Saturday, 11 November 2017

Where's mental health when it comes to Leadership?

I took myself off to watch Ruby Wax at our local theatre for her Frazzled tour.  It was the first time I'd seen her 'in the flesh' so to speak.  I'd known about her through her TV comedy and that she'd had a hard time, taken herself off to do a degree and was promoting the need to acknowledge mental health issues. 

It was an insightful, honest, thoughtful, thought provoking, at times rapidly paced journey through some of her life's experiences.  Sure there was the comedy in there but there was also an extreme sense of fragility and bravura as she exposed herself to our gaze.  For those of you who haven't seen it I would recommend you do for it opens a window into how, in her case, severe mental illness can affect your life and makes you ask yourself questions.

In the second half of the show she opens herself up to questions.  Again a risky venture as you never know what will come out or how the questions might touch your inner demons.  Unfortunately I didn't get to ask the question I wanted to, despite having my hand waving in the air less than 2 metres from the woman with the roving mic.  I'm going to ask it here, right now and I'd be interested in your responses.

The question is, how do we show leadership when it comes to dealing with mental health issues in the workplace?

Monday, 20 March 2017

Swept into the techno-embrace

You've heard the stories that our devices could be used to launch a cyber attack.  Seminars on cyber attacks are a new growth industry.  This week companies such as McDonalds, M&S, BBC etc are taking their advertising away from Google and You-tube because they're being associated with terrorists or other 'unsuitable' organisations.  Is this the end of the glory age of technology?

Anecdotally some intelligence agencies are using old fashioned typewriters for their ultra-sensitive material because it can't be hacked.  I so hope that isn't an urban myth!  The reality is though that we've had two generations now who have been brought up using digital platforms and technology. Our manufacturing systems are becoming reliant on robotics, our cars are run by electronics, our supermarkets have stocks supplied using data information streams.

No, our first world is entrapped in technology, cling-filmed, vacuum packed, irradiated, and destined to be so for eternity. And the third world is coming into the age of smart phones super-fast. It won't be long before they too are swept into the techno-embrace.

It's not all bad though.  Yes there's the ever pressing issue of hacking and if you want to protect yourself change your passwords on a regular basis or use tools such as Dashlane4, 1Password, LastPass, Roboform or Keeper to make it easier).  Yes, there's the danger that your business or organisation becomes the modern version of a ship in the Bermuda triangle if your IT fails (ensure you have a robust disaster strategy in place).  Yes, demand for IT savvy employees will be huge and the salary bill will rise as supply will be short (train your own). There's positives too. The Dept for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy reckons SMEs could save up to £8.9billion in energy costs by using smart tech.  Central government is pushing  the second round of grants available for a £15m pot of money for emerging technologies, you can get R&D tax relief if you're involved in any new development (and by the way that's not just restricted to programing).

So no, it's not the end of the glory age of technology.  Let's just say it's now moving into it's maturing stage.  There'll still be stumbles along the way such as Google's algorithms that place adverts alongside hate videos that are the antithesis of the advertiser's values.  There'll be the odd huge leap of a new product or service but generally speaking the technology revolution is now a way of life. We'll settle into the rhythm of it all, the outbursts of this month will quieten down - until the next outburst and thus runs our lives in this technological age.