Saturday, December 3, 2016

CEO Strategic Vs Minutia

“What happens when an organisation becomes introverted on itself and is so concerned with the management of minutia that not only does the ‘big picture’ get shuffled aside, but the future of the organisation becomes hostage to spotlight seeking vocal minorities who even further divert good people from strategic planning to managing minority imposed day to day crises?  And, like any dysfunction causing attention to be held captive, the more it continues the more people shrink inside self imposed boundaries and their new norms become more and more subjugated to real strategic requirements.
Everyone at times prefers to think and act in minutia terms because it’s a way of stabilising the mind but we all don’t actively try to get everyone else to do the same.  For example think of the golf driving range or archery as ‘wellness’ activities because they force a singular focus and a resting of the mind.  In most organisations the minutia set never move to actually playing golf in the big world away from the driving range with the corollary being ‘small minded management misfeasance’ rises from the bottom up and infects all levels including the CEO.
Every company has good people who plan their socks off but their plans fail to make it to reality because, senior staff are so bound up with minority groups, minutia thinking and top down micro management that they lose sight of creating greatness and a company leaping into the future with people who rise above the everyday – as the norm.
Creating this future focus is the role of the CEO and unfortunately that role is often occupied by traditional thinking small thinking people who act as they believe they have to.  For example, the expression, ‘Government moves slowly’ is brain sappingly wrong and diverts strategic thinking to an introverted view of the world focusing on minutia. Governments do not move slowly, people do.  These slow moving people are the ‘minutia set’ who feel at home analysing every detail before they can move on.  We need these people to survive the information potpourri but we also need those who can think strategically, create greatness and make it happen.
Some years ago I gave an address on ‘block people Vs jigsaw people.  I coined this term to describe strategic Vs minutia thinking in an organisation and how important both were to survival.  Problems arose when one infected the other.
The new world CEO must lead from a strategic view backed up by senior management then the minutia set can run the day to day aspects of the organisation within the framework as set by the CEO whilst he or she develops with the key stakeholders a grand plan for the future – and implements it!”

 Seems obvious, doesn’t it.  Yet, it’s anything but common place.

Friday, September 30, 2016



Hanoi is insane!  Cars, scooters and millions of people all vying for the same space. It is also hot and humid only curtailed by another zillion electric fans on the footpaths aimed at where locals virtually live, cook and eat on tiny plastic chairs between the quadzillion scooters perched on the same footpaths.  Pedestrians are forced to walk on the road risking ambush by any one of a million teenage Rambos on 50cc scooters of death.  Indeed, pedestrian crossings only mean that the petrol driven onslaught may move around you as you cling onto some deity whilst wishing for a slightly longer life.
Chaos worthy of a comic.  Yet, it all works amongst the cacophony of horns and overworked horn laryngitis-bleats. Mum, dad and two kids on one scooter blissfully carving through and around buses, trucks and other parents on the school run.  These kids will be able to handle anything as they grow up.
Then, add vendors carrying payloads four times bigger than their bike, cyclo men hawking business as they roll by and more traditional shoulder denting double basket women ignoring everyone.
I did say chaos didn’t I!
We didn’t quite figure out what a ‘walking street’ was as they were also full of the above mentioned chaos.  Perhaps these streets were labelled as ‘walking’ to concentrate tourists into more targeted strike zones with lots of hole-in-the-wall shops selling everything as well as people on the aforementioned plastic stools drinking indeterminate beverages.
All this capped off by on-display barbecued meats on street side trolleys one of which was piled with preroasted dogs. Yes, what seemed incredibly like a bunch of Fidos; head, teeth and all.
Taxi’s are an oasis of semi-calm as long as you keep your eyes closed whilst a ride with a cyclo man can be a life changing experience.  Semi-reclining whilst looking at traffic between your toes having completely surrendered life and limb to a stranger pushing you-first into the chaos. He knows who will get smacked first!
Repairing to any air conditioned space with a sound proof door is cathartic and indeed critical for brain-load survival.  The concierge saying hello whilst he opens the door is therapeutic only bettered by the door closing behind you.
Yet right in the middle of chaotic dysfunction we have a university which has focussed on literature for around a thousand years.  How cool is that!

For a Melbourne bloke Hanoi is gob smacking and quite an experience.  Every facet is different and challenging but isn’t that what makes a good holiday?



'Air Vietnam'

Flight VN300 Saigon to Narita 13/9/2016
Booked a window seat specifically but on arriving at the allocated seat we found ‘no’ window.  Yes, no window – it was blank!  However to the staffs’ credit on asking we were transferred to another row with a window so all was well but the question remains as to why we were allocated a totally inappropriate seat. Adding on to this level of dysfunction was the fact that one of our screens didn’t work as didn’t several other screens in the immediate area.  How can this lack of maintenance happen and what does it tell you about airworthiness?

Flight VN257 Hanoi to Ho Chi Min 24/9/2016
No wine, beer, tea, coffee or indeed even headphones plus the worst sandwich I have ever part eaten on a plane.  On the reverse trip from Saigon to Hanoi we received all of the above so therefore it is this flight which failed to offer expected and standard services.  As this is less than standard we suggest that you check what is supposed to be served on each leg.  Service is a critical part of flying and staff curtailing this service so they can sit down for most of the flight is not on.

Flight VN781  Saigon to Melbourne 24/9/2016
More problems.  This was an 8 hour flight which meant we were captive for the duration depending on Vietnam Air for entertainment, comfort and sustenance.  My knees were hard against the seat in front which was tighter than our other two flights with the same airline.  This made it difficult to move and most certainly difficult to try and sleep.  As well and once again, one of our screens had a vision fault.  But, the worst part of this flight was the food.  Fish for supper was undercooked, mushy and thoroughly awful and the entire breakfast was inedible with the exception of the yogurt.  I have pictures.

Go elsewhere.  It’s a pity because the staff were great and most hospitable. Our problems were management based around maintenance, food and misrepresented expectations.  Dysfunctions on one flight may have been a one off but three in a row says Vietnam air need help with a few aspects.


I have always been confused as to just why bread is supposed to be served with everything.  Bread is a filler and except for certain specific dishes it has little place in a properly constructed meal.  Mop up sauce with a teaspoon and savour the true flavour without diminution of flavour through bread.  
We make our own bread and charge for it but really hope people never order it. 
As an example of where bread IS important, we serve a steak tartare which as you know is yummy gooey soft and full of flavour but it needs a texture change so we serve butter sauté ‘soldiers’  to act as the fork.  The bread is integral with the entrée because of that texture change.   
I just thought of another exception, a chip butty.  Standard unwholesome white bread buttered and wrapped around crispy hot salted chips.  That’s about as good as woofing a dimmi on a street corner at 2am.  Yum.
So fine dining at work vs  gob smackingly good chip butties - time and place.  Eat bread at home but let a proper restaurant tempt you with all sorts of flavours and textures.

Mon Ami Restaurant

Monday, May 30, 2016


There was something prophetic about Sunday night’s ‘leaders debate’ replacing ‘Grand Designs’ on the ABC.  Or at least it should have been.
The media nor the leaders seemed to recognise or understand that here and now in the public arena were two blokes each of whom purported to be the better than the other at leading the political party which would take Australia roaring into the future.
Instead the self absorbed intellectual lightweights asking the questions focused on minutia to which they both should have retorted, ‘Do you know what a leader is?  If you want to know about tax cuts or healthcare go and ask the appropriate minister – I deal with the vision for our country and where we need and want to be – the grand design’.
The trouble is that reporters deal in minutia because that’s their job.  They are not paid to think about the so-called big picture; and it’s so obvious it’s galling.
There was no doubt that the Prime Minister was way ahead of Mr Shorten in this respect albeit he also was dragged down by stupid questions.  This was supposed to be a ‘leaders’ debate, not a portfolio debate.
For example, if anyone cares to remember the ‘I have a dream’ speech by Mr King in 1963, he focuses on a vision and brings everyone along for the ride.  A ‘grand design’ vision so prophetic it and Mr King will live forever.
Now, no one expects that sort of belly fire from either man but we do have a right to expect a ‘grand design’ by each ‘leader’ which we as mere mortals can cling to, believe in and focus towards.
This is standard business 101 and, at least for this little black duck, is mission-critical.  Don’t be dragged down by small people.  I have written many articles about the difference between jigsaw people and block people both of whom are indeed so called mission critical because block people work from minutia up whereas jigsaw people work from the perfect down.
Mr Prime Minister and Mr Shorten, as leaders and jigsaw people, what are your parties’ perfect visions for Australia?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Since when does PTV dictate what happens on our streets?  Is it lawful for PTV to demand the inclusion of so called tram ‘super-stops’ especially where it is obviously not in the best interests of Melbourne’s history or tourist nature and serves little benefit?

For example, PTV has managed to ruin Bridge Road in Richmond, Fitzroy Street in St Kilda and Bourke Street in the city with the inclusion of the concrete behemoths commonly known as ‘superstops’ and now they want to add another lump of concrete in the middle of Acland Street St Kilda only 100m or so away from the from the existing super stop outside Luna Park.

The stupidity of this is amazing.

Acland Street is a go-to spot for any and all local, national and international tourists because it is somewhat quirky with frenetic bustling people fighting for room with cars and trams.  It is this chaotic mix in a grung-ish setting which makes it unique.  Parking’s free, if you can get one, and trams rattle through dodging tripped out tripped off or tripped up peds.  Add the odd Ferrari or bikie and the picture is complete.  All things for all people.  The cruisers, the diners, the rubberneckers, the locals and the transient homeless all cohabitating.


Now some closed eye bureaucrat wants to plasticise the street into yet another boring as bat-shit foreign inspired mall.  The same as any other grassed in plastic have-a-nice-day space. Has Melbourne lost the plot [pun intended] in as much as we seem to want to destroy our icons in the name of stupidity.

Why not build a 'vintage' tram line between St Kilda and Port Melbourne instead and increase the tourist potential instead of destroying it?

Think what will put Melbourne on the map in 50 years and it will not be super stops!