A quote that took my eye through the week is from Thomas Edison – "Restlessness and discontent are the first necessities for progress". In a workplace context, we need to know how much of our discontent or restlessness may be attributable to factors that are genuinely work-related and how much actually relates to ourselves. For example, our boredom with what we do; knowing we have outgrown our role; knowing we are fearful of change and leaving current job security.

 » Read more about: Personal progress – whose responsibility is it?  »

Another post-Christchurch earthquake reflection triggered by reports in the media about the fast and timely speed at which some decisions were and continue to be made in the recovery mode, is simply this: an emergency situation galvanises people into action because time is of the essence. There is a lot at stake. Personnel are assembled, briefed and dispatched to do what they need to do. Issues are discussed, decisions made and actions happen soon after.

 » Read more about: Warp, normal or slow speed management responses?  »

I've been heartened to hear of a number of businesses in Christchurch who have treated their employees admirably, post earthquake: the ANZ and National banks gave $500 to each of their employees; a small business gave bunches of flowers to their employees; one company arranged a trip out of Christchurch for a staff member who had done an amazing job keeping the business going in those early days; and the CE of another organisation phoned each employee at home to see if they were alright.

 » Read more about: Management bouquets and brickbats post Christchurch earthquake  »

Five days in from the Christchurch earthquake and still reeling (quite literally) from the experience, I'm full of admiration for the calm, clear, consistent leadership shown by those in charge of the crisis – the Mayor, the Police, the Emergency Services. Key messages were relayed throughout the first day and subsequent days and the messages transmitted everything was under control, the emergency services were onto things, there was no need to panic, and further updates would come throughout the day.

 » Read more about: Management lessons in Christchurch earthquake  »

I've been reflecting on organisations and their structures and how so many organisations, despite endless policies, systems and layers of management and people, still end up with so many people-related problems, such as personnel, regardless of role, with difficulties identifying problems when they first appear and acting on them; having difficulties with remaining on task for the entire time they're at work (avoidance of the boring bits of their work or the difficult work stuff or the inherited problems that are truly ghastly) or having difficulties delivering what's required.

 » Read more about: Why is it so difficult to remain on task?  »