Advance Australia's Culture

Advance Australian Culture Influencing a shift in assumptions and attitudes about the need for greater diversity and how it can improve growth opportunities within Australia and across Asian nations

Leadership Change Brings Opportunity for Culture Change

Friday, September 13, 2013

Tony Abbott's anointment as the 28th Prime Minister of Australia marks the beginning of a new era. The leadership change of any culture makes followers look for signs of what the new leader values as a guide to how the group should behave. It is a very big responsibility and as the frowns on Tony's brow suggest, he knows it.

The pace of change in the world is frenetic. The issues of the world are countless. The challenges in the Australian economy are real. The opportunities for growth in Asia are endless. In addition, the people of Australia have their fingers and toes crossed that our new leader can and will provide a vision that will steer industry, business, communities and families in the right direction: a direction that will lead to opportunity and prosperity.

More vision and strategy please

Dear Tony, can we please hear your vision and long-term strategies?  Articulating a vision is not an easy task: you need to be able to see the future and know how to get there, to be able to convey it to others. The possibilities for Australia are many and knowing that we are scrapping the carbon tax and paying parental leave does not convey the future. It conveys where we are ‘now’.

What is the 2020 and 2030 version of the Australian dream? How do we rekindle the fire in the bellies of Australians who are struggling with day-to-day issues and are searching for answers? With the rapid pace of change in the world and poor growth in Australia – which suggests our economy is in danger of imploding rather than expanding – what is the strategy for inspiring the people who live in Australia to innovate, be creative, work hard and collaborate with neighbouring nations that have much higher growth rates?

Most of the action plans that have come out of Government and corporate Australia over the past 2 years are operational in nature: they are not visionary or strategic. They concentrate on getting the budget into surplus, economic reform, building roads, stopping the boats, providing faster broadband service and other tactical measures designed to stimulate industries and consumer demand and fuel growth.

Where is the vision that sets our 'where we are going' and what strategies are to be employed to ensure Australia remains viable and competitive in a diverse, multilingual and fast changing world economy?

It's not just about 'needs', it's also about 'wants'

Yes the people of Australia need education, housing, jobs and superannuation. They need to be able to live comfortably and know that they will not be poor in their old age. They need hospitals to care for them when they are sick and to know that they will be safe and secure from delinquents and intruders.
Humans have higher-level ‘wants’ too; they are the things we aspire to achieve when the basics in life are met.

We want to be able to satisfy our intellectual curiosity. We want to access to the latest technology that enables us to build competitive businesses and helps to stimulate innovation. We want to be able to explore the world and its cultures, and at the same time, we want to share our country and cultures with others. Ultimately, we want to create a better future for our children: one that is inclusive and provides equal opportunity for all.

To achieve these ‘wants’ in life we need a thriving, successful and prosperous economy. To build that, we need a highly motivated, unified and productive workforce.

People who are stimulated to work at full capacity, in unity, towards common goals and with shared vision outperform those who lack inspiration, teamwork, purpose and drive.

Are we forgetting the heart?

We cannot rely on extrinsic motivators like lower taxes and paid parental leave to stimulate the behaviours we need to boost productivity. We must find ways to intrinsically motivate people who ‘want to participate' in building Australia’s future.

The secret is in appealing to the minds and the hearts of the Australian workforce. People perform best when they are stimulated to create something of value. Their anxieties about having the ability diminish and their confidence to achieve new heights increases when they feel passionate about and believe in the possibilities. People step up to try new things when they believe in the possibilities and they walk tall without reservation when they feel supported by peers who are taking the journey with them.

Tony, can we please hear your vision to build belief in our society that where are heading in the right direction.


Stepping Up outlines how to change our country and organisational cultures to help grow our nation and businesses.

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