Margot Cairnes Blog

May

9

2017
Why ‘Management Inertia’ is your Biggest Threat!

Why ‘Management Inertia’ is your Biggest Threat!

Interview with Karen Moses, former COO and head of strategy for Origin Energy, about the impact of digital disruption on Australian companies. Karen is currently Chairmman of Sydney Dance Company, and director of Charter Hall, Orica, Boral, State Super Trustees and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. She is also on the Finkel panel setup by the federal government to review the national energy market.


Jun

24

2014
Smiling in the Face of Terrorism

Smiling in the Face of Terrorism

Have you renewed your passport or driver’s licence recently? If so, you will probably know that we are no longer allowed to smile in our photos. How sad! When I got my new licence I was dismayed by the sad sack image glaring back at me. I had images of historians in centuries to come – unearthing a cache of 21st Century documents and deciding…

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Mar

5

2014
Opportunity or Disaster?

Opportunity or Disaster?

This year in Australia the last two car manufacturers have announced they will close their operations. This means that all related industries – e.g. parts manufacturers will in time be forced to close.  It is not unreasonable to assume that upwards of 50,000 people will be out of work. Meanwhile Alcoa has confirmed that it will close its plant in Geelong, creating more unemployment. I…

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Oct

28

2013
Real Change Hurts

Real Change Hurts

The human brain doesn’t like change – it doesn’t feel safe.  The discomfort of change is obvious when we go through a relationship breakdown, lose our job or find ourselves in a confronting new situation. However research tells us that even going on holidays is stressful, as we get used to new surroundings and less familiar daily routines.  When change is external this process is easier to see…

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Oct

16

2013
Happiness – Personal Gratification or Inner Joy?

Happiness – Personal Gratification or Inner Joy?

So many people these days seem to be in the pursuit of happiness. It is the foundation of Buddhist teachings and positive psychology – which pursues happiness using scientific methodology. At the same time we know that 26.2% of Americans aged 18+ (i.e. about one in four) suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year. Nearly 45% of the population will experience a…

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Oct

15

2013
Spirituality in Business

Spirituality in Business

I was talking recently with an entrepreneur who has built his business around spiritual principles. The business has been very successful. He was expounding that other already existing businesses should convert to a spiritual basis – even if it made them less successful. This took me back to my early days as a consultant. Back then I was teaching people to use their emotional intelligence as…

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Aug

26

2013
Key Performance Igniters

Key Performance Igniters

I recently heard a senior engineer admit that he prepared his Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) at the beginning of this year, put them in the bottom of his desk drawer and left them there until next year! His story was not an uncommon one.  KPIs are actually a form of measurement following on from the belief “What gets measured gets done. “When asked about his…

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Jul

30

2013
Addressing Wicked Problems

Addressing Wicked Problems

According to Mitroff & Silvers in “Dirty Rotten Strategies” (2010), type three errors occur when we get the perfect solution to the wrong problem. Common causes for solving the wrong problems are:  Closed belief systems – resulting in defining the problem too narrowly. This happens when we use a single preferred discipline, profession, ideology, worldview or set of assumptions ignoring or discrediting the values, systems,…

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Jul

24

2013
Terms of Engagement

Terms of Engagement

Boards seem to be very interested in the results of engagement surveys in which there is a burgeoning industry. CEOs are responding by ensuring they are doing “something” about low engagement scores. We recently researched this trend. It turns out that most engagement surveys are based on research done by those selling the surveys. Moreover, there is little agreement on the definition of engagement and…

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Jul

22

2013
Immeasurable Happiness

Immeasurable Happiness

At a seminar on happiness the highly qualified and enthusiastic presenter was urging us all to have goals for everything we wanted in our lives. These goals needed to be specific, measurable and time bounded. The first pushback came from a woman who said she didn’t want to put that much pressure on herself. She had already achieved a lot and was now looking to…

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