Introducing Our Advisors at ThinkChangeGrow

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Here at ThinkChangeGrow, we are always on the active lookout to connect and collaborate with like-minded leaders who are just as hellbent as us in bringing positive change to workplaces across the globe.

The talented people depicted above definitely fit in with our mission and we are excited to have them as part of our advisory board. Cheers to our team growth!

 
From being the Non Executive Chairman of Can Too Foundation to the Chairman of the CEO Institute, Anne’s expertise is in working with organisations to elevate the performance of their Social Sustainability and CSR efforts, strategically and meaningfully improving their impact on people and society, and creating positive social change in the communities they live and operate in.
 
 
Lali is the National Manager for Westpac’s Davidson Institute. He advocates for the role of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship to help people and organisations to thrive, deliver social impact, and be financially sustainable. He is also a mentor for emerging leaders and cares about helping people to realise their potential.

 

Sonya Corcoran

Sonya is extremely passionate about embracing technology to advance learning and research. From being the Manager of Digital Innovation at the University of Sydney to the Co-Founder of Changineers, she prides herself on having a gritty growth mindset. 
 

Together, we are the future of work

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Baby Boomers vs. millennials. You know the drill. It is a debate that never seems to end with impassioned arguments loaded and ready to be fired from each side. This generation divide has become something that is so obvious and transparent in the workplace.

But have we ever stopped to think about the damage that this constant ‘us versus them’ dialogue can have within teams trying to operate at their best every day?

With workplaces undergoing digital change, it only fosters this harmful generational tension that encourages segregation. Our skills and values are almost immediately ascertained by our age.

This only polarises us. We never seem to look at the similarities that bind our generations.

If we are insistent on focussing on generational differences, this is where teams become dysfunctional and stagnate cultures are created. It is an all-too-familiar pitfall that sees businesses lose grip on sustainable, long-term success.

The avoidance of falling down this rabbit hole lies in a simple idea: people and culture are the backbone of every organisation.

When leaders start to leverage the differences in general within the organisation, businesses have the capability to move from a merely problem-solving approach to an abundance approach, in which performance drastically exceeds the norm.

Baby Boomers vs. Millennials: Similarities outweigh differences in the workplace

The Baby Boomers vs. Millennials debate is arguably the most popular. The rhetoric being that millennials are on top of everything digital whereas boomers are not. Millennials are lazy. They don’t understand what hard work is! And it goes on and on.

Instead of splitting hairs about how different the generations are, how about we look at the commonalities?

According to the 2016 Gallup survey below, there is actually quite a higher number of striking similarities between the generations. High-quality management that actively emphasises empowering their team to explore new opportunities and grow, is of high priority. A healthy and happy workplace thrives upon fostering a dynamic environment that is fulfilling, interesting and creative.

What different generations look for when applying for a job table

So how exactly can we use these common denominators to our advantage in the workplace?

Tips on finding common ground

The best teams flourish because they have a common purpose and motivation regardless of age. Their success lies in understanding and embracing their differences, and making the best use of it.

For example, we need to stop thinking of leaders as those that are appointed as ‘managers’ and start thinking of leaders at all levels of an organisation, leveraging an individual’s capacity to step up when they see a problem that needs solving or are passionate about an idea.

It all boils down to our workplace culture. Is it open in a way that individuals are not afraid to speak up? An environment that celebrates diversity and wants everyone to succeed?

These are the factors that attract and retain talent. Millennials are not afraid to step up and lead an initiative or project if given the opportunity. However, they need the coaching and mentoring of generations before them to support this innate entrepreneurial flair.

“It is not about being taught what to think but rather how to think. It is something that is important for my generation and the ones before to learn and implement so that we can all better deal with the changes in the workplace today,” says Anne Massey, participant of The Greater Collective, our leadership program that throws a diverse group of leaders headlong into complex challenges posed by a charity to solve.

 

The Greater Collective, our leadership course with a twist, has seen the unifying power of establishing a mutual answer to what is the impact that we want to achieve together? From coming up for innovative solutions for Cerebral Palsy Alliance to Australian Design Centre, the program saw multi-generational leaders who were keen to make a significant impactful difference for charity organisations with creativity and social responsibility driving their collaborative problem-solving.

The Greater Collective is a great example of both Baby Boomers and Millennials being driven by wanting to make a positive difference. Businesses must develop a common ground in doing ‘good through business’ and avoid separating the two.

The focus on bringing the best in people and culture within the workplace through recognising shared values has never been more clearly needed with websites like Glassdoor where reviews about a company from its working culture to opinions of the CEO themselves can be published anonymously and circulated rapidly. And of course, anxieties over jobs being automated and made redundant.

“So much of our current workforce will be automated and what is going to be left for people are the things that computers can’t solve easily: collaborative creativity, innovation and design thinking,” says Daniel Murray, Head of the IAG Foundation and guest speaker at The Greater Collective.

As originally written by Hiam & Monika for Pro Bono Australia.

How to give constructive feedback

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Our trusty Feedback-o-Meter from our Greater Collective workshops

Communicating effectively in team-based environments in the workplace is extremely vital for growth and wellbeing. However, one of the biggest factors that make us apprehensive to communicate effectively, is giving and receiving real-time feedback.

In fact, feedback and effective communication are one of the top-rated skill-sets to have as an employee as highlighted in the research conducted by Foundation of Young Australia (FYA) regarding the future of work. Over the past decade, FYA have found that ‘soft’ skills like great communication, interpersonal skills and giving feedback are what the strongest employees all mutually possess. Furthermore, FYA discovered that businesses that emphasise the importance of building and harnessing these skills have enjoyed an increased capacity of total employment.

Feedback is completely vital to the growth of a business because it enables a business to reflect on themselves, what to change, and how to implement those changes. While it is a vital and necessary asset to have, it often causes a lot of stress and problems due to people either misinterpreting constructive feedback and criticism as personal attacks. People’s ambiguity and also the subjectivity of the matter can make it confusing – and ineffective.

As underscored by Ben Wigert, lead performance management research at Gallup, “Employees need regular, formal and informal conversations with their manager. For instance, employees and managers can better understand expectations, workloads, priorities and roadblocks by completing informal, daily ‘quick connects’ lasting five to 15 minutes.”

Here are our tips for effective communication whether it be with your fellow co-worker or your wider team:

  1. Goals: Have a goal in mind for the conversation, so it doesn’t waver.
  2. Timing: Ask the other person if it is a good time for them to receive feedback. Do not give feedback just for the sake of it.
  3. Listening: Think of the 80:20 rule a little differently: 80% listening, 20% speaking.
  4. Situation: Always put your feedback into context. Determine the ‘where’ and ‘when’ of the situation that you are referring to.
  5. Behaviour: Characterise the specific behaviours that you want to address.
  6. Impact: Explain what the impact of the behaviour has been on both you and the wider team.

 

How building a culture-based brand will help you attract the right people

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Guest post by Sasha Reid, Twinlife Marketing

Candidates today want more than a job that fits their skills and a decent salary. They want a job that fits their goals, values and vision for their lives. Millennials, set to dominate the workforce by 2025, are particularly interested in the opportunity to make a difference and forge meaningful work relationships according to Forbes, while nearly 80% will look for “people and culture fit first, followed by career potential” according to Glassdoor.

Culture has become a competitive advantage and, similar to marketing a product, organisations (and their leaders) need to be able to market themselves effectively and authentically.

Most organisations grasp the importance of a brand strategy to promote products and services. Increasingly, however, there is an awareness of the role branding plays in successfully positioning oneself as an employer of choice. The term “employer brand” was first defined in the mid-1990s, denoting an organisation’s reputation as an employer as opposed to its more general corporate brand reputation. Times have changed, with the world more connected and transparent than ever before. As Harvard Business Review reports, employer branding is becoming strategically more important as we head towards 2020 and is now inextricably intertwined with consumer brand strategies.

So… what is a brand anyway?

More than just your name and logo! Your brand represents your identity – who you are, what you do, the values you stand for – and is the connection between who you are and who people think and feel you are.

Tangible aspects of your brand include how you speak, how you look, how you behave. Intangible aspects include perceptions and expectations, emotions and feelings evoked, recognition and credibility. Note that the tangible aspects of your brand are directly within your sphere of influence, while the intangible aspects are not. Brand custodians, therefore, need to be vigilant, ensuring alignment between the image and values they put to the market and the response it receives.

A strong brand is built over time, communicating your value consistently over and over again until repetition becomes recognition, and recognition becomes reputation. It is part of every single activity and customer touchpoint. It is your promise – and it must be believable. It will influence people’s decisions to work in your organisation, to buy from or to partner with you.

3 steps you can take today in developing your brand

     1. Know your purpose

Why does your organisation exist? What are your ambitions? What are you setting out to achieve? What and where are the goal posts? I.e. how will you know if or when you’ve “won”? Your purpose should motivate and inspire you, your team AND your customers.

     2. Define your organisation’s core values

Your values describe your desired culture and act as your north star when making decisions. Values are the glue that binds groups of people together, and defining them will help you attract as well as assess the right people for your organisations. In a recent interview with Startup Smart, Atlassian’s Head of Diversity Aubrey Blanche spoke of Atlassian as being governed by five corporate values which “truly lead the way we think”, crafting interviews that select for those qualities and hiring based on value alignment.

    3. Understand the value exchange

What are you promising? What makes you different? What benefits are you offering candidates? What do you expect from them in return?  In considering whether the value exchange is fair what matters here is how you are perceived, not what you think. What are job seekers saying about you on social media, or sites like Glassdoor?  Ask yourself: with employee advocacy becoming more and more important in the competition for talent, would current employees recommend working for your organisation to a friend?

The role of strong leaders in driving a strong brand

Once you have specified the key elements of your brand, the task at hand becomes how you manifest them in a real-world setting. For example, the colours you use, your tone of voice and language, the messages you put out, the actions you take. The best way to approach this is to consider how you want people to feel after dealing with you. Will you have had the impact you desired or left the impression you intended to make?

As the well-known proverb goes “a fish rots from the head”, typically laying all responsibility for an organisation’s ill fortune at the feet of its executive leadership. For example, if your culture is unhealthy or broken the argument is that only effective leadership can fix it. To keep the fish from rotting, the head has to be self-aware and savvy enough to look at what it’s doing (or not doing) and take remedial action. Your brand will offer powerful scaffolding, but to effectively drive it through your organisation, leaders need to step up and lead from the front. Your team, current and prospective, will be looking to you to model the values you claim your organisation espouses. This affords leaders a huge opportunity to mobilise and inspire their workforce, creating positive workplace cultures that power growth. For Robbert Rietbroek, former PepsiCo General Manager Australia, now GM of Quaker Foods in the US, this meant asking “leaders to leave loudly” in order to champion the company’s family-friendly flexible work policies – “because if it’s okay for the boss, then it’s okay for middle management and new hires.”

Delivering happiness

Congratulations! You’ve successfully attracted the right talent, but the game is still afoot. Your brand must align with your organisational culture but also with employee experience. There will be an expectation to deliver on it beyond the recruitment stage, and a golden opportunity to turn new recruits into delighted and engaged contributors who ultimately become advocates and referrers.

Sonja van den Bosch, Founder and Managing Director of Twinlife Marketing, says “marketing can create energy and focus to lead your business and team in the direction you want to head. Don’t underestimate the value of your staff, they can be your best brand advocates. If they’re enthusiastic about working for your organisation, this will come through in their productivity and engagement, but also through all the incidental interactions with people outside of the workplace, championing your cause far and wide.”

Revere your employees as you would a VIP customer:

  • Sell the benefits
  • Engage on the basis of values-alignment not just skills and expertise
  • Understand what’s important to them, then craft messages that will resonate
  • Nail your onboarding program to welcome them
  • Create effective internal communication that reflect your culture and values
  • Recognise, reward and appreciate
  • Survey for satisfaction
  • Develop and invest in them

In conclusion

ThinkChangeGrow co-founders, Hiam and Monika are adamant about people first, saying “We strongly believe that people are every organisation’s most valuable asset and the key to success for every business, big or small. No matter how great your product, or how innovative your idea, without an inclusive culture, collaborative teams and highly self-aware leaders and managers, your business is unlikely to succeed in the long run.”

If long-term growth and prosperity is your destination, then building a strong brand and employing effective marketing techniques to attract – and retain – the right people is the express train that will get you there.

 

***

 

Article with thanks to our guest contributor Sasha Reid, Head of Marketing Consulting at Twinlife Marketing.

Founded upon core values of truthful, practical and inspirational marketing, Twinlife Marketing is a unique marketing consulting business that helps set clients on a path towards sustainable growth through stronger marketing and by embedding a culture where marketing is set up to succeed – from strategy through to implementation. They are passionate about sharing their knowledge and expertise to elevate the marketing capability of their clients and build positive, collaborative relationships that stand the test of time.

Find out more at www.twinlifemarketing.com.au

ThinkChangeGrow in 2018

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I used to think that January was a never-ending Monday. You look back at the weekend, what you did or what you could have or should have done and in your head, you are already planning the next weekend and suddenly, reality hits and well –  you are back at work.  Before you know it, it’s February and you are wondering what just happened?

Not for us at ThinkChangeGrow! We have big plans and are determined to make 2018 memorable.

We are already in full execution mode for our next two Leadership-in-Context programs (The Greater Collective), our new online leadership modules (watch out for this), an impact study and new exciting collaborations.

To make this all happen, we simply have to think, change and grow – always!

We are thinking … and talking a lot about the Future of Work.

It’s definitely true, automation is “blind to the colour of your collar” and robotics, cognitive automation and artificial intelligence (social robotics) will take on a huge part of current jobs. However, we need to stop plotting over how many jobs will be automated and think about how the workforce needs to be adjusted to achieve optimal coexistence between people and machines and what kind of skills, leaders will need to navigate the new status quo. And to add even more complexity, let’s not forget we will also see a generational shift in management within the next 5 years.

As the 2017 PWC report says:  Act now. This isn’t about some ‘far future’ of work – change is already happening, and accelerating.

In light of this, we are supporting organisations who wish to codesign changing roles. Namely, that of the Disability Support Worker in Australia.

How? Last September, we kicked off The Greater Collective together with Cerebral Palsy Alliance, House with No Steps, Northcott and NDS. Not only did we give 16 incredible people the tools to become leaders for the future but together, we are implementing changes to the disability support worker role that has the potential to shape the future of the industry.

 

We are growing … our psychological safety in our own team.

You can only be creative and innovative in a team environment if you trust and are trusted by your team members. That’s why we are having Friday trust sessions. We end the week with a reflection of the week and give each other feedback. No such thing as yearly performance review at ThinkChangeGrow.  Give it a go in your organisation!

We are passionate aboutSocial Enterprises.  

To be honest, a concept we only got to know when we set up our own business.

We love working with social enterprises such as  AbilityMate, Home Care Heroes or Better Goals and whenever we run a workshop and need catering, we always aim to support such type of businesses. For Sydneysiders, check out Parliament On King or Two Good. (Nope, we don’t get provision – we simply love their causes and their delicious food).

What we are learning … from 2017

  1. We thought we worked with the best of the best inside Google but there are some frickin’ awesome people we’ve met since leaving the Google ghetto. People with huge dreams, awesome teams and growth mindsets…our kind of people!
  2. With human beings, there is nothing predictable and repetitive. We have some pretty nifty tools and principles up our sleeves but the majority of clients/ learning partners we work with have their unique fingerprint which we work with to reach their unique goals.
  3. When you put good people in a room and give them a complex challenge, you will see some pretty awesome results with the right guidance #thegreatercollective
  4. Collaboration is the key to great things both within teams, organisations and sectors – and ThinkChangeGrow specializes in sparking collaborations.

 

Does a Team really need a Leader?

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Teams are becoming like self-driving cars…they don’t necessarily need one appointed leader to run the team day-in-day-out. Just like a car is doing away with one driver and is becoming ever more sophisticated at things like forecasting trouble ahead, getting in and out of tough situations, overcoming fatigue and human error…the same is happening with teams. We explore the power of Collective Leadership in our flagship leadership program designed for anyone who has ever needed to step up and take the lead at some point in their career…

The future of leadership is in the collective.

The Greater Collective reinforced the power of collective leadership – as opposed to individual leadership and unravelled how critical it is for team work if an organisation is serious about change. – Ruth & Carolen.

The whole premise of The Greater Collective was to propel our participants headlong into a real challenge – no fake scenario’s, no made up problems. We wanted to stretch their minds, push them out of their comfort zones and more importantly, nurture their unique strengths as a leaders.

So we thought we’d ask participants what’s stuck for them since…

When we collaborated with a NFP to solve a real challenge, in this case the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, not only did we want to build leaders who would become expert navigators and instigators of change but we wanted to highlight how integral it is to simply be aware and understand. After all, the crux of real change is our deep understanding of it. What are we pushing for and why?

 

When I reflect now on the training, I hope I became a better leader, but for sure I became a better person. I see life somewhat different now, I understand cerebral palsy better and I understand people who have it better. Our education is so focused on teaching us the axioms and rules… we are not taught well enough about the people and all the problems people have.” – Igor

The textbook definition of a ‘leader’ is ‘the person who leads or commands a group, organisation or country’ but in that one intensive month, our participants breathed a whole new meaning into that. A leader isn’t just someone who leads a group. A leader is someone who is genuinely empathetic and understanding. Someone who has a true interest and passion in making a positive social impact. A beacon of inspiration to those around them.

 

I was really interested in the idea of learning the type of leader that I could be or that I was. It appealed to me because it had different aspects to it. Being a part of a group that makes a difference but also learning about yourself. I actually think that they did a really good job of allowing you to do both those things.” – Lauren


The next Greater Collective starts June 5th – limited places are available,