Categories
Career planning Mentoring Personal development

Tips for young women starting out in their career

carreer womenIf you are career minded and want to get on, there are 5 things to start doing now, don’t leave it too late to achieve the following:

1. Sales and Finance

Both skills can lead you to a CEO role. Rarely is the top role filled from other disciplines in a business. So nailing one or the other or both, is essential is you plan on getting to the top. Sales has had a bad wrap, but it is the best place to prove yourself by delivering outstanding results.

Action: Land a sales role or finance and get exposure to the other, by working with those teams, understand what they do and how you can learn from each other.

2. Public speaking

If you are not able to hold a room, then your career will come to a screeching holt. No matter how good you are, public speaking is key.

Action: Join Toastmasters and practice practice practice

3. Mentors

Find great mentors inside and outside the business. Ask your boss to help find the person in your organisation. Outside ask your family or friends. Once you have established contact, its your responsibility to schedule the catch ups ie once a month.

Always go prepared with questions for your mentor. This is a great opportunity to seek out advice on how to deal with situations, understand what they have done to get on in their career. Most important: Be vulnerable.

Ensure you thank and acknowledge feedback. Get comfortable as you cannot get to where you are going without feedback. It’s a lifetimes work.

4. Networking

Meeting new people, making new connections, helping them with their goals, is the only way to get on in life and business. It’s also gratifying helping others and they never forget your generosity. Use every opportunity to get out and network.

A great read, to help you learn and implement great connection with others is How to win friends and influencers people by Dale Carnegie

5. Develop an opinion on whats happening in the world

Not only develop an opinion, share and challenge others. This will build confidence. You dont have to agree with anyone, be seen as holding your own views. One of the criticisms of women by senior men, is that women don’t have an opinion on whats happening in the world.

Also look at your behaviour, ie giggly girls is not how you want to be remembered.

Good luck with your ambitions, ensure you get as much support as you can and remember to let others know your plans along the way otherwise they will fill the void with wild assumptions that I can guarantee are not going to help you. As my business coach says to me ” never die wondering” in other words ask the questions and speak up!

Categories
Entrepreneurship Influence Intrepenuership Leadership Personal development Sponsor Strategy

Opportunity to work abroad

working abroad (2)At age 44 I had the opportunity to work abroad with an Australian company that I had worked for for 4 years. I set up the European arm of Quofore a mobiles apps solution for Consumer Goods field representatives and we had done very well, so I was invited to come to Australia and become Managing Director for APAC.

Personally I have grown as a result, especially the opportunity to expand in to Asia, where my team landed a large contract with Unilever in China for 10,000 mobile users across 2000 cities. Ten years on, this is the success I am most proud of.  The reason:

  • Setting up a business in China of which I am extremely appreciative of all the advice and support from Austrade.
  • Delivering one of the most successful ROI projects for Unilever globally
  • Delivering a complex project in less than 10 months.

In Quofore I had worked with the global CEO and CFO for over 15 years, I had extreme trust and I was treated always exceptionally well.

Since joining corporate which I did just over 7 years ago I have had similar opportunities. In July last year I was given an opportunity to drive a new segment of the business, something I had been doing as a side project. My new boss backed me gave me a team and said there is no one more driven than you to make it work. This opportunity was to grow a $300 million business from 0 in the next three years.

I was amazed at the number of people who said to me, why are you taking on this opportunity you had a far more prestigious role before managing a team looking after the larger accounts.  Seven months on those same people, now get it. Proving yourself through taking calculated risks that are high profile is a great way to get noticed.  I am indebted to my boss for supporting me and creating the opportunity.

Categories
Coaching Influence Leadership Mentoring Personal development Work life balance

Taking responsibility to how we get treated

treatmentToday I was in a coaching session with a young female I have mentored for over 6 months. She has grown so much in a short amount of time, she is also happier and equipped with skills to ensure her success. Today I asked her about how she is getting on with repair bridges that have been well and truly burned. The same question I ask her each time I see her. She had made no progress.

I asked her what was getting in the way of having the conversation. She opened up and said that it would be too painful. Do you practice forgiveness? She looked alarmed. Forgiveness is the opposite to resentful, when you let you go, the emotion and time spent feeling resentful is released into positive energy that you can use far better.

Holding on to resentment is not helpful or healthy.

It’s too painful, she repeated. I asked Why is it so painful? She replied: It was bullying and it went on for months. What did you do about it? She stopped, I did nothing, I was embarrassed. Did you speak to anyone about it? No. So you suffered not knowing what to do. Yes she replied. She went on to say I want to forget it and move on. I replied, it will happen again, I can guarantee you, so what are you going to do about it when it happens? She looked surprised and taken back. It will happen, I talked through some incidents that I had personally dealt with. As a women, certain leaders(men and women) need to assert their authority and the way they do it, is not acceptable: Humiliating, raising voices, aggressive and threatening. If they do it once they keep doing it as the boundaries have not be set properly.

These are the steps to take post incidents with people who put you down or harass you or raise voices and aggressive:

1. Straight after incident document verbatim what has happened including time and date.

2. Within 24 hours and when you are calm, take the person to one side in a room and not where others can hear

3. This is what you say: The incident yesterday where you said quote un quote, you made me feel inadequate and very uncomfortable. Your actions destroyed my confidence, something that is extremely fragile in women. I dont want you to ever do that again, do you understand me?

Once the accused has acknowledged and apologies. Say this is not going to be discussed ever again, this is between you and me. Lets move on. Confidentiality is critical as it rebuilds trust.

I promise you will never have another incident, with this person.

In that moment the lights came on and she said ” I own this, I can take control”. Absolutely you do! Never let anyone make you feel bad, people who do this are fundamentally insecure. There is no excuse for the behaviour, but you are responsible for setting the boundaries.

Categories
Collaberation Influence Leadership Personal development Strategy

Its within our control to fix it

All to often we get caught up in why are management not fixing this! No matter where you are in an organisation you can influence an outcome. Everyday we are held back from success, but often the things that are holding us back are not clearly laid out, for others to understand or to solve or we dont see it as our responsibility to resolve. Living in hope that someone will find a solution.

Hope is not a strategy. What we walk pass is what we accept. So how do we address? Firstly understanding the problem we are trying to solve:

1. Problem statement.

2. Get a cross section of people together to discuss

3. Brainstorm solutions to the problem.

4. Agree on the best solution.

This is a far better approach than coming up with the solution when there is no recognition or understanding of the problem you are solving. The other benefit is the owner of the solution emerges. No matter how many times you go through the process the owner always emerges, as people naturally want to help and always want to be delivering outcomes that elevate pain.

An example: a team of account managers are dealing with many questions from their customers a day. Due to the newness of the business, many questions are being asked for the first time, and then again and again by different customers. The time management and CX is very poor, as the time it takes to deal with each request is not always straight forward. The problem statement ” How do we remove the burden of multiple questions from customers to Account Managers, increase the consistency and timeliness of responses, to free account managers up to focus on driving initiatives and enablement of their customers”

Because this problem statement is broad, having a cross section of staff across the business, enables solutions to be sought and the owner emerges.

STOP saying: thats not my teams issue, as it is because it impacts your team. The team that own the solution often are unaware of the issue or size of the issue, so framing the problem statement and finding solutions together is far more effective.

It’s within our control to fix it.

Categories
Coaching Collaberation Influence Laughter Leadership

Laughter the best tonic for stressful situations

I published this article last year, and given the Current crisis thought it would be a great reminder of why laughing is so important.

My team are great fun and they make me laugh daily with the challenges of working from home. We have a Online coffee catch up in the morning as a social check in.

Mondays conversation was about how is the Italians ran out of coffee first and the Australians toilet paper! It seems that many in my team are stockpiling Nescafé for when the coffee pods run out.

Tuesday the conversation turned to getting comfy with a chair and desk at home, so there was trips to office works and IKEA! Apparently some love building flat packed furniture. Ummm..

Wednesday the teams attention is now on the lack of steps one reported 66 in a day. One of the team chose to post a video of mini home workout, starting with a set of 5 press ups, etc. adding one on each day. Great video! Everyone very happy with wearing activewear. Started online meetings with some yoga stretches… Fun on video!

It is important that we laugh at ourselves and with others. Laughter will ease the stress and pain of this situation.

Here is the original blog on laughter is the best tonic for stressful situations.

As a teenager I was told off when telling a funny story about my auntie at the tea celebrating her life, post funeral. Everyone was laughing, then my mum pulled me aside and I was told it was inappropriate to laugh, I needed to be solemn as a mark of respect. My Auntie would have been laughing with me if she was alive and celebrating life is very important.

This learning about being more solemn did not just play out at the funeral, but in the school and the workplace. In the UK it was often frowned upon in business meetings to be laughing and having fun.

That belief stayed with me until 6 years ago when working with my business coach, Phil recommended a class with a comedian, on how to release tension by laughter. I had feedback that I am very serious at work and quite intense. We were told on the course that in the work place when their is stress that making a self deprecating joke or having fun, will release the stress and it does. Learning to have fun and laugh at work, makes the place a great place to be for everyone.

Just completed jury duty and we were able to laugh inspite of the stress of deciding a verdict. I am not sure how we would of got through without the laughter and fun, it relieved the tension and helped people not stress about the task at hand.

If you are reading this and you cannot remember the last time you laughed, its time to take stock and ask yourself what did you last laugh at? Who makes you laugh? Watch something that makes you laugh. If your beliefs are that it is inappropriate to laugh in certain situations then rethink that belief, as the relief from those around you will lead to greater collaboration and teamwork.

Laughter is a tonic and you need it like you need food and exercise. Let go of inhibitions and have some fun.

Categories
Career Change Career planning Leadership Networking

7 steps on how to network?

networkingFriday morning mentor walks I was asked how to network, before I address the how lets look into why? Networks are important for support, advice, opportunities (job or business) , helping others, connecting people with similar interests and having fun!

7 steps on how to network:

  1. is all about being open to meeting new contacts, going to events and meeting new people. Just say “yes”
  2. Your mind set need to be open, don’t go with a purpose of finding a job for instance, think about the person you are speaking to and how you can help them. Don’t think about yourself.
    • Who in your network could help them?
    • Is there a book you have read that could be helpful?
    • Do you know about a job opportunity they may be interested in?
    • Do you know about an event that they will find useful?
    • They may just want to sound out an idea
  3. Don’t think that a certain event will not be useful, as you are always going to meet people who knows someone who is not at the event, but you need to meet.
  4. Treat Internal networking the same as external networking
  5. Take business cards or if you comfortable use apps on your phone to share contact details.
  6. Remember to connect on linkedin.
  7. Thank you is a must if they have helped you out in some way

There are many events out there, here are a few in Sydney and Melbourne that I have found informative and great mix of women of all ages and industries:

 

Categories
Career Change Career planning Leadership Mentoring Personal development

Your Next Career Move

Preparing for your next role, can be daunting. It is certainly a journey not a destination. Here are 7 steps to take charge of the next career move:

1. Take Charge Of Your career pathOwn Career – seek support from an executive coach, mentors and work with people to help you get that next move

2. Stop Over Thinking – take action, fix the situation and move on – over thinking is a waste of time and energy

3. Public Speaking – you can’t avoid it, practice practice practice. Invest in Toastmasters. Start small with internal stakeholder opportunities – put your hand up – put yourself out there and don’t wait to be asked!

4. Step Up – step into the gaps and find the opportunities

5. Be Fearless – be prepared to make the tough decisions and take stakeholders on the journey – face into fear and build resilience

6. Expertise – soft skills and ability to communicate are more important than expertise – don’t rely just on expertise. 70% of women believe expertise alone will secure the next role according to New York Think tank 77.

7. Gravitas – learn when to speak and when to be silent – stop fidgeting and chattering! Have a Julia Bishop moment.

Continue to work on all of the above and opportunities will come your way.  All the best with your next career move.

 

Categories
Career planning Leadership Mentoring Personal development

So you want to be a Manager/Team Leader?

Do you feel you are ready for the next move? Does your boss or peers see you are ready for the next move? What preparation have yoManager_LPu done to take the next move?

We all harbour self-doubt, are we good enough? Will we be successful? So, although we all want success, there are times when we question our own abilities. Is that you?

What can we do to overcome these negative thoughts and self-doubt?So how do you apply your learnings to other aspects of leadership or stepping up to the next role?  Well, practice. Practice, Practice, Practice

I have heard many times in my career, well I cannot practice until I have the next role. When I hear this as a leader I despair, the comment shows no leadership.  Let me repeat: I cannot practice until I have the role, or I cannot prove my experience until I have the next role.  If you are in this trap, then here are five essential steps to move forward:

  1. Mentor another person, if you are young offer reverse mentoring. Mentoring another is all about being a leader and taking an active interest in others. If you have never mentored another and then go for a manager interview, you are unlikely to get the role.
  2. Are you on a committee? Kids school, local community, football team, Toastmasters. If you on a committee you are already aware of the meeting, strategy, treasury, you may have performed one of these roles. If you have you will have more confidence to be a leader when you will be required to present and debate with your peers and leaders
  3. What Projects are you working on? Are they team or company-wide? How do you participate? Projects that are cross-functional expose you to other functions, other leaders and peers across the business. It also shows your power to influence outside your immediate team
  4. What do you do to make your boss look good? How do you make them look amazing? Deliver excellent results and keep your boss informed of your plans and progress.
  5. Defensive behaviour: Something I struggled personally for years, so attached to my work if anyone had any feedback, I would be offended. I had taken so much pride in my work, it was hard to swallow. It is the most limiting behaviour, being open to feedback on your work, acknowledging the feedback, even thanking the individual is the only way to go if you want to get on. It is the most common area of coaching with team member and mentees. I witness and coach on these behaviours every day.  If you are not sure whether you do it: Ask your boss?

So you want to be a Manager/Team Leader? Take action now remember the 5 key steps to successfully securing the next role:

  1. Mentor
  2. Get on a committee
  3. Get on a project wider than your team, better still come up with something that impacts company wide
  4. What have you done to make your boss look good?
  5. Take control Defensive behaviour

So, you want to be a manager/Team leader? You can do it, you have made the first step by reading this article.

 

 

Categories
Leadership Personal development

Confidence gap

imageThe minister for women in Australia  Pru Goward MP closed the Telstra Business women’s awards in NSW by saying, when we address the confidence gap, there will be no domestic violence, no women’s business awards, women’s programs in the workplace and no gender paygap.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pru_Goward