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.


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.



Leadership Mentoring Personal development

5 Lessons in transformational leadership

Transformational leadership is a key skill in today’s digitally disrupted environment. In the last two and half years I have worked with a sales team in telecom to transition from traditional telecom sales to selling cloud, managed services, applications and professional services.  When I started in the role I naively believed this would be a 12 month process, it took over 2 years. Here are some of the key lessons from my experience:

  1.  Spend time on the Why, no one is interested in the How unless they understand the Why. Ask your team in monthly town halls or all hands sessions why are we changing? It takes time for people to really understand the why.
  2. Regular transparent communications. Weekly updates on progress, recognising any small shift in behaviour, calling it out and celebrating every small change. People don’t change if they feel unsupported, create a safe learning environment.
    • run regular employee engagement surveys on how they are feeling, so you can address concerns in the regular communication
  3. Cadence is essential with any changes: Ensure any new cadence is introduced with a clear expectation of what they need to do, how they can get help to prepare and recognise every improvement they make no matter how small. Coach on the gaps.
  4. Use behavioural framework to help the team understand what is expected of them. This is relevant for cultural change. Culture is underpinned by behaviours that have been acceptable in the past and no longer serve the business. Highlight the 5-6 behaviours that need to change, work out what good, and excellent  looks like for each of the behaviours to change, then ask your leaders where they are on each one. Then coach on achieving the good and excellent.  For example: Excuse behaviour:
    • Excellent: is find solutions proactively and communicate the actions they will take to make it happen and then execute.
    • Good: comes with possible solutions not sure of right option and looks for assistance, then executes.
    • Poor: makes excuses why something cannot happen.
  5. Stakeholders. Keeping your Managers and other stakeholders updated on your plan and progress to the plan is critical. We all underestimate the time to turnaround a situation, so being clear on the plan and where you are on achieving the milestones is key.

What are your experiences?

Career Change Career planning Leadership Personal development

When do you compromise your values?

Our values are challenged everyday in the business environment.  When we cross the boundaries which we all have, we question our very existence. We become resentful of the factors that influenced the breach of values and this results in stress and poor sleep.image

Earlier in my career I did not respect my own values, I just did what was needed to get on.  Not sure if maturity has helped and/or a gap year in my forties, but I now know the price we pay for compromising our values.

When we know and understand our beliefs we can be confident about who you are and what you are.  It is the foundation for happiness and contentment.  

Have the courage and conviction to protect your values in all situations.  As a leader your team and peers will see you for who you are.

So the answer to when do you compromise your values? The answer is never. Always stay true to who you are.


Career planning Leadership Mentoring Personal development

Feedback – how to interpret?

When there is no feedback positive and/or development, my perception is that my boss does not care, yet it can also be that they are concerned about how you will react. Either way not getting valuable feedback is not good for your own personal development! image

My business coach has a saying “never die wondering” in other words ask the questions.  So ask for feedback, what are my blind spots? what are the two things I can do that would make a difference?  When you ask make sure you follow up in a note and share your appreciation for sharing the feedback.

If someone cannot think of feedback or it is uncomfortable, then seek to understand, why are they uncomfortable? When you know they are uncomfortable put them at ease, so they can be more transparent with you. Use phrases I appreciate feedback as without this valuable information I cannot grow. Here are some examples of areas of self development I am working on and then explain the focus areas IE attending Toastmasters to develop public speaking, working on better coaching by asking more questions. In most cases Leaders who are uncomfortable giving feedback the reason is due to have what is in their perception is the difficult conversation.

You cannot develop if you don’t know what you need to develop. Don’t be held back from your ambitions and goals because you work for someone who is not comfortable having the frank conversations.

A great interview question for perspective employers “what are you working on for personal development right now?” “What book are you reading?”. If they don’t have an answer, they are unlikely to be able to help you.





Judgement Leadership Mentoring

How quickly can you forgive?

forgiveness-300x199How quickly can you forgive?

Many years ago, I could not forgive, I would hang onto situations emotionally where I felt that I was treated unfairly. The situation would play through my mind a million times, always the victim, never once thinking of the other person and what caused them to act in that way. Sometimes I would hear myself bemoaning the individual who had wronged me and hating myself as the words left my lips.  I would then hold that grudge, eating away at me emotionally, but not being prepared to let go.

Taking part in the seven bridges walk in Sydney  many years ago, I was walking with a friend Annet who teaches yoga and meditation. I quizzed her about meditation and how to get started, she said its simple, find somewhere quiet sit on a cushion on the floor, to begin use a wall to prop yourself up, set the timer to 5 mins on your iphone and close your eyes.  We chatted for hours about the how and benefits.

Inspired the very next day I got out of bed at 6am, found a spot on the balcony with the cushion, set the timer and I was away. My monkey mind went crazy with all the things I had to do in the day ahead, but it was ok Annet said it would be like that for a while.  Every day I practised and then one day after 6 months of persistence I found the space she had talked about. Calmness that I had not felt before, but then experienced often after that day. I went to 10 mins a day so I could enjoy that feeling of emptiness and quietness. Today I can meditate for 30-40 mins. Some days are better than others with my thoughts, but what was truly amazing is the time to reflect is the most valuable teacher. So often now in meditation I can see where I am going wrong, whereas before the emotions, inner critic and monkey mind left me with no ability to reflect.

At work in stressful situations I can find that calmness quickly, allowing to expend little emotional energy. Through meditation I was able to let go of the personal pain and really seek to understand the other person. The process of letting go takes practice, Forgiveness is easy when there is no emotional attachment to a situation.

Forgiveness is critical to being a great leader, there are many times when I have almost given up on someone and seen them realise what they need to do to change the future. My experience is that great leaders believe in others and allow people the room to reflect and grow. Poor leaders, see this person is not performing its reflecting on me, so I need to take action. Self serving leaders have a short shelf life as staff turnover is inevitable.

How quickly can you forgive?

Career Change

Why move from Tech Start up to Corporate?

Many people are inquiring about my move from start-up, entrepreneurial business

into corporate. Why? how? And am I enjoying it. The why: needed a new leadership challenge, something to stretch me and also to fulfill my longer term plan to get onto boards of ASX business. You cannot get into those roles without having Corporate leadership experience. Many non execs have advised me I need to remain in senior exec roles in corporate for the next 10 years in order to get the experience to be considered for a ASX Board role.

To make the move to corporate, I had to understand the missing skills needed to be successful. As I knew no one who had moved into corporate from tech start-up, I enlisted the services of a Business coach Phil Crenigan. The preparation was essential as I had only been in Australia at that time 3 years and my network in corporate Australia was insufficient to be sponsored into a role. When someone brings you into an organisation you have someone to help you navigate, when you are not known you have to navigate and network from day one.

Des Miller who I had worked for over 20 years recommended the book ‘in the first 90 days’ by Michael Watkins. A great guide to moving into a senior leadership role in a corporation.

The challenge of moving into Corporate was a chance to make a difference. When you have set up a business, that nobody knows about and built three successful business you have to be good at everything; marketing, selling, implementation, finance and growing a team. Taking that entrepreneurial spirit and customer focus in to Telstra has proved to be one of the most rewarding times in my career. The leadership and support is incredible. The strategy is well understood by all and the focus on Customer advocacy is in the DNA of Telstra, thanks to David Thodey’s phenomenal leadership.

Are you ready to make the change?

Judgement Leadership

What am I working on? Judgement

Judgement is an area of development that I have been
working on for three yeaJudgement-1rs! My Business coach brought this poor behaviour to my attention. We all judge
another person in an instance, but what we do next with the judgement is what defines us. A few months ago I was approached by someone from our strategy team about taking on some new customer accounts. We had just been through industry alignment of our customers and it was a big change to our business. It was impractical to take on more customers for at least 3 months. My judgement had already kicked in within a few minutes of the conversation starting, but with three years of discipline I put that aside and focused on the individual.
Personal development

Importance of taking time off for your team to develop

Never underestimate the importance of being away from the business, to allow your team to grow. Having a 2nd in command(2IC) who represents you when you are away or unable to attend meetings is critical for team development. It also gives a different perspective, which will develop you as a leader.

Succession planning is all about finding opportunities for your talent to lead, so taking leave and secondments can give that all important opportunity to your team to step up.

Why is it important?

  1. The team will thrive as they see opportunity for growth. It also shows trust in their ability to step up
  2. Great learning opportunity for them and you. One of the most challenging times was when I was seconded into another role for 6 months and my 2 IC was dealing with a restructure. My natural reaction is a “rescuer” this is not helpful for your team member. I was coached by my boss to stand back and let him navigate on his own. Its hard to watch someone really struggle, but it taught me so much and it was one of the greatest lessons for them as well.
  1. Team takes on more responsibilities as the workload spreads to support the acting manager. One of the team members took on the forecasting from the 2IC and others took on other responsibilities, stretching the whole team, but at the same time making them work even more collaboratively together.
  2. When I returned to my role, my team was functioning even better than when I left it, and it meant that I had more time to support my peers and boss.

Regular breaks and secondments, lead to a healthier life, but the benefits to your team are far greater than you would ever believe. Take a break!

Career Change Career planning Coaching Leadership Legacy Mentoring Networking Personal development

Help your team realise their dreams

There is a lot of discussion on finding work in what you love doing, is it a good thing or not?

I have had the privilege of working with Jane Ron and John (names changed) all had a passion and it was not what they were doing as a job.

John was a cloud specialist and well regarded by his peers and customers. Every hour outside work was spent filming and editing music videos. When I had my 1;1 s I would ask him how the videos were going and his eyes would light up. One day I said to him, I don’t want to lose you, but I sense you are not fulfilled by your role. John said I would love to make the filming and editing full time, but I am scared of giving up my job.  I said what if you could work 3-4 days a week and spend a day on your filming. John was over the moon, this would be perfect, I can see if this works out for me, whilst working in my role.  Within a month John was working 1-2 days a week on his filming business and 6 months late he was full time, doing what he loved.

As a leader there are many lessons here:

  • helping people realise their dreams is leadership
  • this is a true test of Trust between you and your team member, especially if it is not aligned to what they are doing today
  • other employees are inspired by the leadership as it is focused at the heart of any business the people
  • transitioning is easier to manage than someone resigning, you can plan and ensure the transition is seamless.

A few years later Jane worked in one of the sales teams I led and was a Environmentalist to the core. She was in a sales role and successful, but it was not wanted she really wanted to be doing.  In a mentoring session I asked her to bring some of her passions to the role IE getting everyone on board with recyclable coffee cups. She did many side projects but it was not enough to change how she felt. I encouraged to look at a number of organisations where her passion would be fulfilled and introduced her to people I knew in the field. She finally landed her dream job.  I lost a great sales person, but helped someone pursue their passion.   When I read Jane’s post on linked I am so proud of what she achieved and feel good that I was able to assist her on the journey.

Around the same time Ron one of the Sales managers told me he had been doing sales management for over a decade and was looking to the future where he wanted a operational role in the company. I connected Ron with a mentor in Operations, where I thought they would be an excellent fit in terms of personality and temperaments.  A year later Ron secured the role he wanted in  operations. During that time we worked through Ron’s replacement. A 12 month run way is plenty of time to ensure the successor is ready.

Help your team realise their dreams