Last week I attended Google's 2-day 'Search Inside Yourself (SIY)' mindfulness training program hosted by the Wake Up Project. Mindfulness can be defined as 'the awareness that arises from paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally' (Jon Kabat-Zinn). In other words, 'being fully where you are'; relaxed and alert at the same time. There is research to support the notion that it is an important and powerful skill to master with countless personal and professional benefits including increased wellbeing (e.g. reduced stress and increased resilience) and improved performance (e.g. enhanced leadership, creativity and innovation).
I was fortunate to have the opportunity recently through my work with The Positivity Institute to facilitate a 'Positivity@Work' workshop involving approximately 80 Senior Leaders from the Retail industry across Australia and New Zealand. The focus was assisting leaders to build the skills to flourish; personally, with their teams, and clients.
Last night's ABC Four Corners episode on the 'Future of Work' was a stark reminder of the importance of future-proofing our careers. Indeed, ensuring we remain ‘relevant’ is critical in a constantly evolving job market demanding new skills. As the highly sought-after leadership and executive coach Marshall Goldsmith asserted when talking about career success (and authored a book of the same title)..
‘What got you here won’t get you there’.
Hi, my name is Olivia Evans and I am the Founder and Director of The Career Guide. This podcast is the first in a ‘Career Essentials’ series where we crowd source the collective wisdom and experience of inspiring leaders to bring you the latest in career advice.
We all know understanding your prospective employer beyond their products and services, and leveraging the knowledge and experience of your networks to achieve this, can vastly improve the likelihood of you finding an optimal job fit.
However, how do you really know what it is like to work for an employer – before you actually do?
Interested in understanding how Positive Psychology can enhance your innovation, performance, and wellbeing; and that of your team and organisation?
As part of our collaboration with The Positivity Institute, click below for a preview of our soon to be published book chapter entitled 'Positive Psychology at Work: Research & Practice', for inclusion in the Springer text 'Positive Psychology Interventions in Practice'.
‘Startup’ was popularised during the dot.com era to denote new businesses with high ambition, innovativeness, scalability and growth. Although the term is more readily associated with emerging tech companies in Silicon Valley, it is now an economy wide phenomenon, redefining the customer experience and the employment landscape across industries.
Graduates and experienced professionals have long been attracted to large multi-national organisations as a springboard for overseas postings. However time spent working overseas is no longer simply a ‘nice to have’ on our career trajectories and the terms of assignments no longer what they once were.
McCrindle Research reports today’s average school leavers will have 17 employers in 5 industry sectors over their lifetime. Historically, even a generation ago, people remained 10 years in a career, however today’s average tenure is only 3 years and 4 months per job.
The digital age is a major influence but there are others influencers too such as an ageing population. Furthermore, some argue the effects will be felt by more than the youngest generation of workers entering the market, as PwC People Business Managing Partner Jon Williams pointed out in today’s Australian Financial Review.
“The world of business in five years’ time is going to be completely different. The way people go about leading businesses is going to have to change.”
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to present to the staff at Melbourne’s Loyola College last week through my work with The Positivity Institute (www.thepositivityinstitute.com.au) on Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's positive psychology construct, ‘flow’.
Flow is defined as ‘the optimal experience achieved when high challenge is met with high skill’, or in other words, when you’re 'in the zone’. If you’ve ever completed an interesting, enjoyable, and challenging task requiring all your concentration to the extent you lost all sense of time, you may well have experienced flow for yourself. Research denotes countless examples of flow experiences in music, sports, schools, and more recently workplaces.
Our challenging corporate world demands executives who are Psychologically Flexible. It may seem as though some leaders simply have a better knack than others for setting aside their own internal struggles to maintain positive momentum. Research is beginning to suggest this distinguishing factor is Psychological Flexibility. It is the capacity to be in the present moment, perceiving your own thoughts and feelings whilst directing your core attention and resources towards actions that service long term values. Put simply by Russ Harris owner of Psychological Flexibility Pty Ltd, it is about ‘embracing your demons, and following your heart’. It is a strategy for achieving authentic leadership in the real world, under pressure, and it takes practise.
To continue to stay ahead of the curve in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world, we need to anticipate and capitalise on emerging trends. I believe Mental Toughness is one psychological edge that can help make all the difference to our success. Mental Toughness has been described as the capacity to not only ‘bounce back’, but to evolve in any given situation irrespective of competitive pressures and adversities. It is a key factor in the related executive capability ‘Resilience’; one deemed highly attractive in PwC’s recent 18th Annual Global CEO Survey, whilst differentiated by the added propensity to go as far as seeking out ‘disruptions’ and changes in order to grow.
Lou Adler, a US based best-selling author and hiring coach, wrote recently that the job market is getting hotter, but colder for those applying directly to job ads, and I couldn’t agree more. Whether you’re currently actively job seeking or not, it is critical to acknowledge that the world has well and truly moved on from traditional recruitment methods. We’ve known for some time now that you have a much greater chance of being hired through referral. Lou reports that your chances of getting hired through referral is 1 in 3 compared to less than 1 in 100 when you apply directly to a job posting.
In my experience observing and coaching professionals, there has been one primary predictor of (and blocker to) leadership success; ‘executive presence’. Although most researchers concede that executive presence is difficult to define, it is best described as one’s ability to project gravitas; or confidence, poise, and decisiveness under pressure. Its existence (or lack there of) can trump even the most skilled and experienced candidates in the promotion stakes. And in 2012, Forbes deemed executive presence as the biggest inhibitor for aspiring leaders. So, is it something you’re born with? Or is it something that can be developed? And if it is so elusive, how?
I know what constitutes a great professional profile, from both sides of the equation; as a 'buyer' through my experience vetting thousands of professional resumes, and more recently as a 'seller' preparing team bios for major consulting proposals.
Whether you're actively seeking a new opportunity or not, it's a good idea to ensure your professional profile (e.g. resume and LinkedIn profile) is crisp, current, and continues to demonstrate where and how you'd like to progress your career. Below are my top three tips for a winning outcome:
Summer holidays can be life changing. As we relish the opportunity to decompress with family and friends away from all the ‘busyness’, more often than not we experience a newfound calm and a refreshing sense of clarity. Unfortunately for some, illuminating what lies before them in the New Year can conjure up intense feelings of anxiety and dread about their return to a seemingly lack-lustre job or career.
We are delighted to announce some exciting changes for The Career Guide in 2015 including our collaboration with Dr. Suzy Green and The Positivity Institute. Suzy is a world-renown leader in Positive Psychology, a Clinical and Coaching Psychologist (MAPS), and the Founder of The Positivity Institute, an organisation dedicated to the research and application of Positive Psychology for life, school, and work.
Things seem to have reached fever pitch this week before we descend into Christmas and some well-earned time out. Between our end of year deadlines, late night festivities, and over-indulgences, I suspect it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that for most of us, ‘wellbeing’ has by now well and truly been relegated to the ‘to do’ list for 2015.
We all strive to achieve happiness. When we’re happy we feel great, we work hard, and we build meaningful relationships with those around us. So it’s no wonder organisations are seeking to maximise their returns by investing in employee happiness, or 'wellbeing'.