How to shine when working remotely
How to shine when working remotely
Author: Rosalyn Palmer, Transformational Coach & Therapist
Due to the pandemic, professionals across the world have had to adapt quickly to a new way of working, including working remotely or as part of a hybrid team. As a result, it can be difficult to maintain visibility, leaving many unsure about how they can really shine and progress in this new world of work.
So in this podcast, we’re joined by Transformational Wellbeing Coach, Rosalyn Palmer, who is here to share her expert advice, to help those that are looking to increase their visibility and secure their long-term career progression in the new era of work.
1. To begin with, please could you quickly introduce yourself to our listeners?
(01:06) I’m Rosalyn Palmer, and I’m a Transformational Therapist and Coach, I bring the two together. I’m skilled in advanced, rapid transformational therapy, which combines clinical hypnotherapy, NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming), CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy), and psychotherapy.
My own book is called Reset because I’ve had to reset my life and emotional wellbeing many times over. I have a background in PR and marketing at a very high level, so I know what it feels like to be on that career path of being in a busy agency life, trying to shine and really trying to get it all right by being happy and balanced as well.
Great, well that’s fantastic to hear, I’m really looking forward to listening to the advice that you’ve got for our podcast listeners.
2. We mentioned in the introduction that some of our listeners have been working remotely or as part of a hybrid team during the pandemic. What impact do you think this new way of working is having on career progression and development?
(02:21) 15% of our communications is verbal and 85% is body language. By being remote and by being put into positions now where we are connecting via Zoom, Teams or online and effectively spending lots of time remotely, we’re missing all that nuancing, all that non-verbal communication that gives context and depth to communications. And often they’re the ways in which somebody can shine, in which you get spotted and you can really enhance your career. Certainly, from my own point of view, that was very true. I was always that one who shined, turned up, had that energy around other people and would come with the ideas into the meetings which led to lots of promotions, and that’s very difficult when you’re behind a screen.
3. I’d imagine for younger employees; remote working will be more difficult by the fact that they’re unable to learn from colleagues without that face-to-face guidance. Is it possible that it’s impacting generations differently?
(03:38) Absolutely, you’re right because particularly for the younger generations, that is the time that you learn by osmosis. I’m old enough that I was put into the world of PR and marketing back in the days before it was even really understood to be a career. I went for an interview for a PR position and didn’t even know what PR meant. And so, I learned on the job by watching others through osmosis, by picking it up and running with the ball. And if you’re not around lots of other people in an actual team environment, all under the same roof, a lot of those clues, that learning on the job, absorbing and seeing what other people are doing is going to be so much harder.
So, they are going to potentially miss out, but there’s going to have to be new ways to bring in younger employees. People may be starting out more in their career, without having the benefit of literally being absorbed and surrounded by their peers.
4. I’d imagine it’s quite a unique problem that companies and individuals haven’t had to face before, the prospect of not being able to learn from people face-to-face.
(05:06) Absolutely, we’re all in a very new place in the world of remote teams, semi-remote teams and the world of working practices, companies and organisations who effectively are all disparate and everybody’s behind their computer in their own lounge, living room or kitchen. It’s a new place between presence and absence and it’s here to stay. And so, we’ve got to find the way to navigate that space.
5. With the reduction in face-to-face visibility, it can understandably be very difficult to prove your value in your role to your team and to the wider organisation. Do you have any tips to our listeners on how they can successfully prove their worth?
(06:01) So, if a lot of the interaction is going to be in remote team working and meetings, then you’ve obviously got to treat those meetings the same as you would if you were in an organisation and walking into a big boardroom, and you need to go in there, shine and have everything ready.
So, some of the tips and there’s many around, are about making that medium, making this new online presence work for you. Clearly taking a few minutes before you click on that start button to just settle yourself, get your attention and to arrive on time is important. Just because you’re all remote doesn’t mean you can’t connect, so take the same time and trouble to greet whoever’s in the room with your full attention as you would, if you were literally physically in the room with them, because people like people who are present and who engage with them.
And everybody worries about the impression they’re making and they’re so busy in their head worrying about that. That’s why many people go into meetings and they can’t remember the person’s name because they’re not present at that moment about when that person actually says, “Hello, I’m Roger”, and back in the olden days you’d actually shake their hand. It’s the same. So be present, turn up, settle yourself, and really take time to greet the person there.
Obviously, there are things about how you look, but one of the big issues, again, on Teams, Zoom, is resisting the urge to multitask. I network a lot and I go to a lot of networking meetings and I can just see everybody’s head starting to drop and they’re on their phone, they’re checking their emails, they’re doing something else. Now, I suppose, behave the way you would if you were sat around a board table, you arguably would not do that and it wouldn’t be very career-enhancing. Also multitasking in that way, particularly you’re having a lot of Zoom or team meetings is really draining, it really would lead to Zoom fatigue because you’re having to turn up in a new way. And if you’re then multitasking and not even concentrating on what’s being said, you’re just pulling yourself in so many different directions.
So really just behave in a way that you would, if you were walking physically into a boardroom, I know we only really have to look good from the waist up if we’re on Zoom, but, do make the effort and really turn up in that way. Don’t hide behind your avatar, be present and be visible.
That’s some great advice and good habits when we’re all back in the office. You don’t want to slip into any of these bad habits and take them with you once we’re working back in the office three days a week.
6. How can our listeners go about communicating success and progress on projects to maintain visibility whilst working remotely?
(09:17) So again, how you turn up is telling more than anything about who you are and your attitude. So, all those points that we’ve previously discussed, be present, be prepared, turn up, be engaged, be engaging.
So being engaging, bring ideas, don’t be afraid to have your voice. And if you don’t really feel that you’ve got something amazing to add then questions are the answer. If you’re asking a question that shows you’re engaging, it shows you’re thinking about it, it shows you’re wanting to learn more. So you don’t have to think that you have to turn up and be able to say something stunningly exciting because you maybe don’t truly understand what’s being discussed or you don’t have that much to add, but you can always help the person leading the meeting or the rest of the team by engaging them and being engaging. And questions are the way forward, and that is a way to shine, asking good questions.
7. Video calls and virtual meetings are our primary form of communication at the moment for a lot of people. How do you think this type of communication is impacting professional relationships and how is that affecting career development?
(10:48) Well, it’s a two-way street, isn’t it? I mean, leaders and managers need to be very aware of engaging their people in many different ways to bring out the best in them and if you’re somebody going up the career ladder, you need to be asking for all those points of interaction. So along with team meetings, have one-to-one meetings, have smaller groups have breakout meetings because different objectives within the business or within your own career path, aren’t always going to be met in the same way, just as within an organisation, you wouldn’t always go into the boardroom with thirty people to discuss a very specific, small part of a project or a small part of what your career enhancement is. You’d probably have a one-on-one meeting with your line manager or with a peer or with a mentor.
And so again, replicate all these good business practices, but find ways to do them, even if they must be done virtually. It doesn’t mean that all virtual meetings must be a great big overwhelming Zoom or Teams meeting with lots of people on them, set those one-to-ones up, set all those special mentoring sessions. And it’s a two-way street. If you’re the one who wants to progress, speak up and say, ” I really feel that because of our present situation, I’m not really learning through osmosis or learning through being around people. How about we meet for a virtual coffee every other day, and maybe we can just talk about some issues that turn up within the business or how you would tackle things if you’d have been at my stage in my career?” Perhaps something a little bit more informal like that. And again, for the manager or the leader, you need to be aware of bringing your people on in all these ways.
I like the idea of a virtual coffee and making it a little less formal. I like the idea of that and might incorporate that myself.
(12:52) Yes, I have a lot of virtual coffees with people and sometimes it’s about just turning up. Back in the office days when I worked in agencies in the nineties, we used to call it the photocopier moment or in America, they’d call it the water cooler moment. And it would be that time often that you’d come away with some gem, that a formal agenda or meeting wouldn’t do.
When I was running my PR company, I had a lot of clients who were other agencies. I was an agencies agency, and so there would be ad agencies, direct marketing agencies, sales promotion, you name it all the leading ones of the day. And I often found I wasn’t getting the information I wanted, or I’d go to meetings and people will be quite distracted.
So, I got in the habit of just turning up at their office. I used to just go unannounced. So, they’d let me in, obviously they knew that I was the PR person and I’d just literally wander around in the same way as if I was working there. And I’d walk past somebodies’ desk and I’d go, “Oh, that’s really interesting, what is that?”, and they’d go, “Oh, well, that’s the campaign we’re doing for Land Rover and we’re filming it, and it’s going to be ground-breaking because we’re using this new technology” and I’d be thinking in my head, nobody has told me this and I’d go, “Have you got 10 minutes. Could you just tell me about that?”, and so, it’s that if you can create these virtual coffees or these water-cooler moments, they’ll be really helpful.
That’s a great point, I’ve had this conversation with colleagues in the past few months about that water cooler moment. You find out information just by someone passing by the desk and going “Oh, actually, this might relate to you”, and that it’s something that they wouldn’t think about picking up the phone and speaking to you about, but because they’ve passed you in the hallway or they’ve passed your desk, they thought to mention it.
(15:07) And it’s about, consciously engineering these things that maybe we took for granted. The story I told you, I did engineer it and it had a great effect. So, it’s consciously engineering some of the less formal, more nuanced, learning through osmosis nonverbal communication. As I said, it’s missing lots of nonverbal communications in those moments that give context and depth to everything you learn and all of that is important for career enhancement.
Yes, so it’s about adapting to the new situation. And I really like that, I’ll definitely be adopting that myself going forward.
8. Now, video calls aren’t the only way to communicate. How important do you think strong written verbal communications is to succeed when working remotely. For example, is how you communicate via email and instant messaging platforms, just as important as verbal communications?
(16:12) Yes, I mean it is, but they can be a bit of a minefield. Email in particular, what email lacks is the tonality of voice because it’s just words and I’m sure that you have probably sent emails and it’s caused offence for somebody who’s taken it the wrong way, and you absolutely didn’t mean to do that, or you’ve received them.
You miss that nuance; you miss that context and it can be very easy to get offended or to cause offence on emails. So, you must be very careful about not trying to be nuanced in email, or you must literally spell it out. To literally say, “I am really delighted with what we’re doing” – and also never used the word ‘but’, it’s a ‘but’ free zone – “and I would just like to drill down a little bit more on the following five points. Why don’t we jump onto a virtual coffee and do that?” So, you can use that communication. Of course, emails are great, you’ve got a record of something and you keep on top of it because it’s written down. But more than any form of communication, email can be an absolute minefield.
Great, thanks for those insights. I’ve been guilty of that myself and I’d be surprised if anyone said that they hadn’t been guilty of sending a message that had been read the wrong way.
9. We’ve spoken about adapting to this new world. Do you think the way in which performance is measured is changing or do you think if it hasn’t or isn’t already, we can expect it to change with more employees now working remotely?
(18:10) Again, the needs and reasons of doing that are the same, and there’s good and bad practices within that. The medium, the way that it’s going to be done is maybe different because people have to social distance and they can’t get together, so you can’t be in the same room together, but all of the principles of it stay the same.
I heard somebody speak recently about the big little chat, which I quite like. And so, the big little chat is about when you turn up and you’re having quite a big chat, it’s about something very important, but you make it very little. So, you say, “Right, we’re going to have the big little chat and we’re going to just set three to four priorities and we’re going to talk about those”. So, chunking it down a bit more because of Zoom fatigue or Teams fatigue, and just being overwhelmed now with everything that’s going on is more endemic and more dangerous than ever before.
So, some of the things that within an office environment, you could go, “Okay, well, I’ll do this extra meeting” can seem really overwhelming when it’s just you at your kitchen table. So, chunk it down those big little chats, be clear we’re dealing with these three points:
- I want you to progress in this way, do you see yourself progressing in this way?
- Why do you think your progress is stalled? What could we do to help it?
- What are the three turn points that we can do here?
So, chunking down more is going to be a helpful way.
10. What advice would you give to those who may have been on a promotion path before the pandemic and have perhaps found that progress has stalled?
(20:04) So there are ways that you can shine or ways that you can go, “What’s good about this?” Okay, I would have hoped that I was promoted to the next level by now, but all promotion is frozen for three months, six months, I can’t do that. Had I been at that level, what would I be wanting to do afterwards? I would actually like to add X,Y,Z skill to my portfolio, so I’m going to speak to my line manager, and I’m going to really act as if I’d already had that promotion and I’m already going up to the next level.
So, you might not be immediately getting that reward, but you can keep planning. There was a saying, when I worked in agency life, back in the nineties, dress to the level you want to be promoted to. Now, that’s really old-fashioned to be honest because you don’t have to look exactly that way, and we’re a lot more relaxed today thank goodness and we embrace individualism, but in a way, it’s really about behaving in that way. That’s what it’s saying, behave in that way as if you were already there.
So, if you’re a middle manager, but you want to be the top manager or higher, how do they behave? How do they turn up? What do I notice about them? Oh, they always turn up ten minutes early for every Zoom, they always come prepared, they always do these things. So treat any stall in your career path as a time to actually look and think about adding even more skills to your skill set, even more tools to your toolbox, because you could probably even jump frog and go up two promotional points next time when we hopefully go back to some sorts of normal. And people always want good people, so you want to be the best person you can be.
11. I imagine that advice applies to people who would like to be considered for a promotion as well, but maybe aren’t at the moment. For those people, how can they go about sharing their career goals with their manager? Because obviously the playing field is going through quite a bit of change, with economies across the world struggling and priorities possibly lying elsewhere for businesses and managers at the moment.
(22:28) You have to be realistic that you might be going to have a conversation with a line manager who literally is wanting to jump out the window themselves because of all the pressure on them, and that their hands are tied at the moment because of all of this uncertainty and difficulty.
So, go with the grace of saying, “Look, I realise at the moment, this probably isn’t possible or I realise that at the moment we are not in an environment where me being promoted and having a pay rise is even tenable, and I do want to say that when we do return to some normality or when things do change, or even if this becomes our new normal, I’m ready, I’m absolutely raring to go. I feel I have all of this to offer, and I’m actually going to use the time until we can have this conversation again. And I’d love to have this conversation again in two to three months’ time, please. I’m going to use that to even add more skills and make myself even more valuable to this organisation. Therefore, I was thinking could I be trained in x or could I be trained in y? Or could I have a virtual coffee with you? Or could I have a virtual coffee with your boss once a month?”
So again, it’s about showing that you are such an asset and you’re valuable, but you do understand the realities of the situation. So, you’re not putting more pressure on somebody who possibly has their hands tied.
The insights that you are sharing today are really valuable and I hope our listeners follow them to help with their career progression while we’re operating in this remotely or in a hybrid model, depending on where you are in the world.
12. For many a big part of feeling motivated and engaged at work is the positive reinforcements that you receive throughout the day, interacting with colleagues for example. Do you think this shift to remote working has led people to feeling like that they’re lacking their work mojo, and why do you think this is?
(24:27) Absolutely, a lot of people have felt that because it’s hard to always be totally self-motivated on your own. I mean, if you look at athletes, the Tour de France, and the Peloton, they look out for each other as a team.
I heard a very interesting anecdote about Michael Jordan, that he was a brilliant player, but he had to understand that he was part of a team and not every shot was his. And when he understood that he became more successful than pretty much anybody else in that sport. And the team won pretty much everything because he had to have a shift from it’s all about me or I’m that person to, I’m part of that team. Conversely, if you’ve been used to being around that team and take benefit and take support from that team and you’re on your own, it can be a hard struggle like the loneliness of the long-distance runner. Every day, it’s about me having to get up and do this.
Also, extroverts within an organisation, they get energy from being around others. Whereas introverts typically need that time alone to build energy, to face the group situation. And neither preference is right or wrong, it’s just that some of us function in some way, some of us function in another way. So, I know quite a few introverts, who are quite enjoying the new ways of working because they don’t have to go into those big meetings, which they used to find draining. But if you’re quite energetic and quite an extrovert, you can find it quite difficult because you lose that sense of connection. So, of course, that’s important.
So again, find all those ways to connect that you can, the virtual coffee, but here’s the most important connection – You. Your connection with yourself is the most important connection in the history of everything and that’s where I went wrong, that’s where I got burnt out and that’s where a lot of well-performing people get burnt out because they’re very busy being brilliant and connecting with everything, everybody and turning up, but there’s nothing left within them. They literally go home, and they feel like an empty vessel, they’re spent. And so, they fill themselves up often with all sorts of not terribly healthy things to just fill it up, that could be food, it could be a drink, who knows, but often they turn into quite destructive behaviours.
So, you must connect first and foremost for yourself. So, every day, more than ever, particularly because of the potentially draining nature of being in front of a screen or in online meetings repeatedly, how do I connect with me? What makes me feel good about me? How do I fill up from the inside out? For me, I live right by the river, I go for a walk on the river. I literally just look out the window sometimes and watch the swans and the ducks, or I walk along there. And a few months ago, I went Blackberrying one day, literally between two clients, I was like, I’m going to go blackberrying. I went out and got a load of blackberries and I thought later I’m going to make a blackberry and apple pie because I find cooking quite therapeutic. I find yoga therapeutic. At the end of the day, I find having a bath and reading a book therapeutic. I have good sleep habits, I switch off. Fill yourself up, connect with yourself first. This is your chance. This is your time to really connect with yourself.
I did a relationship counselling course and they said, the number one thing people want in relationships is intimacy. And intimacy means into-me-see. What we truly want is somebody else to say, I see you, I see into you, I love that. And that must start with you. Into-me-see, see into yourself and go, “Okay, I’m maybe not going to physically see anybody today, but how do I connect with myself? How do I nurture myself? How do I fill myself up?” And that is good advice, not just for a career but for life.
13. Talking about not being able to interact with colleagues and perhaps losing your work mojo. What impact do you think this could have on your career progression going back to that point?
(28:51) I wrote an article for a new hub, which is a redundancy hub. The sad reality is it could just be bad luck at the moment that you get a setback. Not because you’re not good, not because you’re not invaluable, not because you’re not bright and committed and all those things, but just because your company has maybe hit a bad financial situation. So, through no fault of your own, you might face yourself even facing a career change that you haven’t chosen or facing that stalling in your career.
So again, you’ve got to fill yourself up, you’ve got to keep your faith in yourself. You’ve got to keep those words, “This too shall pass”, because I’ve been through a couple of terrible downturns and redundancies. In my career, I’ve been made redundant three times believe it or not. The third time was the best because then I started my own PR company and I would never have probably done that otherwise. But if you’re in that situation, the first thing to always think about is what are my transferable skills.
Restrictions around what we can do due to the pandemic are constantly changing around the world, and it can impact someone’s motivation or engagement. For instance, we’re based in the UK and we’ve just had fresh restrictions put in place towards the end of 2020. Prior to that, we were starting to make our way back into the office and myself included, I’d started to go back in, and then these new restrictions were brought back in and I was a little deflated by that experience because I was reminded of the value of the workplace and seeing old colleagues again.
14. How can those suffering (from changing restrictions) combat that?
(30:54) Yes, because it would be easy to let it really get on top of you. So I did a big presentation this week on resilience and there’s many factors in resilience, but the thing you have to understand without spending ages now is that a lot of what affects you emotionally, affects you physically as well. Because I like to say we’re cavemen in posh clothes.
And a lot of our primaeval instincts, the way we survived and the way we got through things, because they are dictated by a part of the brain called the limbic amygdala, are still there and they’ll release cortisol into the body because I’m feeling threatened, I’m feeling stressed, I’m going to run away, survive. And of course, that happens repeatedly and when the body’s flooded with all these things, because it’s a stressful situation, you’re worried about your job, you’re worried about paying the mortgage, you’re worried about what the future’s going to bring. Unfortunately, it triggers the same physiological effects within the body as back in the day when we were literally running away from a sabre tooth tiger, it’s really draining.
And so, stress and overwhelm is emotional and physical and then it can lead to dis-ease, disease in other words. So, it’s important to just take care of yourself and some of them that you can improve your resilience are obviously mind hacks and mantras like “This too, shall pass” or what else could this mean? Ways of getting over overwhelm is by writing everything down and then deciding what’s important and what’s crucial. I’ve got lots of those exercises on my website and I’m sure lots of other good coaches and therapists do too, all free that people can avail themselves of.
And take care of yourself, eat even better than you normally would. Now is not the time to be having a Domino’s Pizza or any other pizza every night. Now is the time to be having more of the good stuff. And again, you can have like the 80/20 rule, you can have some of the bad stuff, but make sure you’re having more of the good stuff. Studies recently have shown that healthy people and longevity is from people who don’t necessarily always have the perfect diet and never go near, anything bad, but they just have a lot more of the good stuff. They eat a lot greener leafy vegetables, they have a lot more fruits, whole foods, grains and all the good things. So just be good about that.
Obviously, mindset, you need to relax, get sleep, make sure you get the right environment for sleep, relax, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, a walk along the river, lose yourself in a book. All these fantastic ways.
Breathing is important. If you’re starting to feel really overwhelmed, maybe you’re facing a difficult meeting or you’re really worried about your job and you don’t know how you can tell your partner, you can do, what’s called square breathing where you breathe in for four and then you hold it for four. You breathe out for four and you hold it for four and you imagine you’re drawing a square with your breath. And just that can bring the whole parasympathetic system of your body down a couple of pegs so that you just get over that anxiety.
There are other ways, there’s some that seemed like crazy ways that you can reset the vagal nerve, which really help again, your parasympathetic system. And you can do that by humming or having cold showers. There’s a great guy called Wim Hoff who suggests having an ice bath to trigger the body’s natural responses to get it back into balance. So, there’s lots and lots of ways.
Now, more than ever before, when I was pushing on through back in the days in agencies in the nineties, we didn’t talk about a lot of this stuff. And heaven forbid if you said, “I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed or depressed, or my mental health is threatened here.” It really was not a badge of honour. Whereas now we live in better times for that, so now more than ever is the time to be good to yourself.
Great advice, and personally speaking, prior to the pandemic my diet wasn’t the best and exercise was probably running for the tube. But since the pandemic began, I have been eating healthily. I’ve been exercising and the effect it’s had on my mental health. Honestly, I don’t know how I would have coped otherwise, it has worked wonders. So, any of our listeners that haven’t tried that yet, I really would recommend it. It really is effective.
Definitely, it’s proven science it absolutely is.
15. For those that feel their role has become redundant in the new era of work, what’s the best way to address this and find the value that they could bring to the organisation?
(36:11) If you’re worried about actual redundancy, there’s a couple of things. One is you tend to feel very angry when you get made redundant. Certainly, I’m speaking from personal experience here because it’s like, why me, this isn’t fair, or I’ve been cast aside. One thing to know is that anger is a secondary emotion, it’s like a shield of armour and anger always covers up hurt. So if you’re feeling angry, just sit with it and say to yourself, I am angry because I’m hurt and I’m hurting because, and then you can list it and look it might not be fair or right, but actually just getting it all out is often really helpful.
If you feel that you have no voice because nobody’s listening to you and they’re not going to listen to you because maybe you’ve already been made redundant or the stress is over you, or you don’t have a very empathetic or sympathetic line manager, you again can get it all out on paper, put it into a letter, but don’t send it, just get it all out. Again, it’s very cathartic to just get it all out.
If you’re within an organisation and you’re really worried that you are going to be side-lined or your job or your role is starting to be the one that if they’re going to have another round of cuts, it’s going to be the one that they don’t think is so essential. You’ve always got to think, what do they value within this organisation? Now, arguably every organisation values the bottom line, who brings us the money, but I’d like to think that there are enough organisations today and places of work and enough good work practices and good people to work for, that they maybe value other things.
So again, what could I bring to the table that could add that, that maybe I haven’t even been allowed to show in my current role, again, the questions or the, “Can I have a virtual coffee with you? I was thinking, and one thing we’re not doing in our company is X and Y. I noticed that other companies are doing that, and they’ve been effective. I noticed the other companies have got round restrictions and the pandemic that no longer can people come to our restaurant by setting up incredible takeaway services. And we haven’t fully explored that. Could I maybe do a project and investigate that?” So again, it’s what is going to add value to your organisation and that’s going to add value to how your organisation sees you.
15. The pandemic has opened the need for new skills and skills gaps have appeared in organisations or within Teams. And there’s been the need to plug those gaps. How important is it for our listeners to upskill to demonstrate their willingness to learn and how could they go about this? Do you have any advice around that?
(39:19) We touched on this already, treating even temporary setbacks or periods when your maybe not being able to do everything you normally do or see everybody you normally see is an opportunity. And using that time to learn and upskill, that’s a mindset thing.
The other thing is if you’re not commuting and you mentioned you’re not, don’t just switch your commute for more work, don’t go, “Oh, well, I’ve saved two hours today, therefore, I’ll just beaver away for two more hours”, use that two hours to work on you, to up-skill you. And again, what skills are going to take you to where you want to go. Now that might be within your organisation, or it might not be, it might be external to your organisation. Again, that depends on your ultimate career path, your goals, and maybe the way your organisation treats you.
I was talking to Wanda Goldwag, who was a former client of mine. She was the Managing Director of Air Miles, and I was reminded that I was quite shocked when I went to their offices in the nineties because they had a recruitment policy, which was, we’re going to recruit the best and we’re going to give you all the training you want. In fact, we want to train you out of your job. And if you’re still in your job in two years’ time, we’re going to ask you why, why are you still here? And I’ve not come across that in any company, that was quite radical for the nineties to think that way. And that was their philosophy that they trained people to go and have whatever career and future next step they wanted.
Obviously, some people remained within the organisation, but a lot didn’t, but they didn’t see that as a problem. They saw it as a win-win situation because they were giving people all those skills and upskilling all the time. They were there at an exciting, dynamic job and giving them a springboard to go and get a job that they couldn’t have even imagined before they’d had that one.
So again, make that your purpose again, if your company isn’t so forward-thinking, how can you upskill. There are so many great courses available. I mean, a lot of them are expensive, but a lot of them really aren’t and I’ve put three online courses together this year, and they’re inexpensive. And the market has never had so many. So, for anything arguably between thirty pounds and several hundred obviously they go higher, but you could learn some great skills. So again, treat it as your trajectory and an opportunity. The other side of what seems to be difficult is what’s my opportunity. I’m not commuting two hours a day, let’s spend those two hours learning some amazing skills.
Very true, there are lots of tools, webinars and training courses online that people can use, and they’ve increased during the pandemic as there has been a need to up-skill. I’ll take this opportunity to say that Hays has got stuff that people can listen to if they choose to, even this podcast to be precise. So, I’d encourage people to look through our pandemic episodes and learn about how they can upskill.
16. I’d imagine that now is a crucial time for our listeners to be building their personal brand too to maintain visibility. Do you have any tips on that which you can share about how listeners can effectively do this and build their personal brand out?
(43:10) I feel passionately about this. Very soon after qualifying as a Therapist myself, I became a trainer for therapists, and of course, I had this background in marketing and PR. And so, I would take breakout seminars on things like elevator pitches and how to get yourself across, and one of them was personal branding. And I always would say to people, you are your brand, you are your walking talking brand, it is you. Or if you think of the traditional seaside rock, the lettering in the rock, but you could get one and it would say the word all the way down. And so, you must have consistency about who you are because you are your brand. And the important thing about any brand is what does it stand for?
So, what do you stand for? So, it’s not just about how you look, be consistent, again with Zoom and Teams and all those things, consistently turn up, be professional. Again, we can be more relaxed, but still be professional because that’s the world we’re living in. And again, that dress or behave or look the way that you would like to be, maybe the level above where you are now.
Keep your word about the little things and the big things. So, if you say you’re going to do something, do it absolutely before and ahead of time, explain why not, turn up early, always let people know you’re the reliable one, be consistent in what you say and do. That’s important, that creates a brand. I like buying certain brands. I don’t expect to open a tin of beans of a certain brand because I expect it to taste and look in a certain way and it looks completely different. So, show up, lettering in the rock, you are your brand, be consistent, be good, and keep your word about the little things and the big things, and obviously present yourself in such a way as you wish to be known.
That’s great advice. And as we have discussed, effective communication is always a great way to be an expert in your field too, so thanks for sharing all those examples with us.
17. And we’re on to our final question now, which is a question we ask all our podcast guests. If you had one piece of advice to help our listeners navigate their careers through the pandemic and beyond what would that be?
(45:57) Always keep the balance. And if you’re always keeping the balance and you know that maybe today is a bad day, but it’s not a bad life, you can always go back. And to have balance, it’s more than just your work, it’s more than just your career. We’ve touched on all these things during our great chat, but I have this philosophy where I say that a life of balance is based on five ‘F’s’. So, if you stretch your hand out while you’re listening and then think of each of these fingers, and to have a balanced life, you need five ‘F’s’:
- You need faith, you need faith in yourself or faith in something beyond yourself, it could be nature, it could be God, but really that faith in yourself.
- You need fitness. We’ve talked about that. Both body and mind, the mind controls the body, the body controls the mind. Do things, meditate, hypnotherapy, eat well, sleep well.
- You need friends. We are tribal people, and this is what’s been very difficult about remote working in the pandemic. We are connected beings, we used to sit around campfires and tell each other stories and be absolutely connected with the tribe. So, call in on your friends, make time for your friends, be a friend, even if it’s only virtually.
- Family, again, it’s your tribe more than family. You might not have a family you particularly like, but these are about your very close tribe, your very close connections, the people who are around you, who support you, push you on.
- And then finance, which is effectively your career in a way, because obviously you get remunerated and reciprocity as you turn up and give great stuff and you get remunerated and rewarded back. It’s give and take.
And so, a balanced life is all of those. So never lose sight of that because the people who crop up are the ones who really, overly focus on one of those or two of those. And they neglect the other ones and it doesn’t lead for a life of balance and joy.