Get Serious; Early Intervention is the Key

I happened to fall across the documentary last night on ABC1 called “Drive” largely about our young men killing themselves on our roads. There were interviews with the parents (largely mothers), the ex-girlfriends or fiancés, the mates, friends and so on. There was a reciting of their history, their struggles at school, their development into teens, a snap-shot of family life (or lack of it) and the culture that they embraced with alcohol, thrill-seeking and such.

It seemed clear to me. If we are serious about our young people in this country, then we have to be serious about early intervention. No if’s, but’s.  Governments can talk all they like about about strategies or programs, but they are only band-aids or patch-ups. If they don’t get to the root cause of the problem, then they are simply hot air and vote catching.

There is no doubt that these young people would have been clearly identified in the early years of school (Reception, Year 1-4) as having problems, as experiencing learning difficulties, as being disruptive, as being hard to manage.

But what do governments do about this? Zip.  Nil.  Zero.  Nothing.

This you can therefore expect…that the problems with our youth will continue to spiral out of control…there will be many more deaths and carnage… that much is clear.  Very clear.

When are we going to get serious?  Really serious…

Christmas Office Parties; Career Stopper or What?

The reporter from “The Advertiser” rang to ask what advice I might have about Christmas office parties. In short, they can be a big negative or a big plus.

On the negative side, the combination of a festive spirit, coupled with the expectation of holidays, along with alcohol (and possibly recreational drugs) all caught up in a party scene means that inhibitions are thrown to the wind and people behave and say things that ordinarily they wouldn’t do. Yes, such actions are career limiting. Don’t for a moment believe that your bosses aren’t making mental notes of your behaviour.

On the positive side, it is a great occasion to network and meet others in your company or group that typically, you may not have had the opportunity to do so. One of the hallmarks of those who are successful are that they know a lot of people, and are well connected, which means that they can get things done and done quicker. So, this Christmas, just don’t hang out with those you work with, move around the group and enlarge your contacts. One day, you may be very grateful that you did just that.


Cyberbullying is on the rise and out of control.

This is the reason why I originally created a special website called “Cyber-safety Doctor”which seeks to bring the whole community together to fight this growing and insidious assault. The site provides a course for students, parents and teachers. Together we can make a difference.

There have been several cases where teenagers were driven to committing suicide because of cyberbullying. The case of 14-year-old Megan Meiers made headlines worldwide because it was found that she was being tormented by her adult neighbor, the neighbor’s daughter, and an employee of the neighbor, who spread a cruel online hoax about her. A 13-year-old boy Ryan Halligan from Rhode Island in the USA was tormented for months and called gay until he committed suicide. A mother from Melbourne, Karen Rae, blames cyberbullies for her 14-year-old daughter’s suicide.

But one case is already one too many. Perhaps the measure of this alarming trend is the fact that this phenomenon now has an unofficial name: cyberbullycide.


When I travel, I get to think…all the new experiences.

It triggers in me the thought that we tend to live life often as though we are “unconscious” when one of the secrets seems to be to allow ourselves to be fully alive to the experiences we have; all the “hullo’s” and all the “goodbye’s”. Frequently we tend to get caught up in the routine of life and when we do have those hullos and goodbyes (which we actually have on a daily basis), we struggle or perhaps fight them rather than perhaps really learning to live them.

What would it take to really live life, to be fully alive and conscious and aware?

Boys will be Boys & Girls will be Girls

It’s not new and it comes as no surprise. I first saw the research back in the 1970s and it’s reappeared again. Psychologists Brenda Todd and Sara Amalie O’Toole from City University in London carried out an experiment on 90 infants aged nine months to three years.

What did they find? Surprise, surprise. These young children and babies chose stereotypical toys for their gender. In other words, boys went for the toy cars and girls went for the dolls.

Now some will argue that the childen had already (somehow) been “brainwashed,” while others will conclude that this is a appalling and a “win” (somehow) for the dominant male sex or that this was a slap in the face for the equality or equity movement. There may be other conclusions as well. Some however, will simply say, “so what’s new?” “How come we needed researchers to tell us that?!”

Surely though, the real question is that irrespective of our gender, how can we be the best that we can be? Without trying to prove that one gender is better than another or in contrast, that we are all “equal,” how can we personally use our talents and gifts to the best of our ability? What would it take for us to step up and reach for our potential? We owe it to ourselves to be the best that we can be.

Social Media Bite

It had to happen. It’s also a lesson in life. It’s just that the medium is different.

The newspaper article cited that an Adelaide supermarket supervisor has been sacked after she posted on Facebook a “heat of the moment” comment about another worker.

Perhaps because we’re not face-to-face, we sometimes lose perspective and don’t always stop and think. It’s an age-old lesson though. It comes in various forms such as, “Count to 10 before you answer,” “bite your tongue” and so on.

It doesn’t matter if its email, Facebook, hi5, My Space or Twitter for example or…in a shopping cue or driving on a highway, it’s about stopping before you say something stupid or act the same way.

It’s just that we now have social media as as additional tool to verbalise what we feel and think, but the lesson is the same. Stop and think first….it could cost you your job not to mention irretrievably sabotaging relationships.

Boss’ Beware

At the recent 2nd Australian Positive Psychology & Well-being Conference that I attended in Melbourne, it was stated that 80% of people leave their workplace because of their boss or supervisor. Now it may well be that some of these staff had personal issues anyway that caused them to resign, but irrespective, what we do know is that it can’t be argued that 80% of staff left simply because of their own personal problems!

There is a huge loss to the employment sector not only in terms of intellectual capital walking out the door, but in actual dollars in relation to the cost of re-hiring and training new recruits (15-25% of salary?).

Where are the management and leadership courses? What are industries doing to train the next set of leaders in effective leadership practices? When are we going to get serious about leadership and how it impacts on any team (large or small).

It cannot just be assumed that everyone is a born leader. It’s a skill that needs to be trained — just like any other skill. Failure to do so simply means that we continue to lose money and expertise in an industry — and do you know any industries that can afford to lose both of these major ingredients?

Leadership – What Is It Really?

It’s easy to recognize the need for real leadership in today’s world.  Just glance the headlines in any newspaper and you will notice that the quality of leadership is the first thing questioned whenever something goes awry in society, the world of business or government.

Even in the world of sports, it’s often not the play of the athletes; but instead, the leadership that falls under the heaviest scrutiny if a team doesn’t play well.  In most cases, the coaching staff will be dismantled as a sign that change is being implemented, before roster changes are made.

Change the leadership and perhaps players will play to their expectations because the culture and environment have changed.

An explorer is only as good as the map that navigates them.  A child has a better chance of succeeding in life with good teachers and role models providing them solid direction.  A building doesn’t get built without an architect drawing up specs to relay vision and direction to the builders.

And many people, regardless of individual skills or intelligence, can only come together as a team or perform to their highest ability when quality leadership is present.

So, what exactly makes a good leader? […]