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Motivating and inspiring in a season of change


The Art of Leadership Newsletter

As December 31st fast approaches, we take time to appreciate the opportunities the new year brings. A fresh start to think and act strategically, a time to set new goals, and the opportunity to clarify your personal and professional vision for the new year.

We wish you all a safe and relaxing break with your family and friends. We hope that you start the New Year revitalised and reinvigorated, and we look forward to working with you in 2018.

Seasons Greetings,
Virginia Mansell

Motivating and inspiring in a season of change

Would you encourage your most effective employees to apply for new roles? Most people wouldn’t. You would probably thank your lucky stars that they are doing a great job ­– one less thing to worry you over the summer holidays.

But the CEO of technology company Hootsuite, Ryan Holmes, might pick an argument with you about that. He set a target at the start of the year that 20 per cent of his 1,000 employees should be in a new role by year’s end.

“For the right employees, an open people-movement policy is a boon: the chance to learn new skills quickly, expanding your professional toolkit and building a stronger resume – on a timetable you’re happy with,” wrote Holmes in an article in FastCompany.

Firstly, if you don’t provide the opportunities for advancement and growth, talented people are going to leave anyway. The average tenure with employers is now around four to five years.

Holmes also says the company benefits from “lateral movement” of employees because silos are broken down, knowledge is spread throughout the company and some “start-up energy and excitement” is sustained.

One benefit that Holmes only touches on in his article is the role of employers helping their people build their resumes.

Help people find their next role

This is important because, even if people want to stay, employers can no longer promise them stability and security.

Employers know they are not just training and developing their people for their next role in the organisation, they are preparing them for their next employer. To some extent, this has always been the case, but the life cycle of a job has now been truncated.

Retrenchments are no longer coming in waves. They are now taking place as a stream – silent, unbroken and ubiquitous. At the same time, the growth of temporary, insecure jobs has raised anxiety levels.

Watercooler conversations in every workplace touch on whether people’s jobs or companies will survive the impact of new technologies, such as robotics and artificial intelligence, or unforeseen competitors as a result of disruptive new entrants.

And, with so many companies weathering scandals over governance this year, there are too many leaders who need to work out how to re-instil pride in their workplaces.

If employees are too embarrassed to tell acquaintances where they work, how do you get them to do more than clock-watch until they hatch an escape plan?

The end of the year is accelerating towards us and, as we start putting together our reading material for a holiday break, it is an excellent time to consider how you can keep people motivated when everything seems so uncertain.

Five top tips

Be present: Make sure you are seen. Don’t disappear early from the Christmas party. Walk around the workplace and be a reassuring presence in a time of upheaval. Check in with those closest to you to see how they are going, how they are feeling and how they are dealing with changes and the challenges and opportunities they see ahead.

Be human: Let people see the real you – the person your friends and family see. Demonstrate emotional integrity. Check in with people, connect with their world and what is important to them, and bring some humour to lighten the mood.

Communicate: Don’t leave them second-guessing. Be open and tell them as much as you can about what is happening to the business and how you are preparing for the future.

Prepare: Help people broaden their skills to help them find good roles in a changing work environment. And offer training, mentoring, and coaching to support this.

Direct their energy: Help them focus on the things they can influence, rather than things that are out of their control. Uncover their intrinsic motivation.

Kind regards,
Virginia Mansell

About the author: Virginia Mansell, Chairman, Stephenson Mansell Group.

Virginia Mansell is an expert and thought leader in executive coaching, mentoring and leadership. Virginia is the author of The Focused Executive, an important resource for CEOs and senior executives determined to perform at their very best.

In 1998, Virginia established The Mansell Group to provide coaching and leadership development services. In 2005, she merged this business with The Stephenson Partnership to create Stephenson Mansell Group, arguably Australia’s longest-established executive development firm. Over nearly 20 years, the Stephenson Mansell Group has worked with more than 6000 executives in more than 500 organisations in Australia and internationally including 30 of Australia’s top 50 companies.

In addition to her own experience as a business leader, Virginia brings to her role more than 30 years in human resource management, counselling psychology, psychotherapy and organisational consulting and executive coaching

What’s On

Registrations now open! Executive Presence and Impact Workshop with Peter Kingston.

As a successful business leader, you know that your job is more than just having great ideas – it is also about persuading people to join you in your vision.

Designed for corporate influencers, this insightful and interactive one-day workshop will help you to enhance your influencing and communication skills. It’s not just about presentation skills.  The workshop will provide you with insight and performance techniques to suit your development goals; to develop confidence and presence, and to be more influential.
Seats limited! Click here to register.


With access to top level mentors, knowledge sharing with peers, and a short and sharp format, our Culturally Diverse Emerging Leader Group Mentoring Program ticks all the boxes in developing your emerging leaders. Seats are limited for maximum interaction.

Click here to register.



Lock in your team’s 2018 professional development now! Check out our schedule of events & programs and register your team now. The Stephenson Mansell Group Leadership Academy offers a range of leadership development programs that are offered as open programs, or inhouse programs customised to your organisation’s needs. Click here to view the calendar by state

Sydney –  Executive Presence and Impact Workshop with Peter Kingston – 20 February 2018
Sydney – Perspectives on Leadership for Women – 4 May & 1 June 2018
Sydney – Culturally Diverse Emerging Leader Group Mentoring Program – 8 & 22 May, 5 June 2018
Sydney – Perspectives on Leadership for Women – 19 October & 16 November 2018
Brisbane – Perspectives on Leadership for Women –   26 October & 30 November 2018


New Appointment

We are delighted to announce that Karen Spinley has joined our team a Victoria State Director and Executive Coach. Karen has over 20 years of experience in business, most recently as a Global Managing Partner with Heidrick and Struggles in the natural resources and broader industrial practices.  Karen would love to hear from you! We encourage you to reach out to Karen at your earliest convenience.



What’s Trending in Leadership

Results for the 2017 International Coach Federation (ICF) Global Consumer Awareness Study, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP Research, have recently been released. The project is ICF ‘s largest consumer study to date, and highlights the importance of coaching in professional settings.

One of the key results highlighted, shows the respondents’ top three motivations for seeking coaching. They were: optimising individual/team work performance, improving communication skills and increasing productivity. The full report can be accessed here for a fee.


With disruption affecting so many of our business lives, we need to find the key to successful resilience to remain at the top of our game. Explore some of the ways you can develop your resilience capabilities.

Friedrich Nietzsche famously stated, “that which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” This is highlighted when looking at resilience. Though, how much resilience is too much to be optimal?


As a manager moving into the new year, are you wanting to focus on your delegation skills? Here are some tips for managers and leaders to enable pro-active delegation.





The SMG offices will be closed from Monday 25th of December 2017 through to Friday 5th of January, reopening on 8th January 2018.