All posts by Clim Pacheco

About Clim Pacheco

Business management consultant with an aim to create brighter futures for individuals, companies and countries through transfer of expertise, life skills and insights gained from executive management careers in financial services (insurance and finance), transport, education (management and leadership) and engineering (power and transport).

Let’s not underestimate the role of management in the workplace.

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The focus on leadership in the workplace may underplay the role that management has in the smooth functioning of organisations.

There is no doubt that leaders inspire others to do things that the latter might not have otherwise thought of or thought possible. Inspirational leadership creates an environment that encourages innovation and creativity.

But what if the work environment only had leaders and no managers?

Managers take the great ideas (and indeed have inspiring ideas of their own but sometimes may not have the courage or the encouragement to take the ideas further) and direction set by the leaders, to make the idea real.

They know how to look at the detailed requirements, are familiar with their staff as well as the local environment, and manage the change to the new paradigm.

Great managers often have the pulse of the organisation, can make or break the culture, love the challenge of making things happen and at all times are aware of the impact of the change on their staff and work closely with them to ensure that the new reality will work for all.

Great managers also have very good project management and risk management skills and bring this to bear when faced with new vision from leaders and the need to change the focus of the team and organisation to the new direction.

Covey, Peter Drucker and  Warren Bennis, stated that “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

Organisations therefore need both leaders and managers in order to realise the ultimate vision.

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Is there a place for P-BHAGs in our lives? I believe so.

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In the 1994 “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” book, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras coined the word BHAG- Big Hairy Audacious Goal, for organisations to pursue a “10-to-30 year goal to progress towards an envisioned future”.

They stated that ” a true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as a unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organisation can know when it has achieved the goal- people like to shoot for finish lines”.

Great for organisations, but is there a place for P-BHAGs- Personal Big Hairy Audacious Goals in our lives?

I believe that each of us has had P-BHAGs but have not identified them as such – just lived them. May be we ought to take some time in reflecting on our lives and our P-BHAGs.

On 28 July 1962, I stood on the shores of the mighty Lake Victoria, at Ripon Falls, Jinja, Uganda. It was the centenary of the discovery of the source of the Nile by John Hanning Speke. Without any preamble, my dad put his hand on my shoulder and said “Dream your life, Clim”.

I was taken aback by this request. As a nine years old, one did not spend too much time on reflection of what life has to offer. Indeed life in the wild African jungles and the adventures that presented themselves were enough dreams for me.

Never did I realise that at that very moment, I would be creating my P-BHAGs. I would hear about Collins and Porras and BHAGs years later.

P-BHAGs 1 and 2:

I stated that I would one day become a hydro power systems engineer (P-BHAG 1), and also one day, go to the other end of the River Nile (P-BHAG 2).

Small dreams for my youthful life.

The former dream was influenced by the fact that our very close family friend was the chief engineer of the Owen Falls Dam and hydro-electric plant in Jinja, and a person I admired for his strong personality. Engineering seemed like fun.

The latter dream was one of curiosity. If John Hanning Speke was keen on locating the source of the River Nile, yours truly was keen on seeing where River Nile ended. The reverse explorer.

On 1 July 1976, in Karjat, India, about 4,973 kilometers from Jinja, Uganda and 14 years from the fateful day when I dared to dream, I commenced my hydro power systems engineering career in Tata Electric Companies Andhra Valley Hydro-Electric Pty Ltd.

My first P-BHAG became reality.

On 6 May 1982, in Cairo, Egypt, about 3,302 kilometres from Jinja, Uganda and 20 years from the day I dared to dream, I saw where the mighty Nile flowed towards the Mediterranean Sea- not quite the end of the journey, but almost there.

My second P-BHAG became reality.

Satisfied that the P-BHAGs were now completed, in the sandy deserts of Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates, I contemplated on the subtle driving force that those P-BHAGs had on me. I did not remember them, nor did I brood on them as a youth, but I am convinced that they were in my subconscious and surfaced when I had to make decisions on what I wanted to do.

Emboldened and motivated by the ability to dream and realise dreams, I decided to create some new P-BHAGs.

P-BHAGs 3, 4, 5 and 6:

The 30:45:60 goals

I decided to have a goal of changing my career from being a satisfied and fulfilled engineer at 30 and thereafter pursuing a career in management culminating in senior executive management by the age of 45. P-BHAG 3 was formulated.

I decided that at 45, I would change careers and pursue a career where I would give back something to society till 60, but I was not going to state what that would be. Indeed, I had no idea what that might be. P-BHAG 4 evolved.

I also decided I would, at 60, free-fall, and do whatever I wanted to do. Somewhere in that was the desire to pursue dreams, but again, there was no inkling of what that might be. P-BHAG 5 was thought of.

The final BHAG as I sat on the hot sands of Arabia, was that I would write my autobiography in 3 stages- the first at 30, the second at 45 and the final one at 60. P-BHAG 6 was envisioned.

The idea of writing the autobiography in stages, was that I would have a warts and all reflection on my life, aspirations, frustrations and happy moments, and not colour it with only one autobiography at 60 where my memory may have me jotting down the good things and discounting the not so good. Hence, there was never a desire to publish the autobiographies. And they have not been published- and probably never will be.

P-BHAGs realisation:

P-BHAGs 3, 4, 5 and partially 6 have all been realised. It has been a wonderful journey. It did not all go to a clinical plan, but was within a year of the target date.

I have enjoyed the exciting careers in power systems and transport engineering till 30 and the executive management careers in transport till 45 (P-BHAG 3), thereafter management and leadership education and insurance and finance education till 60 (P-BHAG 4). P-BHAG 5 commenced on 23 May 2013 with the establishment of Business Transformation Solutions (BTS).

P-BHAG 4 was embarking on an education career and helping students and managers Australia wide in the field of management and leadership. P-BHAG 4 also included pursuing an education role in insurance, finance and risk management with students in 30 countries and a membership reach in 50 countries.

P-BHAG 5 was pursuing a career working on social and community causes and resulted in setting up a consultancy business, Business Transformation Solutions to pursue this cause. It is also about pursuing a career in public speaking. It has been 2 years since it was established, and the energy and drive has not abated. There are challenges but they are there to build resilience.

Over the years, the exact nature of the P-BHAGs evolved as I reflected on what I would like to do, what I believed I could contribute to society and they became larger than life. I just had to pursue them. Reason and logic took second place.

P-BHAG 6 is a work in progress. The first autobiography was penned down at 30, in the deserts of the United Arab Emirates, the second keyed in on a desktop computer at 45 in the peaceful suburbs of Burwood East, Australia. The third is evolving via social media. It is still in the embryonic stage. Hence, the goals of 60 have just commenced.

A baby boomer may be forgiven for slowing down…but there can be no excuses for not having a continued purpose.

All of us have P-BHAGs. I have heard so many exciting stories of the lives of so many. They need to be told.

Will you tell your story?

I hope you do.

Is this the age of ‘U’niqueissance- Renaissance Mark 2 ?

Let us take a journey back to the hey days of the Renaissance,when the likes of Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci created masterpieces that we still marvel at.

What is so admirable is that both of them and many of their generation engaged in and pursued their many talents during their lifetime – Michelangelo a sculptor, poet, painter, engineer and architect ; Leonardo Da Vinci a painter, inventor, architect, musician, mathematician, inventor, geologist, botanist and writer to name a few.

They did not appear to constrained by the “qualifications” that they earned (engineer, doctor, lawyer, environmentalist, etc.) and stuck in an office working in the same stream by virtue of what they had studied.

They were comfortable in pursuing their wide and varied talents and excelled in them. They might have been labelled rebels in their time – or trail blazers.

In essence, they were expressing their individuality in what they did and not who they were portrayed to be.

They probably faced criticism from peers and family with comments such as not being able to “hold on to one job” or “not fulfilling their promise” because they moved around so much.

And yet, today, their achievements still stand tall.

We look at them with awe and sometimes dream of an era when the free spirit and enterprise that they displayed will come back to the fore.

It appears that this era is on usThe age of ‘U’niquessance is here.

The essence of ‘U’ is what companies now look for. One’s uniqueness is what adds value and brings meaning in work, in our life and seamless integration of work and life.

More people are looking at the “why” in what they want to do, rather than focusing on “what” they do. The purpose steers the interest and the passion.

These are exciting times as one can re-engage with ones inner desires and dreams and create the work and role that will bring out the best in them.

Social media, technology and the connected world allows one to bring out that unique you and the rebirth of the new Renaissance Mark 2 : The age of ‘U’niquessance.

This has to be exciting!!!

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Is leadership a lonely journey?

Leaders are often driven by high ideals such as equality and justice for all, fairness, the thought of a better world, and raising the bar for the impoverished and disadvantaged – visions of a world that only the strong-willed are able to contemplate and do something about.

Often the fruits of their effort come years after they embark on the journey. Some, like J.F.Kennedy (man landing on the moon) and Martin Luther King (I have a dream), do not live to see the realisation of their pursuits.

Others like Mahatma Gandhi (independence for India), Nelson Mandela (end of apartheid in South Africa), Mother Theresa (serving the poor and destitute), Steve Jobs (launch of the iPhone), Bill Gates (launch of Microsoft, launch of the William H. Gates Foundation), Richard Branson (launch of Virgin Airlines) live to see their dreams come true – years after the painful and lonely journey commenced.

It is hard to imagine that these leaders did not have doubts at times, and despair at other times, and indeed loneliness at the thought of continuing on the path of leadership. The dark clouds of anxiety may have at times seemed insurmountable.

What appears to get leaders over the line is that whilst they may have times of doubt and indeed anxiety, these moments are overcome by their supreme belief in the cause, their drive and faith in humanity.

Leaders may be lonely, but they are not alone.

They are boosted by followers and other leaders who have enormous faith and belief in them, and nudge them along, provide moral support and energy for them to continue.

They are driven by the purpose and know why they must continue.

They create other leaders as a result of their passion.

At times, they may not know how to realise the dream, but they inspire others to provide the momentum, drive, social networks, solutions and numbers for the change to occur.

True leaders display qualities such as:

  • Tenacity
  • Resilience
  • Faith in humanity
  • Selflessness
  • Drive and passion

They do not give up. They believe in the cause so much that they are willing to sacrifice themselves and indeed many have done so.

Leaders allow us to dream of a better future, but they go much further and make the dream come true.

So do not be overcome by obstacles. Leaders find ways to surmount them.

Leaders may be lonely, but they certainly are not alone.

Entrepreneurship- one solution to longer life expectancy and unemployment?

The Federal Government’s 2015 Inter generational Report paints a sobering picture of Australia in 2054-55. Too far ahead for many to ponder but “life expectancy at birth in 2054-55 is projected to be 95.1 years for men and 96.6 years for women” (2015 Intergenerational report p.vii).

The report states that ” ‘active ageing’ presents great opportunities for older Australians to keep participating in the workforce and community for longer” (ibid p.viii).

Of concern too, is that the AMP NATSEM (National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling) report that states that Australia’s youth unemployment is 27.2% and is 4.5 times higher than the rest of the population (ABC news website,Business reporter Michael Janda, 17 Nov 2014).

The ABS (Australian Bureau of Stastics) estimates the current seasonally adjusted unemployment rate Australia for February 2015 is 6.3% (ABS website, Labour Force, Australia, Feb 2015) .

The above statistics coupled with the displacement of workers through technological advances, robots “taking over menial as well as not so menial work” and the general slowing down of some global economies, calls for rethinking about what work will look like for the current Gen Y, Gen X and indeed Baby boomers in the years to come.

Jeremy Rifkin in his thought provoking book “The End of Work” published in 1995, stated that the “world is fast polarizing into two potentially irreconcilable forces; on one side, an information elite that controls and manages the high-tech global economy; and on the other, the growing numbers of permanently displaced workers, who have few prospects and little hope for meaningful employment in an increasingly automated world”.

That was predicted 20 years ago – and how true and worrying it is. The statistics prove the need for rethinking work and its new form.

Can entrepreneurship be the answer for some?

Should people be banking on the traditional forms of employment – working for someone else or for companies that are looking for ways to reduce the workforce – or take control of their destinies?

I believe the time has come for individuals from all generations to ponder the possibility of working for themselves and offering their unique services and skills either through consultancy services or contracting.

One should not be thinking of a “working for one company” strategy, but “working for multiple companies” strategy, and offering different skills to different companies or individuals.

This allows for longevity in work and one can continue working well into the twilight years without facing the judgmental voices of “when is this person going to retire or move on so that I can move into their role?”. Every generation will face this question.

It is a powerful and liberating feeling, with its share of challenges, but certainly worth considering. Business Transformation Solutions (BTS) was created 2 years ago based on the above entrepreneurial concept and hopes to create a model for others to consider. So far it has been an exciting journey.

If the future is a life expectancy of 95.1 years for men, and 96.6 for women, no government can ever be able to support any pension scheme and the current superannuation model is not sustainable with such life expectancies.

One needs to take control of life now.

Is it time to think about it?

Welcome to the journey.

Would the insurance and banking industries gain more from stakeholder management rather than shareholder management?

The stability of the Australian economy is strongly influenced and anchored by the strength of the insurance, superannuation and banking industries. There is no question that the wealth of these sectors is necessary for the continued prosperity of Australia.

This was clearly evident during the Global Financial Crisis and now in the post mining boom era. Australia came out of the former relatively unscathed.

However, there appears to be a preponderance of attention, by the banks and the insurance companies and to a limited extent the superannuation companies, on their shareholders rather than the main stakeholders in their wealth supply chain- namely the individuals and businesses that engage with and are the main suppliers of the “wealth”.

The latter are dependent on the fair and equitable conduct of the banks and insurance companies, and this should go beyond good customer service to caring for their welfare.

A stab in the right direction has been engagement by these companies in corporate social responsibility and the swell in corporate volunteering, workplace giving and sponsoring of workplace programs. This is a great step in the right direction, but it often does not focus on the individuals and businesses that directly engage with the banks and insurance companies.

There must therefore be a concerted effort to get back to basics and provide true benefits and care for those struggling individuals and businesses who are now affected by the downturn in the economy.

Those stakeholders were the mainstay of the banks and insurance companies in the good times and it is time that they were afforded special assistance and support for their loyalty in the not so good times.

This social conscience aspect would go very far in raising the profile of the banks and insurance companies and arguably result in regaining the trust and confidence that may have ebbed in the era of economic rationalism.

It is time for human rationalism and arguably, this move to stakeholder management from shareholder management, might actually result in a stronger and more robust economy- because trust will have been re-established.

Financial gains will follow.

When is the right time to change careers or life direction?

It is not easy to decide when to change careers or life direction.

A system I have adopted over 38 years of my working life was to do a “where am I” audit (“career or life balance sheet”) on the annual anniversary of the day I joined the company. I would ask myself the following questions:
1. Am I an asset or a liability to the company?
2. Is the company an asset or a liability to me?
If the liabilities exceeded the assets or was fast approaching it, I would review what I really loved to do next, and do it.
This has led to wonderful vastly different careers in various countries in engineering (transport and power), executive management (transport and insurance and finance), education (management and leadership, insurance and finance) and now consulting and social work.

The changes require effort but the rewards are phenomenal.

Is it time to do your “career or life balance sheet”?

Will the internet lead to the demise of education as we know it?

Access to information in the internet age is so easy that no longer does one have to go to libraries, refer to journals or encyclopedias, or undertake research in the conventional sense.

The answers are there at the touch of a screen.

MOOCS, and the fascination with on-line education is as a result of the pervasiveness of the internet and its influence on our life- a convenience that we no longer can reverse, nor would we wish to do so.

But what does this mean for education as we know it?

Conventional education meant going to school, then college and thereafter university or TAFE if one so desired and learning through classes where the font of knowledge was in the teacher, the professor or other learned person.

Studies and education involved attending classes and being examined to determine ones comprehension of the subject as also the awarding of a qualification to show to the outside world, that one has mastered the particular art or science as the case may be.

The internet has now taken the place (or is systematically taking the place) of these learned persons and one can only ponder the ramifications of this with respect to education.

The crux of the issue is accessing information as against assimilation and comprehension of information. Is access to information the basis of education or is the assimilation and testing of comprehension a fundamental aspect of education?

Is the ability to discern the authenticity of the information and its appropriateness a new requirement in the internet age?

Traditionally, the learned person reviewed the performance and assimilation of knowledge, and peer reviewed articles brought credence to publications and research papers.

In the internet age, will the discussion groups and special topic groups be the new peer review system?

Where learning is via the internet, who will be the new assessor and award the qualification? Is there a need for qualifications in the internet era?

The answers to these questions will progressively emerge over the next decade as industry too will have to decide how it will assess abilities and capabilities of “students in the internet age”.

Will we see the demise of qualifications and a new empowered self taught individual?

I reckon we will.

Reconciliation- a suggested approach

The first settlers in Australia, the indigenous people, were experts in land management. They preserved the land for generations and roamed the continent freely. Their life was peaceful and arguably without worries.

With the coming of the next generation of settlers, came a different lifestyle, the tilling of land, the ownership of property and the beginning of modernism.

Land use for agriculture, the felling of trees for building of homes and homesteads, mining and all the needs of modern civilization brought with it the change in the Australian landscape, as well as the inevitable use of land in a way that would never have been contemplated by the original inhabitants of Australia.

With the development of Australia, came the inevitable migration of people from many lands afar, seeking a better life.

Would there have been migration if we did not have the development through the toils of second generation of settlers? Most probably not. Many migrated to Australia precisely because was it was a developed nation and there has to be an acknowledgement that the second generation of settlers played an important and significant role in modern Australia.

I believe, though, that we now have to look at the effects of change in Australia in the context of climate change, rampant industrialization, denuding of the forests, etc.

Is it time to now look for a new paradigm for Australia, a new balance in how we use the knowledge of the indigenous people in helping us to see how to combat the effects of climate change and come up with new ideas on land management?

Could there be a role for government to set up a peak body comprising a cross section of indigenous people and other notable personalities to look at a new Australia for the generations of tomorrow?

We have a unique opportunity in Australia to show the way, a new way, to combine the past with the present, to use the intrinsic knowledge of the indigenous people with the scientific minds of later settlers to come up with solutions for the world of tomorrow.

It is time, but will we be bold enough to do something about it?

Are Millennials and Baby Boomers fundamentally different? Probably not…

It is often said that Millennials are very different from the Baby Boomers.

The former are supposedly for instant gratification, are not loyal to firms, will move jobs constantly, will prefer to rent rather than buy homes, love to travel in preference to working in a 9 to 5 job, and care a lot more about social and environmental issues.

This could translate to Baby Boomers seeking long-term gains and are comfortable with delayed gratification, are loyal to firms and have long tenures with organisations, prefer to buy rather than rent, will travel only when there is enough money in the kitty to do so, and do not really care about social and environmental issues.

This may not really be the case.

Both Millenials and Baby Boomers are products of their environments and economic and social contexts.

Everyone wishes to gain early outcomes for the time or effort invested whether it be from studies or in the work environment or otherwise.

Loyalty to any firm is based on a two-way traffic model – both parties have to invest equally in the raising of the standards of the individual and the firm. There cannot be loyalty if there is no trust between the firm and the individual.

A majority of people would love to travel and experience new cultures, environments and social contexts.

Some of the greatest social and environmental movements have been initiated by rock bands, industrialists, actors and individuals of the Baby Boomer generation.

Baby Boomers moved often in their careers and ventured into lands of plenty in order to make a living or experience new cultures and countries. The Arabian Gulf was the hot bed of work for the baby boomers in the 80’s just as China or the mines of Western Australia have been the places to be for Millennials in recent years.

Baby Boomers sought education in the US, Germany or the UK and so moved from various countries early in their lives to attain the best education of their times in foreign lands so that they could get a head start in the employment game. Their intention was no different from the current Millennials who want a return on their investment in education early and will seek the roles and positions to get a quick return on their investment of time and effort. If they have to move firms or careers to do so, that is what they ought to do.

Baby Boomers were the offspring of families that were just emerging from the horror effects of the Second World War and saw their families affected by the war. Some also saw the effects of the Vietnam war, the Iraq-Iran war, the oil crisis and so attempted to get some stability in their lives by purchasing homes, so that there was something tangible for them to have. That was their coping mechanism and so if they stayed in roles longer to pay off the mortgage, that was a wise choice that they made.

Millennials see the effects of high unemployment, high home prices, and recent wars and global events such as 9/11, etc and realise that their lives are and will be influenced by such events. Their way of coping will be very different to the tried and tested ways of Baby Boomers, and rightly so.

Each generation will be influenced by the social and environmental issues that confront them and how they try to solve those issues for themselves and their society is really up to them.

Let us not judge Millennials as they have a totally different set of circumstances to contend with and they are certainly tackling the issues head on. And for those Baby Boomers who are told that they were not really adventurous in their lives, just reflect back on those eventful moments and the turning points in careers, roles or otherwise and maybe you will see a bit of the Millennial streak in you.