Blog Archives

A healthy me means a healthy you!

Seriously, without being twee, it’s true. I admit I live a pretty healthy lifestyle: I lift weights, I eat chicken breast, love vegetables, and drink my three litres of water per day. So, when our leadership team sat down to discuss how to better look after our teams, I wasn’t there to preach. The aim wasn’t to run a boot camp and drink protein shakes every day.

How often do we feel almost at one with our desks? Working long hours we’re often tempted by quick fixes: morning coffees that seem to multiply through the day, fast food at lunch if any, afternoon sugar hits… anything we think will help to get more done. In reality, they only make things worse.

Inertia, combined with a lack of fresh air and poor eating habits, creates huge highs and lows in performance. You have probably seen it at work, affecting the mood in your office, filtering through the whole business as well. Encouraging a healthy culture across our organisations for the wellbeing of our people, is not an easy task.

Providing options allows everyone to find their comfort level.

Slade Group has committed to improve the overall wellbeing of our workforce through our Slade Wellness program, which we’ve called Healthy Me, Healthy You.

We’re providing information to allow our people to make informed decisions about their working habits and promoting a work environment that encourages a healthy lifestyle. We believe encouraging a culture of wellbeing will make Slade a better place to work, as well as enhancing our reputation as an employer of choice.

To help us on our journey, we’ve partnered with TWOSIX Wellness, a corporate wellness business who have offered some valuable insights from their past experiences with professional services firms like us. We were also joined by Chris Heddle from Melbourne Myotherapy and Remedial Massage. This week they partnered with us at the program launch, demonstrating good desk posture and stretches, breathing exercises and how to make organic coconut protein balls (which seemed to gain the most traction).

If that sounds like something you’d also like to achieve, you can model our program initiatives below. We’d love to hear about your progress.


Healthy Me, Healthy You
Our recipe for improving and maintaining team performance by encouraging a healthy work environment


  • Lots of water – drinking water reduces dehydration
  • Several portions of healthy food – try raw fruit or nuts instead of processed snack foods
  • Fresh air for good measure – go outside at least once during the day
  • 15 to 30 minutes of exercise – organise a walking group, take the stairs instead of using lifts if you can

Combine ingredients with simple messages. Educate the mixture gently, don’t be too prescriptive.

Allow ideas to bake slowly over several weeks to allow proving time. You should notice lethargy fall and concentration improving. Results will be increased productivity and happier, healthier people.


What wellness initiatives have you implemented in your workplace?

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Posted in Slade Executive, The world @work

Hope I live to 100 to see how all this pans out

In that all too classic podium moment the technology went down. Without missing a beat, and even referring to the irony of the moment, Kim Williams continued with his compelling speech on technology disruption and transformation. He simply reverted to old-school print on paper as the audience remained transfixed at the VTA State Conference dinner.

If you read only one speech this year, read this one: The Incumbent’s Dilemma – “Fortune favours the bold”

Education goes hand in glove with innovation. Academics have been at the forefront of critical and scientific thinking for centuries. And now the TAFE sector, at the grass roots of higher education, is paving the way for experienced commercial leaders to begin a new knowledge partnership with private industry.

Not only is the education sector broadening its horizons through commercial focus, those institutions are actively seeking the participation of high performers from the business sphere and it’s starting at executive level. Slade Executive Education is increasingly commissioned to source talent for that difficult transformation. From a wider business perspective, it’s a global trend, which has greater implications for transforming traditionally separate candidate markets.

In the private sector, it’s a rare invitation to participate in the transformation of organisations in a non-commercial environment. I’m a non-academic, but as a major sponsor, was asked to bring my outside experience to the fore in discussions with delegates at this year’s Victorian TAFE Association State Conference. I know through these conversations that commercial KPIs, productivity measurement and ROI are of increasing interest in the education sector.

Australian education providers are experiencing unprecedented competition for students and other revenue streams, such as research grants. Globalisation now means they are not only competing with national institutions, just as a range of industries have learned to adapt after previously enjoying years of growth and prosperity in a relatively protected local market.

With the impact of the GFC still being felt, a tougher EU focusing on austerity, a stronger USD and declining demand for our commodities in Asia, the need for commercially focused leaders in education is stronger than ever.

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Posted in Slade Executive, The world @work

Opening the door to the boardroom

When Tim Boyle talks about celebrity chairs, dogmatic drones and dead debates, you might think he’s describing prime time television. In fact it’s the language of the boardroom. As an expert advisor with a Doctorate in Board Performance and Risk, and a partner in the specialist board advisory group Blackhall & Pearl, Tim is well qualified to identify its behaviours.

Last week when Slade Partners Technical & Operations practice opened its boardroom to senior industry executives, we all gained valuable insight into what Boards are really looking for in NED appointments. Tim Boyle revealed, “The world of Directors has changed since the GFC… you actually have to work quite hard and you’re exposed to a lot of criticism, and if something goes wrong, it’s absolutely your fault… it’s probably the worst time in human history to be a director from a liability perspective, and from a workload perspective.”

In fact more people than we could fit into our boardroom (and our boardroom table is big) wanted to be involved. Why? Since confidence is returning to the market, as reported last month in Green Shoots Feed Job Confidenceexecutives are thinking more strategically about professional development and their career future. We attracted broad interest from colleagues in the infrastructure, property, construction, and manufacturing sectors.

While many think about Boards through a compliance lens, a Board’s real focus is strategy. Tim went on to say that a Board position can be very rewarding and engaging; it can extend your skill set, as well as your network. It takes a unique combination of executive experience, industry knowledge, and director skills, as well as personal qualities such as integrity, teamwork, leadership and commitment. Finding the right person for the task is challenging. “The single most important determinant of an effective board is the culture in the boardroom,” he says.

Slade Group Chairman, Geoff Slade, has sat at many boardroom tables. Founding Chairman of the RCSA, Former Chairman of Young President’s Organisation and Regional Chairman Elect (Australia–New Zealand) WPO, Geoff was until recently a Non-Executive Director of Alzheimer’s Australia VIC and has held NED appointments on the Melbourne Football Club Board and the Sydney Swans Football Club Board. With his considerable Board experience, Geoff shares the following tips for executives considering NED positions:

  • Ask yourself what do I have to offer, what can I contribute as a Board member?
  • Make sure you have time to commit to a Board position, that the additional responsibilities will fit in with your schedule, workload, and your current employer is supportive.
  • Consider what you will learn from the appointment. How will it advance your career, will you have professional development opportunities, and more importantly, will it be enjoyable?
  • Finding the right Board position takes time. Use your network and identify organisations that interest you. Consider not-for-profit and unpaid positions as a starting point.
  • Do your due diligence, find out what the culture of the organisation and its Board are like and make sure you will receive an induction (onboarding).

What’s your experience of finding a Board position? We’d like to hear your Point of View.

Posted in Slade Executive, The world @work