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  1. What are the next steps after gaining a promotion?

    April 28, 2015 by Jenna

    You have worked hard to get your promotion, now you have to set yourself up for success in your new role. Preparing to take on more responsibility will make the transition process run smoothly and will help set you up for future success.

    So what are the next steps after you receive the promotion? What can you do to keep yourself on track?

    1. Get clear expectations. The first thing you need to do is really understand your new role. What does the organisation expect of you? What does your manager expect of you? And what do you expect of yourself? Clarifying these expectations sets up a path to follow.

    2. Set your goals What do you want to accomplish and why? Set personal and career goals both short and long term so you can measure your progress on the path. Don’t be afraid to share your goals or vision with management and get their buy in as well,

    3. Talk to your boss. Get to know your manager and determine how you will work together. How and when will you communicate and what will help you succeed beyond the job description. These things are critically important to your mutual success.

    4. Focus on building relationships. You may have moved to a new department with new peers or report to and a new manager. The relationships with the people around you are part of that job! Invest time in building relationships with your new peers, people in other groups, your boss, your customers, and if you are a leader, your team. It makes your working environment more positive and productive if you have a level of rapport with your team.

    5. Learn what you need to learn. Remember you are new to this position so you cannot know it all on the first day! It is part of our development to learn new skills. Take notes, ask questions, request feedback to make sure you are heading on the path towards success. The earlier you set yourself up to understand the requirements and expectations of the role, the easier it will be to settle into the position and start delivering.

    6. Celebrate! Of course you deserve the time to celebrate your promotion and share the excitement with others. Take some time for yourself and those closest to you to celebrate your progress and accomplishments. Celebrating builds your confidence and awareness, and it sets you on the right path for even better performance.

    Sometimes we tend to rush from one project to the next without fully understanding what we have achieved. Every accomplishment is a stepping stone on the path towards your future. Show appreciation towards those who helped get you get to that next stage.

    If you have been through a promotion recently, what steps did you take to continue to perform at your best and show that you were the right one for the job?

  2. Constructing great teams in SME’s requires compromise on all fronts – By Stephen Crowe

    July 1, 2014 by Jenna

    In theory when we choose members for a team we should only select members who have the skills and experience needed to achieve the team goals, and the behavioural traits that fit the required team functions.  But in the real world for small to medium enterprises having all the people with the required skills is often a luxury, and then  having enough of them to be able to filter on behavioural traits is just a dream.

    So what do we do?

    Well the reality is building teams without the ideal members requires us to sharpen the focus across a number of key areas.  Extra effort is required with:

    • Defining the goals vision and goals for the team
    • Defining the roles of each team member
    • Defining the success criteria and critically
    • Communication

    We are asking people to work outside their comfort zones so to maximise the team’s chance of success we have to make sure that all team members are pulling in the same direction and are aware of all the issues that will affect them.

    But there are some traits that cannot be compromised on.  All team members must have these if the team is going to succeed.  They include:

    • Willingness to compromise for the good of the team
    • Willing to learn
    • Willingness to commit to the team goals.

    In small team that is reliant on the input of every team member I believe these traits are more important than technical skill or experience.  A team that is willing to work together will gain synergy from their communal energy and drive that will far outweigh a fragmented but highly skilled group of people.

  3. New role in leadership – Tips on leading your team

    May 13, 2014 by Jenna

    Learning to be an effective leader takes time. All of the great leaders we have come to recognise and revere had to learn and grow their skills over time.

    If you want to pursue a role in leadership you need to understand that your prime responsibility is to your organisation, your team and your clients. So how can you devise an effective leadership strategy to keep your team moving on the path towards success?

    While doing research on the topic I found an article on Career Realism that outlines 5 Tips For Good Leadership Skills:

    1. Communication is key
    Communication is important for many reasons – it builds connection and relationships between other colleagues and team members, it expresses ideas clearly and it also creates an open environment for others to express their ideas. It’s important that others know what is required of them, and if employees and colleagues feel like they can openly approach you to communicate on issues this will create a sense of trust.

    2. Wrong can be right
    Encourage creativity amongst your team and try different approaches to help your organisation reach success. If the idea fails, it is important not to discourage individuals to not input ideas but to instead assess what worked and what didn’t work to come up with plausible outcomes for the future. Keep inspiring others to think outside the box and work together to come up with new solutions.

    3. Look into the future
    Every great leader has a vision, and setting a plan into motion with your team is valuable to help you reach these goals. Make sure to meet with your team to share your vision and establish with each person his or her part to aid in the completion of the objective. This will not only keep your team members motivated but also accountable for their tasks and willing to work together for the overall outcome.

    4. Passion is contagious
    If a leader is enthusiastic and believes in their work, others can’t help but be enthusiastic to partake in the project. This also includes recognising and outlining the hurdles that the team may encounter as well so that they can try and prepare themselves for what lies ahead. Keeping up the enthusiasm and a positive attitude however will keep the momentum going regardless of what stages your business will encounter.

    5. Know Yourself
    This involves identifying your own strengths and weaknesses. It may also be best that while in early stages of the role you keep record of the goals/tasks that you have set out (or even making an important decision) and re-evaluate the outcome in nine to twelve months’ time. It is important to pinpoint where you and your team have excelled and where you may have fallen short for improvements to be made for the future. Did your course of action meet expectations?

    For current managers, do you find these points effective for potential new leaders? And for recently appointed leaders, what steps are you following to grow and develop yourself as well as your office team?

  4. Preparing for a role in leadership

    June 18, 2013 by Jenna

    Some people appear like they were been born with the qualities of a great leader. For most of us, how to be a leader is something that we have to develop and learn over time. But regardless of what type of individual you are, at some point in your career or personal life, you will need to lead and manage people.

    “A leader shapes and shares a vision which gives point to the work of others.”

    – Charles Handy (1992)

    Anyone can call themselves a leader, but I tend to find the standards associated with taking on such a role are quite high. Team members have an expectation of what they need from their leader. Until we take on that role ourselves we tend to underestimate what it really takes to be a great leader.

    As a planner by nature, in my personal time I like to lead hikes, excursions and group trips. I often find that friends of mine will rely on me to be the organiser because it is not one of their strengths and they often don’t enjoy that aspect. So of course I do not mind stepping in as I enjoy researching options, planning itineraries, providing locations to travel to, accommodation options etc. so that when it comes to the day of the trip our group can be left at ease to enjoy the trip ahead.

    Leading a group, however, is not as straight forward as telling people what to do or passing on information. At times I go through periods of being frustrated when my emails or messages are not answered right away, when I can’t get the group to collectively decide on training or travel dates and when transport costs are taking time to be paid. It is difficult, it is stressful, there are moments where it is time consuming and it requires patience. But I also wouldn’t want it any other way, because it is necessary for the overall success of what you are trying to organise or do.

    While I can make many assumptions on why others may not be getting back to me, leading and influencing outcomes is key to my role. Most importantly it is also imperative that I do not lose my head over silly little things. Everyone is different, and to work effectively as a team, I need to work effectively with all types of personalities to achieve the overall team results. And what is the point of creating bitter tension over something that is created for our team to relax and enjoy?

    While researching what makes a great leader, I came across an article on Forbes that outlines 10 Qualities That Make a Great Leader. While reflecting on this list, there were three areas that are the cornerstone for my leadership:

    1. Ability to Delegate – being able to share the workload with members of your team and trusting them to follow through on the task that you have provided them. While I enjoy working independently, I often find delegating saves me a lot of time and it helps me organise details much faster. And if I am pressured for time, I will put deadlines for members of my team to send back results so that they are aware of items that are urgent or I let them know when they can take more time.

    2. Positive Attitude – Keeping your own mood in sync along with your team. If this involves providing occasional incentives or bonding time then isn’t it worth it for better results? Keeping a positive attitude is essential for me as a leader and my team. Even when I may be stressed I know it is important that the message I send to my team is a positive one. Most importantly I look to inspire and get the team excited for what is to come.

    3. Communication – Keep it open at all times, and also be willing to accept feedback. I think my most important point on that list would be communication, because without communication, there is no direction, no vision, and no place for your team to move forward. And this also includes letting your team ask questions.

    My main thrill of leading events is the outcomes our team achieves at the end. My team and I can reflect on a great experience, share the memories together, and if it is a fitness challenge we can share what we have achieved together. I hope the more opportunities that I have to lead others, the more I can grow to be a better leader, take on more responsibilities, and hopefully share my experiences so that others are likewise empowered to achieve their goals.

    What have you learned so far from your role in leadership? What has inspired you in other leaders?

  5. How do you want to develop your career? – By Narelle Hess

    April 23, 2013 by Jenna

    I was recently invited to be a guest speaker at a lunch-and-learn session about career development, or more specifically how I developed my career.

    I began the presentation by asking the room how they got to be in their current career. Did you plan to be here? A splattering of hands went up around the room. Did you fall into your current career? Overwhelmingly the majority of the hands were raised. But we have already read about the impact of how much luck or chance can have on our careers.

    What is even more surprising to me, however, is how many people discount their current job or career as inferior because it wasn’t “chosen” or “planned”. There is this sense that those that always knew what they wanted are the ideal. But of course I am actually yet to meet someone who is that person who knew what they wanted to be, got there and it was happy ever after. If so, in the words of He’s Just Not That in to you (I can quote chick flicks can’t I?), ‘they are the exception.’ Because a career is not a destination, making a career decision is just the beginning of the start of our career development.

    1. Enjoy the ride – what can you learn now to help you at the next career stage?

    Most of us followed our interests, abilities, and skills applied for jobs and then somehow ended up where we sit today. I am one of those people. I had an interest in people so I studied psychology, but when I was 17 years old and began my university degree, I didn’t know what an Organisational Psychologist was. But it was these undergraduate studies, majoring in sport psychology, with an emphasis on motivation, performance and mental readiness that laid the perfect foundation for my current career.

    I think we each have an opportunity to enjoy our current ride. Whether it was planned or by chance – you can either lament the fact that you are not completely happy or take the steps you need to develop the career to where you want to take it. Learn about yourself through the projects you take on and the current stage in your career – what are your strengths, what do you hate, what do you love, and what are you most passionate about? A colleague at work noted for her career success came from “Always saying yes when asked to do something extra that may be out of your job scope.” – What are you saying yes to you? What can you learn now that will help you at the next career stage?

    2. Career goals to direct your action – and the skills to adapt to changing circumstances

    For me both long-term goals and short-term goals helped direct my path. But so often we stumble with the question where do I want to be in 5 years’ time? Naturally the flaw with long-term goals is the uncertainty. Because let’s also remember that 5 years ago the smart phone mayhem was only just beginning. Today because of that mania millions of new jobs and numerous new careers have been launched. How can we possibly know what we will be doing in 5 years when the job we will have then, may not even exist yet?

    But, having a vision or a long-term dream about where you want to take your career – helps motivate your efforts towards that direction. Another of my colleagues when asked what is career success? Stated “doing something you love/care about/passionate for” – for many living our passion every day doesn’t happen overnight, it takes hard work, commitment, education or skill development. Setting yourself a long-term goal, helps to keep us motivated as we take these smaller term goals to achieve this long-term vision.

    We of course need short-term goals to continue the momentum and motivate action. I review my direction in yearly increments, whilst also setting longer term goals to motivate these smaller steps. Each year I review where I am against where I want to achieve this year, often they are learning goals (i.e. a knowledge / skill or ability I want to learn). As one of my colleagues concluded career success comes from “achieving goals rather than spinning wheels”. What do you want to achieve in the next 12 months? What do you need help with that your current company can offer you to help to take that next step?

    3. You’ve got a friend in me – the importance of networking and mentors

    Without question, I am where I am today because of the people that saw in me skills and abilities that I didn’t have the skill yet to see in myself. During the course of the presentation I was asked how I made these connections. The simple answer is: being in the right place at the right time. You may have a great manager who you see as a mentor, who can help you create your long-term vision and short-term goals. If not, you may need to go outside your organisation.

    For me I was lucky enough to have mentors in my immediate managers. But I also stepped outside my comfort zone and expanded my network through attending professional association networking and professional development functions. It was through these experiences that I was able to connect with like-minded colleagues, which helped me to collaborate on projects internationally and across Australia – projects that I would never have had the chance to create if I didn’t go out there, connect and create them.

    Mentors were critical for career success for all of my colleagues – each one mentioned the need for others to believe in them and help them to stretch outside of their comfort zone. Who are your mentors? And if you don’t have mentors in your current organisation – what events will you attend to interact and meet with your future connections?

    I was asked at the end of the presentation where I plan to go to next – I didn’t have a succinct answer – I guess most of us don’t have a succinct answer. But for me I am going to be enjoying my current ride, I have a long-term vision, some short-term goals to motivate my effort – and of course look to connect with others to help create my next career opportunities. How do you want to develop your career?

  6. Quit Being a Girl!

    June 28, 2011 by Jenna

    This week’s blog post is by guest blogger, Tiffany Whitby, from the Challenge Consulting recruitment team … (this is not Tiffany pictured here …)

    One of my passions is enhancing the role of women in business; specifically, examining and promoting strategies to ensure women have the opportunity to attain senior and management positions. As such I have actively joined a number of websites dedicated to this subject including; sphinxx, Ruby Connection and also Business Chicks.

    Of the 3, I recently attended a Business Chicks seminar titled ‘Nice Girls Don’t get the Corner Office’ based on the book by bestselling author Dr Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D. The 2 hour workshop was full of tips and helpful ideas to assist women get what they want out of their careers, first of which was her statement ‘quit being a girl’.

    Another one of her tips was don’t use preambles; so I will just get straight to the point with the top 10 tactics every woman needs in her skill set:

    Top 10 Tactics Every Woman Needs in her Skill Set:

    #1. Know your playing field

    – Boundaries, strategies and rules

    – What works in one organisation/industry won’t work in another

    – There are different boundaries for men and women

    Do not put statements into the form of questions, be direct and straight, and if needed add a tagline (which can soften the message)

    – Emulate winning women such as Gail Kelly

    #2. Be crystal clear about what you want

    – Know what you want. Until you have clarity about what this is, you are not going to get it

     #3. Identify your boundaries

    – Know where people can come over and in

    – Define your boundaries

     #4. Be willing to walk away

    We stay in situations to long. If everything has been done to turn around a bad situation and nothing has changed then leave!

     #5. Use headlines and taglines

    The most important thing we want people to know should be the first thing out our mouths (headline). Then use 3 supporting facts/data. Tagline at the end eg. ‘did I answer your question?’

    #6. Manage your emotions

    – If you feel as though you are about to cry in the workplace excuse yourself; crying in the workplace makes people feel uncomfortable

    – Put the tears into words and focus in the problem and solution

     #7. Plan in advance for how you will respond to resistance

    – Let people know you are planning on changing your behaviours and enlist their feedback and support

     #8. Understand (and use) the “Quid Pro Quo”

    – Something in exchange for something else

    – Leverage the relationships you have

    – If you give something, you receive a figurative ‘penny’ to use when you need something – make sure you use them!

    #9. Build your brand

    – Use the WALLET acronym:

    Write it down: write down what you want people to say about you when you leave a room

    Apply actionable behaviours: think about what a camera would be able to see

    Look to the edge: of the playing field

    Let others know about your brand

    Elicit feedback (360o feedback)

    Treat others with abundance (give things away eg. assistance on a project)

     #10. Employ contrast

    – Talk about what you do want and what you don’t want

    Dr Frankel then went on to explain the Top 10 Mistakes Women Make:

    #1. Not ‘getting it’: eg. Don’t wait to be invited for a position, pay rise, something you want. Create tactics and strategies

    #2. Working too hard: within everything organisation there is a baseline to which you should work towards, work up to this and set realistic boundaries with people

    #3. Not setting boundaries: work out what your vision is for what you want and ask yourself: “what is important to me?”

    #4. Striving for perfection: women will often put in 150%, when more often than not a job that is 80% there is good enough

    #5. Ignoring the look and sound of success: Credibility is made up by: 50% of how we look, 40% of how we sound, 10% of what we say. An example is the JFK vs Nixon debate. People say Nixon won for what he said, however JFK won based on how he looked.

    #6. Unclear branding/vision: we trust people who are consistent and likeable. Read the book “Brag! Tooting your own Horn without Blowing It” by Peggy Klaus

    #7. Staying too long in a bad situation: sunken costs (keep putting ‘something’ in thinking a situation is going to get better, when in fact it’s not). We need to understand when it’s time to walk away. Ask yourself the question: “What am I getting out of this?”

    #8. Waiting to be given what you want: Read the book “Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide” by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever

    #9. Using too many words: cut communication by 30%. The longer we talk the more the message gets diluted.  Queue answer question and then ask ‘have I answered your question?’ Be careful with body language.

    #10. Trusting your financial security to someone else: know where your finances are and where they are being invested. Stay involved with your money!

    Challenge Consulting’s online poll last week asked the question “What is the #1 mistake women make on their way to the top at work?” The results were:

    #1. Waiting to be “invited” instead of asking for a payrise, promotion, etc – 50%

    #2. An unwillingness to self-promote and “toot their own horn” – 29%

    #3. Staying too long in a bad situation – 14%

    #4. Striving for perfection: putting in 150% when often 80% will do – 7%

    With all of this information I have now taken in it is time to put it into practice. As Dr Frankel said, let people know you are making changes, so, everyone: I am making changes … don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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