18 July 2019 By Judy Utley, LV Program Speaker

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You probably have a strategy for how you ‘Manage’. Similarly, you will also have a strategy for how you ‘Lead’. So how can you leverage these skills so 1+1 = 3? Here are some thoughts to ponder.

Are they largely one of the same skill or are they different skills? 

I believe they are different with a small cross over (like a Venn Diagram). The cross over is the ‘sweet spot’.

‘Management’ focus is on the operations of aligning an employee to use their skills and time to complete tasks – but you can have a group of disengaged employees and still manage to get the tasks completed. They need better leadership.

‘Leadership’ focus is on getting employees to put their heart into the task delivery and positively engage – but you can have a group of positively engaged employees who really don’t know exactly what they are meant to be delivering. They need better management.

How do you find the ‘sweet spot’?

Managing the task is often the easier part of it. Do X by 12pm on Y. Deliver 40 X’s per Y. The harder part is getting people to want to do it.

Employees are more willing to go the extra mile when their managers:

make them feel supported make them feel trusted acknowledge their efforts get them to use their skills and brains/sometimes challenge them provide work that interests them

I encourage you to think about, if and/or how you consider these points when getting others to deliver tasks.

Making the sweet spot happen

The tip here is that each of the points above are actions. E.g. to make some someone feel trusted you need to verbalise that trust (and who doesn’t like being told they are trusted?). Good intentions aren’t enough as a leader – you must action your leadership to be effective.

When you give employees tasks the following phrases may help in discussion:

“I’ll be here for you when you need help – you know where to find me” “You have the skills to do this well” “you are smart” ‘this is one of your strengths” “I love the trust that we have – remember I’m here for you” “You are doing so well – in that meeting you nailed the presentation to the team” “How are you coping?” “What initial concerns do you have?” “let’s talk through them”  “Are you getting enough support from me? Is there anything more (or less LOL) that you need from me?”

 Final thoughts

I believe at the best Managers and Leaders demonstrate true care and interest for their employees – with both good and bad news. That’s where the sweet spot is formed. My Mother used to always say ‘don’t waste your time on people who don’t have your best interest at heart’. 

Do you have your employees’ best interest at heart? 


Judy Utley, LV Program Speaker and General Manager, People and Culture, Treasury Corporation of Victoria

Judy Utley is responsible for the design, development and implementation of Treasury Corporation of Victoria’s (TCV) ‘people’ strategies and processes that support and augment the delivery of TCV’s culture and business objectives. Judy also manages remuneration, administration and OHS for TCV.

Prior to joining TCV in 2001, Judy held senior dealing roles in the financial markets with ABN Amro, BZW and ANZ Treasury.

Judy holds a Masters of Commerce, and until recently was the Deputy Chair of the Financial Markets Remunerations group (FIRG).

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11 July 2019 By Norah Breekveldt (WCLP’96)

Looking back on my career I found that life often gave me the same challenges over again, and when I realised I had something to learn from them I was able to move on. 

Here are five such challenges.  They also come up regularly with women I have interviewed, coached or mentored. Perhaps you can relate to some of these too. 1. Be really good at what you do – across many disciplines. 

This is the starting point. You need to be great at what you do in order to be worthy of recognition. First, be an expert in your area of discipline, then if you want to move up to a senior decision-making role, move out of your comfort zone and obtain experience across key business functions. Your experience across these areas will help establish your credibility as someone who knows your organisation and understands the drivers of business success. The right mentor will open doors for you.

2. Be seen. 

Women who are well connected and who are on the radar of key decision-makers are more likely to be considered for that plum assignment, the next promotion or an interesting sideways move, than women who remain quiet achievers and hope their talents and track record will speak for themselves. Women sometimes need sponsors or advocates – mentors can be that advocate.Being seen is also about taking every opportunity to connect with people who may help you accelerate your career. Attend networking events whenever you can and you will meet the most amazing people with whom you can start a rewarding friendship or mentoring relationship. 

3. Be heard. 

 You have performed well in a role and you are being noticed by key decision-makers. That’s great. You also need to actively participate whenever you are with a group of decision-makers. This means speaking up in meetings. Respect comes when one's voice is heard. It’s your responsibility to raise your hand in meetings, share your voice and give your perspective. Lacking confidence? Your mentor can open up opportunities in meetings to have your say.

4. Be confident

Know that you’re good enough and deserve to be at the decision-making table. Your mentor can help you take control of any negative self-talk and thoughts by becoming consciously aware of them and encouraging you to replace them with more positive and encouraging self-talk. Forgive yourself for mistakes, too and move on. 

5. Laugh often and laugh at yourself

One piece of advice I would give my younger self is not to take myself too seriously. A sense of humour at the appropriate time gives one perspective and develops leadership presence – people want to be led by someone who not only holds them accountable, but also makes the workplace enjoyable. Besides, it feels good when you can let go and laugh, particularly at yourself.

So give some of these strategies a try and see how your career will rise to a new level.


Norah Breevveldt (WCLP'96)

Norah Breekveldt is the Director of Breekthrough Strategies, a consulting and coaching firm, and author of three publications, Sideways To The Top: 10 Stories of Successful Women That Will Change Your Thinking About Careers Forever (2013), Career Interrupted: How 14 Successful Women Navigate Career Breaks (2015) and Me and My Mentor, How Mentoring Supercharged the Careers of 11 Extraordinary Women (2018).

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10 July 2019 By Stephen Duns, LV Associate and Facilitator

“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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4 July 2019

Join LV alumni, Inclusive Australia representatives and 2019 Williamson and Folio participants to explore the Inclusive Australia story and the role of leadership in social change. 

The conversation will be hosted by Andrea Pearman (WCLP'05), General Manager, Community and Philatelic, Australia Post, Justin Homer, Partner, The Difference, PwC, and moderated by Mark Fuller (WCLP'12), Deputy Editor (Print) and Editor, The Saturday Age. Two years ago an initial working group made up of The Scanlon Foundation, Australia Post, National Australia Day Council, Monash University, BehaviourWorks, PwC and The Shannon Company came together to crystalise the 'Big Idea' - to build a social movement rooted in behaviour-change science and led by the corporate sector to drive social inclusion.

After learning from more than 80 organisations and nearly 60 inclusion programs around Australia, Inclusive Australia will be formally launched this year with a public awareness and activation campaign to reawaken audiences, normalise inclusive behaviour and spark respectful discussion into the issue of social inclusion. Andrea Pearman (WCLP'05), General Manager, Community and Philatelic, Australia Post has been one of the drivers of this “Big Idea”.

During the hosted conversation and Q and A with the audience, themes will include:

The impact of LV alumni beyond their program experience in collaborating across sectors and driving change for the greater good  Applying values, purpose and leadership to make a difference in identifying and tackling a daunting community challenge The opportunities and challenges in developing collaborative cross-sectoral partnerships to achieve important community outcomes Aligning professional expertise and organisations to purpose and impact• Creating a movement – challenges and overcoming barriers, creating success

LV alumni are invited to attend Leadership and The Big Idea at a reduced cost. Register to attend here. 

When: Wednesday 31 July 2019 6.30pm – 8pm (doors open 6pm for 6.30pm sharp start)

Where: Venue RACV Club Pavillion Room

Tickets: $25 – be quick, places are limited. Includes networking and refreshments

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2 July 2019 By Professor Amanda Sinclair, 2019 Williamson Program Speaker

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Most of the leaders I work with are deeply committed to their teams and communities. Yet ego – the sense of self that needs protecting or defending – still plays into leadership in subtle ways. Some leaders perform to an old script driven by self-doubt or hurt, rather than what the present situation calls for. There are also new pressures on leaders to develop personal brands and memorable personas. In the process, they can become someone they don’t recognise, the deeper self feels lost. 

So, how to mitigate ego? First, we can notice we’ve been activated and then - tuning into our bodies or our breath - choose to focus on the people or situation we’re with.  Eastern philosophies remind us the ego is just one part of a much bigger self. With practice we can learn to observe ego, not be it or ruled by it. The key is to notice where one’s mind is at and make a choice about where it goes.

Second, we can recognise that part of leading with less ego may be to vest less in a personal self. At root, our notions of self are fabrications: stories we’ve been told and we tell ourselves about our views, needs, wants and weaknesses. These stories have no particular truth or solidity to them. They can be re-shaped to carry less freight with positive outcomes for us and those we seek to lead.

To lead with less ego:

Practice stepping back from your thoughts – they’re not you!  Notice when your internal narrative is ‘all about me’. Leadership is always better coming from a more open part of the self. Be prepared to share your history with its setbacks and failures. Model that the self is a dynamic construction, with many opportunities for letting go of tightly held views and habits, for forgiveness, and learning.


Professor Amanda Sinclair

Amanda Sinclair is an author, researcher, teacher and consultant in leadership, change, gender and diversity. Currently a Professorial Fellow, Amanda held the Foundation Chair of Management (Diversity and Change) at Melbourne Business School from 1995 - 2012. Her books include: Doing Leadership Differently (1998); Leadership for the Disillusioned (2007); Leading Mindfully (2016) and, with Christine Nixon, Women Leading (2017). Amanda has coaching and consulting experience in corporate, medical, police, school, union, judicial, university and government settings. Also a yoga and meditation teacher, she seeks to support people towards sustainable ways of being in leadership.


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2 July 2019 By Joan Hegedus (WCLP'99

The Williamson Community Leadership Program 1999 alumni are celebrating the 20th anniversary of our program year, with two reunion gatherings held so far and more planned.  The reunions have allowed us to revisit and rekindle the memories of our program year and to discuss its ongoing influence.

In February, 1999, the 32 new program inductees headed to the opening retreat at Marysville to discuss the issues to be addressed over the coming year.  Some of our major concerns included the environment, social justice, the future of the working environment, the economy, science and technology and Australia’s role in the world.  

Our chosen topics often found their way regularly into the headlines of the day during that year.  We witnessed East Timor gain independence, the unsuccessful attempt via a referendum for both Australia to become a republic and the inclusion of a preamble in the Constitution to recognise Aboriginals as Australia’s first people.  The GST bill was passed in the Upper House in Canberra for introduction 12 months later. Telstra shares reached a high of $7.60, billions of dollars were spent in preparation for Y2K and Albert Einstein was named Time magazine’s Person of the Century.

At this year’s catch ups, we looked back at the year and then discussed the impact of some of the major events that have affected us both professionally and personally since and how we managed the consequences.  At each of the events we had a key note speaker from within the group.  From Bunty Avieson, editor of New Idea in 1999, and then Mary Waldron, a partner at Arthur Anderson that year, we heard of their challenges and accomplishments including 3 successful career changes for Bunty and Mary’s journey to her current role as PricewaterhouseCooper’s Global Chief Risk Officer. 

Then, in true Williamson style, everybody had a timed opportunity to share many extraordinary experiences since our graduation. Whilst everyone had some very positive news either in a professional or personal sense, it was the challenges or how they were handled that had us sitting on the edge of our seats.  

The difficult professional situations included dealing with redundancy - both as the recipient and the initiator, having the courage to review and adapt core business practices to deal with the ever-increasing speed of change and keeping abreast of new technologies - all whilst attempting to maintain a healthy work/life balance.   

The key strengths that most of us embraced that seemed to be constant in many of these situations were resilience, an ability to seek guidance, and maintaining courage in our convictions once they were established. Interestingly, all these attributes were continually exhibited by speakers in our 1999 program year including Greg Bourne, then MD of BP Australia, Michael Carr-Gregg, Rob Hunt, then GM Bendigo Bank, Janet Holmes a Court, and Doug Shears, Executive Chairman ICM Australia.

The flame that led us to apply to be part of the Williamson program all those years ago still burns brightly.  Many of the group continue to lend their skills to not-for-profit organisation.  Pro bono work remains an accepted responsibility.

On the lighter side, the group were invited to provide a significant photo of an event in their life since 1999.  The photos were displayed at both events.  Tony Bartlett sent a photo of him meeting Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at a ceremony to launch the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, which fosters collaboration on forest restoration and collaboration, for supporting an Australian forestry project in Papua New Guinea.  David Ali provided one with him meeting HRH the Princess Royal, Princess Anne at a function in Glasgow in his role as a Director of the International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations.  The rest of us were content to provide images with the likes of Nic Cave, Julia Gillard, Linda Dessau and Martin Sheen, with one of the group (who wishes to remain anonymous) producing a pic with Donald Trump. 

Overall, the coming together in the group’s 20th anniversary year has been a wonderfully uplifting experience.  The opportunity to revive and relive the camaraderie and trust developed long ago has been appreciated by everyone who attended and contributed. As a group we will be forever grateful for initially the foresight and generosity of Hugh Williamson and subsequently the contribution of the Leadership Victoria team.  Their efforts have provided us with the guidance to make a positive impact through the leadership roles we have embraced in both our professional lives and within our communities.

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17 June 2019

The LV Board wishes to advise LV alumni of some recent Board and Executive changes at LV.

Amanda Brook has been appointed as Chair of Leadership Victoria following the planned retirement of Geoff Cosgriff (WCLP’90) as Chair of Leadership Victoria (LV) and as a Director of the Leadership Victoria Foundation.

The Board and staff of LV wish to acknowledge and thank Geoff for his significant contribution to our organisation over the past 19 years and wish him well in his future.

Amanda has had a diverse executive career with leadership roles in the Services, Technology, Retail and Education sectors. Amanda has been a Board member of Leadership Victoria for the past 18 months.  She is also a Director of the Box Hill Institute and CAE, Director of The Victorian TAFE Association and an owner and Director of Abbeys Auctions and Classic Moves.

After seven years leading significant growth and transformation as LV’s CEO, Richard Dent (WCLP’04) has also advised of his intention to resign his role in early July. The LV Board and staff acknowledge and thank Richard for his contribution.

Richard will be working with Amanda and the team in the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition.

LV looks forward to continuing to build on our proud 30-year history of fostering leadership and progress for all Victorians.

The LV Board

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17 June 2019 By Paul Higgins (WCLP'97)

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I constantly hear that we should have been incentivising the adoption of electric cars over the last few years. Despite being a big fan of electric cars, I disagree with this point of view. We need to think about the policy objectives for Australia and harnessing the power of cost learning curves. The policy objectives of electric car adoption are to reduce carbon emissions and improve our balance of trade by replacing imported oil products with electricity. Policy should be focused on those twin objectives.

The recent report into the National Energy Market shows that 75% of electricity in Australia is still generated from coal. Black coal has replaced brown coal and solar/wind have replaced gas and hydropower. This means that charging an electric car on the grid will replace oil imports but its effect on carbon emissions is currently not that high. When I say this to electric car enthusiasts the response I get from many of them is that I charge my car at home from my rooftop solar, so I am reducing carbon emissions. This is a conflation of two things. Yes, solar energy production saves carbon emissions in generation but any energy that flows into a car rather than being used in a house or fed back into the grid is replaced by generators on the grid. That means gas or coal usage and therefore carbon emissions.

Which brings us back to learning curves. I am a big fan of the capacity of markets to drive adoption for improved environmental results. The big driver is cost. When something is cheaper than the alternative adoption rates accelerate. Solar has had a 28.5% learning rate since 1976. That means that the cost per watt of generation has fallen 28.5% for every doubling of production.

What this means for policy objectives is that with limited resources the correct order of incentives was to first drive the adoption of renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions until it was cost effective to do it by itself. Then to look at incentives for electric car adoption if appropriate. We are at that point now. We put solar panels on our house last year and they have created an internal rate of return of 14.72%. That includes factoring in the solar rebates that we received but without them we would still have made 7% return. So why subsidise solar energy installation any longer?

What we should be doing instead is incentivising the adoption of electric cars coupled to the installation of new solar energy capacity. Then the energy source and the car propulsion are joined together, reducing carbon emissions and oil imports. That will kickstart adoption of electric cars just as we reach the point where the cost learning curve for electric cars moves them towards price equity with fossil fuel cars, which will then accelerate mainstream adoption as the carbon emission intensity of the grid falls further.


Paul Higgins

Paul Higgins (WCLP'97) is a Futurist with Emergent Futures. He holds a First Class Honours Degree in Veterinary Science, a Bachelor of Animal Science (Diagnostic Research) and a Master’s Degree in Strategic Foresight

Paul is a graduate of the Leadership Victoria Program, and a venture philanthropy partner at Social Ventures Partners Melbourne Paul is also Chair of the Policy and Research Board for the Future Business Council and an associate at Melbourne Business School

Paul writes and presents regularly on future disruptions to business models and consults to a range of organisations on how to think about the future. He is currently co-authoring a book on adoption scenarios for electric cars in Australia.


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17 June 2019 By Interview with Dennis Banfield (FCLP'17) written by Will Brodie

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Experienced leaders are often surprised by what they learn from Leadership Victoria programs. TechRentals General Manager Dennis Banfield (FCLP'17) says an important insight from his 2017 Folio Leadership Program was deceptively simple.

“When someone comes into your office, stop writing your email and move your body to face them. Give them your full attention. Be fully present for them.”

Leaders must be “purposeful, conscious, and deliberate” in their interactions.

“They know. They are astute people, they’re smart. They pick up the nuances, they make assessments based on how you present yourself. It’s important you’re aware of that as a leader.”

As a manager with long experience in organisational change, such details have proved vital for Dennis in engaging staff and customers. For he believes no meaningful change can be enacted without “bringing people along with you”.

At TechRentals, he was mandated with bringing growth to an organisation with established processes and many longstanding staff members.

To do so, Dennis followed a “recipe” he has honed over many years, building on advice from many leaders, including Amanda Sinclair, whose advice made a big impression on him at LV.

First, he spent three months travelling Australia, asking questions of customers and staff, following the mantra: “Ask, listen, observe, take note.”

Such consultation built rapport and shined a light on opportunities and issues beyond his original remit. It allowed staff to offer ideas and suggestions that built his knowledge of them and the company.

Next, Dennis reported back to the board and CEO, in search of ‘executive sponsorship’. He says if he was not “hitched to the wagon” of the CEO, his ambitious platform would not have been fully supported.

With the leadership backing his plan with words and dollars, Dennis convened a senior leadership team to implement a growth program, seeking opinions and advice so decisions were “made together”.

Finally, the next opportunity is sought via “Build The Business” workshops involving all staff. There is a call for submissions prior to these meetings and the group decides on two projects to focus upon. The process is staff-owned, as is the company’s rewards and recognition program.

Dennis believes communication is key to his “recipe”. A weekly email and quarterly newsletter detail the progress of the growth plan.

“We get stuff done and share it. People see results and that gives it real credence.”

His favourite piece of advice is: “Hasten slowly”.

 But whatever the speed of organisational change, the key ingredient to Dennis Banfield’s recipe is people.

“Realise and understand that everyone is different. Don’t be so black and white. There are grey areas, I fought that knowledge for years.

“It never ceases to amaze me the amazing people who are in companies, there’s such extraordinary potential…

“If you engage them and involve them, if you are genuine, sincere, authentic, they’ll buy-in.”

For those aiming to make changes at an organisation, Dennis has simple leadership advice:

“Get it right. Take them with you.”


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3 June 2019 By Merryn Tinkler

By Merryn Tinkler

Reciprocity is key to any business relationship. It is important that all business partners feel like the relationship is of mutual benefit and that they feel nurtured.

Teams are by nature synergistic. We rely on each other and together build something that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Working with passionate people is hard. Working closely with people is hard. It is constant work. Sometimes hard decisions have to be made that not everyone is on board with. Sometimes we all have to suck it up and trust each other that we are actually after the same end result.

Support, transparency and communication are not always as easy to model, as they are to theorise about. Most people by nature want to give back – that is the nature of being. We all want to feel like we can contribute.

Relationship building comes down to the inherent reciprocity of human kindness and non-judgment.

And motivation…we have to really look at what is motivating our decision-making. Truly if our motivation is only about expectation, or has an ulterior motive, we will not be rewarded with reciprocity. It just does not work.

Effective communication is the foundation of real interaction with people, and authenticity is key. People can smell inauthentic people a mile off.

So the leadership muscle of reciprocity is about authenticity. Building the “of service” motivation. I want to be of service to you in an altruistic way. I want you to feel included and I want you to feel safe. It’s not to say that I don’t act with an expectation of an outcome, the expectation is definitely there. The expectation is of appreciative enquiry and the development of a true and mutual understanding.

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