Well, hello there …

May you be condemned to live in interesting times.

It may be more than a year since I posted here. A long time and yet, it went by so fast. It has been an interesting year. I think I will celebrate the ending of 2018 with three articles. Plus maybe a dozen book reviews. Possibly an update or two in cricket umpiring, brewing and other personal things. Definitely a bit on work.

A quick catch up

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to to , We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do. ”

Steve Jobs

The following is a little bit catharsis and a little bit still feeling bruised. I will not go into the messy details – for multiple reasons …

I was working as the Managing Partner with a longstanding management consultancy firm with responsibility for the Public Sector. 2017 was a very good year for us and a major project received an award for best change project of the year from a project management body. We had a small team in Canberra and a decent pipeline of work. However, at the end of February the owner of the business (based in the UK) called and told me that staff would not be paid the following day. I will not go into all the details but the key thing to note is that the liquidator sought funding from creditors to pursue the company directors for a significant amount of money.

For most of the staff, the Australian Fair Entitlement Guarantee helped out by paying most, if not all entitlements apart from redundancy. There were three employees that were not so lucky while still getting some of the lost pay and leave entitlements. Superannuation that was not paid was also lost. Overall a nasty business.

It would most likely have been possible to save the business and continue on with a restructure, had the UK directors approached it the right way. Work I was asked to do to find alternative investors was successful in finding them but the UK directors were not able to negotiate an arrangement due to time constraints and associated issues. Fair to say that March was a busy time for with nothing but additional travel bills to show for it.

One staff member in Canberra was able to start a piece of work we had just won after we were able to negotiate with the client to “novate” the contract. Half the other staff were able to find alternative work fairly quickly, however two had some difficulty. The way the company was just shutdown overnight  caused a lot of stress and anxiety to staff – that is an understatement.

Personally, I was in the fortunate position to choose between offers. I chose to join a company with which we had been doing work on a partnership basis for the past two years. It was the path of least resistance and the right one at a time when much was still uncertain. I worked with them from early April until the end of December. We had a number of goals in mind when I started and, while the revenue ones were exceeded, we were not able to win the larger pieces of work which would have allowed the achievement of growth and margin targets. As a consequence, I notified the board that I would be finishing up. I am now looking forward to a “new set of challenges”, I think the current orthodoxy demands.

I will go back to nearly a dozen articles that I started to write and left unfinished over the past year or so. I seem to have ideas and not enough time to finish writing them down.

Three articles

So what do I need to write about?

Working with Smart People. This is after seeing the remarkable reactions from several employers over the years.

What is Consulting Today? A general question that should be asked. The title is Consulting Now!

Startups, Business Agility, Design Thinking and Customers in the real world. This is a little of the trend(s) I have seen in the past decade.

… here goes

100 years ago…

One hundred years ago, in August 1917, my father was born.

Born in the First World War at a time his uncle was about to become involved in the battle of Polygon Wood. He was a teenager during the Great Depression and fought in the New Guinea islands in the Second World War. He died a few months short of his 65th birthday from emphysema – passive smoking did it because he never smoked. This is the eulogy I should have given at his funeral, but was too young to give – maybe a little shorter. You do not have to read 😛 Continue Reading →

Life goes on …

The more observant of you may see that I have not posted for over half a year. This is why…My mother died in mid September after a lengthy period of illness that included minor strokes, frequent trips to hospital with breathing problems and heart problems. Her death certificate was blunt. She died from the results of smoking. She also died at peace. She signed a document instructing medical staff not to revive her and informed them she was no longer eating anything. For someone at around 40 Kg that meant she would not last long. I drove up to Queensland to be with her at the last only to miss out by under two hours. The photo attached to this post was taken in July before I left for Europe.

Continue Reading →

Hello Again World!

Starting to get back online.

The headline is that after a failure at Servage, my blog was corrupted. Several things could be fixed but others could not.

On a new host now at Go Hosting and things are much better. I will reconstruct old posts as I am able to retrieve the content.

Research on WWII

Looking through a lot of online resources, I have been able to get a sense of what my father experienced during his time in the army. There is a book that I need to read called Green Shadows which is a history of the 1st and 2nd New Guinea Battalions where he served in the last months of the war. The ACT Library has it and I can borrow it on Monday. It is clear that he enlisted relatively late – 10 December 1932. This was because he was in an essential occupation, (brick and tile making?) I think. Continue Reading →

Eastlake Semi-Final

Finals are usually a happy time. Not this one, however.

We were told during the week that we would be only able to field 8 players because no others were qualified to play. This even applied to substitute fielders. We played with all 8 players we were allowed and our opponents were given permission to allow a player who had been playing interstate. We play our cricket on the field.

The reason we have so few players available is that two (our opening batters) have move to Melbourne, one moved to the South Coast last year. One of our regular players has an injured knee and could not play all season. Another is expecting a baby mid year (hope it is a new recruit 😎 ) and yet another regular had an operation two weeks ago and is recovering. That is a lot of players to lose. Eastlake batted and we had them struggling a bit until a couple of their experienced batters got settled. Jane bowled well as usual, Liberty, Carli and Barbara bowled exceptionally well. One spell of bowling from Barbara was outstanding with Eastalake players unable to play any aggressive shots without risk. I tore a calf muscle in my second over and had to bowl the rest of my 8 overs off 3 steps because of our lack of players. Eastlake made 276 runs which is not as bad as it looks because at least 80 of those and probably 120 would have been cut off if we had 11 fielders. Carli and Liberty did amazingly well to close out the innings. Neither player had played grade cricket until this year. Lee, our keeper chased anything behind the stumps because she thought it was better to do that than to “waste” a fielder there. That is called commitment. Jane ran the boundaries all day and Suzi played after playing 6 hockey games – two this morning. Linda, Carli, Barbara and Liberty fielded as well as they ever have.

We batted and all we could do is play as well as possible. That is what we did. We batted through our 40 overs and still had wickets in hand. Lee demonstrated her fitness by running for me for almost the whole innings. Jane batted well again and I managed to get 81 not out. Liberty and Linda contributed well but, unfortunately, Lee and Barbara got good balls early in their innings. We made about 120 in the end which is respectable with 2 recognised bats in the team and many who just step up when they need to and do the job. I am impressed by the spirit and commitment of the ANU team. Most other teams would have given up but this team played it out to the end and did as well as it could with the players we were allowed to field. Thanks to Wayne for coming along and supporting us. Extra special thanks to Damo who has been helping with training, scoring and general helpfulness for the second half of the season. I can only say watch out next season when a few of us have more experience and training behind us. And a few players come back into the side. I have an appointment with a couple of ice packs now …