Monthly Archives: September 2015

That person who knew no boundaries

Have you encountered that person? The one who, before you even know what is happening, drags you off to a bar, takes you for lunch or you find yourself unwittingly accepting an invitation to go somewhere you don’t want to be. We’ve all had a moment with a client or a colleague which made us feel a little uncomfortable.

So what do you do to be nice without damaging the working relationship in these common situations where professional boundaries can become blurred?

As a recruiter I often find myself in funny situations. Once while catching up with friends over a long weekend we had decided to call it a night around 1.00am. As I was about to lay my head on the pillow, I got a 1.30am message on Facebook. My friends having the last word after a great night out? No, it was a ‘friend’ request from a senior manager for whom I had recruited an executive assistant some time ago. I wondered was it acceptable to say “Why are you thinking about me at this hour?” It’s fair to say he does a lot of international travel so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. But honestly, an email would have been more appropriate.

Working lunches, talking business over a drink or inviting a potential customer to play sport on the weekend are nothing new. We’ve been doing that for centuries. But I’m definitely from the old school where business relationships outside of work are simply a no-go zone.

I know others who see it very differently, but for me I find it easier not to overstep the boundaries when a client engages me. I listen carefully, I ask pertinent questions and enjoy a bit of lighthearted banter. Sure, I’m interested in their family, dog or holiday plans as it’s important to know a little about a person beyond their work persona; it humanises what would otherwise be a functional business transaction.

So are there any boundaries left in business these days when so many professionals have integrated their personal and professional lives via portable electronic devices, smart phones and social media? In an ‘always on’ culture, where any event, virtual or real life, is a networking opportunity, it seems both candidates and clients love to be courted anywhere, anytime.

Then there’s the overshare. Candidates who have volunteered everything from their bowel health to the most effective methods for dealing with cheating partners, when all I really needed to know was their availability to attend an interview! Add to that a vivid description from a client as to how they have climbed the corporate ladder and reports on all manner of office politics, which have increased my knowledge of workplace culture in weird and wonderful ways.

Truly there is never a dull moment in the recruitment industry, which still begs the question… when do your professional boundaries kick in?

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Professional Support, The world @work

What do a Greek coffee in the morning and an executive search consultant have in common?

It sounds like a conversation to be had over breakfast in the Mediterranean, but it actually took place on one of the chilliest Melbourne mornings in recent months, when I was invited as a guest on the 3XY Radio Hellas Proinos Kafes program (that’s Morning Coffee in Greek).

During the segment I spoke with hosts Tom Andronas and Alex Ninis about my role as Managing Director of TRANSEARCH International Australia, or chief amongst headhunters, as they like to call it.

If you’re wondering about the connection, it’s through my association with the Hellenic Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HACCI), a professional network I’ve been involved with for some years.

Click the audio player below to listen to the interview.

If you’d like to hear the full program, it’s available here on the HACCI Soundcloud: Proinos Kafes podcast – 26 May 2015 – Bill Sakellaris (holidays to Greece are at your own expense).

Main image: Greek Coffee by Constadinos Vito on Flickr

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in The world @work

Do you want to look, feel, sleep and love better? (and dare we say work smarter?)

Dr John Tickell presents five ways to achieve all of the above.

The futurists are telling us that our life expectancy has peaked and that our great-grandchildren will probably not live as long as we do. In the 20th century, life expectancy rose by about 10 years, mainly because of three things – sanitation, vaccination and antibiotics. There were also better therapies for some cancers, such as leukaemia, and organ transplants.

While life expectancy may have peaked, our health expectancy is plummeting. We are getting sicker, earlier – heart attacks (200 a day), diabetes (3000 a week) – and it’s estimated that one in three of us will get cancer. We are literally making our children vulnerable and, of course, we are role models for our children and grandchildren.

One of my three heroes in life, George Burns, did live until he was 100, and enjoyed every minute of his life, while proving that you did not need to be a fanatic.

Fanatics of any shade are boring – fanatical eaters, fanatical exercisers, religious fanatics, all-about-money fanatics… and they run out of friends fairly quickly.

If you love exploring our continent by taking to our well-maintained national highways, you’re already ahead. Enhance the experience by staying fit and healthy while travelling. On the road be flexible, explore different places and meet interesting people, all of which will broaden your mind.

The bottom line: we only get one go at this life, so feel 10 years younger. Do you want to look better, feel better, sleep better and love better?

Here are my five musts for living the good life:

1. If you take the ‘f’ out of ‘life’, you are living a LIE, and that’s the truth. My big four ‘fs’ are family, fun, friendships and faith. Put them back into your life.

2. Stay busy or die – be careful never to retire. You’re tired; why would you want to get re-tired? If you retire, what are you actually going to do? Coffee, newspaper, and then what? Golf? If you are over 65 you will never get better at golf.

3. Do the ‘one-percenters’ – they make a positive life difference: Send a thank-you note. Take three slow, deep breaths to get your blood pressure lower. Say “well done” to someone. Walk on a beach, or in a forest or park. Call a friend you haven’t spoken with in some time. Do six backward shoulder rolls to loosen up your spine. Go to a movie or read a book. Plan your next 3×3 with your partner or friend – that’s three days break, three times a year, three months in advance. Just do it. Become part of a community. The longest living and healthiest people do not live in concrete boxes stacked one on top of the other! They live in villages and communities.

4. Keep achieving. Forward-looking is the cornerstone of a long, healthy life. Look forward to things; mixing with people, especially younger people; aim at something you can do or make happen or achieve in the next three, six or 12 months.

5. Improve your ‘ACE’ skills: activity, coping and eating. Activity: move – start with a brisk 30 minute walk five times a week. That’s just two-and-a-half hours of the approximately 112 hours you are awake each week and represents just four percent of a 24 hour day. Coping: get out of the pressure cooker – often. Eating: eat more plant and less flesh foods. Eat many more low ‘HI’ foods – that’s foods low in human interference – foods and drinks that are not processed, refined, fried, and destroyed with sugar, packaging, preservatives, added salt, hormones, shelf life and use-by dates. Forget willpower and adopt won’t power: “I won’t stuff 45 of the 50 fries that have been served as part of my balanced meal into the amazing machine that is my body.

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in The world @work

A President, a CEO and a journalist were in a room together…

On the last Wednesday in August, Slade Group hosted its annual Footy Lunch. As usual there were meaty titbits from Caroline Wilson and plenty of differences of opinions about teams most likely, players least likely and coaches unlikely.

As MC, Laurie Serafini fuelled some good natured debate, but when it came to matters of football governance, the guest speakers were in heated agreement. This year’s panel comprised Caroline Wilson, Chief Football writer for The Age, radio and TV commentator, and Walkley Award winning journalist; Peggy O’Neal, Richmond Club President; and David Stevenson, the Western Bulldogs’ newly appointed CEO.

It didn’t take long for the audience of senior business leaders to join the dots: the best performing football clubs are no different from the best performing organisations.

Just like non-sporting organisations, AFL clubs are taking a good hard look at themselves.

  • The panel sent packing the idea that old football stars make the best coaches. Plenty of us in business have found that star performers in the field or on the floor don’t necessarily make the best leaders and managers.
  • The panel laid down the fact that gender diversity leads to better performance – in clubs and non-sporting organisations alike. Taking the lead from David Stevenson, ex Senior Nike Executive now boss of the Bulldogs, there were some sighs from both men and women in the audience when David said he couldn’t believe, on returning to Australia, that gender inequity is still so evident Down Under.
  • And whilst there aren’t any teams with elephant or gazelle mascots, it’s these two animals that are often cited as being reflective of the two ends of the corporate spectrum; large global giants and smaller nimble organisations. There is a prevailing view that perhaps AFL House has become a bit of a lumbering elephant, whereas AFL clubs are responding to new ways of thinking much more quickly than the ‘parent company’ and in turn have much closer community alignment.

Our panel concluded the clubs are better champions for change than the AFL itself on a range of current issues. It seems the gazelle has trumped the elephant and those old bulls are a little slow when it comes to learning new tricks.

That’s our world@sport this week. What are the similarities and differences you see?  We’d love to hear.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in The world @work