News
( Photo: Sara Ross) (His Excellency, David Hurley, me, Naomi Frauenfelder (Tracksafe), Katherine Newton (R U OK?) How do leaders inspire commitment and action? I talked with 5 remarkable leaders in Canberra on Wednesday who are doing this every day. I had the privilege of meeting our new Governor-General, General David Hurley, and his wife [...]
News
(Image: Lisa Nichols, Woolgoolga) As September 12 approaches, many people have been asking me for some ideas to celebrate R U OK? at work. Below are some ideas that have come from a number of sources, including entries in the 2019 Barbara Hocking R U OK? at Work awards, ideas I have put together, and [...]
News
In findings just released this week, more than 40% of doctors—and 50% of female doctors—are burned out, according to Medscape’s 2019 research. Every Australian should be horrified by this. Having a son about to graduate from medical school, I am very angry. Although this is USA research, as I reveal below – Australian research and anecdotes, suggest [...]
News
When we are busy it can be easy to forget our own wellbeing. I’ve made that mistake before and it led to a severe episode of depression. What I learnt is that if you don’t take care of yourself – you can’t take care of others. Self-care isn’t selfish. We have to nurture ourselves to [...]
News
We are proud to be launching a practical way to scale a more caring and mentally healthy culture. The WeCARE peer support eLearning and printed resources will help leaders and employees to care for a distressed colleague, ask R U OK?, and guide them to help. Based on what we have learnt from completing FactorC [...]
News
What does your heart desire for you in the next 4 weeks? What would make the biggest difference to your wellbeing and self-worth? Is it better sleep? Better relationships? Being more present? Being able to switch off? Completing an important work project? These are incredibly important things to consider. Once we have our answer, then [...]
News
I have recently been presenting to groups in the finance and aged care sectors whose work has been severely disrupted by their respective Royal Commission’s. How do we have healthy work/life integration with so much volatility and uncertainty? Sometimes relentless change can seem overwhelming. Although these two industries feel under attack, every workplace is experiencing [...]
News
Do you wish communities and workplaces were more caring? What is the CARE Revolution and why should you consider joining it? I believe it is an idea whose time has come. Over the last 3 years I’ve taken thousands of people through a half-day workshop designed to increase leadership and team resilience. At the start [...]
News
(from movie Network 1975 – video below explains the context) I’m mad about the shortcomings of our home and work tribe cultures. Over the Christmas break, I was contacted by more people seeking to help a distressed loved one than ever before. I have written previously about why this time of year can be challenging [...]
News
We’re supposed to be excited about going into this period, but a significant number of people find themselves dreading elements of the season.  With its sparkly decorations, family traditions, and festive get-togethers, this is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. But for many of us, this period can be tough. These are [...]
News
The Department of Justice NSW peer support program involves people supporting colleagues who are experiencing difficulty at work and/or in their private lives. Support is provided by Peer Support Officers (PSOs) who are volunteers (image above). They receive training, guidance, and support about how to have caring conversations, and where appropriate, provide help seeking options. [...]
News
This article was originally published on RUOK.org.au So, you’ve reached out to a colleague and asked, “Are you ok?” and they’ve replied with, “No”. What now? Reaching out and being prepared to have the conversation is so important. But you also need to be prepared and know what to do and how to react when [...]
News
Sleep deprivation is the invisible ceiling to how good life can be.  A good night’s sleep can make problems seem smaller and boost our energy levels. A bad night’s sleep is deadly to our resilience, mood, and performance. In fact, when I recently surveyed 470 people about their greatest challenge to having a positive mood [...]
News
Watching the Invictus Games over the last week has been incredibly inspiring. As you hear some of the back stories about these athletes, it amazes me the obstacles and adversity these service men and women have had to overcome. Of course, the physical injuries are often plain to see, but when you hear them and [...]
News
The Lucky Country has become The Lonely Country. In research released this week by PPR, 53% of Australians were found to be lonely – with New South Wales (59%) the most and Queensland (49%) the least lonely states. The social and health costs of this are substantial with the UK government estimating that being lonely [...]
News
Everyone is seeking an edge in the digital revolution. Every industry is facing turbulence. Many people believe that technology will be the secret sauce that helps them to outperform their peers. I don’t. I believe the solution is human. It is how well we work together that will ultimately determine true competitive advantage. In the [...]
News
Two weeks ago was an extraordinary week for R U OK? – and deeply meaningful to me. This was our 10th R U OK? Day which lead me to reflect why I chose to get involved when I first met Gavin Larkin, our late Founder, at a café in Sydney in March 2009. Gavin had heard [...]
News
As I have shared recently, the CSIRO has nominated ‘rising work stress and mental health issues’ as one of the TOP 6 MEGATRENDS in the next 20 years. Understanding the current situation is the best way to prepare to address this growing issue. In a recent survey of 383 employees I conducted, only 57% believed [...]
News
“Rising work stress and mental health issues” was recently named in CSIRO’s Workplace Safety Futures report as one of the TOP 6 MEGATRENDS for the next 20 years. This follows recent research by beyondblue which found that whilst 91% of Australian employees believe that a mentally healthy workplace is important, only 52% think that their [...]
News, Thriving Tribes
Asking each other the right questions each month can help create a Green Zone tribe – which is more optimistic, resourceful and energetic. This practice reinforces what is important and lets everyone know that progress is better than perfection. There has never been a more important time for a tribe to be more agile and [...]
News
Recent research commissioned by beyondblue found that whilst 91% of Australian employees believe that a mentally healthy workplace is important, only 52% believe their workplace is mentally healthy. Although there are many factors that can help address this, probably the most important component is helping leaders to understand how they can help. Research published in [...]
News
Have you noticed that your workmates are getting younger? Wondering if your boss would rehire you if your position became available today? I don’t think a week goes by when I don’t hear from someone 45+ who suddenly finds themselves being made redundant due to a merger, acquisition, outsourcing, or digital transformation. There has never [...]
News
How do we ensure that we are not replaced by a robot or an algorithm? How do we ensure that our career is future proof? These are critical questions for all of us. Last week I was asked to present at the HR Summit in Singapore. The theme of the conference was HR 4.0: Rethink [...]
News
Most Sunday mornings at 7.30am, I meet with Alastair and Bernie at South Curl Curl beach in Sydney. We go for a jog to Manly, followed by a swim, and then have a leisurely breakfast. It is a time of camaraderie when we get some exercise, and discuss the highs and lows of the previous [...]
News
Charles Darwin’s observation that “the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals, because they succeed in adapting themselves best for the environment”, has never been truer for business today, where disruption is rampant. As we rush into the digital revolution, workplaces can seem less human, and yet we all yearn to feel accepted [...]
News
Petrea King helps people with the “D’s” – divorce, depression, diagnosis, death, dependency, disaster, etc. She is a crisis expert with deep wisdom about how we come to terms with life’s biggest challenges – and move forward. Last August, when I announced that I was undergoing a bout of depression, I was humbled by the [...]
News
As many of us frantically try to finish our to-do lists before we begin holidays, it is worth considering what will matter most in the year ahead when the sun rises on January 1, 2018? This is the customary time for thinking about what we will do differently. If you want to lead a long, [...]
News
“You don’t create your purpose, you uncover it.” Viktor Frankl, concentration camp survivor, and author of Man’s Search for Meaning Knowing and living our career purpose is like vaccinating our self to be future ready. It can help us to thrive in the face of constant volatility and change. So how do we do know [...]
News
In 2016 the Richmond Tigers were having a terrible year. For the coach Damien Hardwick, it became a crisis, as many speculated that he would be sacked. He liked to get close to his players, but as he searched for solutions to their woes, he found himself focusing more on statistics and micromanaging the players. [...]
News
How can you help improve the mental well-being of geographically dispersed and remote employees? We were recently asked to help improve the mental health of a large Federal public sector agency, whose workforce is dispersed in many locations around Australia. We decided to use a live webinar to do this and were delighted to have [...]
News
Two weeks ago I was speaking to an impressive Human Resources Manager before I was about to speak about the why mental resilience should be on every CEO’s agenda. I shared with her that I had recently asked 520 people questions about mental health stigma in workplaces. I explained that my finding showed that people [...]
News
I recently experienced a bad bout of depression which I shared via my blog – I’m not OK – and why you should care. I’m delighted to confirm that I have now fully bounced back and am enjoying robust mental health again. My sincere thanks to everyone who reached out to offer support and encouragement. [...]
News
As a token of my appreciation for your support and well wishes I would like to offer you free access to these 7 Green Zone videos in October (Health & Safety Month). As you will see, the videos are designed to promote discussion and encourage action to increase mental well-being and resilience.  Below is the [...]
News
About 4 weeks ago I was hit by chronic insomnia and anxiety. I felt exhausted and yet couldn’t sleep.  When this occurred for 5 days in a row I felt the dreaded Black Dog on my heels. I began to feel my mood was out of control. As many of you would know, 11 years [...]
News
For many of us it’s a constant challenge to maintain a positive mood with growing to do lists, and continuous change and distractions at work. Many employees are unduly worried by things they can’t control, which can lead to excessive stress and lost productivity. This is compounded if long hours also restrict the time that [...]
News
Is our mental wellbeing determined by how we wake up each morning? Are we just victims of the events that happen to us? With so many bad news stories in our 24/7 news cycle, sometimes it is tempting to roll over and stay in bed. But what if we had control over our wellbeing – [...]
News
Can you manage your mood? Could you master it?  I think we all know intuitively that when we are in a better mood, life is easier. We are better equipped to face important issues. We are better employees, better partners, better parents, and better friends. I discovered this the hard way. From 2000-2005 I went [...]
News
Ann Sherry and 4 Australian CEOs regard employee mental resilience as essential to business growth and community well-being. The video features comments from icare CEO Vivek Bhatia, former CEO of Jetstar David Hall, Carnival Australia Executive Chair Ann Sherry, AIA Insurance CEO Damien Mu, WorkSafe Victoria CEO Clare Amies, and R U OK?’s Graeme Cowan. [...]
News
Would you like your teams to learn faster, and be more agile and resilient? Innovation powerhouses like Google and IDEO have found that psychological safety is the #1 predictor of their best teams. Related: Video: The surprising key to Google’s best teams. icare and R U OK? just launched a world-first study into psychological safety[1] [...]
News
Something special happened on Friday May 5, 2017. R U OK? held its second CONVERSATIONAL LEADERSHIP: inspiring people, inspiring change – morning event – generously hosted by PwC in their new Barangaroo premises. It was a sell-out event, and after the success of last year we were hopeful we would provide value to those attending. [...]
News
There is compelling evidence to show that a supportive and psychologically safe culture is critical to an agile and resourceful team. Whilst Gallup estimates that a team leader determines 70% of the team’s engagement level, there are other factors a CEO must consider when striving for a high performing organisation. When I led a culture [...]
News
Change fatigue, stress and burnout are increasingly becoming major issues for leaders. At a recent workshop we asked the leaders why they wanted to know more about improving mental well-being in their teams. After all, everyone is busy, so why did they invest time in a workshop to know more about this subject? These were [...]
News
In 2000 I was a Joint Managing Director with management consulting firm AT Kearney, when I crashed and burned (more later). Since then I’m continually surprised by the volume of people who ask my advice about helping someone they are concerned about. I have told my story through my keynote presentations, the BACK FROM THE [...]
Thriving Tribes
A survey we conducted revealed that the greatest cause of employee disengagement was “change fatigue”. The cost of this disengagement and burnout is enormous with a 2017 survey of 614 HR leaders showing that 46% of them believed this was responsible for up to half (20 to 50 percent, specifically) of their annual workforce turnover. [...]
News
A few years ago I was asked to go on a cattle drove in outback Australia with the leadership team of Medibank Private. The purpose of the cattle drove was to raise funds for mental health services. The area had just been through several years of horrendous drought and things were pretty dire for the [...]
News
People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Theodore Roosevelt Teddy Roosevelt is consistently rated as one of the top 5 American Presidents. He is known for driving change for the greater good, including the conservation of natural resources (preserved 230 million acres for national parks), control of corporations [...]
News
This week, we are very fortunate to have David Bakker  as a guest blogger. David is in his final year of a Doctor of Clinical Psychology at Monash University where his research is in the field of mental health apps. He shares his expertise with us here…. Smartphone apps have revolutionised many services, from ordering food, summoning [...]
News
In 2012 Google began a quest to understand how to build the perfect team. It was in recognition that teams need to collaborate more than ever before. One recent study in Harvard Business Review , revealed that the time spent by managers and their teams in collaborative practices has grown by 50%. Google started their [...]
News
In 2012 Google began a quest to understand how to build the perfect team. It was in recognition that teams need to collaborate more than ever before. One recent study in Harvard Business Review , revealed that the time spent by managers and their teams in collaborative practices has grown by 50%. Google started their [...]
News
A survey released this week reveals that reported mental health issues in the workplace have risen an alarming 56% in the last year. Perhaps even more concerning, is the finding that more than half of the companies surveyed had at least one of their employees attempt or commit suicide in the last year. Managers are [...]
News
As we approach R U OK? Day on Thursday September 8, it is fascinating to reflect on the journey we have been on. When Gavin Larkin and a small team of us first launched R U OK? in September 2009, we did some research to understand why people felt reluctant to ask someone they were [...]
News
I have a long term mate called Ted (picture above on one of our monthly bushwalks) who I first met when we both worked in marketing together at Johnson and Johnson over 20 years ago. After we left J&J, we remained great friends. We often go on bush walks and discuss family, life, politics and [...]
News
Whilst it is almost incomprehensible to realize that Michael Phelps has just won his 21st Gold Medal in Rio, it is fascinating to reflect on the rituals that have helped him to reach an unsurpassed level of Olympic achievement. Whilst elite sport requires strength, stamina, practice, and persistence, many other athletes have this also. Does [...]
News
“Be the sheepdog, not the wolf. The sheepdog is the protector of the flock. The sheepdog protects others that cannot protect themselves. The wolf is a coward that prays on the weak. In the Teams, we fight to protect our brothers. It’s that simple. I will always teach my leaders to protect those around them, [...]
News
Recent Australian research revealed that the leading causes of stress and disengagement were change fatigue (39%), not using personal strengths each day (37%), unclear priorities (35%) and not enough recognition and feedback (34%). It is sobering to realize that depression and stress disorders currently account for 34% of lost productivity through absenteeism and presenteeism according [...]
News
It appears that the rate of change in the workplace is having a significant impact on our engagement and discretionary effort at work. A recent survey of 470 people asked what caused them the most stress and disengagement. So what are the greatest causes? What is causing you the most stress and disengagement at work? [...]
News
In May 2016, I sought to discover our average mood, and the greatest threats to our resilience and performance. Over the next few weeks, I would like to share some of the insights that come from this research. Average Mood (out of 10) The average mood was 6.8/10 (0 = things are really bad – [...]
News
“What do I do with rest of my life?” “How can I put my strengths and interests to best use to feel as though I’m living a purposeful life?” “How can I have a positive impact?” “Should I change my work? How can I be more content with my lot?” I recently surveyed 457 people [...]
News
A good night’s sleep can make large problems seem smaller. It also boosts your energy levels and mood. A bad night’s sleep is deadly to our resilience, mood, and performance. In fact, when I recently surveyed 470 people about the greatest challenge to their positive mood in the last week – poor sleep was one [...]
News
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” Mike Tyson, former Heavyweight World Boxing Champion Do you ever return from a training seminar motivated to change things, only to be metaphorically “punched in the face”? After sorting out a few crises, do you ever place the training folder in a drawer, and [...]
Thriving Tribes
Are you overwhelmed with busyness and the constant demand to do more with less? It seems you are not alone.  This week I ran a webinar for employees that work in the community care sector and 53% stated that their greatest obstacle to personal vitality was that they did not have enough “me time”. Later [...]
News
When I ask people in my workplace seminars and workshops to raise their hands if they know someone close to them (at work or home) who struggles with depression or an anxiety disorder, between 70 – 90% of the audience raises their hands. I’ve run these workshops hundreds of times in Australia and around the [...]
News
People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Theodore Roosevelt Teddy Roosevelt is consistently rated as one of the top 5 American Presidents. He is known for driving change for the greater good, including the “Square Deal,” a domestic program formed around three C’s: conservation of natural resources (preserved [...]
News
“You don’t create your mission in life – you detect it” – Viktor Frankl How do you maintain your sense of purpose and stay centred when change and volatility is all around us in the workplace? Is it possible to build our leadership resilience when there are many things that are outside our control? Andrea* [...]
News
After the Christmas break, do you yearn for a happier and less stressful 2016? You may not be able to achieve both!! Let’s face it, stress has a bad name. It is often linked with harmful things like burn-out, struggle, adversity, despair, physical and mental illness, and even death. We are always told that we [...]
News
Startling new findings from research commissioned by Movember reveal that a devastating number of men feel friendless. Whilst it showed that 51% of men have two or less close friends, an alarming 13% said they had no close friends. Men over 55 were the most isolated. And while marriage offers lifelong support and companionship, the study [...]
News
Have you been asked to do more with less this year? Most people who work for large organisations have experienced at least one of these this year – restructures, retrenchments, mergers, technology changes, funding cuts, or my personal favourite “productivity dividends” (very Orwellian!!). Most predict it will be more of the same next year. Change [...]
News
“More than education, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails” Harvard Business Review We are experiencing a leadership crisis as organisations strive to do more with less. Recent Gallup research shows that 51% of leaders are disengaged, and because they directly influence 70% of their team’s engagement, [...]
News
What is the most important ritual we can commit to each day? Perhaps people who are approaching death can provide an answer. In Steve Job’s much watched (over 8 million views) commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005 he reflected on his life by discussing 3 stories. The 3rd story was about death and was [...]
News
My wife Karen and I recently completed the Portuguese Camino Way from Porto to Santiago – a distance of 235 kilometres over 11 days. It was an incredibly enjoyable experience which covered many extraordinary sites from medieval cities, over 100 churches, and a myriad of beautiful rural areas. It was very humbling to tread the [...]
News
How do we retain our mojo in rapidly changing and uncertain times?How do we stay centred and nurture our soul in times of volatility and ambiguity? I believe it comes down to knowing and living our ONE Thing. Let me explain. In the movie City Slickers, four friends from the big smoke are approaching middle [...]
News
“Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” John Watson Last week I was astonished by the sheer numbers of people who attended our R U OK? stand at the Australian Human Resources Institute Conference in Melbourne. We were the busiest stand by far. HR Managers from the corporate, government, and not for [...]
News
Would the United States have been united without Abraham Lincoln? Lincoln’s undeniable empathy, compassion, and pragmatic persistence were key factors in achieving lasting social change. What would the political landscape of Europe be like today without Winston Churchill? After World War II, Winston Churchill alone emerged as the great leader, the wartime strategist, and the [...]
News
“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt For many of us, our natural instinct when we [...]
News
A recent study has found that bank workers in the top 25% of resilience and psychological health, were on average 30% more productive than the bottom 25%. Whilst the results weren’t surprising, it has reinforced the case for employers to place a high priority on resilience programs and monitoring results on a regular basis. The [...]
News
“If you master your mood you master your life.” Between 2000-2005 I went through the worst depression my psychiatrist had ever treated. When I saw him he would always ask me to rate my mood from 0-10, where 0 was where you had given up hope of getting better, and at 10 you were thriving [...]
News
Each month I read a number of leadership resilience and engagement articles from various online resources. Here are my top five picks from last month. I have added my comment about each article and would like to hear what you think too. Top 10 Company Culture Killers
News
We are experiencing a leadership crisis as organisations strive to do more with less. Recent Gallup research shows that 51% of leaders are disengaged and because they directly influence 70% of their team’s engagement, it is quickly evident how this constitutes a significant organisational problem. Other research by Tony Schwartz and Harvard Business School of [...]
News
From the Storm The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has just been rated number 2 on Fortune’s 2015 Best Employer list, and has been in the top 10 for the last 10 years. It is the top rated management consulting group with 93% of their employees saying they are proud to work there, and 74% saying [...]
News
Few leaders have achieved greater change than Mahatma Gandhi. It was not just the scope of the change he was able to help facilitate; it was also the way that he went about it. Martin Luther King Jnr., Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama were some of the extraordinary leaders that nominated him as a major [...]
News
“Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – John Watson As I was walking this morning on the beautiful bush track near my home, I reflected on how little we know about what is going on in the lives of the people we meet each day. I had just bumped into my [...]
News
In times of unprecedented change and uncertainty, leadership and employee disengagement has become the norm. The only thing we can control is what we choose to do each day – and that directly impacts our mood, engagement, and performance. Mastering our mood is a critical resilience skill not just for leaders but also for their [...]
News
The two weeks before Christmas has more Facebook relationship breakups than anytime of the year.It is symptomatic of how stressful this period can be. We’re supposed to be excited for the holidays. But if you’re like many people, you may find yourself dreading the upcoming season.   I examine 5 main reasons why so many of [...]
News
Back L to R: Adam, Bernie, Graeme, Gary, John, Don, Stu, Front: James, Kristina Recently I emerged from a 9 day trek along the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea, made famous in WWII by a prolonged battle between Australian soldiers and the Japanese. I didn’t know it when I began, but I was to [...]
News
I see a world where one day we will have leaders who seek to create thriving tribes that focus equally on the well-being and performance of their group. Their goal will be that every employee will leave work as healthy as they arrive. It is sobering to realize that depression and stress disorders currently account [...]
News
At the beginning of 2000 I was the Joint Managing Director of AT Kearney’s Executive Search business in Australia. We had established a niche in the rapidly growing ecommerce sector which was booming – times were good. March 10, 2000 was the beginning of the tech crash and in a very short period of time [...]
News
When I was 24 I began working at a Pfizer division for Jack O’Mahony, the Managing Director. I had previously worked at Johnson and Johnson, and whilst there were many great things about that organisation, it was very hierarchical, and there were strict protocols about what you could and couldn’t do as a junior employee. [...]
News
Courtesy of http://www.fastcompany.com/
General
(My sister Sue introducing Kate Middleton to a Bear Cottage family) Can you imagine losing a child? It is my greatest nightmare. My sister Sue (who I am immensely proud of), is a Nursing Unit Manager at Bear Cottage. This Sydney organisation helps provide support and care for terminally ill children and their families. Sue [...]
News
Infographic is courtesy of http://www.juststand.org
News
“More than education, more than experience, resilience determines who succeeds and who fails.”  – Harvard Business Review In times of unprecedented change, setbacks are inevitable, and how we respond to them will ultimately determine our peace of mind, and success. There are practical activities we can do each day to immunize ourselves from the emotional toll [...]
News
Interviewed on ABC Radio – 23 March 2014 Graeme Cowan has dealt with severe depression, and speaks about how he and others deal with the black dog. His book, Back from the Brink: true stories and practical help for overcoming depression and bipolar features interviews with several high profile people. He speaks with James O’Loghlin.
News
As I highlighted in a previous post, change is hard. By January 7, 2014, 25% of people had given up on their 2014 New Year’s Resolution, and by December 30 – 92% of us have given up. In an astonishing study at Johns Hopkins University, patients with severe heart disease who required bypass surgery, were [...]
News
I believe that the western world is suffering from a meaning deficit and this is never more evident than in the world of work. Dramatic change and uncertainty are incredibly stressful for us, and many people that I have coached this year have been experiencing harmful stress levels. According to the Australian Psychological Society report [...]
News
In my last newsletter I was preparing for a very frantic week which included releasing the Elephant in the Boardroom, preparing for a Canberra Resilience and Performance workshop with 80 public servants, presenting to the annual Comcare conference on Building People and Performance, and about to run my first (and last) half marathon. It was [...]
News
34% of lost productivity is caused by depression and stress disorders, yet 86% of employees with stress or depression prefer to suffer in silence and businesses pay the price. What can be done about this? This report aims to provide insights and recommendations to address the greatest hidden productivity crisis affecting Australian workplaces today: employee [...]
News
While we can stoically acknowledge the unavoidability of change, at a deep level I think many of us struggle when change is actually thrust upon us. In Harvard Business School’s (HBR) book Building Personal and Organisational Resilience (2003) they found that: “More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will [...]
News
Having had a severe breakdown whilst working, I am convinced that having a culture that encourages people to ask “Are you OK?” to those that they are concerned about, is essential for an organisation to thrive through change. Australians already work an average 42.56 hours per week which is the 5th highest in the world, [...]
News
Hi Graeme, I’m sending this email to say thank you. I was having a coffee with my daughter Ellen (name changed) when we noticed an RUOK flyer, and I said her that it was a friend of mine involved in setting up and running the initiative. We took a copy and read it while we [...]
Self Improvement
In my last article I highlighted the extraordinary change which is occurring within the Australian economy as organisations frantically strive to do more with less. This change can also lead to disengagement as employees feel alienated and not appreciated. Rather than fall into a victim mindset, I suggested that we should take control by considering [...]
General
I think we all secretly say “this sucks” when change is thrust upon us – as it often is. In recent months I’ve been working with many people from the financial services, software, and telecommunication sectors. Here’s what they’re reporting: “We must launch a new service in 3 months which realistically would take 6 months [...]
General, Thriving Self
Two weeks ago we farewelled my son Adam and his lovely girlfriend Annalise on their 7 month journey through Europe and Asia. I am enormously proud of them as they completed their first year of university, deferred, set a goal, worked like dogs, and finally set off on an amazing adventure. It brought back wonderful [...]
General, Thriving Self, Thriving Tribes
In a startling HBR article by Christine Porath and Christine Pearson called The Price of Incivility they reveal that over 50% of the 14,000 employees they surveyed had experienced rudeness or disrespect in the last week. This represented a substantial increase over the last 14 years they have been monitoring workplace civility. What is even [...]
Thriving Self
I am close to finishing a book for the American and international market called “BACK FROM THE BRINK: People share their stories and advice about overcoming depression”. It is being published by New Harbinger, the largest psychology and self-help publisher in the US, and is due to be launched in January 2014. It features the [...]
General, Thriving Self, Thriving Tribes
Bruce Springsteen in ConcertOK I’m old, and confess I’ve been a Bruce Springsteen fan for over 30 years. I’ve loved his music and lyrics, and his ability to stay at the top of a very volatile business prone to fads (as Gangnam style chalks up 1.3 billion YouTube views!!).  Despite this, until this Monday I [...]
General
In February 2013 we asked people from my database and LinkedIn to rate the value of 30 potential resilience and mental health topics for them this year. Thank you to those who answered the survey. These were the top 10: Sustaining behavior change which enhances wellbeing Assisting employees to identify and develop their strengths Lifting [...]
Thriving Self, Thriving Tribes
Why should we worry about workplace stress levels? After working in Australian business for over 25 years, I have never seen stress levels higher than they are today. According to the a recent federal government report, Australians work an average 42.56 hours per week and are the 5th highest out of 29 countries reviewed. A [...]
News
After writing 2 Australian books in the BACK FROM THE BRINK series, I began the ambitious project of seeking to secure an American publisher to do a US version. Many people in the Australian book industry didn’t think it could be done. In addition to interviews contained in the Australian books, I also sought to [...]
Thriving Self
Top 5 Regrets of the Dying One of the books I read over the Christmas break was The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying by Australian palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware. Through spending the last 3-12 weeks with thousands of dying people, she observed 5 common regrets: I wish I’d had the courage to live [...]
Thriving Self, Thriving Tribes
Get employee mental health strategy right, and it guarantees sustained performance. But get it wrong, and a crisis could be ahead. The subject of mental health fills many managers and employees with apprehension. In fact, many believe the best strategy is to ignore the issue altogether. A problem ignored, rarely disappears however – it usually grows. [...]
Thriving Self, Thriving Tribes
Evolution tells us if we don't change we'll die – just ask the dodo. Just like nature, organisations are also asked to adapt to changing environments which is often driven by a quest to improve productivity and profitability. Despite this requirement, economic history shows that many have not managed change well, with Kodak, Blackberry, Nokia, General Motors, and Angus and Robertson being high profile examples. This need for continuous improvement has led to over 25,000 books being written about organisational transformation in the last 15 years, and yet only 30% of change initiatives are deemed successful. Something is not working.
Thriving Tribes
Why don’t leaders take mental health seriously? As mental health month approaches in October, I’ve been reflecting on the question I hear most often from Human Resources and OH&S professionals: “Why don’t our managers take the mental health of their employees seriously?” I know from first-hand experience, that most managers would like to create a [...]
Thriving Tribes
Asking R U OK? during mental health month After I tell the story of my depressive episode during my presentations, I ask people to raise their hand if they know someone – either in their personal life or at work – who lives with depression or an anxiety disorder. To everyone’s amazement they find that most of the audience raises their hand. This isn’t surprising when a survey by the Wesley Mission revealed that 85% of Australians know someone close to them who lives with a mental illness. In the workplace, the Medibank report Sick at Work showed that mood disorders account for 34% of all lost productivity through absenteeism and presenteeism (people are at work but not fully productive). Despite this, in research I completed with over 4000 people living with a mood disorder, only 15% felt comfortable discussing their condition with their work colleagues.
Thriving Self, Thriving Tribes
We are continually being asked to do more with less. The workload increases and yet when people leave they are often not replaced. This can lead to unhealthy stress levels, absenteeism, and presenteeism. How do we continue to perform when we feel fatigued by overload and change?
Thriving Tribes
Over the last 5 years I have been obsessed with researching proven mood enhancement strategies for individuals. After writing the best-selling BACK FROM THE BRINK book series, and interviewing over 5,000 people who have overcome adversity, this lead to me creating my Bounce Back & Thrive program which includes “10 things science says will make you thrive”.
News
( Photo: Sara Ross) (His Excellency, David Hurley, me, Naomi Frauenfelder (Tracksafe), Katherine Newton (R U OK?) How do leaders inspire commitment and action? I talked with 5 remarkable leaders in Canberra on Wednesday who are doing this every day. I had the privilege of meeting our new Governor-General, General David Hurley, and his wife [...]
News
(Image: Lisa Nichols, Woolgoolga) As September 12 approaches, many people have been asking me for some ideas to celebrate R U OK? at work. Below are some ideas that have come from a number of sources, including entries in the 2019 Barbara Hocking R U OK? at Work awards, ideas I have put together, and [...]
News
In findings just released this week, more than 40% of doctors—and 50% of female doctors—are burned out, according to Medscape’s 2019 research. Every Australian should be horrified by this. Having a son about to graduate from medical school, I am very angry. Although this is USA research, as I reveal below – Australian research and anecdotes, suggest [...]
News
When we are busy it can be easy to forget our own wellbeing. I’ve made that mistake before and it led to a severe episode of depression. What I learnt is that if you don’t take care of yourself – you can’t take care of others. Self-care isn’t selfish. We have to nurture ourselves to [...]
News
We are proud to be launching a practical way to scale a more caring and mentally healthy culture. The WeCARE peer support eLearning and printed resources will help leaders and employees to care for a distressed colleague, ask R U OK?, and guide them to help. Based on what we have learnt from completing FactorC [...]
News
What does your heart desire for you in the next 4 weeks? What would make the biggest difference to your wellbeing and self-worth? Is it better sleep? Better relationships? Being more present? Being able to switch off? Completing an important work project? These are incredibly important things to consider. Once we have our answer, then [...]
News
I have recently been presenting to groups in the finance and aged care sectors whose work has been severely disrupted by their respective Royal Commission’s. How do we have healthy work/life integration with so much volatility and uncertainty? Sometimes relentless change can seem overwhelming. Although these two industries feel under attack, every workplace is experiencing [...]
News
Do you wish communities and workplaces were more caring? What is the CARE Revolution and why should you consider joining it? I believe it is an idea whose time has come. Over the last 3 years I’ve taken thousands of people through a half-day workshop designed to increase leadership and team resilience. At the start [...]
News
(from movie Network 1975 – video below explains the context) I’m mad about the shortcomings of our home and work tribe cultures. Over the Christmas break, I was contacted by more people seeking to help a distressed loved one than ever before. I have written previously about why this time of year can be challenging [...]
News
We’re supposed to be excited about going into this period, but a significant number of people find themselves dreading elements of the season.  With its sparkly decorations, family traditions, and festive get-togethers, this is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. But for many of us, this period can be tough. These are [...]
News
The Department of Justice NSW peer support program involves people supporting colleagues who are experiencing difficulty at work and/or in their private lives. Support is provided by Peer Support Officers (PSOs) who are volunteers (image above). They receive training, guidance, and support about how to have caring conversations, and where appropriate, provide help seeking options. [...]
News
This article was originally published on RUOK.org.au So, you’ve reached out to a colleague and asked, “Are you ok?” and they’ve replied with, “No”. What now? Reaching out and being prepared to have the conversation is so important. But you also need to be prepared and know what to do and how to react when [...]
News
Sleep deprivation is the invisible ceiling to how good life can be.  A good night’s sleep can make problems seem smaller and boost our energy levels. A bad night’s sleep is deadly to our resilience, mood, and performance. In fact, when I recently surveyed 470 people about their greatest challenge to having a positive mood [...]
News
Watching the Invictus Games over the last week has been incredibly inspiring. As you hear some of the back stories about these athletes, it amazes me the obstacles and adversity these service men and women have had to overcome. Of course, the physical injuries are often plain to see, but when you hear them and [...]
News
The Lucky Country has become The Lonely Country. In research released this week by PPR, 53% of Australians were found to be lonely – with New South Wales (59%) the most and Queensland (49%) the least lonely states. The social and health costs of this are substantial with the UK government estimating that being lonely [...]
News
Everyone is seeking an edge in the digital revolution. Every industry is facing turbulence. Many people believe that technology will be the secret sauce that helps them to outperform their peers. I don’t. I believe the solution is human. It is how well we work together that will ultimately determine true competitive advantage. In the [...]
News
Two weeks ago was an extraordinary week for R U OK? – and deeply meaningful to me. This was our 10th R U OK? Day which lead me to reflect why I chose to get involved when I first met Gavin Larkin, our late Founder, at a café in Sydney in March 2009. Gavin had heard [...]
News
As I have shared recently, the CSIRO has nominated ‘rising work stress and mental health issues’ as one of the TOP 6 MEGATRENDS in the next 20 years. Understanding the current situation is the best way to prepare to address this growing issue. In a recent survey of 383 employees I conducted, only 57% believed [...]
News
“Rising work stress and mental health issues” was recently named in CSIRO’s Workplace Safety Futures report as one of the TOP 6 MEGATRENDS for the next 20 years. This follows recent research by beyondblue which found that whilst 91% of Australian employees believe that a mentally healthy workplace is important, only 52% think that their [...]
News, Thriving Tribes
Asking each other the right questions each month can help create a Green Zone tribe – which is more optimistic, resourceful and energetic. This practice reinforces what is important and lets everyone know that progress is better than perfection. There has never been a more important time for a tribe to be more agile and [...]
News
Recent research commissioned by beyondblue found that whilst 91% of Australian employees believe that a mentally healthy workplace is important, only 52% believe their workplace is mentally healthy. Although there are many factors that can help address this, probably the most important component is helping leaders to understand how they can help. Research published in [...]
News
Have you noticed that your workmates are getting younger? Wondering if your boss would rehire you if your position became available today? I don’t think a week goes by when I don’t hear from someone 45+ who suddenly finds themselves being made redundant due to a merger, acquisition, outsourcing, or digital transformation. There has never [...]
News
How do we ensure that we are not replaced by a robot or an algorithm? How do we ensure that our career is future proof? These are critical questions for all of us. Last week I was asked to present at the HR Summit in Singapore. The theme of the conference was HR 4.0: Rethink [...]
News
Most Sunday mornings at 7.30am, I meet with Alastair and Bernie at South Curl Curl beach in Sydney. We go for a jog to Manly, followed by a swim, and then have a leisurely breakfast. It is a time of camaraderie when we get some exercise, and discuss the highs and lows of the previous [...]
News
Charles Darwin’s observation that “the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals, because they succeed in adapting themselves best for the environment”, has never been truer for business today, where disruption is rampant. As we rush into the digital revolution, workplaces can seem less human, and yet we all yearn to feel accepted [...]
News
Petrea King helps people with the “D’s” – divorce, depression, diagnosis, death, dependency, disaster, etc. She is a crisis expert with deep wisdom about how we come to terms with life’s biggest challenges – and move forward. Last August, when I announced that I was undergoing a bout of depression, I was humbled by the [...]
News
As many of us frantically try to finish our to-do lists before we begin holidays, it is worth considering what will matter most in the year ahead when the sun rises on January 1, 2018? This is the customary time for thinking about what we will do differently. If you want to lead a long, [...]
News
“You don’t create your purpose, you uncover it.” Viktor Frankl, concentration camp survivor, and author of Man’s Search for Meaning Knowing and living our career purpose is like vaccinating our self to be future ready. It can help us to thrive in the face of constant volatility and change. So how do we do know [...]
News
In 2016 the Richmond Tigers were having a terrible year. For the coach Damien Hardwick, it became a crisis, as many speculated that he would be sacked. He liked to get close to his players, but as he searched for solutions to their woes, he found himself focusing more on statistics and micromanaging the players. [...]
News
How can you help improve the mental well-being of geographically dispersed and remote employees? We were recently asked to help improve the mental health of a large Federal public sector agency, whose workforce is dispersed in many locations around Australia. We decided to use a live webinar to do this and were delighted to have [...]
News
Two weeks ago I was speaking to an impressive Human Resources Manager before I was about to speak about the why mental resilience should be on every CEO’s agenda. I shared with her that I had recently asked 520 people questions about mental health stigma in workplaces. I explained that my finding showed that people [...]
News
I recently experienced a bad bout of depression which I shared via my blog – I’m not OK – and why you should care. I’m delighted to confirm that I have now fully bounced back and am enjoying robust mental health again. My sincere thanks to everyone who reached out to offer support and encouragement. [...]
News
As a token of my appreciation for your support and well wishes I would like to offer you free access to these 7 Green Zone videos in October (Health & Safety Month). As you will see, the videos are designed to promote discussion and encourage action to increase mental well-being and resilience.  Below is the [...]
News
About 4 weeks ago I was hit by chronic insomnia and anxiety. I felt exhausted and yet couldn’t sleep.  When this occurred for 5 days in a row I felt the dreaded Black Dog on my heels. I began to feel my mood was out of control. As many of you would know, 11 years [...]
News
For many of us it’s a constant challenge to maintain a positive mood with growing to do lists, and continuous change and distractions at work. Many employees are unduly worried by things they can’t control, which can lead to excessive stress and lost productivity. This is compounded if long hours also restrict the time that [...]
News
Is our mental wellbeing determined by how we wake up each morning? Are we just victims of the events that happen to us? With so many bad news stories in our 24/7 news cycle, sometimes it is tempting to roll over and stay in bed. But what if we had control over our wellbeing – [...]
News
Can you manage your mood? Could you master it?  I think we all know intuitively that when we are in a better mood, life is easier. We are better equipped to face important issues. We are better employees, better partners, better parents, and better friends. I discovered this the hard way. From 2000-2005 I went [...]
News
Ann Sherry and 4 Australian CEOs regard employee mental resilience as essential to business growth and community well-being. The video features comments from icare CEO Vivek Bhatia, former CEO of Jetstar David Hall, Carnival Australia Executive Chair Ann Sherry, AIA Insurance CEO Damien Mu, WorkSafe Victoria CEO Clare Amies, and R U OK?’s Graeme Cowan. [...]
News
Would you like your teams to learn faster, and be more agile and resilient? Innovation powerhouses like Google and IDEO have found that psychological safety is the #1 predictor of their best teams. Related: Video: The surprising key to Google’s best teams. icare and R U OK? just launched a world-first study into psychological safety[1] [...]
News
Something special happened on Friday May 5, 2017. R U OK? held its second CONVERSATIONAL LEADERSHIP: inspiring people, inspiring change – morning event – generously hosted by PwC in their new Barangaroo premises. It was a sell-out event, and after the success of last year we were hopeful we would provide value to those attending. [...]
News
There is compelling evidence to show that a supportive and psychologically safe culture is critical to an agile and resourceful team. Whilst Gallup estimates that a team leader determines 70% of the team’s engagement level, there are other factors a CEO must consider when striving for a high performing organisation. When I led a culture [...]
News
Change fatigue, stress and burnout are increasingly becoming major issues for leaders. At a recent workshop we asked the leaders why they wanted to know more about improving mental well-being in their teams. After all, everyone is busy, so why did they invest time in a workshop to know more about this subject? These were [...]
News
In 2000 I was a Joint Managing Director with management consulting firm AT Kearney, when I crashed and burned (more later). Since then I’m continually surprised by the volume of people who ask my advice about helping someone they are concerned about. I have told my story through my keynote presentations, the BACK FROM THE [...]
Thriving Tribes
A survey we conducted revealed that the greatest cause of employee disengagement was “change fatigue”. The cost of this disengagement and burnout is enormous with a 2017 survey of 614 HR leaders showing that 46% of them believed this was responsible for up to half (20 to 50 percent, specifically) of their annual workforce turnover. [...]
News
A few years ago I was asked to go on a cattle drove in outback Australia with the leadership team of Medibank Private. The purpose of the cattle drove was to raise funds for mental health services. The area had just been through several years of horrendous drought and things were pretty dire for the [...]
News
People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Theodore Roosevelt Teddy Roosevelt is consistently rated as one of the top 5 American Presidents. He is known for driving change for the greater good, including the conservation of natural resources (preserved 230 million acres for national parks), control of corporations [...]
News
This week, we are very fortunate to have David Bakker  as a guest blogger. David is in his final year of a Doctor of Clinical Psychology at Monash University where his research is in the field of mental health apps. He shares his expertise with us here…. Smartphone apps have revolutionised many services, from ordering food, summoning [...]
News
In 2012 Google began a quest to understand how to build the perfect team. It was in recognition that teams need to collaborate more than ever before. One recent study in Harvard Business Review , revealed that the time spent by managers and their teams in collaborative practices has grown by 50%. Google started their [...]
News
In 2012 Google began a quest to understand how to build the perfect team. It was in recognition that teams need to collaborate more than ever before. One recent study in Harvard Business Review , revealed that the time spent by managers and their teams in collaborative practices has grown by 50%. Google started their [...]
News
A survey released this week reveals that reported mental health issues in the workplace have risen an alarming 56% in the last year. Perhaps even more concerning, is the finding that more than half of the companies surveyed had at least one of their employees attempt or commit suicide in the last year. Managers are [...]
News
As we approach R U OK? Day on Thursday September 8, it is fascinating to reflect on the journey we have been on. When Gavin Larkin and a small team of us first launched R U OK? in September 2009, we did some research to understand why people felt reluctant to ask someone they were [...]
News
I have a long term mate called Ted (picture above on one of our monthly bushwalks) who I first met when we both worked in marketing together at Johnson and Johnson over 20 years ago. After we left J&J, we remained great friends. We often go on bush walks and discuss family, life, politics and [...]
News
Whilst it is almost incomprehensible to realize that Michael Phelps has just won his 21st Gold Medal in Rio, it is fascinating to reflect on the rituals that have helped him to reach an unsurpassed level of Olympic achievement. Whilst elite sport requires strength, stamina, practice, and persistence, many other athletes have this also. Does [...]
News
“Be the sheepdog, not the wolf. The sheepdog is the protector of the flock. The sheepdog protects others that cannot protect themselves. The wolf is a coward that prays on the weak. In the Teams, we fight to protect our brothers. It’s that simple. I will always teach my leaders to protect those around them, [...]
News
Recent Australian research revealed that the leading causes of stress and disengagement were change fatigue (39%), not using personal strengths each day (37%), unclear priorities (35%) and not enough recognition and feedback (34%). It is sobering to realize that depression and stress disorders currently account for 34% of lost productivity through absenteeism and presenteeism according [...]
News
It appears that the rate of change in the workplace is having a significant impact on our engagement and discretionary effort at work. A recent survey of 470 people asked what caused them the most stress and disengagement. So what are the greatest causes? What is causing you the most stress and disengagement at work? [...]
News
In May 2016, I sought to discover our average mood, and the greatest threats to our resilience and performance. Over the next few weeks, I would like to share some of the insights that come from this research. Average Mood (out of 10) The average mood was 6.8/10 (0 = things are really bad – [...]
News
“What do I do with rest of my life?” “How can I put my strengths and interests to best use to feel as though I’m living a purposeful life?” “How can I have a positive impact?” “Should I change my work? How can I be more content with my lot?” I recently surveyed 457 people [...]
News
A good night’s sleep can make large problems seem smaller. It also boosts your energy levels and mood. A bad night’s sleep is deadly to our resilience, mood, and performance. In fact, when I recently surveyed 470 people about the greatest challenge to their positive mood in the last week – poor sleep was one [...]
News
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” Mike Tyson, former Heavyweight World Boxing Champion Do you ever return from a training seminar motivated to change things, only to be metaphorically “punched in the face”? After sorting out a few crises, do you ever place the training folder in a drawer, and [...]
Thriving Tribes
Are you overwhelmed with busyness and the constant demand to do more with less? It seems you are not alone.  This week I ran a webinar for employees that work in the community care sector and 53% stated that their greatest obstacle to personal vitality was that they did not have enough “me time”. Later [...]
News
When I ask people in my workplace seminars and workshops to raise their hands if they know someone close to them (at work or home) who struggles with depression or an anxiety disorder, between 70 – 90% of the audience raises their hands. I’ve run these workshops hundreds of times in Australia and around the [...]
News
People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Theodore Roosevelt Teddy Roosevelt is consistently rated as one of the top 5 American Presidents. He is known for driving change for the greater good, including the “Square Deal,” a domestic program formed around three C’s: conservation of natural resources (preserved [...]
News
“You don’t create your mission in life – you detect it” – Viktor Frankl How do you maintain your sense of purpose and stay centred when change and volatility is all around us in the workplace? Is it possible to build our leadership resilience when there are many things that are outside our control? Andrea* [...]
News
After the Christmas break, do you yearn for a happier and less stressful 2016? You may not be able to achieve both!! Let’s face it, stress has a bad name. It is often linked with harmful things like burn-out, struggle, adversity, despair, physical and mental illness, and even death. We are always told that we [...]
News
Startling new findings from research commissioned by Movember reveal that a devastating number of men feel friendless. Whilst it showed that 51% of men have two or less close friends, an alarming 13% said they had no close friends. Men over 55 were the most isolated. And while marriage offers lifelong support and companionship, the study [...]
News
Have you been asked to do more with less this year? Most people who work for large organisations have experienced at least one of these this year – restructures, retrenchments, mergers, technology changes, funding cuts, or my personal favourite “productivity dividends” (very Orwellian!!). Most predict it will be more of the same next year. Change [...]
News
“More than education, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails” Harvard Business Review We are experiencing a leadership crisis as organisations strive to do more with less. Recent Gallup research shows that 51% of leaders are disengaged, and because they directly influence 70% of their team’s engagement, [...]
News
What is the most important ritual we can commit to each day? Perhaps people who are approaching death can provide an answer. In Steve Job’s much watched (over 8 million views) commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005 he reflected on his life by discussing 3 stories. The 3rd story was about death and was [...]
News
My wife Karen and I recently completed the Portuguese Camino Way from Porto to Santiago – a distance of 235 kilometres over 11 days. It was an incredibly enjoyable experience which covered many extraordinary sites from medieval cities, over 100 churches, and a myriad of beautiful rural areas. It was very humbling to tread the [...]
News
How do we retain our mojo in rapidly changing and uncertain times?How do we stay centred and nurture our soul in times of volatility and ambiguity? I believe it comes down to knowing and living our ONE Thing. Let me explain. In the movie City Slickers, four friends from the big smoke are approaching middle [...]
News
“Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” John Watson Last week I was astonished by the sheer numbers of people who attended our R U OK? stand at the Australian Human Resources Institute Conference in Melbourne. We were the busiest stand by far. HR Managers from the corporate, government, and not for [...]
News
Would the United States have been united without Abraham Lincoln? Lincoln’s undeniable empathy, compassion, and pragmatic persistence were key factors in achieving lasting social change. What would the political landscape of Europe be like today without Winston Churchill? After World War II, Winston Churchill alone emerged as the great leader, the wartime strategist, and the [...]
News
“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt For many of us, our natural instinct when we [...]
News
A recent study has found that bank workers in the top 25% of resilience and psychological health, were on average 30% more productive than the bottom 25%. Whilst the results weren’t surprising, it has reinforced the case for employers to place a high priority on resilience programs and monitoring results on a regular basis. The [...]
News
“If you master your mood you master your life.” Between 2000-2005 I went through the worst depression my psychiatrist had ever treated. When I saw him he would always ask me to rate my mood from 0-10, where 0 was where you had given up hope of getting better, and at 10 you were thriving [...]
News
Each month I read a number of leadership resilience and engagement articles from various online resources. Here are my top five picks from last month. I have added my comment about each article and would like to hear what you think too. Top 10 Company Culture Killers
News
We are experiencing a leadership crisis as organisations strive to do more with less. Recent Gallup research shows that 51% of leaders are disengaged and because they directly influence 70% of their team’s engagement, it is quickly evident how this constitutes a significant organisational problem. Other research by Tony Schwartz and Harvard Business School of [...]
News
From the Storm The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has just been rated number 2 on Fortune’s 2015 Best Employer list, and has been in the top 10 for the last 10 years. It is the top rated management consulting group with 93% of their employees saying they are proud to work there, and 74% saying [...]
News
Few leaders have achieved greater change than Mahatma Gandhi. It was not just the scope of the change he was able to help facilitate; it was also the way that he went about it. Martin Luther King Jnr., Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama were some of the extraordinary leaders that nominated him as a major [...]
News
“Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – John Watson As I was walking this morning on the beautiful bush track near my home, I reflected on how little we know about what is going on in the lives of the people we meet each day. I had just bumped into my [...]
News
In times of unprecedented change and uncertainty, leadership and employee disengagement has become the norm. The only thing we can control is what we choose to do each day – and that directly impacts our mood, engagement, and performance. Mastering our mood is a critical resilience skill not just for leaders but also for their [...]
News
The two weeks before Christmas has more Facebook relationship breakups than anytime of the year.It is symptomatic of how stressful this period can be. We’re supposed to be excited for the holidays. But if you’re like many people, you may find yourself dreading the upcoming season.   I examine 5 main reasons why so many of [...]
News
Back L to R: Adam, Bernie, Graeme, Gary, John, Don, Stu, Front: James, Kristina Recently I emerged from a 9 day trek along the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea, made famous in WWII by a prolonged battle between Australian soldiers and the Japanese. I didn’t know it when I began, but I was to [...]
News
I see a world where one day we will have leaders who seek to create thriving tribes that focus equally on the well-being and performance of their group. Their goal will be that every employee will leave work as healthy as they arrive. It is sobering to realize that depression and stress disorders currently account [...]
News
At the beginning of 2000 I was the Joint Managing Director of AT Kearney’s Executive Search business in Australia. We had established a niche in the rapidly growing ecommerce sector which was booming – times were good. March 10, 2000 was the beginning of the tech crash and in a very short period of time [...]
News
When I was 24 I began working at a Pfizer division for Jack O’Mahony, the Managing Director. I had previously worked at Johnson and Johnson, and whilst there were many great things about that organisation, it was very hierarchical, and there were strict protocols about what you could and couldn’t do as a junior employee. [...]
News
Courtesy of http://www.fastcompany.com/
General
(My sister Sue introducing Kate Middleton to a Bear Cottage family) Can you imagine losing a child? It is my greatest nightmare. My sister Sue (who I am immensely proud of), is a Nursing Unit Manager at Bear Cottage. This Sydney organisation helps provide support and care for terminally ill children and their families. Sue [...]
News
Infographic is courtesy of http://www.juststand.org
News
“More than education, more than experience, resilience determines who succeeds and who fails.”  – Harvard Business Review In times of unprecedented change, setbacks are inevitable, and how we respond to them will ultimately determine our peace of mind, and success. There are practical activities we can do each day to immunize ourselves from the emotional toll [...]
News
Interviewed on ABC Radio – 23 March 2014 Graeme Cowan has dealt with severe depression, and speaks about how he and others deal with the black dog. His book, Back from the Brink: true stories and practical help for overcoming depression and bipolar features interviews with several high profile people. He speaks with James O’Loghlin.
News
As I highlighted in a previous post, change is hard. By January 7, 2014, 25% of people had given up on their 2014 New Year’s Resolution, and by December 30 – 92% of us have given up. In an astonishing study at Johns Hopkins University, patients with severe heart disease who required bypass surgery, were [...]
News
I believe that the western world is suffering from a meaning deficit and this is never more evident than in the world of work. Dramatic change and uncertainty are incredibly stressful for us, and many people that I have coached this year have been experiencing harmful stress levels. According to the Australian Psychological Society report [...]
News
In my last newsletter I was preparing for a very frantic week which included releasing the Elephant in the Boardroom, preparing for a Canberra Resilience and Performance workshop with 80 public servants, presenting to the annual Comcare conference on Building People and Performance, and about to run my first (and last) half marathon. It was [...]
News
34% of lost productivity is caused by depression and stress disorders, yet 86% of employees with stress or depression prefer to suffer in silence and businesses pay the price. What can be done about this? This report aims to provide insights and recommendations to address the greatest hidden productivity crisis affecting Australian workplaces today: employee [...]
News
While we can stoically acknowledge the unavoidability of change, at a deep level I think many of us struggle when change is actually thrust upon us. In Harvard Business School’s (HBR) book Building Personal and Organisational Resilience (2003) they found that: “More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will [...]
News
Having had a severe breakdown whilst working, I am convinced that having a culture that encourages people to ask “Are you OK?” to those that they are concerned about, is essential for an organisation to thrive through change. Australians already work an average 42.56 hours per week which is the 5th highest in the world, [...]
News
Hi Graeme, I’m sending this email to say thank you. I was having a coffee with my daughter Ellen (name changed) when we noticed an RUOK flyer, and I said her that it was a friend of mine involved in setting up and running the initiative. We took a copy and read it while we [...]
Self Improvement
In my last article I highlighted the extraordinary change which is occurring within the Australian economy as organisations frantically strive to do more with less. This change can also lead to disengagement as employees feel alienated and not appreciated. Rather than fall into a victim mindset, I suggested that we should take control by considering [...]
General
I think we all secretly say “this sucks” when change is thrust upon us – as it often is. In recent months I’ve been working with many people from the financial services, software, and telecommunication sectors. Here’s what they’re reporting: “We must launch a new service in 3 months which realistically would take 6 months [...]
General, Thriving Self
Two weeks ago we farewelled my son Adam and his lovely girlfriend Annalise on their 7 month journey through Europe and Asia. I am enormously proud of them as they completed their first year of university, deferred, set a goal, worked like dogs, and finally set off on an amazing adventure. It brought back wonderful [...]
General, Thriving Self, Thriving Tribes
In a startling HBR article by Christine Porath and Christine Pearson called The Price of Incivility they reveal that over 50% of the 14,000 employees they surveyed had experienced rudeness or disrespect in the last week. This represented a substantial increase over the last 14 years they have been monitoring workplace civility. What is even [...]
Thriving Self
I am close to finishing a book for the American and international market called “BACK FROM THE BRINK: People share their stories and advice about overcoming depression”. It is being published by New Harbinger, the largest psychology and self-help publisher in the US, and is due to be launched in January 2014. It features the [...]
General, Thriving Self, Thriving Tribes
Bruce Springsteen in ConcertOK I’m old, and confess I’ve been a Bruce Springsteen fan for over 30 years. I’ve loved his music and lyrics, and his ability to stay at the top of a very volatile business prone to fads (as Gangnam style chalks up 1.3 billion YouTube views!!).  Despite this, until this Monday I [...]
General
In February 2013 we asked people from my database and LinkedIn to rate the value of 30 potential resilience and mental health topics for them this year. Thank you to those who answered the survey. These were the top 10: Sustaining behavior change which enhances wellbeing Assisting employees to identify and develop their strengths Lifting [...]
Thriving Self, Thriving Tribes
Why should we worry about workplace stress levels? After working in Australian business for over 25 years, I have never seen stress levels higher than they are today. According to the a recent federal government report, Australians work an average 42.56 hours per week and are the 5th highest out of 29 countries reviewed. A [...]
News
After writing 2 Australian books in the BACK FROM THE BRINK series, I began the ambitious project of seeking to secure an American publisher to do a US version. Many people in the Australian book industry didn’t think it could be done. In addition to interviews contained in the Australian books, I also sought to [...]
Thriving Self
Top 5 Regrets of the Dying One of the books I read over the Christmas break was The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying by Australian palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware. Through spending the last 3-12 weeks with thousands of dying people, she observed 5 common regrets: I wish I’d had the courage to live [...]
Thriving Self, Thriving Tribes
Get employee mental health strategy right, and it guarantees sustained performance. But get it wrong, and a crisis could be ahead. The subject of mental health fills many managers and employees with apprehension. In fact, many believe the best strategy is to ignore the issue altogether. A problem ignored, rarely disappears however – it usually grows. [...]
Thriving Self, Thriving Tribes
Evolution tells us if we don't change we'll die – just ask the dodo. Just like nature, organisations are also asked to adapt to changing environments which is often driven by a quest to improve productivity and profitability. Despite this requirement, economic history shows that many have not managed change well, with Kodak, Blackberry, Nokia, General Motors, and Angus and Robertson being high profile examples. This need for continuous improvement has led to over 25,000 books being written about organisational transformation in the last 15 years, and yet only 30% of change initiatives are deemed successful. Something is not working.
Thriving Tribes
Why don’t leaders take mental health seriously? As mental health month approaches in October, I’ve been reflecting on the question I hear most often from Human Resources and OH&S professionals: “Why don’t our managers take the mental health of their employees seriously?” I know from first-hand experience, that most managers would like to create a [...]
Thriving Tribes
Asking R U OK? during mental health month After I tell the story of my depressive episode during my presentations, I ask people to raise their hand if they know someone – either in their personal life or at work – who lives with depression or an anxiety disorder. To everyone’s amazement they find that most of the audience raises their hand. This isn’t surprising when a survey by the Wesley Mission revealed that 85% of Australians know someone close to them who lives with a mental illness. In the workplace, the Medibank report Sick at Work showed that mood disorders account for 34% of all lost productivity through absenteeism and presenteeism (people are at work but not fully productive). Despite this, in research I completed with over 4000 people living with a mood disorder, only 15% felt comfortable discussing their condition with their work colleagues.
Thriving Self, Thriving Tribes
We are continually being asked to do more with less. The workload increases and yet when people leave they are often not replaced. This can lead to unhealthy stress levels, absenteeism, and presenteeism. How do we continue to perform when we feel fatigued by overload and change?
Thriving Tribes
Over the last 5 years I have been obsessed with researching proven mood enhancement strategies for individuals. After writing the best-selling BACK FROM THE BRINK book series, and interviewing over 5,000 people who have overcome adversity, this lead to me creating my Bounce Back & Thrive program which includes “10 things science says will make you thrive”.
Team Care, Resilience, & Growth
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