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Leadership Development Blog

Four little words that give a damn

Posted on 10th September, 2018 - Comments

Categories: Communication

Founded by Australian ad man Gavin Larkin in 2009, R U OK? Day has unequivocally proven the power of asking, listening, supporting and checking in with people who may be living on life’s edge. It can be attributed to saving millions of lives every year. These four simple letters mean people can connect and communicate knowing those who ask, give a damn. Now imagine how powerful it would be if we changed the order of the letters and tell those in our lives: “U R OK”! Not only will it contribute to building self-worth to minimize stress and mental health issues associated with feelings of anxiety or inadequacy, but how much better will we feel knowing we’ve made a positive difference. We all have a duty of care to keep our people safe and well at work and at home.

Water off a duck’s back turns to wet cement

Posted on 10th September, 2018 - Comments

Categories: Bullying

A well-being session with a group of 32 senior and junior umpires by SALT, an organisation dedicated to transforming Australian cultures through sport, revealed that 22 of them had suffered, may be suffering, or were suffering from mental health issues. It’s time to temper the national custom of abusing umpires and assuming that it is accepted as just; ‘water off a duck’s back’. Intimidatory body language, bullying, lack of respect and the continuous hurling of abuse, stick like wet cement and can create long term internal mental chaos. Everyone needs to take a position on and off the field or workplace and win by strength of character and ethics. Re-educate the ignorant or remove them from the game. 

Listen to my 3MMM interview with Stephen Cenatiempo where we discuss How you manage yourself around a bully, click here

How to manage yourself around a bully?

Posted on 7th September, 2018 - Comments

Categories: Bullying

Bullying costs the Australian economy up to $36 billion per annum, between $17,000 - $24,000 per case if it goes legal. The true cost is in permanent psychological stress, fear, anger, and loss of self-esteem - all before poor productivity, performance and absenteeism is even considered. Bullying can be methodical and calculated, leaving others immobilized for fear of retribution. Examples range from keeping workers with families at work later than necessary, deliberately withholding information and creating unrealistic workloads. Bullies can demonstrate passive control that may go unnoticed or might happen behind closed doors. And the behaviour can be deemed as acceptable by other employees. So, how do you manage yourself around a bully?

Listen to my 3MMM interview with Stephen Cenatiempo, click here


Making gender safety the priority

Posted on 14th August, 2018 - Comments

Categories: Workplace

It’s clear movements like #Metoo, #TimesUp, and #NotInMyWorkplace, are all working voraciously to stop sexual harassment in the workplace. The government too is driving sound initiatives to help end all forms of violence against women. However, while legislation around harassment may change the law, it does not change the culture. People do. And that’s everyone’s responsibility. The problem is that many people don’t want to get involved or know how to make a difference to change narrative and behaviours. The cure is to change the culture by changing behaviours. In this way we put gender safety on the top of the agenda. 
What is your contribution to eradicating inappropriate behaviour? Will you put this conversation onto your Agenda, will you be  a bystander who looks on and feels that you can’t make much of a difference or will you be a champion of change. Do something. Share it.

Leadership insights from Australia’s top HR directors

Posted on 1st August, 2018 - Comments

Categories: leadership

Appreciate HR Directors Kate McCormack Mercy Health, Tim Guille Catch Group, Sue Black Sodexo Group, and Christine Connor for sharing their insights into top leadership practices at the HR Summit Melbourne today and making it a privilege for me to moderate the discussion.


  1. Gather your data early and often
  2. Get friendly with the figures so you can be included in conversations and decisions about finance 
  3. Be authentic and bring your whole self to work – trust yourself more
  4. Be tenacious while being sensitive to needs helping you pick your battles
  5. Disrupt but don’t disappear from the floor
  6. Be excited about new technologies and keep up with your own learning too
  7. Make decisions fast. If they are wrong don’t be afraid to fail but fail forward and fast.

Join me on social media or join me personally for a coffee to discuss how I can make your next Panel Discussion engaging, fun and rewarding.

Small Things Big Difference

Posted on 13th July, 2018 - Comments


If you don’t think small margins can make that much of a difference just ask the athlete who is .01 sec. off winning the 100 mitre sprint, the drink driver who is .1 over the limit, the gambler who risked everything on black not red, or the jockey who weighed in at 30 grams over weight.

The smallest of differences can mean the difference between life and death, winning or losing or good to great.

Yet in everyday scenarios when there’s no skin in the game it’s easy to be mediocre and let things slide – like getting back to people who want to see you, checking in with someone who is unwell or lost their job. After all, there is always tomorrow right? Well not always, and not always for everyone.

By raising our consciousness by the smallest of margins about how our colleagues, friends and family are travelling on any given day we can be the difference they need to keep them safe and acknowledged.

What is the smallest thing you can do that can make the biggest difference in the lives of others?

When you know what it is, do it.

The inconvenience of no more supermarket plastics!

Posted on 5th July, 2018 - Comments

Categories: Change


By removing plastic bags at supermarkets, we’ve uncovered a curious side of human nature; the side that doesn’t like change or paying for anything that was once free. Our behavioural patterns have been challenged as we go from free to fee and pay for carrier bags or wake up and bring in our own bags that usually lie dormant on the floor of our cars. What is even more curious is that some people who require additional bags on the spot are returning to ask for a refund after they’ve unloaded their shopping into their car! True! Just ask the checkout staff who are forced to respond to cool or hot resentment at the checkout, huffing and puffing about the inconvenience of it all. Will this lead to a reduction in purchases in response to being forced to buy an additional bag for 15 cents? People don’t like paying for something they once got for free. When will we wake up to the fact that this is about the environment and not us? What can businesses do to further educate the public of the end goal and in doing so, help change our patterns of behaviour and embrace change.

Make Your Presentations Memorable

Posted on 4th July, 2018 - Comments

Categories: Presentation


Great leaders set the scene, mood, feeling and ultimately the impact and results. They provide a compelling story about what is happening in and around the organisation and their people, so that staff know exactly when and how to deal with change. To do this, they must have memorable presentations and storytelling skills.
As a leader, you need to enhance these skills by focusing on five things: Energy, Listening, Empathy, Anticipation, and Humour. Know your audience and gauge how energetic you need to be to hold their attention and insert humour where and when appropriate. However, humour is more about uncovering the ‘funny’ or the ‘unexpected’ rather than jokes or funny stories that are someone else’s.
Here are other ways to make your stories come alive: Listen when someone comments on your presentation and confirm their thoughts through paraphrasing, and ask them what part of your story was memorable or compelling. Avoid the temptation of telling them what you thought was great – hear it from them so you know the parts that work and what may need work.  Show them that you want to understand where they're coming from so you can continually improve making the connections between them and your message. By anticipate their needs and adding relatable anecdotes and stories you will be able to build rapport and credibility.
Great presentations are no accident. They need work, practice, work, practice and work again. The art of a good story teller is someone who makes the story easy to see in their minds, to remember in their hearts and to tell in their way to others. 
If you would like to deliver a story or make a compelling point in your next presentation or conference, Book Rickyas MC or Facilitator, for a keynote presentation by 31/7/2018 and get a complimentary breakout session for 45 minutes.


Why no-one answers their iPhone anymore

Posted on 21st June, 2018 - Comments

Categories: Communication


Our iPhones buzz, bleep and ding 24/7 giving instant gratification with pics, people and possibilities! And our response to these alerts is automatic and immediate. But a strange thing happens when it actually rings. No one picks up. No one wants to talk. No one wants to listen. Obligatory voice messages are ignored. In fact, perhaps we could solve this problem by taking the phone out of “iPhone” and just call it an “iDevice”? Whatever happened to courtesy, follow up and people having a conversation in real time? Whatever happened to the good old’ days when people valued people more than they valued getting lost in their phones? If you want to know the answer, leave me a message and I’ll get back to you!


FInd out more, listen to receint interview on HitFM Perth 


How to step up staff engagement

Posted on 11th June, 2018 - Comments

Categories: Communication, Leadership


Retaining good staff is arguably one of the greatest challenges that employers face. So what can you do to attract, retain, and engage your staff to make sure that they're motivated to do their best for the duration of their tenure?

As a leader, you may think engagement is something as simple as providing your staff with projects that you think are stimulating and challenging, so as to give them a sense of direction. It's not wrong and if done correctly, can raise work productivity and business profit.

However, engagement for employees may mean being in a workplace that is rewarding professionally and personally. They expect their work to somehow cater to their individual needs and aspirations. At the end of the day, they want to feel respected, valued, and trusted at work.

Engagement, therefore, means connecting the heart and mind through values and dreams. Great leaders foster an environment that nurtures curiosity, learning, fun, innovation, and respect. For this to happen authentically and organically, it needs to be based on trust, opportunity, and fairness.

Learn how to take a strategic and intuitive approach to building engagement with business coach Ricky Nowak at your next conference or workshop.

Performance Appraisal

Posted on 5th June, 2018 - Comments

Categories: Staff

Effective feedback is one of the most powerful organisational tools that can improve employee performance, yet many leaders fail at ensuring that this process provides optimal outcomes.

Many managers, supervisors and team leaders would rather be doing something else than spending time working through issues and problems, or simply clarifying what is happening and what is not. Sometimes this is due to a lack of skill in under-taking the process, while sometimes it is simply due to complacency. Other times, leaders are concerned about potentially angry or emotional responses, which can create another set of problems that they may be unable or unwilling to deal with.

It is important for leaders to realize that empathy and the ability to acknowledge the contribution of their staff are the most important skills they can have when providing effective feedback. It is worth taking some time to reflect on why you conduct per-formance appraisals and what you want to achieve by doing them – for both you and your staff.

Sometimes, providing feedback can cause great stress, intimidation, shock, anger or resentment and can actually have a counterproductive effect on productivity, personal relationships, and even people’s willingness to work in the best interests of the organisation. However, if the necessary groundwork is done first, and appro-priate strategies and processes are put in place, performance feedback should not result in any unpleasant surprises or embarrassment for employees.

Learn how to provide feedback to colleagues, staff and associates as an effective appraisal exercise in your organisation with executive coach Ricky Nowak at your next conference or workshop.

Innovation requires creativity

Posted on 28th May, 2018 - Comments

Categories: Make Good People Great Leaders

While creativity involves generating ideas to fuel growth in your organisation and finding opportunities for the people around you to realise their full potential; innovation, on one hand, is about taking ideas to fruition – bringing them to life.

In order for this to happen, leaders need to provide time and permission for their people to think and act outside the box.

A great leader gives people the mental freedom to explore options, while suspending judgement as to whether the ideas are brilliant, average, or a waste of time. A great leader also supports the development of ideas to ensure that people feel validated, acknowledged for their contributions, and that they have been given a “fair go” in their attempts to improve processes and outcomes.

Creativity and innovation—ideas and the implementation of those ideas, are the only true source of sustainable competitive advantage for an organisation. The job of leaders is to ensure that the organisation’s environment is conducive to creativity and innovation at all times.

 Learn more about turning good people into great leaders through innovation and creativity by engaging executive coach Ricky Nowak to present in-house Leadership Development Program at your next conference or workshop.


Three outages and you’re out!

Posted on 27th May, 2018 - Comments

Categories: Customer Service

Australians used to be reasonably happy with a ‘sorry’ when it came to a customer service problem. No one expected much more, but things have changed and none more so than in the world of digital dependency. The rules of customer service are almost out of date before they are written, people now want “waddyagonnadoboutit?” as soon as a problem is detected. Customers now want something as compensation and they want to be informed. These are the new rules of business. Given Telstra’s trifectas of outages, it’s not surprising that people are more than a little ‘peeved’ when no compensation has been offered. Yes, sorry is the first part of responsibility but if a major player doesn’t do what’s deemed to be fair, are we going to give them another chance or it is “three outages and they’re out?” And what should most businesses do when things turn pear shaped?


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