Internet rage – is your business at risk?

My website was hacked recently. I’m really quite ignorant when it comes to all things about my website, so when I received an email from my host telling me that they’d had to pull the site down until I fixed it (me, fix it? are you kidding?) I confess to being quite shocked and upset. Particularly as the wording of the email went along the lines of “you agreed when you signed up to being hosted that you would not cause any disrepute to our site”. Of course I agreed that and was rather upset that they felt I had knowingly done something that would. Anyway…

I duly spent a small amount of money to subscribe to a security firm in the US that was affiliated with the host, then a larger amount of money to pay to have the malicious code (“malware”) removed line by line, which apparently wasn’t part of the smaller subscription.

Two days after I had been assured that it was now over and I could breathe a sigh of relief, I received an email from a young guy in the UK that he had sent through the “contact us” capture on the website. Let’s call him Josh, since that was his name. His email went along the lines of, “stop sending me emails” and signed off by referring to me as a “c*!%”.

Most language doesn’t offend me, I’ve worked in heavy industry for too long. Of course when it’s directed at me it’s never pleasant, but the “c” word really does bother me whenever it’s used. So, I duly responded to Josh, asking if it was really necessary to use that language and apologising that he had received spam but my website had been hacked.

Managing employee behaviour – video

For something different I thought I’d pop in a video interview that gives a very brief overview of performance / behaviour management in the workplace. Please click on the link below.

[sz-youtube url=”” cover=”Employees behaving badly – performance management” /]

 Employees behaving badly – performance management

Please let me know if the idea works for you as an occasional blog entry!

Sexual Banter in the Workplace? We Voted No!!

The 10 Network Australia’s “Can of Worms” program last year aired a show that included the question “Is a bit of sexual banter OK at work?”

It was disappointing in this day and age to see that most of the presenters felt that it was OK, with John Safran the only one who said it was unacceptable.

Julie Goodwin of Masterchef fame said that in her experience in the entertainment industry (which granted, is not extensive) it is quite commonplace for sexual banter and innuendo to occur. From memory her comments were along the line of ‘a bit of slap and tickle is OK’.

Nice one Julie, advancing the cause of women in the workplace everywhere.

One of the other presenters (I think it was Chrissie Swan) commented that we spend so much of our time at work, if we don’t engage in sexual banter there how will we ever meet someone?

The seven deadly sins of workplace technology

Some tips on how not to use technology in the workplace…

Working in HR, I occasionally come across poor behaviour in the workplace. In today’s workplace it often involves technology. Anyone who has attended a bullying / harassment / discrimination education session that I’ve run in the past will have heard me say that as soon as someone invents a new piece of technology, someone else invents something stupid and possibly career-limiting to do with it.

The gender of workplace bullying

Ok, straight up i’m going to put a couple of disclaimers on this article. It does contain generalisations made on the basis of gender. These generalisations absolutely don’t apply to everyone in their respective gender.

The second disclaimer is that the observations are made within the context of Australian organisations, and different countries and cultures will undoubtedly have different patterns of behaviour.

Now that’s out of the way…

Discrimination in the 21st century

Recently the UK government has stated that it is considering making positive discrimination legal to try increase the number of female senior executives and board members in our large businesses. And then last night I read an article that stated that in the USA it is becoming common in job adverts to state that only currently employed people to apply for the job.

I worked for all of my corporate life in a very male dominated environment – engineering. I was lucky that I was never accused of getting a new job/ promotion because I was female. I DID however get asked to undertake additional roles because of my sex, but they were things I was happy to do as long as they didn’t interfere with the delivery of my day job. I was also always given the opportunity to say no with no penalty.

Why employers should invest in lifelong learning

I’ve seen a lot of employers who are reluctant to part with their cash in exchange for training.

Some of the time their hesitance is justified, for a number of reasons:

  • Attending a training course is seen as a quick fix – which it very rarely is
  • Training outcomes may be misaligned with business needs
  • Some courses are exorbitantly priced, clearly on a “demand is high or our service is exclusive and if you want it, you’ll pay it” basis.

Where I think employers do need to revisit their position is to consider assisting their employees to engage in lifelong, relevant learning – whether or not it has a direct or short-term business outcome.

Stick with me on this.

Enquiries into literacy and numeracy in the last 3 years have found that half of Australians have literacy and numeracy levels that are less than acceptable for anything beyond relatively low-skilled work.

The danger of making assumptions

I recently took my husband with me to purchase a new laptop for my business. For no other reason really than he was around and not doing anything, and I like him to be included in what’s happening in the business. When I asked the young sales assistant the first questions about the laptop I was interested in, I watched him give the answers to my husband. He occasionally glanced at me but most of his responses indicated that he thought I wasn’t the one making the decision to buy. A couple of times during the conversation, he went so far as to turn side on to me and speak directly to my husband. He assumed that my husband was the purchasing power on the day when in fact I was the one with the interest and the one with the cash.

In the same week, I interviewed a candidate for an entry level operator position. My co-interviewers were both men. At one point in the conversation, the candidate started to describe a plant situation and said to my co-interviewers “you guys will understand this.” I have more than 20 years of experience in heavy industry, and I understood perfectly what he was talking about. He assumed that I wouldn’t. I won’t label his reasons as that would be an assumption in itself…

With Banks not lending what alternative sources of funding are there?

This is the question that many SME’s are asking in ever increasing numbers. If the Banks will not lend to them who will? The answer is that there are many alternative sources of funding that many people are totally unaware of. There are even some products from main stream lenders that seem to be forgotten. Here are just a few examples, but remember these are ‘alternative’ sources and as such are more expensive than High Street lenders.

Do you have a contingency plan?

Fate has been conspiring against me of late.  From repeated power cuts at home where my business is based, to helping a client move office and being let down on the phone line and broadband transfer.  However, all is not as bad as it seems, because I am a pessimist!  Why should this be cause for celebration amongst all these mishaps?  Well being a pessimist means I have contingency plans in place.

I work virtually which means that most of my work is done online over the internet.  To do this I obviously need electricity, a computer and an internet connection.  Fear not, although the router may have gone down with the power I have a wonderful little gadget called a MiFi.  It’s a portable wireless router and has served me very well since it’s purchase early last year. It can generate a wireless signal for up to five computers, including the iPhone and iPod Touch.  As it doesn’t need to be connected via USB if it is fully charged it makes it a really flexible little gadget.  It also means I don’t have to go running to find my nearest Starbucks or McDonalds in search of a wireless signal.  I’ve found it much quicker than the traditional mobile broadband dongle I used to use.

With a little help from my friends …

So if you have read some of my blog posts before, especially on my own site, you will have no doubt realised that there have been many occasions in my life where times have been tough and I have been left reeling. However, I am a strong believer in no matter what life deals you, if you get knocked down, you dust yourself off and bounce right back again, but this time not only stronger but also smarter because you learn from that episode in your life.

I know so many people who have gone through all kinds of challenges within their lives and they still keep fighting and smiling. So, why is it that when people receive knocks and obstacles within their business lives, they often crumble at the first sign of difficulty? Having gone through personal and professional difficulties, I believe I know the answer.

Business Head vs Human Heart

Business is all about figures and is widely acclaimed as the only language of business.  This is why Richard Branson can run an airline, a makeup company, a railway, a media company, Virgin Comics, a formula 1 racing team and the list goes on.  However there is always a human element. I’m not just talking the people involved but the heart of the business owner. If you are in business for yourself it’s because you are passionate about something.  Whether this is plastering, cabling, security, electrics or social media you started because you love it.  This is when the cold hard world of business and your heart start to do battle and sometimes in business this can be quiet often.  However, in life in general you can allow your heart to win more than not, but in business it has to be the head that triumphs more often.

I don’t need a Virtual Assistant!

How to make the most out of your Virtual Assistant

Have you ever thought about using a Virtual Assistant? Perhaps you use one already, but do you use them to their full potential?

A lot of people think that they don’t need a Virtual Assistant, that they can manage on their own. That’s fine, but is that the most effective and efficient use of your time?

Take a notepad and for one day write down every task you carry out, be honest with yourself.  At the end of the day review this list and ask yourself if that was really the best use of your time.  If someone else had carried out just some of those tasks for you would that have made you more effective, if you hadn’t been carrying out those tasks could you have generated more income?

Why I started Virtual Health

Why I started Virtual Health

I started working with individuals because I love bringing out the best in them – and that’s what I’m at! I identified that there was a niche in the health & fitness market place, initially, for those individuals who were embarrassed to go to the gym.

There’s an ‘ugly frog’ in the room

Having a brainstorming meeting with my good friend Michelle Dalley (, she asked me what my ‘ugly frog’ was? I had never before heard this expression and Michelle explained that in business everyone has their own ugly frog, something that sits in the corner of the room that you don’t want to face or deal with. For many, its paperwork, you know you have to do it but you will do anything you can to avoid facing it.

Mine is without doubt making sales calls, I love meeting people face to face and am happy to do this all day long but I will do everything possible to avoid making a cold call.

So how do we embrace this and turn our ugly frog into a handsome prince?