Alistair Kerr's Blog (20)

Leading on Purpose

How do you start your day? Do you get up a 5am for a comprehensive workout followed by a healthy breakfast, or do you hit the snooze button to get in 10 more minutes and end up rushing out the door with barely enough time to make an instant coffee? At work do you dive right into emails, or do you actively avoid looking at your inbox before the “serious” work is done? These are just a few (polar opposite) examples of the morning routines of highly successful leaders. On the face of it, the…


Added by Alistair Kerr on March 15, 2017 at 15:47 — No Comments

Upping Your Coaching Game: 10 Tips to Help Busy Leaders Become Better Workplace Coaches

Coaching is one of the most impactful tools that a leader has at their disposal to support, and help members of their team improve performance. Coaching a team member to develop and reach their full potential can also be one of the most rewarding aspects of being a leader. That being said, in busy workplaces where stressed leaders are asked to wear many hats, prioritizing coaching can be difficult in the face of the struggle to get on top of day-to-day business as usual activities. With this…


Added by Alistair Kerr on February 16, 2017 at 20:42 — No Comments

The One Resolution You Should Make In 2017

Coming into 2017 Gary Keller’s excellent book “The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results” was at the top of my summer reading list to (re)read. I find that this is a fantastic book to keep in mind when starting out anytime new (particularly a New Year) as the central theme of the book presents a powerful question - “What is the one thing that if done makes everything else easier or unnecessary?”. As a psychologist working with businesses across a range…


Added by Alistair Kerr on January 16, 2017 at 7:41 — No Comments

The Forgotten Leadership Conversation: Reluctant Leaders

If you were from another planet and came to earth to study leadership you'd probably get a fairly warped sense of the types of people who become leaders - you’d find a raft of bold, self promoters who loved the spotlight, and would take any chance to grow their leadership influence. If you thumbed through a selection of popular leadership books you’d find that almost everything is written in a style that assumes that everyone wants to be a leader. If you stopped there, you’d be missing a…


Added by Alistair Kerr on December 6, 2016 at 7:17 — No Comments

Business Owners: Are you your business’s greatest liability?

Imagine sitting on a tropical far off beach, with umbrella drink in hand while your bank account steadily grows, or owning several thriving businesses and working on multiple passion projects that truly inspire you to jump out of bed each day. Swapping the safe but sometimes suffocating 9-5 corporate life for the promise of ultimate freedom and the chance to be the boss is the dream of an untold number of Australian small and mid-sized business owners. The reality for most however is…


Added by Alistair Kerr on November 12, 2016 at 16:16 — No Comments

Structure: The Secret to High Performance Teams

Teams are an essential part of work, but not all teams are created equal. Some teams, known as High Performance Teams consistently attain superior results and seem to demonstrate a level of commitment far above their peers. What is it that separates High Performance Teams from the rest? Are members of High Performance Team intrinsically more skilled? Is it just down to luck? Although High Performance Teams are far too rare, the secret that underpins their success is simple, and well within…


Added by Alistair Kerr on August 22, 2016 at 21:55 — No Comments

From Knowing to Doing: Fostering a Bias for Action

Have you ever been to a course or professional development seminar and come away inspired to make positive change? What happened next - Did you successfully change or, as is commonly the case, did you fail to put the lessons into practice? What about your business, does progressive change come easily or are better days always slightly out of reach for your company as a result of failing to make the most of opportunities?

Mind the Gap

For many of us, knowing what to do is…


Added by Alistair Kerr on July 12, 2016 at 11:13 — No Comments

Leading High Performance Teams: People AND Profits

When the chips are down, how do your staff describe you as a leader? In times of stress, most leaders (through no fault of their own) fall into the trap of becoming overly focused on one of two key aspects of their teams - either people, OR profits. This is because our stress reactions encourage us to default to our comfort zone.

People focused leaders devote their efforts to ensuring that above all else relationship are maintained. In the short term this…


Added by Alistair Kerr on May 31, 2016 at 9:00 — No Comments

Data is beautiful, data is scary: How does data shape your Workplace Culture?

Data is beautiful. Data provides us with an objective shared language that can cut through ambiguity to make the complicated seem simple. In business today, data is increasingly playing a role in the setting of long term strategic direction as well as day-to-day decision making.

The maximum - “If you can measure it you can manage it” has become a central tenant of modern management practice, with data taking on an especially prominent role in the way many organizations evaluate…


Added by Alistair Kerr on May 9, 2016 at 10:48 — No Comments

The Feedback Engagement Loop: The Building Blocks of a High Performance Culture

Great leaders know that feedback is the breakfast of champions. As employees work based feedback helps us to answer fundamental questions such as:

  • Why does my role exist?
  • What am I supposed to achieve?
  • How is my performance tracking?
  • What is the best use of my time?
  • How am I influencing others? 

Unfortunately, staff in many organizations are starved of feedback for two common reasons:

  1. Superstars are left to their own…

Added by Alistair Kerr on April 6, 2016 at 17:24 — 1 Comment

How to get your team excited about their work in 2016

If you’re like most people, you use January as a time to reset - a time to think about the successes and challenges of the previous year, and to make resolutions for becoming a better version of yourself over the coming year.  Common personal resolutions include eating less, quitting smoking, exercising more, and becoming more financially stable. Beyond these personal resolutions, the New Year is also a fantastic time to set professional (work based) resolutions. If you’re a leader, there is…


Added by Alistair Kerr on January 26, 2016 at 17:38 — No Comments

Employee engagement: Lessons from a perfect smile

When thinking about the health of a business, there are many lessons that we can learn from the world of physical health. Specifically, the likelihood of good health can be improved with two fundamental practices; daily active maintenance behaviours, and regular checkups (feedback).

Take for example, the simple pearly white smile. From a young age we are taught that we need to brush and floss twice daily (active maintenance behaviours), and visit the dentist for checkups regularly for…


Added by Alistair Kerr on December 10, 2015 at 17:00 — No Comments

Measuring workplace culture: Move beyond people watching

I’ve always thought that workplace culture is a business’s greatest differentiator and asset, because while competitors can copy what you do, they can’t copy who you are. Despite this, most businesses don’t give workplace culture the priority it deserves. Many business leaders realise that culture is important but don’t know where to start when it comes to measuring it. This is because workplace culture is complex and made up of many layers;

  • The ways we think about the world…

Added by Alistair Kerr on November 6, 2015 at 7:00 — No Comments

Workplace Culture: A Leader’s Ultimate Tool or Ultimate Downfall?

I think that the true work of business leaders is best summed up by management guru Edgar Schein who said “The only thing of real importance that leaders do is create and manage culture". Workplace culture or “the way we do things around here” is made up of group members' shared understanding of beliefs, values, norms, and practices. Culture ultimately determines a business’s success. 


Workplace Culture: A Powerful Tool

Leaders hold a special power over…


Added by Alistair Kerr on October 1, 2015 at 12:07 — 2 Comments

“R U OK?” Day: 1 out of 365 isn’t enough

We shouldn’t need “R U OK” day. There, I said it. Don’t get me wrong, “R U OK?” day is a fantastic initiative that raises awareness about mental health and wellbeing (I’m a huge fan), but we shouldn’t need “R U OK?” day. To me, having a special day to highlight the promotion of mental health and wellbeing is a sad reminder that we are failing for the other 364 days of the year - we simply don’t do enough.

So, what should we do? The answer is simple, don’t wait for “R U OK?” day, start…


Added by Alistair Kerr on September 2, 2015 at 9:25 — No Comments

M&A success hinges on Workplace Culture

With market conditions emerging from the cold winter of the GFC, 2014 saw a 7 year high in Merger and Acquisition (M&A) activity. The rewards for successful M&As are enviable, increased status, phenomenally accelerate growth, and the chance to corner the market. However, most M&As fail to deliver, with an estimated 50% to (an unbelievable) 90% of M&As performing below expectations. On paper most of these deals seem like they should have succeed. There were sound strategic…


Added by Alistair Kerr on August 6, 2015 at 8:18 — No Comments

Employee Engagement: Goldmine, not Money Pit

“Monday morning feels so bad, Everybody seems to nag me… I’ve got Friday on my mind”. This Easy Beats classic could easily represent the workweek soundtrack for 76% of the Australian and New Zealand workforce, whom according to Gallup polling are either not engaged, or actively disengaged at work. In contrast, engaged employees don’t dread Mondays and don’t clock watch on Fridays. Engaged employees are highly motivated and give their all while at work. These engaged employees exhibit…


Added by Alistair Kerr on July 8, 2015 at 11:44 — No Comments

Leadership Development: Close the gaps in your strategy

When most people think about Leadership Development they’re missing the point. When most people think about Leadership Development they think about training programs with flashy brochures, and highly energetic presenters. Now, these types of sessions are part of the picture, they inspire, entertain, and sometimes even provide new insight for leaders, but Leadership Development is more than this. Effective Leadership Development is about the long game, and it’s all about strategy.



Added by Alistair Kerr on June 4, 2015 at 15:37 — No Comments

Does your workplace culture support or strangle your business's strategy?

In my job as a psychologist helping businesses to support and get the most out of their staff I'm fortunate to be invited into a wide range of workplaces. Some workplaces I visit feel energised, and the staff report that they love their job and colleagues. In these workplaces productivity is high, internal and external customers are satisfied, innovation happens, and unwanted turnover is low. In contrast, other workplaces feel tense, staff are barely on speaking terms with each other, and…


Added by Alistair Kerr on May 7, 2015 at 15:50 — 1 Comment

To find leadership look beyond labels

Leadership is perhaps the most written about topic in Business and Human Resources. This is unsurprising given that all businesses have leaders, and that the quality of leadership is one of the greatest determinants of individual employee, team, and organisational success. Yet despite its recognised importance to business success, and the copious volumes written about it, we still don’t quite understand leadership. Anyone who has stepped foot in the workplace can easily recount working for a…


Added by Alistair Kerr on April 9, 2015 at 14:06 — 1 Comment

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