Cadence Catch-up with Lewis #8

Welcome to the lucky eighth edition of Cadence Catch-Up.

In this final edition for 2022, I reflect on four posts from the year gone that created the most impressions among LinkedIn readers.

In doing so, I have looked for themes running through each post that I believe will be important for leaders to carry forward into 2023. You will hear more from me on these themes – Adapt, Skills, Risk and Belief – in this newsletter and in future articles.

Before signing off for the year, I’d like to thank the clients I’ve had the pleasure to work with this year – UNSW, CBA, Westpac, TJX Australia, Healthy Cities Illawarra, Garden Clubs of Australia, Remondis, Boyce Chartered Accountants and Navitas. Each project has been different, and it’s been thoroughly enjoyable to support you all in your various endeavours. I’m looking forward to continuing our mutual learning journeys in 2023!

ADAPT

This article from Sophia Epstein of BBC Worklife examines adaptability – the ability to be actively prepared for a changing environment, to give you the best chance of success. Some of the comments received from this post rightly challenged those trapped in a fixed mindset, believing they will be immune from upcoming changes. This “fight or flight” response could be a product of having too much on your plate, believing it’s somebody else’s problem, or not having your radar on. Either way, adaptive leadership is an essential part of any leader’s toolkit heading into 2023. The good news is, as a leader you don’t need to have all the answers. I’ll have more to say on this early next year.

SKILLS

I was overwhelmed with the number of comments this post received in October. At the heart of the post, it examines how people have voted with their feet in significant numbers, moving out of corporate roles and choosing more creative, flexible careers over the past few years. Greater access to technology, re-evaluation of priorities, and a response to ineffective corporate structures are a few of the drivers.

A number of comments indicated people are thriving in their new roles and loving the transition. However, just as many commented how difficult it is to influence recruiting managers to see the merit in transferrable skills, preferring to take the safe option and hire only where comparable experience exists.

I encourage you to read the comments attached to the post to understand what people are saying on this sensitive and hugely relevant subject. There are ways to highlight the skills you already possess that will help you land that lateral role. Keep an eye out, I will be posting on this early next year.

RISK

After poor tours of both Australia and the West Indies by the English men’s test cricket team, changes were expected. However, the transformation that has occurred following the appointment of three key personnel – Robert Key as Managing Director, Brendon McCullum as senior coach and Ben Stokes as captain – has been nothing short of phenomenal. Six test match victories out of seven at home, with ease, and already an outstanding display in Pakistan – proof an aggressive approach that embraces risk can also succeed on foreign soil.

When I wrote this article in July, risk only received the briefest of mentions. However, it is clear that in order to improve performance England needed to completely revisit its relationship with risk. Playing strategies, team selections and determining the roles each member of the team would play have all been revamped, and the records are falling, overwhelmingly in the positive.

In corporate settings it isn’t always possible to adopt the same high-risk settings the English have managed. However, the parallel is there to see – if you want to make changes, if you want to improve your performance, and if you want to create a following people will buy into – you will need to embrace a level of risk higher than you may be used to. This requires courage and support. I’ll comment more on this in the new year.

BELIEF

One of my favourite posts of the year was an impromptu decision to snap an image of my new business cards (yes, they do still exist) while stopping for a coffee.

I often reflect on what it has taken to switch from a more secure corporate role into that of an entrepreneur running my own business. There are so many transferrable skills I have put to use – relationship building, written and verbal communication, distilling detail into understandable bites, to name a few – but the constant through it all has been belief.

This is more than just self-belief, but belief that the work I’m doing is relevant, belief that strong leadership skills matter more than ever, and belief there are people who are willing to pay to share my professional experience with their teams.

My belief is that 2023 will continue to present numerous challenges to leaders. I will stop short of saying it will be a harder year than the one about to end – I think people have said that every year for as long as I can remember! The main challenges I see continuing are how we bed down hybrid work arrangements so employee and employer can reach mutual satisfaction; providing leaders the tools to keep their people motivated when so many in the workplace have elected to “switch off”; and to keep the message front and centre for all leaders – don’t feel the pressure to have all the answers all of the time. You have teams in place for a reason – encourage them to step up, contribute, challenge, and succeed you – eventually.

PODCAST CORNER

My favourite podcasts throughout the year have, unsurprisingly, dealt in no small part with the themes adapt, skills, risk and belief. They have also provided me inspiration and useful information to keep doing the work I do, in their uniquely English, Australian and American ways:

  • Working It is produced by the Financial Times and hosted by Isabel Berwick. It covers all manner of work matters such as winning the talent war, dealing with terrible bosses, and hybrid work challenges. My favourite for the year dealt with imposter syndrome (a label for normal workplace anxiety). Slick and professional, and very listenable at about 15 minutes per episode.
  • Culture Couch can be found on YouTube and is hosted by former Australian footballer Paul Roos and his colleagues from consultancy Performance by Design. Again, very listenable at about 20 minutes per episode, Roos and his people keep it simple and direct in unpacking organisational culture issues like corporate purpose, setting workplace behavioural codes and getting the most out of your teams.
  • Forever Employable Stories by entrepreneur Jeff Gothelf has been extremely helpful for me in the transition to becoming my own boss. Gothelf interviews a wide variety of people including academics, guitar heroes and writers and gets behind their stories, as they have built their own brands and created new revenue streams. Essential listening for anyone contemplating moving on from corporate life into entrepreneurship.

ABOUT LEWIS

Cadence Leadership Advisory is a leadership development business specialising in coaching people, team leadership and development, strategy review and organisational culture.

Its Founder, Lewis Williams, has over 25 years of leadership experience gained through senior roles at NAB, HSBC and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. A Graduate of AGSM@UNSW, a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), and an Approved Advisor with Advisory Board Centre, he instigated and drove development of the 2021 paper “Organisational Culture: Beyond the Intangible” with other alumni of the AICD. He is also an accredited CultureTalk practitioner, a training and development platform that activates the framework of personality archetypes for the growth of leaders, teams, brands and cultures.

FOUNDER: Lewis Williams

EMAIL: lewis@cadenceleadershipadvisory.com.au

MOBILE: 61 (0) 477 371 665

LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lewis-williams- cadenceleadershipadvisory/

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