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Leadership – It’s black & white

I woke up this morning to footage of protests, turned riots in America and solidarity protests across Europe.

These were the continuation of activities over the weekend following the death of a man, George Floyd, at the hands of a former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, with a reported history of misusing the agency his position gave him.

Last night, as I watched media reports about the escalating situation, I wanted to know what the US leadership’s position was… so I went to Twitter.

Unsurprisingly, the escalation of protests into riots had its genesis.

This morning I revisited the @realDonaldTrump Twitter feed and confirmed my suspicions.

The preferred narrative of the current American president was purpose-filled: insight division, assert white power, silence free speech and deride the 4th estate (media).

My default research platform, should tell you all you need to know about the style of ‘leadership’ in the region of genuine discontent.

While President Trump (@realDonaldTrump) is not the first President to utilise the social networking platform, it is his communications platform of choice (for the moment).

So to understand the ‘Voice’ of the President, Twitter is the logical place to start.

Originally, I started screenshoting the President’s twitter feed, but I stopped.

The abuse of people, process and community was abundant and not something I was looking to give oxygen.

But it got me thinking…

We keep hearing both locally and globally about the ‘new normal’ following the COVID-19 pandemic that literally saw the world ‘lockdown’.

However, absent in the global leadership dialogue is what we want our ‘new normal’ to look like.

We know the ills of each society are only exacerbated in extreme conditions and hardship.

But is the American leadership position still a viable justification for repression?

IMHO complacency of conversation and supporting action is why a non-politician became the President of the United States of America.

It is also why the new normal is whatever the ones who speak up, stand up and ‘do’, decide.

Ignorance breeds contempt and social structures are embedded with the bias of those who wield power. Their perspective is deemed (rightly or wrongly) appropriate.

However, in reviewing the annals of business (and more recently politics) when is anything @realDonaldTrump has ever done been deemed appropriate?

There is nothing united about the American states.

In reviewing the news footage, I couldn’t help but wonder why and how ‘civilised society’ can repeatedly get it so wrong.

This is a time for leadership within the global community – irrespective of political, legal and economic structures and biases associated with them.

This is the time for men and women – leaders, future leaders and their followers to stake a claim on the future we desire to work towards.

If we are genuinely ‘all in this together’, I wonder who within the group of world leaders will speak up, stand up and lead.

Deciding when enough is enough is a solid place to start our ‘new normal’.

Our Educators are the Unsung Heroes of C-19

Rightly or wrongly, the responsibility for the daily health and well-being of Australian families rests on the shoulders of our educators.

Why?

Because our ability as CEO of our households sees us now responsible for feeding, clothing, educating and supporting our children while also managing through the financial complications associated with managing the delicacies of employment in the COVID-19 era.

If you’re a parent who has taken responsibility for the daily educational needs of your child/ren, you know the challenge is real.

If you’re like me, you value the quality of education your child receives.

And yet you know you are failing to keep up.

With life, with work, with your child’s education schedule and the house keeping!

In the first note after isolation was enforced, I couldn’t have loved my daughter’s teacher more.

‘Thank you for taking responsibility for your child’s education’ she said.

I cried. Knowing this was as hard for her as a dedicated educator to relinquish her daily responsibility to us – the unqualified.

As a tertiary educator and online educator for close to a decade, some might assume I had this in the bag.

I certainly wasn’t phased.

I’d downloaded the 13 page .pdf expertly crafted to scaffold both student and parent through this new educational reality.

It was articulate in the daily requirements and included links and hard copies in a folder painstakingly collated and that we’d excitedly collected (while observing strict social distancing instructions).

I was beyond confident.

Then I started reading….the first lesson was phonemes.

My daughter had been speaking about them for weeks and I had congratulated her excitedly.

Yet when it came to teaching them – I had NO idea!

Enter Dr Google… okay, I had a definition. I could make this work. I could participate.

Then I saw that the wonderful educators at her public school really had my back – they’d included an explanatory video!

Now I felt invincible. 🙂

As a working mum and sole parent, I knew the road ahead was going to be busy.

I never imagined it was going to be so challenging. But it was for my daughter and I was beyond committed.

As the days turned into weeks, I spoke to close friends and associates, my struggles, were also their struggles.

Now I was determined to ease the burden for all of us and let the teachers get back to teaching. After all, they’re the ones best qualified. And my daughter deserved them.

So I decided to build a solution to help us all.

In doing so, I’ve now built a wonderful team of like-minded Australian educators and parents stretching four generations who share not only my educational vision but also a  community spirit… and

Our School Online was born.

So if you’re a parent, I’d love to hear how you’re managing through via our online survey because it’s really easy to think you’re all alone on this journey.

And let’s be honest, those What’sApp class groups don’t help our self-esteem! 🙂

If you’re and educator, feel free to call 1800 469 233 or email us at admin@online-school.com.au to see how our custom-built solution can ease the operational burden of moving your classroom online.

After all, we’ve built this to honour and support the brilliant work you do and the dedication you show towards educating our children.

Consider this our Thank you!

xo

 

 

 

 

C-19 – The world has gone mad. Again…

So this is why now, we must all STOP, look, listen, think and then act…

The shutdown of global industry could well be a by-product of our sheep mentality, but then again it may not…

While the ‘Facts’ evade us, so too does the privileged of making informed decisions in our daily lives.

So how do we as individuals, sisters, brothers, parents, grandparents, workers, business owners, debt-savvy individuals manage the reality of business, government and schools grinding to a halt…?

The best way we can.

First we act as individuals. We look at our own daily behaviours. We adopt (or not) a hypersensitivity to germs and we take preventative measures accordingly.

For those of you new to this, that doesn’t mean we start wiping our bottoms and washing our hands with soap post ablutions (you should have already been doing that! 🙂 ), it simply means extending our daily hygeine habits to consider the health of our fellow community members and their families.

As someone who lives and works in a multicultural community, I have long known our current situation isn’t a matter of race, religion or creed.

However, I also know that’s not everyone’s perception…

So sadly, from the outset, some are already operating behind the eight ball.

It’s not your fault (or maybe it is), but rest assured this isn’t an Asian infliction.

Truth be told, none of us outside certain areas of the medical industry have even a buckley’s chance in hell of understanding what this Covid-19 infected world really is.

What we can control however, and what we can take responsibility for is clear.

Our response to the ‘global pandemic’ is ours to own.

So, the real questions to be asked is how do you want and will you contribute to supporting your loved ones and the community at large in a COVID-19 era..?

Those who know me well would describe me as a ‘germaphobe’ due to my life long love affair with soap, incessant hand-washing and standard ‘no drinking after others’ life motto and subsequent daily practices.

What is ‘natural’ daily behaviour for me and something I have been long judged for, could admittedly, in itself be a study. However, it has now become the global minimum expectation for all.

I’m not going to say ‘I told you so. This isn’t the time for grandstanding (is it ever?), but it is the time for calm.

So do what you can to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from the risk of possible infection. Because we know C-19 lives on surfaces for weeks.

In doing so, you will be acting as a responsible global citizen and a kind individual…

And there is a whole lot of power in that!

Why I’m Walking for Lifehouse

A healthy life not utilised, is wasted. 

Unhealthy is much more fun…

Until you’ve heard the words ‘It’s cancer’ from the mouths of family or friends.

Then healthy becomes the only thing you care about.

Three out of the five members of my immediate family have survived The Big C.

Selfishly, I’m doing the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse 28km Walk with Lifehouse Coastal Trek later this month because I’m an inaugural member of an amazing group of humans called Lyndal’s Pink Gems who also share a tenuous relationship with Cancer.

We’ve been ‘in training’ now for a couple of months (in between life’s many distractions).

We’re hoping to complete the course in about 5 hours or so, but we’re not as interested in time taken, as we are in time spent. Together.

My team: Lyndal’s Pink Gems

Captains extraordinaire Christie and JA will ensure everyone is together and supported as needs arise.

Jodie’s handbag will contain the essentials, and while a few will be orienting themselves with a camelbak for the first time, all will be focused on propelling each other towards successful conquering of an unknown terrain with a smile and a strong sense of purpose.

Much like everyone’s journey with The Big C.

We won’t have our wonderful support crew by our side on this particular venture, but we will have each other and that means more wonderful and memorable moments made and shared.

We do have 28 kilometres of Royal National Park to cover afterall!

Warning: This is where I ask you for your loose change

So….if you are able to support an amazing group of humans at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse treat people, not just cancer, please help us raise funds by DONATING HERE 

Every dollar makes sense.

It’s time to re-think your approach to Social.

I spent a day with some of the brightest young minds in advertising last week.

The similarities

All were fabulous, capable, intelligent, hard-working ‘go-getters’. All were running some of the better social media campaigns in Australia.

Some were from boutique agencies doing really cool stuff, others had evolved to freelancers, some were in-house marketers, while others were clinging lovingly to the structural ropes at some of Australia’s biggest agencies.

All were social coordinators, social leaders, the agencies’ ‘social experts’.

Yet, throughout the course of the day, I felt myself go through all the stages of grief.

I took the next day off to get my head back into production mode and (as luck would have it) I was surrounded by social marketing and social media practitioners who also shattered my new media soul into a thousand pieces when they started telling me How2 Social through buzz phrases, which included (but painfully was not limited to) ‘personal brand’ in the same breath as ‘authenticity’ and ‘social measurement’ as Facebook metrics.

Over two separate days in two completely different environments, my grief was confounded.

Why?

In the short space of two days, it became abundantly clear that current practice is merely a hybrid of the platform ‘certified’ sales pitches. A regurgitation and adaption of the papers we were writing and the presentations we were giving back in 2012…

OVER FIVE YEARS AGO!

(and yes, I know I’m screaming, but seriously…?!)

Discussions around social media have traditionally been driven by the available technology, or social community management issues that have arisen through the event of participation.

Traditionally, advertising and media agencies have worked behind a thin veil of creative agency presenting ‘the solution’ as the requisite bridge between product/ sterile company and desired consumer.

Sadly however, a large percentage of Advertising, PR, Communications and Media Agencies are entrenched in outdated business practice when it comes to production for and distribution on social.

If these company representatives are anything to go by, even the agencies who have re-badged their Art Director to Creative Lead are missing the point somewhat entirely!

This only compounds my grief as Australian agencies should be leading the global creative charge in this space (and no don’t point me to the self-congratulatory industry statues corporations spend millions to win each year).

Creatives have the opportunity to lead, rather than dwell.

Directors have the opportunity to integrate and showcase, rather than merely direct traffic.

Oh.. and to the Preditors (the hybrid being that is both producer and editor) let’s make a concerted effort to lose the jargon.

It’s not about what you call yourself, it’s what you say and do that drives impact.

Inside Out

This morning I was officially Inside Out.

I’d managed to get Mini Me dressed and fed. Do my own hair and makeup (not always a given these days), answer some new client enquiries, get casually caffeinated and have a smiling child at school drop off.

I was feeling very proud of my calm yet productive morning routine when I realised…

…my dress was inside out!

When the teacher at school told me my dress was inside out, I simply shrugged.

“I guess that sums up my morning’ I said proud of myself for getting a lot of stuff done so early, but knowing I’d also tried to do too much.

Too much?

Yes. Too much to be able to get the basics right.

Irrespective of how many self-help, time-management, efficiency reviews we undertake the baseline comms is always: make a list, prioritise that list and tick things off as you go.

If you work in ‘corporate’ certain dress codes are expected to be maintained. Something, sadly nurtured through business schools the world over and reiterated by the marketplace hellbent on maintaining ‘best practice’ norms.

Yes that’s right gentlemen, you will not be able to present professionally without your 20th century noose, sorry I mean silk tie.

Best practice has meant conditioning ourselves and our peers into roles. Roles for which we are not always best suited for the simple reason that throughout the course of the days, weeks, months and years our ability to ‘do’ ebbs and flows.

This is neither a criticism nor a fact. Merely an observation that ‘life’ kicks through at variant speeds.

Like the seas, we too are impacted by the conditions of the world around us – be it naturally occurring phenomenon or man-made and shrouded in company policy/ community norms.

People’s gut response to a quick glimpse at my list is (rightfully) incredulously laughter.

And that pretty much sums up life.

Just when we think we’ve got it together, we realise we’re still toddler-like in our silent struggle to get the basics right.

More often than not, we’re Inside Out and (when brave enough to admit it Upside Down.

Life – at the best of times – is nothing short of crazy.

That’s our fault.

We’ve conditioned ourselves to be these dynamic ‘dooers’ of ‘stuff’ – whether for ourselves or by corporate command.

We actually pride (and dare I say define) ourselves by the stuff we (and others) do.

We can’t help ourselves and (sub)consciously rate our (and others) success and failure on the ‘stuff’ we ‘do’.

Why is that?

Today’s lesson: Get Inside Out more often.

Why? By acknowledging that I was inside out, I was able to take the time to stop and breathe.

This enabled me to laugh (releasing much-needed healing pheromones), centre and refocus my efforts for the day.

 

 

 

 

 

Say No, Think Know

When you find yourself on the treadmill of life, finding the time to stop and reflect is elusive at best.

More often than not, it’s only the bone-crunching tackle that ‘Life’ blindsides us with that throws us into a lumpy, tangled mess and makes us STOP before taking a good hard look at and around ourselves.

Our physiological core –  we have to exercise, stabilise, celebrate and show it off every now and then.

Our emotional core – arguably our most important and directive – requires consistency and commitment to ensure contribution.

Because only then, are we able to confidently and consistently enhance and enable those around us.

Why?

Our brains and our hearts comprise a core where all the things that complement, enhance function.

Looking after ourselves, so we complement our communities (blood and others) in our everyday disposition, actions, outputs and impacts is our role.

However, with all the tricks and traits of a modern, tech-savvy society we get distracted. Repeatedly and Unashamedly.

So when are we going to stop swivelling from distraction to distraction and instead focus on genuine and organic human evolution?

We need to feed our brain the questions and information it craves…

Hasn’t it dined out on the sexual exploits of the likes of the Trash-dashians for long enough?

When are we going to face up to the vacuous, plastic-fantastic mediated realm we’ve adopted as our ideal over time and re-focus our daily intent towards growing our contributions to ourselves and our communities?

Sadly, we’re not. Not anytime soon.

However, imagine if we did…

Imagine just for one moment if we stood up collectively and said ‘No’ (while thinking ‘Know’).

How fabulous would THAT world –  created in independent thinking and unique knowledge pods of life’s experiences – look, sound and feel…

Genuine and Innovative is my guess.