Monday, June 25, 2012

Some random thoughts from Sin City

Friends, here I am stuck in a hotel room in Sydney. I don't like this city very much, in fact I don't really like any big cities. Too many people, all way too busy and too much noise and pollution.

I'm here for a conference about how to be an employer of choice and guess what? It's actually pretty good so far. A lot of it seems like common sense to me. Really, if you treat people with compassion, understanding and you're honest to them you can't go too wrong. But you do have to be prepared to make the hard decisions and have difficult conversations at times. It's how you handle yourself when the going gets tough that can make or break you as a boss or leader.

I learned a LOT about how not to treat people when I was in the Army. I was also lucky to have a couple of inspirational leaders there as well who moulded some of my thoughts and values. I've also been lucky to work under a range of leaders in my time as a teacher. Time spent observing others, thinking about how they do, or don't, achieve success is worthwhile.

There are tomes and tomes of management and HR textbooks and journals devoted to topics like this. Most put me straight to sleep faster than watching golf. So, here's three dot points to consider if you're in a position that involves managing staff:
  • get to know them - face to face - speak to them, don't just be a keyboard commando (he said typing away furiously!)
  • be honest - if their work sucks let them know why and how to fix it. If it's good then let them know as well - I'm not talking prizes, bonuses and the like but a few words of praise goes a long way.
  • don't be late
I flew in on Sunday and had a bit of time to wander around the CBD. I got lost too. Pretty badly geographically embarrassed. Luckily I had my phone with me so I fired up Google Maps and was back on the right path. I guess I could've asked a police officer for directions but they were all busy looking serious at a rally to support refugees.

I finally found the record shop I had been looking for (it had moved, of course!) and picked up a couple of cool CDs. Chickenfoot's first album with a bonus DVD of something for me to watch when I get home - live stuff I hope, a CD for DJ Al-E-Sun which I cannot reveal at this stage, and one by Sufjan Stevens. PianoMan H turned me onto Sufjan and I hope the album is as good as the one track I've heard. We played it at the gig on Fri night and it's bloody haunting. Here's the original, our version is a lot more moody, slower and gets right into your head. I keep seeing Brian Denehy and that's pretty scary.

Sufjan Stevens - John Wayne Gacy Jr.

Right, I'm off for a couple of German lessons now. I'm using and it's very, very cool. I seem to remember a lot from school which is amusing since I last studied it in 1986!

DJ Rob

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