A recent report from Statistics New Zealand found the life expectancy for men and women has increased for all ethnic groups: 83.2 years for females and 79.5 years for males. How do we prepare ourselves now, to have a rich and satisfying life as we get older? Juliet Batten’s book ‘Spirited Ageing’  (2013) addresses this and offers practical ideas and guidance to help.  See www.julietbatten.co.nz


Deloittes have recently published the 10 core human capital trends. See http://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/human-capital/articles/introduction-human-capital-trends.html?id=us:2sm:3li:4dcom_share:5awa:6dcom:human_capital

I’m delighted in the trend towards the simplification of work and the new era of doing less better, rather than doing more with less. That will make a huge difference to everyone in the workplace.

Recent research released from Perpetual Guardian (www.stuff.co.nz; 02/05/15) reveal many individuals leave making their first will until late in life – approximately 60-69 years of age; amongst older people with wills, 13% made their first will between 18-29 years of age; and 24% did so between 30-59 years of age.

These are alarming figures, given the reality every individual will face at some point in time (their death); and the impact dying without a will has on the loved ones, families and business partners left behind. Lawyers know that ‘where there’s a will, there’s a relative’; they also know the considerable costs dying intestate (without a will) has on a deceased’s estate. Relatives left behind incur personal costs: the emotional impact, stress and work they have to do, to sort out the mess left behind. It can be so easily avoided with forethought and respect for others.

What are the conversations that count? They’re the discussions about getting all your personal affairs in order before it is too late to do so (wills, enduring powers of attorney, guardianship for children, memorandum of wishes, funeral details, recording digital assets and so on) AND Advanced Care Plans – the process of thinking, talking and planning for future and end-of-life care. Pakeha/European culture is largely death-denying which is a significant barrier to these important discussions. Yet, thinking about your death enables you to think about your life; thinking about your life enables you to consider what you may want to change or add into your life while you can; and thinking about your life and death reminds you that until you die, you are in the business of living.

Be bold. Start and finish the difficult conversations. Get your affairs in order. Get onto the business of living well.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust are offering additional fellowships this year to recognise this. The fellowships are open to any person interested in researching a topic that will benefit their organisation, their sector or community, etc. As a recipient of a fellowship many years ago, I encourage you all to read about the Trust, the work they do and the requirements of the fellowship. Please spread the information around to all you know.  Email wcmt@dia.govt.nz for details.

A quote attributed to Chuck Reid recently caught my attention – “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; in practice, there is.” It’s something I’ve pondered on since, especially in relation to leadership and management. Theories certainly give a framework for viewing and considering how things may be and why so, and that’s fantastic. The understanding and possible application of the theories in the workplace, is problematic as situations, contexts, individuals and interpretations are all so different. the ideal is one thing, the reality is often another. I’m with Chuck on this. What about you?

One small issue has made a big impression on me of late, and that was the lack of care taken with important documents, especially so contracts. I have seen contracts for service that had incorrect information in them and required the recipient of the contracts to point the errors out and ask they get altered. Errors may be made in documents however when some documentation requires cutting and pasting material from one source document into another, it requires the cutter/pasting person to proof-read their work and check that what should be in a document, is actually there and correct. Oftentimes, that doesn’t happen because of a pressured workplace and a high workload. The pity of it is that the recipient of incorrect documentation may be left wondering about the skill levels of the staff, their attention to details and the overall quality orientation of the organisation. Small things do matter.

A recent edition of NZBusiness alerted readers to a book out from Michael Smyth (the ‘Approachable Lawyer’), entitled Employed But Under Fire – Strategies for Dealing with a Difficult Boss. The book explains what goes on at the workplace and offers employees strategies to adopt to get out of the stress. The book is available in paperback and in an E-book. See www.employedbutunderfire.com