The road trip to emigrating to Mullumbimby

We have finally reached our destination as British emigrants to Mullumbimby in New South Wales, Australia.  Our first sighting of the road to Mullumbimby on this major life-changing trip.

Chinny’ is mentioned in just about every house advert as a way of getting a higher house price ‘And finally, this home has the best views of the iconic Mount Chincogan’.  Any house seller unfortunate enough not to be able to see Chinny from any window has to drop their house price dreams by $100,000 😱

On our way from Melbourne to Mullumbimby we passed through several interesting places, including Coffs Harbour.  After Melbourne’s extensive cafe lifestyle we found substantial grub quite difficult to source so we became quite experienced at seeking out the local Soldiers, Sailors and Airforce, RSLs or Bowling Clubs.  The winner for the best one was the Catholic Club (‘The King of Clubs’) in Campbelltown. The worst was Coffs Harbour. Their breaded calamari needed to be tasted to be believed. Still it was tea time on a Sunday evening and we did win a couple of games of Keno to balance things out 😃

Happy New (writing) year….

Yesterday I did the unthinkable and tidied out my side of the study. All those journal articles I printed out last year to read and never did (all those trees!). Memorabilia from conferences attended last year. Old pens. Uncountable new, unused folders and files. In the black bag and put into the bin. Try not to think about the waste. Just think about the writing production line.

First thing this morning I read Joanna Penn’s automatic email on her highly productive 2014 and goals for 2015. She left management consultancy to become a dystopia novel writer and has branched into non-fiction, motivational speaking and training. Her productivity is impressive but her blogs are more so. Thank you, Joanna, for caring about others’ needs. I know you do this partly for marketing your ‘products’ from your writing but you must also care about others otherwise you wouldn’t do it. Find her here.

Next Steps
Joanna talks about her next steps:

‘Essentially, the model is: trust emergence and continue to feed the muse in order to write (which for me involves travel and research), turn those ideas into books, turn that one book into multiple products, distribute globally and reach readers through marketing, and then repeat.’

Talk about a simple but effective set of goals set up in one statement. Masterly.

As ever, my goals can’t be constructed without setting up a digital tool to accommodate the preparation process. Today’s download is the Microsoft Excel app to construct the writing plan for 2015. Let’s see how it turns out.


One day you’re top talent, the next day…you need coaching helpful?

Many moons ago I went to work in a UK Job centre sitting at a desk in a sort of showroom of presentation boards with cards showing brief details of jobs and giving a reference number. The jobseeker would write down the number and come to a desk where I or my colleagues would interview them then ring the employer for an interview if there was a match. It often struck me how older workers would arrive in their first week of unemployment smartly dressed and raring to go. But as the weeks progressed, their dress, demeanour and spirit declined. Then they would stop coming and I would wonder what had happened to them. I would have a vague sense of guilt that I had not helped them. Seeing up to 50 people a day on what was colloquially known as ‘the front line’ didn’t make it easy to spend the time that someone in that position needed to support them and help them help themselves.

Today I saw an article about such people at management level.

Coaching to help the derailled..

It’s entitled ‘Coaching unemployed managers and professionals through the trauma of unemployment: Derailed or undaunted?’ By David E Gray of University of Greenwich, Yiannis Gabriel of University of Bath (always worth a read) and Harshita Goregaokar, University of Surrey, all UK.

Also check out Suzanne Ross’ work on derailed talent.

What are you saying in those e-communication silences?

My colleague, Professor Dalvir Samra-Fredericks is an ethnomethodologist who researches those small communicative moments when we say so much about ourselves and each other when communicating. I saw this today which reminded me of two things. Firstly, that ethnomethodologists can usefully study digital communication and, secondly, that silence is an important aspect of this. For my own research it also made me wonder about digital gamification processes….so much to study…

this is an interesting article that considers digital ethnomethodology and silences..

We have to wonder at the impact this might have on a generation’s identity dvelopment..

My colleague, Professor Mark Griffith’s ‘take’ on Nintendo’s reluctance to allow gay relationships to appear in their gaming….

What is a game in gamification?

There are many varieties of ‘game’, and although there are some shared characteristics, not all of these apply to every kind of game (Callois, 2001).

Salcu and Acatrine (2013) cite Huizinga’s (1971) notion of the magic circle ‘a physical/virtual boundary that divides the world of the game from the real world’ which ‘separates the game world from real world (ex: soccer field), and while in the circle, the game rules matter, not the rules of the real world. The challenge and the opportunity for gamification is how far into the circle the player voluntarily goes. If the player feels that the constraints in the circle are realistic, he/she will be motivated to play’ (p770).

So game players play games. Again, Sacu and Acatrine help in inthe delineation betwen the two: ‘Callois (2001) described “play” as being the expenditure of exuberant energy, whatever is done spontaneously and for its own sake, and free movement within a more rigid structure. Play can be understood as “a type of human experience regardless of the particular activity the individual is engaged in, and not a form of distinct human activity with clear boundaries” (Cantaragiu and Hadad, 2013, p. 835). The gamified sense of play seeks to create a zone of fun and exuberant energy for the player within a contained environment.

Fullerton et al. (2004, p. 5) consider the game as being “a closed formal system that engages players in a structured environment and resolves in an unequal outcome”. It contains a series of meaningful choices and a domain of contrived contingency that generates interpretable outcomes. It is a problem solving activity, approached with a playful attitude. A game is a set of choices, which lead to certain outcomes. The path chosen to lead to the outcome involves an element of freedom – play’ (P770).

Caillois, R. (2001), Man, play and games, The Free Press, USA.
Fullerton, T., Sawain, C. and Hoffman, S. (2004), Game Design Workshop: Designing, Prototyping, and Playtesting Games, CMP Books, San Francisco.
Huizinga, J. (1971), Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture, Beacon Press, USA.

Narratives people live by

Today in church the preacher’s approach was one we have come to expect in terms of structure, including prayers, hymns, bible readings, sermon and prayers of intercession. Also included were the usual biographical introduction and several personal narratives as illustrations. After one hour we knew his personal circumstances (married), details about his grandchildren and the stages they were at in school, his personal work history (ex-lecturer in science) and how many aspirin tablets you could get out of a large bag of aspirin (50,000). He also analysed two bible readings and linked them to the narratives as he went along. Impressive.

So what were his talents? In knowledge terms he knew many scientific facts, had a good memory for biblical references, narrative capability and presentational capability (although his slight nervousness reduced any flair or charisma there might have been there).

This Sunday in church the preacher drew upon many personal narratives to link to the biblical meta-narratives we all knew. By the end of the one hour-long service, through his interspersions of personal stories and narratives, we knew his personal details (married, retired science lecturer, grandfather and his sadness not to have seen his one child actually come into tne world) and how many aspirin tablets you could make out of a large bag of aspirin chemical materials (50,000).

For organisational researchers, narrative analysis is well established within studies of organisational life. A church can be taken to be an organisation, and their preachers are their ‘staff’ for whom storytelling is integral to their ‘work’. The work of scholars such as Boje, (2001), Gabriel (2000) and Rhodes and Brown (2005) are useful here. Narrative and storytelling are useful tools for human interaction (Herrmann, 2011), they have been used to examine shared sense making in both classic cases (Orr’, 1996, 2006) and contemporary studies, such as ‘Picture Perfect? Exploring the use of smartphone photography in a distributed work practice Katrina Pritchard and Gillian Symon in Management Learning (published online 20 May 2013 DOI: 10.1177/1350507613486424).

Another aspect of the preacher’s personal narrative was the surprise story about his angst at missing the birth of his child.  Critical life events can involve a reframing of one’s very value system – what is important in our lives.  In organisational life, crucial events call for managers to learn what has been situated in practice, maybe for some time, and taken for granted by the person and their colleagues in the organisation. We need to be aware that these crucial events offer, often triggered by life-changing situations/conditions, offer valuable experiential learning (Kolb, 1984 is an oft-cited scholar here) or, as other put it, situated learning, which emphasises learning within the work context.

Situated learning claims that our understanding of learning can’t be isolated from the social context where organisational practice is enacted but we can also argue that learning can’t be isolated from individual’s life condition where reframing is often required.

Why your identity will soon be a total construction..


I read this on TLNT Daily’s email today in their article called ‘9 ways HR and recruiting technology will evolve over the next 4 years’ and it was pretty chilling:

Social capabilities integrated into the platforms

When a candidate applies for a position, a HR manager or hiring manager will see the application and their social profiles as an integrated aspect of their application. For example, it will show what company the candidate worked at, the recommendations they received while at that position from his or her LinkedIn profile, recent tweets, and Facebook wall posts. (by Sudy Bharadwaj, Jackalope Jobs).

Go and visit your Facebook pages… have a Spring clean!