The LG Professionals, SA Blog

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  • 23 May 2019 9:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Last year I was privileged to participate in the inaugural Executive Leaders Program (XLP) delivered by LG Professionals, SA and facilitated by Andrew Stevens, Diana Renner and Barry Bales. It is without a doubt the best professional leadership program I have attended and it has made a lasting and positive impact on me from both a personal and professional perspective. Andrew, Diana and Barry gave so much of themselves during the program, which inspired participants to do the same and to embrace the ideas and ways of thinking they shared, and the thoughts and reflections they inspired.

    I’ve completed an MBA and attended various leadership programs over the years, which focus on building the skills, competencies, expertise and knowledge to do the job. While all of this is important, it won’t help you become a better leader. We can become better at the activity of leadership by broadening perspectives, thinking deeper, reflecting and focusing on vertical development, and this is exactly what the XLP delivers.

    I learned that to be a more effective leader, I need to be able to pause and take the time to think deeper and be more observant to interpret our world from a range of perspectives. The program showed me that I need to embrace complexity to become more effective working in complex situations and to become comfortable in a world that is increasingly more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.

    To get the most out of this program I had to step out of my comfort zone, embrace self-reflection and question some of my ingrained assumptions, behaviours, biases and mores. I learned that self-reflection is an effective way to confront my anxieties and enables me to focus on the development of judgement, rather than applying technical skills.

    The program was not about being ‘fixed’ or to tip everything I knew on its head (although some of what is learned is counter intuitive to traditional ways of teaching). Most of us are excellent at what we do and we have extensive knowledge and skills in our respective roles, so we don’t need more expertise per se. However, we can benefit from the insights that the program delivers as it provides deeper understanding and impetus for our continual improvement as people and leaders.

    I went into the program thinking I needed to be fixed—I had allowed myself to get caught up in the noise and cycle of busyness, and I was stressed and frustrated. I am eternally grateful to Andrew, Diana and Barry for renewing my thoughts, recalibrating my approach and helping me steer towards a path that has led me to greater happiness, confidence and productivity. The XLP gave me the opportunity to get back to focussing on being my best self, and I love the journey that the program has inspired me to embrace. I am making time to work on my passion, which is to write, and I have commenced learning meditation and mindfulness. More recently I have come across stoicism, which provides another opportunity for me to learn and continue to improve and be a better person.

    The experience that is the XLP means something different to each of us who participate. My experience outlined above is unique to me, but I know the other participants also have similarly positive stories to tell. Being a member of the alumni of the XLP is something I am very proud of. We shared an amazing journey together and the most rewarding outcome is the great friendships I now have.

    If you are after a traditional leadership program, then the XLP is not for you. If you want to challenge your thinking and seek an opportunity to take a deeper, more thoughtful and nuanced insight into yourself and the activity of leadership that provides you with new thinking, approaches, inspiration and perspectives to augment your expertise in your field, then I highly recommend you sign up for the XLP in 2019.

    Timothy Tol
    Director Infrastructure & Environmental Services at Renmark Paringa Council



  • 28 Mar 2019 1:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Influence in the workplace is a powerful thing. With it you can get more done and advance the projects you care about. You’re more likely to get noticed, get promoted and even receive raises. It can help motivate your colleagues to support your initiatives and adopt your ideas, and to position yourself as an information leader or a go-to person that people seek out for guidance and advice.

    We’re at a point where everyone is so distracted by information overload and the pace of their digital lives that they have never been more difficult to influence. And yet, the increased pressure on gaining results means it’s never been more important to command influence in the workplace.

    Here are a few simple principles you can adopt to begin increasing your influence in the workplace.

    1. Build connections
      At the end of the day, one of the fundamental reasons why people will do things for you is because they know you and they like you. This doesn’t mean being the most popular person at work, but a good rapport will go a long way to at least getting people to hear you out. Work on cultivating those personal connections and let people get to know you. Network, network, network!

    2. Listen before you try to persuade
      If you want people to back you up is to make them feel heard, and this is all about practicing the discipline of focus. This means when you’re meeting with someone else you need to tune out those distractions, turn to them, freeze in place and really listen. Further, make sure you ask your colleagues for their perspectives and advice. Make them feel heard!

    3. Mind your body language and tone
      Something as simple as sitting with good posture can communicate a higher level of authority than if you were slouching (considered a subordinate posture). Uncross those arms, try not to fidget, and pitch your voice a little lower and more evenly to counteract the effects of nervousness, which tends to push your tone higher. All of these actions connote power.

    4. Develop expertise
      Increase your influence by being seen as a recognised expert within your organisation. This will take time and effort on your part, but you can take steps to develop your business-critical expertise and know how. Immerse yourself in your topic area by regularly attending relevant conferences, enrolling in professional development programs and getting involved in working groups and networks, and share your learnings publicly by blogging on LinkedIn. These are all very visible signs that you are staying informed.

    5. Map a strategy
      Creating a strategic ‘plan of attack’ is a great way to leverage ythe influence you’ve built to promote an initiative or idea. One way to do this is by creating an org chart of decision makers related to your issue. If you don’t think you can influence someone directly, think about who could and channel your efforts through them. This isn’t scheming, it’s strategising.

    6. Give people what they want
      Find out how you can authentically answer the age-old question ‘what’s in it for me?’ for the people you want on your side. Do your homework to understand the needs, perspectives and temperaments of your stakeholders. Don’t be self-interested, be inclusive. Use words like ‘we’, ‘us’, and ‘our’ when talking about the benefits to help people see the value for them and the wider organisation.

  • 27 Feb 2019 5:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ‘A goal without a plan is just a wish.’ -  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    These days you can expect to change careers five to seven times in your life, so having a career plan is a vital ingredient for your career success. While engaging in a professional coaching or mentoring relationship will help you to flesh out a more detailed plan, there are some simple steps you can take right now to catapult you to success!

    1. Self-reflection
      We are all guilty of being too busy to spend time thinking about our current situations and the paths that we actually want to be on. Make sure you take some time to reflect not only on your career path, but also yourself and your values, skill and passions. Understanding yourself and what you want will make it easier to create a plan that suits your goals and lifestyle.

    2. Goal setting
      It’s said that a goal without a plan is just a wish, so now that you’ve identified the career you want, you need to figure out how to get there. This is where setting goals comes in.

      You’ve probably heard of SMART goals before. These are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timebound goals that will set you up for success. Research shows that 76% of study participants who set SMART goals, wrote them down (pen to paper) and shared them with a friend or co-worker achieved their goals—it makes you accountable, and the act of writing them down cements them in your long-term memory so you’ll think about them subconsciously.

    3. Develop a plan

      Check in time—you now know yourself and what you want to do better, and you’ve set your goals and written them down. You need to look at each goal and figure out what decisions you need to make to achieve them. Maybe you need to get some more experience to reach one of your goals, or perhaps you need to undertake some study. These decisions become the paths you’ll take to reach your goals, and you’ll soon see a career plan starting to take shape. There a few tactics you can deploy to make these sometimes difficult decisions:
    • Make a pros and cons list
    • Evaluate how each path aligns with your values and lifestyle
    • Think about the immediate and future consequences of a particular path
  • 20 Sep 2018 4:35 PM | Anonymous

    Don’t stand on the sidelines!  Get involved!

    There are only three types of people – those that hope things will happen, those that makes things happen, and those that wonder what happened!

    So, in life – family, career, hobbies, sport – you can either hang back and watch what’s going on, or get involved and be a part of the action. 

    Studies show that much greater satisfaction is gained by getting involved.  Parents are advised to get involved with their children’s development and activities.  Community members are encourages to get involved with community issues and have a say in making decisions that will affect them.

    And of course, workers are advised to get involved with activities that can increase job satisfaction and help to further their career.

    LG Professionals offers a range of opportunities to get involved and get the best value from your membership  - from our award-winning professional development programs, to a wide range of focused networks that meet regularly to learn and engage, and also mentoring and coaching.

    There are 7 main benefits of “getting involved”

    1. Make new contacts who are outside of your normal circle
    LG Professionals strives to bring people in our sector together. Whether you’re just starting out, or are already an experienced manager, LG Professionals creates  opportunities to make friends and contacts in similar organisations with no strings attached. Who doesn’t need a sounding board for ideas?

    2. Be connected to the pulse of what’s happening
    Networking groups give you an inside track into what’s happening in your part of local government.  You can access people and information from experts who influence your field, discuss solutions to common issues, and keep up to date with latest trends and information.

    3. Be proactive. Share your voice and opinions
    Want to help shape the future? Then let your voice be heard. People who are active in their networks can have a big impact on the conversations that inform that space. If you have something worth contributing, take ownership of it and the whole sector (and the communities we serve) will benefit.

    4. Build your career
    Networking and engaging with others in the industry will raise your profile.  Others will recognise your contribution, colleagues will hear and utilise your great ideas, and your career will develop faster as a result.

    5. Get advice
    Being part of a large, diverse group gives you many opportunities to get advice from people who’ve gone through it all. What to do. What not to do. Their experiences can point you in the right direction and help you avoid many costly pitfalls. Reach out through LG Professionals Network Groups to meet others who share your passions and can help you build your career.

    6. Seek professional development opportunities
    In addition to being a great resource for job seekers and employers, LG Professionals networks and programs can help you gain professional contacts, find a mentor/coach and expand your industry knowledge.  You’ll be surprised how quickly you can build long-lasting relationships and potential career opportunities.

    7. Fuel your passion
    There is no better way to stay motivated than to be passionate about your role. Getting involved fuels that passion – and helps you to stay focused on what’s important, and avoid falling into the trap of doing the “same old thing” every day.

    LG Professionals offers a wide range of opportunities to get involved, from Leadership Development programs to a wide range of short courses, events and networking functions.

    Check out the full program here.

  • 20 Jun 2018 8:27 AM | Anonymous

    Do your Council have a strong staff development policy – and are you promoting it?

    Organisations are becoming more aware that a positive (and well-promoted) staff development policy – including ensuing development plans and actions are reviewed in line with staff reviews -- is a necessary part of rewarding, attracting and retaining staff.

    The most recent Seek ‘laws of attraction’ survey found that staff development is a very strong attractor - especially for Millennials.

    Almost every form of career development was significantly more likely to be a ‘must have’ for Millennials than other generations as they looked for ways to propel their career forward.

    Almost half (47 per cent) considered opportunities for promotion a must when considering an employer, while 44 per cent said the same for on-the-job skill development.

    Work-life balance, although ranking the third most important factor for Millennials behind money and development, was less important for the younger demographic than for Generation X and Baby Boomers.

    The increased use and sophistication of the internet also enables candidates to become more aware of factors such as employer reputation, additional benefits and colleagues and co-workers. This may be having an impact on how a candidate perceives their importance, so employers would be wise to look at the bigger picture when it comes to attracting talent.

    Read more about the results of the Seek survey for government and defence, here.

    An organisational focus on learning and development (from AHRI)

    It is critical for organisations to establish an organisational focus when setting goals for its learning and development activities. The learning and development objectives and strategies should link with the broader organisational objectives.

    Organisations should ensure that appropriate needs analyses are undertaken to identify the learning and development needs of the organisation, the business units/departments and individuals. These needs should be prioritised in terms of their potential impact on organisational effectiveness and profitability.

    For an organisation's learning and development strategy and policies to be successful, they should be focussed on helping the business to meet its objectives, and they should also reflect its mission, values and culture.

    (From https://www.ahri.com.au/assist/learning-and-development)


  • 20 Jun 2018 8:23 AM | Anonymous

    "Ultimately, there's one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself. Nobody can take away what you've got in yourself, and everybody has potential they haven't used yet.”  Warren Buffett

    What’s the definition of an investment?

    In this context, to invest is to put money, effort, time, etc. into something to make a profit or get an advantage:  (expectation of an advantage or greater return in the future)

    “A stitch in time saves nine” is a well-known saying that suggests investing a little time today can save lots of time in the future.

    So, to invest in oneself is to put effort in today, on a personal level, that will return more tomorrow, in terms of, for example:

    • ·         Work or life skills
    • ·         Relationships/networks
    • ·         Learning experiences
    • ·         Health/Wellbeing
    • ·         Lifestyle

    A good example is attending University (to get a degree, to get a better job, to earn more, to have more job satisfaction) or taking the time to regularly go to the gym (to get more healthy so you can enjoy life to the fullest – or even to live for longer)

    A large part of investing in self is to build your knowledge and skills, and form strong and lasting relationships. 

    These investments usually take the form of reading often and widely, making the effort to attending courses, training and programs, attending conferences and accessing a mentor and/or coach. 

    Read more about how to invest in yourself here‘the top 10 ways to invest in yourself – and why it’s so powerful’

     

  • 24 May 2018 9:13 AM | Anonymous

    Alison Ledgerwood, a Professor of Psychology at UC Davis, presented a thought-provoking TED talk about ‘getting stuck in the negatives - and how to get unstuck’.  Essentially, it’s about the power of positive language.

    Do you ever wonder why we remember our failures very clearly, but are more likely to ‘gloss-over’ or forget our successes? 

    Alison speaks about getting stuck in the ‘loss frame’.  It’s the way we look at things.  ‘Glass half empty’ is the loss frame, while ‘glass half full’ is the gain frame.

    While we are all pretty familiar with the glass half full or half empty analogy, we tend to put it down to simple optimism or pessimism.  However, Alison’s research shows it’s much more than that. 

    It seems that if we think in the gain frame – glass half full, we can be convinced to change our thoughts to the negative, loss frame, if presented with an alternative view. 

    However, if we start in the loss frame, it’s almost impossible to change our thinking to the positive.  She calls this getting stuck in the loss frame

    Accordingly, she advises to always think positively, work to see the upside and also explains why expressing gratitude, works so well as it focuses us on the positives.

    Invest a very worthwhile 10 minutes of your time and watch this video, it might just change the way you think.

  • 24 May 2018 9:06 AM | Anonymous

    Regardless of what side of the table or desk you are on performance reviews can be nerve-wracking.  There are many articles about how to conduct a performance review.  This is not one of them.  Rather, this is about what questions to ask your manager in your own performance review.

    Should you just respond to the questions being asked?  Should you spend ages preparing your succinct, to the point, and impressive responses?  No!  (well, yes you should, but you should also think about what you should ask your manager in the review).

    Use the power of language in your performance reviews.  For example, asking “what are your most important goals for the coming year?” lets your manager know you are interested in the overall team performance and how you can help. 

    You’ll be seen as a helpful resource, someone who can help solve issues – not add to them.

    Or asking “Is there anything I could do to make your job easier?” is always going to be well received.

    Asking “How do you think local government (or our organisation) is going to change in the future? What challenges do we face?” will show that you are interested in the big picture, and will help you, and your manager, identify opportunities and frame your responsibilities and activities in the future.

    Read more for a summary of the best questions to ask during performance reviews – it’s great preparation for your next review.

  • 28 Apr 2018 12:31 PM | Anonymous

    You may not know it yet, but – you are a brand.  Just like Coca-Cola, or Holden, or any corporation.

    A brand is really just defined by a whole series of attributes, that the person (or corporation – or product) is KNOWN for – and stands for.

    For example,

    Mercedes-Benz – quality, dependability, luxury

    Volvo – safety, luxury

    Aldi – small range, cheap prices

    Tesla, Apple – innovation, style

    You get the idea.

    So what’s your personal brand?  How would you describe yourself in a few words, as brand attributes?  Are you smart, quick-thinking, with a can-do attitude?

    Or maybe you are reliable, dependable and trustworthy.

    The interesting thing is, just as beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, your brand is not only defined by what YOU think you are, but what OTHERS think you are.

    What if you think you are dependable, trustworthy and reliable, but others see you as dodgy and dishonest? Then, I’m afraid, your BRAND attributes will reflect just that.

    How do you find out if your own perceived brand attributes match others perceptions of you? 

    You need to ask them. Ask your manager, your CEO, or your peers what they believe and perceive your brand to be, by coming up with three to four descriptors.  What are you known for? And what messages are you sending out?

    Corporations make sure that they align their brand attributes with all that they do. Their advertising, products, services and more.  A high-value brand attribute like “quality” can soon be dashed if your customer service department gives poor service.

    So, personally, if you want to be seen as ambitious or a potential future leader, you need to start taking the right actions and live by those values so that others will start to see it, and recognise it as part of your BRAND.  And be very careful to avoid doing anything that will damage your brand.

    So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start understanding and building your brand.
  • 24 Apr 2018 11:35 AM | Anonymous
    Like it or not, we are always competing. As cities and regions, we compete for investment, for population, for workers, for businesses and much more. As councils, we compete for the best employees, the highest community satisfaction ratings and for recognition.


    That’s why it’s so important to understand the two branding forces at play in a local government environment –

    1.      the Place brand (City or Region brand) and
    2.      The Organisational or Council brand.

    With Placemaking becoming much more prominent in recent years, most people are very familiar with Place branding. It’s those things that people think about when they think about a Place.

    So, for example, New York – what first comes to mind when you think of New York? Vibrant, hectic, “city that never sleeps”, stylish, exciting.

    Tasmania – Unspoilt environment, natural beauty, quality food bowl, safe, compact

    Adelaide - Vibrant, cultured, artistic, refined, plentiful open spaces

    So it’s fairly easy to think about a place and what it’s like. The things that define it, essentially, create the Place brand. What it’s known for, how it’s perceived by others.  

    The Place brand is what people will think of when they consider living there, working there, taking their leisure time there, investing there or setting up a business in the area.

    So, a Place brand is the core basis for competition between cities and regions. It encompasses what the region offers, WHY it’s a great place to live and so on.

    What about your city? What is its Place brand? Do you know? It would be a good idea to run some research if not, with local residents and non-residents from other council areas to see if your Place brand is really what you think it is….

    But there’s another side to the story - the Council brand. Just because Adelaide is vibrant, cultural, refined and compact – are these the brand attributes of the council too? No – they are not. Place brand attributes and council brand attributes are different. They will always be different, but they should be aligned.

    The City of Adelaide is doing a great job of aligning their City and Council brands.

    A quick look at their website shows not only what the council offers but also what events and activities are scheduled in the city. This is just one example of how a city can support a Place brand.

    In doing so they are immediately seen as supportive but also facilitative – they are aligned with the vibrancy of the city – it’s not just something happening on its own without council involvement or direction.

    Unfortunately, there are many examples of cities and regions with a very powerful and positive brands where the council does not enjoy such a strong positive association. You’ve probably heard it before – “love the place, but the council is terrible” – poor service, hard to deal with and so on. Make sure you are not one of those!

    So, just as you work hard to promote the Place brand, you need to also distil and promote positive brand associations with your Council brand.

    The Council brand will have a large impact on ratepayer satisfaction, employee pride and also attraction of high calibre candidates.

    If a city is vibrant and exciting, and a great place to work and play, what sort of council is needed to facilitate that? Probably forward-thinking, easy to work with, innovative, service-oriented.

    If a city or region is known for its natural beauty and unspoilt environment, the council had better have pretty strong brand attributes of environmental awareness and environmental responsibility, in order to benefit from the association of the Place brand.

    What’s your Council brand? Do you know?  

    Do some research, find out if your Place brand and your Council brand is aligned to ensure that your brand attributes are seen as supporting the Place brand.

    That way, you will be more likely to be seen to be contributing to the creation of a successful and desirable place to live, work and play.

     

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