Are You Building The Best Workplace on Earth?

 18th December 2018 by gihan

There’s a war for talent, and the best people can choose where they work. Are you creating the sort of workplace that will attract and keep them?

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The Best Workplace on Earth

 13th December 2018 by gihan

We all know the workplace of the future will be very different from the workplace of today. It’s more than just technology and automation – it’s about the environment you create for attracting the smart, talented, savvy people with the skills we need for future-proofing our organisations. The bad news is that those “stars” are in demand, and can choose where they work. Are YOU providing the sort of workplace that will attract and keep them?

In the latest episode of my Fit for the Future podcast, I explore the five things that the top performers say make up the best workplace on earth:

  • Diversity: “Let me be myself”
  • Authority: “Help me actually get stuff done”
  • Talent: “Discover and magnify my strengths”
  • Meaning: “Make my work meaningful”
  • Judgement: “Don’t get in the way with stupid rules”

Listen To the Episode

More Resources

The Fit for the Future Podcast brings you regular ideas, interviews and insights about how you, your teams and your organisation can become fit for the future.

More ways to engage with me:

Which Industries Are Most At Risk of Disruption? My Interview on Your Money

 11th December 2018 by gihan

A few weeks ago, Melbourne taxi drivers launched a class action lawsuit for $500 million against Uber, claiming that it was operating illegally in its early days from 2014, and had caused significant losses to the established taxi industry.

This is a copycat lawsuit, with these taxi drivers jumping on the Uber-bashing bandwagon, following a similar £500 million lawsuit from London taxi drivers and a C$400 million lawsuit from taxi drivers in Toronto.

I was recently interviewed on this topic – and the broader question of other industries at risk of disruption – by Brooke Corte of Sky Business News on the “Your Money” program. Watch the interview here (available to Australian viewers only):

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The Single Best Change Management Technique Most Leaders Skip

 6th December 2018 by gihan

A few days ago, I was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, presenting to a group of leaders in an organisation that’s going through a lot of change. Together with Dr. Shaun Ridley (from the Australian Institute of Management WA) and Dr. Jenny Brockis (an expert in brain fitness and future thinking), we talked about the new rules for high performance and smarter thinking.

In the panel session at the end of the day, one of the participants asked me this question:

“How do we motivate our people to be open and willing to change?”

It’s a common question leaders ask, because they know it’s impossible to make progress unless their team “buys in” to the change as well. So of course they want to find ways to motivate their team.

But that’s not quite right.

You don’t need to push, shove, motivate and cajole your team to change! You don’t have to be the powerful leader who drags your team – some of them kicking and screaming – into the future.

My response to this participant was along these lines:

“Your ‘people’ are not children. They are smart, savvy, intelligent people who successfully navigate change and growth in other areas of their lives: raising children, making a home for their families, staying healthy, and managing their money. They are already ‘change experts’! So tell them what’s going on, give them the authority to take action themselves, and trust them to do what they need to do.”

Too simplistic? Not really!

Of course, if you take this to the extreme, you might be throwing people in at the deep end, and that’s not fair. But most leaders err too far in the other direction, and don’t give people enough authority.

All successful leaders and managers know how important is to delegate, but many of them still do it in a way that doesn’t empower their team members.

The old process for successful delegation is to ask a team member to do something, and then create a series of check-ins along the way to ensure success. In particular, if something unexpected happened, the team member would alert their manager immediately, so the manager could decide how to deal with it.

This is the “push information to authority” model, where any new information is pushed up the chain to a more senior person, who has the authority to decide how to deal with that information.

The problem is the team member never truly becomes empowered. Even if they learn from their manager, they only learn from observation, and never have to make those decisions themselves.

Turn the ship around.

This is the situation that faced David Marquet, commander of a U.S. Navy submarine. His book Turn The Ship Around tells his own true story of building empowerment in his crew. They were highly-skilled, elite performers, and yet they had been brought up in the Navy to obey orders and delegate upwards whenever they faced an unfamiliar situation.

Marquet realised that to truly empower his team, he needed to reverse the old delegation process that forces people to ask a higher authority in the face of new information.

His new approach was: Push authority to information. In other words, when new information becomes available, the people have the authority to act on that information.

By pushing the authority to act to the people who have the information, you empower your team, remove yourself as a bottleneck, and create a more nimble organisation.

Thinking Ahead

To start making the shift to this new style of delegation, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Do people have to push information to you for a decision? How can you give them more authority in the future?
  2. What rules in your organisation – either implicit in the culture or explicit in the systems – currently get in the way of pushing authority to information?
  3. If you were to start pushing more authority to your team members, who could you start with?

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Are You Flexible Enough for Flexible Work?

 4th December 2018 by gihan

The Fair Work Commission recently added a new rule about flexible work in Australia that tips the scales in favour of employees. In a nutshell, if an employee wants more flexible working hours, their boss can’t automatically refuse it.

Even if this ruling won’t apply to you, it should be a wake-up call for all workplaces. There’s a war for talent, and the best people have the choice of work and workplace. One of their most common requests is for flexible work, and the organisations and teams that allow it have a clear advantage over everybody else.

I wrote about this in my recent Smart Company article “Are you flexible enough for flexible work?”.

Read the full article here.

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Would You Trust a Robot to Drive Your Car?

 29th November 2018 by gihan

As AI and automation continue to expand, we’re finding more human tasks being done by software or robots. But just because a robot can do something, it doesn’t mean we trust it to take the place of a human being.

In a survey from, more than 1,000 adults answered questions about what everyday tasks they would trust to robots and software. Here are some of the results.

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Find Talent Everywhere

 22nd November 2018 by gihan

Many leaders and business owners ignore one of the most powerful sources of ideas and insights that’s right in front of their eyes: the unique skills and talents of their most junior people.

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They Are Smarter Than You Think They Are

 20th November 2018 by gihan

If you asked a random group of people for their general impression of a brilliant scientist, many of them would give you a stereotypical description: the lone genius working long hours in a private laboratory, labouring over his instruments until he has a flash of inspiration that changes everything.

That’s not the way science works anymore. Most scientific discoveries are made by teams. We still hear about individual geniuses making a breakthrough, but they rely on the insights, ideas and plain hard work of others (often geniuses in their own right). As Isaac Newton famously said:

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

If that was true in the 17th century, it’s even more relevant now.

Paradoxically, the best way to build your team is by focussing on each individual.

Like brilliant scientists, your team members want you to recognise their uniqueness and build on it. They don’t want to be treated the same, but they do wanted to be treated as equals. They want opportunities to grow (inside and outside their field) and will use those opportunities to make a greater contribution.

Of course, not everybody wants to be a scientist, and genius doesn’t only occur in the domain of science, so I don’t want to take the scientist analogy too far. However, it doesn’t hurt to think of your team as a group of brilliant, passionate, dedicated individuals who bring those talents to the workplace.

Your brightest and most motivated team members don’t want to be told what to do, don’t want to be restricted by unnecessary policies, and don’t want to be constrained by their current position. On the other hand, they don’t necessarily want to be left completely free to their own devices, either. They recognise the value of being part of a team, working together for a common purpose, and using the organisation to further their own goals. If you support them, they will be more than happy to support you as well.

The best thing you can give them is experience: theirs and yours. You can tap into their own experiences (which makes them feel more valued), give them more experiences (which helps them build better judgement), and share other people’s experiences with them (to help them grow).

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