Posted by nyssa on October 29, 2013 in ,

I’ve found myself in three situations in the past fortnight that have got me thinking about the need to both hold on to certain traditions and practices whilst also constantly looking for ways to move forward, innovate and adapt to the ever changing world.  Recently at work I’ve felt torn between the tried and proven ways of doing things versus the newer and invariably more technology based way of doing things.

The first situation was at my weekly Karate training.  I practice Koshinkan Karate which has a “meaning and purpose of both old and modern karate”.  The old karate includes teachings in ancient weaponry and kata movements that are sequences of self defence applications.  The modern side is heavily focussed on sparring (kumite) and competition kata for points.  For me the most interesting part of any karate lesson is the self defence applications and practical techniques which have a rich history in the martial art.  However my competitive nature also enjoys the sports side and taking on opponents to win.  But I see the merits of both old and modern karate.

The second situation was a school reunion dinner I attended the weekend before last.  The reunion was held in Brisbane for Queensland based alumni who attended this Tasmanian school, with attendees from many different years. Keeping in mind I left school over twenty years ago, I was surprised to be the youngest former student at the dinner. The evening was very enjoyable speaking to other former students who went to my school but had very different experiences with different teachers over different eras. However there was a strong thread of changepride and a common bond amongst the group. We were all proud to attend the oldest, continuously running school in Australia. The current Headmaster flew up from Tasmania to attend and he spoke of the school’s history and traditions which remained strong and held to the core.  One of these traditions is the school walkathon where the final year students walk 80 kilometres as an endurance test.  I can still recall the arduous walk that seemed to drag on forever when my Class of ’91 took on the challenge.  We started early afternoon, walked all night and finished the following morning.  I remember marching along country back-roads around Launceston in the dark, my legs seizing up a few hours from the finish and finally arriving in the Mall to limp to the finish line.  Despite the pain it was a great experience and a fantastic bonding event for a group of final year students, teachers and a few brave parents who volunteered to come along.  The school has now been doing the Walkathon for 50 years and I think it is a great tradition.  However the school has also changed and evolved over recent times.  It now welcomes a broader international student demographic, it has embraced advances in technology and with a strategic “2020 Vision” plan for the future that aims to continue this vision “through providing an education that is globally contemporary, evidenced based, responsive, relevant and therefore sought after in Tasmania and beyond”.  I was surprised to learn of this strategic plan as I thought of my school more focused on its history and the past than “globally contemporary” issues, but I’m really pleased to learn of this.

The third situations was a seminar I attended last week focused on the recruitment and consulting industry with industry expert Greg Savage’s presentation based on the changes he’d make in launching a new company now. Greg has worked in this sector for three decades and has successfully run several recruitment businesses yet he was not backwards in coming forward to say that he would now do things very differently. This is born out of necessity due to a drastically different employment landscape and changing expectations from our customer base (candidates and clients).

Greg was happy to explain that despite having such a long career in recruitment, he recognised both the need to hold on to proven recruitment methods (as he terms the ‘craft’ of recruitment) whilst also embracing social media technologies to reach a wider audience.  Tools like Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook are now used daily by recruitment and HR practitioners to share market information, generate brand awareness, promote job vacancies, and connect to people with similar interests.

Our challenge at Optimum is to embrace these technologies and use these mediums to facilitate face to face meetings with our customers so we can then apply the skills of the recruitment and consulting professionals.  Getting the optimal mix of old skills and new skills is the key and it requires attracting, retaining and developing different employees to those that were needed in the past.

Recruitment is not the only industry sector experiencing the challenge of blending the old and the new… what challenges do you face?

Ben Walsh – General Manager; Recruitment

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