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Daniel Tramontana

I’m not cancelling anything

By No Drama with TrammaNo Comments

I’m not cancelling anything

This week my grandma Vincenza passed away. She was 90 years old.

As I sat beside her while she lay breathless, I couldn’t help noticing her hands. These hands were worn out. They were tired. These hands contributed much to our society, generation and in helping make Australia the lucky country. The hands gave so much to give us a better life and helped set us up for a future.

Born in Sicily and migrating to Melbourne in the 50’s. Having survived World War 2, she understood, pain, famine, fear, bloody hard work and the need for grit. Going without was common practice and selflessness was the only way through. From the toughest moments in her life, she learned resilience, strength, courage and a can-do mindset.

When I think of her life and the countless that have gone before her, I am not going to cancel and or forget what was given, done and or built. While they didn’t have any platform to amplify the good, they did, they quietly went about building the stage. The stage that we at times mindlessly perform on heralding ourselves as heroes when the really, the pain, suffering and at in many cases the sacrificing of one’s life was done by those who went before us. When was the last time we thought of those who went before us to give us what we have today?

Let’s apply this to business. Great businesses are not an overnight success. They take years to establish and all have a foundation. We build up from this foundation to establish culture. We may get some things wrong, but we learn from them. We get many things right. From both right and wrong we develop. We evolve. We build greatness. We don’t however forget where we came from and or deviate from the foundational values that have allowed us to thrive and survive.

The countless efforts to dismantle the stage of the values and principles that make this country great are the biggest threat to our society and the generations to follow. To do the same for our businesses would be of great detriment.

What we and those who went before us have built is something we should be proud of. It is something our leaders place less and less merit on. Not perfect but it has served us and set us up well. As we prepare to hand over the batten to the next generation let ensure that our efforts and those who have gone before us are not in vain.

Lockdowns truly suck

By Homepage, In the MediaNo Comments

Lockdowns affect our entire country. They hurt every sector.

Really disappointing to hear and see people in Victoria and in other parts of the country taking swipes at those in lockdown which are taking place in NSW and across Australia. Those who are should have a good hard look at themselves.

What we have been through in Victoria over the last 12 months is not something I would wish upon anyone. We should be the last to applaud lockdowns given our experience and taste for the devastation they cause. Ron Lesh and I speak often about such matters. The toll is heartbreaking and real.

How short are our memories? How quickly we forget that over the past 15 months, we in Victoria have been locked down for over 170 days with restrictions right through and with us today.

We would have gladly exchanged place with our friends in Sydney to experience the freedom they had at the drop of a hat.

Are we not one Nation? One, people? One hurts, we all hurt?

Lockdowns affect our entire country. They hurt every sector. They hurt people emotionally, financially, socially and physically. No one wins in lockdowns. They are draconian and crippling on all fronts. The hit on mental health is far-reaching, affecting generations to follow well beyond the life of this virus.

The leaders across our states have a lot to give account for and we should all be questioning the harsh, disproportionate measures. The last thing we should be doing is heralding lockdown as great leadership. It is not!

The biggest threat to our country is not the VIRUS. The biggest threat is that we have forgotten what it means to be truly Australian.

Working from home: My observations. For your consideration.

By Culture, HomepageOne Comment

The last 14 months have changed the way we work. With many of us forced to work from home. We have had to adjust by force.

While many employees claim how amazing the arrangement is, cracks are appearing and we are to be concerned.

While in many cases yes productivity has increased, my view is that true engagement has decreased. The glue that keeps people together and helps organisations build great culture has taken a hit and it is a threat to our organisations and people.

On the people front, we have much to be concerned about. The risk of losing team members has never been higher. Firstly as a result of people shortage. Secondly, people are isolated, disconnected and more vulnerable to being poached. Thirdly, they have missed out on much training and development, which takes place professionally and in learning from and in working with their peers. Many are simply just doing their jobs, the same thing day in and day out. Bit by bit, as their skill set remains stagnant, they are becoming detached and concerned about their career advancement.

People’s mental health has taken a hit. In Melbourne, the latest lockdown, while not long, was the hardest. While finally stepping into a sense of normality our freedoms were once again taken from us. Many are suffering. Many in silence. Much of this has been heightened by isolation, fear, the erosion of a sense of belonging and comradery that keeps people engaged, interested and connected.

Human engagement is so important on many fronts. As leaders, our role is to set the vision for the team and to excite and inspire your team towards it. This cannot be done virtually. Social aspect aside, human engagement also allows us to get a better gauge of where people are truly at. Observation is such an important part of encouraging and building a culture of wellbeing.

I am all for a balanced working arrangement. One where there is flexibility that provides a healthy balance of working from home. One that includes enough touchpoints with their peers and the greater team to ensure they are connected and where culture can continue to be built. Human touch has never been more important and failure to encourage it will cost us both the short and long term.

Mental Health: No judgment. No shame. No bias. Just listen.

By Culture, In the Media, No Drama with Tramma, WellnessOne Comment

The last 14 months have been tough. The impact is widespread. The effect on people’s personal and emotional wellbeing has been enormous. It is not something you can just throw money at and hope it goes away.

Mental health is a topic that I am passionate about. Having the support of Ron Lesh to pursues this accreditation is something that I am very grateful for. When I undertook the MH First Aid course, one of the great takeaways was that my role is not to diagnose but to simply come alongside people and point them in the right direction. This was empowering and showed WE can ALL make a difference. People often ask me how we in Victoria are faring in lockdown. Personally, while frustrated and limited at times, overall, I am doing okay. I have an amazing role and blessed to be a part of an incredible business. For this I am grateful. I do however have my days and to counteract this I do my best to live my life with the greatest level of normality. I regularly touch base with those most important to me. I do my best to watch my self-talk, exercising, taking breaks, get fresh air, limit my time on the media, create tasks and projects to keep me occupied.

However, my mind is NEVER far from those that are not doing well. The reality is that millions of people and across this state are suffering emotionally, mentally and financially. Businesses and lives touched devastating ways. Let’s add to this loneliness, lack of access to health care, 3 previous lockdowns, fear-mongering media and language, separation, home-schooling and the list goes on and on and we are pretty much beyond the tipping point of a mental health tsunami.

To back my observations, I read an interesting article in The Age on Saturday 5 June titled – “‘I can’t be bothered’: Victorians battling ‘compounding fatigue’ of lockdowns” by Wendy Tuohy, where Rhonda Andrew’s CEO of Barrington Centre, a corporate and wellbeing service provider, provided some very interesting data.

From 27 May to 3 June:

  •  82% ⬆️ in demand for support
  • 40% ⬆️ family conflict
  •  55% ⬆️ workplace issues
  •  82% ⬆️ mental health requests

The sentiment in this state from many that I speak to is that the idea of “We have done this before, we will do it again” or “We have got this”, simply does not cut it.

Many are tired. Many have no more to give. Many just want to get on with our lives and live. This is the reality that we as business leaders, managers and people across this state MUST acknowledge, work with and help navigate people through.

Each of us is touched by what is going on. And if we personally are not, then someone we know is. These lockdowns hurt and it is more important to be on the lookout for each other than ever before.

Please, if you are struggling, please do reach out. It is okay to not be okay. There are times where you will be trapped in thoughts of negativity or feelings of hopelessness. The reality is that it is hard not to be. It is normal. However, do your best to not stay in that space too long. If you do however find these thoughts and feelings lingering, take action. Speak to someone. Call your doctor. Early intervention works.

Make sure to look out for others also. Look for signs that they may be struggling. Be on the lookout for things like withdrawing behaviour, social media activity contrary to their normal behaviour, slow to or no response to messages, negative language, letting go of their appearance or hygiene. Pretty much, any behaviour outside of their normal selves is a window for you to ask the question “R UO K?” or “I have noticed this, is all ok?” Believe, it can make all the difference.

Be informed and across the resources like R UO OK?, Beyond Blue, and Headspace, to name a few. There are many great tools available to not only better understand mental health but to come alongside, and help others along their journey.

Finally, I cannot help but emphasise that you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to put your hand up and say you need help. On the other hand, if you are doing okay, don’t be afraid to extend a hand and reach out to someone that you know is not and let them know you are there for them.

No judgment. No shame. No bias. Just listen.

Just genuinely care!

We can all make a difference.



Reference: Wendy Tuohy | The Age