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WORK AND A LIFE Dr Peter Saul Director, Strategic Consulting Group Presented to AHRI National Convention, May 1999 Adelaide.

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Presentation on theme: "WORK AND A LIFE Dr Peter Saul Director, Strategic Consulting Group Presented to AHRI National Convention, May 1999 Adelaide."— Presentation transcript:

1 WORK AND A LIFE Dr Peter Saul Director, Strategic Consulting Group Presented to AHRI National Convention, May 1999 Adelaide

2 “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

3 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

4 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”

5 A HARDER PARADIGM “We have hardened the paradigm in which our employees operate. We've hardened them by downsizing. We've hardened them by constantly changing the way we manage our business and the way we structure our business. We've hardened them by reducing the level of security.” Mark Paterson, CEO, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry 1 April, 1998

6 IMPACT OF WORKPLACE CHANGES Work effort: higher58% lower4% no change36% Amount of stress on job: higher49% lower7% no change42% Pace of the job: higher46% lower4% no change49% Satisfaction with work/family balance: higher14% lower26% no change58% Satisfaction with job: higher30% lower29% no change40% Source:Derived from AWIRS 95, Employee Survey reported in Australia at Work 1999, p. 106

7 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

8 LIVING AND WORKING AT WORK “For most workers, the working day did not just consist of transforming inputs into outputs. It also involved relating to one’s fellow workers and finding some satisfaction in being at the workplace. Thus attempts to eliminate ‘dead time’ in the productivity chain also undermined the social relations of the workplace. Workers make boring work bearable by fostering sociability, particularly humour and other forms of mutual assistance. An agenda for workplace change which undermines these social relations of the workplace is experienced by people as a profound contradiction between the social and the economic.” Source: “Australia at Work” (p.33 ) ACIRRT, Sydney 1999

9 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


11 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

12 LOOKING IN THE MIRROR “We don't see things the way they are. We see things the way we are.” Talmud

13 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 Less time for non- work life, including citizenship Dependence on 3rd parties; and demand for “passive” $ Third parties driven by their values, norms, perceptions Emphasis on $ returns and not falling behind peers Pressure on leaders for $ performance Economically biased cultures and tough “people” policies

14 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

15 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?


17 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

18 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”

19 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-esteem and vitality Telling mission, values and “performance” stories that include the above - and consistently embodying their stories

20 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

21 THE RAINMAKER There was a great drought. For months there had not been a drop of rain and the situation became catastrophic. The Catholics made processions, the Protestants made prayers and the Chinese burned joss-sticks and shot off guns to frighten away the demons of the drought, but with no result. Finally the Chinese said: “We will fetch the rainmaker”. And from another province a dried-up old man appeared. The only thing he asked for was a quiet little house somewhere, and there he locked himself up for three days. On the fourth day the clouds gathered and there was a great snow storm at the time of year when no snow was expected, an unusual amount, and the town was so full of rumours about the wonderful rainmaker that Richard Wilhelm went to ask the man how he did it. In true European fashion he said: “They call you the rainmaker. Will you tell me how you made the snow?” And the little Chinese man said: “I did not make the snow; I am not responsible.” “But what have you done these three days?” “Oh, I can explain that. I come from another country where things are in order. Here, they are out of order; they are not as they should be by the ordinance of heaven. Therefore, the whole country is not in Tao, and I also am not in the natural order of things because I am in a disordered country. So I had to wait three days until I was back in Tao and then naturally the rain came”. Jung’s account of a story related to him by Richard Wilhelm, who had lived in China (in C.G. Jung: “Mysterium Coniunctionis”).

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