When the gold medal isn’t good enough

The Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network hosts development opportunities for women around Australia.

I was recently invited by ECU’s South West Campus to speak at an event for Regional, Rural and Remote women. ECU South West is where I started my ECU career almost 20 years ago. I have an attachment to that location as it hosted so much of my own development. Last week, I delivered a talk on Imposter Syndrome, which is defined as having material evidence that you are doing well and yet refusing to believe it, then developing anxiety around other people being able to discover it and anticipating the shame that would follow.

The research I conducted regarding Imposter Syndrome in order to prepare for this presentation had a few surprising facts, the chief of which is that men suffer from it as much as women do. The perception is that it holds women back more; but that is unsubstantiated. This 15 minute presentation is short, sharp and a great salve for an ache where your confidence used to be. To schedule one for your organisation, contact me.

“You can’t be (cyber)serious!”

Edith Cowan University has a leading Cybersecurity program. I am lucky enough to work with the researchers and academics from that group and my cyber-awareness has risen as a result. Though I am not perfect, I do try to stay as cyber-safe as possible by avoiding the obvious. This article about CyberSafety and Business Etiquette published today mixes the knowledge I have gleaned from my colleagues with the learnings from the Emily Post Business Etiquette Program Certification I have been trained in.

Honestly, it is really tough for me to not react when someone does something so clearly cyber-unsafe I wonder what they are thinking. Putting their credit card details in an email, or expecting me to put confidential or identifying information in an email are probably the biggest hot-button items. “Just email me a copy of your passport!” Uh, no. Politeness and civility, even charm, comes naturally to some (like my co-authors) but not to me. I have to try, I have to remember, to be understanding, to educate and not be the office (safety) grouch.

Baby Yoda’s longevity is delivering for Disney

I was recently interviewed regarding the Baby Yoda phenomenon and its longevity on an Australian radio show (at 11 minutes, 25 seconds). The interview focused on people calling themselves “Momalorians” who dressed their Baby Yoda tykes as actual babies, and then photographed and interacted with them as such. Was this a desire for children? Or a cry for help? I posit: neither. It is a postmodern overlay of the the “babyness” of the character, the emotional attachment to the franchise and the desire to relive the delight of the watching experience. Momalorians want to bring the baby into their universe, and being a “mom” is the most obvious way of interacting with a baby which ha a semblance of normalcy. But that doesn’t leave men out to – “mom” in this case, includes “dads”. If you want to brighten your day with some Baby Yoda goodness there is plenty of it on the web, starting here.

Tik Tok…is it time out for Chinese Social media sensations?

In a recent article with my colleague Associate Professor Paul Haskell-Dowland, we posit that the recent US government moves to limit Tik Tok and We Chat are less about security and more about perceptions around security. That is not to say that the amount of data flowing through apps – or the ownersip and security of that data – isn’t important. It is to say that the ownership and access to data is a labyrinth is an understatement. To indicate that a consumer has consent – or control – over it once they download the app is a pretty story, but isn’t always true. Paul is a shining light in the international media commenting on matters regarding security and privacy – my role in this article was less technical and more about the marketing angle of it: who gains if we believe all the pretty stories?

Innovation and Inspiration – and fundraising for a good cause

I was recently approached by the Prostate Cancer Foundation (WA) to take part in a fundraising activity: a panel on innovation and inspiration in times of COVID-19. My co-presenters were CEOs: one of Optus Stadium (Perth) and one of the Master Builders’ Association of Western Australia. There is a a recording of the robust and interesting discussion; but more importantly there is a button to donate. If you are inclined to donate to a good cause based on their ability to generate content, I hope you find the panel worthy. This group does a lot of good work for men with cancer, and this is the start of forays into their own innovations to remain sustainable.

Managing WFH fatigue without offending

Working from home (WFH) can cause fatigue if you are trying to run your time the same way you would do so in an office. Those of us who work from home regularly, or are on the road all the time, know this and we structure our work lives differently. Until recently, I was a road warrior myself. Crossing time zones constantly, managing fatigue and availability, while blocking time to get work done isn’t too much of a challenge if you are used to it. As a recently certified Emily Post Business Etiquette trainer, I have been asked to write an article about managing fatigue without offending, and you can find it as part of the COVID-19 support ECU provides its staff here: https://intranet.ecu.edu.au/staff/news/overview/2020/05/zoom-sick-no-kidding-heres-how-to-be-polite-about-it

We are all heroes without capes – if we back off

As a recently certified Emily Post Business Etiquette trainer, I have been delivering sessions at Edith Cowan University about the usual stuff: how to write an email, how to work a room, how to post on LinkedIn without looking awkward or cringey. I was recently asked to write an article for one of my favourite publications, The Conversation interviewed on ABC radio and on a breakfast show on the social norm of greetings and the demise of the handshake or hug. The article posits this: while most greeting rituals denote status, dominance, relationship and cultural norms, not touching each other does one more thing. It contributes to communal well being.

Yoda: Not the baby we wanted, but the baby we needed

I have to admit it. I fell for Baby Yoda at first sight. Those big black eyes, the tiny nose, the big ears, the swaddly-looking robe. The absolutely perfect expressions, somewhere between wisdom, vulnerability, naivete and knowingness. My frequent writing colleague Jeff Volkheimer and I just published an article about Baby Yoda, and how it is an example of how market actors use clout to shape markets. Or, in non-academic speak, how power market actors exert their influence by using their own power, and those of others, to bend the market to their will. Disney is a big actor, and Disney+ will disrupt even further the fractured subscription service scene. Baby Yoda is a big weapon in that arsenal, perfectly executed, meme worthy, and the tiny being that seems to unite us all across the world this holiday season.

Drinking the Tears of My Haters

Coming up with a good title for a presentation is essential – especially at conferences where people have other things to go to. I recently presented at the Australian Institute of Project Management’s “Revolution” National Conference. The AIPM is a fantastic industry body. This conference has great networking, a friendly vibe as well as sessions that can relate to management of anything: not just projects. My colleagues Richard Hughes and Jeff Volkheimer worked with me on a presentation about managing resistance in leadership. The presentation was well attended and so much fun to give. I look forward to developing the ideas and writing more about them because what to do with your haters is a frightfully small part of the business literature out there.


How you doin?

It is the 25th anniversary of the TV Show Friends, and when I saw the call to write something marking the occasion, I wrangled my writing buddy Jeff Volkheimer, and told him what I loved most about the show: the authenticity of the characters throughout the series. Both Jeff and I work in large corporate environments, and have many managers over our 20-plus year career. As managers as well as those being managed, we had lots of opinions about what made a good manager. The idea for this article in the conversation was born – and although some commenters thought learning anything from watching Friends is a bit of a stretch, I disagree. Everything we know and observe can make us better managers, colleagues and people.