Night Shift

As most readers will know, I am a Nurse. This awesome, wonderful, and rewarding careers comes with it once teeny tiny little drawback, Night Shift. As 1.4 million Australians know, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, that shift work is hard, a rotating roster is had, and Night Shift is just the pits. There are however a few things that you can do to help get through the shift and subsequent days following.

Plan your Sleep

Sleep doesn’t just happen, and if it does I don’t want to hear about it. You need to make sure there is a comfortable 8 hour gap were you are not responsible for the children, the in laws. or any other talks that requires your actual attention and input. Once you have planned your sleep make sure that there is room for the wind down from the previous Night Shift or daily activities. Also, allow for your sleep to go over. I know when I have my two nights the first day I only nap after dinner for 2-3 hours, I come home, sleep for nearly 10 hours, then tackle the last Night Shift, after which I spend a day without sleep until that night, colloquially called my “Zombie Day”.

Plan Your Sleep

Plan Your Sleep

Maintain your Medications

If anyone out there is like me, you have a boat load of medications to take at different parts of the day. They are also set up so that all of the “Sleepy” tablets are taken at night. This makes for an exceptionally awkward when the “Sleepy” tablets are doing their job, and your chugging triple shot expressos like they are lolly water just to stay awake. I have found though that I if I take my “Sleepy” tablets before dinner on a Night Shift night, I can manage well enough. You will need to find what works best for you, and if you are having any dramas please go and see your prescribing doctor.

Maintain your Medications

Maintain your Medications

Nourishment

It is easy on Night Shift to do one of two things, eat nothing at all, or stuff your face with chips, lollies, and other junk foods that seem to make their way into the workplace. Eating the meals you are awake for is key. It is also sometimes necessary to introduce a fourth meal to have around midnight. Otherwise you could end up being awake and active without food for 14 hours. Also, consider snacks that aren’t junk to take with your to work. This can be fruit, yogurt, muesli bars, or other “healthy” choices. I find that the only meal I miss is the Lunch on the day between shifts, I also find that a high protien yoghurt at around Midnight is awesome.

Nourishment

And that’s it. Everyone will have their own coping mechanisms, and we would love to hear from you in the moments below. Well I better use some of my advice and catch some shut eye before shift tonight.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Coming Full Circle

October 14 to 16 2016 was my first camp, JOTA/JOTI 2016, as a Scout Leader. I had no uniform, no training and no clue. Since then I have had some crazy adventures, lots of training and plenty of lessons learnt. This year, 21 and 22 October was the 60th Jamboree of the Air (JOTA) and 21st Jamboree of the Internet, and my first time organising and running the event for the Central Coast Region (Central) Scouts and Guides at Seeonee Park.

This post will be a compare and contrast between how I saw the event last year as a fresh eyed Scout Leader and this year after having a Scout Section for the entirety of this year as a Solo Leader, following all of my formal training as a section leader, and after meeting and collaborating with the other leaders in the Region.

2016 JOTA/JOTI

2016 JOTA/JOTI

2016 JOTA/JOTI

I arrived on the Friday of JOTA/JOTI in 2016 to a flurry of Scouts, Parents and Girl Guides. There where children in and out of uniform running through the campsite with screams of laughter and joy. I also saw leaders running around with clipboards and paperwork, smiling and trying to rein in their respective Scouts and Guides. I saw parents who where happily dropping off their children and leaving with an autograph, a small conversation and almost hurried footsteps from the campground.

The activities where laid out into stations, the leader all discussed what they would be doing, how and when. There was laughter, coffees, and oh so much food. It was an orchestra of chaos and control.

The Friday was mainly set up, parade, dinner and a movie. This low key entry was a deceptive introduction to the fun of the following day. My first lesson of being a Scout Leader is, though being comfortable is important, having a quick set up sleeping arrangement is more important. A 8 person tent, which I have set up by myself previously, though comfortable, is completely impractical to set up at 2300 when the Scouts are asleep. So solution to that, buy a swag.

The Saturday began with my son coming into my tent at oh my gosh its early and letting me know he spewed in his tent. So with an early wake up, a change of clothes and a quick message to the wife, we packed him up, sent him home and avoided a Gastro outbreak. Crisis averted, lesson learnt regarding the health of the Scouts and not dismissing the early symptoms of stomach bugs, virus’s and anxiety.

After a cup of coffee, or six, the day began. The kitchen crew cooked up an absolute storm of various porcine products, eggs, toast, cereal and leftover dinner from the night previously. The activities started in full swing rolling after a brief wash up of dishes and breaking the numbers into smaller groups.

I was helping my Scout Leader, Curlew, with a Navigation activity as it was something I was reasonably comfortable with given my time in the Navy. The day seemed to flow seamlessly, the groups rotate, some Scouts and Guides got the activities really easily, others needed a little more guidance, but generally they had fun. The thing that struck me was the things the Scouts and Guides would attempt to get away with, and how often a leader would need to stop the activity to correct behaviour. Lesson leant, no matter the age apparently you WILL need to tell them to not lick that, don’t touch that and don’t EAT that.

Saturday night was my first real insight into the social side of being a Scout leader, it generally involves sitting around in a circle, occasionally sending a Scout back to bed or comforting one who is missing their parents, and talking about the day, our pasts, or general smack which causes a roll of laughter and red faces. Scouting at its best.

JOTA/JOTI 2017

JOTA/JOTI 2017

JOTA/JOTI 2017

This year was a complete contrast, I was no longer a fresh eyed Scout Leader simply attending and helping out, but the Activity Leader running JOTA/JOTI for 2017. I was no longer shocked by the behaviour of the Scouts. I knew what to expect during the weekend, I knew the activities, I knew most of the leaders, and everything was planned out, the only thing out of my control was the weather, and that wasn’t too bad. Just a spot of rain.

The Scouts and Guides were responsive to my leadership, they generally followed the directions given to them, the leaders knew what was expected of them and information was filtering through so decisions could be made about schedule changes, activity changes and child behaviour.

The weekend, considering everything, went really well, the adjustments made to the schedule made the day flow easier, the activity changes made the stations more useful and entertaining given the weather constraints and I walked away with a bucket load or dos and don’ts for next year.

All in all it was a great learning experience for myself, a great social catchup with the leaders from the region, a fantastic opportunity to achieve some site work at Seeonee Park, and a great activity weekend for the Scouts and Guides.

Its been a long year, there have been 14 Activities or camps I have organised for my Scout Section, with 4 of them being a region level event, I have crammed all my training into the year, nearing completion of my Diploma and there is still so much to do, and what I want to do.

I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months has install for me, my Scout Section and the Region in which I belong. I can’t wait to see the growth, the changes, the improvements in all of it. Thank you Scouts Australia for giving me the opportunity to Serve our youth and Warripari for accepting me into the family.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Culture Change

During my time in the Navy we were going through a period of Culture Change. We wanted to shift away from the mentalities of old, the drinking, the boys club, the bastardisation and the initiation nonsense and move into a tolerant, caring and supportive environment. It was met with resistance, people were claiming it was turning the Navy soft, it was bowing down to the masses, but the Admiralty persevered. To the betterment of the Australian Navy as we know it.

Culture change in any organisation, whether five people or 35,000 people is difficult. It takes determination, resolve and broad shoulders to deal with the comments that will inevitably head in your direction. If you have ever been part of culture change, whether the instigator, a staff member, or new to the workplace, you know how hard it can be to stay out of the political arguments, and get down to the job of moving forward.

I want to discuss with everyone three easy ways to support and effect culture change from the bottom up. I will address Acceptance, Rebellion and Action, and your part in it.

Acceptance

The hardest part about culture change is accepting it yourself. You may find that you have been with a company or organisation for years and don’t see why something needs to change. Or you might have just joined the organisation and don’t know anything other than the new culture, and therefore can’t understand why there is such resistance. In either case, you need to do one of two things, accept it and embrace it, or reject it and leave.

It may seem a bit black and white, and that’s because it is. If you imagine the organisation is a fleet of ships, culture change is a course correction in a particular direction, to avoid danger, make the fleet more efficient or simply to change the destination. Now if everyone who is a part of the organisation is a ship, they should all turn together and the fleet can keep sailing, acceptance. But if everyone doesn’t agree, doesn’t leave the fleet, and does their own thing, the fleet falls apart, and can’t reach its destination.

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So as a member of this fleet, your acceptance can be the first step to the culture taking hold and becoming a reality, as a fleet does not simply turn on the spot but makes a large sweeping turn, gradually.

Rebellion

Rebellion does not mean against the cultural shift, it means to rebel against mediocrity. The issue with some staff who resist culture change is the idea of Its always been that way or Thats the way we have always done it. If that mentality was accepted we would still be in a cave somewhere hitting each other with rocks.

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It is your job as a member of the organisation to stomp out mediocrity and strive for excellence, push back on the ideas of old and embrace the changes that are to come. If you can’t rebel against the status quo then maybe its time to look elsewhere for you vocation.

Action

This is probably the most important part of Culture Change from the perspective of the member, employee or otherwise, Action. The actual doing and implementation of the Culture Change. It is probably also the hardest to achieve, as old habits die hard, and it can be difficult to stop doing things the way you always have.

At the beginning I mentioned the Culture Change the Navy was going through; New Generation Navy (NGN) the called it. We where lucky enough to join the Navy as the rollout was occurring so for me and my classmates, we were the Next Generation. We had the easy job of simply accepting what was placed before us and moving on.

For others this wasn’t so easy, there were Navy members who had served for 20 and 30 years, they had grown up with the Values the Navy had laid before them, and some of them felt that they were being asked to ditch all of that and start again. There was some resistance. But as the Next Generation coming through we endeavoured to show that the new way was for the greater good, that supporting our younger generation, the ones who are learning, who are just starting out, does actually create a better Sailor or Officer in the end, and that belittling and victimising simply alienates and creates divide.

The Navy had a long way to go when I left, but it is a very large fleet to turn, and it continues on its course change right now.

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I know that the medical field, Doctors, Nurses, and the entire Multidisciplinary team are currently trying to change the way we deal with each other, our students and our patients. I will be joining in at the start of another Culture Change, and the only idea of the old ways I will have are the stories of those who have been living it for 30 or 40 years. Again, it will fall to those coming through the system now; the new Enrolled Nurses, the Graduate Registered Nurses, the Registrars and Resident Doctors, it will be our job to make sure our professions move forward and don’t stagnate.

Together we can change our Worlds for the better.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Legacy

Last week I discussed Mentorship in my article Walking With where the idea of providing what someone requires to achieve the goal they have set is a kind of Patronage. This week I want to discuss Legacy. If we consider Mentorship as answering the question of How, Legacy is answering the question Why?

Legacy is what and who we leave behind to carry on when we are gone, in both the physical and mortal sense. As a Scout Leader I am imparting my collected knowledge and wisdom onto the Scouts in the hope that they take it with them into their lives and make their worlds a little bit better. As a member of CQUniversity’s SRC I try and leave the University a little better than I found it through culture change, policy changes and initiatives that better the Student Experience for all. As a Father I endeavour to teach, show and guide my children through life in the hope they won’t make the same mistakes I did, that they go further, do more and achieve their goals, just as my parents did for me.

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The creation of Legacy is less about planning and more about being responsive to the environment you are in. As a parent, the needs of my children change constantly. I can’t plan what they need to make their lives better. I can plan strategically by ensuring that I remain employed, feed them, ensure they receive a good education, and stay safe. But I cannot plan their career, their partners, their lives and where they are going to live. As a SRC member I must be reactive to the needs of the students, I can also be proactive and identify issues before they become problems for the students and the University. The Peer Assisted Study Scheme that I helped develop and implement was birthed from an inherent need the students didn’t know they had. I saw a void in the support structure of the TAFE students and endevoured to fill that void. This, I hope, will leave a lasting legacy on the University and the student body. When a student graduates feeling supported and feels empowered to go further with their study, I can stand tall knowing the legacy I left contributed.

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This whole blog, not just this post, is about Legacy. I share my stories, my life, my journey and my reflections in the hope that others will read them and make positive changes. I know people who have contacted me directly and shared how different posts have pulled them out of a tight spot, or steered their lives into a new direction for the better. That’s why I write, to inspire, to reflect and make real impact on people’s lives.

I encourage everyone to think about their Legacy and what they are leaving behind. If we don’t think of Legacy we are destined to leave either nothing, or worse a negative Legacy that is actually a detriment to the next generation. As a challenge, take a moment this week to reflect on what you are leaving behind and make a concerted effort to change it. Start living life selflessly for the next generation, start the small turns of the ship now before we run aground, make the world of tomorrow better today.

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What did you reflect on? What are you going to change about your legacy? Make a declaration today in the comments section below, who knows maybe your change will help someone else change their Legacy.

Maintain The Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Walking With

I have been reflecting this week on my personal journey, my failures and triumphs, the good leaders and the bad, the men and women who invested their time in me, and those who left a lasting impression. I reflected on leadership and the importance of Mentoring those who we lead and not just giving blind directions. I reflected on the importance of walking a journey with someone beside them, not in front leading blindly, or from behind barking arbitrarily.

This lead me to write about, what I believe, is the most important facet of Leadership, and that is Mentoring. The understanding between two individuals at different points on their journey to walk together and learn from each others experiences. This may sound like a different model of mentoring than what is commonly taught, namely where an experienced person takes an inexperienced person and attempts to impart knowledge and experience on them. I kindly draw your attention back to the person leading from the front. Or where a person will share their experiences with staff or individuals via a mass email while never actually allowing time for the people to engage with them personally, I draw you attention to the person barking from the rear.

I therefore want to share the three points I feel are integral in Mentoring, along with some experiences I have had with good and bad mentors, and pitfalls and windfalls of mentoring that I have discovered along the way. The three points I will cover are; Neither Equality nor Equity, Be the Example, and Never Stop Learning.

climbing helping  team work , success concept

Neither Equality nor Equity

Simply put Equality is everyone receiving the same thing, and Equity is everyone receiving what they need to meet a socially perceived goal. I never liked either of these labels as they are both narrow in their view. In leadership Equality presumes that everyone should benefit from 10 minutes of mentoring from their Mentor, regardless of actual need. And Equity presumes that everyone should receive what they need to be at a certain knowledge base, productivity level, or personal understanding of  leadership. Both of these ideas are flawed.

Not every person can be mentored in the same manner, with the same material, with the same time allocation, Equality. Just as a fish cannot be competently judged on its level of success by its ability to climb a tree, Equity.

I therefore believe that everyone, we as leaders take on, should receive what it necessary for them to succeed in the goal they have set. This may seem like a watered down version  of Equity, but hear me out. Understanding that an individuals have differing ideas on what success is, what achieving that success is, and what the mentoring relationship is, has already fundamentally changed the idea of Equity. Remembering that Equity has a pre-established level or goal. Therefore the amount of mentoring, support, instruction guidance, leadership and opportunity for that individual is dependant on both the goal and the ability of the Mentor. Neither of which are fully supported in the idea of Equity.

I have recently being tutoring a collection of Nursing Students in Mathematics, the collection of individuals is vast and experiences doubly so. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses, goals and aspirations, and expectations for the tutorial. Understanding this as a leader and mentor, endeavoured to ensure that the goals of each individual were met, while giving each of the students the amount of instruction or guidance they required. For some this was just being a part of the group discussion, for others a more guided approach. In each instance a positive result was recorded. I encouraged each of them, and for those reading this I continue to encourage you, to share what they learn, be the next generation of mentors, take the time investing into someone else and showing them that they matter. I feel the best word to describe this is Patronage. Patronage is a older term that was used when someone, a Patron, would support someone else in their endeavours. This could have been financially, morally, with experience or in whatever fashion the person needed to achieve their goals.

Carey Lohrenz, The Corps Group, female fighter pilot

Be the Example

I had the pleasure of sitting in a service at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Rockhampton one Sunday morning listening to a sermon by the Senior Pastor Dr Robert Bakss and he made the point “Sometimes we are the only Bible a person may see, live like it”. This really struck a chord with me in my Christian walk, but it resonates with other aspects of my life also, especially Leadership.

As leaders we have the need to set and implement culture, strategy, rules, and regulations, we are expected to uphold them all but most of all portray them. We cannot expect anyone else to follow our lead if we do anything less.  As a young Naval Officer we where expected to be able to lead a group of 25 – 35 people of varying experiences, age groups, and backgrounds. It was expected that our influence and our example was strong enough that those we lead would follow that example. We we charged with their safety, they personal development, their mental wellbeing, and their career development. We were praised when our Sailors did well, and were reprimanded when they did not.

Lord Baden Powell once said “Show me poorly dressed Troop and I’ll show you a poorly dressed Leader”. Most people will follow someones example before they arbitrarily follow a written rule, regulation or culture slogan. As a leader be the example of an employee, team member or peer that you would want to lead.

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Never Stop Learning

As leaders it is important to never stop learning, and there is ample opportunity to do so. I had the amazing privilege of serving under the then LCDR Brett Westcott, on Patrol boats early in my career. He was a even handed, professional leader who knew what someone was capable of before they did and could draw it out of them. He never expected perfection but did expect excellence. And his crew gave it to him. One of his parting words before I posted off was “The day you stop learning is the day you become dangerous”. And its true, the day you believe you know everything about your role, your job, your career or even your family is the day you begin to decline into mediocrity and potentially make dangerous mistakes.

I have taken those words and made it my goal to learn something every day, from someone, in every situation, good or bad. I believe that everyone has something to teach you.  A leader who is task orientated, narcissistic, or a slave driver who has no concern for people, families or anything out side their own world, anyone who claims mentor status but doesn’t allow the time for those they mentor, all have some of the best lessons to take away. Most of these lessons are going to be what not to do in your own leadership, or with your own team, but they are all valuable lessons none the less.

If you have been following my blog for a while now you will know that I am the Scout Leader for the Warripari Scout Group, I have about 20 Scouts every Wednesday and more when we involve the region on camps. These Scouts have taught me more about my leadership, patience, modesty, honesty, impact, and time management then I think I would have ever received from a book. Every week I have the pleasure of watching them grow and develop into the young leaders of tomorrow, learning lesson after lesson, and I am glad I get to be a part of that journey.

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Thats my take on Leadership, it is in no way intended to be all encompassing, nor is it designed to be definitive, just where I am in my journey thus far, and some thoughts for others to reflect on. Do you have something you would like to add? A lesson that you have learnt from your Journey? Share it with us in the comments below, and lets get the conversation going.

Maintain The Rage

Luke Sondergeld