News

17 May 2018

On Tuesday 8 May, we held a Disability Leadership Program Participatory Forum with more than 80 emerging and established leaders either with a disability, working in the sector or caring for someone with a disability.

Throughout the day, participants were asked to think about their civic participation, their leadership in the future and their fondest aspirations. There was a lot of experience and wisdom in the room, with many powerful new connections established throughout the day.

A common theme of the day was that “advocacy will lead to a point where we will mobilise as a collective to drive positive changes that can improve the lives of people with disability”.

Together, we can:

Build new pathways for civic participation and expand our leadership opportunities, for those in the room and for other people with disabilities Remind each other that leadership is an activity, not a position. Anyone can lead, anywhere, anytime Drive the change outside these forums i.e. using social media or forming advocacy groups Prove people wrong! It's better to do something than do nothing at all. Things may be done differently by people with a disability, but they are still achieving Establish support teams. And stop seeking approval and idolising the able-bodied life Educate leaders to change their mindsets and unconcious bias Take risks. Get into uncomfortable leadership territory to advocate change Create a better world through exceptional leadership

We thank our guest speakers who openly shared their own leadership challenges, successes and learnings:

Dean Barton-Smith AM, Olympian, Chief Executive, Advocate Phil Hayes-Brown (WCLP’16), CEO, Wallara  Colleen Furlanetto (WCLP’15), Chair, Victorian Disability Advisory Council  Amanda Lawrie-Jones, Disability Inclusion Consultant, Accessibility Action  Llewellyn Prain (WCLP’17), Director, Eye and Ear Hospital  Peter van Vliet, ‎Executive, Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria  Matthew Wright (WCLP’13), Branch Manager, Design and Inclusion, NDIA MC - Scott Harris, Disability Leadership Program Participant

Leadership Victoria acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government and Disability Leadership Institute

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10 May 2018 By Stephen Duns

“Command and Control is so last century!” Or that’s what we hear in so many leadership programs, although the reality is often somewhat different. I have asked hundreds, indeed probably thousands, of people “Who likes to be in control?”. Invariably the vast majority of people put up their hands and say they like to be in control. In control of their diary, their money, their team, their life. When I then ask the follow-up question “Who likes to be controlled?” we get the opposite result. There are usually a couple of people who are honest enough to say that they don’t mind relinquishing control every now and then, to relieve themselves of the burden of responsibility. The answers to the questions reveal an underlying tension in any human system where most people want to be in control but all the others do not want to be controlled.

How would you respond? Do you like to be in control? Do you like to be controlled?

In those two simple questions are some interesting features of complex adaptive systems that teach us something about leadership.

Emeritus Professor George Rzevski[i] has refined the construct of a complex adaptive system to seven key features. One of those features of self-organisation. People will naturally self-organise and that self-organisation can be directed towards what leadership is proposing, or against it.

After the first two questions I usually ask “What do you do when someone tries to control you?”. The answers are always some variant of “resist, push back, fight or sometimes give in, acquiesce, become resigned to it”. So we have two fundamental responses – resist or apathy. Neither are what is wanted or required to productively promote change. (Or achieve “Emergence”, another key feature of complex adaptive systems that achieves a new and improved state of being or understanding, which is fundamentally a goal of leadership.)

So the more we try to control, the more people will self-organise against our control and the less control we have. A paradox for leadership. The more a solution is imposed onto a system the more that system will self-organise against that solution.

What is the way through this paradox? The answer lies in another feature of complex adaptive systems – “a system will only accept a solution it is part of creating”. The solution is to use some sort of participatory process that allows the collective intelligence of the system to create its own solution. There are many participatory processes that have been proved to be effective, such as World Café, Open Space Technology, Appreciative Inquiry, Circle Practice, Technology of Participation, Deep Democracy, Technology of Participation and Co Design.

This example illustrates the point. A power company had a major infrastructure program of installing many kilometres of new power lines. Their initial approach to the legislated consultation process was “decide and defend” – make the decision and defend it at community consultation sessions. The company was convinced to undertake genuine consultations. They went out and spoke with people who would be affected. They heard stories such as one man who said he went fishing with his grandfather and now takes his grandchildren fishing in one spot that would be devastated by power lines.

They then collated the data and came up with eight different options based on community concerns. All of the options were cheaper than the original option. So successful had the community consultations been that the new route did not require environmental assessments. When they went to formal planning stage there was not one objection. Farmers were willing to work with the power company to determine where the lines would go through their properties.

They saved millions of dollars, a great deal of time and developed positive relationships with the effected communities.

While it is tempting to try to control, and indeed it is even why we might have been given a role of authority, we need to resist that temptation and have the courage to allow and enable the system to come up with its own solution.

 

Stephen DunsSenior Facilitator, Leadership DevelopmentLeadership Victoria

10 May 2018


[i] Rzevsky, G. A Practical Methodology For Managing Complexity E:CO Issue Vol. 13 Nos. 1-2 2011

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6 April 2018 By LV Marketing


Do you have Board experience and a willingness to share skills, knowledge and expertise with other women? Can you act as a positive role model for others?

Do you have time for a coffee or a drink once a month?

At LV we believe that Mentors can play a really significant role in the learning development of our program participants.

Getting more Women on Boards has been identified as critical aspect of gender equality and ensuring we have more women in senior leadership positions.

Supporting this work by actively mentoring someone else to be a successful and valued Board member is a way you can help lift others up as we strive to ‘smash the glass ceiling’.

Ideally you can provide guidance and constructive feedback that will assist other women on their leadership journey. Overall good mentoring requires empowering the mentee to develop their own strengths, beliefs, and personal attributes.

Why do we need Board mentors? What is the gap? 

·         Less than 1 in 10 Exec positions are held by women in  ASX500 companies

·         Today, only 7 of the top 200 companies have women CEO’s

·         56.5% of ASX 500 companies have NO women on their Boards at all

·         The gender pay gap has remained stuck at 17% for 30 years

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19 March 2018 By Richard Dent

Better leadership for Australia’s future

Working at a senior level, most of us are conscious of multiple complex challenges, issues that seem to reoccur. Change seems all-pervasive, leadership seems even harder.

Leading teams through change; working horizontally across large organisations amidst uncertainty; seeking system change at the macro level to ensure greater equity and access: all these can be immensely challenging quests. All involve shifting system dynamics to some degree, shifting people and often ‘shifts’ within ourselves. As leaders, how we show up, how we expand our understanding, how we intervene and how we hold to purpose are key.

Here at LV we are very excited to be hosting two of the world’s brilliant minds and practitioners in this space for one week in April (16-20). Marty Linsky, of Harvard and Adaptive Leadership fame as well as Ed O’Malley CEO of the Kansas Leadership Centre will be with us here in Australia. We are hosting these two as we believe that between them, they offer some essential truths which just might provide both practical and insightful opportunities for moving Australia forward on some of the larger business, government and social challenges we face.

Over the course of the week we are hosting a range of events and activities in Brisbane Adelaide and Melbourne – with a limited number of open program spaces for experienced people managers. Participants in these sessions will benefit from deep-dives into group dynamics, subconscious barriers and faction mapping, and uncover some of the reasons change is often difficult and how to face and overcome the risks which exercising leadership brings.

For open places in the following locations check these links:

Brisbane:  April, 18

Melbourne:

April 16: Ed will be special host of Day 1 of our Finding your Leadership Edge Program

April 17: Join us for a sociable networking breakfast with Ed O’Malley

April 20: Senior Masterclass with Marty Linsky and Ed O’Malley - LIMITED PLACES APPLY NOW

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2 March 2018 By Chris Kotur

It’s easy to feel pessimistic about how far we still have to go before all women feel respected, valued, safe and free to make choices but this International Women's Day I’m celebrating how far my generation of women have come after sidestepping those childhood stories and images that created expectations of what a fulfilling life for a woman – our mothers - ought to be.

The stories of my childhood showed women in passive roles with a pathway toward marriage, children and full-time family responsibilities or the risk of feeling guilty about ambitions to pursue study, a career or expectations for real equality in our relationships.

There are more pathways now for women to lead fulfilling, guilt-free lives. The changes have been in the right direction. International Women's Day reminds us of how far we’ve come but also how hard we have to work to ensure gains are secured for women everywhere.

Chris Kotur (WCLP’14)March 2018

Women in Leadership - 3-Day Intensive 

Designed for C-suite, executive leaders, our Women's Leadership Program (May 2018) will take you out of your comfort zone and into a journey of self-discovery and development, exploring leadership across complex boundaries. Over three days, inspirational female leaders will come together to share their leadership experiences, their personal and professional stories and empower you to reach your full leadership potential. All in the setting of the iconic Chateau Yering, Yarra Valley.

 

 

CHRIS KOTUR (WCLP'94)Chris is Leadership Victoria's Leader in Residence, a role that is raising the profile and importance of emerging leadership issues and development across all sectors in Australia.

She has been an active and committed Williamson Community Leadership Program alumnus since 1994.

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2 March 2018 By Saara Sabbagh, Founder & CEO, Benevolence Australia

As an Australian Muslim woman, my leadership journey has not been mine to navigate or own. Rather it has been shaped by global events, political views, racism and prejudice that has framed my path. Adding onto it were my struggles within the Muslim community where the ongoing gender discourse continued. Misguided religious patriarchal systems which perpetuate inequality and thus injustice only reinforced the misconceptions that existed in the broader community. And like every other woman, I faced these challenges in the backdrop of a patriarchal world.

I traversed this path for many years embracing the challenges as opportunities which only solidified my convictions. Having a sense of purpose and knowing oneself was my foundation. I did not give permission for the outside world to define me, or to take away my power and agency.

It is this inner strength born of an unshakable foundation and built on ancient wisdom and tradition, that has made me the woman and leader I am today.

Saara Sabbagh (WCLP'17)Founder and CEOBenevolence Australia Saara is an alumnus of the 2017 Williamson Community Leadership Program

Women in Leadership - 3-Day Intensive 

Designed for C-suite, executive leaders, our Women's Leadership Program (May 2018) will take you out of your comfort zone and into a journey of self-discovery and development, exploring leadership across complex boundaries. Over three days, inspirational female leaders will come together to share their leadership experiences, their personal and professional stories and empower you to reach your full leadership potential. All in the setting of the iconic Chateau Yering, Yarra Valley.

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23 February 2018

Constantine Oscuchukwa doesn’t lack leadership. He’s the Anglican priest at St Paul’s Bakery Hill Ballarat.

But Constantine valued mentorship through the New and Emerging Communities Leadership Program (NECLP) because he says leaders “never stop learning”. Specifically, he wanted to improve his business skills.

Leadership Victoria paired him with volunteer mentor and Ballarat businessman Mike McCaw, and the local connection proved crucial to the establishment of the One Humanity Shower Bus.

The bus offers homeless people a secure, comfortable place to wash themselves and their clothes. The resulting sense of dignity is vital, says Constantine. From dignity comes opportunity and connections with people and services.

“That’s why we called it One Humanity. If one person is homeless in Ballarat everyone is diminished. We need to encounter people as human beings, not as ‘homeless’.”

Constantine says Mike helped “translate the dream into a reality”.

“He broke the project down into a five-step process. Mike made the process clear, he set timelines, he explained and he encouraged me. We became a team then we became friends.”

Mike, Chairman of Five Pillars Consulting, a professional management business, has expertise in all the areas project required: planning, setting goals, determining required actions and maximising resource allocation.

Mike sees the bus as a classic case of “a hand up, not a hand out”.

With Mike’s guidance, Constantine leveraged local businesses, who donated their time and expertise. He says the costs would have been ten times as high without local input.

Constantine urges anyone considering the New and Emerging Communities Leadership Program to “go for it”.

“It wasn’t just the good content of the program, it’s the people I met from all over the world, the stories of resilience... the generosity. The people of vision and influence with a commitment to making Australia a better place.”

With some help from a business savvy mentor, Constantine is certainly doing that in Ballarat

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20 February 2018 By Leadership Victoria


Meet Deb Cailes. Deb has a big job with oversight and accountability for the Capital Works stream at the City of Melbourne.

In this context, Professional Development often seems like something that you push to the side or wait until you have that ‘quiet period."

 

So for Deb it’s not surprising that at first, taking part in the Folio Program felt like an additional 'thing to do' on top of existing workload. Plus the experience was quite intense: unlike many corporate leadership programs LV's Folio program is actually asking you to open your eyes and look at your role and work in new ways.

For Deb - the experience was one of expanded awareness and understanding: “it was about leadership but on a much grander scale, not just leadership within the corporate context.” Developing a deep sense and understanding of complex social issues and meeting leaders working within these contexts was a major part of the experience.

"The deep dives and site visits make this all the more compelling – seeing real leadership in action."

Working then on a collaborative challenge with a group of people Deb barely knew was also really worthwhile – it gave me a sense of the diversity of leadership experience and learning from others was invaluable – this is where the wisdom lies.

“I walked away realising that the willingness to unlearn, to not be the expert – was often the most useful mindset to adopt when working in complexity.”

If you are wondering whether you are ready – well in Deb’s words, - it’s not about what you have achieved so far, or how far up the hierarchy you sit…it’s about your willingness, openness and capacity to learn.

“At the end it did feel a bit like we’d been through a washing machine. Shaken up and challenged, yet coming out of it with insights that made everything clearer and sharper.” And in the process she developed some incredible friendships and networks. 

To sum up: “City of Melbourne were incredibly supportive – the time investment was great – but the rewards were greater.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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12 February 2018 By Rebecca Lovitt


Dennis Banfield chat's with LV's Rebecca Lovitt on Life, purpose and living more simply.

“I would never in my wildest dreams have predicted the journey this program would take me on,” reflects Dennis early in our conversation. A grand statement about a development program’s impact  - most would agree. So how did this come about?

Dennis is a General Manager with International firm Tech Rentals. As with many of our program participants, it started with a CEO that really valued investing in the professional development of the team. He completed Leadership Victoria’s Folio program in 2017.

There is a wide variety of options for leadership development, but there are some things that really make a program stand out amidst the crowd – so why or how did you end up as part of Folio?

“My wife had done the Williamson program in 2012, so I had a sense that this could be a pretty impactful experience – but I really didn’t understand until taking part just how transformative this type of learning could be.”

“Never in a million years would I have expected to be in a work context or setting that would allow me to explore my own life experience or self in such a way.” For some this might sound daunting – do we really want experiences this deep within the realm of work, and do we want to share these experiences with people we barely know?

What sets programs like Folio apart is that a great deal of time and energy goes into setting the scene, and creating the environmental conditions or the holding space to support the group’s learning in program’s like Folio.  This is central to the vertical learning experience that Stephen Duns, describes is core to the LV Way.

I’ve never felt more comfortable, more welcome, more willing to be open and share than I did with this cohort.”

Like the Williamson content, learning as part of the Folio program is experiential, based on deep dives into particular social contexts – with the intent of broadening the perspective of participants. Building on the formal learning, and the experts in the room, participants learn more from each other– which combines to form a key part of the collective experience – and it is this shared experiential learning that allows it to be (for many) quite a profound experience.

 “It is hard to describe, it was extraordinary, call it spiritual maybe even magical… finding my true North…it’s just really hard to find a word or a phrase that adequately describes this experience.”

Dennis reflects: “I actually had the chance to really explore more about myself and uncover my purpose….and this for me is about working to help even keep just one child under the age of 5 avoid the experience of trauma of domestic violence.”

Daily life is really different for Dennis post Folio, “Everything feels much simpler. I still love my work, but it no longer solely defines me…if it ended tomorrow, it wouldn’t be the end of me and who I am.

In the professional setting I am able to apply the learnings mindfully, often my team won’t even know but I am able to step back more, not trying to control as much and I have a much greater sense of self-awareness…So I have a set of practical tools but also the confidence to lead the change.”

Actually it seems there has been an overall values alignment for Dennis, “Life is much simpler, I am less effected by material things, my diet has changed. Actually my family’s diet has changed.”

So what is the one experience you will always remember? “It’s meeting the people. Meeting homeless people. Looking people in the eye. Being human. Learning not to give money give, but give food and conversation.”

Nothing much separates us all after all.

 

 

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6 February 2018 By Tracey Dore (WCLP'17)

Williamson Community Leadership Program 2017 graduate Tracey Dore knew exactly what her leadership pledge needed to be.

During Tracey’s Williamson year, she went on a volunteering holiday to Cambodia with her 13-year-old daughter, Georgie. Tracey and Georgie were deeply impacted by the scale of poverty and limited access to clean water and basic hygiene that they saw. Whilst volunteering, Tracey and Georgie helped build a wash house in a Cambodian school just out of Siem Reap. Little did they know that this experience would plant the seed for their own social enterprise back home.

On return Tracey assisted her daughter in establishing a social enterprise to fund future wash houses in Cambodia.  The business is called Arkoun, which means thank you in Khmer, the language of the Cambodian people. Profits from the sale of Georgie’s soaps will help fund the building of wash houses in Cambodian schools. Each wash house helps on average 400 school children access basic hygiene education and hand washing facilities.

Here are some concerning facts...

Over 9 million people in Cambodia don't have access to sanitation 380 children under five die each year due to poor sanitation Less than one-in-three Cambodian's have access to hand washing and toilet facilities Only 16% of Cambodians have a fixed hand washing place in their homes Hand washing with soap can prevent diarrheal deaths by 40% Despite a growing tourism industry, Cambodia remains one of the poorest nations in SE Asia with more than half the population lacking sanitation

With Tracey’s help and community leadership experience, her daughter has now set up an online store and social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram.

Georgie has since been nominated for the Berry Street Create Change Award, one of the ten categories in the Victorian Young Achiever Awards.

Reflecting on her Williamson experience, Tracey said “Sometimes you can get lost in the enormity of the social issues that you are confronted with on Williamson. I spent the first couple of programs wondering how I could contribute as I felt really underprepared. I realised quickly that if I was brave and used my lack of experience in challenging the status quo of global issues, maybe that was my greatest strength. Georgie and I nearly blew up our microwave trying to make soap but through this we’ve learnt so much about embracing mistakes, sticking to the cause and just giving it a crack.

“My Williamson colleagues have been incredible. When Georgie’s online store went live in November 2017, most of our first orders were from my Willy friends including Richard Dent OAM, CEO, Leadership Victoria. Thanks to them, Georgie has received media interviews and incredible business advice and support. I can’t thank my Williamson friends and Leadership Victoria enough for their support and professional generosity. It really does take a village!”

If you would like to support Tracey and Georgie’s cause, or have a business connection that may help spread the word, please contact them at hysend@bigpond.com or via Facebook

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