Archive for June, 2016

Creating Relevant Careers

June 28th, 2016


“Don’t count the days, make the days count”
– Mohammed Ali
[vcex_divider style=”solid” icon_color=”#000000″ icon_size=”14px” margin_top=”20px” margin_bottom=”20px”][vcex_spacing size=”10px”]Over the last decade we have seen an unprecedented number of businesses pay the price of failing to remain relevant. Industries have been shaken up by creative disruption like never before; there is an increasing global competition for talent; a move towards flatter structures and the traditional concept of job security has almost entirely disappeared.

Failing to adapt is costly. The stories behind organisations such as Kodak, Dell and Blockbuster should serve as a timely reminder on the importance of relevance. Just as these businesses paid the ultimate price of losing not only market position but also their place in it, we too can face the same situation with our own careers if we fail to remain relevant with our own knowledge and skills and our teams, organization and industry.

With the majority of professionals working harder and smarter, as well as being more broadly skilled than at any other point in their professions it would be fair to assume that we are more strongly positioned to manage our careers than ever before. However with ever-increasing volatility on nearly all fronts – politically economically and in business – and technology advances occurring almost daily, individuals can face enormous challenges to remain relevant to the world around them. But these challenges can also provide enormous opportunity if we learn how to navigate them.

In their book The Start Up of You, Hoffman & Casnocha suggest that if we are to build long-term career success, individuals need to consider themselves as entrepreneurs and their careers as a start up business. As they note, ‘the skills that start-ups require are the very skills that professionals need in order to advance their careers: nimbleness, personal investment, strong networks and intelligent risk taking.”

It takes effort and energy to be relevant. Effort to invest in and apply the knowledge and skills required to do the job; and energy to connect and engage with others – to ask the right questions to find out what their thinking, understand their needs and offer meaningful support. As leaders, not only do we need to ensure that we remain relevant with our own careers but we need to support others do so as well. We need to genuinely connect with the needs of our people and help them align their careers with the ambitions of the organisation and industry they operate in.

So how do we best equip ourselves for career success and build relevance in what we do today and for the future? I would encourage you to consider the following six points:

Be ready for change: Change is here to stay! According to the Future Works Skills 2020 Report nearly one third of the workforce will be employed on a casual basis. Global connectivity, ‘smart machines’ – which will see a higher degree of automation in some roles and the complete redundancy of others – and new media are just some of the drivers that are reshaping the way think about work, what constitutes it and the skills we will require to be productive contributors to the future.

Understand your value: Understand what you need to ensure that you can act and react with nimbleness and agility. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who uses my work and what they need most?
  • What business outcomes drive my work?
  • What is the cost of my work?
  • What impacts the way I do my work and how has that recently changed?
  • What are the opportunities to grow and scale what I do?
  • How can I better help others in their role?

Become the expert: Invest in honing your knowledge and skills. Investigate key industry trends and challenges; recent business success stories and know who the key influencers and thought leaders are and why. Individuals who manage their own learning and development in partnership with their organisation are much more attractive to future employers and strongly positioned to remain in control of their own career and future opportunities.

Build a strategic network: Evaluate the strength of your current network and understand what support they offer Have you got the right people to support where you want to go or are you surrounded by people who are distracting you from your path. Invest in strengthening your professional support through the building of relevant alliances and ensuring that there is a diverse mix.

Challenge yourself: For many of us some of our richest experiences and greatest achievements have come from stepping outside our comfort zone. Pushing the boundaries and taking ‘intelligent risks’ brings new knowledge, new networks, new opportunities and lessons that sustain us well after the experience has ended. It also invariably generates energy and engagement in what we do.

Engage: Clarity comes through engagement. We need to take action to drive our career forward and engage through those around us so that we understand what ideas, projects and businesses are being discussed, celebrated and challenged.

As always I would love to hear your thoughts.

Margot Anderson

If you would like to explore ways to build your career and leadership relevance, please contact Margot on 0400 336 318.

Leading Others To Shine

June 22nd, 2016


 “People who shine from within don’t need the spotlight” – Anon
We all know that the best leaders bring out the best in their people. Be it sporting leaders, cultural and community leaders or organizational leaders, they all somehow seem to possess the keys to unlocking the ‘shine’ in those who are fortunate enough to work with and for them.

In today’s rapidly changing world, this commitment to unlocking the shine in others has never been so great. Why? Because when individuals shine, they maximize not only their performance and efficiency but also their fulfillment, commitment and influence. When we have a whole team that shines we maximize organisational performance and by default our own capability and leadership potential.

All to often we hear about the need for more leaders but really what we need is more leadership. Leadership is most powerful when used as a verb and not merely a noun. It’s true effectiveness lies in the every day actions we take to grow capability, create options, problem solve and inspire others to achieve more.

Edward Hallowell, author of Shine: Using Brain Science To Get The Best From Your People notes that “All people want to work hard and will work hard, given the right job and the right conditions, because it feels supremely good to excel. Deep within us all beats a primal desire to contribute something of value to this world and to stand out as a positive person in the eyes of others. Great leaders and managers make this happen.”

Like a puzzle we therefore need to firstly make sure that we have the right people, in the right place at the right time. This can be easier said than done, especially when you have a change in business direction that requires new and different roles and a loyal workforce that has become comfortable in what and how they do things. Failing to address these changes though is like death by a thousand paper cuts that slowly bleeds away all elements of success, fulfillment and potential at both an individual and organisational level. As Edward Hallowell notes, it is only when people are in the right jobs that their brains light up.

So what can we as leaders do to create opportunities for others to shine? Consider the following 7 steps:

  1. Get clear on your business/team goals: In order to create opportunities for those in our team, we need to crystal clear on what it is we need to do, the timeframes and why.
  2. Know your own strengths and those of your team: Understanding your strengths (and blind spots) allows you to operate with not only a higher degree of productivity but also bravery and curiosity. When you and your team are able to be honest and transparent about what you do well, you will attract opportunities that capitalize on your individual and collective talents and passions.
  3. Align talents with opportunities: Complete the jigsaw – match individual talents with business opportunities. It is only when we do that the best in each individual will be bought to light.
  4. Build connection: It is important that individuals build connection between what they do and why as well as with whom they do it. Identifying and building this connection is of paramount importance if we are to building lasting success. Great leaders create a connection to what is possible: too many people in our workforce are disconnected with themselves and what they do because they no can longer see or believe what is possible.
  5. Create a ‘psychologically safe’ workplace: If we are to commit to growth and innovation we need to create workplaces that allow us to explore, ideate and become curious without the fear of retribution or penalty. It is only when feel safe that we are prepared to take the risk to try new things!
  6. Recognise valuable contribution: Creating a culture that recognizes valuable contributions, motivates others to strive for greatness and peak performance. Creating a culture that helps people to shine is a catalyst for future success.

As always I would love to hear your thoughts.

Margot Anderson[vcex_divider style=”solid” icon_color=”#000000″ icon_size=”14px” margin_top=”20px” margin_bottom=”20px”][vc_single_image image=”126″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” alignment=”none”]

If you would like to explore ways to help you and your team to shine, please contact Margot on 0400 336 318.

Creating Career Wealth

June 14th, 2016


“Investing in yourself is the best thing you can do….
If you’ve got talent, and you’ve maximised your talent, you’ve got a tremendous asset that can return ten-fold” – Warren Buffet
Essentially wealth really is anything that holds value. It is about creating a sense of prosperity and abundance in in the areas of our life that are important to us. A quick Google search reveals that the three key attributes of wealth are utility, scarcity and marketability.

In thinking about our careers, these attributes are not too different. Clarity, demand and transferability are three career attributes that will build value and drive your career forward. Given that we spend up to 70% or our waking time engaged in work related activities – week after week and year after year – it makes sense that we aim to create a high degree of value and reward in what we do.

So how do we use these three attributes to create genuine career wealth?

  1. Build clarity: Around what you can do (Skills, Knowledge, Experience); what you want to do (Values, Career Anchors) and where you think you best fit (Personality, People, Culture).
  2. Build demand: Become the expert in what it is that you do and the way in which you do it. Learn how to position yourself as the expert and give people and organisations a reason to want to engage with you.
  3. Build Transferability: Identify where your skills and capabilities also apply. Remain relevant to the future of your business, your industry, and your networks and become nimble enough to adapt and leverage with the inevitable changes ahead.

As with all successful components of our lives, habits play a key part in seeing us reach our potential. Building high value careers is no different. Below are 10 key habits that I believe underpin truly wealthy, successful and satisfying careers. How many do you practice?

  • Conduct Regular Audits:Gaining clarity on the areas highlighted above is not a once off event. Regularly check in and take a close look at where you are and where you want to go. Are your personal values aligning with your goals? Making this a regular habit will help maintain clarity and focus and more importantly make any required changes in a timely manner.
  • Value Your Time: Know your own strengths and play to them. Learn to identify the strengths in others and how you can best collaborate to achieve mutually beneficial goals and save time, effort and wasted energy.
  • Embrace Learning: Never assume that you know all there is to know about managing your career. Begin by investing time to acquire the right intelligence and know-how that will accelerate your career. Investigate key industry trends and challenges; recent business success stories; know who the key influencers and thought leaders are. Be proactive in educating yourself in what is required from both an industry and individual perspective.
  • Position yourself for recognition: This is not about endless self-promotion. Rather it is about building up your portfolio of accomplishments and positioning yourself for more opportunities and achievements. To do this successfully you need to seek feedback and input from your leaders and mentors both from within and outside your organisation.
  • Become curious: Ask questions – lots of them! Your outcomes and direction are greatly determined by the quality of the questions you ask yourself and those around you. Seeking understanding and not merely responses will help create and open up new opportunities, solutions and pathways.
  • Practice Bravery: Low risk is often associated with stability. However continually opting for the low risk options leads to increased vulnerability as it reduces our resilience to deal with sudden and high level change. ‘Playing it safe’ with your career can in fact create higher risk through an inability to cope with the volatility and rate of change which is all to common in the market place today.
  • Strengthen your network: Invest in the right relationships and dedicate time and energy to them. Identify your key influencers and thought leaders, and a meaningful pathway of how to approach and engage with them. Build a networking plan that fosters authentic professional relationships where you can also offer valuable contributions.
  • Give generously: Acting with generosity requires you to be open. It is not restricted to just opening up our wallets but also our skills, ideas and knowledge. When we actively acknowledge the contributions and needs of others and are generous with providing recognition, time, networks etc. we often find that we are the unexpected beneficiary with increased levels of success and satisfaction.
  • Invest in the business of you: Understanding that our capacity to give and give generously is dramatically enhanced when we look after ourselves, is a critical part of our success. Investing in your health, your relationships, your learning and interests is not a nice-to-have it’s a must have!
  • Have fun! Seek out work that you love, with people you love and in environments that you love. You won’t be able to wipe the smile off your face or dispute the level of satisfaction and purpose you experience!

As always I would love to hear your thoughts.

Margot Andersen

If you would like to explore ways to enhance your career wealth for yourself and your team, please contact Margot on 0400 336 318.

So Much To Do…So LittleTime!

June 7th, 2016

“Dost thou love life?
Then do not squander time,
for that is the stuff life is made of.” 
Benjamin Franklin
There are very few things in life that are constant but time is one of those few things.

Regardless of how hard you work, how wealthy you are, whether you live in the northern hemisphere or the southern, whether you are 10 years of age or 110, the fact remains, there are 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. Granted, some days may seem longer than others, but the reality is no amount of effort can provide you with additional time.

You can’t buy it, rent it, borrow it, store it or renew it. …. All you can do is spend it.

And herein lies the question: Are you spending your time wisely?

In a time, when most of us are being asked to do more with less – less money, less resources and less time – it is the people who are able to use their time productively that are reaping the rewards. Rewards both personally and professionally.

What is it though about some people that make them so productive?  In an age where ‘being busy’ is the norm, how do we ensure that we are getting most of the 24 hours in the day, the 7 days in the week that we all have?

I would encourage you to think about the tips below when evaluating your use of time:

  • Value time as a resource: You need to value what do you do as if it were a precious resource you are about to invest into. Just as we need to determine the viability of and return on staffing resources or financial and IT systems, we need to do the same with our time. Ask yourself the same questions as if you were about to allocate other resources:
  1. What will I obtain in return? Is it worth it?
  2. Does it fulfill my needs and the business need?
  3. What type of environment does this resource / investment require to maximise a return?
  4. What do I need to prioritise to ensure that this resource / investment achieves the strongest outcome.
  5. How do I best protect it?
  • Know your direction and purpose: People often complain about lack of time when lack of direction is the real problem (Zig Ziglar). Without clear objectives your attention and subsequently your actions are spent focused on whatever seems important only in that moment.
  • Know your influencers and stakeholders: Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked by people who are not on track!
  • Blend efficiency and effectiveness: Efficiency is doing the job right whilst effectiveness refers to doing the right job. Strong leaders know how to blend the two approaches. You understand all that is required, prioritise the most important tasks and complete them in the best possible way.
  • Influence what you can and let go of what you can’t: Understand what the demands and constraints are and what choices we have. What do we ‘have’ to do versus what are the limits to what we can do? What choices do we have in how the work is delivered and, where when and by whom?
  • Know yourself: What makes you work? Time is also a very personal resource. You are the only one who can spend your time.
  • Collaborate: Productive leaders know that they cannot do it alone. Whist they have a very clear understanding of the value of their own contribution, they also know how to effectively harness the talent around them, draw upon individual strengths and encourage collaboration to achieve the desired outcomes.

Understanding that you have the ultimate control over how you invest your time is critical to your success. Your fulfilment and productivity levels are greatly enhanced when you feel in control of what you do, value what you do and can see the contribution that it offers to the broader business or environment.

How do you ensure that you are making the most of your time? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Margot Andersen

If you would like to explore ways increase your productivity and efficiency in your career, please contact Margot on 0400 336 318.

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