Newsletter July 2016

We hope you’re enjoying 2016 as much as we are! It’s been a busy 6 months during which time we’ve repeatedly encountered some of the themes closest to our organisational heart. 

A Flexible Staffing Model for Protecting IP

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The Department of Employment has recently released its Internet Vacancy Index figures1, which indicate that there are currently about 167, 500 skilled job openings in Australian. This represents an increase of 10.5% over the same period (May) last year.

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These statistics are seen as an indicator of strong labour market growth. They may also be a result of the growing trend towards a flexible workforce – expanding and scaling back teams with the ebb and flow of project demands. 

More businesses are accidentally, or by design, using a staffing model that involves an ever-increasing number of people who are not going to be with the business for the long haul. What are the consequences and how can companies mitigate the risks?

 

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If your organisation is going to embrace the flexible workforce, it’s important to think about where the intellectual property of your organisation should be safely ensconced. You would almost certainly want to know that, while you might peel away the layers on the outside, your IP is safe at the centre:

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  • The core of your business is your full time team – the keepers of your IP (what you do and how you do it).
  • The management team is relatively stable but actively works to empower and strengthen the fulltime workforce.
  • Project-based resources are mature enough to come in and see what’s going on at a glance, and also work to build up the core team. 

This model can be a secure one, if you ensure that the professionals stepping into the outer “rings” are selected at least partly on the basis of their commitment to knowledge transfer.

 

4 Tips for Encouraging a Culture of Innovation

Whether you are embarking on a structured Business Process Improvement journey, or you simply want to empower your workforce to take ownership of their challenges and to enjoy the positive ripple effects of a proud team, you should consider all of the following: 

 # 1 Set the Scene

Tell your team that you want them to innovate and come up with solutions to their own problems. Tell them why. Be consistent in your messaging. Give fair time and attention to each new idea, and keep inviting more ideas. Create practical channels for the generation and sharing of ideas and the tools for execution. Be respectful, supportive and encouraging - even when ideas fall flat.

 # 2 Celebrate

Publicise the success stories within the team and beyond. Be openly proud of your team and their achievements.

 # 3 Lead by Example

Be seen to endorse and take part in calculated risk taking.

 # 4 Empower your Team

Give staff permission to make at least some of the decisions without checking with anyone first.

 

A Laughing Matter

Have you been paying enough serious attention to what gets laughed at by your team? Is your work environment conducive to humour and laughing?

Earlier in the year we wrote about a study by academics at City University London2 which found that as much as half of the laughter at work is about workplace problems.

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If laughter is a legitimate way of acknowledging paradoxes, we should really be:

  1. cultivating an environment in which laughter flows freely,
  2. listening to what gets laughed about; and
  3. acting to address at least some of the inconsistencies, and ALL of the absurdities!

One of our “Grey Haired Gurus”™ shared with us how a teambuilding session provided the opportunity for a light-hearted comment to unearth barriers to speaking up within a senior management team. The comment, “Every time you overuse exclamation marks and capitals in emails to me, it feels like you are being very forceful - like you are shouting at me! As a result, I just don't feel like replying!” resulted in laughter from the whole team at the time. It also served to flag a very serious issue. This manager’s forceful email habit (just one example of his communication practises) represented a blind spot for him. Woeful staff engagement results stemmed from two thirds of the senior team feeling unsafe to speak up in meetings.

This comment was made during a teambuilding workshop. Such workshops not only give teams the chance to get to know each other better, but also allow for easy banter and laughter.

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     Other ideas for generating laughter:

  • play a sport together
  • include time for a quick fun activity in your regular team meeting (maybe ask everyone to bring along a baby photo or childhood toy, play the opening lines of the song that sums up their current state of mind)
  • keep a box of cards on hand from a game like “Articulate” or “30 Seconds” to pull out for an impromptu quick challenge (and a laugh)
  • eat and drink together
  • sign up for a charity project together.

The trick is to make sure you are tuned in to identifying and addressing the paradoxes that cause the work-specific laughter. And the other advantage is of course, that laughter in and of itself relieves tension and builds cohesion in the team.

 

Open for (More) Business with State & Local Government

Following the NSW Government’s move to form 19 new councils through the merger of 42 council areas, steps have been taken to support the teams involved. These include:

  • The Minister for Local Government has appointed an independent Administrator, supported by an Interim General Manager, to lead each Council in the run-up to elections in September 2017.
  • A Local Representation Committee has been formed for each former council area, comprised of former Councillors (in the role of advisors) and other local representatives.
  • Some former Majors and Councillors will form an Implementation Advisory Group to advise Administrators on bringing systems and staff together.
  • Apart from executive staff, all council team members have been assured job security for three years.
  • The Department of Premier and Cabinet has established a supplier panel to provide councils with targeted strategic advice and support in specific disciplines.

This is undoubtedly a stressful time for individuals and teams who work in the service of their local communities. Performance Drivers is proud to announce that our capability and experience in the public sector have been acknowledged with our inclusion as members of this Local Government Amalgamation Supplier Panel.

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Profiled Gurus

The services provided by Performance Drivers are supported by proven business professionals, respectfully called “Grey-Haired Gurus”™.

Each has demonstrated results in their chosen discipline. To bring that to life for you, we’re sharing the details of two members of this core team.

Management Consultant: Ivan has over nine years consulting experience across multiple industry sectors in the areas of strategy, operations and project management. Prior to commencing his consulting career he had ten years commercial experience in a variety of heavy engineering, project management and business development roles in the manufacturing, mining and associated industry sectors. 

As a chief analyst and project director, Ivan has lead and contributed to engagements including development of operational strategy, business process improvement analyses and implementation projects, post implementation reviews and management operating system compliance audits. Testament to his performance results and ability to complete projects on time and on budget, Ivan has also secured and delivered additional assignments with the same client, many times over. 

Program and Project Manager: Dale has over 40 years’ experience as a Program/Project Manager and business consultant with a background in software development, information management, change management and business analysis. As a practitioner and advisor/coach, he leads and influences stakeholder groups and teams, always with a motivation to align and satisfy stakeholder expectations within complex business and project environments. He has worked with local and international corporations and government agencies across a wide range of industries, enabling him to develop expertise in the delivery of results in complex businesses, technology and stakeholder environments. His formula for successful delivery is based on leveraging synergies between people, processes, information and technology to achieve business transformation outcomes.  

He is a strong advocate for leveraging leading practice standards (Managing Successful Programs (MSP), PMBOK, PRINCE2, BPMN, Agile practices), in order to improve practices in business transformation and program delivery within the business and technology domains of his clients. 

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[1] http://lmip.gov.au/default.aspx?LMIP/VacancyReport

[2] www.cassknowledge.com