Culture is a cruel mistress

By John Preston Radio—Created by Visnezh—Freepik.com On the ABC’s Radio National’s morning program the other day, presenter Fran Kelly chided Federal member for Corangamite Sarah Henderson MP. Henderson used the interview to persistently belt her political opponents rather than debating regional rail links between Geelong and Melbourne—the issue she had been invited onto the program Read more about Culture is a cruel mistress[…]

Keeping the important stuff in mind: a tip for annual reports

It’s time to start piece of writing no one wants to hear about: annual reports. Generally, their mention makes people sob and horses bolt. True enough, the worst sort of annual report is stupefyingly dull. But these reports are required by statute, and can be invaluable for outsiders who want to look at the entrails of an Read more about Keeping the important stuff in mind: a tip for annual reports[…]

457 visas—A horse for your communications wagon

By Emily Edmunds and John Preston The Easter long weekend was a busy one for the Prime Minister’s communications team. The Prime Minister’s polls were problematic: his party’s conservatives were restive, former prime ministers were offering unsolicited advice and Coalition voters seemed to be drifting away—many of them to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. The government had Read more about 457 visas—A horse for your communications wagon[…]

The ad hominem delusion that infects our public debate

By Susannah Bishop and John Preston We like to believe we’re a culture of tolerance and understanding. We’re in the land of ideas. Mercifully—at least in Australia—the days of being imprisoned for disagreeing with those in power are long gone. Also gone is the risk of torture and inquisition, the fear and hushed tones of dissident Read more about The ad hominem delusion that infects our public debate[…]

Learning by numbers—Maslow and Bloom suggest not

By John Preston Humans are curious creatures. On one level, we are capable of profound understanding and complex cognition. On another we are completely dependent on the most basic physiological and emotional needs being met before we can realise our higher-order potential. In the earlier part of last century, Abraham Maslow devised the Hierarchy of Read more about Learning by numbers—Maslow and Bloom suggest not[…]

Critical reasoning and strategic decision making—Analysis, values and persuasion in public policy

By John Preston In ancient Greek mythology, Theseus—the founder of Greek democracy—entered the Labyrinth on the island of Minos and conquered the Minotaur. Theseus was renowned for his great strength, courage and—above all—wit. Today’s regulatory and policy environments are a labyrinth worthy of Theseus. Public policy professionals—tasked with producing coherent and effective regulations—must display Theseus-like Read more about Critical reasoning and strategic decision making—Analysis, values and persuasion in public policy[…]

Ready, steady, go! – Bridging the science—influence—policy divide in public sector policy

By John Preston Let’s face it; if facts were enough, we wouldn’t still be discussing the science of climate change, would we? And yet here we are. Why is this? Could the problem lie with the fact that we don’t equip our scientists with the skills they need to influence policymakers—particularly where there are competing claims? Read more about Ready, steady, go! – Bridging the science—influence—policy divide in public sector policy[…]

Sticky tales—Tell a story to make ideas memorable

By Robert Garran  ‘A storm is brewing over spectacular Katherine Gorge about Aboriginal land rights.’ Back when I was a rookie journalist on the Age in the 1980s, I wrote an article that began something like that. I’ve forgotten the details, beyond that it was about a land rights claim by the Jawoyn people, but Read more about Sticky tales—Tell a story to make ideas memorable[…]

Changing 18C—Why knowing your environment could help

For some, the debate about changing free speech provisions of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 is a tenth-order issue. The Deputy Prime Minister, for example, has been quoted in Fairfax papers as saying, “It is definitely not the issue people are talking about in the beer garden on Friday night or at the counters of banks, or to Read more about Changing 18C—Why knowing your environment could help[…]

Focus in feedback: Don’t let feedback turn into a fight

In our courses on Giving and receiving feedback, we find that a lot of people don’t really understand the feedback process—what it is or how to do it properly. Feedback is an integral part of developing a team in an office. A good feedback session is one in which views are exchanged in a respectful way. Read more about Focus in feedback: Don’t let feedback turn into a fight[…]

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