How to Identify Your Career Development Needs


Are you determined to move onward and upward in your career? If so, all power to you. Rather than just wish you every success (which I really do), I thought I’d share a few tips for career development within your current role, which will enable you to become a top performer at your job and to draw management attention to your skills, abilities, qualities and attributes. In a future post I’ll focus more on developing yourself for your next (and hopefully more senior role), but for now, let’s get you known as someone whose work ethic and capabilities are the mark of someone bound for better things.   Identify Development Needs that Make a Difference: A 3-Step Plan Here are three steps to identify how and where you need to develop to excel in your current role and gain a name as someone who exceeds expectations:   Step 1: Review the requirements of your role: First it’s time to revisit the formal job description for the position in which you currently work. If you need any points in the job description to be clarified or if no such formal description exists, don’t worry. Ask for a meeting with your line manager to help you understand what skills need to be most developed to perform your job at the top level, taking into account any changes that may imminently impact the job requirements. Create a written list of all the key skills, areas of knowledge and behaviours required for the role.   Step 2: Critique yourself honestly against the list: Now you need to go through the list that you created in step 1 and rate yourself honestly against each skill, knowledge area and behaviour. Honesty is the most important thing in this step. Few people are at the very top of their game in every aspect of their roles....

What Makes Australia a Great Country for Business Students?


As two of Rob O’Byrne’s foremost passions are helping people succeed in business and helping people to learn about business, it seemed like a great idea to write a post about business study in Australia. If you’re a young or mature student, planning to undertake some study outside of your home country, there are far worse locations that you could choose than the Land of Oz. To illustrate the point, here are a few important reasons why Australia is a great country for business students from anywhere in the world.   Focus on International Business As a nation, Australia is necessarily supportive of global trade, since it depends a lot on overseas markets. Hence business students have access not only to study programs with a focus on international trade, but also to a population of fellow students encompassing a wide range of nationalities and cultures. Absence of Cultural Boundaries The Australian business-education environment blends the perspectives of Eastern and Western business and management styles and methodologies. In short, Australia is not only well-versed in hosting international scholars, it’s a great country for business students to gain an appreciation of professional diversity. Work Experience Opportunities When you enroll with an Australian educational institution, you can be assured that you will be given ample opportunity to gain experience in the industry for which you are studying. Internships in Australian companies are usually plentiful, as are industry-specific projects, where you and your fellow students work on solving live problems for real businesses. So Good, You Might Want to Stay Australia is also a great country for business students to stay on after graduation. If you fall in love with the country during your studies, there are a few channels through which you can stay on after graduation, either for a short or longer period of time. Other advantages include the fact that...

Working With External Consultants: A Tip for Internal Employees


If you’ve ever worked for a company that’s brought in external consultants to solve a business problem, or if you’ve ever done any reading about consulting as an occupation, you might be aware that consultants tend to get a bit of a bad rap, particularly among internal employees. Oftentimes that’s because staff feel threatened and simply aren’t aware of what drives consultants to do what they do. It’s a commonly held misconception that external consultants make easy money by “taking your watch and telling you what time it is”. However, as Rob O’Byrne will happily tell you, the reality is that reputable consultants choose their career out of a genuine desire to help people grow and improve their businesses. An Employee’s Anecdote I remember when I was working as an employee on a large business-change program and the executive sponsor announced that an external consulting firm would be taking over the reins of the project. One particular comment in the executive’s briefing made me bristle (along with a number of my colleagues). He said: “These consultants are coming in because they have the knowledge and expertise that you guys don’t, so you will do what they ask of you and that’s not negotiable.“ While I will never give that executive ten-out-of-ten for tact, at least I have learned enough to understand where he was coming from. To paraphrase what I believe he intended to make clear; consultants in your industry have a high degree of knowledge, spread across a number of specialities, gained through working with many different companies on many different projects. Conversely, you as an employee, have a high degree of knowledge about your company’s operation. Consultants want your knowledge, to help them understand your company’s problem, so they can apply their knowledge to solving it. The takeaway I urge you to remember is this … If you...

The Commercial Benefits of Corporate Philanthropy


As you will know if you follow this blog, Rob O’Byrne is a keen advocate of corporate philanthropy. As a result of his passion for giving, Rob led his team at Logistics Bureau into involvement with the global Non-profit organisation B1G1. Of course many companies around the world engage in charitable giving, but have you ever stopped to think about why they do so? After all, a corporation doesn’t have a conscience to satisfy through performing altruistic acts. Why Do Companies Engage in Corporate Philanthropy? In many cases, as with Logistics Bureau, the decision to give away a portion of revenue to charity is driven by altruistic leaders or to satisfy the wishes of shareholders.     However, there are also a number of commercial benefits to be had from supporting non-profit ventures. Here are a few examples of how giving to local or global charity brings good karma to your corporation Supporting communities can generate returns: When your company gives generously to causes in the local community, it’s contributing to that community’s wellbeing and prosperity. This in turn, helps to stimulate economic success, providing income which may then contribute to your company’s revenue stream. Hence, by giving in the community, your organisation can increase its profit potential. Charitable giving enhances reputation: Another of the benefits of corporate philanthropy is quite simply the fact that it’s good for your company’s reputation. Donating or raising money for charity is a great way to demonstrate corporate responsibility and raise the profile of your brand. Again, the end result may well be an increase in the sales of your products or services. Companies can be Altruistic Too If you think that companies support charities specifically to reap the benefits of corporate philanthropy, you’re probably right. However, that doesn’t make charitable activity any less altruistic. When your company gives, its leadership doesn’t expect...

Do You Ever Stop to Think About Thinking Differently?


As you will have heard if you took a look at Rob’s short video, Reflections on rather a Long Walk, one of his goals in taking an 800 kilometre walk from France to Western Spain, apart from actually reaching his destination, Santiago de Compostela, was to completely “unplug” from his hectic business life and spend some time just reflecting and taking stock. It wasn’t that Rob wanted to stop thinking. He just wanted to disconnect from the everyday and apply a different type of thinking for a while—something that an 800 kilometre journey on foot provides ample time for.   Why We Need To Think Differently Sometimes In fact, what Rob was doing is something that all of us should practice from time to time—thinking differently. The problem is, we rarely even take time to think about thinking or rather, about how we think; and that’s a mistake. You see, by making a conscious effort to apply our minds in different ways, we can all gain new perspectives on issues and problems which, apart from being refreshing, can be invaluable in arriving at a solution.     About Thinking Differently It’s entirely possible make changes to your thought process, but it does require a conscious effort. To ensure you can apply alternative thought processes when required, it’s a good idea to practice thinking in different ways, even when you don’t need to. To get you started, here are a few quick examples of how to apply different thought processes. If you recognize any of these as the way you normally think, then of course you can disregard them, since practice will not be necessary: Utilize “what if” thinking. When trying to decide on a certain course of action, ask yourself questions such as “what will our customers think of this? Our suppliers? Our partners, employees, the community? What will...
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