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  • 12 Sep 2020 11:20 AM | Mal Walker (Administrator)

    Many of you will know that I had a Triple Bypass on August 27th. Here’s what happened:

    I went to bed around 10:30pm on the Saturday night (the 22nd) but couldn’t get to sleep due to heartburn. Now, I don’t usually suffer from heartburn or reflux, so I had Mylanta (three times) and big glasses of soda water (twice). Nothing was working and at 4am I decided to call the ambulance. The paramedics were there in eleven minutes.

    A blur of blood pressure, pulse, ECG, and family heart history ensued, then these two lovely ladies decided I needed to go to hospital. They must have thought it was serious because they called for backup and a cardiac specialist paramedic met us outside my home to confirm the plan.

    At RBWH, I went into Emergency and had a number of tests, including an Angiogram. It showed that three of the coronary arteries were compromised; one had an 80% blockage, one 70% and the third was 30%.

    I needed triple bypass surgery.

    I met with the surgeon, Dr Rishendran Naidoo (a lovely fellow), and we decided I would transfer to St Andrews Hospital for the operation as it is only 700m from home. Not that this made much difference as my wife and family were not allowed to visit, due to the Covid restrictions. At least SAH had my full medical history from when I had my brain surgery in 2014.

    The operation was scheduled for Thursday morning, the 27th August.

    Post-Op I had nine lines in my body (drips, catheters, drains, etc) but they removed the two tubes down my throat before I woke up. I spent two days in ICU before transferring back to the cardiac ward. It was a lovely private room, not that I got much peace.

    Everything progressed well and I was discharged on Tuesday 1st September, for a total of nine days in hospital. I am now attending my doctor three times a week as my right leg is infected, where they harvested one of my arteries for the bypass. The other came from my left forearm.

    All in all, three impressive scars. My grandchildren are fascinated.

  • 18 Aug 2020 1:00 PM | Taiss Quartapa

    Some time back, in a different decade, I was working at a company that had a very strict dress code. You might remember the time, the blue suit, white shirt, blue tie, black shoes, short cut hair and clean-shaven face.

    But there was no mention of socks.

    So I set about making a point of wearing the most colourful outlandish socks, the focus of my rebellion. I had purchased several different pairs at one time and just simply grabbed them out of the washing basket once clean, however they came.

    With my need to push back against rules satisfied and largely ignored, the socks grew more distinctive over time and a reputation formed. However, it was not the one I had expected.

    At one point office prizes consisting of socks were given out but unlike others, my gift included two pairs of different colours. "Because you always wear odd socks" I was told.

    To which I replied "what do you mean?" pointing at my feet the team member said, “You have a red and a green one on right now”. "Why is that odd?" I questioned, “Because they're not the same” I was informed.

    "But that’s not unusual, I have another pair exactly the same at home!"

    It was then that I realised that something was different. But wonderfully different.

    From an early age, I have always thrived on variety. I was fascinated by everything and wanted nothing more than to just keep discovering. As a child, this was acceptable and seen as the fickleness of youth.

    It wasn’t until much later in life that I was diagnosed with High-functioning Autism, ADHD and Opposition Defiance Disorder, and I often make jokes about the fact that my non-neurotypical makeup makes me incapable of staying on one track or following 'normal rules'.

    Part of my neuro makeup means I have two modes, scattered or hyper-focused. My mind never had a ‘train of thought’, but an ‘electrical storm’. Sometimes, this is noisy but can lead to capturing sudden flashes of insight between lightning-strikes.

    I tried to figure out what autism might explain in my own life, including some of its negative aspects. I’ve had a long experience of depression, anxiety and ODD. Had they arisen directly from a glitchy abnormal brain? Had they come about as a response to the adverse life experiences that accompany any difference, or might hypothetical non-autistic me have had them, too? And what about the more positive aspects? Would non-autistic me ever have had the focus or determination to persevere in the sometimes isolating, all-consuming business of IT?

    Part of coming to understand my autism was how it affected my work performance and colleagues. What was clear early was how it gave me a razer focus on the type of organisation I wanted to work for.

    I want to work for an organisation where the purpose is greater than profit, where what I do matters, for the employees, the customers, the community and stakeholders.

    I want ethics to be part of the discussion, not just lip service, where values are lived and the pursuit of doing the right thing trumps the pursuit of a metric.

    I believe that people are the real assets of any organisation and they need to be respected and rewarded. For this to be possible, however, organisations need a loosely coupled structure, where creative chaos can live in one space and structured process in another, to pursue and achieve outcomes.  

    Does Workplace Diversity include Autism?

    There has been much dialogue about workplace diversity over the last ten years. I don't believe we are doing enough. Yes, diversity is about providing inclusive workspaces that welcome people from all cultures, genders, disabilities, sexual orientation and belief systems and we still have a long way to go. However, it is also about including people with developmental disorders that are not to be confused with mental illness.

    Developmental disorders like autism differ from mental illness in several important ways. Developmental disorders generally appear at birth or during childhood and are diagnosed by the age of 18. While mental illness doesn’t typically interfere with cognitive abilities, a developmental disorder may impact a person’s ability to learn or to understand certain thoughts. Unlike mental illness, which can be successfully treated, developmental disorders are lifelong disabilities.

    Recently Microsoft announced its intention to hire more autistic people, not as a charitable enterprise but because, as corporate vice-president, Mary Ellen Smith said: "People with autism bring strengths that we need at Microsoft." Employing autistic people makes good business sense.

    Society’s understanding of autism is improving, but there’s still much to be done. According to a 2019 survey, only 15% of autistic adults in Australia are in full-time paid employment, compared to 31% for other disabilities.

    Microsoft’s announcement and others like it helps, but employers need to be better educated about the value autistic employees can bring. Businesses need to know about potential difficulties that autistic employees might experience, the simple adjustments that can accommodate them and the wide range of skills and interests that they can bring to the workplace

    Studies of attention and perception among people with autism reveal that those with the condition see the world differently. In tasks that require you to find a target hidden among other elements, autistic people are faster and more accurate. They are also better at noticing both expected and unexpected things in their visual field. Autistic people also show excellent pattern recognition, a superior ability to identify and remember sounds and are much more likely to have perfect pitch.

    For me, the ability to see things differently lead me to seek an understanding of exactly how my brain functions in order to channel it and maximise it efficiently. This journey concluded that I see the world as a series of systems within a much broader and related system.

    The System of Systems

    Many today agree that software-intensive systems are ubiquitous. We have software embedded in our automobiles, household appliances, and even computers and sensors on our bicycles to tell us how far we have gone and our average speed. It is also easy to see, once one understands the concept of SoS, that SoSs can also be found everywhere.

    Just looking within our homes we can see home security systems that are linked to the security companies as well as to our smartphones. Besides, we can turn our homes into "smart homes" by integrating our home security systems, air conditioning and power systems, fire alarm systems, and communications systems to automatically respond to problem situations.

    Most business enterprises contain one or more SoSs. For example, most businesses have integrated many of their back-office systems such as employee systems, payroll systems, and accounting systems. Besides, they may also have an integrated set of customer-facing systems such as order-entry, pricing systems, billing, service monitoring, inventory management, and customer help.

    However, I see the enterprise as a system of systems where the use of architecture frameworks, service design, Drucker style management and servant leadership are fused to create purposeful change and transformation at micro to macro level.

    This natural compartmentalising my brain does, has served me well when it comes to breaking down problems into workable 'fixing' areas that have a linear progression that is time-efficient.

    My understanding of the SoS is also holistic and includes all aspects of the workplace. 

    The Concoction of New Solutions

    Living in a culture that values speciality, unless you work in start-ups or small populations, chances are you are hired to ‘work your lane’ and not get involved in any other functions. Throughout my career, this became a key source of unhappiness.

    Thinking about problems in my role through the lens of different skills or disciplines led to the synthesis of ideas, the concoction of new solutions, and learning to translate between modes of thought.

    I recreated my roles, incorporating learnings to improve capability, finding efficiencies and training or mentoring people to take over. Whilst I've simplified these actions, they taught me new skills, namely to be able to engage and empathise with a broader set of people, which ultimately led to a deeper understanding the essential role good leadership has in success.

    Finding a passion for developing the people around me, I try to ‘pay-it-forward’. I’ve been the architect of global learning programmes, staff development and progression plans and a coach to over a hundred people, and that’s been enormously rewarding.

    Culture is Strategy & Trust

    “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, (and moves onto other initiatives for lunch.)

    Ever since Peter Drucker made that remark it’s been ‘common sense’ and truth known in any discussion on organisational change.

    A healthy culture and a sound business strategy are not separated. Just as with any organisational transformation, if an institution does not have a strong culture, it won't be able to effectively execute any strategy sustainably. At the same time, if an institution doesn't have the focus and direction of a strategy, the (desired) culture won't survive. When it comes down to it, people always make the difference.

    Your institutional journey demands an understanding that culture is strategy and is embodied through key messages such as ”if you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients” and in the principles of many of the digital era methods such as ”individuals and interactions over processes and tools.”

    After all, a company’s culture is its basic personality, the essence of how its people interact and work. Corporate culture means different things to different people. It is emotional, ever-changing, and complex. Culture is vulnerable, but most of all, culture is human.

    Digital business has a different culture and mindset than a traditional business. Digital Leaders are required to manage the culture and mindset which will incorporate helping set the pace of business, enable distributed decision-making and set flexible, distributed workplaces - all of which are seen as the biggest differences between digital and traditional businesses.

    The key traits of effective Digital Leadership within these institutions are all about enabling the digital operational model, providing vision and purpose, creating conditions to experiment, empowering people to think differently, and getting people to collaborate across boundaries.

    Most people think that trust is “nice to have” in business – that it’s a soft, social virtue. Everyone is in favour of trust, but they don’t see it as a factor that truly affects business results

    There is an economy to trust. It has a value.

    The reality is that trust is a hard-edged economic driver because it always affects speed and cost, and you can measure it. Trust influences speed and cost. In any business relationship, when trust is diminished, speed goes down and cost goes up. The opposite is also true. High trust equals a rise in speed and a decline in cost.

    This concept is simple, real, predictable, and highly measurable.

    What’s Next?

    I'm positive about the future of business. I know that's not a popular position right now but it's important to remember that all problems have a solution, it’s just about finding which system within the system is not functioning correctly.

    One of the greatest advantages of a strong organisational culture is that it has the power to turn employees into advocates.

    Your people want more than a steady paycheck and good benefits; they want to feel like what they do matters. And when your people feel like they matter, they’re more likely to become culture advocates, that is, people who not only contribute to your organisation’s culture but also promote it and live it internally and externally.

    For me I have a simple aim, I want my next career move to be a place where I can make things better, to achieve outcomes, to improve the world, to help the people I work and interact with.

    To know that I worked on something that made someone’s life better, to feel pride in an impact, that I did something of value beyond my pay packet and the share price.

    Oh, and yes, I'd like to wear colourful odd socks too if that's ok.

  • 14 Aug 2020 2:58 PM | Bruce Douglas (Administrator)

    “You’re too old, what would you know” is a comment that I hear occasionally.

    And it is true that I am at the “mature” end of the spectrum.

    But to quote the Australian Interim Executives Association (of which I am a Fellow) – “Experience is not something you can Google” (

    CEO’s need to sign off on most strategies. CEO’s are usually around my age and are inclined to believe and relate to someone their age with 20+ years of experience doing strategies for large agencies rather than a young technical staffer.

    A good GIS Strategy should change the business – that usually takes guts to develop and guts to present in a manner that the CEO is comfortable with, particularly if there are a large amount of dollars involved.

    So in addition to a consultant bringing lots of experience from other projects, s/he does not have the baggage of an employee and can ask the tough questions, that is, the questions that an employee would think “I can’t ask him/her that – I’ll be sacked.”

    So how focused is your GIS Strategy on your business and will it deliver benefits to the business that are measurable in business, not technical, terms?

  • 9 Aug 2020 1:41 PM | Mal Walker (Administrator)

    Most organisations have been significantly affected by Coronavirus but the Australasian Interim Executive Association is one of the fortunate few.

    Being a virtual entity, with no physical offices, we were already a 100% online organisation. Also, we cater exclusively for Interim Managers who generally work from home.

    Yes, we’ve had to curtail our monthly events but the weekly coffee catch-up via Zoom is proving to be very popular. It provides just what we need right now – relaxed chat with your peers.

    You are welcome to join us at

    #interim #workfromhome #RUOK

  • 2 Aug 2020 8:15 AM | Mal Walker (Administrator)

    More businesses are taking advantage of outsourcing to bring in skills and experience “on demand”. Our individual members are broadly experienced, senior management level executives who are able and willing to fill short term, implementation, project and board level roles. The majority of members will also accept longer term opportunities.

    The BAIEA membership is primarily designed for Executive Search firms although it could be utilised by Charities, NFP and larger organisations that have an ongoing need to source executive personnel.

    Benefits of Business Membership

    The opportunity to regularly communicate with a group or professionals who are both genuinely qualified to take on challenging roles and who have made their availability known is quite rare. The limitations of relying on personal networks are the same for both Executives and the Corporates who wish to engage them.

    AIEA is the Congregation Point for anyone with a professional interest in Interim Management. AIEA is the answer for both our Members and the businesses who want to know them!

    AIEA welcomes Business Members to join us in order to offer roles to our members and also to provide them with executive services offers.

    By joining AIEA as a BAIEA you benefit in these ways:

    1. Recognition as a Business Member
    2. Ability to contact AIEA members via the Smartphone App.
    3. Use of the AIEA logo on correspondence, blogs and websites
    4. Access to premium member-only content
    5. Invitations to AIEA hosted professional development and networking events at member rates
    6. Opportunity to invite AIEA Members to your own hosted functions
    7. Sponsorship of AIEA hosted events
    8. Build a prequalified Consultant or Mentor pool of talent
    9. Ability to offer a special promotion to members via the AIEA Events Page and eNews
    10. Unlimited AIEA-Jobs postings where you can place your job vacancies directly in front of the AIEA members
    11. Unlimited option to promote additional opportunities to the AIEA members

    The Business Membership Pricing

     We understand that the current business landscape makes it difficult to commit to long term partnerships. Membership as an AIEA Business Member provides the full benefits of AIEA Business Membership on a renewing six-month period.

    It is for large organisation and Executive Search firms that require business membership for multiple employees.  For the one fee, it allows an unlimited number of Business Member logins from the same corporate URL. Please ask your AIEA representative for further details.

    For pricing of the Business Member Category, please see the Join Us page.

  • 31 May 2020 7:10 AM | Karen Jaques GAICD

    Business is about relationships and many professionals have lost their jobs or been displaced during the pandemic.

    From time to time I expect one contact will shift to a new organisation, however, the recent shift has been en-mass and unexpected. With restrictions on meeting in the office, there is a genuine disconnect.

    I am interested in other members thoughts on

    1.Given that offices are closed, what steps can we take to develop new relationships if your 'contact' has left? 

    2. Is there an opportunity for AIEA members to enable organisations that have 'stood down' part, if not all their workforce to rebuild the business network and their reputation and what does this opportunity look like? 

    3. In what ways can AIEA members actively promote each other?

  • 25 May 2020 3:10 PM | Mal Walker (Administrator)

    How to get your free AIEA Tee Shirt

    We have been meeting online for two months now and I have seen something good happening. Many of us have adopted the concept of ‘the online community’ as something natural and we look forward to it each week. It's somewhere we belong.

    The original concept was to replace the monthly boardroom event with a monthly Zoom meeting, but it quickly became evident that a weekly Zoom meeting was something we would embrace. The good thing about a Zoom meeting is that it works just as well with five people as with fifty.

    We used to get an average of 23 people to the monthly boardroom events and we are averaging 14 to the weekly Zoom meetings. This means that about twice as many people now interact online.

    In many ways, this is the start of the new AIEA and I see the current members as the Inaugurals. So, lets acknowledge this in a concrete way.

    The AIEA Tee Shirt Giveaway

    We want every member to have one of our unique AIEA tees. Everyone who is a paid-up annual (or Life) member as of 1st July will get a free AIEA Tee Shirt. Use the measurement chart and enter your size in the section at the bottom of your member profile.

    That’s all you need to do. I will collate them and order in. Delivery will be in July by Australia Post so make sure your postal address is up to date.

    Wear it with pride.

    Sorry folks, but monthly members and unpaid memberships will not be included.

  • 9 May 2020 12:17 PM | Deleted user

    Are you up for a chat? Click here to join us on Tuesdays at 9am -

    Previous Discussions have been

    Non-members who have an interest in this type of discussion are welcome to join us.

  • 28 Apr 2020 7:57 AM | Anonymous

    Written by Don McKenzie, Managing Director, Adizes Institute Australia

    What I would like to share is not new, and it is not something specifically related to the current pandemic grinding the world to a halt. Some businesses, organizations, even family units, and countries sadly won’t survive. Some, however, will not only survive, but will thrive. What's the difference between the two?

    The answer, as usual, is clear as day in nature and summarised best by Charles Darwin “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”.

    This pandemic brings rapid change. Change in what we can and can’t do. Change in demands from customers. Change in our incomes. Change. As Dr. Ichak Adizes says, change then creates problems and opportunities that need to be managed. It is a ‘change loop’ ongoing and forever.

    The ‘thrivers’ will be those that adapt to these changes by managing all the problems and opportunities that come from these changes. Managing is deciding what to do about a problem and opportunity, and implementing that decision. Easy in words, hard in real life.

    Find me a successful organization, family unit, country- whatever. At the core is this adaptation to problems and opportunities. Find me an organization that has disappeared, they didn't adapt fast enough.

    Yes, you need ideas, products, resources, people, etc but the biggest asset you can have is the ability to traverse and adapt to this change loop. This ‘one thing’ will disproportionately determine your success.

    Mr. Darwin provides amazing hope, “it is not the strongest nor the most intelligent”. This is extremely good news especially for me. Don’t worry about strength and intelligence, worry about what is required to actually adapt. If it was easy, everyone would do it. But it is easier if you know the ingredients to concentrate on, and most importantly, the right sequence of those ingredients based on your current lifecycle location.

    Adapting and changing your organization is not one size fits all. What works for one will cause failure for another. Let's talk about where you are in your lifecycle (note: this lifecycle model does not measure age, revenue, staff, etc), and what the prescription is in terms of ingredients, and the sequence of those ingredients to get you adapting to your change loop faster than the world can change.

    Last week I sat down with Jack Cowin, Chairman and Managing Director of Competitive Foods Australia Limited, owner of Hungry Jacks and major shareholder of Domino’s Pizza Limited. Jack shares how he is dealing with the current environment, and I think you’ll enjoy his approach and core message.

    Watch the video here:

  • 26 Mar 2020 9:26 AM | Mal Walker (Administrator)

    It’s clear now that COVID-19 is having an enormous impact on us all. First and foremost, we’re worried about our health, the health of our loved ones, and for our local community and society in general.

    And then we realize the potential impact on our livelihoods. Not just the direct impact today, but the ripple effect that’s running through the broader economy. It might have been when the event cancellations started. It might have been when clients started cancelling work that had been promised. Or it might have been when the government had to shut down many local businesses.

    Regardless of when you realized it, we are now in a state of massive change and uncertainty. Can we stop it from being a financial crisis for us?

    Together, we can try.

    AIEA Membership Discount

    We have created a special COVID-19 discount code to provide a 20% discount on all annual memberships. It’s available to all; no questions asked.

    • It will be available for the next ten weeks, until 31st May 2020
    • It will apply to all annual memberships. It will not work on monthly renewing memberships.
    • It is available to all: members and new members alike.
    • The discount code is COVID-19.

    Platforms for Member Content

    AIEA provides a number of platforms to allow members to deliver their content to other members and to the public. Amongst these are

    • Networking Events: These popular networking events were held at various locations throughout the country and typically ran for about two hours. This included a presentation by a guest speaker. AIEA Members were given precedence to be the guest speaker. However, the COVID-19 crisis has meant that the physical meetings have been cancelled and replaced with online Zoom Meetings. Check the Events page for details.
    • Online Webinars and Workshops: These regular online events are designed to allow a Member to run a Zoom meeting on a suitable topic. If it’s a paid webinar or workshop, AIEA will collect the ticket fees and remit 90% to you. the retained 10% will cover the PayPal fees and some overheads.
    • The Online Store: The AIEA Store is a platform where Members can advertise their products and services and the financial transactions are handled by the AIEA finance gateway (PayPal).
    • Member Sourced Resources: This is another platform for Members who wish to freely share the fruits of their labours with fellow members and the general public.
    • Our Bookshelf: A member may have written a book that is for sale on Amazon, etc. We will feature it here and provide a link to it.
    • Featured Members: Members have found that this facility brings new business opportunities to them from the employers who browse the site.
    • The BLOG: The AIEA Blog has been opened up as another avenue of communication. Everyone can read and comment. In addition, all members can now post.'t stop there! Take that Blog and post it on the AIEA LinkedIn group and the Facebook page.
    • Social Media: Make sure you have joined the AIEA pages on LinkedIn and Facebook.

    The AIEA members are creative and resourceful people so, no doubt, new facilities will appear as their ideas take shape.

    Survive and thrive together

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