Category Archives: Change

Spotlight on an LMA Graduate – Sue O’Rourke, Flourish Australia

Building her ‘slight edge’ was clearly not enough for Sue O’Rourke as she returns to fine tune her sales skills in 2018 with LMA.

Sue complete her first course with LMA last year – The Performance Edge – and instantly saw the improvements to her productivity and planning.  Sue says, “So many of the LMA tools have helped me on a day-to-day basis improve my use of time –  I use discussion planners for key people I need to share info with, I use my diary so much more effectively now dividing tasks into important/imperative. So many other things!”

“Continuous reflection about whether I am working on a High Payoff Activity, whether tasks could be delegated and implementing strategies to reduce interruptions,” she adds.

Flourish Australia, a charity that supports people with the lived experience of mental health issue, saw the improvement in Sue’s management of one of Flourish Australia’s social enterprises, Figtree Conference Centre, and signed her up for The Sales Edge program in 2018.

Sue’s experience as a mental health worker plus her experience managing her own business assisted her managing the tension between the two goals of the business; financial sustainability given high wages due to lower productivity and supporting our employees with their wellness and transitioning them to open employment. However, the Sales Edge program is helping her build on the sales and growth of the enterprise.

“As a result of what I learned during The Performance Edge in regards to productivity and the sales skills I have fine-tuned in The Sales Edge, I have achieved so many Win / Win goals – purchasing new venue management software to more efficiently handle quoting and venue enquiries and better CRM input. Improved financial reporting was a Win/Win goal I have achieved, as was sending out quarterly newsletters to customers.”

And where to from here for Sue? “My manager had previously done TPE with LMA, hence his suggestion I do it. I have since enrolled the supervisor in our venue in the Success Strategies for Team Leaders and Supervisors (SSTLS) course. So LMA language and tools are becoming part of Flourish Australia.

And…LMA have become my customer. They now run many courses out of Figtree Conference Centre in Sydney Olympic Park. Definitely a Win/Win!”

Spotlight on a Manager/Mentor – Jim Mildren – Boral

Jim Mildren from Boral has worked with LMA over many years mentoring many of Boral’s operational staff through our LMA courses. If you’re looking for someone with great mentoring experience, Jim is your man!

As the Concrete Operations Manager – Country North for Boral Construction Materials.  Jim is responsible for concrete production in Cairns, the Tablelands, Townsville, Mount Isa, Weipa. In total, Jim’s area employs 53 staff in total, including 4 direct reports.

“The people I’ve mentored with through LMA have generally been direct reports.  I’ve tried to be a guide and sounding board rather than taking a directive approach as I’ve found that people get a lot from the course when they assess their own attitudes and make their own decisions.”

Jim’s experience mentoring people was generally focused on the Challenge of leadership course. Quite a few front line staff from his organisation have completed LMA programs after his encouragement.  Jim believes LMA courses gives his staff a good grounding in people management skills, but more importantly it teaches people to critically evaluate their own performance and to make improvement plans for themselves.

All of our participants have been able to make improvements to their businesses that more than paid for the cost of the course.  In addition to that we receive the intangible benefits that a more confident manager is able to provide.  I find that my people are more likely to let me know about a solution than a problem.

Jim feels that the best part of the experience is the satisfaction of helping someone get closer to their potential and has witnessed this first-hand time and time again with LMA Participants. 
We tend to have people come through the ranks to our front line management positions and it is a great feeling to be able to assist someone to transition from a hands-on role into a position of responsibility,” he says.

After seeing the benefit Jim’s mentee’s received, Jim decided to enroll in his first LMA course, the Effective Personal Leadership program which focuses on developing personal motivation, emotional intelligence and self-image to improve how you perform, respond and lead. Jim is eager to embrace this new challenge, “It has been some time since I participated in formal study so this is an exciting opportunity for me.”

 

Industry Consultation Group launches in WA

We know that across Australia, there are many organisations which genuinely understand the importance of developing their people to achieve higher productivity and results. 

As one of Australia’s longest running training and development organisations over the last 45 years, Leadership Management Australia (LMA), in conjunction with Think Perform is fortunate to have many of these organisations as long-standing clients. 

Earlier this month we launched the Industry Consultation Group in WA to give our clients the opportunity to periodically meet with a group of like-minded professionals to share and discuss ideas and issues relating to their organisation and the development of their people.

Held in Perth over two days, the Industry Consultation Group outlined several purposes:

  1. To help develop and sustain a comprehensive understanding of the needs, wants and expectations of organisations seeking training and development support and services for their organisations.
  2. To help ensure current and emerging issues pertinent to the VET sector are voiced, debated and addressed to restore and rebuild the reputation of the industry.
  3. To help create solutions and enable products, services and experiences to be developed and delivered in line with what organisations and the professionals that determine their use require into the future.

More than 20 industry professionals attended the introduction sessions and spent a morning workshopping and discussing issues and trends. We’re excited by the possibilities that will flow through and from the Industry Consultation Group and are eagerly looking forward to engaging with participating organisations and professionals on a regular basis.

This initiative will be launching in other states over the coming weeks. If you would like to find out more about this initiative please contact us.

Are your Values Valuable?

What are your values? Before we can talk about specific values as they apply to your work or career, we first have to touch on what values are in general. They are the beliefs and ideas that are important to you and which you use to guide your everyday actions. Examples of what may constitute your Individual core values may be honesty, self-respect, work hard, and achievement.

These overarching principles are an important part of who you are and what paths you choose to follow. It’s important to understand what internal and external forces can be at play when it comes to the decisions we make, and why.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Values – What is the Difference?

We all have both intrinsic and extrinsic values that affect the choices we make. Intrinsic values have to do more with our internal motivations. Do you like helping others? Do you enjoy the work you do because it is challenging?

Extrinsic values are more concerned with the by-products a decision or action may have. They refer to what you get out of making a choice or decision – in other words, the external rewards. Will you earn more money? Will you be recognised by your peers? Will you be known as a valuable leader?

Identifying your Work Values

Ignoring your values, particularly when it comes to your work, will greatly diminish your chances of being satisfied with your career or job. As such, it is imperative that you identify them early on within your career to make sure that you get the most out of your working life.

One of the easiest ways to determine what your important work values are is to compile an inventory of work values and rank them in order of importance to you. By having this list ready and close to you, it allows you make informed decisions when it comes to your work choices and where they may lead you.

Some examples of value items that could appear on your inventory may be:

  • Independence: freedom to work and make decisions on your own
  • Relationships: positive working connections with co-workers
  • Support: having supportive management
  • Helping Others: assisting individuals or groups
  • Job Security: a high probability that one will remain employed
  • Collaboration: working creatively with others
  • Helping Society: contributing to the betterment of the world
  • Compensation: your pay rate
  • Leadership:  managing others
  • Influence: affecting people’s opinions and ideas

Do any of these resonate with you? Write down your values and keep a note of when they change, when new values are added, and how the order of importance may shift.

Act Now

The Australian culture of nothing really happening in the New Year until after Australia Day seems to still ring true. We then go into the February panic period when we realise that the first quarter is half over and we don’t have a solid plan in place.

If developing your people is one of your necessities or goals for 2018 – start early. LMA has several courses starting in February/March, including High Performance Management which specifically addresses strategic planning and change management and The Performance Edge, a personal development course that develops the ‘total person’ through our unique development process, achieving permanent behavioural change which dramatically improves all facets of participants’ lives, professionally as well as personally.

Click here to view our 2018 Course Schedule.

Spotlight on LMA Graduate

Dwight D. Eisenhower once said “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because they want to do it.” LMA Graduate Michael Carnell is a walking testament to this, thanks in part to his professional development during LMA’s High Performance Management course.

Michael is both a Director at South Haven Group and its Director of Investment. In his role, he is responsible for South Haven’s investment strategy, acquisitions, management, disposals, investor relations and major negotiations. He has significant experience in all aspects of real estate investment, development, asset management, construction and business administration. He undertook LMA’s High Performance Management (HPM) course which commenced at Glen Iris in November 2016.

“I was the first person from South Haven to undertake a LMA course. Both the company and I were attracted to the HPM course as an opportunity to invest in a greater understanding of what it takes to be an outstanding leader in today’s corporate environment,” says Michael.

Throughout the course, his colleagues at South Haven were very interested in hearing what Michael was learning and understanding how they could apply these lessons to the betterment of the group and themselves.

South Haven Group is a privately-owned creator, investor and owner of quality properties. It focuses on delivering excellent outcomes for our tenants, investors and partners in all phases of the property investment, development and ownership cycle.

“The course reaffirmed that effective communication is the lifeblood that courses through an organisation’s veins and keeps it alive and functioning. It provided so many useful learnings and tools which I continue to implement and practice with particular focus on the importance of teamwork, communication, delegation and empowerment of others.”

“The combined benefit has been less stress coupled with increased productivity, time to listen, lead and strategise,” according to Michael.

Time to Look Ahead

As talk of the festive season and 2018 starts to become more common in your work and personal life, it’s a good idea to take stock of the progress you’ve made toward your various goals this year.

For many people, this can be a time for celebration and happy reflection. For others, this review period can be less pleasant. If you didn’t achieve all the goals that you set at the beginning of the year, you may feel like you have failed. No matter how many goals you have achieved, or what progress you may have made, now is the perfect time to recalibrate your thinking and address the year that was.

We generally think about goals in terms of completion. If something is left unfinished or unfulfilled, our self-esteem can take a hit, we can become disheartened and our motivation drops. If this thinking sounds familiar to you, it may be time to reframe how you view your own version of success.

If you’re stuck in the traditional end of year thinking pattern, try readjusting with the following:

  • Think About your Big ‘Wins’ of the Year

The best thing about adjusting your thinking from goals alone to include ‘wins’ is that the scope of achievement can be expanded to take in so many more moments of personal advancement that may have happened throughout your year. For example:

  • Did you develop your abilities as a leader?
  • Did you develop new abilities and skills?
  • Did you create or deepen new and exciting relationships?
  • Did you make progress in your own self-development?

 

  • Question Whether your Desires and Focus has Shifted

Life is dynamic and ever-changing. It is natural that within the time from January to now your primary focus and driving motivators may have changed. Acknowledge these potential changes and make time to determine your new focus and where the motivation behind it may lie.

  • Start thinking positively about 2018

After you have evaluated where your focus may be heading into the new year, sit down and review your long-term goals. Write down again the goals you are currently working on and add new ones for 2018.

Remember, to be the most effective goals need to be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and tangible.

Look Ahead, Congratulate Yourself

Periodic review is essential to the process of growth and goal achievement. However, the key is to acknowledge, appreciate, and celebrate what you did accomplish, and then to refocus on the goals that you still want to achieve. While this normally happens at the end of the year, it is always helpful to remember that time periods of achievement are different for everybody. Think positively about what you have achieved and look ahead to all you can possibly undertake in the New Year.

Positional Leadership v Personal Leadership

If you walk into many organisations in most industries, you will likely encounter the staffing phenomenon of those in positional leadership roles, and those in personal or real authentic leader roles. What will often separate the more forward-thinking, aspirational and focused organisations from others is the ratio of real authentic leaders compared to the number of positional leaders.

What differentiates a positional leader and a personal leader?

Positional leaders operate from a traditional or formal understanding of power. Someone who holds a position of power, say a CEO, CFO or COO, can reasonably assume that a large amount of power is granted to them based on their title alone. Leaders who operate from a positional standpoint alone are often unable to look beyond the roles and responsibilities of the title to see how their performance, attitude and general behaviour affects others.

Authoritarian by nature, positional leaders often rely solely on their formally defined responsibilities to influence or coerce others to obey them. Unfortunately, those who operate using this type of leadership style have fundamentally misunderstood how great leaders work to secure and maintain the loyalty of those around them.

On the other hand, personal power comes from being someone worth following and looking to for direction. Authentic leaders or personal leaders operate far beyond the formal responsibilities of their position. Those who operate with a personal leadership mindset are more focused on organisational and business growth, motivation of those around them, and the overall engagement of the entire team.

While personal leadership also can involve positional leadership in times of trial, stress or necessity, it is not used as the defining factor for influencing others. Rather, a strong personal leader will be highly respected because of their ability to juggle responsibility, while also being able to be relied on by those around them.

Developing personal leadership qualities amongst those outstanding performers in your team is essential for your business to grow around the qualities of self-leadership, self-respect and self-management. Similarly, those who aspire to be leaders would be advised to invest in their own self-leadership, and develop their personal power, trusting that opportunities to influence others will surely come.

Remember, leadership is not necessarily about the title someone holds or the designation of duties. It is more about the impact, influence and inspiration that someone has over a group of people. More often than not, the real power of a position comes from more than just where they may sit within an organisational chart; it comes from how authentically they can hold a team together, generate enthusiasm in others, and make a genuine difference in an organisation.

Are you a good manager?

LMA’s complimentary and confidential DIY Leadership Management Competency Analysis can provide you detailed information on your leadership style.
Click here to start the Leadership Management Competency Analysis

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.

Soft Skills and Career Advancement

Even if you have a reputation of being the best at what you do, it will amount to little if you are unable to work well with others. According to recent research from the Deloitte Access Economics report, while the Australian workforce has a strong soft-skill base for now, the current rate of training around soft skills will not be enough to keep up with the demand for soft skills in the future.

 

What are soft skills? Unlike hard skills, which can be proven and measured, soft skills are intangible and can often be difficult to quantify. The report from Deloitte revealed the specific types of soft skills many employers will be looking for now and for years to come. These mainly included analytical thinking, verbal and written communication, and leadership.

With the demand for soft skills on the rise, it is important for everyone to consider how the focus on these often difficult to quantify skills will affect their career progression in the future.

One of the reasons that soft skills are now so revered is that they are the best tools to help facilitate better human connections, and therefore encourage closer and more productive working relationships between teams and colleagues. Critical soft skills for this development of positive interpersonal behaviour such as communication, presentation skills and conflict management abilities should be the focus of any training in the soft skills area. While these skills have been identified as essential for the future, often employees are seldom given the opportunity to develop these soft skills for their own benefit.

However, if you are given the opportunity to develop your soft skills through training and development, you will be taking advantage of improving a suite of skills that will steer you closer towards your larger career goals. Some of these key soft skills may be:

  • Honing of a more positive attitude – generation of strong, positive energy throughout a workplace encourages others to be optimistic and upbeat in the face of difficulties. The Performance Edge is a key course to cultivate an ‘Above the Line’ attitude in work and personal life.
  • Ability to work under pressure – the ability to still do your best work under pressure is an invaluable asset to yourself and others.
  • Better problem-solving skills – stronger problem-solving skills will allow you to become more resourceful in times of trial, thereby making you a better resource for others around you. Advanced problem solving skills are fundamental to being an effective manager, the Challenge of Leadership course delves into this in more detail.
  • Better flexibility/adaptability – the ability to adapt to changes and new situations is an invaluable skill now

Although soft skills can’t be ingrained in the same manner as hard or technical skills, the good news is that they can still be developed. To benefit from soft skills and develop a successful career, the foremost step for any professional is to develop their self-awareness regarding their own behaviour and gaps in their soft skills knowledge and practice. The ability to direct and fill in opportunity areas highly depends on career ownership and effective management of your own skill gaps, and understanding how these can be filled for your future benefit.

To start your people on the journey to better soft skills, both Thrive Alliance and LMA have a range of short to longer term courses that can help you to achieve your goals. 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. To learn more about how a better understanding of emotional intelligence in the workplace can assist your leaders and team members, visit Thrivealliance.com.au and view the available short courses here.