Keys to successful management

I recently read an article called ‘The Quiet Achiever’, written by Damon Kitney and published in the June edition of The Australian’s The Deal business magazine. The article featured Peter Nash, chair of KPMG and reflected on his career and accomplishments.

Having worked for KPMG for nearly 30 years – very unusual for a modern executive – Nash relayed in the interview with Damon Kitney the keys to his career success and it seems to me that one of these is his ability to build trust and gain confidence.

Nash is quoted as saying: ‘I could, without hesitation, say that over 28 years at KPMG I have never raised my voice once. Never. I have never had the need. Raising your voice never solves a problem. You have to sit down and talk it through.’

One of the rules Nash lives by is to ‘bite the bullet’ and have the tough conversations with staff. ‘Sometimes you have to work at delivering a constructive message rather than avoiding it and saving it for another day. You have to focus on that because it is important for the staff member. They need to hear it for their development.’

Another Nash principle is that you need to keep learning throughout your career, to avoid getting bored and tired. He also believes that we should ‘work to live, not live to work’. Despite a gruelling travelling schedule, Nash has always kept a sense of work-life balance and made time for his family.

Questions for discussion

How important is the ability to build trust and gain confidence to a line manager? To customer relationships? What are some of the ways you build trust and earn people’s confidence?

Do you think it’s ever acceptable for a manager to raise his or her voice? If so, under what circumstances?

Do you consider yourself to be a continuous learner? How highly does your organisation value learning? What do you do to help your team members keep learning and stay engaged?

How do you protect your work-life balance and help your team members achieve work-life balance?

Do you agree that managers owe it to employees to deliver the ‘tough messages’, even though it may be a difficult conversation to have?

The impacts of the carbon tax

The impact on mining, electricity and energy companies, the bulk of the 500 top polluters to be taxed directly under the carbon tax, effective 1 July 2012, is obvious. But what of the tax’s indirect impacts?

Companies that use a lot of electricity will pay indirectly, through increased electricity costs. You and I will pay, too, through higher living and housing costs. Other industries, such as telecommunications and the renewable energy sector stand to gain.

Of course, no one really knows the extent of the direct and indirect impacts yet and much of the rhetoric and spin is motivated by politics, ignorance or both. To find out how the carbon tax will work, what will be its likely impact and who will really pay the price, Crikey and 25 students from Bond University considered those indirect impacts by wading through sustainability reports and Treasury documents and spoke with researchers and industry experts. Check out their findings.

Questions for discussion

What do you think? Is the carbon tax a small price to pay to save our planet? Or is Australia so small that our efforts won’t have an impact?

How does the carbon tax affect your organisation? What are the costs and opportunities resulting from the tax for your own organisation?

How is your organisation responding to the carbon tax?

To spy or not to spy

A story on news.com.au called ‘Google “spy” app lets bosses keep tabs on workers’ caught my eye recently. For $15 per employee per month, an employer can see exactly where employees are, in real time, when they’re not in the office. And there’s no hiding: employees appear as pins on a map, even when they’re inside buildings.

The spin is that the app helps ‘organise teams on the move’ and employees can turn off the device (if they’re game). But, like checking out employees and job candidates on social networking sites, one wonders whether this app has legal implications to do with peoples’ right to privacy.

With about 30 per cent of the total workforce working off site, not to mention office-based workers on their lunch hour and employees who call in sick, there are a lot of potential ‘pins on the map’.

Questions for discussion

What do you think? Would you use this app to monitor your team members? If so, under what circumstance? Where would you ‘draw the line’? What do you think are the ethics surrounding checking up on an employee’s whereabouts?