Workforce Planning in New Zealand

I’m very grateful that I’m able to do the kind of work that I do. I get to work with organisations that I respect, travel to beautiful places, and do work that truly engages me.  A couple of weeks ago I got the trifecta – working in Wellington, New Zealand, in collaboration with HCMS, and helping some fantastic private and public sector organisations to build internal capability in Strategic Workforce Planning and Analytics.

I also found a great place to hide from Nazgul, had an encounter with Gollum, and enjoyed the beautiful views from the top of Mount Victoria. Continue reading


Inattentional Bias and Environment Scanning

Even highly skilled and intelligent leaders aren’t good at detecting changes in their environment that might affect strategy. When you are focusing on all of the moving parts of your business, you can be blinded to these important changes.  In psychology, this is known as inattentional bias, which typically happens because we are all overloaded with stimuli, and it is impossible to pay attention to everything in one’s environment.

To be adaptive to change, you need to be attuned to these signals.  Not only that, you need to be able to determine which of those are transient and which are permanent; which of them are opportunities and which of them are threats. Continue reading

The value of an hour of work around the world

The Value of an Hour of Work

The Value of an Hour of Work

Thanks to, here’s an infographic about the value of an hour of work around the world, as measured by the GDP per capita, and divided by the average number of hours worked in that country.

Luxembourg and Norway are the standouts, and the Scandinavian countries in general all doing well.  I’m wondering if any readers have any insights as to what it is about Scandinavia that causes this pattern to emerge?

Where to from here for the anti-Fair Work Act campaign?

The day after the Coalition released its’ workplace relations policy, including to keep the Fair Work Act more or less in tact, Matt Cowgill from the ACTU has done some great analysis of opposition to, and results of, the Fair Work Act. Most fascinating for me was the graph of the “Days lost to industrial disputes” since 1987… it’s a very different world we live in today, regardless of whether the coalition or Labor are in government. Continue reading

Career advice for the new economy

There’s plenty of advice out there about how to choose a career.  This list, on the Wall Street Journal Online, tries to magically distil what makes a “best” or “worst” career to just 5 criteria – physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook.

No mention of engagement, satisfaction, the psychological benefit of getting out of bed every morning excited to go to work, or any one of the many factors that really make a great career.  No mention of the opportunity cost and actual costs associated with the years of study required to enter some of these careers, and the life-long financial burden that can impose. No adjustment of salary by average hours worked in these professions to get a true hourly rate. No mention of how little that last point really matters if you love what you do.  It’s also very bad news for my sister, who loves working in the job that she had wanted since she was 10 years old. She shouldn’t love it though – according to the list, her career as a newspaper reporter is the worst possible career ever.  For everyone.  Turns out she, and everybody else, should have become an actuary.  Sadly, some of the young people who really need some good career advice will, after reading this list, write off their passions and spend years of their lives working in a career that’s not suited to them.

But the advice that made me truly sad, was this one advising people choosing a career to not follow their passions.   I’m a big fan of the author, and her Ask a Manager blog is fantastic – but in my opinion, that advice is terrible.  Most of the career advice out there is wrong, and there’s a very real chance that the advice I’m posting today will be too. Continue reading