manage my time, productivity, set goals, goal setting

How To Write Better Goals

The best way to get ahead and have a better year than the last one (or a better month than the last one) is to have a sense of direction. Goals are the way to make that happen. Yet many people are not aware of how to write empowering goals that talk to your brain, thereby ensuring your subconscious is working for you to look for ways to achieve those goals.

In this short session you’ll learn what beleive are the four key elements of hwo to write a goals to increase your chances of success.

time management, prioritise

How to Prioritise Your Workload


One of the BIG issues I see people dealing with in managing their time and getting more done is the lack of assigning any priority to tasks.

In one case I noted someone who went religiously through their task list getting things done, which was great, but there was no order or system involved. As a result, many of the items she was working on were useful but rarely would she be hitting her big tasks and projects. Her method was to simply brainstorm a list of what she had to do, then start doing it. As something would crop up it would go to the bottom of the list.

If you really want to achieve more of the important things in life, you have to plan for them.

This video takes you through the prioritisation method using the Urgent/Important matrix. With this matrix at hand, in seconds you can make an assessment of whether what is on your list or occurring at any time is what you need to be doing now. Is it urgent? Is it important? Is it both? Is it neither?


Do it if it has immediate consequences and high risk from inaction. If it is urgent for someone else but not for you, it might be an option to suggest alternate solutions for them or to train them to handle such things themselves.


This is usually something with a longer deadline or a goal or project that needs to be attended to over time. Chunk it down and start actioning small tasks each week to make progress – before it becomes urgent or a lost cause.


No choice – just get it done and that might mean putting other tasks aside. This would happen regularly for example when I was in the public service and the Minister needed information prepared before Parliament sat or reporters turned up for a sound bite.


Why are you doing it??? Bored? Stressed and needing to chill out? Spare time on your hands? Things in this category might be browsing the internet, finessing a presentation to make it look prettier, We can usually justify spending time in this quadrant, but if we were really honest with ourselves, it’s not value time spent. Work on something else.

being mentored, find a mentor, get a mentor, mentor

What is Mentoring?

Mentoring has a long and ancient history. It is based on a story in Greek mythology. When Odysseus went to the Trojan War, he appointed his good friend Mentor as a role model, guardian and adviser to his son Telemachus. Later in the Odyssey, the goddess Athena, disguised as Mentor (Mentes), becomes more actively involved in the young man’s life, encouraging him to seek his father, introducing him to the network of heroes and fighting beside him and Odysseus to restore order (Powell in NAWE 2000 has an interesting feminist analysis of this).

From these origins, mentoring is used to refer to a relationship in which an older more experienced person acts as a guide or a model for a less experienced colleague.

being mentored, find a mentor, get a mentor, mentor

Mentoring is part of all our lives. We learn and take advice from parents, teachers, older friends. Mentoring has been significant for many successful people in all walks of life. But in recent years mentoring has emerged in many organisations as a formal mechanism to assist employees achieve their full potential. (McKenzie 1995, NAWE 2000)

Mentoring relationships can be dyadic (or one-to-one) or can relate to a Socratic model (one mentor with a group of mentees) or can take place within a peer group.

A definition of mentoring today is provided by Shea, “Mentoring is a fundamental form of human development where one person invests time, energy and personal know-how in assisting the growth and ability of another person” (1997, p.3).

Essentially all mentoring relationships feature two main roles: the mentor and the mentee. Many other different terms can be used for these two roles, but these have become widely accepted.

A mentor is more experienced, and often in a higher position in an organisation. The mentor is one who is explicitly willing to assist others in developing their career.

A mentee is a term used for someone who is less experienced and seeking guidance in career development. The mentee must keep in touch with the mentor and feel free to speak openly, ask for guidance, discuss the relationship and seek advice on how to approach problems.

The mentor’s role is that of a trusted adviser and supportive guide, encouraging the mentee in effective strategies for accomplishing career objectives. A mentor may also act as a teacher or tutor, helping the mentee learn organisational and professional skills and providing insights about how to ‘decode’ the corporate culture. At times, the mentor may also perform the role of supporter, providing insights from experience to help the mentee manage difficult situations. An effective mentor keeps in touch with the mentee, suggests appropriate resources and encourages the mentee to establish or seek out professional or supportive networks.

Both mentor and mentee must trust and respect each other. The relationship must be based on clear principles and shared values.

While informal mentoring has long been a feature of many work environments, formal mentoring has only recently emerged as a staff development strategy. What are the reasons for this?

Work in general has become more complex, with more rapid turnover of staff in many organisations, so that mentoring is required. Perhaps more importantly, the hitherto unrecognised trajectories of power within workplaces have been identified, and attention drawn to those who through gender, race or other reasons may not have equal access to senior positions.

Formal mentoring occurs when an institution takes a decision to implement a scheme of mentoring which will have formal recognition within the institution even if there are no tangible rewards for being involved as a mentor. Formal mentoring has emerged when there is executive commitment for it and champions ready to argue for such a scheme.

A formal mentoring program extends the mentoring experience to those who may not readily find informal mentors or who would not otherwise consider it.

Formal mentoring can lead to a more supportive work environment. Interestingly formal mentoring may also lead to more effective informal mentoring. If the formal experience has been good for mentee and mentor and they have learned skills, they are more likely to mentor other people. In this way, lessons learnt from one program can extend to the whole organisation.

Many higher education institutions now organise more structured mentoring schemes, to ensure that all members of the institution have equal opportunity to participate.

Formal mentoring schemes have a clear rationale; measurable goals and outcomes; mechanisms for assessment and selection of both mentors and mentees in place and accountability, since results are monitored.

The most significant variable to any mentoring scheme is the quality of the relationship with the mentor.

Source: Women & Mentoring in Higher Education, C Chesterman

Working in the Cloud

In a recent survey, 95% of respondents used a laptop and over 80% used a Smartphone as their usual out-of-office, road warrior system to keep connected.

So, what about the cloud, the place where your files reside?

There’s iCloud although restrictive at the moment and Google of course as well as other specialist suppliers.

By utilising cloud technology you gain:

  • more productivity
  • more comfort and
  • security – less chance of losing that USB Drive with all your data on it!

From a client or colleague perspective, you can cooperate, collaborate and accommodate different time zones or working hours. I know there are times where I’ve been caught short without a file to send to a client when I’ve been on the road. (Warning – if you want to use GoogleDocs to give clients a link to a file, the client needs to have a GoogleDocs account as well ).

Cloud technology lets you control the outside world and your interaction with it better than being on-demand and always available. If you manage it well enough, you can go and play in the outside world!

What’s the biggest bonus?


The normal working day is like a pipeline – incoming, process, outgoing. The challenge is that the tube gets clogged with inefficient processing and an endless stream of incoming!

How To Use The Cloud

As soon as stuff comes in, file it in the cloud so when you process, it’s already there and available from all devices. (Having had a failed external storage drive recently, there is an appeal to storing it on a more robust virtual server).


  1. Email
    • big part of overload
    • rule – keep inbox empty by filtering incoming mail, eg A1 Delegate A2 QuickResponse A3 DoToday A4 DoThis week A5 DoLater, A99 Pending, FAQ Replies, Networking, Reading,Subscription,ZZZ Old Stuff  Work out a filing system that nakes sense to you.
    • go through your sent folder and retain what’s necessary, delete the rest.
  2. Documents
    • Use Dropbox for filing material to access on the go eg downloaded audio, pdfs, ebooks etc Use Carbonite or similar for backups and store a backup copy on disc.
    • Use Evernote – eg capture article pics to use, book project, reading, reference, travel. writing
  3. Articles/Blogs to read
    • Google Reader – blog feeds – and use FF with ReadItLater plugin to store bookmarks
  4. photos – dropbox or evernote
  5. audio – dropbox or evernote

Just decide on a system of what generally goes where, make sure you backup your dropbox folder and have what you need at your disposal when you need it!

Check out dropbox and other providers in terms of size limits eg Dropbox standard is 2gb.

Organisations Don’t Change

Organisations don’t change : People do. That was the headline on an HR Daily email recently. It certainly grabbed my attention, largely because it succinctly spoke the truth.

In my experience, when a major change management initiative is touted, the bulk of the focus – and investment – is in the technical end. Customizing the software, designing the new system, creating the improved process.

The investment in people change to effect the desired change outcomes is an afterthought and any financial investment eg in training is begrudgingly given.

Yet, without the active support and capability of the ‘people systems’ to realize the ROI of the change initiative, all effort is potentially wasted.

I’ve been involved in a number of change initiatives. The ones which bedded down more easily and delivered expected results were the ones where the people required to make the change work were engaged from the earliest opportunity – even where industrial issues were potentially significant.

When was the last time you managed to steer your car in a new direction without requiring you to do something?

Transforming Organisations

In my experience, when you go into most companies what you find is good people and bad management. You can turn that around really quickly by starting with an inspirational dream, setting some challenges and getting everyone focussed.

So said Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchj & Saatchi in his book Lovemarks.

Unlike most CEO’s, when he took up the reigns he chose to not bring in his own management, didn’t shift people around or make other typical wholesale changes

Instead, HR inspired and demonstrated belief and respect.

Who’s Job Is It Anyway?


I was reminded today in a post by Denis Hitchens of an old fable that still today has a disturbing ring of truth in it in some organisations. 

Once Upon A Time,

in a very common enterprise, there were four people named Everyone, Someone, Anyone, and No-one who all had an important job to do.

  • Everyone was sure that Someone would do it.
  • Anyone could have done it but No-one did it.
  • Someone got angry because it was Everyone’s job.
  • Everyone thought Anyone could do it and that Someone would do it.
  • But No-one realised that Everyone wasn’t going to do it.

In the end Everyone blamed Someone when No-one did what Anyone could have done.

noone For me, the moral of the story is to take responsibility.

If something is important, either do it yourself, or if it’s possible for you, delegate it to someone else but never assume someone will do it without confirming. If you can’t delegate and you are unable to do it, ensure it’s brought up at a team meeting to make sure it’s dealt with by the most appropriate person.

“It’s not my job” or “it’s not in my job description” doesn’t cut it. 

I’ve seen people spend so much energy and time in skirting responsibility for a task that they could have had it done and dusted in a quarter of the time.

If it’s important, get it done and take the credit where it’s due.

Indigenous Employment

Promising report today from a research study into indigenous employment growth. The findings reveal that rates of employment have outstripped that of non-indigenous employment growth. For women 19% compared to 20% respectively while men were 20% vs 5%.

One key learning from the research was the impact of education. Those with a degree or higher qualification increased their prospects of employment by 50% (20% for non- indigenous).

Many have believed that education is the key to prosperity and a better life. Seems the research supports that belief.

I’m not sure what the government is specifically doing in this area but subsidizing indigenous education seems a solid investment based on these findings.

ASTD Confidence in Learning for 2011

The American economy may be still bleak but the American Learning Executive’s confidence seems to be at an all-time high.

The ASTD  conducts an annual survey (The Learning Executives Confidence Index)  to assess expectations in the learning functions, specifically:

  • impact on corporate performance
  • ability to meet learning needs
  • status as a key strategic component
  • availability of resources

Overall, the growing optimism sees that the forecast for the next six months positive.  That’s a good sign.  Key findings in the report are demonstrated in this graph:

ASTD Learning Executives Confidence Index.

There is concern that the second lowest measure is an ability to meet the anticipated learning needs. Perhaps by using some external resources to make up the shortfall, the actual outcome could be a higher result. But then, that’s a consultant talking!

Read the full report:

employee life cycle

Employee Lifecycle Management

In Marketing the Product Life Cycle is well known. So, too, is the Project Life Cycle. Stands to reason these concepts would be appropriated by the HRM field.

employee life cycle

A good discussion on the stages of the life cycle are here:

The employment lifecycle is a real sequence but it does not complete quite as naturally as it sounds in theory. Still, it is a useful concept to facilitate the integration a.