Category Archives: Community

Connect with a young person and improve our tomorrow

Just a thought.  If you are feeling too old and stuck in your habits to change the world (hehe) but have lots of ideas and “wishes” – get connected with a young person.  We need to nurture their belief that they can change the world for the better – for all of our sakes.

Read here for local inspiration.

If you are in Sydney and up for being a mentor: contact the Raise Foundation,

If you are a facilitator try the Learning Clubs with the Smith Family.

More to come!  Contact me on sharon at if you’d like to bounce ideas around.

How to work with more givers and matchers

A good interview by Wharton’s Adam Grant about givers and takers, from McKinsey and co.  Initially my reaction was “you cannot screen out the takers, they are the ones who’ve already made it to the top by ‘kissing up and kicking down’.”  But I do agree that in the context of the knowlege economy, where people work more on projects and less in a hierarchical structure, giving can be a strength.

I also like his advice to ask people situational questions in recruitment interviews.  Grant reasons that people will give you the answer you want if you ask what they would do, but if you ask them to predict others’ behaviour they are likely to give you an insight into their beliefs and motivations.

I also like his distinction of givers (one end the bell curve), matchers (the bulk of the bell curve) and takers (the other end of the bell curve).    The bulk of people are matchers and they will follow the behaviour of the dominant group in the organisation – and society as well.

The question for us all is “which way around do we want our bell curve? Do we want givers or takers at the top end?”

I know I want to live and work with givers, so one way is to make time to thank people for their efforts and as Grant says, make the link for them from their efforts to how it’s contributing to a meaningful outcome for me or for our client.

So thanks to McKinsey for the link, it helped open my eyes to a new way to think about giving and thanks to Adam Grant for his research and his book, which reminds me that giving is a way to greatness, not the suckers choice!







The new work frontier – human powered organisations

With human power being the most plentiful resource on our planet, I cannot understand why so many organisations are still focused on lowering headcount and replacing people with technology.  I for one am going to work in the other direction.  For every four people who are prepared to work a four day work week (see my previous blog) we can offer a job to a fifth person – possibly a student or someone who is currently unemployed but still seeking work.

It makes sense as a fabulous social innovation that will revolutionise our workplaces, our home lives and our communities.

Think about it.  Who do you know who is finishing school or university this year with no stable future in front of them, or has been retrenched in their early 50s and can’t find replacement work at the same level?  How many of us do you know who are managers and specialists and spend way too much time doing paperwork instead of the work we are skilled to do because all our admin staff have been retrenched or fired?

Wouldn’t you like to help them and simultaneously free up some of your time?

The ultimate negotiation strategy

Many years ago I read about tit for tat as the ultimate negotiation strategy.  This updated version  is an enhancement that really covers all bases – tit for tat with gratuitous friendliness.

The traditional tit for tat strategy says to start cooperatively then match the other party’s response (but don’t escalate).  However it may still escalate if you are not careful, so when things seem to be getting out of control, the enhancement of “gratuitous friendliness” means you can call a halt to the escalation.

Examples include “let’s take a step back”, “I think we are furiously agreeing here”, “let’s check in what we both agree on”, “we seem to have gotten off to a rocky start, let’s start over”, “I’m sorry if I have misunderstood”.  All these friendly / accommodating phrases, now make even more sense as ways to break a spiral of aggression.

Citizen Sector

Our Big Conversation group has been talking about better names for the “not-for-profit” sector, so it was good to read that the American organisation Ashoka (who support social entrepreneurs and the social sector) have been discussing the same topic.  They have floated “citizen sector” as a possibility, because the sector is powered by citizens “who care and take action to serve others and cause needed change”.

I like it – it’s instantly explanatory and a positive phrase rather than another “not-for”.

What do you think?  Would you like to say you work in or support the citizen sector?

Teaching our kids life literacy – we owe it to them

I spent yesterday out at James Meehan High School at Macquarie Fields and then the Claymore Neighbourhood & Youth Centre talking to some amazingly passionate women and men, courtesy of United Way Sydney.  Their measure of success is that the kids from these very disadvantaged suburbs have positive role models and opportunities to gain literacy in the broadest senses of the word – especially life literacy – how to live as part of functioning society.  Unfortunately, many are growing up in dysfunctional families as the fourth generation unemployed.  Like all of us, what they want is to be accepted and offered opportunities to find meaningful work and happiness, not be written off because of their birth suburb.

Australian Giving Week – give and you get the benefit

Thanks to Rainforest Rescue for reminding me that this week is Australian Giving Week.  A perfect way to start the silly season by doing a big cleanout of “stuff”.  As well as the groups listed on the Give Now website, here are two groups that I give stuff to.  Please add your favourites to this page or the Give Now website.

Work clothes go to Suited for Work – a not-for-profit organisation that provides clothing, styling, presentation and interviewing support to disadvantaged women to help build their self esteem and support them to gain independence.

Items that aren’t good enough for sale can be listed on your local ReUseIt site – a website for people who have second hand junk that might be someone else’s treasure and who want to see less go into landfill.

Vote 1 Earth

I must be one of the many people who haven’t yet met Todd Sampson via the Gruen Transfer, but as of next week I will be an avid viewer.  Tonight I listened and watched teary eyed, to his story about the growth of the Earth Hour movement and now I’m all inspired to find other ways for self interest to meet planetary purpose.

As we discussed at dinner, it’s a sign of true democracy at work and I look forward to hearing the numbers come in as over 90 countries – and potentially over a billion peers around the world – vote for a sustainable future for us all.

It’s a long shot, but I’m trying to organise for REMO to print Vote 1 Earth tee-shirts, with proceeds going to the Earth Hour and WWF, so watch this space for news and contact us:info at if you’d like a tee shirt or two!