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WORK AND A LIFE. Dr Peter Saul Director, Strategic Consulting Group Presented to AHRI National Convention, May 1999 Adelaide. “The product of work is people”.

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Work and a life l.jpg

WORK AND A LIFE

Dr Peter SaulDirector, Strategic Consulting Group

Presented to

AHRI National Convention, May 1999

Adelaide


The product of work is people l.jpg
“The product of work is people”

“The view I reached is that life is an inherently disappointing experience for most human beings. Some people can’t cope with that.”

Premier, Bob Carr, speaking after the NSW Drugs Summit

21st May 1999


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WORKING HARDER, LONGER, LESS SECURE

“I have huge workloads, no time off in lieu, no tea breaks, no adequate training. Some weeks I don’t have time to think and have suffered anxiety and stress. I actually had to take time off and sought counselling and medication. People never take a day off in lieu.” Finance sector worker

“I thought, this is not a status symbol [regularly working 12 hour days, including weekends], this shows that you have nothing else to go home to. I started to see that I had swallowed the corporate myth and that it wasn’t particularly healthy….There was more to life than just work”. Senior HR manager

Source: “Australia at Work” (p. 6 and p.110)ACIRRT, Sydney 1999


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RUMBLINGS EVEN AT THE TOP

“Australia’s business world is a pathetic corporate structure filled with work-obsessed male executives. The pervasive culture is that employees are owned. Commitment is defined not by productivity or efficiency, but by the number of hours one puts in.

“…[working fathers] continually state that their children are the most important thing in their lives but never spend any time with them. They refuse to change the corporate culture through which they battled their way to the top, often at great cost to their families”.

Daniel Petre, ex MD of Microsoft Australia

and author of “Father Time”


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Work effort:

higher 58%

lower 4%

no change 36%

Amount of stress on job:

higher 49%

lower 7%

no change 42%

Pace of the job:

higher 46%

lower 4%

no change 49%

Satisfaction with work/family balance:

higher 14%

lower 26%

no change 58%

Satisfaction with job:

higher 30%

lower 29%

no change 40%

Source: Derived from AWIRS 95, Employee Survey reported in Australia at Work 1999, p. 106

IMPACT OF WORKPLACE CHANGES


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THE COST OF WORKPLACE STRESS

  • “Stress at the office and in the factories is estimated to be costing Australia at least $150 million a year in workers’ compensations claims and has now reached epidemic proportions”.

  • “Mounting medical research evidence suggests stress can have a profound effect on the immune system, raising concerns that prolonged or extreme stress may increase the risk of infections and other diseases, possibly cancer.”

  • “…stress is contributing to increasing rates of depression and other mental illness”.

    Sydney Morning Herald, p.1, January 2nd, 1996


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WHO ARE YOU CREATING?

"You can plan everything in your life, and then the roof caves in on you because you haven't done enough thinking about who you are and what you should do with the rest of your life.... People ask me why I'm still working so hard. I tell them that without that, and without my kids and grandkids, I'd lose it - I'd have nothing".

Lee Iococca

- after three years of retirement from Chrysler

Fortune, 24 June 1996, p. 47


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SUCCESS TODAY DEPENDS ON WHOLE HUMAN BEINGS

THE MORE CREATIVITY, COMMITMENT, PASSION, CARING, TEAMWORK AND DISCRETIONARY EFFORT EMPLOYERS WANT FROM THEIR STAFF, THE MORE OF THE WHOLE HUMAN BEING THEY WILL HAVE TO INVITE INTO THE EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP


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MANAGING CHAOS

“In Chaos you cannot do, you cannot plan, you cannot reason to an end point. In Chaos, you can only be.”

“The 500-Year Delta” by Jim Taylor and Watts Wacker 1997, p.16


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LOOKING IN THE MIRROR

“We don't see things the way they are. We see things the way we are.”

Talmud


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WE ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM

We want economic, social and environmental wealth plus psychological “wealth” of “keeping up”

Constant pressures to aspire to more, different

We work (harder) to satisfy current and future wants

Economically biased cultures and tough “people” policies

Less time for non-work life, including citizenship

Dependence on 3rd parties; and demand for “passive” $

Pressure on leaders for $ performance

Emphasis on $ returns and not falling behind peers

Third parties driven by their values, norms, perceptions


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WHY DO WE FEEL SO UNEASY?

  • GROWING QUANTUM AND DIVERSITY OF WANTS

    • Persistent gaps between actual and desired lives

  • THE OLD “DEALS” ARE BEING DISHONOURED:

    • Security for loyalty

    • A time of ease for a time of hard work

    • Share of prosperity for trust in government, leaders

    • Meaningful life for not questioning current paradigm

  • THE OLD BASES FOR DECISIONS ARE FAILING US:

    • Reason

    • Precedent

    • Rules

    • Formal authority

  • WE KEEP POLISHING AN OUTDATED PARADIGM

    • Newtonian, linear rationality and control

    • Avoidance of anxiety


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A TEST

What are the 5 most important competencies or characteristics you strive to develop because you believe they are essential to being a successful HR professional?

What are the 5 most important competencies or characteristics you strive to develop because you believe they are essential to being a successful human being?

What are the consequences of striving to develop and demonstrate the latter competencies and characteristics in your current organisation?


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A PERSONAL SEARCH FOR BALANCE

  • MORE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS AND CLEAR PRIORITIES

  • SHARING CONCERNS, RESOURCES

  • ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED

  • COURAGE TO DISAPPOINT SOMEONE IMPORTANT TO YOU

  • CREATIVE SYNERGY

  • STAYING REASONABLY FIT AND HEALTHY

  • BEING ABLE TO QUICKLY “CHANGE THE STORY”


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IT’S SOCIETY STUPID - A DAWNING REALISATION

“Everyone from the far Left to the far Right, from business and from welfare, is using the same language, stressing the need for an integration of social and economic policy; for the promotion of social inclusion; for the rebuilding of our stocks of social capital”.Michelle Gunn reporting in the Weekend Australian on “Australia Unlimited” conference held in Melbourne on 4-5 May 1999


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AN AUSTRALIAN SCENARIO

  • CREATE CITIES AND REGIONAL COMMUNITIES WHERE GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE WORKERS CHOOSE TO LIVE AND RAISE THEIR FAMILIES

    • Leading edge work in exciting corporate clusters

    • World class, accessible, learning facilities

    • Reliable, cheap telecommunications

    • Efficient, cheap local/international transport

    • Attractive town planning, environment management

    • Neighbourhood “resource hubs”

    • Social services to help create safe, stable, clean communities

  • ACTIVELY FOSTER ORGANISATIONS AND SUPPORT INDIVIDUAL CAREER CHOICES THAT REINFORCE THE NATIONAL “MAGNET” STRATEGY

    • Differential tax rates for “givers” and “takers”


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HR AGENDA - MOVING FROM MASS TO MICRO

LEADERS WHO ARE SUCCESSFUL IN ATTRACTING THE BEST (SCARCE) TALENT WILL HAVE PEOPLE MANAGEMENT POLICIES AND PRACTICES THAT SUPPORT THEM IN :

  • Involving all contributors in a self-aware, meaningful community

  • Supporting contributors’ lifestyle choices

  • Fostering partnerships with contributors in achieving shared or complementary goals

  • Aligning with contributors’ personal and professional values and aspirations

  • Accommodating changes in the relationship in response to changes in contributors’ life circumstances

  • Maintaining high levels of contributor autonomy, self-esteemand vitality

  • Telling mission, values and “performance” stories that include the above - and consistently embodying theirstories


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LETTING OUR SOULS FIND US AGAIN

One morning, after travelling fast through the jungles of Africa, Andre Gide (the French author) urged his native guides to get moving. They looked at him and with firmness said: “Don’t hurry us - we are waiting for our souls to catch up with us”.

Adapted from “Organisational Mindfulness”

by Tom Heuerman with Diane Olson


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