Do Something

Don’t Just Learn Something – Do Something

When the World Economic Forum’s ‘Future Jobs Report’ for 2020 identified the key skills we need for the future workplace, one of the top five (both globally and for Australia) was active learning. We can’t rely only on the skills and knowledge that brought us here; we must be willing ...
The Single Best Team Strategy in Uncertainty and Chaos

The Single Best Team Strategy in Uncertainty and Chaos

A World Economic Forum survey of Australian employees about a year ago found almost half of them worried they wouldn’t have a job by the end of this year – as a result of the pandemic. That’s a shocking number, but – given our current challenges – it’s not too ...
The Power of the Pivot

The Power of the Pivot

Some leaders and business owners cringe now when they hear the word ‘pivot’, because it’s one of those words that became a cliché early in the pandemic – along with ‘the new normal’ and ‘unprecedented’. Many people with no business experience were urging struggling businesses to instantly switch to a ...
Give The Man A Fish

Give The Man A Fish

I’m sure you’re familiar with the saying: Give someone a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach them how to fish and you feed them for a lifetime. There’s a lot to like in this idea, but it’s not always appropriate. Sometimes you need to give them a ...
Clear Their Path

Clear Their Path

Although my first sporting love is cricket, I’m also a fan of Australian Rules Football (I support the West Coast Eagles – thanks for asking – and our season is hanging by a thread right now, but that’s a story for another day). A common defensive tactic in Aussie Rules ...
Your Secret Weapon for Success In Uncertainty

Your Secret Weapon for Success In Uncertainty

With most of Australia back in lockdown, it’s easy to think ‘Here we go again’! Be careful, because there’s a common – but dangerous – trap many leaders fall into when the future is uncertain. Because you can’t see far ahead, it’s tempting to think only about small goals and ...
We’re Hard-Wired to Avoid Uncertainty – And That’s Not Good

We’re Hard-Wired to Avoid Uncertainty – And That’s Not Good

How well do you deal with uncertainty? Probably not as well as you’d like – and that’s a problem, because the uncertainty we’re facing in 2020 and 2021 will continue for some time to come. Unfortunately, we’re hard-wired to prefer certainty, and there’s research to prove it. In 2016, a ...
There’s a Reason They Can’t Get COVID-19 Out of Their Head

There’s a Reason They Can’t Get COVID-19 Out of Their Head

Many years ago, when I was working in the UK, I went to Paris for a short weekend trip, and lined up at the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa. Millions of people have done it over the years (and most of them seemed to be there the day I ...
This Ten-Minute Trick Takes You From Chaos to Calm

This Ten-Minute Trick Takes You From Chaos to Calm

A few months ago, you might have been forgiven for thinking we in Australia were over the worst of COVID-19. The vaccine rollout – although slow – was happening, the spate of short lockdowns earlier in the year had stopped, and things were gradually getting better. But it didn’t take ...
Why You Need To Change Your Mind

Why You Need To Change Your Mind

As I’m writing this, ATAGI, the expert group advising us on Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, is meeting to reconsider its advice about the AstraZeneca vaccine. ATAGI initially approved the vaccine as safe for all adults, and that advice still applies. But, due to a small risk of blood clotting issues, ...
Online Meetings That Sizzle (Really!)

Online Meetings That Sizzle (Really!)

I’ve been delivering online presentations since 2009, so I have a lot of experience in this area. Of course, online meetings and presentations didn’t become mainstream until last year, when COVID-19 forced so many people to work from home for the first time. And now, with another recent spate of ...
In A Crisis, Look Further (Like a Fox!)

In A Crisis, Look Further (Like a Fox!)

It seems a long time ago that we first heard of this ‘novel coronavirus’, and you might have hoped it would have run its course by now. But with Sydney going into lockdown to protect further spread, and a few leaks into other parts of Australia, it seems we have ...
You Can’t Always Plan The Journey

You Can’t Always Plan The Journey

Next week, I’ll be working with a leadership team to help them with their short-term strategic planning. They have an ambitious goal to grow by 50% within two years, and they need to create some concrete plans now to achieve that goal. But in a fluid, fast-changing environment, they don’t ...
Embrace The Change-Makers In Your Team

Embrace The Change-Makers In Your Team

Next week, Nikki and I are going on a short holiday to Denmark and Albany, in the south of Western Australia. We’re looking forward to visiting one of the most beautiful corners of the world, but the main purpose of our visit is to see Nikki’s 22-year-old daughter (my stepdaughter) ...
Want Better Ideas? Don’t Only Ask The Usual Suspects

Want Better Ideas? Don’t Only Ask The Usual Suspects

I’ve just returned from a quick trip to Port Hedland, in the north-west of Western Australia, where I was speaking at a one-day economic and resources forum. Western Australia was recently ranked the most important mining location in the world, and the success of our mining and resources sector was ...
Expand Your Team To Be Future-Fit

Expand Your Team To Be Future-Fit

As we’re increasing vaccinations and easing restrictions in Australia, we continue to have the conversation about the best balance for our workplace of the future: everybody in the office (but that’s so 2019!), everybody working from home, or somewhere in between. If you enhanced your infrastructure in 2020 to support ...
Understand the Future Customer Journey

Understand the Future Customer Journey

I remember speaking at a conference in Brisbane to a group of CEOs of private hospitals about the future of healthcare. These are smart, savvy, experienced people who know healthcare is changing, know they need to change as well, but don’t know exactly what to do. But I know some ...
It’s a Matter of Trust

It’s a Matter of Trust

Early in the pandemic, organisations with office workers scrambled to allow them to work from home. Many leaders and managers saw it only as a short-term crisis response. To everybody’s surprise, productivity increased and many people enjoyed working from home – and want that to continue one or two days ...
Unleash Artificial Intelligence

Unleash Artificial Intelligence

Last year, during the worst of the pandemic, Oracle and Workplace Intelligence surveyed 12,000 employees globally about their mental health. Not surprisingly, three-quarters rated 2020 their most stressful year ever, but more interesting was their approach to dealing with it. Two-thirds said they would rather talk about their problems to ...
Forever After: How COVID-19 Has Changed Our World Forever

Forever After: How COVID-19 Has Changed Our World Forever

In the 14th century, the bubonic plague – known as the Black Death – spread throughout the world, leaving death and destruction in its wake. It didn’t discriminate, slaying young and old, rich and poor, urban and rural. Densely populated Europe suffered the worst, but the rest of the world ...
Do Something That Matters

Do Something That Matters

When Santiago Jaramillo, the CEO and co-founder of Saas software company Emplify, was a seven-year-old child in Colombia, he craved Snickers bars, which his parents couldn’t afford because they were expensive imported products. Young Santiago sold avocados from his garden to earn money, and eventually had enough to buy five ...
Create a Premium Non-Digital Experience

Create a Premium Non-Digital Experience

Last year, when the pandemic virtually shut down international air travel and devastated the airline industry, Singapore Airlines – like most other airlines – grounded most of its fleet. Forced to generate revenue in other ways, the airline offered a first-class dining experience at home. For $900, a chef comes ...
The One Thing That Will Make or Break Your Hybrid Workplace

The One Thing That Will Make or Break Your Hybrid Workplace

Early in the pandemic, organisations with office workers scrambled to allow those employees to work from home. Many leaders saw it only as a short-term crisis response. But to their surprise, they found productivity increased and many people enjoyed working from home. All the research shows many employees want this ...
Think Equal, Not Same

Think Equal, Not Same

A year on from the first major impact of the coronavirus and the mad scramble to get office workers working from home, leaders and organisations around Australia – and the world – are grappling with the challenge of understanding the workplace of the future. Broadly, employees love the flexibility of ...
Leave Some Things Behind

Leave Some Things Behind

In an innovation workshop I was running for leaders, a leader in her university’s student experience centre described some of their new initiatives – such as more parking, increased security for women at night, a wider range of eating outlets, and more social activities. As she spoke, it struck me ...
Trust Is Your Responsibility

Trust Is Your Responsibility

In my many conversations with leaders working in uncertain times, I hear one word over and over again: trust. How do you trust people working from home? How do you trust people to take the initiative? How do you trust people to know when to follow the rules, and when ...
Diversity Trumps Ability

Diversity Trumps Ability

In December, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo was fined €90,000 (about A$140,000) by the French Ministry of Civil Service because she had broken a rule about gender diversity in senior public service appointments. The 2013 rule was designed to increase the number of women in senior positions, but here’s the twist: ...
More Customers Want a Faster Experience

More Customers Want a Faster Experience

I went to breakfast last week at a restaurant that provided QR codes for ordering directly from the table. Each table has a QR code on it, which you scan with your phone, and it takes you to their online menu. You choose what you want, pay with Google Pay, ...
Let’s Get Digital!

Let’s Get Digital!

For the last three years, KPMG’s annual “Keeping Us Up At Night” survey reported on what Australian business leaders consider their biggest challenges and issues. The same topic ranked #1 for all three years (pre-pandemic!): digital transformation. Even the pandemic didn’t slow this trend. In fact, it’s the opposite, with ...
Customers Want More For Less

Customers Want More For Less

When we first moved to Australia in the 1970s, we kept in touch with relatives in Sri Lanka with the occasional long-distance phone call. They were expensive, so we four kids all lined up by the phone, spoke very fast for our allotted couple of minutes, and quickly passed over ...
Customer Priorities Have Changed

Customer Priorities Have Changed

When I speak to healthcare groups about the future, I often talk about the use of robots for care and support. For example, the Paro robot seal in aged care facilities provides support and comfort for older people, and “Stevie” is an interactive robot that’s brightening up aged care homes: ...
Better Than Referrals – Share the Customer Experience

Better Than Referrals – Share the Customer Experience

A crisis like a global pandemic makes everybody re-assess and re-evaluate what’s important to them. And that includes your customers. So don’t assume you know what they want – make sure you continue to keep in touch with them. This is not just for loyalty purposes. It can also be ...
Light the Fire of Innovation

Light the Fire of Innovation

All the disruption we experienced in 2020 – and will continue to face in 2021 – means we need to be constantly innovating to adapt to change. Innovation isn’t something you can leave to an R&D team, and it isn’t something you do “when things quieten down”. It’s simply about ...
Embrace Chaos

Embrace Chaos

If you’re picking apples from a tree, how would you choose the best apples? You might decide based on colour, shape, size, texture, and other physical attributes. But research from University College London suggests we subconsciously also factor in the ease of reaching the apple. The low-hanging fruit appears more ...
Measure COI, Not Just ROI

Measure COI, Not Just ROI

In March 2015, almost six years ago, Bill Gates, former Microsoft CEO and now one of the world’s leading philanthropists, delivered his sixth TED Talk, this time on the topic, “The next outbreak? We’re not ready”. In his presentation, Gates described a global pandemic scenario that matched almost exactly the ...
Adapt, Don’t Simplify

Adapt, Don’t Simplify

As part of my mathematics degree at the University of Western Australia, we calculated how objects in space – such as planets, asteroids, and moons – would interact with each other, based on their mass, velocity, and other factors. We assumed these objects were perfect spheres, which was a reasonable ...
Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You

Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You

I grew up in the 1980s, and my favourite actor at the time was Steve Martin (My all-time favourite actor is Humphrey Bogart, but that’s another story, and he was way before my time). When Steve Martin was once asked for the secret of his success, he said this: “Be ...
What “Survival of the Fittest” Means (It’s Probably Not What You Think)

What “Survival of the Fittest” Means (It’s Probably Not What You Think)

Unless you’re an evolutionary biologist, you probably aren’t an expert in the theory of evolution. For most people, all they know about it is the name Charles Darwin, the occasional debate about whether it’s true (spoiler alert: it is), and some vague idea about “survival of the fittest”. When talking ...
Too Many Interruptions? It’s Your Own Fault

Too Many Interruptions? It’s Your Own Fault

When I was a middle manager in corporate Australia in my mid-twenties (quite a long time ago!), I read every people management, time management, and leadership book I could find. And one of the most useful pieces of advice I got was about avoiding interruptions, while still being available to ...
Offer Three Types of Learning To Your Employees … Or Else!

Offer Three Types of Learning To Your Employees … Or Else!

This pandemic is a perfect storm of three crises: a health crisis, an economic crisis, and a social crisis. Australia has done an incredible job of managing the health crisis, but the economic crisis is far from over. If you’re a leader or manager, one of the biggest challenges you ...
Map Many Scenarios, Choose a Few

Map Many Scenarios, Choose a Few

I remember a couple of years ago when I had my first dangerous close encounter with a kangaroo when driving on a country road. We were enjoying a quiet weekend away in Yallingup, in the beautiful South-West region of Australia, driving on a road near the beach, when a roo ...
What Will Be Your Theme Song for 2021?

What Will Be Your Theme Song for 2021?

Remember the devastating bushfires around Australia at the start of 2020, when we thought that was the worst possible thing that could happen to us this year? Last week, I spoke at a conference for 750 of Western Australia’s firefighters and marine rescue workers. Some of these people and their ...
Build Trust Differently in a WFH Team

Build Trust Differently in a WFH Team

I’ve had many conversations recently with leaders and managers about their WFH (working from home) team culture, and one topic keeps coming up over and over again: trust. This could be in a team that’s all working from home full-time, or some people are back in the office, or they ...
Warning: If You Use This Phrase, Your WFH Culture is Doomed!

Warning: If You Use This Phrase, Your WFH Culture is Doomed!

Early in this pandemic, organisations scrambled to allow their office staff to work from home (WFH). As we’re seeing restrictions being eased in some places, organisations are gradually moving their staff back to the office. I’m noticing some consulting groups, government departments, and other advisers writing reports about how to ...
Start Before You’re Ready

Start Before You’re Ready

If you’re one of the more than 500 million users of the file sharing service Dropbox, you know how convenient it is for managing files across all your devices and with other people. For Dropbox founder Drew Houston, who started the service in 2007, it was anything but obvious that ...
Our Fast-Changing World Needs Fast-Moving Teams

Our Fast-Changing World Needs Fast-Moving Teams

I was recently working with a leadership team in a financial services business. Their business, and their industry as a whole, hasn’t been badly affected by the pandemic – at least not directly. But, of course the pandemic – and its health and economic impact – affects us all in ...
Ask Your Customers (It’s Lucky the Boston Symphony Orchestra Did)

Ask Your Customers (It’s Lucky the Boston Symphony Orchestra Did)

If you were a symphony orchestra that wanted to boost audience numbers, what would you do? The Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) had this problem, and tackled it with the most obvious solution first: Get more people through the door, let them enjoy the orchestra experience, and that would turn that ...
Work Extra Hard to Make WFH Work

Work Extra Hard to Make WFH Work

The coronavirus pandemic has affected us in different ways, and one of the biggest changes for office-based workers is the shift to working from home (WFH). When COVID-19 hit, many office-based teams had to scramble to let people work from home for the first time. We often talk about our ...
Why Leading a WFH Team is Hard (Part Two): You Feel Disconnected

Why Leading a WFH Team is Hard (Part Two): You Feel Disconnected

If you walked into the office on a working day and found it empty, what would you think? Is it Sunday? Or a public holiday? Did you miss the memo about the company picnic??? Was there a COVID-19 outbreak? That’s how many people feel when they’re working from home (WFH). ...
Why Leading a WFH Team is Hard, Part One: Some People Are Struggling!

Why Leading a WFH Team is Hard, Part One: Some People Are Struggling!

There are many advantages to a non-office workplace, and there’s already a lot of evidence that some people who have been forced to work from home enjoy it. But that’s not true for everybody. And if you’re a leading a team that’s doing “WFH” (working from home) for the first ...
Leading a Working-From-Home Team – Are You Surviving or Thriving?

Leading a Working-From-Home Team – Are You Surviving or Thriving?

Over the last few months, I’ve talked to many leaders, managers, and HR professionals about the pros and cons of their teams working from home. I’ve heard the full range of opinions, from “I can’t wait until we get back to the office!” to “We never want to go back ...
We’re Hard-Wired to Avoid Uncertainty – And That’s Not Good

We’re Hard-Wired to Avoid Uncertainty – And That’s Not Good

How well do you deal with uncertainty? Probably not as well as you’d like – and that’s a problem, because the uncertainty we’re facing in 2020 will continue for some time to come. Unfortunately, we’re hard-wired to prefer certainty, and there’s research to prove it. In 2016, a team of ...
Find Another Way (a.k.a. Better Than Gluten-Free Pasta)

Find Another Way (a.k.a. Better Than Gluten-Free Pasta)

Last week, I had an interesting conversation over lunch with a smart, savvy friend who’s a senior leader in a large global organisation. We were discussing the changes to workplace dynamics due to people working from home. As one example, she compared online meetings with in-person meetings – and in ...
Open the Door To Greater Experience

Open the Door To Greater Experience

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt our communities, leaders and managers are trying to come to grips with the knock-on effects to their workplaces and their workforce. The old style of management – top down, with a command-and-control structure – just doesn’t work in this wildly uncertain world with ...
What Customers Want Right Now

What Customers Want Right Now

A few years ago, I took this photo in the Qantas terminal at Sydney domestic airport, showing big advertising banners for GoToMeeting: At the time, I thought, “Wow! That’s interesting – Qantas is happy to accept advertising from a competitor!” Of course, Qantas didn’t see it that way. They saw ...
The Real Secret of the Future Workplace (P.S. It’s Not What You Think)

The Real Secret of the Future Workplace (P.S. It’s Not What You Think)

COVID-19 has forced many organisations – and employees – to work from home, and this has caused many people to rethink their ideas about the workplace. For knowledge workers, the research already shows that people who worked from home for the first time want to continue doing so (For example, ...
Hard Skills vs Soft Skills? You’re Asking the Wrong Question

Hard Skills vs Soft Skills? You’re Asking the Wrong Question

A few weeks ago, the Australian Government announced changes to funding of university degrees, prioritising the jobs and professions they said would be most in demand in the future – especially in a post-pandemic future. Predictably, the industries with more funding were happy, and there was an outcry from those ...
Out of Sight, Top of Mind

Out of Sight, Top of Mind

The coronavirus pandemic forced many organisations to let team members work from home for the first time, and that trend will continue even after offices become completely safe workplaces again. It goes beyond just working from home, though, because the office won’t necessarily be the “standard” workplace. Teams of knowledge ...
10 Ways to Bring Innovation To a Screeching Halt

10 Ways to Bring Innovation To a Screeching Halt

The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic means many people are going through massive disruption right now. The impact is different for everybody (we’re not all in the same boat; we’re in the same storm, each with our own boat!), but there’s never been a more important time to be ...
Think Like a Beginner on the Road to Recovery

Think Like a Beginner on the Road to Recovery

A few weeks ago, I was working with a leadership team, helping them expand their thinking as they set out their new strategic plan. They weren’t as badly affected by the pandemic as others, so they are now turning their attention to their long-term plans. During the session, I showed ...
You Might Not See This Disruption Before It’s Too Late

You Might Not See This Disruption Before It’s Too Late

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the hospitality industry, with many restaurants, pubs, and hotels experiencing their worst times ever. But rather than letting their rooms remain empty, one Swedish hotel, Stadt, in the town Lidkoping, is offering rooms as private dining rooms. Instead of booking a ...
Stop Calling It “Remote Work”

Stop Calling It “Remote Work”

As many businesses are gradually moving staff back to the office, we’re coming to the end of a huge worldwide “working from home” experiment for office workers. But that doesn’t mean we will all go back to the way things were. The initial research is already clear: Both employees and ...
The Coronavirus Pandemic Will Change This Forever

The Coronavirus Pandemic Will Change This Forever

Early in our response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Australian government fast-tracked the use of “telemedicine” – that is, doctors and other health professionals doing online consultations rather than meeting patients in person. I predict telemedicine will continue even when in-person consultations become as safe as before. This is not ...
Are You Making This Mistake on the Road to Recovery?

Are You Making This Mistake on the Road to Recovery?

During the coronavirus pandemic, you might have heard people say, “We’re all in the same boat”. But that’s not true! We’re all in the same storm, but we’re in different boats, navigating our way through the storm. If you’re a leader, you can’t control the storm and you might be ...
Better Decision-Making in a Fast-Changing World

Better Decision-Making in a Fast-Changing World

Our world is changing so fast now, and we don’t know what next week holds – let alone next month or next year. Good decision-making is one of the most valuable skills now, because we still need to find options, decide wisely, and act promptly. But when the future is ...
Reimagining the Post-Pandemic Workplace

Reimagining the Post-Pandemic Workplace

Around Australia, people who have been working from home for the last two months are starting to make their way back into offices. Because of the ongoing risk of coronavirus, this is happening in stages, and with some changes – for example: better hygiene, re-configuring offices for social distancing, stricter ...
It’s Time to Think The Unthinkable

It’s Time to Think The Unthinkable

On 2nd March, Australia recorded its first death from coronavirus – a 78-year-old Perth man who returned to Australia after contracting the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Even if that feels like a lifetime ago, it’s been only 10 weeks, and in that time Australia has done an ...
Leverage Your Assets to Solve New Problems

Leverage Your Assets to Solve New Problems

The last decade has seen the growth of “the sharing economy”, with Uber and Airbnb the most famous examples. The fundamental idea driving the sharing economy is that ownership is inefficient. Most assets sit idle most of the time: Most cars spend most of their time parked, houses are left ...
Nine Things Successful People Do Differently, by Heidi Grant Halvorson

Nine Things Successful People Do Differently, by Heidi Grant Halvorson

This wonderful little book is the best practical goal-setting book I have ever read. It outlines a goal-setting strategy that’s backed by solid scientific research, and gives you nine simple things you can do to be more productive and achieve your goals. This book goes far beyond simplistic goal-setting advice ...
How To Prevent Conflict In a Team Working From Home

How To Prevent Conflict In a Team Working From Home

Conflict occurs in all teams, and it’s sometimes healthy, because it creates opportunities to share valuable feedback and constructive criticism. But it also creates problems, so if you can prevent the conflict in the first place, that’s usually better than tackling it when it occurs. This is especially important now, ...
The 7 New Rules of Social Media Engagement (probably not what you’d think)

The 7 New Rules of Social Media Engagement (probably not what you’d think)

Many people don’t know how to use social media well, especially in a business or professional context. This is a genuine and valid concern. After all, your mother might have told you which cutlery goes with which course, but you probably didn’t have anybody telling you the etiquette of communicating ...
Working From Home – You’ve Got This!

Working From Home – You’ve Got This!

For many people, working from home is a normal part of their work style. You love the flexibility and convenience, your manager knows how to lead and manage people they can’t see in person, and your team understands how to collaborate and innovate remotely. But many others have never made ...
Coping with Change and Uncertainty in the Time of COVID-19

Coping with Change and Uncertainty in the Time of COVID-19

I often work with people who are facing disruption and massive change in their organisations and industries. Sometimes the change could have been predicted, sometimes it couldn’t. It always causes stress and anxiety. I’ve never seen anything as disruptive as this new coronavirus and the illness it causes, COVID-19. But ...
How Can You Tap Into Peer Mentoring?

How Can You Tap Into Peer Mentoring?

When the term “mentoring” is used in a business context, it is most commonly pictured as the wise, grey-haired senior executive having lunch meetings with an up-and-coming younger employee. There’s nothing wrong with that picture, and it’s probably still the most common form of mentoring in business. But have you ...
The #1 Thing That Breaks Your Digital Transformation Program

The #1 Thing That Breaks Your Digital Transformation Program

For the last three years, KPMG has published an annual report, “Keeping Us Up At Night“, where Australian business leaders rank their top challenges and issues. The same topic has ranked #1 for all three years: digital transformation. No surprise, right? Of course, leaders recognise the importance of being fit ...
Ready for the Flexible Work Revolution?

Ready for the Flexible Work Revolution?

For most of the last 200 years, if you were a knowledge worker, you probably worked in an office, as part of a team of permanent staff working full-time. We’ve come to accept that as the default work environment for knowledge workers. But it wasn’t always this way, and it ...
Three Steps to Power Up Your Team

Three Steps to Power Up Your Team

If you’ve seen some of the recent research about what motivates the best people, you would know it’s about more than just money. This is especially true now that Generation Z – the youngest cohort of employees – is now entering the workforce in significant numbers. And they are not ...
Get the Most Out of Every Book You Read and Every Conference You Attend

Get the Most Out of Every Book You Read and Every Conference You Attend

When you attend a conference, do you make lots of notes to take action later – but most of them don’t get done? Or do you read a great business book and intend to put some of the ideas into action – but never find the time to do them? ...
Be an Authority, Don’t Just Have Authority

Be an Authority, Don’t Just Have Authority

Leadership now is not just about the organisational structure. It’s not even about the organisational structure turned upside down. Modern leadership is much more about facilitation and collaboration, and everyone can be a leader. This is not just some glib motivational statement (“You too can be a leader!”). There really ...
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Disrupted!

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Disrupted!

(by Gihan Perera, with a nod and a wink to Clement Clarke Moore) ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse The stockings were hung by the chimney, in time For last-minute express delivery by Amazon Prime. The children ...
Solving Customer Problems? That’s Not Enough Anymore!

Solving Customer Problems? That’s Not Enough Anymore!

As a futurist, I’m often asked by business leaders how to stay ahead of their competition in a fast-changing world. Many of these leaders think it’s about embracing some new technology, understanding some future trend before anybody else in their industry, or creating an innovative product. Those might all be ...
The Hedonist’s Guide To Getting Things Done: Goal Setting Made Easy

The Hedonist’s Guide To Getting Things Done: Goal Setting Made Easy

Most goal-setting programs are hard. The system might sound easy, but achieving the goals is difficult. It usually takes discipline, willpower, a strong mindset, hard work, sacrifice and struggle. No wonder most people fail at their goals or New Year’s Resolutions! I’ve got a different approach to goal setting: This ...
The Do’s and Don’ts of Introducing AI Into Your Organisation

The Do’s and Don’ts of Introducing AI Into Your Organisation

Every new technology appears with a lot of hype, but there’s one where a lot of the hype is matched by reality: artificial intelligence, or AI. Here’s some of the solid evidence supporting the adoption of AI: Respected technology adviser Gartner predicts that by 2021, 80% of emerging technologies will ...
The #1 Habit That Boosts Innovation

The #1 Habit That Boosts Innovation

Just as most plants don’t grow in an arid space but flourish in a fertile environment, if you want to build a culture of innovation, you must create the right environment for it. You don’t need special rooms with bean bags and coloured walls to inspire creativity. But you must ...
When it Comes to Innovation, Habit Trumps Discipline

When it Comes to Innovation, Habit Trumps Discipline

What are the habits in your personal life? Things like brushing your teeth twice a day, getting dressed, a glass of red wine with dinner, washing up the dirty dishes in the sink, putting on your seat-belt when you get in the car, going to the gym, eating everything on ...
Look Beyond Your Hierarchy

Look Beyond Your Hierarchy

New York City, like many other large cities, is the home to many cyclists – about 200,000 a day, according to the city’s research. Most of those cyclists take their bicycles home safely every day, but a small percentage of those bicycles are abandoned, tied to cycle racks, fences, and ...
Artificial Intelligence In The Workplace: What Most Leaders Don’t Understand

Artificial Intelligence In The Workplace: What Most Leaders Don’t Understand

What do these three things have in common? When I want to drive at a constant speed, I can set the cruise control in my car. When I want to hear music in my lounge room, I say to my Google Home assistant, “Hey Google, play some music” – and ...
The First Step to Using AI in Your Workplace

The First Step to Using AI in Your Workplace

The most extreme – and most limited – mindset is to see AI completely replacing a human’s role. But that’s not the only way to think. Broadly, you can think of any new technology at four levels: When you integrate this into your workplace, you can do it at any ...
The #1 Daily Habit That Makes You More Productive

The #1 Daily Habit That Makes You More Productive

There’s a story (possibly apocryphal) about Charles Schwab, the head of Bethlehem Steel in the 1930s, seeking help to become more effective. Management consultant I. V. Lee gave him a simple piece of advice, with a request that Schwab try it and then pay him whatever he thought it was ...
Kick Start Your Online Authority – Share and Share Alike

Kick Start Your Online Authority – Share and Share Alike

Paradoxically, one of the best ways to position yourself as an authority is to share insights and wisdom from others. Your audience will appreciate you taking the time to selectively share what’s relevant to them. The Internet makes it easier than ever before, and if you know where to look, ...
Fan the Flames of Innovation

Fan the Flames of Innovation

Creativity is about generating ideas, and innovation is about putting them into action. To make a difference, it’s not enough to just generate the ideas. Acting on an idea not only creates real change from the idea itself, but creates a positive feedback loop for your team members to create ...
The Troublemakers Will Inherit The Earth

The Troublemakers Will Inherit The Earth

We used to say “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘Team'”. But that’s no longer the case. Your team members have unique talents, individual goals, and innovative ideas. They want you to be their mentor, not just their manager. They want work that gives them meaning, not just money. They want to ...
15 Instant Innovation Questions to Future-Proof Your Business

15 Instant Innovation Questions to Future-Proof Your Business

In the past, when most organisations could rely on a few innovations a year, innovation was considered to be only the role of a Research & Development department. Now, when your organisation is more complex, employees have more ideas, and the external environment is changing so fast, innovation is everybody’s ...
Resilience Is Not Enough

Resilience Is Not Enough

I sometimes go out to breakfast or lunch with my 20-year-old stepdaughter, Abbey. As soon as the food arrives, she – like many others of her generation – pulls out her smartphone, takes a photo, and shares it with her friends on social media (And, to her credit, she then ...
Will You Lead The Change?

Will You Lead The Change?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve spoken at events in Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington, Auckland, and Perth – and for clients in diverse industries, including banking, human resources, local government, sport, commercial property, and retail. Despite their differences, one thing these organisations all have in common is they are all going through ...
Want Them to Succeed? 4 Magic Words to Empower Your People

Want Them to Succeed? 4 Magic Words to Empower Your People

This week, I’m speaking to a group of secondary school principals in Melbourne, and then travelling to New Zealand to deliver a presentation at the HRNZ (Human Resources Institute of New Zealand) conference. Both presentations are about leadership – in particular, about how to get the best out of your ...
How To Get Things Done When Everybody Keeps Interrupting You

How To Get Things Done When Everybody Keeps Interrupting You

In our fast-paced, always-on world, interruptions and distractions are a fact of life. You’ll find plenty of advice about how to “manage” other people who interrupt you, but you’ll always be fighting a losing battle that way. Instead of trying to control others, here are some practical ideas to take ...
10 Ways to Bring Innovation to a Screeching Halt

10 Ways to Bring Innovation to a Screeching Halt

Last week, I spoke at an innovation breakfast for the forward-thinking team at Landgate, the State government authority responsible for property and land information in WA. In my keynote presentation, “The New Rules For High Performance”, I made the point that innovation is everybody’s business. It’s not just for a ...
Wise Leadership in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Wise Leadership in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Are the robots coming for your job? Yes and no. According to a Dell Technologies survey, 82% of leaders expect their employees and machines to work as “integrated teams”. And many employees look forward to artificial intelligence (AI) that can help them do their job better. But not everybody has ...
Make Better Decisions With This One Move

Make Better Decisions With This One Move

I’ve been doing a lot of work recently helping clients with their strategic planning. Obviously, I don’t have a crystal ball and they don’t expect me to predict the future. But they want to know some possible, plausible and probable future scenarios. Some things are easier to plan for because you can ...
Stop Trying to Predict the Future

Stop Trying to Predict the Future

In 1965, the oil company Royal Dutch Shell started its department of Long-Term Studies in its London headquarters. The term “department” is an exaggeration, because Ted Newland, who was given the lead role in this area, said, “I was placed in a little cubicle on the 18th floor and told ...
Don’t Ignore the Live Dragons

Don’t Ignore the Live Dragons

The world is changing fast, and there are some things that are difficult to predict in our future. But that doesn’t mean you can’t foresee anything. Leaders look further into the future and see what’s lying ahead. “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you ...
Read This If You’re Worried About Disruption

Read This If You’re Worried About Disruption

If I asked you to name a disruptive company – quick! – I reckon there’s a pretty good chance you would name Uber. And that’s fair enough. There’s no doubt Uber has disrupted the taxi industry – a long-established, entrenched industry that’s completely been turned upside-down by Uber (and now many ...
How Disruptable Is Your Business?

How Disruptable Is Your Business?

Disruption seems to come from out of the blue, catching everybody in an industry by surprise. It’s often the strongest, most stable, most well-established businesses that are the first to fall. The bad news is you can’t predict where the disruption is going to come from — that’s outside your ...
Disruption By Design

Disruption By Design

In the past, when the world wasn’t changing as quickly, you had time to adapt, adjust, and evolve your organisation to solve new problems. Now, you need to move much faster – and disrupt yourself or be disrupted. Discover some of the tools you can use to innovate now – ...
Why We’re Hard-Wired to Resist Change

Why We’re Hard-Wired to Resist Change

What if I told you of a new technology that could improve the lives of millions of people, but would kill 1,000 people a year. Would you support it? Most people would say No, because a thousand deaths a year is unacceptable, regardless of the benefits. But we do already ...
Make This Weakness Your Superpower

Make This Weakness Your Superpower

Last week, I was in Fiji speaking at the Fiji Institute of Accountants annual conference. Their theme was “Prioritising Humanity”, and I was speaking in the Innovation section of the event. An important part of my role was to explain global megatrends, describe Fiji’s position in the world, and highlight ...
Thriving on Difference – How to Increase Diversity in Your Workplace

Thriving on Difference – How to Increase Diversity in Your Workplace

Diversity and inclusion drive innovation, revenue, and profits. According to EY, diverse companies are 35% more likely to have higher financial returns. And according to Deloitte, two-thirds of executives rated diversity as an important issue. Here are 10 ways to increase diversity in your workplace … Embrace diversity – don’t ...
Your Survival Secret For The Future: Time Travel (Yes, Really!)

Your Survival Secret For The Future: Time Travel (Yes, Really!)

Last week, I was back in one of my favourite countries – Singapore – attending a conference. This was part of my ongoing professional development, so I had the rare opportunity to not be one of the speakers, but had time to just be an audience member, absorbing the ideas. ...
Scan the Environment using PESTLE Analysis

Scan the Environment using PESTLE Analysis

When you’re planning for your future, it pays to know what might affect it from outside. You won’t be able to predict everything, but at least you will have some idea of the external pressures you might face. Scan the environment to consider the impact of external factors. One of ...
No Worker Left Behind: The Change Management Idea Every Leader Should Follow (and Share)

No Worker Left Behind: The Change Management Idea Every Leader Should Follow (and Share)

A few months ago, I was working with a group of CEOs in the healthcare industry, and we were talking about what it takes to attract and keep the best talent in their workplaces. Most of our discussion was about the top talent – smart, passionate, driven, and highly motivated ...
The #1 Thing That Gets in the Way of Flexible Work

The #1 Thing That Gets in the Way of Flexible Work

LinkedIn recently published its “2019 Global Talent Trends” report, which identified what it calls “the 4 trends transforming your workplace”. They compiled this report based on surveying over 5,000 talent professionals across 35 countries, and also incorporated vast amounts of data from the online behaviour of LinkedIn members. Given their ...

Top 10 Healthcare Trends in Australia in 2019

By 2050, a quarter of the population will be aged 60+ everywhere except Africa (EY) AI uses patient data to improve clinical decision-making and personalize care (World Economic Forum) Wearable and portable devices empower patients to self-manage their care (Deloitte) The always-connected patient changes how healthcare providers engage with consumers ...
Are You Ready for Generation Z In Your Workplace?

Are You Ready for Generation Z In Your Workplace?

Generation Z – the “dot com kids” – are people born between 1995 and 2009. They are the largest generation ever, make up 20% of Australia’s population, and 2 billion people worldwide. By 2025, they will make up 27% of our workforce. Are YOU ready for them in your workplace? ...
People and Machines: Better Together – Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace

People and Machines: Better Together – Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace

There’s a lot of talk now about Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace. But as much as we hear about “robots coming for your jobs”, the reality is that the best workplaces will have people and machines working together. Employer demand for AI in the workplace has more than doubled ...
Are You Flexible Enough for Flexible Work?

Are You Flexible Enough for Flexible Work?

The best people want more flexibility in their working hours – as research shows: 81% of employees want to be trusted when, where and how they work (Sage People) 35% of people are choosing freelance work (Forbes) 47% of Australian workers would accept a pay cut for more flexible working ...

What Will the City of the Future Look Like?

By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. What will the city of the future look like? Here are 10 things we’ll see in the not-too-distant future … Most buildings source their power from renewable energy sources. Vertical farming uses land efficiently to feed larger, more dense, ...
Talent Magnet: 4 Trends To Future-Proof Your Workplace

Talent Magnet: 4 Trends To Future-Proof Your Workplace

As a futurist, I’m always looking at the trends affecting workplaces and organisations, and I’ve noticed an interesting trend over the last 8-10 years. A decade ago, we were in the early stages of the technology explosion – with social media, smartphones, and the first discussions around practical uses for ...
The Future of Private Hospitals and Private Healthcare in Australia

The Future of Private Hospitals and Private Healthcare in Australia

Young people are deserting private hospital insurance – with 49,000 fewer Generation Z’s and Generation Y’s with private insurance than in 2017 (APRA) Health insurance reform will start taking effect from April 2019 with premium rises and falls for different categories (Deloitte) Digitisation of the healthcare system has pros and ...

Ten Trends for the Airport of the Future

Forget the endless queues and delays – the airport of the future will be a destination in itself. Airports around the world are reinventing themselves to cater to the new model of treating passengers as customers.