Category Archives: Better Leaders

Think-Perform-Partner-with-Character-Group-to-Optimise-Manufacturing-BLOG

Think Perform Partner with Character Group to Optimise Manufacturing

In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, an organisation’s ability to deliver quality, cost effective products and services in a global market is essential to its survival and growth.

LMA’s sister company Think Perform are leaders in delivering transformational business improvement programs, built around strong values and respect for our client organisations and their people. We are the best at what we do – partnering with organisations to achieve operational excellence and a sustainable future.

We recently filmed a video with one of our clients in WA, Character Cabinets and Stone with Character in which CEO ‘Squeak’ Van Duyn and his team explain how engaging Think Perform to train and certify their workforce in lean manufacturing resulted in a more efficient and profitable business creating a happier workplace with more satisfied clients.

“We all know that Lean is not something that you arrive at, it is a continual journey, there is no destination as such, and so it’s something that we will continue over the years to improve, improve and improve.” ‘Squeak’ Van Duyn.

Click to find out more about Think Perform.

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Promoting Gender Diversity in Supply Chain and Logistics

Ground  breaking  and  inspiring,  this  is  a  unique  event  that  will  challenge  your  thinking  and  give  your  corporations  and  teams  a  different  perspective  in  non-traditional  roles  for  women.  An  amazing  line  up  of  leaders  who  ask  the  right  questions  and  challenge  the  norm.

LMA is proud to support this event and encourage individuals and companies to accelerate the need for diversity and strengthen our future in the supply chain and logistics industry.

This event will change the think tanks of government and industry and will showcase support for women.  Hear and learn that there are exciting careers and opportunities in every part of the supply chain and logistics field.

When: Friday, 20 October 2017
Venue: Leonda By The Yarra, 2 Wallen Road Hawthorn, VIC
Time: 12noon to 4.00pm
Cost: $165.00 per person
$1,650.00 for table of 10

Women in Logistics Lunch Event Info

To book your spot click here

Women-World-Changers

Women World Changers

Achieving economic stability and security remain important discussions around gender equality in the workplace.  However, the issues around stability alone are not where the conversation about women in the workforce should end.

Fittingly, the UN’s theme for this year’s International Women’s Day was ‘Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030’. In a timespan of less than 15 years, the UN envisions a world where women are equal in comparison to their male colleagues in pay, leadership representation, respect and in the owning and celebration of success.

Highlighting these ambitious and seismic shifts in the labour market in the context of women’s empowerment is essential to changing the current landscape and shape of the game at work across all industries. Policies are needed to bridge the gender pay gap, address the gender gap in leadership and entrepreneurship, and ensure that equal access to education, capital and social protection is not a luxury but the standard.

While dreaming and hoping for policy and general progress is a great step, it is not the running leap needed to make real change happen. To make positive change happen, everyone has to be a part of the conversation.

In a talk at TEDWomen, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (author of Lean In) discusses three key points she sees as pivotal for women reaching for and staying in leadership positions. Her underlying message was that individual actions are what will change the message we are sending to and receiving from women. The key change? Changing the conversation from ‘one day I’ll do it’ to ‘right now, we can do it’.

Women are half the world’s potential. Unleashing it requires access to leadership opportunities as well as gender-sensitive policies and regulations that welcome a more vibrant economy that benefits everyone. Changing the conversation and changing the outcome is not something to focus on ‘one day’ – it is something to focus on every day, for both women and men.

This year’s Women World Changers event will gather together top business, government and community leaders to discuss an ambitious but necessary agenda around equal representation, myth busting of gender and stereotypes, the way to lead with influence and impact, and how we all have a role to play in reimagining what leadership means.

This year’s outstanding speaker lineup is headlined by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama and Elizabeth Broderick, Australia’s longest serving Sex Discrimination Commissioner (2007 – 2015).

By attending this dynamic and critical event, participants will be engaging with empowered and driven women and men striving for a better understanding of what the obstacles are in the way to an empowered and active equal workforce, and what strengths we all already possess to make individual changes now in every workplace.

This one day leadership event will drive critical dialogue to tackle diversity and equity challenges facing Australian organisations in order to challenge established thinking, change the game and inspire action. Women World Changers is an event for all who want to be an instrumental part of a conversation that will elevate women, the economy and the future prosperity of our nation.

Event details:

Melbourne & Sydney | 9th & 11th October – Please click here to take advantage of our LMA discount.

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Are You An Emotionally Intelligent Leader?

Great leadership and high emotional intelligence are highly-related. Developing your emotional intelligence will greatly benefit your career prospects, your ability to lead and your work/life balance.

Leaders who demonstrate a level of emotional intelligence are more likely to be successful in their roles, have stronger relationships with their team members and are able to resolve conflict-related issues that arise in any leadership position. While some roles such as Software Developer or Accountant may not have a lot of face-to-face interaction time, the behaviours that come with having a high level of emotional intelligence are absolutely vital to the success of a leader in any field.

So, what key behaviours do leaders who possess high levels of emotional intelligence exhibit that separates them from those who do not?

  • Leaders who are self-aware and self-regulate will be seen as reliable, resilient and trustworthy. Those who present themselves as such are more likely to gain the trust of those around them, encouraging a more open and honest working environment that benefits everyone.
  • Those leaders who are seen as self-motivated will inspire others to find their own internal motivators. By focusing on what makes them happy and content at work, leaders are opening up others to consider what individually inspires and motivates them in their own performance. Team members who are more self-motivated will be more likely to set goals, manage their own performance and direct their energy effectively into high pay-off activities (HPAs) that make them feel active and instrumental to the success of themselves and those around them.
  • Leaders who are empathetic and have highly-developed social skills foster a rapport with their team members as individuals with unique backgrounds, personalities and strengths. Leaders who are able to meaningfully connect with team members as individuals are also able to work through problems with team members as they arise. Work related or personal issues are not simply sidelined or ignored, instead leaders with high emotional intelligence are able to pre-empt the best course of action for those around them.

LMA’s associated company, Thrive More, currently offers three distinct Emotional Intelligence short courses that are specifically designed to improve your Emotional Intelligence quickly and effectively. Click here find out more or call 1800 333 270.

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Introducing Emotional Intelligence Short Courses

We are very excited to announce our partnership with Genos International to deliver their Emotional Intelligence short courses and assessments through the Thrive More product range.

As a world leader in emotional intelligence assessment and programs that enhance self-awareness, empathy, leadership and resilience, Genos were the obvious choice provider to extend our offering in this exciting area.

In the modern workplace where change is constant, the benefits of Emotional Intelligence development occur within and outside of the workplace. When strong emotional intelligence is displayed relationships improve, stress is reduced, change occurs more efficiently and performance increases.

In the workplace, Emotional Intelligence is fundamental to strong self-awareness, empathy, leadership and resilience. People who work on developing their emotional intelligence feel better at work, facilitate a more productive work environment, and better lead and engage others.

To facilitate the development of emotionally intelligent behaviour our short courses provide cutting-edge content, assessments, frameworks and tools which transfer into real, practical behavioural changes that create lasting results.

Available as a half, one or two day course, in an Open environment with Participants from other organisations, or delivered in-house for a selection of your team members, our Emotional Intelligence short courses help participants explore and practice tools and techniques for applying emotional intelligence at work and outside of the workplace.

Click here for more information and upcoming open courses.

understand-work-culture

Culture Club: Understanding your Work Culture

On the surface, workplace culture can seem deceptively easy to observe and understand. At its most simple, it can be the obvious factors such as office layout, how people behave, style of dress or general language being used between colleagues. In reality, culture goes well beyond the surface layer of how things look at a casual glance.

Culture can be summed up as the complex set of behaviours, values, reward systems, and rituals that make up your organisation. You can ‘feel’ culture when you visit a business or organisation, because it is often evident in the behaviour and enthusiasm of those who work there, along with the space itself.

The funny thing about culture is that the true nature of what is happening will often not be the obvious, surface level happenings. What is going on below the surface will often reveal the true drivers of both fulfilling and unfulfilling workplace cultures.

Organisations with reputable and enviable workplace culture often have one key thing in common: the people who work for them genuinely want to be there and are engaged when they are there. Recent data from Gallup shows that only 24% of Australian employees are engaged at work (60% are disengaged and 16% actively disengaged). While the culture of your organisation may not be the only reason for disengagement amongst your team, it can be a significantly important factor to determine if people are happy and engaged at work.

By investing time to develop a better understanding of the existing culture of your workplace, you will be able to determine current engagement levels and know how to best improve them. There are some key strategies you can take:

  • Conduct culture interviews

The best way to get to the heart of your culture is to ask the people who make it: your people. By sitting down with your people either individually or in small groups, you will be able to ask the questions that you really want answers to. The best way to find out more about how your people feel is to ask open ended or indirect questions, such as: ‘How do you describe what you do and your workplace to your friends?’ or ‘What is one thing you’d like to see change at work?’

  • Analyse how your team is working

Conducting a regular analysis of how your team is working together is essential to understanding what is working well and what needs improvement. LMA’s DIY Teamwork Analysis test will provide key insights into how your team is working, ask each team member to complete the analysis and compare the results.

  • Learn to observe

Learn how to tune in to what is happening around you. How are senior leaders interacting with the middle managers and staff? Are these interactions easy or strained? How are conflicts being resolved on a daily basis, if at all? Learning to analyse without judgement or assumption will help you to determine where the culture is growing and succeeding and where it may be faltering

Understanding and improving your team’s experience is critical for companies operating in a highly competitive global economy. Providing an engaging experience will help organisations succeed in attracting and retaining highly skilled, engaged employees. Similarly, a strong employee experience also drives a strong customer experience. It is a real win-win all around to be acutely aware of your workplace’s culture.

Women-World-Changers

Women World Changers

Achieving economic stability and security remain important discussions around gender equality in the workplace.  However, the issues around stability alone are not where the conversation about women in the workforce should end.

 

Fittingly, the UN’s theme for this year’s International Women’s Day was ‘Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030’. In a timespan of less than 15 years, the UN envisions a world where women are equal in comparison to their male colleagues in pay, leadership representation, respect and in the owning and celebration of success.

Highlighting these ambitious and seismic shifts in the labour market in the context of women’s empowerment is essential to changing the current landscape and shape of the game at work across all industries. Policies are needed to bridge the gender pay gap, address the gender gap in leadership and entrepreneurship, and ensure that equal access to education, capital and social protection is not a luxury but the standard.

While dreaming and hoping for policy and general progress is a great step, it is not the running leap needed to make real change happen. To make positive change happen, everyone has to be a part of the conversation.

In a talk at TEDWomen, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (author of Lean In) discusses three key points she sees as pivotal for women reaching for and staying in leadership positions. Her underlying message was that individual actions are what will change the message we are sending to and receiving from women. The key change? Changing the conversation from ‘one day I’ll do it’ to ‘right now, we can do it’.

Women are half the world’s potential. Unleashing it requires access to leadership opportunities as well as gender-sensitive policies and regulations that welcome a more vibrant economy that benefits everyone. Changing the conversation and changing the outcome is not something to focus on ‘one day’ – it is something to focus on every day, for both women and men.

This year’s Women World Changers event will gather together top business, government and community leaders to discuss an ambitious but necessary agenda around equal representation, myth busting of gender and stereotypes, the way to lead with influence and impact, and how we all have a role to play in reimagining what leadership means.

This year’s outstanding speaker lineup is headlined by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama and Elizabeth Broderick, Australia’s longest serving Sex Discrimination Commissioner (2007 – 2015).

By attending this dynamic and critical event, participants will be engaging with empowered and driven women and men striving for a better understanding of what the obstacles are in the way to an empowered and active equal workforce, and what strengths we all already possess to make individual changes now in every workplace.

This one day leadership event will drive critical dialogue to tackle diversity and equity challenges facing Australian organisations in order to challenge established thinking, change the game and inspire action. Women World Changers is an event for all who want to be an instrumental part of a conversation that will elevate women, the economy and the future prosperity of our nation.

 

Event details:

Melbourne & Sydney | 9th & 11th October – Please click here to take advantage of our LMA discount.

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Soft Skills and Diversity

With increased migration rates, more fluid work arrangements and a general push for skill development across a variety of industries and fields, there is a much stronger focus on diversity than ever before.

 

However, for an organisation to be truly diverse the thinking needs to go beyond gender, age, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation and spiritual practice. Diversity includes flexibility of thought, leadership and communication styles. To put it more directly, diversity requires and demands the so-called “soft skills”. The increasing need for global workforces is stronger than ever and high performance teams need to have fully embraced, successfully harnessed and put into practice robust diversity programs than include a “soft skill” focus.

According to a recent Deloitte report, ‘Soft skills for business success’, even though non-technical skills have become widely acknowledged as important for workplace outcomes in addition to traditional technical skills, there is no universal definition for what these skills are or how they all fit together. By looking towards the growing presence of diversity alongside the growing need for soft skills, it becomes evident that the increase in one and the demand for the other are definitely related.

According to Deloitte’s report, “soft skills” refers to those skills that allow for greater communication, understanding and fluidity within the workplace. They are the skills that allow someone to get along with others for greater productivity, be self-motivated and be willing to learn new things for their own competency and the development of the company. Soft skills allow people and organisations to learn and achieve more through their diverse ways of thinking and acting to accommodate others and seize opportunity. Similarly, embracing diversity is all about breaking down previous barriers that served only to limit opportunity and neglect new ways of thinking. The main goals of embracing soft skills and diversity align: they both aim to embolden individuals with good emotional judgement and teamwork skills to foster better workplace culture.

Facilitated by technology and more liberal trade policies, the barriers between economies and once isolated communities are continuing to erode. Trade now represents nearly 30% of global GDP (and 20% in Australia) – and the value of trade is predicted to continue to grow according to the World Bank. Deloitte’s recent report found that the number of jobs in soft skill intensive occupations is expected to grow at 2.5 times the rate of jobs in less soft skill intensive occupations. And by 2030, Deloitte predict that soft skill intensive occupations will make up almost two-thirds of the workforce by 2030.

In order to stay competitive in this increasingly diverse, soft skill demanding environment, companies need to focus on diversity and look for ways to become more inclusive. Diversity has the potential to yield greater productivity and competitive advantages. Managing and valuing diversity is a key component of effective people management, which can improve workplace productivity. Changing demographics, from organisational restructuring, women in the workplace, equal opportunity legislation and other legal issues, are forcing organisations to become more aggressive in implementing robust diversity practices.

To stay ahead of the curve when it comes to both diversity and soft skills, there are steps you can take to introduce both key elements into your own business. There is no one single answer to address the gap in discussions around diversity and soft skills, encouraging a space for thought provoking ideas amongst your team, providing examples of where soft skills and diversity succeed (such as in the hiring or promotion of staff from diverse backgrounds) and implementation of soft skill diversity practices in your work environment are all good places to start. Most workplaces are diverse in many ways already, so why not embrace it and use it to your competitive advantage?

Managing diversity presents significant organisational challenges, and is not an easy task, particularly in organisations that are heavily weighted with highly technical professionals such as engineers, lawyers and accountants. However, the more you diversity can increase the soft skill base in your organisation and vice versa, the more prepared you will be for a future that demands soft skills and continues to embrace more diverse ideas.

 

Download this free white paper from LMA to learn more about relevant opinions on diversity, held by leaders, managers and employees throughout Australia and New Zealand.

blogworkculture

Understanding your Work Culture

On the surface, workplace culture can seem deceptively easy to observe and understand. At its most simple, it can be the obvious factors such as office layout, how people behave, style of dress or general language being used between colleagues. In reality, culture goes well beyond the surface layer of how things look at a casual glance.

 

Culture can be summed up as the complex set of behaviours, values, reward systems, and rituals that make up your organisation. You can ‘feel’ culture when you visit a business or organisation, because it is often evident in the behaviour and enthusiasm of those who work there, along with the space itself.

The funny thing about culture is that the true nature of what is happening will often not be the obvious, surface level happenings. What is going on below the surface will often reveal the true drivers of both fulfilling and unfulfilling workplace cultures.

Organisations with reputable and enviable workplace culture often have one key thing in common: the people who work for them genuinely want to be there and are engaged when they are there. Recent data from Gallup shows that only 24% of Australian employees are engaged at work (60% are disengaged and 16% actively disengaged). While the culture of your organisation may not be the only reason for disengagement amongst your team, it can be an important factor for determining if people are happy and engaged at work.

By investing time to develop a better understanding of the existing culture of your workplace, you will be able to determine current engagement levels and know how to best improve them. There are some key strategies you can take to better understand your current working culture:

  • Conduct Culture Interviews

The best way to get to the heart of your culture is to ask the people who make it: your people. By sitting down with your people either individually or in small groups, you will be able to ask the questions about your organisation that you really want answers to. The best way to find out more about how your people feel is to ask open ended or indirect questions, such as: ‘How do you describe your workplace and what you do to your friends?’ or ‘What is one thing you’d like to see change at work?’

  • Analyse How Your Team is Working

Conducting a regular analysis of how your team is working together is essential to understanding what is working well and what needs improvement. LMA’s DIY Teamwork Analysis test will provide key insights into how your team is working, both as a collective and as individuals.

  • Learn to Observe

Learn how to tune in to what is happening around you. How are senior leaders interacting with the middle managers and staff? Are these interactions easy or strained? Are there clear conflicts? How are conflicts being resolved on a daily basis, if at all? Learning to analyse without judgement or assumption will help you to determine where the culture is growing and succeeding and where it may be faltering.

Understanding and improving your team’s experience is critical for companies operating in a highly competitive global economy. Providing an engaging experience will help organisations succeed in attracting and retaining highly skilled, engaged employees. Similarly, a strong employee experience also drives a strong customer experience. It is a real win-win all around to be acutely aware of your workplace’s culture.

LMA’s Challenge of Leadership course (BSB42015 Certificate IV in Leadership & Management) covers the practical issues of analyzing and improving workplace culture and is a good choice for leaders interested in positively influencing the performance of their team and organization. Click here to view the national LMA course schedule.

blogsoftskills

Soft Skills, High Stakes

In a world that is increasingly turning to new technology and digital solutions for strategic insights and advancements, it is clear that the once rigid skill sets that determined your career path or business success are no longer enough on their own.

 

While you may have obtained a tertiary education or developed a trade for a specific profession or skill, the technical demand for your expertise will increasingly be less important in the face of overwhelming demand for softer skills that are important for all occupations and industries.

No matter what your business card may say, you are no longer only a builder, an architect, a pharmacist, manager or sales person. This current fast-paced environment requires and demands interchangeable skills that can be applied to any job, to any facet of your role or the roles of those around you. These interchangeable skills are soft skills.

Don’t let the name fool you – the soft skills needed to excel in today’s workplace can be the hardest to teach and, increasingly, the hardest to find.

In an era when companies are striving to become more efficient through the use of technology and data, it’s easy to dismiss the abilities that come with soft skills such as relationship building and collaboration as ‘desirable’ but not ‘expected’ skills. However, efficiency alone is no longer enough to make an organisation or individual stand out. Innovations and a mindset set on utilising every opportunity are what it takes to stay ahead.

According to Deloitte Access Economics recent report ‘Soft skills for business success’, a quarter of entry-level employers report having difficulty filling vacancies because applicants lack employability skills (Department of Employment 2016).[1] These reported gaps are not just reportedly significant across one range profession or industry, in fact they are a problem that spans across the board. In a new analysis of data from Workible, an online search tool, Deloitte found that demand for self-management, digital skills, problem solving and critical thinking skills (measured by skill requirements listed by employers in job listings) significantly exceeds supply (measured by skills listed by employees in résumés). The difference between demand and supply is as large as 45 percentage points for communication skills.[2] Clearly, there is a sizeable gap between what industry is increasingly looking for and the capacity of skilled workers to meet these changing demands.

Into this gap is falling wasted opportunity, unrealised innovation and unexplored expansion. Evidently, the stakes for not paying attention to the changing attitudes around soft skills could not be higher.

The statistics coming out of studies such as Deloitte’s are beginning to reflect another, more alarming gap. This gap is between who are paying attention to the changing skill landscape and those who are not.

Those who pay attention now to the soft skills of themselves and their team can expect to take advantage of the shifting importance of soft skills across a range of areas. Conversely, there are hefty consequences for those who do not.

For one, those paying attention will be ahead of the curve and will be attracting the right workers to plug the current soft skill gap. The demand for soft skills is expected to steadily increase.[3] Soft skill intensive occupations are growing 2.5 times more quickly than more other occupations. They also outnumber more technical roles and by 2030 are expected to account for two thirds of all jobs in the economy.[4] By not paying attention to this trend now, you are setting yourself and your business up for a failure as traditional industry and its workforce numbers decline and new industries and mobile workers move in to take their place. Not paying attention now means missing the boat on the talent coming through your industry that could revolutionise your business.

Secondly, they will be financially better off. According to Deloitte, $4 billion per year is spent on training and $7 billion is spent on recruitment each year by business.[5] That’s a total of $11 billion in annual expenditure on business training and recruitment alone. By objectively measuring soft skills  in addition to hard and technical skills, forward-thinking businesses will be able to identify gaps in their organisation and make more strategic decisions about how to invest effectively in building their capabilities in years to come. Without this equal focus on soft and hard skills, individuals and businesses will suffer as more money and time is spent on hires that are right on paper, but wrong in practice.

Lastly, they will be more prepared for future changes. Those who invest in soft skills now will be able to reap the individual and company-wide benefits of having an appropriately skilled workforce that is fluid, mobile and genuinely loyal to their employer. Recent modelling has suggested that almost 40% of jobs in Australia have a high probability of being substituted with computing over the next 10 to 15 years (Durrant-Whyte et al. 2015).[6] Those who do not prepare for this inevitable change now will be left behind with a workforce unable to cope with the pace of change and a set of skills unchanged to match the demands of the future.

So, nothing less than the performance of your entire future and organisation is at stake. Soft skills represent the core values of yourself and your business. They are the drivers of your internal motivation and your business. They are the very foundation upon which all other technical or ‘hard’ skills are built and developed upon. Without them, you will continue to stand on uncertain, shaky ground.

There is no competition between hard skills and soft skills. They are both essential and play important roles in development of your career and the success of your business. However, by neglecting your soft skills and those who you employ around you, you are selling short the future of your own success and the success of your business.

To start focusing on soft skills and ensuring your individual and organisation-wide success, both Thrive Alliance and LMA have a range of short to longer term courses that can help you to achieve your goals. To learn more about how a better understanding of emotional intelligence in the workplace can continually develop the soft skills of your leaders and team members, visit Thrive’s list of short courses here. For a course designed to develop the ‘total person’ through permanent behavioural change and a deeper development of soft skills, learn more about LMA’s The Performance Edge course.

[1] Deloitte Access Economics “Soft skills for business success”, DeakinCo, May 2017, p1

[2] Deloitte Access Economics “Soft skills for business success”, DeakinCo, May 2017, p1

[3] Deloitte Access Economics “Soft skills for business success”, DeakinCo, May 2017, p7

[4] Deloitte Access Economics “Soft skills for business success”, DeakinCo, May 2017, p33

[5] Deloitte Access Economics “Soft skills for business success”, DeakinCo, May 2017, p33

[6] Durrant-Whyte, H., Steinburg, D., Reid, A., McCalman, L. and O’Callaghan, S 2015, “The impact of computerisation and automation on future employment” Australia’s future workforce, Committee for Economic Development of Australia.