“The prime minister could have, and should have, already taken steps to implement these recommendations and ensure safety at work.”Last week, the union released survey results which found that most political staffers who have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or assault in the workplace didn’t report it because they thought it wouldn’t make a difference, or out of fear for their job. The independent review has been prompted by Higgins’ allegations, and was originally going to be undertaken by Curtin MP and former university vice chancellor Celia Hammond. Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet deputy secretary Stephanie Foster has been looking into the workplace complaints processes at Parliament House, while PM&C boss Phil Gaetjens has been investigating which staff in the prime minister’s office knew of Higgins’ allegations before they were made public. This article was first published by The Mandarin.]]>
Ferguson's followers -- myself included -- started sharing links to businesses to support and Ferguson added 30 businesses to the thread, indicating which ones she's already bought from. She even offered to buy some flowers from a roadside flower stall, for the owners to then give to someone in their community as a gift. It made me stop and think about how and where I spend my money, and how I could be more intentional when making purchasing decisions this year. What would happen if, collectively, we all made more effort to buy from women-led businesses this IWD, and in the weeks, months and years that follow? What if, like Ferguson, we were all to support women-led businesses with cash, not just words? There is no limit to the impact this could have on those businesses, their owners, and the communities they serve. The United Nations’ official theme for this year’s IWD is “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” and it's an opportunity to reflect on how we can make simple changes to our daily buying habits to contribute to this vision. Indeed, this kind of practice doesn’t have to be limited to individuals either. Organisations of all shapes and sizes -- from small businesses to large corporations and government departments -- make purchasing decisions each and every day. What would happen if they too thought more carefully about who they buy from? There are a myriad of lenses that we can consider our buying decisions through, with women-led businesses one of the important ones. What if we also actively sought to buy from more businesses run by First Nations people and people of colour? If we included more businesses run by people with disabilities? If we looked outside of the capital cities more often and chose to work with great suppliers located in regional and rural areas? If we actively stopped buying from large corporations that have little regard for corporate social responsibility or their impact on the environment? No group understands how far one dollar goes more than those in small business, so on #IWD2021, I hope you'll join me in taking a moment to think about where your next dollar could go. ]]>
Seeing this tweet has prompted me to put my money where my mouth is around supporting women.For #IWD2021 I plan to buy from Aussie women ... please hit me up with links for online biz'. I will share them here in a thread. For 2021, I want to support with cash, not just words. https://t.co/qLycPv1HoP — Kirstin Ferguson (@kirstinferguson) March 1, 2021
For most challenger brands, the option of blowing established competitors out of the water with a big-budget ad campaign and a thumping media plan just doesn't exist.
Yet, if you cast your eye to the opposite end of the marketing equation, you’ll find something that’s far more powerful, incredibly accessible and free to use if you can unlock it: the reason customers buy the things that they do.
While it’s easy to funnel energy into ideas about how you’ll disrupt the market and all the ways to unseat existing players, it’s also profoundly important to consider just what it will take for a customer to take a chance on you.
Studies from behavioural economics have consistently demonstrated that we don’t have the mental energy to meticulously weigh up the thousands of choices we’re faced with each day. Instead, we rely on instincts, are led by biases and favour the familiar.
As we move through a period of immense societal change and all of the stress that goes with it, consumers are more likely than ever to feel overwhelmed. As a challenger brand, it’s on you to reduce the cognitive load, and ultimately, make yourself easier to choose.
Here are the five behavioural biases that every entrepreneur should look to for turbocharging growth in 2021.
As humans, we love the idea of choosing but are quickly overwhelmed by choice. Studies have demonstrated that adding too many options to the mix can quickly lead to customers making the simplest choice of all: nothing.
Having too many choices to weigh up forces us to engage the ‘slow thinking’ part of our brain, rather than relying on the ‘fast thinking’ part that ushers us through most of our day.
Slow thinking can involve making long-term projections, weighing up risks against benefits, or calculating if an item’s price matches the promise. More often than not, these thoughts drive us towards the safe, the proven and the familiar.
If you’re a challenger brand, this is probably bad news. It’s also why less is usually more.
Offering fewer, better options is a surefire way to reduce your customers’ cognitive load and a proven technique to increase conversion rates. You can minimise choice by rationalising your product suite, highlighting recommended options or allowing customers to filter their way down to a manageable number of options.
Following the year we’ve just had, it’s not surprising that people are looking for ways to feel safe. As our world and the central business districts, transport systems, and community spaces within it start to open up again, this need for safety will only continue.
One of the most primal ways we can feel safe is to be part of a larger crowd that’s all doing the same thing that we are. For instance, take the current situation as companies hesitantly return to their offices. It will only feel ‘safe’ and normal when we see everybody else doing it too.
When considering a new product or service, our primitive brains need convincing that it’s a good, safe and popular choice to make. Therefore, challenger brands must find interesting and creative ways to leverage social proof, which describes how we adapt our behaviour according to what we witness other people doing.
It is social proof that causes us to wait outside full restaurants and bars while empty ones across the street futilely beckon us.
In a commercial sense, this means demonstrating to potential customers that people who are just like them — or better yet, people who are just like their aspirational selves — have already made the choice we’re asking them to make. Social proof can be demonstrated through reviews, testimonials, and online prompts like, ‘X number of other people have already bought/are currently viewing this’.
Each of these techniques will help reduce perceived risk, increase perceived safety and edge you closer to closing the deal.
Over the last 12 months, we've lost a lot: jobs or job security, holidays, social liberties, and contact with friends and family. Hence, we cling tighter to things we already feel ownership of.
This comes down to a cognitive bias known as loss aversion, which describes why the pain of losing something causes a more extreme emotional response than the pleasure of gaining something new.
Loss aversion is why we hate to see other people sitting in ‘our seat’ in the meeting room and why we never get the price we want for our secondhand cars or bikes. The mere fact of owning something, no matter how fleetingly, makes it feel like it’s worth more than it is.
Challenger brands can lean into loss aversion by making it easy for customers to feel like they own your product before they really do. This can be achieved through a generous free returns and exchanges policy, letting people ‘try before they buy’, through co-creation, such as allowing people to spec up the product themselves, or making onboarding quick and frictionless.
If you let them feel like they own it, they probably will.
Like loss aversion, the mere exposure effect taps into the comfort we all feel from familiarity.
From an evolutionary perspective, human beings had to be on guard for potential hazards, and anything new, understandably, was perceived to be a danger. While there are far fewer actual hazards today, this fear-based mentality still drives many of our decisions.
Introduced in 1968 by Polish-born American psychologist Robert Zajonc, the mere exposure effect describes our tendency to prefer things when we’ve been exposed to them repeatedly. When it comes to marketing and advertising, it is repetition that brings familiarity. In turn, this familiarity brings recognition, a sense of safety and trust.
For challenger brands, this means being clever about your messaging. While established brands can focus on reach, challenger brands must prioritise frequency, even if this means talking to a smaller audience. One hundred people seeing your brand one hundred times is likely to create far more preference than 10,000 people seeing it once.
With 2021 comes a heightened appreciation for the human input that goes into goods and services.
Studies have proven that people will value your product or service more if they see just how much effort has gone into creating it. This ‘effort bias’ goes a long way to explaining why we’re happy to pay more for small-batch whisky, or why we enjoy sitting at the chef’s table in a trendy restaurant. The meteoric rise of craft and artisanal products through 2020 is further evidence that this trend is steadily on the up.
For lesser-known brands, the effort bias should be all the encouragement you need to surface and celebrate the complexity behind whatever you do.
Shining a light on the process, the ingredients, the intricate supply chain or the blood, sweat and tears you’ve put in can help customers justify a price far beyond what they otherwise would have considered.]]>
the human voice can bring a layer of connectivity to twitter through emotion, nuance and empathy often lost in text. we see this with voice tweets & voice dms. sometimes 280 isn't enough, and voice gives people another way to join the conversation.— Spaces (@TwitterSpaces) December 17, 2020 It wasn’t clear exactly who was in this initial ‘experiment’ group, which was a testing site for things like reaction capabilities, live transcriptions, reporting and blocking, and sharing tweets. However, it didn’t take long for comparisons with new-kid-in-the-social-circle Clubhouse to arise. Having launched in April last year, invite-only audio chat app Clubhouse quickly gained momentum in the US. By the end of the year, the Aussie first movers were on board too. Concerns have been raised about accessibility — there’s no capability for live captioning, to include people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and not much support for people with vision impairment either. There are also qualms around privacy. And when someone like Elon Musk joins a conversation, followed by a thousands of adoring fans, it’s prone to a glitch or two. But still, people like Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and even Kanye West are on board. This platform, with its old-school conference call vibes, have certainly struck a chord. The one thing Clubhouse still doesn’t have is a way in for people with Android phones and that’s where Twitter is gearing up to take the lead. On Wednesday, Spaces tweeted the news Android-using fans had been waiting for: they would now be able to join and talk in any Space. They were also promised they would be able to start their own rooms “soon”.
This isn’t the first time Twitter has taken inspiration from the success of a rival social media platform. In November last year, the platform launched its Fleets capability for ‘disappearing tweets’, in a similar vein to Instagram’s stories, which themselves have a certain Snapchattiness about them. Are you a Clubhouse convert; an Android user desperate to get in on the action; or a wholly uninterested bystander rolling your eyes at it all? Get in touch and let us know.]]>
Really??? Ugh. Can’t we keep this iphone exclusive please 😇— adam stevens (@intelligent_eat) March 2, 2021
Parliament House isn’t the first and won’t be the last example of a toxic workplace but it now has an opportunity to correct course. The government must act now if it wishes to salvage its reputation and retain the services of the good people that it has working there.
Like many organisations, however, it's likely to walk down a well-trodden path. An external review (or two) will be commissioned, humility may be shown when it is are published, someone will stand up and publicly say that 'culture is the most important thing' and then nothing will be done with the recommendations bar some legislation or policy change.
In a 2015 independent review, Professor Peter Shergold had this to say about the way things get done within the Australian Public Service: "Legislation will not change culture: people and their actions do."
When it comes to culture, reviews and reports can shed some light on what needs to change; but it’s only when leaders stop ignoring poor behaviour and conduct and choose to take action, that things actually do.
Culture is the sum of everyone’s beliefs, attitudes, skills and behaviours. It doesn’t belong to senior leaders or the HR department (if there is one) -- although the latter may be the custodian of it.
Culture is defined by every human interaction inside or outside the office, every process, every tradition, the nature of the work being undertaken and the skills or otherwise of those responsible for it.
It is also defined by every lost temper, every missed deadline, every award won and every target hit. Contrary to popular belief, culture is not hard to change once people have been taught how to define it, know how to uphold it and then constantly evolve it for the better. When none of these things are done -- when there is no real commitment to culture -- then it’s likely to end up on the front pages at some stage.
What does seem hard for many leaders, however, is the ability to follow a process to manage people whose behaviours undermine that culture.
Australia and New Zealand, like many other countries, aren’t very good at this. Instead, leaders make apologies or worse, excuses for people’s behaviour and fail to take action that would bring about lasting change.
How many more times will we hear that stress, pressure, being away from home, alcohol etc are the root causes of toxic culture, rather than the inhumane way that people treat others.
Things are so bad here that former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull had to remind senior ministers (many of whom were married with children) not to sleep with junior staffers. The standards were changed, but did the behaviours follow?
We’re not on our own. There are many global cases of poor leadership leading to toxic cultures. Travis Kalanick at Uber, Sepp Blatter at FIFA and Martin Winterkorn at Volkswagen are three such people who failed to realise -- until it was too late in Kalanick’s case -- that as leaders they are wholly accountable for the culture.
By allowing themselves or others to walk past the behaviours that undermine their staff's psychological safety, they threaten the very thing that makes an organisation successful. All organisational success stems from its culture.
Improved productivity, improved sales, improved delivery of projects, improved customer satisfaction and reduced risk of physical injury are all attributable to how people treat each other.
Leaders need to heed the lessons from these stories and focus on three things:
In a report at the end of last year, the Australian Institute of Company Directors called on CEOs and boards to start taking culture seriously.
"Defining expected culture [is] a precursor to requiring employees to behave in line with the desired culture," it said.
Those behaviours start and end with senior leaders.]]>
“I was very honoured to get photos and meet them, and have the Prime Minister recognise me,” he says. Copelin-Walters sells his candy products online and in Territory Pharmacies across Darwin. He also carries out the business operations and marketing activities. “I do emails, ordering, quotes, packaging and delivering,” he says. The young entrepreneur became interested in business at the age of seven when he pitched his first idea to his mother. “I wanted a lemonade stand but Mum said no. So, that was my first business challenge,” he says. About a year later, Copelin-Walters saw an advertisement on television for a charity that donated money to homeless people. “I wanted to get some money to help them. So, I went to a kids buy, swap and sell market and sold rock candy. "I made $20 profit and gave it all to that charity I saw on TV that day,” he says. Since then, he has donated profits from the business to the Cancer Foundation, Ovarian Cancer Australia and Black Dog. As an entrepreneur with dyslexia, he has also donated to Made By Dyslexia, a charity helping teachers and other people support and empower dyslexic people. Copelin-Walters says part of what motivates him is being able to inspire other young people with dyslexia, and highlight opportunities for them. His message to young entrepreneurs considering a new venture is to “research your idea, ask people about it and give it a go”. As for the future of Croc Candy, Copelin-Walters says he wants to expand and scale the business. “I’d like to manufacture some basic products somehow, but I need help and advice in that area,” he says.]]>
Fantastic to be at a real live event celebrating Australian small businesses on Saturday night. A highlight of the night was meeting 11-year-old Angus Copelin-Walters of Croc Candy who took out the Sole Operator category of the #SmallBusinessChampionAwards pic.twitter.com/cGQYHjHWVE— Kate Carnell (@KateCarnellAus) March 1, 2021