Category Archives: Managing

Musings of a Manager – my life and learning’s as a practicing manager and department head.

New beginnings

The closing of a chapter

I started this blog almost 4 years ago because I felt I needed an outlet for the thoughts I had on the topics I’m passionate about; marketing, management and the things that motivate me. It’s helped me grow as a marketer and as a person, given me a means of shaping my online presence and taught me a thing or two about how to blog successfully.

This blog was birthed at  a pivotal point in my career when I had just begun my first senior management role as UK Head of Marketing for one of the biggest web hosting companies in the world. I’m closing it as I embark on the next phase in my career – business ownership!

The beginning of a new season

One of the reasons I’ve been able to enjoy my corporate career so much is because it’s never been my life, I’ve always viewed it as a strategic step on my journey to a bigger and more significant vision; training ground that would equip me to do what was really in my heart to do. While I was preparing to make my vision a reality, I was helping others fulfil theirs and I’ve had a blast doing so.

I’ve always known that business ownership was the end goal, one of the first things I did when I left university was write a business plan for the business that I would one day have – that one day has arrived!

New website, new business

Find my new business here  http://katrinadouglas.marketing

You can also connect with me on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook.

Speak soon!
Katrina

 

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3 invaluable traits of a fierce marketer

traits of a fierce marketer

Hello! It’s been a while I’ve been busy blogging elsewhere and putting the world to rights as you do :) but I’m back and hoping to get back into the rhythm of blogging at least once a fortnight.

How are you? (do feel free to comment below, I really am interested in the answer)

So I’m in a reflective season at the moment, and in my musings about what lies ahead I began to think about the important traits of a marketer and those I look for in the marketers I mentor and lead. I thought I’d share them with you.

Why ‘Fierce’?

Firstly, let me explain my use of the word ‘fierce’ because the choice was very deliberately. The simple truth is, if you aren’t ‘fierce’ that is relentless and incredibly committed to success as a marketer, you just won’t succeed.

Marketing is one of those fields we’re there is no hard and fast formula, it’s not like maths we’re 1+1 will always equal 2.

Marketing success depends on a number of variables, these include: the strength of the message, awareness and credibility of the brand, target audience, timing, competitive landscape to name a few. Successful marketers are relentless and resilient; if a campaign doesn’t pan out as intended we tweak and test until it does, if a particular activity is successful we don’t rest on our laurels, we build on that success.

Contrary to what many may think, fierceness requires humility as well as confidence, because you need to be alert and in a constant state of learning in order to remain effective. The fierce marketer has to be teachable; constantly evaluating, assessing the data, keeping an eye on the external environment, no matter how great you think you are there is always more to learn. This is particular true in a dynamic industry like marketing where things are constantly changing and developing.

Traits of a successful marketer

Confidence

Confidence as defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary is:

The feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something.

Real confidence comes from a high degree of competence, you simply cannot be confident if you don’t know what you’re doing. The lesson here is study to show yourself approved; read broadly, study the market, study the competition, study the successes and failures of others in your industry. It also takes practice, the more you put what you’ve learned into practice and see it work, is the more confident you’ll be in your decision making moving forward.

Marketing decisions are often riddled with uncertainty, you often have to part with large sums of money with no absolute guarantee that what you’re investing in will actually work. Here’s where it’s imperative that you believe in your ability and have the confidence to make tough decisions when called for.

They key is to be confident enough to make hard decisions and humble enough to make adjustments when necessary.

Creativity

Learning about what others have done and are doing is great, but there comes a point where you have to make what you’ve learnt your own. You have to get creative with your marketing tactics because more often than not it isn’t the marketing channel that makes the difference, but how you use it.

If you take a look at these recent campaigns that have proved very successful, you’ll see that it wasn’t the channel or tactic that made them a success but the idea behind them.

  • Schedule thinking time: plan time to do nothing but think, find a scenic spot and just chill. It’s amazing what the mind comes up with when it has time to rest
  • Carry a notepad with you everywhere you go (a still like paper, but I’m also a fan of the Evernote app if you prefer digital): this enables you to capture ideas as they come, you never know when a good idea will come in handy
  • Think about how you can use new channels like Periscope
  • Think about using old channels differently
  • Brainstorm and collect ideas from those around you. True innovation lies in teams not individuals
  • Learn from the kids
Communication

Marketers have to be master communicators. We have to know how to speak well, write well and listen well. You can have the best idea in the world but if you don’t know how to communicate it in a way that convinces peers and management, attracts an audience, helps convert prospects to customers etc. your idea has very little value. The ability to communicate well can literally be the difference between success and failure.

Invest time in learning how to communicate well:

  • Get honest feedback from colleagues and friends regarding ways that you communicate well and where you might need improvement.
  • Practice writing whenever you have the opportunity, writing has become an essential skill for the modern marketer; start a blog, even if it’s for your eye’s only at first, help the PR team with content etc.
  • Practice your negotiation skills whenever you have the opportunity. Negotiation skills are important not just in relation to money but for things such as getting buy-in from colleagues and c-level management for ideas, enlisting support from other departments to make a project happen etc.

I hope you’ve found this useful, if you need help developing these skills, feel free to contact me or comment below.

Speak soon :)
Katrina

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What is a balanced life really?

life balance

We hear  a lot about work life balance and there is much talk in the media about the importance of it and how to achieve it. Having been a mother and wife for my entire working life, balancing career and family has always been an important topic for me. I’ve always felt strongly about not confining myself to one particular role i.e. I am not just a mother, I am not just a wife, I am not just a business women I am all of these things and more, and it’s always been important to me to grow in all these areas simultaneously. It occured to me recently that my notion of a balanced life has changed. I used to think of balance in terms of putting equal effort in to all the respective areas of my life. After all, a common definition of balance is:

“An even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady”

But in actual fact I’ve found that maintaining balance in my own life very rarely means that. Life is not neat and tidy, at every stage in life there will be one or two areas that require more of your time, effort and focus than others. Therefore in life, balance never means equal.  I’m reminded of Ecclessiastes 3:1

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”

Sometimes the  season and where the focus is needed is obvious, and it will be dictated by circumstances e.g. if your family is having a hard time financially it will be obvious that you need to focus on increasing your income and earning potential. Or if your child is having a hard time at school then the focus will be more on family.

However, often the change in season is not that obvious, in fact we would do well not to wait until circumstances dictate a change in focus. Quite often there are signs way before we reach this point which indicate that we need to adjust our priorities. Therefore maintaining balance for me,  means that I am aware enough and mindful enough to gauge where I need to apply the most focus in my life at any given time.

Right now in my own life I sense a change in season. From the outside looking in,  it all looks good and to be honest it is. I’m at a very good place in life and yet change is on the horizon because in my heart I know it’s time. No one can detect the times and seasons in your life better than you, you can read all you want to on maintaining a healthy work life balance, but none of it will tell you what is right for you.

So I leave you with a question, what season are you in and as we enter a New Year where do  you need to apply the most focus?

Blessings,
Katrina

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5 top tips for learning on the go

Learning is a life long process and as I’ve mentioned many times before, the more you know is the more you realise that you don’t know. Like many of you, my life is busy but I’ve always made learning and acquiring new knowledge a priority, because I believe it’s the most important investment you can make in yourself and it will always pay dividends. As the saying goes, you can always find time for the things that are important to you, so if learning is a priority for you too, here are a few top tips that work for me:

1.  Sign-up to Audible

The number one way to acquire knowledge is through books, yep not even the Internet can replace the value of a good book. My absolute favourite pass time is to find somewhere secluded, preferably with a nice view and a cup of tea and just read for hours. Unfortunately life rarely affords such luxuries, so the next best thing is Audible. Audible is Amazon’s audio book division, there are various subscription options available and a great mobile app that allows you to download and listen to books whenever and wherever you are. I subscribed to Audible in 2010 and can’t recommend it enough, I’m one of those people that can’t bare to waste time so it’s a great way for me to utilise the three hours a day I spend commuting to and from work, and provides a great companion while doing the housework.

2.  Use mobile apps to capture your thoughts

Yes we can learn a lot from others but we can also learn a lot from ourselves. Many ideas come to our minds each day and we often fail to acknowledge them, simply dismiss them or forget them. You never know when a good idea will come in handy so I recommend capturing your thougts and ideas whenever you feel that they’ll be worth recollecting at some point in the future. The main app I use for this is Evernote it allows you to quickly type, and store notes, record voice notes, capture pictures, screen grabs and more on the go. The clip below pretty much demonstrates how I use the app regularly, if you only have one app on your phone to boost productivity it should probably be Evernote.

3.  Always have a book in your bag ( or a Kindle)

I’m a little bit obsessed with books so I tend to have a few paperbacks in my car and my Kindle in my bag at all times (I know my husband thinks it’s over kill too lol). But the thing is you never know when you’re going to have an inbetween moment and a few free minutes e.g. waiting in a queue or arriving early for a meeting, and as I mentioned earlier I hate to waste time and a good book is a great time filler.

4.  Listen to podcasts

A podcast is a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new instalments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.

Podcasts are a great wat to keep up to date with authors, speakers and thought leaders that are prominent in your industry and beyond. Stitcher is my latest, favourite app.

It’s great for making sure I never miss an episode of my favourite podcasts which include:

5.  Become a professional listener

You can learn something from everyone and anyone, we often miss nuggets of wisdom imparted by others in our daily lives because we’re more interested in expressing our own opinions as opposed to listening to those of others. Much can be gained from listening keenly to what others have to say.

I hope you’ve found theses tips for learning on the go useful and I’d love to hear if there are others you’d like to recommend so feel free to comment below.

Speak soon,
Katrina

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Assess Opportunities Wisely

assess opportunities wisely

As we begin a new year many of us will be looking for and assessing new opportunities,  I know from experience that when a new opportunity crops up, excitement kicks in and sound judgement and wisdom can sometimes fly out the window.  There are a few things I’ve learnt on the matter along the way (sometimes the hard way) that I thought I’d share with you.

When I was just starting out in my career I used to grasp at every opportunity that came my way with zeal, I was beginning at ground zero and felt that I needed to take and make the best of every opportunity that came my way. A few years later, I’m equally as grateful for the opportunities I’m given, just a lot more cautious about those I pursue. As the saying goes I’ve gotten a little older and wiser, and I’ve come to realise the following:

1.  Not every opportunity is a legitimate opportunity

There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death
- Proverbs 14:12 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Some opportunities sound great on the surface but if you dig a little deeper you’ll soon fnd out that they’re not quite the opportunities they’re made out to be. Here are a few examples that come to mind;

  • Ponzi schemes that are often presented as a great way to get rich quick
  • 100% mortgages that were all the rage in the early 2000′s
  • That job that looked so great on paper but turned out to be a living nightmare

2.  A good opportunity may not be good for you

Sometimes good opportunities may come your way that sound great and really are great, but they’re just not right for you. Perhaps the timing is wrong e.g. maybe you get a great job offer just as you decide to start a family. Or a great investment comes your way, but as good as it is, raisng the capital would put your family under a great deal of pressure.

3.  Not every opportunity will come to fruition

People will offer you opportunities sometimes with the best of intentions but for one reason or another they just dont happen. Perhaps people pull  out, circumstances change or the opportunity just disappears, so best not to count those chickens before they hatch.

Like I said in a previous post, I think 2015 will be a year of amazing opportunities that will be worth pursuing, but I also believe wisdom and prudence are always necessary. So here are some tips I’ve found useful when it comes to assessing opportunities wisely:

1.  Assess the opportunity objectively

Make sure you know all the facts and  that you have a complete picture of the opportunity at hand. Ask as many questions as possible, some that come to mind include:

  • Who are the people / who is the organisation behind the opportunity? Are they credible?
  • What is required of you – e.g. time, money?
  • What are they offerring you (in detail)?
  • How will it impact your image, reputation and credibility?

Always be sure to request information in writing so that there is a paper trail of some kind.

2.  Consider how it fit’s into your own vision

Too often we let opportunities dictate the vision and we go wherever the wind blows. In fact you should already have a vision for your life and sense of the direction you want your life to take. That vision should be the benchmark upon which you assess the opportunities that come your way.  This is linked to my third point above.

3.  Seek advice and counsel

Where no wise guidance is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.
- Proverbs 11:14 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Before making an important decision it’s always wise to seek advice from those you trust and or have more experience than you do. They often have a more objective perspective and often have experience to pull from that you may not.

As a Christian, for me assessing opportunities wisely also means prayer and delving into the Bible, as it is most definitely my guide book for life.

I hope you find these tips useful and here’s to pursuing some great opportunities this year, with wisdom and sound judgement.

Speak soon,
Katrina

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Here’s to the Next Generation of Generals

God's generals

I’ve never really been into celebrity culture or had a tendency to idolise other men and women, I believe we are all frail and fallible. There are many people that I look up to and consider worthy of honour, like my parents and pastors but there is only one worthy of worship, God (Yahweh).

I do however believe that there are some great human beings in this world that we can learn from. These individuals may be near or far, prominent or obscure, but we must grasp every opportunity to learn from them, because all great leaders learn to follow first.  This requires being humble enough to serve others and learn from those that have gone before us. Working hard towards making someone else’s dream come true before realising our own, building credibility with others, being consistent and having integrity – developing character.

“Character is more important than power, power will kill you without character” – Myles Munroe

I think the definition of a great leader is subjective, for some it’s embodied in celebrities like Beyonce and for others political figures like President Obama. For me it’s simply someone  with the capacity and character to effect positive and lasting change in the lives of those they encounter. Someone that hones their gifts and utilises them to their full potential. Someone that leaves a legacy for future generations and not just an inheritance.

Great leaders are few and far between, Dr. Myles Munroe was one of them. He had many accolades but that’s not why I call him great, he was great to me because his life and work impacted me profoundly. Only a great leader can shape the lives of people they’ve never met,  and that he did.  His work introduced me to a Jesus I never knew, it taught me the purpose and power of being a women, and it enlightened me regarding  what it means to have vision and not just dreams – I encourage you to invest in his work.

Myles Munroe  passed away this week and I felt weak and utterly wounded when I heard the news. Men like him are rare and when they depart from this world it is very much our loss. I never knew him and yet I will miss him, miss the fact that we’ll never hear another sermon from him and they’ll never be another book.

Just yesterday I was thinking about the number of great prominent leaders that have passed away this year and all I could think is that God must be raising up a new army of generals. I intend to be one of them – how about you?

“The future is not ahead of you it’s inside you”- Myles Munroe

I am 32 years old and I consider that these 32 years have been training, don’t get me wrong God has blessed me with some significant wins and I am very grateful. However, I also realise that I’ve not yet got to the main event, but I see it on the horizon!

“See beyond your eyes and live for the unseen. Your vision determines your destiny” – Myles Munroe

So Here’s to the next generation of generals.

“The future is not ahead of you it’s inside you”- Myles Munroe

Blessings,
Katrina

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Good leaders are like gold miners

Panning for gold in teams

The difference between good and great, mediocrity and excellence  is often in the detail and the subtle nuances of behaviour. It is a crucial part of a leaders role to be able to detect these nuances and bring out the best in their team members.  To do so you have to look very closely, it reminds me of panning for gold.

The problem is, the closer you look is the more you see, not only does the gold show up, but so does the dirt. When goldminers are looking for gold they have to sift through a lot of dirt and debris, in the same way good leaders often have to sift through mistakes, character flaws and other shortcomings to get to the gems in their teams. This can be quite tedious and often painful, but if we remain patient the gold soon begins to emerge.

This has been one of those weeks where I’ve uncovered a lot of dirt, both in myself and in others and I’ve had to remind myself to continue panning for gold  - if you can relate here are three reminders for you too!

1. There is always treasure to be found

Teams are inherently dysfunctional as Patrick Lencioni points out in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, because they are made up of flawed individuals, no matter how talented we are, we all have flaws. But the good news is the greatest treasure is not in one person as much as it is in the collective capability of the team, good leaders can get the team rowing in the same direction and this is often where the gold lies. Difficult to get to, but definitely attainable. I highly recommend reading Patrick Lencioni’s book for practical advice on how to accomplish this.

2. Gold never just shows up there is always a refining process

The process of refining gold involves removing all impurities, which requires purification through fire. If you want pure gold there are no shortcuts. It reminds me of the Storming phase of team formation.

Forming Storming Norming Performing

Storming often starts where there is a conflict between team members’ natural working styles. In this phase team members may challenge your authority, or jockey for position as their roles are clarified. It can be a frustrating time for all involved but it’s a natural part of developing a high performing team.

2. Uncover your gold and let it shine

Mathew 5:15 (NLV)
No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house

You can’t motivate people. The best you can hope for is to inspire them with your actions (wise words borrwoed from 38 Life Lessons I’ve learnt in 38 years)

So this week, I fully intend to keep mining for gold, I hope you do too.

Blessings,
Katrina

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know thyself

know thyself

Know thyself

I recently had to attend a speed awareness course. Reason being I was in in such a rush to get to work one morning that I ‘crept’ over the speed limit ‘marginally’. Now I’d like to say unequivocally that I didn’t realise, however my moral convictions compel me to tell you the whole truth and nothing but the truth :),  so the truth is that I may have been acutely aware that I had crossed the speed limit but at that moment getting to work a few minutes faster was more of a priority for me than whether or not I inched over the speed limit by a few miles an hour (eek! – don’t judge me).

Although I was initially pained to pay for and attend the course it was an unexpectedly valuable experience, because it caused me to reflect on myself and my actions in a way that I previously hadn’t. It got me thinking about how we can be so focused on getting to our ‘goals’ and destinations that we fail to take stock of our behaviour along the way, and how it impacts others.

This type of goal orientated tunnel visioned behaviour is typical of type ‘A’ personalities.  In a nutshell, type A personalities tend to be hard driving and competitive and type B personalities more easy going and laid back. It’s not that one type is necessarily more goal orientated than the other, but more that they go about achieving their goals in very different ways. I’m naturally type A and although there are some positive aspects it can be a problem; type A’s can be prone to causing collateral damage, in the sense that they are so focused on the end goal that they can loose sight of the importance of those around them. I’ve had to learn to check myself on this to make sure my ‘behaviour’ doesn’t get out of wack in the name of ‘achieving a goal’.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself

One of the most important qualities I look for when evaluating whether or not to promote the individuals I manage is self-awareness. Their ability to take an accurate inventory of their strengths and weaknesses and modify their behaviour accordingly.

In fact I feel so strongly about this that  the one and only occasion I’ve felt the need to relinquish someone of their job was because of a detrimental lack of self-awareness. I dismissed this person not  because they made mistakes but because their perception of their ability was so inflated that they were unable to see their mistakes, receive correction and therefore improve their performance. Essentially their confidence exceeded their capability and this is always a slippery slope.

It occurred to me that in our digitally driven age where knowledge is created, shared and consumed at a rate more rapid than at any other point in history, it seems we know a lot more about ‘stuff’ and a lot less about ‘ourselves’.

Has social media hindered our ability to see ourselves clearly?

I’m a big fan of social media but one of the downsides is that it can feed narcissism, in that it thrives on ‘grandiose exhibitionism, inflated self-views, superficial personalities and shameless self-promotion‘.  

We all have a tendency to display are best bits on social media and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that per se,  but we can be deceived into thinking that those 100 likes on that flawless photo render us faultless. it’s very easy to ‘believe the hype’ and forfeit humility for pride (the quality of having an excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance) so that we no longer see our weaknesses, only our strengths.

It would seem that this Old Testament Bible verse could have been written for us today:

Obadiah 1:3

The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?

I believe social media is a positive addition to society but balance is key in everything and I believe it’s important to remain grounded.

So here’s 4 practices that I think keep us grounded

I’m listening to Dan Pinks audio book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us at the moment, in it there is a section entitled ‘Move 5 Steps Closer to Mastery’ (Mastery is the urge to get better and better at something that matters) ironically I also think they’re beneficial for keeping us grounded:

1. Practice: To improve performance practice is essential. Both Dan Pink and Malcolm Gladwell (in Outliers: The Story of Success) mention that it takes about 10 years of consistent effort and hard work to master your craft. In fact mastery is impossible to realise fully as there is always more to learn and always room to get better. This in itself is humbling.

2. Repeat: In the words of Robert Collier: success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out. Monotony is also humbling, I’m reminded of the ‘wax on, wax off’ scene in Karate kid:

3. Seek feedback: To seek feedback means we acknowledge that we don’t know everything and we can learn from others.

4. Focus on where you need help: This requires us to acknowledge our flaws in the first place.

I say all that to say this, it’s great to know stuff but even more important to ‘know thyself’.

Speak soon,
Katrina

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5 Tips & tools to help boost productivity

Boost productivity

Some days with the best will in the world productivity eludes me. I find myself constantly interrupted either by my own thoughts or others, flitting from one task to another, completing few and yet utterly exhausted by the time 6pm rolls around, maybe you can relate?

However, I’m comforted slightly by the fact that I’m not the only one who faces this dilemma, according to Henry Mintzberg and his research on managers within hundreds of organisations he says this:

We find that the manager, particularly at senior levels, is overburdened with work. With the increasing complexity of modern organizations and their problems, he is destined to become more so. He is driven to brevity, fragmentation, and superficiality in his tasks, yet he cannot easily delegate them because of the nature of his information. And he can do little to increase his available time or significantly enhance his power to manage. Furthermore, he is driven to focus on that which is current and tangible in his work, even though the complex problems facing many organizations call for reflection and a far-sighted perspective.

Wow, the situation sounds quite dire, it’s a good thing I like my job and love my team :)

So here’s a few solutions that have helped me boost productivity, maybe they’ll help you too: 

1.     Have a plan for your day

Even though your plan is pretty much destined to be destroyed the minute you arrive in the office, still make one! The reason is that it provides a point of focus for you to go back to no matter how crazy your day gets.

Tip: This doesn’t need to be long and laborious I take 5 minutes before I leave the office every day to prioritise the next day’s tasks and make a list.

Tool: Notebook. Good old fashioned pen and paper, sometimes going back to basics is the best idea

2.     Take action on tasks immediately

Tip: As soon as I receive a new task I either do it immediately or schedule it immediately. This means that I never forget about or miss tasks. Sometimes I end up moving tasks in my calendar numerous times before it actually gets done but once it’s in there I know it definitely will be done

Tools: Outlook for work related tasks, Google Calendar for everything else

3.    Time your tasks

Tip: Give yourself a time limit, to complete tasks. I don’t always complete tasks in the allotted time but I’m able to significantly dent them at least, and get more done in the time than I otherwise would have

Tool: Focus Booster. I love this tool, it’s based on the Pomodoro Technique and it really does work.

4.     Turn off technology

Tip: If you’re anything like me social media and the world wide web is probably your biggest distraction. I tend to have periods of the day where I close Outlook and ignore emails for a period of time

Tools: Freedom, Cold Turkey and Anti-social allow you to block social media and your most distracting website

5.     Capture your ideas as soon as they come

Ideas tend to pop into our heads at random moments throughout the day so make a point of always having a way of recording them quickly, you never know when that million dollar idea is going to hit you! For me this includes a notebook that is always with me and a voice recorder on my phone.

Tool: Evernote, I could literally write a complete blog post just on the virtues of Evernote, but instead I shall you this video

Lastly, in those moments when you feel overwhelmed I’ve learned that it’s cool just to stop and take a breather, even when your workload is threatening to overtake you, better to do that than crash and burn. For me this sometimes means sitting in my car with a book at lunch time and switching off completely for half an hour, taking a tea break and when I’m home chilling out with my Bible or an inspirational book as a reminder to focus on the most meaningful things in life.

Speak soon,
Katrina

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6 ways to be great in and outside your organisation

fly high

You can be equipped for a job but ill-equipped for success beyond that job. The reason is that most companies will train you to be great within the confines of that organisation and the way they work, not beyond it. This is why if you stay with one company for too long it can sometimes go against you because some employees may feel that you are too used to another companies way of working and may have difficulty adapting to theirs.

I value loyalty and personally I’m not one to change jobs every five minutes but I also believe that variety is valuable and the more varied you’re working experiences are the more equipped you are to handle a variety of situations and people. I think the reason why many people are frustrated and bored in their jobs is because they’ve simply stayed too long. Many people are too scared to look for something new; a job might be mundane and boring but many will say ‘at least it’s safe’. Staying in a job too long can knock your confidence and give you the feeling that you can’t do anything else and find anything better. I’m reminded of something I heard recently from a Pastor I know; “Never be afraid to lose your job to find your calling/purpose in life”.

I believe we all know in our hearts when it’s time to move on and look for a new challenge but many times we ignore the nudge and settle for the safe option, in this post I want to encourage you to embrace the ‘nudge’.

I’ve always made it a priority to train not just for where I am but for where I’m going  this has meant that although I haven’t made many career moves they’ve tended to be big career jumps, because I’ve been prepared for promotion, for example:

What How
Secured my first marketing job 3 days after my last university exam, before I had my results I knew what employers would be looking for, tailored my CV accordingly and applied for jobs while studying for exams
Promoted from Marketing Coordinator to Head of Marketing within 8 weeks of arriving in a new job I had the necessary experienceI had industry standard professional qualifications not just a degreeI worked to the standard before I had the title

Equipping a team as well as yourself

As a manager I also train and coach my team to equip themselves for success within the company and beyond it in the following ways:

  • By sending them on trainings that are relevant to their work as well as the direction that the industry is moving in
  • I deliberately get them to work to goals tied to the company’s success as well as their personal development goals
  • I encourage them to stay close to the industry and build their own networks in and outside the company
  • I constantly challenge their assumptions and encourage them to ask better questions, after all, the quality of learning is determined by the quality of our questions

In this way my role is twofold, both manager and a mentor.

So here are my  6 top tips for equipping yourself for success inside and outside the walls of the company you work for:

1.      Build your own networks inside and outside the company

LinkedIn makes this a whole lot easier than it used to be

2.      Stay close to your industry

This includes connecting with key influencers, becoming a member of relevant trade organisations and attending industry events. For me this meant becoming a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing very early on, through which I am now Chartered and sit on the local non-executive committee. I also connect with marketers I admire across social media.

3.      Read broadly

For me this is crucial it’s almost impossible to stay ahead of the game without reading; everything from, books to blogs and biographies

4.      Be committed to  continuous development

Continue your training and remember that ‘a degree is just that a degree of knowledge’ as my Pastor recently said. With the rate of change and knowledge increase in most industries, you cannot afford to stop at a degree. For me the CIM CPD program has been invaluable in this regard. It’s not your employers responsibility to keep your knowledge relevant and up-to-date, it’s yours so live life learning.

5.      Have a balanced life

Make time for a range of interests, research shows it makes you better at your job as it broadens your vision and improves  creativity.

6. Always be preparing for where you’re going

Focus on the future not just where you are today, remember a job is no longer for life it’s just for a season

Finally, don’t live to work, work to live.

Speak soon,
Katrina

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