Archive for June, 2019

Don’t stop being angry about Australia’s lack of legal protections for press freedom and whistle-blowers

June 23, 2019

I know it was a few weeks ago now that the federal police raided the ABC offices and the home of Annika Smethurst, a journalist at the Sunday Telegraph. However, where has all that anger gone? Lost in the news cycle and drowned out no doubt by what Trump might have been saying in his latest tweets. The recent protest in Hong Kong have got me thinking about just how placid we really are here in Australia. We get all outraged in the moment, then move on to the next thing without really protesting or preventing things that might ultimately be undermining the liberal democracy we hold so dear.

The raids were shocking, but they shed further light on the fact that the ABC had previously reported on allegations of illegal actions by Australian special forces in Afghanistan, such as the killing of unarmed men and children. These are not actions forces of a liberal democracy should be allowed to get away with it. The ABC was reporting on gross misconduct by our forces and this is indeed in the ‘public interest’. What is shocking is that the warrant served on the ABC looked like it was from an authoritarian, Kafkaesque society in that it allowed investigators to “add, copy, delete or alter” material in the broadcaster’s computers.

The raid on the home of Annika Smethurst was in connection with an article she wrote about potential ‘top secret’ strategies to expand surveillance powers that could be used by the authorities in Australia. These strategies include covert reading of people’s e-mails, text messages and even being able to see their bank accounts.

Stories like these are important in that they keep our governments and authorities within democracy honest. Furthermore, these stories would not have come to light if it were not for the whistle-blowers who risked everything to bring them to the fore. The allegations in the ABC story were brought light by David McBride who used to be a lawyer with the defence department. He did not go running straight to a journalist, indeed he had done all he could to adhere to the ‘public-interest disclosure rules’ and is on record of having raised his concerns with the department. However, they did nothing to address his concerns or allegation and it was this that prompted him to contact journalists. However, protections under the law for whistle-blowers are woefully lacking, and in fact these laws specifically exclude protection for public servants the very people who should be protected in order to guarantee the protection of our democracy!

David McBride is now being charged with the disclosure of unauthorised documents and faces a life sentence. Some in the right-wing media have said this an apt punishment as this story posed a national security threat, but this is a load of tosh as they relate to events that happened more than six years ago.

Democracy is clearly under attack in several parts of the world and some even say it is failing. Therefore, the last thing we need is for democracy to be under attack in the very countries that should be standing up for the benefits of democracy. So, what does it say about our own democracy that here in Australia we lack explicit constitutional protection for civil liberties and that we as citizens on the whole seem to sit back and let our government pass legislation that weakens our civil liberties.

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The Net Promoter Score, the debate continues…

June 11, 2019

For years now, it feels like I go through phases where clients ask me “what do you think of the Net Promoter Score?” and we have lots of meaningful chats about it, then I hear nothing about it for a while. Well it seems it is back on client’s radar again, so I thought I would jot down my point of view on it. I should point out that my perceptive on the score is based on my experience of how my clients have been either ‘gathering the score’ or ‘using it’.

Let me start of by saying that I believe it is without doubt a useful measure of customers relationship strength, but I believe it is limited in terms of providing strategically focused outcomes. I base this thinking on the fact that it is often used in a manner which makes the score one dimensional when a multidimensional measure of the strength of the customer relationship is something we should be striving for (in order to better reflect lived experiences). A single score can be limiting, for example if you have a low NPS score it’s important to understand “why” the number is low so that you can improve that score. Thus additional research to determine why people talk positively or negatively is still necessary if all you have is the NPS score (which is often the case, especially if just ‘adding it on’ to a survey).  

A potential ‘recommendation” is more often than not an effect of service received, the NPS can initially measure this for you and in time monitor this, but it does not give analysis that will enable you to measure the underlying cause of likelihood to recommend, you need to explore the “effect” of service (and other relevant metrics) on recommendation and identify opportunities for improvement. In addition, is just collecting a standalone NPS measure it is not effective for predicting business performance as it provides no direction about what to do, that said a standalone NPS may give you a “motivational” score should you need to improve but little or no guidance for management on “what to do”.

Furthermore, you also must consider the market in which your (or your client’s) company operates, I believe the NPS is better suited to business that operate in a market where customer interactions are fairly simple and are confined to a limited number of possible touch-points (namely business-to-consumer retail settings). It is far less suited for a company operating in a market with complex customer interactions and a multitude of possible touch-points and processes to manage (namely business-to-business or where complex service relationships exists with consumer, such as financial services).