The other morning I was walking my dogs, Doug and Margaret. It was pretty early, about 6.30 am.
We were nearing the end of the walk when I saw a woman with a biggish dog on a lead walking towards us.
Now, I am a terrible and irresponsible dog owner, my dogs are not properly trained, which is why I walk them very early in the day or very late at night. That way we are less likely to run into anyone. They will sit on command most of the time but that really is the extent of their training. I know, it’s not good.
So in order to prevent a scene with the dog walking towards us, I crossed the road.
On the other side of the road were two big dogs behind a fence. The fence was made up of thin metal poles about 8cm apart. The big dogs were aggressively barking at Doug and Margaret and Doug and Margaret were being typical annoying little dogs yapping at the big dogs.
Doug then lurched at the dogs and he got too close. Suddenly Doug’s head is in the mouth of the...
I was speaking to this guy the other day who does random drug and alcohol testing in workplaces. He talked about being called into work places and testing people and the different way people react to being caught out.
Some people run away, some people cry and some people are incredibly stoic.
In that moment they are done. They can’t hide. They have to face the music.
This could be a life defining moment.
This could be the beginning of a fast downward spiral, of deteriorating mental health, of increased use and abuse of drugs and alcohol, of terminal family relationships.
Or it could be the day that they decide to do something differently, to turn their lives around, to get the help they need to deal with the issues that have resulted in them turning up to work affected by drugs or alcohol.
In part, how they respond is in our hands. If we write people off as being bad, chances are they will live up to that title, to that reputation.
If we show compassion...
Our family has had a long association with Ron. Do you want to keep that for Ron? Do you want to do that Ron? I think you will find it in the Ron Box.
Who is this Ron you keep referring to? His full name is “Later On” or just Ron for short.
The Ron Box is the best! It’s a big box full of items of that you urgently need when you run out of them. It’s full of toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, small packets of tissues, deodorant, dishwashing liquid, batteries, candles, wrapping paper. Stuff.
I created the Ron Box a few years due to my poor memory. I would go to the shops to buy the items on my list which we desperately needed and then I would forget the list and forget to get them. Doh! One day I realised life didn’t need to be that complicated. That we could have the backup items at home all of the time and then the replacement of same wouldn’t be so urgent.
It has generally worked a treat.
The Ron Box is...
I grew up in a very stressful world. My parents were at each other’s throats most of the time.
Mum was an erudite self-medicating victim of life. Dad was a poor stressed out intellectual with an earnest sense of humour.
They loved each other madly, except when they didn’t, which was a lot of the time.
They used lots of words. Loud, painful words. Dad sometimes threw things, like punches at cupboard doors. Mum used nasty cutting insults that nearly always hit the mark.
Usually, they focused their energy on attacking each other. But sometimes they were so stressed that they forgot that they loved us, their kids, and we would become a target too. A verbal punching bag.
So I grew up in a high state of stress. I spent my childhood checking out the lie of the land. Was it safe? Was I a possible target? What did I need to do to calm this situation down; to make it safe?
I learnt to be good. To tidy up, to do the dishes, to hide Mum’s drink, without anybody asking.
Most leaders care about their people, but they don’t know how to lead because they have ended up as leaders almost by accident.
They are usually so good on the tools or in their area of expertise that they suddenly find themselves setting up a business or being chosen to lead a team.
But leadership requires its own skill set. Most leaders are not taught how to lead people.
So many leaders become incredibly stressed out and scared because they don’t know how to get their people to do what they want them to do and as a leader, they are expected to get results (often make money) to keep the business going. As a result, they often become critical and punitive. These leaders are always on the lookout for problems and encourage their staff to tell them about what’s going wrong. They then unintentionally create a culture of dobbing and gossip.
Chances are that these poor stressed out leaders will then blame their team when things go wrong. They might end up yelling and...
I’ve learned a thing or two as a parent of adult children.
As parents and leaders, we need to teach our children and our teams how to do things and to be clear about what we expect of them. We need to set boundaries and to enforce those boundaries when the need arises.
People need to know where they stand. It helps them to feel safe.
One of the greatest challenges is working out which boundaries are absolutely non-negotiable and which ones are less important and a guide only.
Because when we enforce rules and boundaries that don't make sense, seem unnecessarily punitive or are condescending we will get push back - I guarantee it.
Our children (particularly our teenage children) and our staff are not robots; they do not exist to please us or to do what they are told. They have feelings and thoughts and their own belief and values systems. They are less likely than ever before to do what they are told because you are their parent or their boss. We live in a world where we...
I was recently asked for advice about how to end a relationship. There is often a lot of conflict around failed relationships. It doesn’t have to be that way.
My friend felt bad. The other person in the relationship had not done anything wrong. They were not a bad person. They hadn’t lied or cheated. They had been incredibly thoughtful and charming throughout their relationship. You couldn’t fault them.
But my friend and the other person just didn’t click. There was no fire. There was no point pretending the relationship was going somewhere.
I said there are three rules to having “that conversation” to end the relationship and you can apply it to any situation where a personal relationship has broken down.
The three rules are:
Don’t blame yourself or the other person. We generally don't go into relationships lightly. Neither of you are bad people. You...
A couple of weeks ago my husband and I were staying in Port Elliott, our favourite place in the world.
It was a wet and cold weekend but we somehow missed the rain every time we went for a walk.
On one of our walks we noticed a family and their dog near a pond in the local park. All of a sudden there was a lot of noise and yelling. We looked over to see the father yelling aggressively at the dog who had decided to go for a bit of a paddle in the water.
The dog was as obedient as our dogs and he kept paddling in the water despite the man's desperate attempt to get him to come out of the water.
Eventually the father dragged the drenched dog out of the water, getting soaked in the meantime. He then cruelly picked up the dog by his collar, basically choking the dog and then hit the dog hard.
Suddenly the man noticed that he was being watched and he stopped his cruel punishment of the dog.
The man was furious. Furious that the dog was disobedient. Furious that the dog was now wet...
I am on a plane travelling to Melbourne. We are sitting on the tarmac. The plane has pulled back and just as you think that we are about to get going the captain comes on over the speaker and says that due to some unforeseen circumstances we have to go back to the airport.
We are asked to stay in our seats with our seatbelts on. We are all obedient and continue to play on our phones whilst the flight staff do whatever they have to do.
Then suddenly three police officers walk up the aisle of the plane.
Well, this is highly entertaining. So we all distract ourselves from our phones to get a look at what is happening at the back of the plane.
Next minute, they are walking a fairly good looking, clean cut boy of about 22 down the aisle and off the plane.
Well, we all look at each other and breathe a sigh of relief that we have been saved from this 20 something year old misfit. The captain makes some light hearted joke about the little issue now being resolved and we...
I reckon conflict gets a bad rap.
I reckon that conflict is a word that is regularly misunderstood.
People tell me that they think I’ve made a mistake having ‘conflict’ in my business name - too negative they say. People don’t like conflict, they say.
They’re right, many people don't like conflict. They run away from it; avoid it. They handle it badly. They tolerate inappropriate behaviour because they don’t want a scene. They don’t want to upset anyone.
But what they miss out on when they avoid conflict is opportunity.
They miss the opportunity: