Values and Behaviours Framework – South Australian Public Sector

The first in an occasional series showcasing Values statements of various organisations. To kick matters off, the Values and Behaviours Framework of the South Australian Public Sector. They have a rather nice page here:, which I have reproduced below (without permission, but I am sure they won’t mind). The PDF is attached … –> 20150710-SA-Public-Sector-Values-and-Behaviours-Framework

One of the concepts I like most about this framework is that they explicitly state what the practices should be, what “proper” behaviour looks like, and what shouldn’t be done (the “taboos”). I very much like the amount of thought that has gone into this worthwhile cultural document.

So, here it is:

Public Sector Values and Behaviours Framework

The public sector values have been developed to make it easier for us to work together by forming a culture and a vision that we all share.

This framework provides brief examples of the types of organisational practices and personal behaviours that will support the public sector values in your workplace. It also provides some examples of taboos (what you don’t want to see at work).

Organisational leaders need to structure and arrange processes in such a way that the behaviours are supported. Only when organisational practices and personal behaviours are aligned can the values be brought to life.

The examples provided here may provide you with a starting point for a discussion on what types of behaviours you would like to see in your workplace. This is not an exhaustive table. You should expand the conversation among your colleagues to make sure that the behaviours you identify are those most suited to your workplace and your customers, stakeholders, and partners.


We proudly serve the community and Government of South Australia

Organisational practices:

  • Prioritise the diverse needs of the community in the design and delivery of services.
  • Uphold the rights of each individual to access services as easily as possible.
  • Establish service standards that apply to all customers.
  • Collaborate with business and community partners to improve service delivery and respond to complaints.

Successful personal behaviours:

  • Serve people courteously, fairly, and effectively.
  • Know who your customers are, understand their needs, and take their views into account.
  • Recognise and value internal and external customers equally.
  • Go the extra mile in order to deliver the best outcomes.


  • Don’t disrespect, ignore, or devalue others, particularly those you serve.
  • Don’t use a process or procedure as an excuse for stalling or handballing an issue.
  • Don’t provide lower standards of service to customers who are employed in the public sector.
  • Don’t refuse to listen to, or act upon, complaints about poor service.


We strive for excellence

Organisational practices:

  • Promote best practice in leadership and management, and prioritise employee performance management.
  • Build impartial relationships with the Government of the day.
  • Encourage pride in the profession of public service.
  • Foster a culture that drives innovation, improves productivity, and recognises and rewards excellent outcomes.

Successful personal behaviours:

  • Exhibit the highest standards of professional behaviour, including working conscientiously and competently in a polite and helpful manner.
  • Provide honest and objective advice and carefully implement direction without undue delay.
  • Pursue individual growth and professional learning to develop strengths and improve weaknesses.
  • Strive to create new and better ways of doing things.


  • Don’t accept underperformance, or tolerate, and thereby promote, bad attitudes.
  • Don’t act in a way that is contrary to the priorities and decisions of the Government of the day.
  • Don’t act in a way that brings the reputation of the sector into disrepute.
  • Don’t accept ineffective practices when outcomes could clearly be improved.


We have confidence in the ability of others

Organisational practices:

  • Establish strong partnerships between organisations.
  • Create organisational structures that give employees the greatest possible freedom and autonomy.
  • Establish collaborative work practices through strategically and culturally aligned work places.
  • Build a systematic approach to establishing and enhancing the community’s trust.

Successful personal behaviours:

  • Encourage people from other teams and organisations to work with you to achieve the best possible outcomes.
  • Embrace responsibility and deliver on commitments to colleagues and leaders.
  • Rely on colleagues to collaborate in pursuit of common goals and objectives.
  • Follow through on obligations to individuals and the community, and keep them informed of progress.


  • Don’t allow structural and cultural barriers to hinder success.
  • Don’t tolerate a difference between what is said and what is done among colleagues or leaders.
  • Don’t refuse to recognise that others may be able to do the job as well as you.
  • Don’t allow administrative priorities to interfere with your responsibilities and commitments to the community.


We value every individual

Organisational practices:

  • Applying empathetic people management skills to bring out the best in employees and prioritise their wellbeing.
  • Implement programs that reward and recognise excellent outcomes.
  • Educate employees about diversity’s role in strengthening our workplaces and communities.
  • Promote respect for the impact of decisions on the lives of employees and the community.

Successful personal behaviours:

  • Identify and understand the situation, feelings, and motives of your associates.
  • Acknowledge the contributions of your peers.
  • Appreciate openly that people have different backgrounds, circumstances, needs, and capabilities.
  • Listen considerately to colleagues, customers, clients, stakeholders, and partners.


  • Don’t take a “one size fits all” approach to working with people.
  • Don’t neglect to recognise the work of others.
  • Don’t discriminate.
  • Don’t give greater weighting to your own opinions over others’ without clear justification.


Collaboration & Engagement
We create solutions together

Organisational practices:

  • Build systems and processes that strengthen partnerships with all sectors of the community.
  • Facilitate closer relationships within and across public sector organisations, including other service providers.
  • Create systems that enable open feedback and transparent decision making.
  • Encourage open dialogue to understand the diverse needs of the community.

Successful personal behaviours:

  • Engage genuinely with stakeholders and the community and work with them to improve outcomes.
  • Build professional relationships with peers in other teams and organisations.
  • Involve people in decisions that affect them.
  • Ask questions to jointly define problems and identify solutions.


  • Don’t act on untested assumptions about colleagues, customers, clients, stakeholders, and partners.
  • Don’t make decisions or take actions without engaging those most affected.
  • Don’t ignore potential biases in decision making.
  • Don’t avoid diversity of views and opinions or treat them as an obstacle to decision making.


Honesty & Integrity
We act truthfully, consistently, and fairly

Organisational practices:

  • Implement and uphold the Code of Ethics for the South Australian Public Sector.
  • Create a culture that encourages openness and transparency.
  • Ensure all decisions and actions can withstand scrutiny.
  • Create a culture that promotes frank and honest discussion.

Successful personal behaviours:

  • Follow the values and standards contained in the Code and model that behaviour as an example for others.
  • Fully and accurately disclose information and share available resources without being prompted.
  • Take action based on the best available evidence and argument.
  • Conduct difficult conversations with empathy, sensitivity, and a determination to resolve issues.


  • Don’t tolerate or fail to report unethical behaviour or misconduct.
  • Don’t inappropriately share or withhold information or resources.
  • Don’t ignore the evidence, or manipulate it to justify a pre-determined decision.
  • Don’t neglect to raise issues with those directly involved.


Courage & Tenacity
We never give up

Organisational practices:

  • Develop people to think innovatively about policy, services, and people management.
  • Help employees to be resilient in challenging times.
  • Minimise unnecessary bureaucracy and be flexible in the approach to solving problems.
  • Build systems that encourage innovation and accept occasional failures as a necessary part of progress.

Successful personal behaviours:

  • Suggest and support new ideas and better ways of doing things.
  • Listen attentively, question thoughtfully, challenge openly, and encourage others to do the same.
  • Challenge ineffectiveness and remove obstacles to enable yourself and others to succeed.
  • Learn from failure without being discouraged and apply that knowledge to achieve better outcomes.


  • Don’t fail to contribute for fear of being judged.
  • Don’t avoid or undermine progress because it seems difficult or threatening.
  • Don’t allow rules and regulations to hinder progress or become an excuse for inaction.
  • Don’t hold back when there is evidence of better ways of working.


We work to get the best results for current and future generations of South Australians

Organisational practices:

  • Design structures, systems and services to consume resources more efficiently over time.
  • Take collective action to improve productivity and maximise the impact on limited resources.
  • Promote the use of business cases and cost-benefit analyses to ensure the most efficient use of tax-payer resources.
  • Work together to leave a lasting legacy for future generations of South Australians.

Successful personal behaviours:

  • Identify the long-term resource impacts of the programs and services you design.
  • Seek opportunities to collaborate to maximise the collective impact of resources and reduce duplication.
  • Manage information, finances, people, and assets prudently.
  • Focus on solutions which continue to produce outcomes for the community over the long term.


  • Don’t rely on established solutions where more economical options may apply
  • Don’t resist working with others in order to retain control of resources or outcomes.
  • Don’t invest time and money in work that is not producing value.
  • Don’t design convenient short term solutions to complex long-term problems.






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The Solution to AI Concerns

If computers get too powerful, we can organise them into a committee – that will do them in.

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Employability Advice

Through a somewhat circuitous route (via an Evernote promotional email), I happenstanced to read this blog entry ( by Chris O’Neill, who is currently the CEO of Evernote (hence the link from the email to the blog entry via LinkedIn). It was a speech he gave to students at Western University (in Canada I presume). Most of it is the standard fluff that “captains of industry” tell young people, but a few points stood out for me:

  • “What about “following your passion?” how many of you have heard that advice …pursue your passion and everything with take care of itself? I just don’t buy it because it simply isn’t that practical.” “When I was sitting where you are right now, I was passionate about my family, the Toronto Maple Leafs, playing sports, drinking beer and hanging out with friends, economics, China, and traveling.” “I tried to combine my passions. For my Senior thesis I built an econometric model to predict demand of China’s growing beer industry, and titled my paper The Great Gulp Forward.” – Yeah, you heard right – The Great Gulp Forward. I wish I had written that paper – the things you do when you are young.
  • “So the lesson I learned: Instead of “following my passion”, I figured out what kind of value I might offer the world and slowly, but surely, organized my career around developing that.” – Totally excellent advice. I have always been wary of the blithe three-word slogan. Goodness, if everyone was blindly following their passion, we would end up with an ill-defined blancmange of anarchy. The advice – value and organisation. Good advice indeed.
  • “Ironically the best career advice I have ever come across is from comedian Steve Martin. … His advice: “Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You.” “. Once again, leave it to the smart smart hard worker to come up with an excellent piece of wisdom. “Over time you should figure out what you want that to be, and thoughtfully build your skills and personal brand to “Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You.” “.
  • Chris calls this Strategic Serendipity – a term coined by Scott Bonham, according to Chris. Not a bad term – a bit “consultant speak” but OK.


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Back to the Future – But, Seriously?!?

This article is exactly why I think Corporate IT (ICT, whatever it is named) has completely lost its direction over the last decade or so:
“How to transform enterprise architecture into business architecture”, (from SearchCIO in TechTarget).

Really!  We knew about business driven IT in the 80’s and 90’s – why on earth are we having to re-invent it again in the 2010’s?

Not that I disagree with much that is said in the article, but it is just that I sometimes despair over why the IT industry continually re-discovers and re-invents what has been around for years.  Surely people can study a little history occasionally?

And surely it should be the other way around – business architecture (if there is such a thing!) determines enterprise architecture.

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Google Admits its Cars Occasionally Crash

You might look at the headline of the article and think that driverless cars are no good. In fact, the article states the exact opposite – the rate of crashes is low compared to the general populace, they were all low impact crashes, they were all caused by other drivers in other cars, and it has allowed Google to further improve their algorithms to attempt to deal with idiotic human drivers.

Just another plank in the bridge to total driverless cars – can’t come soon enough.

Google Admits its Cars Occasionally Crash

Google is busy developing self-driving cars for a number of reasons, one of which is their potential to reduce the number of accidents that occur on the roads each year. However, that doesn’t mean Google’s autonomous vehicles are immune from the odd crash here and there.

It turns out that Google’s self-driving cars have been involved in 11 accidents in the six years since the project began. Thankfully, these were all minor accidents with no injuries sustained by those involved. And considering that Google’s vehicles have covered 1.7 million miles in that time, these figures are actually rather refreshing.

Google maintains none of the accidents were the fault of the cars and their futuristic technology. Instead, all 11 accidents were caused by careless driving by people in other cars. And these incidents are now helping Google identify patterns of poor driving and adapt the software to better predict this flawed human behavior.

According to Chris Urmson, director of Google’s self-driving car program, there are 33,000 accidents on roads in the U.S. every year, and 94 percent of these are caused by human error. So, while Google still needs to get this figure of 11 down to zero, it appears the company’s autonomous vehicles are much safer than any driven by people rather than computers.

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Microsoft Word Shortcut Keys

In the Customize Keyboard dialog, find FileProperties under All Commands and assign a shortcut of Shift-Ctrl-Alt-P


Alt +f           Opens the Office Button

Alt +e           Opens the Prepare options

Alt +p           Opens the Properties
ALT+F, T         Open Word Options

W2010: Alt, F, I, Q, P    Show All Properties
W2010: Alt, F, I, Q, S    Properties

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Word (from Microsoft):
MVPS Word:
Shortcut World:


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Trick to Avoid Procrastination

I haven’t re-posted anything from PsyBlog for quite a while, but I came across this article and thought it would be more than useful …

Avoid Procrastination: Funky Tip Makes You Start 4 Times Sooner

Post image for Avoid Procrastination: Funky Tip Makes You Start 4 Times Sooner

This trick makes you feel closer to your future self so that you start four times sooner.

Thinking about upcoming goals in terms of days rather than months or years motivates action, new research finds.

Even counting months rather than years has a beneficial effect, psychologists have revealed.

Professor Daphna Oyserman of the University of Southern California, who led the study, thinks the tip…

“…may be useful to anyone needing to save for retirement or their children’s college, to start working on a term paper or dissertation, pretty much anyone with long-term goals or wanting to support someone who has such goals.”

Over 1,000 participants took part in four different studies to examine the phenomenon.

People were encouraged to think about goals in terms of different time scales.

For example, they either thought about saving for a college fund in 18 years or in 6,570 days.

Or, they thought about saving for retirement either in 30 years or in 10,950 days.

Thinking in days made people feel more connected to their future selves, which in turn was a greater motivator to action.

People said they would start working towards their goal four times sooner when the time was expressed in days than when it was expressed in years.

The research was published in the journal Psychological Science (Lewis & Oyserman, 2015).

Procrastination image from Shutterstock






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Superfish BlooperFish ZedFish DeadFish

I got myself the Superfish malware. Really adware rather than pure malware, but really annoying (in a sort of minimalistic way).

For those that have not experienced it, Superwish is an advertising popup that mysteriously appears over the top of various words (keywords) in the web page that you are viewing. It shows some products that you may be interested in buying, based on the keyword (I presume). It is pretty easy to get rid of once it has popped up – just click on the cross at the top right and it is gone. It does not seem to do anything else malevolent. So, in the big scheme of things, not that bad. The only issue is that it is really ANNOYING – having your web page viewing disturbed by all this extraneous pictorial material appearing at random places on the screen. Just plain annoying – a bit like a person that constantly interrupts you when you are talking. Eventually you get so sick of it that you just want them to go away. Same with Superfish.

I did some googling around to see how to get rid of it. Most of the advice did not really work. You know, the basic advice – download this adware remover, use Malwarebytes Antimalware (which, by the way, is totally awesome – get yourself a copy and keep using it).

The only other advice that appeared to work was to look at all the extensions that you may have loaded in Google Chrome (sorry, that is the current browser I am using and where the problem occurred and was fixed – but the same process should work in a similar manner for other browsers), look at the Options for each of the enabled extensions, and see if they had something like “Enable similar product search powered by Superfish”. Note that the words may be different and that “Superfish” may not actually appear – but anything that similar product searches is what you are after.

Untick the option and save.

You should then probably disable and then re-enable the extension.

The extension that I found the problem in was “OSearch” from the Diigo people.

Other people found the problem in other extensions, such as MeasureIt.

The annoying thing is that there does not seem to be an automated method to get rid of Superfish, and that it appears in multiple different extensions – so you don’t really know where it is apart from laboriously going through extensions. Now, that is ANNOYING too (everything about Superfish annoys me now!!).

The final annoyance is that extension writers and software developers are putting nuisance adware in their products and not telling people when they do so, and when it comes to installing it. I know the stuff is free, but a bit of information presentation would assist in deciding to use or not. Maybe I am just complaining about the inevitable consequence of the free software world and should just accept it, except for the fact that it could be done better (and there is no reason not to change for the better).

Does anyone know of a fully automated method of getting rid of Superfish?

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Persuasive and Memorable Stories

“In 350 B.C., Aristotle was already wondering what could make content—in his case, a speech—persuasive and memorable, so that its ideas would pass from person to person. The answer, he argued, was three principles: ethos, pathos, and logos. Content should have an ethical appeal, an emotional appeal, or a logical appeal. A rhetorician strong on all three was likely to leave behind a persuaded audience. Replace rhetorician with online content creator, and Aristotle’s insights seem entirely modern. Ethics, emotion, logic—it’s credible and worthy, it appeals to me, it makes sense. If you look at the last few links you shared on your Facebook page or Twitter stream, or the last article you e-mailed or recommended to a friend, chances are good that they’ll fit into those categories.”




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Making Conversation Work For You

I have been a fan of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) for many many years now.  Bandler and Grinder really did come up with something special, and had a reasonable theoretical framework associated with their concepts.

Much of what they wrote about is continually re-played in the popular and business press, under various headings.  If done well, it does not diminish the essential messages nor the utility of what is said.

The following article is one such example of this post-NLP diaspora.  It provides some good advice, in succinct chunks perfectly suited for the web-gen adversity to 200 page tomes:

Here are the headlines:

1. Encourage people to talk about themselves

2. To give feedback, ask questions

3. Ask for advice

4. The two-question technique

5. Repeat the last three words

6. Gossip — but positively



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