Category Archives: Life & Style

Steve Vamos on Tough Love and Technology

Steve Vamos

Steve Vamos brought more than thirty years’ experience of the Information Technology and online Media industry with him to the 2014 CPO Forum. And with this editor being an ex-Microsoftee, I was bummed I couldn’t be there myself!

From January 2007 to September 2008 Vamos lead Worldwide Sales and International Operations for Microsoft Corporation’s Online Services Group (OSG). There he was responsible for the organization’s international business in more than 30 countries around the world.

Steve was Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft Australia and New Zealand from 2003 to January 2007.  But before that he put in stints at ninemsn, Apple, and IBM.

All you lucky Forum delegates will recall Steve Vamos’ pearls of wisdom. But for those who didn’t make it to Sydney here’s what Telstra’s Director had to say:

Harness the knowledge and creativity of your workforce. There’s a need to act obsessively about the alignment of our people and business – we must pay attention to our stakeholders and the world changing around us.

The underlying theme of this year’s Forum was ‘tough love’. Vamos said that the key to alignment and change is this very same notion. But what does tough love really mean? According to Vamos it’s the ability to have difficult conversations and to make tough choices/decisions.

Steve Vamos @ The Forum

Throughout his session Vamos also highlighted the importance of empowerment within the workplace and emphasized a need to end the stifling practice of micro-management.

He rationalized that having a difficult conversation can be made a lot better when you actually care about the person you’re talking to.

In-keeping with the personable theme one of our favourite takeaways was this nugget – you’re a danger to humanity if you’re in management and don’t care about people!

Most of us could also do better when giving others feedback on their performance. We need to change our mindset, as it’s often not simply a case of I’m good and they’re bad.

Change was another pertinent theme: Vamos reminded us that the world has changed and with it comes significant implications. Therefore we need to think differently, and this could spell doom for companies with established practices, as they will be the ones to reject change in a strong way. It is therefore important that you don’t let your thinking fall out of step with the world around you.

In closing Vamos reiterated that knowledge is everywhere. Technology has opened up the available channels of communication and effectively amplified our potential. We are now in a position to connect with an unlimited amount of people.

Play the game like your life depends on it

Angela Giacoumis

We recently had the pleasure of Angela Giacoumis’ company, and she shared some pretty valuable insights with us.

Not wanting to keep them to ourselves we thought it’d be fun to relay it to you in the style of Baz Luhrman’s “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”. Well why not eh?

Put yourself first

Be unreasonable

The greatest level of service is to serve yourself

We’re reacting to life, we need to choose, be proactive

You get to choose where you start, where you go, where you finish your day

Play the game like your life depends on it

Share your insights

Get out of the stands

Choose yourself

Angela Giacoumis is a leadership educator and Managing Director of Careerlink Training & Recruitment Services. You can follow her on Twitter @agiacoumis https://twitter.com/agiacoumis

Brand You: how to create your own personal brand

Kate O'Reilly

Brand You: because no one knows you better…

FLiP 2014 may have been and gone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t reflect on some of the inspirational talks given. One such session saw Kate O’Reilly advise attendees on the art of shaping their own personal brand – Brand You (if you will).

Kate was formerly a Deloitte Director whose work with the Deloitte Inspiring Women program led to her winning finalist for the Deloitte Business Woman of the Year and being appointed to the Deloitte Emerging Leaders Council. Kate’s experience extends to the global public and private sector – she can currently be found heading-up Optimiss, a firm that concentrates on the retention and promotion of women throughout business.

Over in Sydney we had our ear to the ground and took away the following learnings:

What you say, how you say it, how you look is really important. Just look at powerful and famous people of influence – they meticulously craft their personal brand and stick to it religiously. And if you want to distil what makes a brand, it can be broken down into the following: Behaviour, Presentation, and Communication.

In order to build a better brand there are a number of things you need to know (or be mindful of). These include:

  •  Your top three personal strengths and talents.
  • Also think about your core area of expertise, as you’ll need to be prepared to demonstrate the value and experience you can deliver. What is it that you can do better than others?
  • Be clear who exactly you are targeting, and think about what they need to hear.
  • Look out for your brand and be prepared to manage conversations about yourself – you need to control how the world sees you. Consider what you want people to say about you, and help this along by being consistent in your messaging.
  • And finally, always search for ways you can actively build and grow your brand.

You can follow Kate on Twitter @Optimiss_Sydney  https://twitter.com/Optimiss_Sydney

Is this the workplace of the future?

Yes we know… The company’s San Francisco office is a thing of modern beauty too!
Yes we know… The company’s San Francisco office is a thing of modern beauty too!

If you attended FLiP 2014 you’ll know that the underlying message was ‘shake up your professional outlook’. Today we’re turning our focus towards a business that’s been shaking things up in their own way – step forward Atlassian.

This enterprising Australian software company is disrupting the staid and tired workplace culture of old – and it must be doing something right as Atlassian has ranked high consistently year-after-year in numerous ‘Best Place to Work’ surveys.

Being a fast growing and dynamic company – Atlassian is passionate about developing innovative HR practices and building awesome workplace cultures. Obviously talent and culture are the key drivers of the businesses’ future success.

Pay a visit to the company’s website and you’ll see glimmers of this philosophy peeking through – as fresh and as tantalising as a crisp spring morning.

‘Open company, no bullshit’ starts us off, ‘build with heart and balance’ grounds us and reminds employees about their emotional core. ‘Don’t #@!% the customer’ comes next (sage words that underpin the working relationship), ‘play as a team’ follows, before the inspirational ‘be the change you seek’ leaves us with food for thought.

Atlassian preach quite a mantra we’re sure you’ll agree… One that reminds us that these aren’t your typical corporate values – with such an open and honest approach it’s hard not to applaud these mavericks and smile.

Now it’s over to you: what do you make of this daring approach? Let us know in the comments below.

The Big Question: Could you live in a world without the iPhone?

A wrinkle in Apple’s supply chain could spell doom for the technology giant. Procurious wonders whether we ought to be worried.

The announcement of a new iPhone/iPad is the stuff of headline news the world over. Apple is one of the most respected titans in the hardware industry, its products have a stranglehold over the hearts and minds of millions (in-fact the level of fanaticism is downright spooky). OK there may be the odd misstep (lest we forget the Apple Maps debacle), but with its impressive track record and market dominance – Apple’s products represent go-to gadgets of choice for most businesses and consummate professionals the world over.

The iPhone’s and iPad’s ability to blend effortlessly into your (doubtless) existing Apple ecosystem makes a world without this modern staple unthinkable to many, but a worrying new report from Taiwan’s Commercial Times hints at dark days ahead for everyone’s favourite fruit.

The rumour mill says we can expect to see two new iPhones (iPhone 6) in the not-too-distant future. According to the paper however, production on the larger (5.5-inch) iPhone handset could be delayed until 2015 due to difficulties in sourcing a supplier for the super-thin 2mm battery. Apple’s tough ask involves shrinking their existing battery technology by a considerable 33% – such a demand puts suppliers under immense strain and will almost certainly affect the production cycle, the effects of which will reverberate the length of the chain.

There’s a convincing argument here for the power of the brand – at this stage in its heritage, Apple’s customers will happily wait for the next-generation to arrive in their hands. But how does this make you feel as procurement professionals – can you sympathise with the situation or this unrelenting thirst for innovation a reckless and dangerous play?

We must wonder too what this could mean for Apple. Can we expect to go through the same motions a few more years down the line – a couple more supply problems, a few more delays? If so disillusionment could surely (and will easily) set in. Look at the once mighty darling of enterprise – BlackBerry. Poor components and overall build-quality affected both the Storm and PlayBook, while delays to BlackBerry software and unsold inventory effectively unseated this once proud King.

It’s not all doom and gloom though – recent iPhone sales figures point to strong Apple earnings. Overall Apple saw a 4.6% increase in quarterly revenue, far-and-away beating Wall Street expectations. However iPad shipments were shown to be on the decline (an almost 20% drop – ouch), and with the company soon to enter the wearables marketplace we wonder whether Cupertino’s finest is starting to spread itself too thin…

We must remember that Apple is also forging ahead and reporting success in BRIC countries – the iPhone has just set sales records in Brazil, Russia, India and China. And with competitor Nokia also looking to developing markets to consolidate their rule, such space could prove quite the battleground in the fight for market dominance. Whatever the outcome, the future looks set to be very interesting indeed…

Are Apple’s products still the apple of your eye? Join in with the discussion! Leave your comments below.