Leadership For Women Forum Guildford, England, July 2019

Event Details

Name:Leadership For Women Forum Guildford
What is it?:The Sister Sister Network helps women tap into their natural abilities and become effective leaders, offering women empowering leadership and personal development training and support that enables them to transform their lives and change the world.The theme for this forum was to discuss developing a Winning Mindset, Success for Female Entrepreneurs and Goal Setting.
Speakers:Sarbjit Hear, Women’s Business Coach
Amanda Downs, Director of Commercial Leadership, Uspire Group
Aduke Onafowokan, Entrepreneur and Chair of The Sister Sister Network
Hosted by Amanda Shovelton, NatWest, Guildford.
Date:10:00-13:00, 18 July 2019
Location:Guildford Harbour Hotel, 3 Alexandra Terrace, High Street, Guildford, GU1 3DA (England, UK)
Size:approx 50 people

Business Success – Sarbjit Hear

Notes from the Session

  • What is stopping you from getting freedom at work?
    • Examples given are your belief system, worrying about other people’s perceptions (others may not like what you want to do), time, funding, fear, finding the right people to work with, vision & lack of clarity, lacking confidence,  lacking knowledge (steep learning curve)…
    • Eg. It can be a challenge for women entrepreneurs to get finance. Venture capitalists are often “male, pale and stale“, and unintentionally are biased towards women, as they do not look like them.
  • There’s a massive difference between KNOWING something and DOING it. Keep an open mind.
  • Everyone is on a continuous journey of self-discovery. Understand your purpose.

5 Foundations of a Business

1. Confidence (Mindset)You need to develop unshakable self belief, believing that “I can and I will find a way”. Feel it in your bones. Recognise when unconscious self sabotage comes through (to keep you safe and comfortable), which prevents you from doing something you actually want to do. You’ll feel the fear kick in, with thoughts of self doubt, fear of loss etc.

Consider: What underlying thoughts/beliefs do you really need to let go of to transform?
Eg. you think that other people’s needs matter more. Instead reframe this to think that you shouldn’t have to put yourself second, as your needs matter as well as others needs.
2. Crystal ClarityYou may be unsure which path to take, as you have so many options. You may be juggling your head and heart, unsure of what to do.  Your work and career should provide you with these 4 things:
* Passion: does it make your heart sing? You need to authentically live and believe what you do
* Add Value: use your skills and expertise to help others
* Reward: focus on a problem people will pay for (not just a problem people have). For a business to be successful, people must be willing to pay you to solve their pain points.
* Reach: you need to reach people. People have to know you and your business (products/services) exist.

Consider: Which areas of business do you have least clarity on?
Eg. you’ve lost passion, aren’t sure how to get to the next level, real vs perceived issue (do you not solve an issue people would pay for or are you just not reaching the right people?)

Outsource the bits of your work/business you don’t like. Doing it will suck out your energy.
3. Effective Client Strategy Do people know of you:
* Reach: reach the right people via the right platform
* Engage: address the right problem and have the right pitch
* Convert: have an authentic conversion process. Know the 4 types of different buyers and how they make decisions differently (4 DISC profiles – for more information see here and here)

Consider: Imagine your ideal client, what is the ONE specific problem that’s causing them stress right now?
People will (sometimes unconsciously) buy from emotions, and not just based on a rational decision.
Eg. A client may not feel confident/beautiful and want straight teeth, tap into that emotion where the procedure would remove the worry/stress. Or if a parent is going through a separation/divorce seeking legal help, they may be scared of losing access to their child, house/money etc.

You need to learn how to convert and how to convince people of the value of what you offer (this is where most people struggle). People often settle, so you need to show the difference that you can make to their lives.
Eg. a 50 year old woman said she would pay £20k for a dating coach. Someone else laughed and said it was a waste of money. The women said that if she lived until she was 70, that’s paying £1k a year to come home to someone that you love that cares for you, and using that emotion/logic she’d pay that in a heart beat. Framing is important.
4. Consistent ActionTaking daily consistent action towards your goals is very important.

Consider: On a scale 1-10, how disciplined are you in taking daily consistent action towards a goal? What ONE thing can you do from today to move up the scale?
Eg. Prioritise yourself and your to-do list differently, force yourself to do the things you don’t like to do, delegate, share issues with your husband, put measures in place to focus on them (what gets measured gets done), get enough sleep every night…
5. CashSometimes we take our eyes off the numbers. A Bookkeeper just looks at the past and the tax you need to pay. You need to look forward (projection/pricing), have the cash to enable you to do what you want.

Consider: What do you really want?
Eg. Got enough clients, but want time off, luxury holiday (not basic), do house up, time off with family, not enough cash… Don’t settle just getting by, and not be thriving.

Consider: One year from today, how much cash do you want to earn every month? Or ask how much money do I need to create the lifestyle I want? What’s the first step? Remember that sometimes simple things make you happy. If you said you want to have loads of money, what do you need that money for? What would you spend it on?
Eg. Believe you’re worth it (life does not have to be a struggle), understand what makes you money and what doesn’t or makes you less, have the right business model & strategy…
Getting more cash is not working more hours but working differently. You need to adjust to the market.

Leadership Insights Panel – Jonathan Brough, Kanth Ford and Aduke Onafowokan

Notes from the Discussion

  • The people is what makes a difference in business. Businesses that energise their people transform faster.
  • Discussed opinions of the hashtag #LeadLikeAWoman. Kanth suggested to think instead of #LeadLikeYourself. Be yourself, not a stereotype. Be clear on your own strengths and weaknesses.
  • Embrace femininity as a woman. Don’t worry about having to fit in with men, by having short hair and wearing trouser suits. You can be feminine and be your true self, without feeling less than a leader.
  • It takes courage to be yourself and stand by your values. Don’t just let something go, and ‘go with the flow’. Be the example to others. Don’t condone certain behaviours. It’s not always about speaking out but being more clever – understanding and influencing the change. Sitting on the fence is not a comfortable place to be.
  • Jonathan Brough said he was disappointed by large companies who publish their gender pay gap statistics, where they only show a small positive increase each year. He believes that change doesn’t happen fast enough in the big companies. His company, Uspire, has no gender pay gap.
  • Jonathan said he couldn’t recall any female leaders in the early days of his 35 year career. Later he saw female leaders emerge in marketing and a few other areas. He remembers one woman who led like a man, had an aggressive style and had to be better than her peers, in order to get to the position she was in. It’s changed a bit now, but still has a way to go.
  • People in an organisation are choosing their leaders. It’s not just who an organisation puts in place in a hierarchy. People follow people they are inspired by.
  • Be inspired to be the best you can. Have a personal brand and vision, and only then can you inspire your colleagues and customers. Believe in your purpose. Not just talk about it but live it. People will see and judge you by your actions. Can’t pretend to care. People will see the truth. Eg. the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern often shows her passion and that she cares.
  • All leadership starts with self leadership.
  • It’s hard to change the minds of older people, with established mindsets of how things have been done in the past. They have to be open to change.
  • There was a discussion about the education system in England (UK), how parents balance work with raising children, paternity vs maternity leave and educating the next generation (about business, budgets, mortgages etc.). Some stated that the UK education system and curriculum is very outdated. Why do children finish school at 3pm, but working parents mostly finish at 5pm? Why do children get 13 weeks holiday a year, but those who work full time get on average 25-38 days?
  • Jonathan gave Sweden, Denmark and Norway as some good examples of treating parents as equal and having a good education system. He spoke about how sometimes you have to positively discriminate, take it further, in order to equalise. It may not be fair, but it’s necessary.
  • A new topic at work being discussed is the Menopause. More research needs to be done in this field. People aren’t sure how the menopause impacts a woman in the workplace. If women experiencing it themselves don’t understand, how can we expect men to?
  • Consider: How can I make a difference for the world I want to create?
    • Kanth answered: make one commitment of how you can personally change and do something.
    • Jonathan answered: have mutual respect for the other person and their culture. Be open. First respect yourself and then respect others.

Closing Remarks

  • We were encouraged to join a mastermind group / business network. It helps to talk to people facing or who have overcome similar issues. It also broadens your perspective.
  • Natwest have a “YES Check“. When making a decision today, ask yourself: in 5 years time if you were to look at the choice you’re about to make, do you think you’ll have made the right decision?

My Thoughts of the Event

Overall, I found attending the event very worthwhile. The content presented during the presentations has made me rethink a few things, the panel session generated lots of interesting and diverse discussion and the networking during breaks allowed us to connect with different people and find out what others are doing, their passions and what matters in their lives. I find sometimes we can get so caught up having great conversations with our colleagues within Red Hat that it’s good to break away and get external perspectives.

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