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The school of life

I own a leather-bound, name-embossed work compendium. It has pockets for receipts, pens, credit cards, etcetera – but its main purpose is note-taking during meetings.

Any psychological profiler will explain this means; I’m an organised person with personal and professional pride – in who I am and what I do…that, and I’m old school.

Studies show that writing, as opposed to typing, enhances conceptualisation and improves information processing. Anything to affect quality cognition, right.

It’s the old adage: when people tell you who they are, listen to them. While I also subscribe to the cognitive model, I’m all eyes and ears regards social learning theory and behaviourism as practice to build, manage and end relationships.

For example, I’ve worked with numerous narcissists – mostly vulnerable, as opposed grandiose. A ‘narc’, along with the Machiavellian and psychopath form the dark triad with all drawn to leadership roles, wreaking havoc.

They are manipulators who lack compassion, are often bullish in approach and prone to taking credit, when it isn’t due. Looking closely, one can see the personality gaps from across the room.

A roll-of-the-eyes or lopsided smile of contempt, the steeple hand posture in ‘God’ talking or listening, a jealous comment or put-down…all is revealed. Narcs do status like it’s going out of fashion – if you are beneath them or a threat, you’ll know it.

The narcissist is a little easier to take in the workplace, because the behaviours they inflict at home would never fly professionally. But, they are still pretty tough to take.

One particular Airservices Mach-narc manager Lisa, subsequently terminated during restructure for not being ‘a people person’, was a threat for those lacking servitude.

Besides yelling at staff, Lisa was skilled at tasking and trashing deliverables for missing the goal posts – despite the fact, the request was documented. Arbitrarily changing tack is a classic narc-ism.

I noted this behaviour early on, when Lisa asked colleague Mark to produce a branch newsletter article on project management.

Mark wrote-up the preferred organisational methodology, which she furiously negated. Lisa had forgotten that she’d emailed me the article specs – and his copy was en pointe.

Besides being accomplished liars, you’ll recognise a workplace narc as someone who belittles others intellectually or physically. And while, yes, the narc thinks themselves superior to the target…it’s largely because they are filled with self-loathing, not love.

Tearing someone down, helps to build themselves up psychologically. The narc has fantasies of power, success, smarts and looks; yet, that’s mostly all these delusions remain.

Their confidence is logical fallacy; that is, self-assured types never need to disparage anyone. Conversely, they are immune to a narc, because their self-worth has internal mechanisms. Hence, Lisa removed herself as my boss, unable to inflict her special brand of love.

But the truly scary paradox of a narc, is one whereby they feint interest, compassion and empathy – and not because it’s socially acceptable and allows them to fit in, which is true.

Moreover, it’s an information-gathering exercise, which is wielded against you – to your face and/or behind your back. It’s literally a case-of, show weakness at your own peril.

American psychiatrist Glassner’s choice theory posits that the behaviours we choose are central to our existence; his behavioural drivers are similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

He states, choice theory goes to an individual’s ‘quality world’ or images that constitute perfection. Perfect relationships, possessions, beliefs – its social construction of the tallest order resulting in a mostly unconscious framework.

From birth to death, we’re in a constant state of archetypal compare and contrast as the subconscious calibrates towards our best world experience.

Behaviour is made up of four components: acting, thinking, feeling and physiology. However, the doc believed humans only have control over how we think and act.

So, while the four behavioural factors are intertwined, thoughts and behaviours are driven by emotion and bodily response. Ask yourself; when was the last time you had a gut reaction that produced an emotion, which shaped a thought that was acted on?

And that’s the beauty of behaviourism as a ‘systematic approach to understanding human and animal behaviour.’

As per choice theory axioms…if all we can do is control our own behaviour; and give another person information, then the onus is on us – to set and enforce personal and professional boundaries, cleaning up our act in the process.

I mean, one can hardly have high expectations of others – if not modelling behaviours required of family, friends and colleagues? Lest, we typify narcissist tendencies: to do as I say, not as I do.

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Protest march: Aussie call to arms

Australians are now experiencing a government dictatorship. Until citizens have meaningful, ongoing stakeholder engagement through open dialogue, then democracy remains a farce, and our tax dollars will be misspent.

And I should know – I’m a change manager and communication consultant. I’ve had a gutful, and reading your letters to editor…I know we’re on the same page.

Aussies are no longer interested in government engagement via a four-year ballot box. We want a fair bloody crack of the whip – and that’s an ongoing place at the table.

This is our draft agenda; I’m suggesting we hash the issues between now and 3 December, before Australians march in protest on federal and state governments to present problems and potential solutions to our neurally-challenged political managers – not leaders.

Because let’s face, this is a crisis. Australians need change to become a socially progressive country. The nature of quality change management is always top-down and bottom-up approach – together, we are ‘our pollies’ best bet in becoming, the best version of us.

Draft agenda:

Health

  • Access to RU486 non-surgical abortion for girls and women…currently only 1094 Aussie doctors are registered with MS Health to prescribe out of 102,000 GPs…less than 1%, which means 4870 patients to every RU486 prescribing doctor since TGA approval Aug 2012 (figures as at Feb 2017)
  • Ban alcohol sponsorship that damages our children
  • Government-funded rehabilitation centres for drug users
  • Meaningful funding for mental health programs and to reduce homelessness
  • Ban Medicare-funded IVF

Education

  • Anti-bullying programs in all private and public schools
  • Free civilian spot-a-terrorist training programs: everyone must be eyes and ears

Government

  • Independent Ethics Committee to oversee all government spending
  • Independent public committees to oversee government departmental spending to prevent wasted tax dollars; eg. ATO recently installed squat toilets for 20% diverse people, when third world countries are phasing them out in favour of western sit toilets
  • Removal of GST on tampons and pads with funding towards domestic violence prevention programs and women made homeless through domestic violence
  • Remove internal government-provided psychiatrists for frontline specialists and increased treatment for PTSD sufferers including military, police, ambos, teachers, firies…
  • Senate reform to address party gridlock

Law and crime

  • All sex and domestic violence offenders to wear tracking systems for designated period and develop national database for all offenders, including DNA
  • Decriminalisation of abortion in 5 of 8 Australian states
  • Law reform that protects domestic violence and sexual assault victims from perpetrators and better funding for criminal rehabilitation

Human Rights

  • A new Aboriginal department and minister to progress human rights for Australia’s First Peoples: similar to Minister for Women
  • Terminate employment of the WA police who are responsible for death of Julieka Dhu, who were at best negligent in their duty of care and at worst, committed manslaughter
  • Same sex marriage: equal rights for all Australians
  • Shut-down Manus Island detention centre and stop locking refugee children up

Housing

  • Australian foreign property ownership laws requiring citizenship

Religion

  • Ban religion institutes funding government campaigning for true secular state

Business

  • Corporate law reform: cut tax breaks for business that do not create new positions
  • Reintroduce work penalty rates for poorest Australians

Climate change

  • Greater funding for renewable energies including federal and state alignment
  • End Indian Government Adani coal mine project that kills our environment and protects their interests via off-shore accounting

 

The Great Escape

Keanu Reeves was my fantasy go-to back in the day…I oscillated between living on a houseboat or in a beach house, but one fact remained true.

I was a surf god, taking out Bell’s and Keanu and all in some naff black wetsuit – cos 90s fashion was seriously behind the eight ball.

The point is…I was the hero because I have post-traumatic stress disorder. The only person who can and will ever save me, is me.

Poor old Dad so destroyed after Vietnam War, advised – ‘kids, when gunmen break into house, crawl under your bed and pull the doona with you.’ Nevermind the rest of shit I saw and heard.

No biggie. One toughens up: becomes skilled in hand-to-hand combat and weapons, scan faces for threats, avoids dark alleys and looks for exit points in new environments.

Because men are always foe before friend. Until I determine your calibre, you won’t it…but you’re on notice.

So, when I meet an actual male hero, akin to my old man; my faith is restored. Because trust is my number one hurdle – good ole neural wiring. Something about working for and against…

Talking with new mate Sharpie this week was another mental teardown and refit – because it’s not my inherent distrust of men that proves the overriding issue. My life’s work is self-trust.

Why? I have a family of scientists – all three of them, through and through – so I’m an evidenced-based operator.

Give me qualitative and quantitative research, but only if undertaken with a sufficient sample size and a suitable line of questioning in neutral environment – baseless assertions confound my type.

And yet, ask me if I make decisions with my head or my gut…and it’s instinct; every, single, time.

In fact, it’s saved my life: once hitching a ride in Mexico when my motorbike broke down, and another time, as a povo student desperate for rent.

So the story goes…I was showing computer guy through place, and weirdly, simply could not turn my back on him the whole tour.

But it wasn’t until I’d slept with Kung Fu short staff next to bed for the next three nights, that I asked him to move out. Dude’s like, why – me: I don’t know; bye!

Because I do frontal cortex mechanics bloody well – but my instinct is superior. Right here, right now – how many times will you go-with-gut, over your head; or vice versa to avoid cognitive bias, your head over gut?

And here’s the kicker – no one’s talking about it. However, the evidence is in. How many times where you told growing up during exams – your first multiple choice response is usually correct?

If students are being taught to follow instinct, when did intuition stop applying as an employee?

The answer is; it didn’t. And people who use their gut instinct get better at identifying instant discord.

The problem is – if you don’t react ‘and respond’, then prepare for anxiety and mental stress.

I know when I don’t listen to me – I’ve conducted a personal bowline. A knot is the weakest part of any rope structure; you gotta untie that shit to move forward.

But self-trust isn’t just my issue – I know it yours too; because, the unassailable truth is…females are taught to worry that they are ‘too much’. And conversely, males are only ever concerned that they ‘aren’t enough’.

Women: don’t show too much emotion – it’s wrong. Men: how can I ever be enough to support my family?

The thing is: hopefully you’ve surrounded yourself with people who love you, no matter how you go about learning life lessons.

We should all be in space that is safe enough to self-level before refabrication: mentally, physically, emotionally, you name it…

And if you’re not; until you get there, you take the hits until you become your own hero. Because, the only person who can look after you, is you.

Leadership is not the sole domain of managers and CEOs – everyone must be their own leader.

If you cannot be the leader of your clan, or for example, self-empower in a job designed to disempower: then your back is always to the wall.

And one can research leadership till blue-in-face – but a single fact remains true ‘o’ subject. Leaders know when to break the rules.

Like the recent state versus federal government ringside event regards the polled two-third populist Australian move to renewable energy.

In one corner weighing in at 350 pounds: South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill eyeballed featherweight SmarmyMacSmarmson Josh Frydenberg at crashed press conference, interjecting at will.

It was like being a prisoner of war: and in rides Steve McQueen on his TT Special 650 Triumph, pulling an epic motorcycle jump to escape Nazi capture. And the crowd roars.

So, while it’s true, I’m always on the lookout for people who have the courage of conviction to bring about social justice, which is my ‘hero’ definition…I’m still the leader of my pack. Are you feeling me?

My oldest friend and foe

It’s my humble opinion that regularly embracing one’s idiot-self is damn good for the soul. Cause no one is getting it perfectly right – that would be crazy talk.

Truly, everyone is perfectly-imperfect. This is the basis for acceptance of our social diversity. We are entitled to have different core values, principles and behaviours – if we seek to do no harm.

And since I started this exceptional growth phase, a few things regards this are patently clear. For one thing, sure it sux to get it wrong – but that’s exactly where the good stuff is at.

I have learnt more about myself and who I want to be, and therefore, who I want to know, than possibly imaginable in the past three months.

Although loathe to naval-gaze publicly, given propensity for self-reflective mouthvom – it’s okay on this occasion because my overriding hope is this…

If you’re feeling a dickhead too, I’ll just strap a trusty phallus briefly to forehead, before removing to move on – thus demonstrating the value in failure. Albeit indelicately and via self-amusement; obvs nothing new to see here, folks.

I firmly believe that we learn the most from the people we surround ourselves with. Modelling is my preferred education style.

Unfortunately for me, I don’t have any copy precedence regards this week’s der brain moment – but as mate Kristina kindly suggested to me recently, ‘embracing fear’ seems to be where I’m at.

My reasons for coming clean are important for those of us, ‘working’ to own our faults. Basically, I’m no fraud. Accountability and responsibility are always important to me.

Because, if I can’t own me and my actions – then I should just hang up my boots now; you can hardly expect the same from anyone else.

The things is…when you screw up and admit it – what you’re looking for, is how people respond, and your mental reckoning regards the reveal.

Because the skinny is this. As-long-as you’re a good person – it’s only ever what you think about yourself that matters. The rest pales.

My other point: I’m only interested in authentic these days, both in me and the next. I aspire to being as consistent a character as possible.

Nothing annoys me more, and loses my trust and respect quicker: these being the established relationship principles.

And funnily enough, I’ve noticed in becoming truest self – your tribe, even just peripheral, reveal their themselves too – directly and/or by omission. Who knew? But then I’m easily shocked: I’m a known ‘gasper’.

For me, it comes back to this. I’m nothing but a monkey who seeks reciprocity. You scratch my back – and scratch yours. Then I’ll raise you one, by helping you to pick your nits.

Because real kindness is gold – not from those appearing one way publicly, only to show self privately, and vice versa. But it’s what you do with the disclosure – that shows you, you. I do what I’ve always done: cull.

Picture yourself driving, and half the backseat is telling where to go – this happens a shitload more to women than men…right now, straight up.

Advising me of my duty and who I am, to what I should aspire – and what my values and behaviours must be – always gets someone mentally booted from my canary yellow with black racing stripe 428 Cobra Jet.

I have always, and will always, excise deadwood like it’s no one’s business – because it isn’t. That’s the job. Most do not get you to where you’re going.

People come in and out of our lives with regularity – relationships are: for a reason, a season and if lucky, a la my folks married 47 years…a lifetime. But it’s unusual to grow with people that way.

And here’s why: just when I think I know me, I’ve changed – not atrophied but expanded my knowledge of self, in direct relation to the experiences that I’m seeking.

So, that’s why, I’m humbly willing to announce nomination today for the 2017 Darwin Award – in a new category, whereby one only inflicts a small body wound…shooting self-in-foot.

Jumping gun, I have prematurely announced my employment with esteemed Predicate Partners; only being halfway through their quality recruitment process.

However, there was a silver-lining. With all the painful tribe refinement; my true peeps emerged – and I so was happy to see them. So, wish me luck with my peer review, and leadership meet-and-greet this week.

Even if it she’s a no-go and I have too dust self-off, again – thanks for revealing you, one way or another. I’ll keep doing the same; with heart-on-sleeve and my old mate Fear tucked in back pocket.

The enemy within

 

So…just got smacked in the third eye. It turns out, I’m a terrible hostage candidate; personal and professional – depending on your perspective, of course.

Right up front – many thanks to all my would-be oppressors who unwittingly provided an opportunity to practise, in my opinion; the single most practical communication skillset on the face of the Earth. That of the negotiator.

Had a totally Eureka moment, when I stumbled into sentient being Haydn Thomas’ Courageous Leadership Conversations workshop at the three-day Convergence Change Conference last week.

All I can think is, how did negotiation not make it as a communication degree unit…ethics is, and apparently, that’s gone out the window?

As a broadly practiced 21-year communication professional – just a thought: if you ever choose just one industry course, Haydn recommends the ENS International negotiator training. Given we only touched subject matter, I’m waiting for course details as we speak.

Unfortunately, the situation is this. Business actively works to cultivate hostages, all the while communicating opposing messaging of innovation, collaboration…pick a hot creative term and look up its antonym. That’s exactly where it’s at.

And I’m sorry to be the bearer of this pile of shit news. But the fact is: it will never behove the majority of established business to empower free-thinking that goes directly against hierarchy.

We are the medicated, homogenised mass who unbeknownst, play our parts to a T. And sometimes that’s OK, because let’s face it – everyone has responsibilities and when children are involved, then my hat goes off to the self-hostage. They are taking a massive hit for the team. I have felt and seen your trauma…you are my hero’s.

The problem is, you cannot be a hostage and not suffer the effects of ill health. And I have first-hand experience.

Until four months ago, it’s fair to say I was a dissident hostage with a diagnosed, medicated major depressive disorder.

So, what changed? I negated the situation to take a leadership role including that of negotiator…and as a result, I no longer take anti-depressants or suffer depression. Imagine my pure joy.

Another health strategy I employ, is effectively running away from a succubus. You know – the taker. They, in fact, are also holding you hostage.

Don’t get me wrong – we all take. That’s the game. But if you don’t give and take – in the words of Melbourne Cup winning jockey and all-round legend Michelle Payne…get stuffed.

They can also use tactics like eyeballing – I know this intimately and damn it’s fun for my type. The trick per Haydn, is no quarter – whoever break gaze first, loses. Game on, people.

But it was the status role play that had me stumped – I’m sure Haydn was watching me not getting it, simply because I’m a fighter; for me there are only two positions. Victim and non-victim. Wrong! There are four status positions: but it’s the Alpha at number one that left me feeling like a shower.

Imagine massive ego, overbearing, uses their body to intimidate – can be recognised by all-important ‘glide’.

So, second position will see someone clomping heavily and moving quickly, but if you want to pull rank in motion, slow that shit right down and draw yourself upwards to create personal power.

And I’m thinking, nuh, when is that working for someone who needs to connect – then it hit me.

I gave Dad a triple banger at Chrissie after a blue with folks. I got up and walked across living room towards Dad, headed for door; to which he said, don’t walk out.

It was a final call to arms so I deliberately slowed self, and eyeballed him with, ‘this isn’t walking – this is running’.

And that’s why Haydn’s course was so illuminating and achieved my conference objective: to access more compassion and help me negate my linguistic blunt force trauma.

I will always choose the carrot over the stick messaging or as Haydn says, pull or push influencing style – but I need the insight to access the love.

The fight with Mum appeared as fear about my start-up: but it’s an illusion. Mum’s actual fear is abandonment by me.

There’s a story about her packing a little bag aged 6 or 7 and running away from home. She was attempting to take her mother hostage to get love – and what did Mardi do…sent her 4-year-old brother to track Mum. Not come after her, like any well mother would do. And my heart broke for that little girl.

So now Dad and I have taken the role of negotiators; I’ve begun to feed him strategy and build Mum up – because the abandonment fear goes to inferiority. Even recently her older brother told her that she was stupid to her face, twice! Honestly, who are these people?

What it comes back to is this…are you listening to yourself? Is your gut screaming at you to create change and you’re actively ignoring your intuition?

I had depression because I wasn’t reacting and responding to my trauma. Sometimes you’re on a ledge, with a burning change platform and you’re frozen with fear. I was. Now I’m not.

If you’ve got a burning platform and it directly affects someone that you’re responsible for, like children, and you’ve got your fingers stuck-in-ears, going ‘la la la’ – then I’d suggest to do something, even small, to see what could be.

Because funnily enough, once you have change impetus it creates a chain reaction…and that’s when you know that you’re on the right path. Even if it’s just a courageous conversation with yourself. You’ll feel heaps better.

Addendum: my old man Sandy gives great eye…needless to say, he’s no hostage either. I guess you do learn from the best.

 

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

Despite the fact that Ros looked and felt like a woman in extreme pain, her hair was perfectly parted and brushed – the attention to detail provided me with some necessary insight.

Earlier this week, I engaged the certified West Australian gem valuer to help me hock the family jewels for start-up funds – but on meeting her, my professional interest turned personal.

One of life’s shadow boxers, Ros keeps her family-of-four together – surviving day-to-day; caring for her son, who can experience up to 1000 daily seizures through traumatic brain injury. Hence the exhaustion: she sleeps with Shaye to keep him alive…a mother’s love.

Before I arrived, Ros sent specific instructions as to location and parking – giving me pause. Usually people who seek such order, invariably have a significant part of their lives completely spiralling out of control.

The trick for Earthlings, is to gather the facts so we don’t rush judgement – and we will always judge…it’s human nature. Anyone who tells you not too, is misguided.

So how does one generate compassion in the workplace – when your back’s to wall and it’s all you can do, not to tell people to fuck off and leave you alone when you’re under the pump too?

People teach you about people, including yourself – so for me, the only real question in life is ‘why’? Because to know where someone comes from is the key to understanding and acceptance – which leads directly to compassion.

I use a neuro-linguistic programming technique called perceptual positioning. NLP has become so popular that NASA use the science to design instrument panels.

And businesses like Oracle, IBM, American Express, Apple, Xerox, Mercedes, BMW, etcetera use the technique to improve communication, build teams and increase productivity.

In 2001, FBI’s Law Enforcement Bulletin August issue commented, ‘enhancing communication and, hence, building rapport represents the most applicable aspect of NLP to investigators.

‘The ability to communicate effectively stands as one of the major contributors to a police officer’s success in dealing with the public.’

The beauty of perceptual positioning is that it imbibes the adage – walk a mile in someone’s shoes, by tapping into your imagination.

The three positions are first, second and third – the first, being the easiest as ‘self’, whereby one sees, hears and feels from their perspective.

It’s a powerful position to know oneself, to have emotional granularity and act in accordance with personal beliefs – but there is danger in the untenable position of attempting to remain an island.

The second position relates to values and beliefs of another that cause them to act in cultural accordance. Again, a powerful position to visit – because the danger in remaining here, is to ignore the systems that drive you.

The final position is markedly different, in that, it’s completely rational: to be experienced with no emotion. The observer detaches, like a fly on the wall, to perceive the communication and behaviourism of both parties thus conducting a logical situational analysis.

And it works. Many years ago, I had a manager suffering obesity who sought control by micromanaging employees – an incredibly frustrating situation for all parties. I recognised him for exactly who he was and understood his pain – because I too, was once an overeater.

Everyone was oblivious to his trauma, so I actively worked against the negative press – because that’s the job. As human beings, we must generate our care-lens and the care-lens of counterparts, so that we grow the compassion required to accept and help each other. We are all that we have, in the end.

My grandad had it in spades, when the Commanding Officer of 2/6 Cavalry Commando charged a minefield during the Battle of Bardia, Egypt between 3-5 January 1941 – flanking the enemy in the newly mechanised reconnaissance regiment, with a machine gun to protect his men.

And how they loved him for it – this solider’s solider. The original light horseman was awarded the Military Cross for his actions, and backed up his professional love again, to protect his Farida Force troops in Papua New Guinea – again awarded for courage under fire, the Distinguished Service Order.

But Lieutenant Colonel Eric Claude Hennessy was ahead of game. Although described by To the Green Fields Beyond author Shawn O’Leary as a ‘man who was made for war’ – Hennessy proved something all warriors know.

That it’s not about you or me – it’s about us. Love actually does makes the world go round. So who can you reach out to, and help today? I’ll give you a hot tip: it’ll make the both of you feel good…like the humans that you are.

A cheap risk strategy

Risk is the basis for life, given the advance of civilisation is entirely change-based. What if our species said, ‘nuh, sorry…I’m out – going back to the cave, folks.’

Because innovation is a change event, and humans are neurologically change-adverse – our primitive, instinctive reptilian brain function simply rails against it.

Business even constructed a communication framework to support people through workplace change, which manages organisational risk variables regarding adoption.

Otherwise, risk management is big business in its own right; as related to workplace safety and economic prosperity. However, with a world of scientific evidence in the information and technology ages, organisations continue absorb unnecessary risk.

Like Australian firm Denovo Consulting who, this week, ignored the evidential publication of their unethical business practices across three top social media platforms, with 48hrs and 24hrs respective notice to act.

This is good. It’s 2017: people know there’s a problem with unethical business. We don’t care which way business chooses to practice; we just want to know who is worthy of our trust and respect. Because smart professionals don’t align their brand with business that they aren’t proud to be associated with.

It might have escaped the attention of Australian business, but non-physical intangible assets such as brand equity, intellectual capital and goodwill are the dominate means by which they create value.

In fact, Harvard Business Review article, Risks and Reputation, put the American economy’s intangible market value at between 70–80%—and that was a decade ago.

Seven West Media chairperson Kerry Stokes and Beyond Blue CEO Jeff Kennett are great examples of brands willing to absorb reputational risk in their current crisis management mode; ie. risk management occurs well-prior to an adverse event.

Stokes backed his CEO, workplace lothario and sex scandal protagonist, Tim Worner who tabled a December media conference announcing a 91% company loss in six months.

‘Tim Worner, himself, continues to enjoy full confidence of the board as our CEO, where he is doing an outstanding job and he leads the best media team in Australia,’ Stokes told journalists.

‘There is no governance issue…the board will have no further inquiries. We were disappointed, we were forced to make such a serious investigation into such irrelevant allegations that have no substance at all.’

Apparently, Twitter-redacted SMS messages between Worner and Seven West combatant Amber Harrison, whereby Worner professed to being a chem-sex god, were inadmissible.

Stokes added he had received only four messages from concerned shareholders thus revealing his shareholder theory subscription; managers must maximise shareholder returns at all costs.

This is opposed to stakeholder theory, whereby a manager will balance shareholder and stakeholders’ interests; eg. employees, customers and the community, even if it reduces shareholder returns.

Again this month, Stokes further damaged his brand in refusing to release the audit report, clearing Worner of misconduct including corporate expenditure of $600k in three years.

As a result, former Royal Women’s Hospital Foundation Board chairperson and president and respected Gilbert + Tobin lawyer, Shelia McGregor immediately resigned the board citing ‘ethical issues’.

As for Kennett – the Seven West board member and Australia’s premier depression advocate is reimbursed $127k annually to represent an organisation that endorses well-documented female employee harassment.

So what would be the cost Seven West to mitigate the current reputational risk crisis? Apparently, only $245k owed to Harrison who contests the agreed separation fee was short.

That’s one arsey billionaire, I reckon – especially one indicting that they directly influence what future inquiries the board undertakes?

We know it would cost Kennett $127k to ensure his well-crafted benevolent image remains intact; but what would it cost for Denovo Consulting to protect their brand?

Nada…beside a direct hit to patriarchal pride. A couple of paragraphs, stating the bleeding obvious that could in fact win them business – sorry is still the hardest word to say.

And even professionals are getting it wrong, with advertising guru and fem-icon Jane Caro announcing on Monday breakfast television that two women featured in the now defunct Ultratune ad were ‘aliens’.

When Twitter-queried, Caro created a strawman as advocate against plastic surgery for ‘young girls’ standing by the vilification to her 17k+ audience, thus rendering a recent column professing to being a ‘woman’s woman’, as absolute crap.

Interestingly, risk is difficult to define – traditionally there’s little consensus: because how does one measure objective and subjective risk?

In 1921, Risk, Uncertainty and Profit author Frank Knight boils it down to this: risk is quantifiable uncertainty; eg. someone skydiving sans parachute suffers no uncertainty – they will die.

The engineering profession defines risk as the ‘product of the probability of an “undesirable” event occurring including expected harm assessment.’

But what about those life curveballs that impact psychology and ultimately, personal risk management frameworks? Like my old man – post Vietnam War.

Having survived a gunshot wound to heart and lungs, his brain injury reframed the definition of danger; ie. people are more dangerous than nature. So, Dad built a 38ft heavy weather boat and we sailed round-the-world for three years – in his words, he was ‘keeping us safe’.

Adventurers are by-nature, natural risk-takers; but they prime for as many known-unknowns as possible. So he prepared – smelting 12.5 tonnes of lead for keel ballast…right though to lead-lining the massive diesel engine bay.

Noise minimisation is important on a yacht. Built for wind, sailors engage engine power during risky manoeuvrers – like navigating a rocky entrance in a rolling swell, or for example, locating someone overboard off Shark Bay, West Australia at 3am in 3–4 metre seas…when we lost Mum.

In short, we-three teamed up and reversed Honeychild under engine power to her plaintive cries, ‘over here, over here’. Coming up port side, Dad with superhuman strength, reached into the drink and lifted Mum out, wet clothes and all – thus rendering $200 worth of foam lead-lining as priceless.

Whatever we know about risk, this is true – that undertaking risk, properly conceived, is often rewarding. And that’s the paradox: the real risk, is in not taking a risk. Just don’t forget the bloody lead-lining!

 

What the world needs now

I’m a natural evidence-based dissident. Why not. I’m a smart, strong woman in a man’s world. If I can see a hole in an argument, it would be erroneous to validate the assertion with silence?

Like when SMS colleague Ed thought to advise me one sunny day to ‘write everything down; if you’re anything like me, you forget what happened the day before.’

It’s a little-known fact, but one of my superpowers is memory – it’s fucking technicoloured since age 2. So the cognitive dissonance that occurs, when a fallacious male entity proffers unrequested advice that attempts to align me with their personal limitations, is quite sharp and shocking.

And for both parties I’d imagine, when I shortly disinclined the argument and left. However, when it comes to Dunning Kruger, it’s important to demonstrate relationship inequalities, lest continue in the same vein. Boundaries – no good, if not enforced.

Besides, there is nothing quite like a timeless, well-delivered slapback. My rewards centre is always lit in pursuing linguistic perfection, but especially when it comes to returning shade where certain characters are involved.

Plus, I’ve got that slapback memory, which amuses mates and I decades after the fact. Sure, it’s my small brain in action, I freely admit; but at least it’s cerebral and ultimately, highly practical.

I only throw shade when I get it, or someone is being bullied. Meaning, if your operations negatively impact me or you’re prick generally speaking, I’m happy outlining argument theory flaws. It’s a pleasure.

Everyone does it in their own way. Like Charles Sturt University public ethics Professor Clive Hamilton on Friday, when he nationally disgraced the Australian Government by resigning from the so-funded Climate Change Authority.

Hired to develop meaningful, fully-endorsed policy, Hamilton was horrified when the government’s snakes-and-ladders approach to a world crisis, opted for a Red-bellied Black backward-arse tilt. Perceptually positioning, most can appreciate the cog-disconnect for an ethics academic hired to do a job by piss-weak blockers pretending to manage a shitshow.

‘It is perverse to boost coal production when 2016 marked the hottest year on record,’ Hamilton said, referring to the new Australian report by Climate Council’s Dr Tim Flannery. He continued, ‘If the new coal-fired power plants are built, the government’s already-weak 2030 carbon-reduction target is unattainable.’

But Hamilton’s stand demonstrates not just a perverted government actively seeking to destroy an environment they do not own, when numerous solutions are available; it’s this…that largely, government ‘business’ operations are an unethical farce.

If an ethics professor cannot work ethically for a government, then that government by definition is unethical and therefore, a farce.

As any associated employee, contractor and/or consultant will tell you, at any point in their career, government hires us and then actively prevents us from doing that job.

Hamilton has publically demonstrated the actual perversion of Australian Government; its operations are a converse error. That is, a government-funded agency is created to provide advice that the government takes because they fund it. Wrong. The latest ‘fuck you, Pachamama’, which Hamilton evidences, shows government is logical fallacy.

And the kicker? What was the government’s response to a public relations crisis of global proportion – what communication would Federal Government ‘choose’ when referencing the fact, the boy’s club are set to continue negatively affecting climate change, which will be an extinction event?

Wannabe-chief Australian environmental protector and second-in-command, Mr. Josh Frydenberg commented, we are ‘unapologetic as we transition’. Yep. Instead of manning-up to look like a ‘dick speaking the truth’, he went with looking like a ‘dick with a strong arm’. Good choice – always a great public relations move.

So what was the truth? That the Australian Government is scared shitless about last week’s Adelaide electricity debacle, when a 40% renewable-energy state leader suffered massive outages when wind farms were ‘becalmed’. That’s right – Adelaide hit the doldrums, and the government pissed its pants.

In any case, when it comes to dissidence – the meaning, like anything, is in the action. And Australia’s call-to-arms regarding our failing duty-of-care, tantamount to torture and murder, is on 22 April for Canberra locals.

So start saving your cardboard boxes, because not only are we marching for ‘that waterhole we spent hours’ duck-diving each summer with Mum yelling at us to get out, or the world’s totally-fearful soon-to-be displaced island peoples who have no voice’, but his Holiness Sir David Attenborough is visiting.

The world’s preferred grandad-adoptee is gracing Aussies with his presence, as his science peers kindly name a local slug in Dave’s honour. And he is honoured like only Dave could be – with gorgeous child-like wonder at the natural world, even if it’s slimy.

Apparently, the snail’s healing properties are a metaphor for his special brand of environmental balm. But will his message stick before we reach the scientific tipping point, and will anyone care if not?

For more information about the Aussie efforts regarding the global March for Science, go to marchforsciencecanberra.org and follow @ScienceMarchCBR.

To the mattresses: part 1, basic training

Manners maketh man’ is sizable social construct by a patriarchal religious institution in a patriarchal society, which largely, a patriarchy eschews practising? Well – when one considers 98% of incarcerated persons are male. At what point do women need to become downright fucking rude to advance their human rights?

Over the weekend, women in STEM hijacked an existing industry campaign to give US President Donald Trump a big-ole social media finger. And it was as pretty as it sounds.

The ‘actual living scientist’ tag ‘to improve industry access to professionals’ was leveraged in an emerging gender issue as threatened by the new White House administration.

Worldwide; tough, intelligent, tenacious STEM women segued existing discussion to comment professionally on Trump’s new ‘dress like a woman’ workplace policy, and tweet pics.

Like Karen Romano Young, who assert for her female colleagues in science and snow – ‘here’s what we wear in the Arctic when we’re studying the effects of climate change’.

Or, Ivelisse Viruet who tweet Trump commenting: ‘while you were granted five draft deferments, I served 22 years in the military – I #dresslikeawoman, and you need to #actlikeapresident’; and, Amy Tan MD, who says ‘I can’t #dresslikeawoman without my scrubs.’

But it’s Herding Movement who best demonstrates a continuing workplace problem: ‘I’ve had engineers ask me to get them a coffee because I #dresslikeawoman (and) then realise that I’m the #actuallivingsciventist running the damn project.’

Pound for pound, these women, and women globally, are doing it better than men in their arena. Period.

It’s easy to qualify that statement; simply, those women did it without the resources men have thrown at them, and yet, they continue to throw-in for the potentially criminal shitshow that they are often victim too.

Like my 1990s Defence colleague, ADFA naval officer Fiona, who was physically tortured by her officer-in-charge – made to march while carrying a vacuum cleaner over her head because he knew she had a bad back.

Or my mate Summers, a naval investigator at Garden Island whose well-qualified Christmas Day search request was blocked by lazy male officers.

In the end, she went around them; ran the investigation herself and uncovered a hoist of illegal weapons. One sailor had nine guns. Job done.

Or the time I was sexually harassed working for Immigration in 2010. Again, yawn. I was chatting with female colleagues about the green wedding dress Cate had worn, when ACT change pretender Troy lurched over.

Troy thought to demonstrate his kinky workplace VPL fashion concerns, which seemed strange for a Hawaiian-shirt loving Neanderthal? ‘You wouldn’t have worn panties on your wedding day, would you Amber,’ Troy grunted.

I tend to feel sorry for these professional deviants or workplace terrorists; well, look at them? What’s someone like that actually got going for them? Hot tip. It will never worry me when a 2017 male mode ‘chooses’ socially, politically and economically regressive personal policy, which as studies show, negatively affects ‘their’ mental health.

As women, we need to focus on circumstances within our control. These oft-silent terror attacks are and continue-to-be managed by professional women on a case-by-case basis. Think Turnbull and Trump for next four years, ala ANZUS Gate last week. Besides, warfare is a training grounds.

The real problem for women is not the odd workplace dust-up. It’s this. Despite the Dunning-Kruger effect, professional females who are ‘actively’ aware of their talent, are ‘actively’ underselling themselves because it’s ‘unladylike’.
And Australian female professionals have a further cultural barrier; more colonial hangover with the Tall Poppy Syndrome. Women are taught in so many ways – not to acknowledge professional strengths that aren’t sexually-based, and sell themselves in a capacity which is not physical-based. Think about that, people?

On the other hand, men are biologically-programmed and well socially-advised to double-down on risky behaviour that backs numero uno. Studies show, men are more likely to talk themselves up, and all the while, women are talking themselves down. Christ, I don’t need a study. I am the study.

Like Airservices colleague, German national Sven, who introduced self as an ‘ANU scholarship awardee’? Sure, it’s impressive – but it smacks of hubris, and is ultimately unAustralian. One does not walk around dispensing tickets to their own show, PT Barnum-like. ‘Step right up, folks!’ People want people to go about achieving quietly, and this is especially true of women.

Why? Over 150 years of studies show the incredible conscious and subconscious bias that both genders have towards women. Neurobiology well demonstrates the hurdle.

For example, researchers recently discovered that while both genders objectify undistorted images of each other – when the images were both distorted, both genders continued to objectify women…and not men.

Clearly, human beings have no real response control to ‘the feminine’ as a society – and I doubt we can ever know the full depth and breadth of an issue that will make or break us, I’m sure.

One thing is clear – male self-promotion is effective. This means professional women must adopt a new personal public relations strategy, and enforce new boundaries.

Because no one is here for anyone – if you don’t believe in you, with necessary self-talk required to develop a positive attitude and enact supporting behaviours, nobody is going too.

So, try it out. It’s won’t be easy for most – people will laugh at you, depending on the size of your social experiment. Like Canberra Business Chamber representative Katrina, when I test to partially determine her usefulness to me?

Although, it’s worth noting, the failure finally occurred some 14 days later, in which time, Katrina had managed to sign-me-up electronically for a $180 in-house workshop, all the while not distributing to me, the start-up information freely proffered.

Apparently, a smart professional woman who self-brands as ‘talent’, will continue to be confronting. Of course, there is the other thought? That it’s just so hard to find talent these days.

Ghandi said it best: when you go to ‘change the world’, people will ignore you at first. Then they laugh and resist you, before finally, accepting the change. The beauty is, also according to Ghandi, all you need to do is, ‘be the change’.

Yep, there it is. The man-made world already largely ‘works’ for men. So – it’s actually time for women to beat their change drum, which will benefit our species. Yep, time to double-down, ladies.

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