What are some of the trends you have seen in corporate leadership?
The trend is now for leaders to be more open to learning from peers and mentors, which is contributing to positive transformational change in behaviour and attitude.
It is also gratifying to see a larger proportion of corporate clients more willing to mandate an agreed code of conduct around ‘behavioural ground rules’, ensuring their board or meeting room conversations are inclusive.
How do you encourage innovation in workplaces?
When it comes to ‘innovation’ the challenge is not to see it as yet another word for more work. If a leader can create an environment that lets their people know what it means for them, why it is important and in what context innovative ideas and initiatives will be used – and then let employees run with their ideas, that’s how you create cultures of innovation.
How do you encourage effective collaboration?
The first strategy is to align innovative plans with business plans. They need to go hand-in-hand to ensure a good theory has an effective practice model to work with. The business plan must be reviewed regularly to be responsive to changing market and business conditions. The programs which make the biggest difference combine these two points with the skills that are needed to support the initiatives (such as problem solving, creative thinking and writing, decision making, visual representations and technology).
What do you consider your greatest career achievement?
It is said that a trial of fire is our greatest teacher. In my case it occurred in 2007 when I opened a conference with a keynote presentation in Malaysia. But it went horribly wrong when I lost my focus. I panicked, but the audience panicked more. I took a breath; they stopped breathing. Yet somehow I trusted my instinct and experience enough to ask the audience permission to step up again and do what I came to do. I was proud of the next 75 minutes. I reclaimed my professionalism and gave the audience permission to be authentic by showing it is alright to be vulnerable, but not weak. I believe learning to be humble and authentic was and still is my greatest achievement to date.
Ricky Nowak also shares her expertise in a series of vlogs for HRMonline about leadership. You can find her videos here.