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Balance is better, crazier

This year’s international women’s day theme is #balanceisbetter. I’m Libran, so balance is in my DNA. However, I dug a little deeper to find out why balance of men to women in the workplace is better. Better for you and better for the organisation’s performance.

This week, I’m organising a corporate breakfast event for International Women’s Day. I interviewed three women and a male in senior roles across male-dominated fields. Here was their resounding response to why balance is better in their corporate world:

  • balance of ideas and innovation

  • balance of opinion and ways of doing things differently 

  • balance of customer representation and direct resonance with the customer persona  

  • balance of opportunity to bring out the best in people

That all makes logical sense to me. But what do we mean by balance, they ask, challenging my question. Indeed, balance does not assume 50/50.

Balance is something much deeper than quotas or parity. They agreed that balance is subjective to each organisation, or industry, or team. Balance is difficult to quantify but they said that progress towards balance should be identified and measured. Programs, projects and teams which are led by women will be great initiatives to measure, as well as flexible workplace practices for all employees; working groups, interest groups and mentor programs all provide a platform to build equality and opportunity.

Communication is also highlighted as key. It’s ok to state that we all have preconceived and unconscious bias because of the environment that surrounds us. They tell me that it just needs to be overtly recognised and adjusted. For eg, hey we don’t have any females candidates put forward for this job. Why? Go back to the recruiter and ask them to cast the net out wider. And if there are some women considering applying but are not quite confident enough, let’s put in place some mentoring to anyone - male or female - to help them through the process. You get the idea? Identify unconscious bias and fix it.

In Nike’s latest ad “Dream Crazier” they explicitly call out this unconscious bias. The ad draws you into the discriminatory sporting landscape. However, the ad turns around with a response. It challenges its female customers to not feel defeated. Accept the bias undertow but prove it wrong through achievement. What have we got to lose? Nothing but everything to gain under the right mindset which I coin as #nobarriers in some of my previous blogs.

Let’s move to another landscape - the media.  Last week the ABC shared its desire to interview more female spokespeople in its news and opinion programs. In order to achieve a closer to parity balance it has set up a register of potential talent for their interviews of which women are able self nominate and be nominated to join. This gives women the opportunity to take the stage and offer balance of ideas, opinion, representation and opportunity. But wait, there’s more. And here’s the key. They say:

For women who have never participated in a media interview or written an op-ed before and feel nervous or unsure, please don’t be discouraged from nominating. All nominees contacted by the ABC’s experienced interview producers and talent bookers will be guided and supported through the process.

I’m really proud to see Ita Buttrose take the helm as ABC Chair and you can be assured that she will not put up with any unconscious bias from her board, given her history of success working under the Packers. 

However, we won’t have many women in Chair or CEO roles just yet. Men in current CEO roles need to listen and take notice to this new mindset of balance. In a stand up comedy show, Hannah Gadsby said that white males have a lot of power in this world and it’s up to them to promote equality and equal opportunity. Some are threatened by this prospect, knowing that a bit more competition could expose them, warts and all. For others, who genuinely care about shareholders and the organisation’s performance and not their own hip pocket, they are already listening to the benefits of balance. My advice is to seek them out and go work for them. Just do it.

Now, for all you Facebook fanatics, I will be recording a Live Facebook feed from my International Women’s Day event. Click going here: https://www.facebook.com/events/267076654213742/?ti=ia

Until then, please share your thoughts on this topic in my comments section below or via my social media post for this blog. I want to hear your opinion, both male and female as I prepare for this exclusive interview!

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Show them what crazy dreams can do. #justdoit
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The Oscars are host-less

The news this week that The Oscars will not be appointing a host for the biggest night of the film industry for the first time in 30 years hit me hard.

Why do that?

Is it because they cannot find an extroverted celebrity in America that won’t shame them? Then look harder, and faster, Oscars, because you’re running out of time. 

Sounds superficial of me, I know. But, you see, an Oscars host has an important role to play well beyond the task of welcoming guests to an awards night. They must articulate and surmise what’s actually affecting the film industry right now: what they care about; who is in the limelight; who is at the centre of the scandals; and the deeper issues that are close to their hearts. In other words, in the opening address, the host reflects the sentiment of the industry in a way that, as a host for a podcast channel representing an industry, I’ve come to appreciate and respect. 

As a podcast host, agenda setting for the podcast is not easy, or random. It’s based on a lot of ground work. I am meeting people within the industry and listening to their challenges and successes to attempt to read the industry’s sentiment. It’s elusive and complex to synthesise and process without hours of listening and deep investigation and research into the audience personas. The Oscars host needs to be someone who is heavily involved in the scene to be able to articulate what we’ve come to expect.

The podcast channel I host, ASCI Lounge Podcast Channel is nominated for an award in the Industry & Careers category for the Australian Podcast Awards because we’ve been recognised for capturing the sentiment of the industry through our episodes - nailing the topics, guests and education that our 4,000+ listeners care about. I wonder who is hosting our awards night? Certainly not as big a gig!

The film industry has a lot of global influence. What affects them, touches them, or drives them, resonates with us - more than we may realise. Okay, maybe not the scandals, but you get what I mean! Apart from being entertained, we do feel connected, in a sense. That’s why The Ocsars’ host address always goes viral. It’s a certainty. In my previous blog, I talk about a common element that causes something to go viral - I think it comes down to a good read on sentiment.

The Oscars host address is worth staying up late to watch, to catch the sentiment before it deep dives into a viral vortex. That applies a lot of pressure on a host. I get it. It is a difficult task. It’s a tall order. The current sentiment of the film industry is so hard to read. there’s #metoo and there’s LGBTQI, there’s racism and there’s all sorts of fraudulent contracting - who’d want to go there! It could ruin your career! 

This got me thinking, does this fear explain some of your reluctance to be an industry thought leader? Does your potential talent as a go-to-commentator go under developed because you deem it too risky? In a previous blog, I share some very safe and viable options that help to give you a voice via a very cost effective platform: podcasting. It’s a lot less stressful than the limelight of The Oscars!

Unless The Oscars renege and find someone at the last minute, I will be left disappointed this year. Perhaps The Cookie Monster can step in and host? I’m sure there are many who are willing to write the script anonymously. Come on America, pull some strings and make it happen for 2019!

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No host for The Oscars?

No host for The Oscars?

The power of social media (and a humble egg)

This month, a new challenge was set for an Instagram post to achieve the most likes ever. This meant that the newcomer had to beat the record, already set by an incumbent, at 18 million likes. And the challenger post was a simple egg.

Not only did the post surpass the incumbent, world_record_egg, has taken the world by storm with a simple post picturing a humble egg, resulting in a flurry of media articles that PR experts only dream of achieving for their campaigns.

In my previous blog, I explain that content achieves high engagement when it is timely, relevant, accessible and is portrayed through the appropriate channel to reach its audience. 

But there’s one more vital element: capturing the sentiment of the customer. What are your customers currently thinking, feeling, experiencing, struggling to achieve? How can you address this to create a meaningful contribution? 

Orchestrating the right content, at the right time, via the right channels is not easy but it’s what will make you stand out in the crowd. Furthermore, identifying customer sentiment will put your campaign at the top of the social media feed through engagement (shares and comments).

This doesn’t mean that you have to solve all your customers’ challenges. However, the more you understand their persona (the profile that represents them) the closer you are to identifying the winning orchestral ensemble.  

The Instagram post was clever because its authors took a risk and chose a pure form to represent their product in amongst a plethora of highly branded and photoshopped posts on Instagram. It was innocent, yet bold, and it cut through the noise with minimal effort and zero cost. That’s the sunny side up from where I sit. What about you? Want to know how you can create compelling content that captures your customers’ sentiment? Let’s talk. 

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