Donna Dark presented our first UOW Masterclass of the 2018-202 Leadership Illawarra Program, on the topic of Governance, on 23 March.
Whilst traditionally delivered over 5 days as an MBA subject, the content was highly condensed, and the goal was to introduce the subject and open thought for those not already familiar with the concepts.
Extensive post workshop reading resources were provided for anyone wishing to extend their subject knowledge and to support the 2 follow up assignments for anyone wishing to convert the masterclass to an MBA credit point. Cohort are highly encouraged to complete the follow up work whether an MBA is in their current sights or not, as the subjects are stand alone and helpful, regardless of current goals and aspirations relating to board or community representation.
Donna professionally and capably represented The Sydney Business School and delivered a day of interesting content in what can be a dry subject. Donna’s area of speciality is risk management, and she has extensive experience supporting Boards as well as representation as a Director. The content was fast paced, and topical, drawing heavily from current affairs including the Royal Commission into the Banking sector, but also referring to the major event of the ????? the HIH Royal Commission which changed the face of governance and board scrutiny for decades since.
The introduction to the roles and responsibilities of all players was lightly touched on due to the brevity of the workshop, but the 2 reflection exercises effectively demonstrated that governance is the responsibility of all team members at all levels of an organisation.
Tash Potter concluded the day with a vote of thanks on behalf of the group, summing up the learnings of a great day.
This masterclass can be converted to an MBA point with the completion of 2 assignments and cohort are strongly encouraged to complete this homework and add value to the content and outcomes of the program. Remember, what you put in is what you get out!
Itree gave an interesting an informative insight into the development, goals and culture of their organisation during our site visit of 7 March, and in the process a fantastic demonstration of the reasons they were awarded the Employer of Choice Award 2018.
A local success story and a small giant, Itree was born in 1996 in a small office at the University of Wollongong, initially delivering safety, security and sustainability solutions for transport in NSW.
22 years later, Itree proudly employs 104 people from 15 different nations who speak 24 languages and when they say people are their strength it is more than just a catch cry. They pride themselves on knowing their team, their strengths, barriers and families and identify that their people are carer for children or parents, with an age span of 18 to 63. They employ on ability and cultural fit and see disability as no barrier to successful employment at Itree. Recognising that to be an employer of choice, they need to offer more than compensation, benefits and perks, but also a work culture and environment that both attracts and retains employees.
Following a quick tour around the Innovation Campus, which introduced the cohort to the location as well as gave them some fresh air and perspective, Itree executive team members share the journey of Itree via video and slide show presentation and concluded with individual sharing of their own leadership journey, learnings and how they have grown and been supported at Itree.
Dan Walsh, Head of Service Operations and 16 year employee of Itree, commenced employment with the organisation whilst in his 4th year at UOW. Whilst jokingly not considered a local, having moved to the Illawarra at the age of 5, Dan was primary, secondary and tertiary educated in Wollongong.
Dan shared his top 3 leadership lessons which are;
Andrew Jackson, Head of Technical Engineering, has been employed with iTree for over 10 years, and is an Illawarra local who is proud and pleased to be able to work locally, Commencing as a software engineer, Andres key message was that managing is not leadership, and leaders do not need to be manager and can appear at any level and at different stages if a team or project regardless of responsibility or position.
Andrew spoke about different leadership models, and in particular Scrum as a framework that helps teams work together. Andrews closing message was to surround yourself with good people.
“Go by yourself if you want to go fast, go with others if you want to go far”
Katie Davies, Head of Culture and People is a British born team member who proudly calls Australia and in particular Wollongong home. Katie is very much driven by equality, diversity and inclusion and the desire for continue improvement and forward movement for both the organisation and the team as a whole, who are greater than the sum of their individual parts.
Having witnessed and personally experienced poor leadership and conditions herself, Katie lives and works by the rule that if you know something isn’t right you should stand up and speak up, lessons she learned young from progressive and supportive schooling in England with a zero tolerance approach to bullying and commitment to diversity, guidelines that drive everything Katie does at Itree on a daily basis.
Our first site visit of the 2018-2020 LIP exceeded our expectations and left the cohort feeling informed and inspired and we thank Itree, especially Katie, Andrew and Dan for their sharing and hospitality.
Eleanor Hayman of Flame Tree Coaching facilitated an engaging and interactive workshop on Adaptive Leadership on 23 February, which was well received by the LIP and set the scene for future workshops to be run by Eleanor across the 2 year program.
As a previous LIP Participant, Eleanor brings valuable skills and experience as well as first hand knowledge of what leaders can develop from the program and as always, her content is highly regarded and has long term and practical uses.
Commencing with a lighthearted ice breaking exercise, we learned about our individual ‘secret talent' which included race car driving, guitar making, ball room dancing, aerial skiing and figure skating, some of which were genuine and others made up for the purposes of entertainment!
Goals for the workshop were shared and kept top of mind throughout the session, and included
• Learn to hold myself accountable
• Better understanding of self and how to apply the knowledge
• Identify my blind spots
• Being able to better understand and ‘read’ people and discern their motivation
• Use information regarding my profile to improve my adaptiveness
• Reflect on my own style
One of the more valuable exercises of the workshop was to identify people in our teams who were easiest (5) and most challenging (1) to work or communicate with and to develop a communication plan based on our own personality style, and what we might assume would be theirs based on observed behaviour and in the context of the DISC model. The goal was not to place blame but to accept responsibility for our own communication and leadership styles and identify how we can perform better to assist the team to achieve our common goals.
Towards the end of the session we each received a snap shot of our DISC profile, and the session closed with each LIP receiving the first half of their personalised report, highlighting our strengths, natural and adapted behaviours and how we respond under pressure.
Feedback was positive and the workshop was a great basis for future learning with Eleanor, with the next session planned for 1 June.
Robert Kempton delivered a fantastic vote of thanks before we closed the session and continued on with our weekend. Thanks to all the LIP and Eleanor for devoting valuable weekend time to this great event.
Blog posts written by the Leadership Illawarra Program Cohort.