We all enjoyed connecting to nature and the walking community with a 103 K walk from Apollo Bay to Gibson Steps and the 12 Apostles on Victoria’s Southern coastline. It was a magical walk in the tall forests, along rocky headlands and coastal heath in a small group of 5 adventurers. There were lots of ups and downs with beautiful vistas. The timing was perfect with warm and sunny weather.
Some years back I was privileged to attend a day workshop with Harvard Professor John Kotter who is a wonderful story teller and human being. John uses a fable about a penguin colony in Antarctica. A group of beautiful emperor penguins live as they have for many years. Then, one curious bird discovers a potentially devastating problem threatening their home, and when he raises the issue, no one listens to him in “Our Iceberg is Melting”. This is a great story for addressing change and very relevant to the Ageing Population iceberg. Australia is faced with. The productivity concerns, lack of savings in superannuation or government coffers and the waste of human capital that is occurring with mass early retirements to the seaside are a major dilemma for policy makers.
At the local government level in Australia Positive Ageing Strategies and Economic Development Plans appear to be largely based on old thinking about a person’s productive life ending somewhere between 50 to 65 years of age. The tinkering around the edges approach to strategy development and planning seems to accommodate current developments with a larger percentage of the community being over 65, capable and well, but do they? My feeling is these plans or strategies do not cut the mustard effectively addressing the ageing population dilemma for councils or communities. These plans are something like the safety plan on the Titanic with good intentions, but not supported by behavioural change to steer a safe and prudent course around the melting icebergs.
I advocate that local governments should seize the opportunity and lead the Australian community on the Ageing Population challenge. The economic, social, cultural and environmental implications of not addressing the melt of the Ageing Population iceberg are a significant risk factor for sustainable communities. By using similar approaches to that described by John Kotter for business local governments could utilise the energy for urgent changes leading their communities. Local governments are well placed to take this opportunity and be at the forefront building the coalition for change collaborating with their communities.
Tony Gibson, SPIRIT.3H
The significant increase in the flows of information such as emails, texts and social media means that individuals are looking for coping strategies to achieve peace of mind and clearer thought processes. More and more people seem to be suffering from health issues like burnout and needing time out with excessively busy or chaotic lives.
The practice of Yoga Chi Gung (YCG) offers hope being meditative by design connecting the body and the mind. By exercising while being centred and with the breath you will experience feelings of clarity, vitality and will be better prepared to deal with information.
The earlier in your life stage you take on the practice of regular meditation the better for your wellbeing through your life course. With regular meditation the mind becomes calm and silent yet alert and more change ready. As you become more practised in meditation you will be able to achieve this on your own. The YCG teacher will provide guided meditation and techniques in the class aiding a deeper feeling of peace and calm.
In the digital age we have some digital solutions and you might like to visit one of the new online meditation tools like whil.com sixty (60) second tool for mediation or visit www.spirit3h.com.au/yoga-chi-gung/ for tools and information on regular classes.
Contact Tony on MS 0419791860, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the web site http://spirit3h.com.au/yoga-chi-gung/ for more information.
The life course for many people will be quite different with an ageing population across the globe. This significant demographic change will require new models of ageing according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
For everyone to benefit from workplaces, citizens and communities strategists will need to acknowledge and respond to the increase in the percentage of older people. Strategist’s projections whether in government, industry or not for profits sectors will need to address the long held stereotypes about older people’s active participation. Please visit the WHO slide show for some of the facts on this change.
What is your measure of success? Harvard Business School is asking students to consider making a positive difference for their colleagues, their organisations, their families and society as a whole their measures of success as leaders. Also, the practice of mindfulness leadership is taught with meditation practices to gain awareness, clarity and manage stress. Passion for our work and compassion for others are the types of values that can be maintaind with the practice of daily meditation. See Mindfulness Helps You Become Better Leaders by Professor Bill George in the Harvard Business Review.
It is not surprising that attention to work and life balance, health and flexibility increases productivity and profits. In my experience there is a direct relationship between workers feeling energised and their level of engagement and productivity.
Older workers like most of the workforce are looking for flexibility as they enter a career transition phase of their lives. Baby boomers want to stay healthy and energised with part-time and contracting providing great opportunities to achieve balance.
Global researchers Regus recently found that 72% of senior managers and business owners surveyed believed that flexibility drives productivity (China 90% and India 79%). The study also found 63% of workers felt more energised and motivated by having flexible work arrangements such as ongoing part-time work.
Australian and New Zealand organisations are starting to develop approaches like that of our Asian neighbours offering more flexibility to meet demand.
To quote Regus “Energized and motivated staff will be enjoying their jobs more and will be less likely to leave their company confirming that flexible working is becoming an evermore important and widely acknowledged talent retention tool.”
The Australian Government has just released an excellent guide Investing in Experience highlighting the business case for an age friendly workforce. The Investing in Experience Employment Charter asks Australia’s business leaders to demonstrate the following principles:
- We know our workforce and plan for the future
- We recruit the best regardless of age
- We believe in lifelong learning and we encourage skills and knowledge transfer
- We are proactive in retaining our staff
- We support our employees in the transition to retirement
- We practice age diversity
- We provide a safe working environment
- We involve our staff
- We promote and share better practice
In the Staying On Programme we can show how to take advantage of employing a mature age workforce. Visit the Staying On website www.stayingon.com.au.
Organisations are starting to address skills shortages by developing age friendly workplaces where succession and talent management are inclusive. Retaining and transferring the skills is one of the largest workforce challenge of the 21st Century. The Age Wave sees the baby boomers generation now able to leave the workforce reaching age 65.
The Australian Government has recently appointed an Age Discrimination Commissioner as Treasurer Wayne Swan highlights the significant challenges for the economy.
Want to know how your organisation can benefit from a Staying On Programme and become age friendly?
Contact: Tony Gibson, SPIRIT.3H – MS 0419791860 or visit www.stayingon.com.au
Life itself can not be improved upon yet each person can contribute to the betterment of society and the earth.
This can be achieved by being centered and sensitive to what is happening at the time.
The wise person naturally avoids extremes, excesses and complacency.
This quote from Ancient Chinese sages acknowledged the need to achieve balance in our lives and this is still relevant in our world today. By achieving balance each person can contribute in a positive way connecting to community and nature leading to Happiness, Health and Harmony (3H).
Movements as practiced in Yoga and Chi Gung have been used through out the ages to promote healing, strength, flexibility and balance. In the orient, internal arts and spiritual exercises were developed to not only develop the body, but also the mind. In oriental yoga the body functions according to the flow of chi or life force. Yoga Chi Gung integrates a range of practices including Chi Gung, Tai Chi and Yoga.
Yoga Chi Gung cultivates awareness and resolves stress, both physical and psychological. By moving the body in the most natural way the practice is invigorating and nurturing yet building body awareness and strength of muscles as you achieve balance.
The practice is designed to be within your capacity by extending without tension and challenging without stress. Stretching is within your body limits. Yoga Chi Gung practice does not require past experience or a level of flexibility to commence practicing.
Why not learn the art of balance? You will benefit by being centered with a feelings of vitality, improved blood circulation and breathing. Increase your strength and suppleness and the ability to move through change and life’s challenging situations. Improve the quality of your sleep and relaxation and learn useful stress management techniques.
SPIRIT.3H Yoga Chi Gung classes are offered at The Northshore Community Centre, David Low Way, Mudjimba on the Sunshine Coast and at 71 Somerset Road at Kedron in Brisbane. Classes are also suitable for businesses to be delivered in the workplace.
Workplace Wellness uses “Presenteeism” to describe when workers aren’t really present or engaged in what they are doing in the workplace. There is a lack of energy, productive effort and employee wellbeing. The result is workplace illness, injury and absenteeism with significant productivity loss estimated at $25.7 billion in 2005-6 to the Australian economy.
Engagement studies show employees nationally as being lowly engaged with sixty-five percent (65%) not far above being ambivalent on a scale where 100% is highly engaged. So how can we address this disengagement, lack of passion and energy for a large percentage of the workforce?
Engaging people in organisation’s requires effective leadership, people, change management and systems. When people are not engaged productivity suffers, costs are not contained and chances of developing a competitive world class culture that is innovative and sustainable are low.
More holistic approaches to change and performance management like the Balanced Score Card (BSC) and Quadruple Bottom Line (QBL) give hope in addressing people engagement concerns. This is particularly with a workplace wellness goal aligning strategies and initiatives. In a quadruple bottom line spiritual energy is added to the mix of ingredients. Understanding and observing the principles of a QBL bringing economic, social, environmental and spiritual aspects into the equation for change can bring success. Similarly in the People, Growth and Learning perspective in the BSC we can incorporate Workplace Wellness and Energy in the strategy map, initiatives and performance indicators to achieve success.
People that are highly engaged and energised will network largely with people with similar values to achieve a responsiveness and connection to the wider community and customers. Consequently, leadership, culture, learning, communication and resulting policies like flexible work practice, corporate health and work and family policies are aligned. For example corporate health and learning including yoga, massage, corporate sporting competitions and outdoor challenge simulations for leadership development and team building are often present.
I recently attended the Australian Open Tennis Championship in Melbourne watching the winning players prepare, execute the shots, resting and rebuilding energy locked into the moment. This reminded me of tennis sports psychologist Jim Loehr’s focus on the importance of spiritual energy. Loehr says “What people want from us is our energy,” “And yet we don’t shepherd it at all. We take it for granted.” As a result, most of us are playing the game at half our mental potential”. Loehr’s advice and Professor Marc Cohen’s recent work at RMIT in Melbourne support eastern practices such as yoga for addressing presenteeism, workplace wellness and energy of the human spirit. This aligns well with my practice and teaching in Yoga Chi Gung.
By starting with a more holistic approach to change there is the opportunity to develop a world class culture that can win a People’s Choice Award attracting and retaining top talent. Get your team engaged and productive and on the road to being potential world champions. Spiritual energy with a passionate team could be your path to success with Wellness and Energy part of a winning change management solution in 2011.
Tony Gibson M.Bus B.Econ Director _ SPIRIT.3H Learning and Development
Explore the SPIRIT.3H Website to find out more www.spirit3h.com.au