Key Speaker for Government’s “Women in Global Business” Conference

Emma is invited to speak and present a case study as to the key ingredients to achieving global success at the July

Women in Global Business Speaker Series.

Here are some of the details being shared to promote the event:

Australian women will have the opportunity to hear from prominent women who have succeeded internationally at the Women in Global Business Speaker Series in July and August.The annual event held in states and territories across the country will feature speakers from a variety of industry sectors, providing businesswomen with practical advice on venturing overseas.

Women in Global Business national program manager, Cynthia Balogh, believe the event is beneficial in helping women overcome international barriers, particularly those in the Middle East.

“The Middle East presents quite specific barriers for women; some of the Asian and South American markets can do the same,” she said.

Balogh told Dynamic Export the event offers business owners the opportunity to learn and network with like-minded people.

“It’s an opportunity to see their role models, who have often had quite tough journeys to expand their businesses into those market places, women often learn from seeing role models. It helps them overcome some confidence issues, whether it’s personal confidence or confidence in business,” Balogh said.

Digivizer CEO, Emma Lo Russo, who will be speaking at the Sydney event can relate to the personal challenges women face when growing their business.

Lo Russo believes the event will provide shared mentorship and allow women to learn from real-life experiences.  “Having real honest examples of what works, is quite empowering. Instead of feeling like you have to navigate the unknown or have a goal and do it alone”.

Details & registration for the event can be found here :

Thursday 26th July 2012

8.30am – 12.30pm

NSW Trade and Investment Centre, Level 47, MLC Centre, 19 Martin Place, Sydney

I’ll post more about my key points to achieving international success here soon.

Hope powering change

Last night I attended the Sydney Festival event Hope 2012 with the theme “Citizens seizing the day”.

My name is HopeSocial Media was hailed as one of the agents of change.  Certainly it has made it possible even in oppressed societies for citizens to reach more people and help gain momentum and support for their plight and desired change (think recent people lead change in Egypt as well as community support generated for those affected by QLD Floods, NZ & Japan Earthquakes etc).

However social media really only represents an easy, low-cost, high reach and engagement channel.  It is not the channel that brings change but the opportunity it presents and the people who engage within it and the messages they share.

Listening to the personal stories of the great speakers last night and those across Australia, there were some common and consistent messages that suggest a blue print for bringing about change. They point to the cause of which the channel is only the conduit:

1) Hope Powers Change – you must first genuinely hope to bring about change . Hope then provides the fuel and momentum for you to continue in the face of adversity, inequity, barriers, and power imbalance. Hope also binds people together behind a common cause.

2) It starts with the first step – no matter how small, everything you contribute to bringing change no matter how small can make a difference.  The benefits of taking 1 minute of your time, showing or demonstrating your encouragement and support, donating something small (time, message, money, resources).  Just taking an action can generate, add-to or complete some great act of change in someone’s life. It has the added benefit of impacting you positively too.

3) Look for, understand & stand for basic human rights – equality, freedom, opportunity  for everyone – how can you ensure this is enjoyed by everyone. Identify how many of your rights you take for granted that are not available to others.  Identify the basic human rights that are being challenged all around the world including in our own back yard (and our legislation).

4) Connect directly with people affected – it is too easy to be disconnected from the person and people who needs help.  Listen to their story.  Listen to their hope.  It is impossible to ignore and will help you know the right action to take.

5) Have Courage – it requires courage to stand up, have a voice, be counted and more importantly to act.  It starts with the courage to ask yourself “why is this happening and what can I do to change it?”

It felt easy to applaud those making changes last night however significantly more difficult and uncomfortable to ask ourselves how much are we doing at the individual level to bring about change.

It matters not how much we have done to support required changes in the past, only how much we can do moving forward.

I reflect on the great George Bernard Shaw quote:

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

It points to the need to stand resolute and that we must first look to ourselves as the instruments of change.

May 2012 be your year.  Allow Hope to power the change you desire.

Choosing the right mentor

carriergoodwill1

I was recently asked what someone should look for in a good mentor.

The first thing to do is to recognize the value in engaging a good mentor or coach to help you hold yourself accountable for developing yourself and taking your career to the next level.

The value of seeking a career mentor is in how they can help you bring clarity to your career goals over the near, medium and long term, to help you prioritize your next steps towards your goals, how to strategize and evaluate options in light of your goals and values, and to help you stay accountable to the path you wish to take.  Through formalizing this relationship with someone, it provides a regular, safe and confidential sounding board to bounce your fears, aspirations and future challenges.

Finding the right mentor is based on how inspirational they are to you, how experienced, how insightful and how good they are in facilitating the right discussions. High Emotional Intelligence would rate as the key characteristic of a great mentor and just as you would look for a great employee, you want in a great mentor someone who has demonstrated that they are smart, talented, have a history of delivering great results and have built many great relationships and people through their leadership and association.

Finding the right mentor is based on how inspirational they are to you, how experienced, how insightful and how good they are in facilitating the right discussions. High Emotional Intelligence would rate as the key characteristic of a great mentor and just as you would look for a great employee, you want in a great mentor someone who has demonstrated that they are smart, talented, have a history of delivering great results and have built many great relationships and people through their leadership and association.

In a busy working world, it is too easy to rationalize to ourselves what we do and why we do it.  Much harder to rationalize to someone else. Particularly if they are asking you the right questions and you are looking inside yourself to provide the right answers.

Both you and they will know when you are making excuses or seeing things through a narrow field of vision.

If you want to take your personal life or career to the next level, it may be time to engage a mentor. The benefits of having someone else push, question, strategize with you through mentoring can only lead to greater success.

Working for pressure or pleasure?

Piggy BankSocrates said “The Life which is unexamined is not worth living”.  Just as you empty your piggy bank to count the coins to determine how much value you have created, it is a good thing to tip your life upside down and shake it around to allow you to view it from a few more angles and evaluate the sum of your life value.

However unlike the coins that have a predetermined value, the value we place on all the individual and collective “life” experiences can be viewed very differently and uniquely by each person.  The most important evaluation is the one you place on it.  How do you measure the value of your total life experiences against all aspects of your life:  Family, Professional, Health, Financial, Spiritual, Social, Intimacy and Community?

The sum of where you are today, and how you got here, is not measured by time and does not predetermine the course of the total life balance and value.  What got you here, might not get you to where you would like to end up. Time is not measured in minutes, hours and days in a life value, but rather by what you do with your time.

Which comes to the question, what are we working to generate?  Are we working with clear purpose?  Towards something that will give us a great sense of peace, happiness and satisfaction?  Have we truly evaluated the value we are looking to generate? The legacy we would like to leave? And importantly, how to get there?

Many executives and people I know talk of the “treadmill” they are on.  Even more so at the start of a calendar year when there seems to be a lot more “getting started” meetings, new activities, education and sporting schedules to be slotted in.  People feel just as they are getting into the swing of things, planning for the new financial year begins, and before you know it you are working hard to deliver a number of things with hard deadlines and pressure to deliver on multiple goals, commitments and resolutions.

Since I often feel the weight of the number of balls I choose to juggle, I recently asked myself this question “am I working for pressure or pleasure”?  This shifted things for me.  Although I set out (in a pretty determined way) to work for pleasure both personally and professionally, doing what I love, with people I love, for people I love; I can get hooked on the pressure and use that to drive outcomes.  Before I know it I realize I am working to the rhythm of pressure, and forget that I want to work for pleasure.  My experience tells me I can achieve far more and enjoy it far more along the way, when I work for pleasure.

There is no right or wrong answers or evaluations when examining your own life.  The key is to evaluate it regularly and to make it meaningful to you.  To consciously maximize the value you are looking to generate.  To gain pleasure in what you do so that you can achieve more of what it is you want to do.

If you see your life as a piggy bank made up of multiple experiences, against each aspect of your life, with each holding a personalized value, how are you going against the total value you are looking to generate?  What will you change?

When One Business Just Isn’t Enough: How to run a portfolio Business

Emma was recently interviewed by Suzi Dafnis of Australian Businesswomen’s Network.  Here she introduces Emma to her network as:

“For many of us, running one business is more than enough. My guest today runs two businesses. Emma Lo Russo is an experienced innovator, organisation leader and marketer. She has brought together her experience gained from leadership positions across a broad spectrum of industries to two businesses.

Digivizer, a business that delivers the digital footprint of the people you know (i.e. your clients) and the people you should know. Digivizer looks at who you should connect to through social media and Validity Coaching, a collective of experienced executive coaches.

Emma joins me to talk about the pros and cons of running a portfolio business, that is, a collection of businesses. We look at:

  • Does running two businesses impact the effectiveness of one or more of the business?
  • How can a split focus help you get better business results?
  • What are the challenges of running more than one business, and how do you overcome them?

Enjoy this interview with Emma Lo Russo.”

http://www.abn.org.au/site/article/Video-When-One-Business-Just-Isnt-Enough-How-to-run-a-portfolio-business-Emma-Lo-Russo-interview

How do people experience you?

I recently made the decision to switch from PC to Mac for my business platform.73434520

Everything about the experience – from walking into the store; interacting with the technology; enjoying the broader synergies with our iPhones and iPads; the ease in which I am able to connect and share content with my family and business colleagues; the stories, sharing and understanding offered by the broader Apple community – has lead me to think about the importance “experience” plays in our decision making.

Every single part of my exposure, interactions, associations – my collective experience with Apple – is always positive, enjoyable and exceeded my expectations.

The relationship between our experiences and our feelings are key drivers to the decisions we make.

Just like a product or company brand’s true value is in the eye of the consumer and how it is perceived in the market place, our personal brand is really valued by the experiences people have with you and the perceptions they then form.

Today, there is much talk about the importance in investing in personal branding.  Spending time to understand and shape what we represent as individuals, how we represent our core values and articulate our unique selling proposition.

Asking people to stop and think of how they may be viewed and the disparity to how they wish to be viewed, can certainly grow self-awareness and can influence behaviours.

How people view, interact, associate, and do business with you, are all opportunities for people to “experience” you.  The experience they have with you is far more important in determining their evaluations of you and the decisions they make that concern you, than anything else.

Considering how meaningful, enjoyable, interactive, and valuable the experience people have of you is as important in the social web as it is in our personal dealings.

When you consider the ease in which we can connect, associate, interact and share on the social web, do you consider what experience people are having of and with you?  Is it consistent with the experience they would have with you and you would hope to deliver in person?

It certainly makes an interesting point for reflection:- what experience are people having when they see, read, or exchange something with you? Or in more simple terms: – How do people experience you online as well as in person?

Compliance vs Engagement

goldfish-taking-actionDoing the basic job required of us, in most cases, is easy to do.  In fact we can often do much of what we do without having to really engage, invest and stretch ourselves. 

We learn from an early age to follow instructions. To have our creative thinking ordered with a set of pre-determined decisions to create structure, harmony and order. 

Certainly it helps to learn the consequences of taking actions that are outside of what is expected of us. However do we consider the dangers to progress if we merely look and teach others to comply?

How often do you hear “I do this because that is what is asked of me.”  Or “I don’t do this, because the rules say not to.”  In business we can often provide more processes, instructions and parameters to reduce risk and error margins, but what happens when it stops people from thinking or taking ownership all together?

In this past week, I saw two separate cases where perfectly intelligent and capable people were discussing a problem within their working environments.  In being challenged as to why they did not see those problems as ones they could solve, the dutiful responses were offered around it not being their job, it wasn’t done that way, there was red tape, a usual way to solve this etc.

In reality, they had become compliant.  Stopped thinking, stopped ownership, stopped engaging with the broader objectives and motivations for their companies and themselves.

It didn’t take long to unlock their thinking and to see alternate ways to own and solve the problems they were facing. 

Unfortunately once I started looking for examples of compliance over engagement elsewhere, I started to see it everywhere – in customer service across multiple businesses, in my children, and in me.  It has made for an interesting point for reflection.

Key to solving passive compliance is engagement ourselves and encouraging engagement in others.  It is not enough to just observe or be present.  Not enough to comply even if it gets you over the line and off the hook.  What is required of us is to really engage with a problem you see and view it as something you can own, influence and drive towards a solution. 

In these cases I refer to this week, by engaging with the problem didn’t mean these clients had to make the problem their own completely and feel the pressure to solve it on their own. 

In both cases it was enough to shift the thinking from it being someone else’s problem to being “our problem” to solve.  And to get them thinking about how they could lead and influence change.  To think about possible options and opportunities.  

Seeing the bigger picture and not being hamstrung by barriers – perceived or real, allows for progress. 

By engaging fully with what you are hoping to achieve and not the process of getting there, promotes critical thinking and creativity. It brings action and results.

Where do you need to switch gears and move from compliance to engagement to really generate progress?

The Try> Apply> Fly Approach

Man flying over sleepers.  Photo by Lois Greenfield.A key part of mastering something is practice.

As children we understand this concept as we try time and time again to do the perfect cartwheel, learn to ride a bike, catch a ball or master a popular dance move.

As we get older, we recognize and appreciate mastery in others, and will often choose to step aside to allow other experts to show the way.

Although I am a big believer in recognizing and playing to people’s strengths and working to your own, it worries me to see so many adults defer or give up before they have given something new their best shot.  A best shot can mean quality of preparation and at least a solid period of dedication in learning and putting into practice.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book “The Outliers – The Story of Success”, he introduces the 10,000 hour rule. 

The basic premise is that it takes 10,000 hours of dedication to your craft or skill before you are likely to really master or become a “superstar” at it.  He also adds, to be a true Outlier, it probably takes 10,000 hours plus talent and a timing opportunity before you really make it into the Outlier league (those that truly stand apart from the rest of the high achievers).

The more involved I am in successful businesses or with people who have achieved success, the more the pattern for success and mastery of something is evident.  And it is not just spending time (or 10,000 hours) working on something.  It is more their approach.  An approach based on continuous feedback, learning, finessing, trying and applying.

Stories shared by successful people often have the same theme: they tried, they learned, they applied their new skills, they tried again, and applied their learnings, until eventually they mastered what they set out to do. 

Even when they achieved what they first set out to do, they went back to the same cycle of try>apply>fly to reach new heights.

Yes, they experienced fear.  Yes, they experienced failure (often many times), but they all had the approach of continuing to try and not giving up until they succeeded.

Seems like an easy lesson for each of us. 

You need to be happy to continuously Try and Apply to really Fly!

Excuses! Excuses! Excuses!

Is Time linear by Philipp KlingerIs it this time of year? Are people so busy that the topic becomes such a key one to cover and to revisit? 

I ask these questions because I note over the past fortnight there has been a marked increase in the number of articles around time and priority management. It feels like every business and management article or blog is covering this theme. No real new stuff, some very good stuff, but still there are a whole lot of words and opinions around what you need to do, how you need to think, what steps you need to take.

My preference is not to add much to this well covered theme… I have too much else I have prioritized to do first….but I can tell you simply the answer is in the following:

  1. YOU OWN YOUR TIME. 
  2. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MANAGING YOUR TIME.
  3. ONLY YOU CAN KNOW HOW BEST TO MANAGE AND USE YOUR TIME.
  4. DON’T LET OTHERS TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR TIME
  5. WHEN YOU REALIZE YOU ARE OFF-TRACK, REVISIT THESE AFFIRMATIONS.

There is one more thing to remember – you always have a choice – so please, no more time-wasting or excuses. 

Plan for what you want to do and just do it!

Inertia – the biggest threat to progress

Years ago when I was studying for my HSC, my parents imposed a curfew. I was not able to go out unless I did 15 hours study a week. Fun & Exciting  by pmeidinger

Fortunately for me they did not specify where I had to spend my time, so I focused a minimum of 10 hours a week where my passion lay – painting and art – and the rest to what I considered at the time as the boring subjects.  The 15 hour study curfew became easy to meet and the targets I had for my social life were able to be easily fulfilled.

It was a great lesson around naturally pursuing the areas you feel passionate about.  This time and effort I naturally skewed towards was also rewarded in me later winning a number of art awards. I easily connected that if you work and operate from a position of passion, it delivers you significant power to excel.

When you love something and love what you are doing, you naturally progress.  You find things easy to do and easy to commit to.  This principle serves you just as well in your working career as it will in your personal life.

I am sure you can validate this principle with your own examples.  

Recall a time where you pursued something you felt really passionate about and it propelled you to success.  Now reflect on how you felt.

You felt buzzed right?  When you did what you love and you achieved the goal you were hoping for, you felt highly energized, invincible and ready for more.

This isn’t rocket science, so why do we sit for far too long in jobs or in situations pursuing something where we don’t feel that passion?

A number of people I know have communicated their unhappiness in their current situation. 

They try to justify not doing anything by rationalizing away the risks of changing with the comfort levels of today. They know and can be strong at articulating what they would prefer to be doing, even going so far to identify the steps they need to take to get there, but still don’t go and pursue it. The longer they look for reasons to not move, the more the barriers to change seem larger.

When focusing on the fear of change and potential downsides, there is a great danger that the sense of “too hard” will set in.  Or worse, you quickly move into a mode of accepting what you are not happy with, with a feeling of “this is good as it gets”.  So you stay in something you are not happy with.

Yet we can all recall examples and look to people where a decision to change was made and it was pursued.  Or perhaps you know someone or were forced to make changes through circumstances not of your own doing. 

These changes and shifts in life often become the catalyst to move onto much greater things, greater than what may have first been considered.  It is a powerful feeling when you have new opportunities, new ways of thinking, new ways of working, new ways of juggling life to pursue. 

We look back and see that change as the greatest thing that happened to us.  Change brings opportunity. Change brings great personal growth which helps us professionally.

More importantly change gives us an opportunity to tap into our passions.  To find the things that once again excite us, energize us, propel us forward.

So don’t allow inertia to kill your progress. 

Make the changes today to align what you do with your passions.   At a minimum, the bigger the wave of change and the bigger the ride, the less likely you will have time to look back and you will enjoy the process of moving forward.

Take a step forward today and see how quickly your passion will carry you towards success.