<![CDATA[Albany Lane]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/ Fri, 28 Jul 2017 04:28:20 GMT Fri, 28 Jul 2017 04:28:20 GMT LemonStand <![CDATA[What your (funding) partners want from you, but may be too polite to ask]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/what-your-funding-partners-want-from-you-but-may-be-too-polite-to-ask http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/what-your-funding-partners-want-from-you-but-may-be-too-polite-to-ask Sat, 17 Sept 2016 00:00:00 GMT Partnerships and collaborations are more than just ways of making the ends meet on an artistic program or a creative project.

They can be a great way to promote work to new audiences, and connect your creativity with new markets.   They can be hard work for everyone involved, but they can also be enormously rewarding, and not just in the financial sense. 

Strong partnerships are built on strong communication and common goals, and equally can fall apart or not get off the drawing board due to some common mistakes (at both ends).

If you are the one initiating the relationship, it is good to spend some time thinking about what your funding partner may want – be it government, corporate or philanthropic. 

From making the ask to after the project ends, here is what your funding partner wants from you, but may be too polite to ask. 

Do your research

Even if you are applying for a grant, make sure you not just read the guidelines.  Find out what has been funded in the past, what sort of projects and what sort of amounts.  That way you can make a reasonable ask for support.

If developing a new relationship, again find out as much as you can about the organisation, its aims and objectives, and how decisions get made.  Ask your networks to support you in your information gathering and think laterally about how you might work together.   

Again, make sure you know where the company or organisation already has partnerships and what these might look like.  You don’t want to copy these, but gives you a sense of what your potential partner is looking to achieve.

Listen first and ask questions second

Take the first meeting as a get to know each other session, rather than a direct ask for support. 

When you get to meet with someone from either government, foundation or corporation, make sure you listen at least as much as you speak. 

Be curious and ask questions that will connect you to the motivations and values of the people speaking.  

Above all, don’t assume because someone works in a place different from you that you don’t share common motivations and values.   If you come with an open-mind you will be pleasantly surprised by how much you might share.

Provide creative ideas and solutions

It goes without saying that potential partners are looking for more than logos and tickets. 

The most valuable partnerships are those that respond to the needs of the funders and provides a creative solution to their challenges. 

The magic of true partnership happens when you find a partner who can provide the resources to take your creative idea and mission further, and that delivers them the outcomes and impact they want.  

Your value is in finding a creative solution that your partner cannot deliver on their own or with someone else. 

Your challenge is to believe that your work can be that answer or answers, once you look at it with fresh eyes.

Be very clear about how you will work together before you start

Before you start working together, take the time to thrash out your agreement and confirm it in writing.  

Start with a bullet point “heads of agreement” of the arrangements you have made, and then confirm in a more formalised contract (if needed).

Set up regular project check in points so that there are no surprises and everyone is in agreement about how to move forward.

If it is your first time working together, take time to work out the details of this new working relationship and take it one step at a time.  Be honest and acknowledge if something isn’t working, and take the initiative to find a solution together.

And remember, to communicate the needs of your partner and what has been agreed to your project team.  That is your responsibility. 

Be respectful and acknowledge support

This should be a no-brainer, but it is surprising how often there can be slip ups at the last gate.  

A missed acknowledgement in writing or in person can unfortunately damage all the hard work you have put in to make the relationship work.   So can a missed appointment or a withdrawal from communication from either end.  

Don’t muck up the easy bits of logos and tickets (if part of the deal) and if you have the chance go a little bit further just because you can.  A bit of generosity will be appreciated.

Be open to feedback and suggestions

Everyone can learn from every experience, and your partnerships and collaborations are no exception.   Take time out after the end of your project to do a full debrief and ask for honest and constructive feedback.  

This may, in the end, be some of the most valuable learnings you gain from the experience.

Be inspirational

Finally, as an artists or arts company, if you are authentic and stay true to your creative vision and mission, you can inspire your partners to be better human beings. 

This might sound a bit too much, but research has shown that when we inspire others to connect to our shared intrinsic values of universalism, self-direction or creativity, we are motivated to act in a more pro-social way and have higher sense of wellbeing. 

 

So think about your partnerships as being much more than a solution to fixing your bottom line. 

Take time to establish your relationships and be the person with who you would want to work. 

And remember that it is always easier to keep a relationship (if it’s working) than find a new one, so value and recognise those you have as the platforms that they are to build your work in the world.

 

Posted in: Career Development, Inspiration, Leadership, Strategic Planning

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<![CDATA[Working freelance? Five things to consider first]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/working-freelance-five-things-to-consider-first http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/working-freelance-five-things-to-consider-first Thu, 11 Aug 2016 00:00:00 GMT The rest of the world is catching on to the value of freelance work with estimates of up to 4 million Australians working freelance at any one time.

  • For business it is a great way to get the specialist skills they need at an affordable cost
  • For individuals it is an opportunity to make the most from the expertise you have developed in your working life.

Working in the creative sector you may find yourself freelance by accident or necessity, as that is the way the sector is structured. Or you may be thinking about it as a better way to meet your career goals.

I have had two sustained periods of freelance work in my working life: first was when I was starting out in arts management in Sydney and for six years managed a range of part-time and contract gigs, and now where I consult on policy and strategy development for arts and creative companies alongside my coaching work. 

There are many benefits to working freelance: flexibility, autonomy and the opportunity to develop great networks and experiences.  Of course there are challenges as well: staying motivated, getting work and being able to manage demands of diverse projects and clients.

There is nothing worse than finding yourself working late nights and weekends and finding yourself worse of financially than you were if you were employed.  But with a bit of strategy, you can find a balance between income and freedom. 

It might take a leap of faith if you have not worked this way before, but these are the five key things you need to consider when considering moving to a freelance working life.

1.  Know your strengths and talents

Whilst it is tempting to market yourself as a jack or jill of all trades to get the widest catchment of clients, you are far better off focusing your skill set in one direction. People get confused easily and may doubt your skill set if you are covering too much ground.

Reflect on where your true talent lies and where you are most confident in marketing your skills. Make sure you are focusing on work you enjoy doing as well and not the stuff you would rather never do again.

2.  Claim your expertise

In freelance world you will be constantly marketing yourself and working to acquire new business. This can be confronting and can bring up concerns about rejection and self-worth. Of course we all have things we can learn and do better, but you have got to this point in your working life by learning enough to move forward.

Find the skill set and expertise that has real value for your clients. Spend some time working out what that is and why you have the right to claim it. Look for evidence in your working life of what you have delivered and created. Challenge your self-critic and judgement by getting a second or third opinion on what you have to offer. Write it down and be proud of what you have done.

3.  Price yourself appropriately and develop a rate card

Many people find the freelance life draining and unprofitable because they just don’t value their time appropriately. Remember that in setting your prices, you need to factor in not just the base market rate, but also your on costs. These are higher than for a casual employee (25% for super, workers comp, leave etc), as you will need to include basic business costs like accounting, insurance, IT etc.

 Working freelance also means you may not be being paid for every hour that you work. So adjust your fees to what you believe is your true capacity to deliver.  This is probably a lot less than 40 hours a week, 52 hours a year. If you count in normal leave provisions and public holidays, our working years are more like 44 weeks and your productive (ie billable) hours of work may be as few as 10-20 a week. 

4.  Manage your relationships

The work to get a client is one of those costs of being freelance for which you do not get paid. This work includes building networks, developing proposals, negotiating prices.  So you want to maximise the return from every working relationship: the contracted work, future work and referrals.

Your new client is taking a risk on you so it is up to you to give them the assurance you are able to provide what they need. Make sure you negotiate up front what they expect you to deliver and by when. Be realistic, do not over promise and set achievable deadlines. Stay in communication throughout the project and advise of any issues as they come up. 

5. Develop your reputation

When you are competing for jobs on a regular basis, your professionalism and personality will be judged along with your skills and expertise. When working freelance, your reputation matters even more than when you are in full time employment. You are known not just for what you deliver, but for how you do your work and how you get along with others.

Being likable is something you can develop and will add to your value in the freelance world. It is simple things like listening, asking questions, being on time, putting away your phone in meetings and even forgiving others for the little slights. It is not about being phony or brown-nosing, but giving others the respect you would like to have in return.

 

Freelance work may not be for everyone, but you may want to consider and start to develop your capacity to work this way.  The skills in strategic marketing, business acquisition and contract negotiation that you may need to develop will be increasingly important in our future working world.

 

Judith Bowtell of Albany Lane is an executive coach and consultant that supports individuals to develop their professional careers in the arts, cultural and creative sector and organisations to grow.  

If you want more:

Posted in: Balancing work and life, Career Development, Inspiration

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<![CDATA[Does dressing the part for work matter?]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/how-to-make-the-right-first-impression-tips-from-a-stylist http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/how-to-make-the-right-first-impression-tips-from-a-stylist Sat, 30 Jul 2016 00:00:00 GMT Whether you are looking for a new role or developing new partnerships and supporters for your work, it might be worthwhile considering what impression you are making. 

It is a reality of our world that we are judged on our appearance more than we might think.  We all have unconscious bias that shapes our reality, and one of those is what we associate with qualities such as leadership, professionalism and creativity  

The first step is to become aware of the issue, and then if you feel this might be effecting you,  think about what actions you might want to take to change.

However take it gently, work in baby steps and make sure you are not judging yourself too harshly as this can be a sensitive spot.  

 

This week our guest Kerry Athanassiou, founder of Style Culture shares 5 achievable tips towards change.

Does dressing up at work really matter? Yes it absolutely does. What you wear to work daily or for your next job interview is more important than you think. Why? Whether you like it or not, first impressions do count.

Whether you are seeking a creative job or any corporate career based around a team of people, your appearance is the very first thing that is noticed and judged about you when entering a room. How you dress daily reflects on how you feel about your job and future. Paying attention to detail means you would like to be taken seriously in the job that you do.

Statistics have shown:

33% of bosses know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether they will hire someone.

67% of bosses say that failure to make eye contact is a common nonverbal mistake.

When meeting new people, 55% of the impact comes from the way the person dresses, acts and walks through the door.

65% of bosses indicate that clothes could be a deciding factor between two almost-identical candidates 

Source: The Undercover Recruiter

 

I recently read in a business review column that: “people will not necessarily make that much of a big deal when you are put together, but they will certainly notice when you are not". On paper you are one amazing intelligent, hardworking individual, but it is the first impression that will make or break the deal and not the super experience you may come with. 

So what do you do to make a strong statement without selling your soul? As a Fashion Stylist, over the years I have had clients of all ages either going for the next promotion or simply they would like to stand out a little more, without looking like the circus has come to town.  Research has revealed that what you wear could affect how you think and even perform.

So let’s start with some simple steps with making small changes to ultimately receive significant difference in our overall day to dress code for work.

1.       Attitude

In many cases it’s not just the clothes that matter. Everything from smiling, eye contact, how you stand or sit, your handshake and even more importantly, obvious displayed tattoos or body piercings may set you back.

2.       The business / company environment

This plays a vital role in how you will dress for work. There is no point in purchasing a suit when you are working for an IT or arts based business, well unless you would like to stand out for all the wrong reasons.

If it is a new company that you are being interviewed for, take a trip in and look around assessing what other future colleagues are wearing. Make sure this is not on a Friday; casual Fridays are interpreted many different ways these days and should not be used as a base for how to dress for work. You may want to call the HR department (should it exist) asking them about the culture around the office. Even when the company is a little relaxed as far as dress code, this is not green light for low cut tops, worn jeans or unkempt hair and nails.

3.       Your current wardrobe

Sadly everything is up for judgement, it is human nature, we all judge to some degree and people in management have an especially trained eye for noticing things most wouldn’t.

If it’s a case of needing to detox, throw away, mix and match your current wardrobe, creating a fresh new look, then it’s time to think about handing over to a professional. A personal stylist is someone that hopefully has had many years of experience working with various body shapes and all ages. A good personal stylist that genuinely cares about your personal image will streamline your wardrobe like an assistant would organise and schedule your week. You can read about it more here if you like. 

Creative professionals sometimes focus on the work and not so much in the daily dress, resurrecting fashion items from 1989 may send the wrong message to your peers that your work has become as aged as the clothes you choose. Ben Stiller created an entire movie on it, funny maybe for a blockbuster movie, but in reality who wants to be laughed at?

Whether you are working in an art studio, design firm, or corporate environment, dressing professional is a must.

4.       Pick your outfits like you would pick your battles

Depending on the industry you are in, don’t go out and invest in pieces that will cost you the earth with no return. What do I mean by no return? If you turned up at Apple or Google wearing a suit, you would stand out like a sore thumb, but a tracksuit wouldn’t exactly go down well in most boardrooms either.

These days fashion giants would have us believe “it’s cheap so buy it and throw it away after the season ends”. By choosing what you wear carefully and investing in quality not quantity with current trends, you will present yourself chic, well put together and even on trend, every time.

Stylist Tip: Clothes that have buttons missing, are pilling or discoloured need to be put aside, donated or thrown away ASAP. There is nothing worse than an energetic vibrant worker that looks tired, scruffy or aged due to the clothes he or she is wearing.  

5.       Personal grooming

Don’t neglect your personal care. You may have a fabulous outfit on but if the greys streaking through the hair needs to be treated and tamed or nails are not clean, it is definitely sending out the wrong message. 

If make up has never been your thing, start with basics. I have always believed in the French inspired “daily basics”.  Remember you want to be noticed for all the right reasons, maybe not appropriate to be wearing purple lipstick if your background is in finance or law, but if you are the artistic type, have fun with colour that complements your skin tone by wearing a statement red lipstick.

 

Overall dressing the part will not only impress your boss or interviewer, it gives you great confidence in how you personally feel. If you are unsure, play it safe. My feeling has always been it is generally better to be dressed too professional, rather than too casual, particularly if you work in a client-facing environment. Your clothes are there to make a statement about you, let’s ensure that they’re making the right one.  “Dress for the job you want and not for the job you have”.

 

If you need advice on how to put outfits together or would like to learn more about updating your wardrobe we would love to help. You can contact us here www.styleculture.com.au 

xox Kerry @ StyleCulture.com.au

 

 

Posted in: Career Development, Inspiration

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<![CDATA[Rejection sucks: how to comeback from missing out on a job]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/rejection-sucks-what-to-comeback-from-missing-out-on-a-job http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/rejection-sucks-what-to-comeback-from-missing-out-on-a-job Sat, 23 Jul 2016 00:00:00 GMT Rejection sucks: how to comeback from missing out on a job.

Missing out on a grant hurts.

Missing out on a job can hurt just as much or even more. It can be really hard if you are coming off a redundancy or end of contract. 

If you are trying to change jobs or take a step up in your career, it is very likely that you will be unsuccessful now and then. Doubly so in the hyper-competitive world of the arts and creative sector.

Here are some steps you can take to triage the hurt and get you back into the job hunt game.

1.       Take it on the chin and don’t blame the other party.  

It is never fun to tell someone they missed out on a role. Blaming someone means you won’t get valuable feedback and just makes the situation worse. I once cried on the phone to a recruiter when I was going through a rough patch 20 years ago. I regret it to this day.

2.       Work out if it is me or you.

If your rejection is a one-off, try again. If it’s recurring (4-5 times) chances are something is missing in either your application or in the “fit” between the roles and your types of experience and level of skills. If you feel relief rather than disappointment when you get a rejection, then you really need to go back to the drawing board.

3.       Step back and ask some questions

Pour yourself a cup of tea and try to take an objective view of the situation. Am I choosing the right roles? How do my skills and experience match? What else can I offer to stand out and add value for an employer? How do I stack up in the competition? Am I a good “fit” for the organisations I am targeting in terms of their size, scope and culture?  

4.       Get some help.

When searching for answers it helps to work with someone you can trust and respect. Ideally this is someone who has knowledge of your sector, but is not competing for the same roles. Get feedback on your application and CV from someone who has experience in recruiting and employing staff. Go beyond your friends and family (who can offer tea and sympathy) and get some honest and thoughtful advice.

5.       Get proactive.

Applying for advertised positions is only part of the game of career change and job hunting. Opinion varies widely, with estimates of up to 50% of roles never being advertised. This is especially true of sections of the arts and creative sectors that rely on quick turnaround and contract workers. You need to be seen and ready to take opportunities. Get out and about. Build your networks. Develop your profile. Be engaged in your sector, including the work of others. Stay curious, generous and grateful. Don’t by sneaky, creepy or sleazy!

Rejection sucks, but being strategic in your job hunt or career change can lessen the chance of missing out on work that will fulfill and satisfy you. 

If you want to get strategic in your job hunting here’s the framework I use to support my career development clients at Albany Lane:

1.       Explore who you are and what you stand for.

Understand what really matters to you beyond job titles and salary packages. What are your dreams, values, motivations? What is your overall mission in life?

2.       Acknowledge your strengths and ambitions.

Be clear on what you have to offer the job market now, and also what you want to develop in the future. Be very clear about what you don’t or no longer want to do.

3.       Develop a menu of strategies to create this change. 

Use your imagination to explore all the options open to you, safe in the knowledge you won’t have to do anything that does not feel right. Investigate the plans that excite, interest or appeal to you most.

4.       Understand the limits of your comfort zone. 

Everyone has their own appetite for change. Stretching too far at once can trigger fear and anxiety, causing fight, flight or freeze reactions, looping you back to feeling stuck. Learn how to interpret the physical and emotional cues that you are going too far or too fast.

5.       Experiment with taking steps just outside your limits.

Nothing changes until you change, so find the step or steps that gets you moving. Then check in, reflect and readjust to keep you going towards your goals.  

6.       Build confidence and resilience through taking action

It is step by strategic step that we build confidence and change our lives. The giant leaps are relatively rare. Staying in action, getting feedback, developing new options will keep you on your path to change.

 

This framework has supported many people to find a more satisfying way of working in the arts, cultural and creative sectors. It has helped them get “unstuck” from unhelpful ways of thinking and acting to developing and executing career development plans that work for them. 

The first step is to recognise what does not work and that you want to change your current situation. The next is to get some expert support and guidance to keep you moving forward.

 

Posted in: Career Development, Inspiration, Making change

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<![CDATA[Bouncing back from missing out on a grant]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/bouncing-back-from-missing-out-on-a-grant http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/bouncing-back-from-missing-out-on-a-grant Thu, 14 Jul 2016 00:00:00 GMT Missing out on funding or a grant can be frustrating, disappointing and demoralising. However, the reality is that core arts funding budgets are either dropping or static in most areas, so losing out in the grant rounds will probably hit most of us more often then not.  

The good news is that writing your grant application gave you important insights into your organisation which can now be utilised in other ways.

Once you have finished kicking the (metaphorical) cat after missing out on a major grant, ask yourself these questions and use the information from your grant application to move forward.

1. What do I know?

Your finances had to look orderly in that grant application so use that information to ensure they stay there.

Identify the full cost of delivering each element of your program and every project.  Include all overheads (salaries, administration, rent, outgoings etc) as part of your project budget.

If your overheads are more than 30% of your project's budget, accept that you need to revisit your program or your operating costs.

2. Where do I need to change?

Once you know how much every part of your program costs, work out where your funding cut is going to hit most.

What parts of your program will be affected? If your application was for a single project this might be a simple matter of accepting that project won't happen. But if you have missed out on organisational funding you may need to review your total operations. 

In either case, it is a good idea to consider whether instead of just reviewing the parts of your program immediately affected, this is a time to review your whole approach.

3. When will the change hit?

You need to identify not only where the cuts will hit most but when that impact will come.  

Will it hit next year, or have you got enough to keep going for another 6-12 months?

If you need to find new sources of funding, what are the cycles for other grants, funding programs, and/or philanthropic giving?

Do you need to develop a detailed cashflowto see when you need to be planning for change and when to implement?  That will let you know when you need to make decisions and get into action.

4. How can you restructure to fit your new situation?

This is the tricky bit, and there is no one size fits all answer.

You need to decide whether your approach will be to attempt to replace the grant you had hoped for or to cut the program so you can fit within your new funding envelope?

Consider other options for funding; crowd-sourcing, social ventures, workplace giving, fundraising events and actively engaging donors. Is there anything you have not tried? is there anything you could develop further.

Now is a great time to look at a range of scenarios and test them for strengths and weaknesses. Use that imagination and creativity to push your thinking outside standard patterns of thought.  Make time to engage with other parts of the sector, other models, other ideas about how things might be done.  You want to be absolutely sure that you have explored every option before moving on.

5. Why am I doing this?

Finally, when making decisions about how to either re-fill your funding pipeline or restructure your activities altogether, go back and test your findings against your organisation’s mission.  That is the ultimate test about the viability of any project or venture you propose.  If it aligns that’s great – if not, you need to revisit.   And if your mission no longer resonates with you or your stakeholders than you really do need to go back to the drawing board. 

Creative and strategic thinking are needed to build resilient and sustainable arts companies.  Plus, the leadership to make tough decisions and take organisations on journeys of transformation and change.

Try not to do too much at once, take it step by step, and remain optimistic that you will find a way through.  Get support that you need and be generous with others.  It may be hard work but if you believe in your mission than it is worth at least trying to find a way.  

And at the end of the day there is no other answer, it least you know you gave it your best shot.

 

Judith Bowtell of Albany Lane is an executive coach and consultant that supports individuals to develop their professional careers in the arts, cultural and creative sector and organisations to grow.  

If you want more:

Posted in: Fundraising, Inspiration, Strategic Planning

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<![CDATA[Bigger is not always better - the six key risks in growing your organisation]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/bigger-is-not-always-better-the-six-key-risks-in-growing-your-organisation http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/bigger-is-not-always-better-the-six-key-risks-in-growing-your-organisation Fri, 18 Mar 2016 00:00:00 GMT I have yet to meet a CEO who did not want to grow their arts organisation: be it new programming, larger audiences, more participants or increased revenue. 

Ambition is a great thing.  It gets us up in the morning, motivates us and others and, most importantly, allows us to make the sacrifices needed to achieve greater goals.

However, misplaced ambition can have you chasing unrealistic or unproductive goals that put at risk your organisation, your mission and your wellbeing.

Becoming a bigger organisation through increasing revenue, staffing or activity is attractive.  Particularly when you feel like you are working on a shoestring and there is no respite from funding worries and increasing costs.

Being bigger can increase your impact and your position in the market but  there are often hidden costs in growth that may erode the impact and sustainability of your organisation.

Before you lay out that ambitious strategic plan, take a step back and think about what could go wrong.

Outstripping your governance and operational framework

Lots of arts organisations are like beautiful swans up top and ugly madly paddling ducklings underneath. Many times the problem is that there has been no planning for growth, and the systems and framework to support your performances and programs are either not there or no longer suitable. 

Good governance is paramount to guide decision-making and ensure the future sustainability of the organisation. By that I mean clean, clear policies and processes around expenditure, budgeting, employment, contracting etc.  From my experience, it is often the number 1 reason why arts organisations come unstuck. 

Over-staffing

This is another common mistake. You get a bunch of new money for a new program, so you bring on new staff.  Then the funding stops but the staff member remains because they have become “essential” to the organisation.  Then they leave and you recruit for the same role because it is “critical”.  However there is no revenue for this role and you now have a cost to the organisation that you may not be able to sustain. 

Make sure all recruitment is scrutinised by CEO (and board if you are in or at risk of a deficit) and that you are getting the skills you need now for the work you have ahead. Have your managers make a written business case as to what value this role will bring to the organisation in terms of costs saved, risks managed or revenue raised. Realise that each extra staff member costs the company not just their salary, but approx.. 20-30% more in on costs plus at least 10-20% of managers’ time.

If you are already managing more than two or three people, think carefully if you need more staff or if some external contractors could not do the work quicker, better and without needing the time, energy and input that a responsible manager should be giving their staff.

Increasing non-productive work

Unless you have the governance and staff issues well under control, growing is likely to mean the CEO and leadership team end up with a lot of unproductive work in extra meetings and staff management responsibilities. Without an effective governance framework, you can spend too much time working out how to do things that could be systematised.  Every extra staff member requires management, development, general care and attention.

If you find yourself managing too much administrative trivia and spending too much time in internal meetings, you need to go back and address points 1 and 2.

Losing focus and relevance

Even if you are managing the three points above, you can still be at risk of losing your place in the market if your offerings become too divergent and diverse.  If you find you have a hard time making a succinct and coherent narrative around your offerings (i.e. you can longer simply say what you do and why you exist) than you may have got too big.  There are no wins in being all things to all people.  It is much better to be knowing for what you do by the people to whom you matter.  

Missing strategic opportunities

Not having focus means you can become more easily distracted by “noise” around you of everyone else’s activity and not able to see clearly the opportunities that are best going to move your organisation forward.  If you have too many options on the table, it is harder to see which will best contribute to your organisation’s mission and artistic program. If you feel overwhelmed by the options out there, take a step back and ask yourself what you want to be known for in five years’ time.  Then drop anything that does not resonate.

Slowing everything down

Every time you grow and become a more complex organisation, you risk slowing everything down.  More people means more time to make and implement decisions.  Getting bigger can mean losing your agility to respond to opportunities in a timely manner.  Being slow can cost you more money and absorb unnecessary resources. 

Posted in: Inspiration, Leadership, Strategic Planning

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<![CDATA[Facing an uncertain future in your career]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/facing-an-uncertain-future-in-your-career http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/facing-an-uncertain-future-in-your-career Sun, 17 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMT Budget cuts and restructures are part of the landscape today, especially in the arts and creative sectors where cuts to arts companies and funding programs is an almost daily occurrence. 

A week ago  the  Australia Council announced 14 retrenchments.  It is is a reminder that anyone can be effected by decisions over which they have little control.

This week 10 youth arts companies face an uncertain future, Screen Australia has to deal with more cuts, as do the national cultural collecting institutions

Today, the NSW Government announced mergers in local councils, which could impact the work of cultural development staff, and arts professionals working in local and regional cultural venues: museums, galleries and performing arts centres.  There may be even more cuts to programs from these decisions too. 

The uncertainty is far from over. When the outcomes of organisation funding decisions are known in April, more organisations may need to consider staff cuts.

I have been through this situation myself a couple of times. The merger to form Screen Australia in 2008 and a restructure at Arts NSW in 2012 impacted me at two different times in my career. Those experiences and my work now supporting others through career changes has given me a few key insights to help you if directly or indirectly impacted by funding cuts at work.

  • Recognise what you can control and what you cannot:

When decisions come down from Canberra (or your state or local equivalent), there is not much you can do.  Policy and funding decisions are made in an environment that may be political but are rarely personal.  It is very unlikely that you could have influenced the decision.Sometimes things just happen and we have to accept them and move on.  If you think otherwise, that way madness lies.

  • Give yourself some space for your emotions:

No matter how philosophical you are, you will feel hurt or upset when your job is threatened or taken away.  When decisions are made that threaten your sense of self and your security, it is human (or even animal) nature to react.  Allow yourself to feel whatever is there, without trying to change, fix or analyse it.  Just give it space to be and experience the sensation of sadness, anger or fear.  If it feels overwhelming, seek support. 

  • Start planning now for an unknown future:

Even if you are not directly affected by funding cuts, our futures are uncertain.  That is just part of contemporary working life no matter what industry or sector.  Treat yourself and your career with respect, and do some regular maintenance of your CV, networks and profile in your sector.  Take on projects that develop new skills or challenge you, expand your repertoire, become a known expert or find a mentor or sponsor.  These are all small strategic steps that put you in the driver’s seat of your working life and can be done right now.

  • Give up feeling guilty, playing small or knocking back opportunities

At the end of the day the truth is that no one is responsible for your career development, job security and financial future: not your employer, colleagues, the board or government.  Even if you love your current role, it is an act of self-care and maturity to give yourself the best opportunity to be seen by other prospective employers and supporters.  That does not mean acting unethically, but it does mean working strategically to make the most of and create opportunities right now in your working life.  Many roles are never advertised so you are cutting yourself out of the market for some great chances if you don’t get yourself seen and heard.

  •  Get support and professional guidance

It is rare in arts organisations to have resources for outplacement and career transition that you might find in the corporate or government sectors.  However, getting a professional coach or counsellor that specialises in career change is one of the best investments you can make.

I first saw a career coach when faced with the Screen Australia merger, and could see that the role I had loved for six years was going to disappear.  At the time I was exhausted, angry, disappointed in myself and others, plus overwhelmed by all I had to do before we merged. Having a career coach (which I booked and paid for myself) gave me a safe space to explore all my options, and create a plan and actions in line with the direction I wanted to go. It gave me confidence to take some risks and step outside my comfort zone, without feeling overwhelmed and anxious.  The result was I took on projects where I was more visible to more people, got seen, and was eventually offered a great role with a fantastic team, that played to my strengths.  I never applied for a job. Instead I was able to negotiate a role that met most of my wants and needs. That is the difference of having someone on your side – not a friend, partner or colleague – but an objective and committed coach.

  • Book yourself some “worry” time to fixate on the future

It might seem counter-intuitive, but give yourself a date and time where you can worry about your current position and the future.  Maybe do it with friends or colleagues.  Really indulge in imagining all the worst case scenarios of joblessness, poverty, homelessness.  Get right into it for a little bit.  Don’t hold back.  And then when you have exhausted all the options to worry or time is up, stop.  Repeat if necessary but keep to a set time limit.  Knowing that you can worry as much as you like at a designated time can keep the fears and anxiety creeping in when it is not wanted.  It can also be a bit of fun.  

We live in uncertain times, and no one is ever immune to sudden and confronting changes in their working lives.  Take some time and space NOW to put yourself in a position to succeed no matter what your circumstances, and stay on the front foot in your career.

More information: Create your next career step workshop, 13 February, NSW

Judith Bowtell of Albany Lane is an executive coach offering workshops, mentoring and coaching to individuals and organisations in the arts. Her background includes more than 20 years experience in arts strategy and policy, in funding and cultural agencies, as well as leading small arts organisations.

If you want to find that strategic space in your working life:contact@albanylane.com.au

Posted in: Career Development, Decision Making, Inspiration

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<![CDATA[Funding cuts - stay calm and prepare for change]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/funding-cuts-stay-calm-and-prepare-for-change http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/funding-cuts-stay-calm-and-prepare-for-change Sun, 10 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMT This year nearly every small to mid-size arts company will be impacted by the decisions being made by the Australia Council and other funding bodies around organisation and project funding.

Last year we heard of numerous companies closing or winding back operations. Despite partial backflips by Minister Fifield (backflip with a half pike?) there is still a greatly reduced pot of funds to go around.

These decisions impact the entire arts ecology, from the SMEs to the majors, as well as individual artists. Any contraction in production puts pressure on all points of the sector. If you are working or aspiring to work as an arts professional you will be effected.

There is little to be gained from general anxiety or panic, but if you are in a leadership role you need to acknowledge, understand and communicate the reality of the situation.

There are some critical actions you can do now (that is before any external funding decisions are made) that will put your organisation in much better shape for dealing with changes as they come.

Firstly, if you are facing a real or potential significant drop in funding, you need to step up and accept this reality. Now is an opportunity to act as a leader not just a manager, by responding courageously and creatively to change, and taking responsibility for the outcome. It is time to stop being a victim to circumstance and get your head and those around you out of sand.

It is time to step up and bring about some fundamental change in your company for a better future.

  1. Forget business as usual. The world has changed and anyone in your team from your board to your artistic and management staff that argues differently is no longer your greatest asset.  Don’t scare the horses, but if you are in a leadership role make it clear that you are expecting your team to be aware and responsive to the changed environment.  That includes not assuming that all current and future commitments can be met.  See point 2 and 3.
  2. Review your delegations. Working in government I saw lots of arts organisations come unstuck, posting continuous deficits and struggling to turn things around.  More often than not there was an issue in the governance of the organisation: that is clear processes to manage the “who, what, why and how” of decision-making, especially around expenditure and forward commitments. The single most useful thing you can do now for your own sake, as well as your staff and board, is review your delegation policy. If you have or are likely to be posting a deficit, you may need to wind delegations back to board or CEO level, so that major or long-term commitments (especially staffing) are properly scrutinised. 
  3. Review your financial position or budget. Get on top of your figures. THIS WEEK. No excuses. Just do it. Don’t rely on your accountant or finance manager (if you have them). As CEO (Chair or board member) you are responsible and you need to know what you have, what you are committed to spend, and what you are realistically going to earn.
  4. Throw out your strategic or business plan. The environment for arts production in Australia has fundamentally changed and will continue to change over the next few years.  If you have a business or strategic plan that is more than six months old, you can pretty much throw it in the bin and start again.  That might sound harsh, but if your plan was made any time before mid to late-2015, than it was based on different assumptions about the funding market and operating environment. Working off that plan will risks bringing you unstuck.  
  5. Assume you will be unfunded. For your own sanity and the future of your organisation. You may not be, but your operating model should assume no significant government funding in the long-term.  That way you will have a business model that allow you to be (almost) independent of government-funding if need be. 
  6. Repurpose all government funding as a limited-term strategic investment. If you do get an organisation grant this year, congratulations, but assume it is the last you will ever see.  Plan to use it as you would an angel investor or similar.  That is as resources to develop your current or new business opportunities so that they can operate without ongoing government funding.  If you think of all funds as a one-off grant, you will be less tempted to use the funds to increase the scale of your operation beyond what is feasible long-term.
  7. Revise your business model to drive revenue, not just manage costs. The best use you can make of any organisation funding at the moment is to unpack and review your business model and budget with fresh eyes and no assumptions.  That means looking at all your activity in terms of its potential revenue, market position, cost to deliver and operational risk.  That way you can see where you need to invest resources strategically to grow the high potential parts of your program, which deliver on your mission and artistic vision. You can also see what needs to be cut. 
  8. Remember it’s never just about you. If you are running a not-for-profit you are custodian of a vision, which is more than you, your staff or board. Your intention must always be to leave a legacy so that the mission will continue, for as long as your community has need.  If you are stuck in the struggle at the moment, step back and ask yourself this question – who are we doing all this work for?  Then give yourself some time and space to let the question sit there and see what comes up. It might be that your community has moved on or newer products and services are meeting changed needs. If you are no longer relevant, as seen in response to your funding requests and income-raising, then start preparing to let go. 

 

If you want some support and advice on how to prepare and respond to changes in the funding environment, including reviewing your business model and strategic plan, contact us for some no obligation ideas on what to do next (contact@albanylane.com.au).

Judith Bowtell of Albany Lane is an executive coach offering workshops, mentoring and coaching to individuals and organisations in the arts. Her background includes more than 20 years experience in arts strategy and policy, in funding and cultural agencies, as well as leading small arts organisations.

Posted in: Fundraising, Inspiration, Leadership, Leading in crisis, Making change, Strategic Planning

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<![CDATA[Five immediate wins from creating your own career plan]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/five-immediate-wins-from-creating-your-own-career-plan http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/five-immediate-wins-from-creating-your-own-career-plan Fri, 08 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMT If you work in the arts or creative sector, you are more than likely a freelancer, contractor or working in a mid or small to medium enterprise. This gives you great flexibility and freedom, but you can miss out on some of the benefits of corporate life. 

While perks have been cut in recent times, some of these benefits remain: like paid leave, staff subsidies and a group of people to buy you cake on your birthday. Another is a HR manager that ensures everyone has a professional development plan.

In the best cases a professional development plan is a chance to review with your manager your goals, how they align with the organisation, and the opportunities for you to develop your skills, knowledge and networks.  In the worst cases it is a tokenistic response to HR requirements, with no real meaning.  

The benefit of creating your own plan is that you are not stuck with meeting others expectations and goals and have the freedom to create a strategy that meets your personal goals and objectives.

Here are some other great reasons to spend time this new year on creating your own steps towards a more satisfying and sustainable working life.

1.       You gain focus on the important but not urgent matters.  Career development is a bit like exercise. We need to plan for it to happen rather than rely on sprinting to the bus or being chased by a wild bear. Having a plan, milestones and accountability can bring attention to our own needs in the midst of busy lives. Without a plan you are at risk of pulling a hamstring and missing an opportunity…..or being someone’s snack. 

2.       You will quieten your mind and feel better about life.  If you have a tendency to worry about work and the future, a simple plan with a few strategic steps can give you some much needed “headspace”. Not having a plan can have you constantly flip flopping on whether you stay or go in your current role or chasing over anything that seems interesting.  This is a sure trip to rejection land and feeling out of control.  You may not have the whole big-picture plan worked out, but even resolving your short-term career goals can give you some much needed clarity and peace of mind.

3.       You can choose between opportunities and distractions.  We are all attracted by bright shiny objects. When your job feels a bit stale or frustrating, any offer can be attractive. A career plan, founded in your values and goals gives you a framework in which to assess these opportunities for their true worth. That includes courses, conferences and workshops as much as new job offers or promotions.

4.       You will see that you have moved forward towards your bigger goals.   The best thing about having a written down career plan is that you have something for you to regularly review.  Not in an obsessive way, but as a tool to see where you have moved in a given space of time.  Checking in every few weeks keeps focus and builds momentum.  It is better to achieve a couple of key objectives rather than try to do everything or give up and do nothing.

5.       Your career is your responsibility.  At the end of the day, the only person who is responsible for your career development is you. Not your boss, your mentor, your business partner or your collaborators. All sectors are seeing less long-term roles and more “gig-based” recruitment and employment strategies. So more than ever it is your role to stay on top of your professional development and work/life satisfaction.

 

Albany Lane’s Creating your next career step one-day workshop is a fun, creative and interactive way of getting started on your own career plan. Registrations are now open for the next workshop in Sydney on Saturday 13 February. 

If you want to know more about how I can support you in your career development contact us on: contact@albanylane.com.au

Judith Bowtell of Albany Lane is an executive coach offering workshops, mentoring and coaching to individuals and organisations in the arts. Her background includes more than 20 years experience in arts strategy and policy, in funding and cultural agencies, as well as leading small arts organisations.

 

 

Posted in: Career Development, Inspiration

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<![CDATA[Five ways you can develop your resilience even when life is crap]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/five-ways-you-can-develop-your-resilience-even-when-life-is-crap http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/five-ways-you-can-develop-your-resilience-even-when-life-is-crap Fri, 18 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMT It’s been a horror week in Australia with multiple and far reaching cuts to funding across the sector, plus news of companies at risk of or needing to close down. Even the announcement of council mergers in NSW has potential impact on funding and infrastructure at local and regional level.  Nothing is certain at the moment.  

The question Can the Arts Recover is not one I thought we would be needing to ask at the beginning of this year.  But this year has seen organisations close, programs cut, and the impacts of this year's policy changes are still to be fully felt.  At a time when we should be celebrating our successes and planning the year ahead, many of us are stuck staring at the worst of times ahead.

Whilst I want to cry with frustration at some of the decisions made by policy makers, I remain optimistic for the sector.  This is due to my belief and faith in the inherent resilience of arts and creative workers. 

As a community or tribe, arts professionals deal with the kind of uncertainty on a daily basis that would make a corporate trader turn in her shoes.  In making new work, no day is the same and there are challenges every moment. 

Funding (as we can see) can dry up in a moment, and policy priorities change year to year.  Sponsors and donors can change direction or be effected by their own economic issues.  Collaborators and partners work in the same turbulent environment.  Audiences make up their own mind and let everyone know via social media in the moment. 

I remember listening to a very successful film maker speak, and she said to be a producer you must love solving problems.  Because that is what your working life will be.  Forget fame and glamour (and she had won an Oscar), you have to love the problem-solving.

So how do you develop your resilience?

1.       These are the best of times and the worst of times:  There is no better time to develop resilience than when faced with a crises.  If you are directly effected by funding cuts you have an opportunity to find out just how resilient you are.  It won’t be fun, but you will see that you can survive the “worst case” scenario in your career and still carry on in all your other roles in life: friend, partner, family member, pet owner, sport lover.  What you learn now will make you stronger.  I promise.

2.       Press pause on your problems:  Learn how to create space in your working day. A simple technique is to write down (physically on paper) everything that you need to do, think about or worry about.  All of your fears and concerns.  Get them on paper.  Then stand up. Give yourself a good shake. Pick up that piece of paper and put it as far away from you as you feel comfortable.  It might be across your office, out the door or just under your chair.  Give it to a co-worker to mind for you.  Then set yourself a time that it feels OK to leave all that alone – 5 minutes or half an hour.  Use that time for reflection or doing something refreshing. 

3.       Practice mindfulness:  Mindfulness is not something you can only do when the time is right.  Nor does it need years of practice to perfect.  Give your brain some much needed rest and self-care by connecting to yourself and your surrounds for a few moments each day.  If you are new to the concept, take baby steps such as just noticing everything on your desk, without judgement, without trying to change or fix anything.  Just turn your eyes from your keyboard from a few moments and notice the colours, textures, shapes of all the objects on your desk.  It is that simple to be mindful.

4.       Practice gratitude and kindness:  When life stinks, these are your best strategies to make yourself feel better and be a better person to be around.  The world will thank you in weird and wonderful ways if you are thankful and kind.  Before you turn on your computer each morning, take a moment to write down 3-4 things you are grateful for each day.  Reach out to people who have inspired you or supported you, and thank them.  Notice the little services that others do for you, and consciously thank them for what they do.  Don’t be creepy, but just mindful of all that you do have.  Equally, find moments to be kind to yourself and others. Just because.  There may be karmic return, but basically you will just feel better.   So do it.  Start small.  Today.   

5.       Realise it is OK to walk away:  Being resilient is not about being a masochist.  Sometimes it is just fine to notice when enough is enough and you want to walk away.  It is very unlikely that you will be thought a quitter, and even if others do, so what.  It is your life and your choices and you have the freedom to determine how much shit you will put up with.  As an adult you are responsible for your own wellbeing, so noticing when the ground has shifted and it is no longer in your interests  to stay in a workplace or working on a project is a sign of maturity.  Taking action to move on is an appropriate thing to do.  Pay attention to your feelings, and be willing to exit in a way that best honours the relationship you had with the organisation and colleagues, and move on.

Sometimes life is just crap. I wish it was otherwise.  But change brings both opportunities and challenges and I know that the arts will survive in Australia, because of all of the amazing people who work for just that.  

Contact me for strategies on how to develop your resilence and respond positively to change.  

Posted in: Career Development, Compassion, Inspiration

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<![CDATA[Fresh start in 2016 – time to move beyond wishful thinking]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/fresh-start-in-2016-time-to-move-beyond-wishful-thinking http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/fresh-start-in-2016-time-to-move-beyond-wishful-thinking Sun, 06 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMT We are coming up to that time of year when thoughts start to turn to new year plans and resolutions. Once we get past the presents, turkey and plum pudding, there is much needed space for some new thoughts and ideas to take shape.

If you want to make some change in your working life in 2016, now is the time to start working out a few steps to get you beyond just wishful thinking.

I recently read with great interest that Cindy Hook, the new CEO of Deloitte Australia, took a year to plan for the job selection process for the role she really wanted. In this interview she notes the importance of understanding herself first, knowing her values and keeping focused on the goal ahead.

So even if you cannot change roles right now, you can start to put in place the steps that will take you further towards your goals.

At Albany Lane we have supported many individuals through the process of redesigning and recreating their working lives, including aspiring and accomplished leaders in the arts.

Our programs create the foundations for uncovering those next steps. 

1.       Discover who you are

Spend some time understanding who you are now, not who you may have been in the past.  That means going beyond how you define your personality to understanding your values and motivations. 

Our personalities (ie the team player, the hard worker, the good girl/guy) developed in response to our environment: our parents, schooling and early work roles.  They can limit us to one way of being and one way of working. 

Our values on the other hand are an expression of what we want to create in the world.  They resonate with us on an integral level, and allow us to relate to ourselves, others and the world of work from a different perspective.

Without understanding our values, we are much more reactive to the circumstances of our working lives (that is was it a good day or bad day).  Uncovering our values allows us to be proacctive and choose how we take up the challenge of creating and fulfilling our mission in life.

2.       Work out what you want

Knowing what you want stops us limiting our options to what we think we can or ought to do.  You need to get beyond the limits of established job roles and descriptions.

As we know, many jobs exist today that were never thought of three, five, ten years ago.  So we need to start thinking more in terms of tasks, responsibilities, environments that we want to be part of, not just of the title.

Taking some time to unpack your experience in terms of what you want to do more of and what you want to develop gives you a new perspective on your career plan.  It may also show you steps you can take right now, without changing roles at all.

Most importantly it will show up what you don’t want to do any more, even if you are really good at it.  We all have skills that we have developed, but that does not mean you want to use them every day anymore.  Focusing on your career development is also a great chance to jettison somethings we have grown beyond, even within your current role.

3.       Create a strategy and keep up the momentum

Getting beyond wishful thinking means having a plan and being active. Even if the goal is still hazy, without a few planned steps you cannot help but stay stuck. 

You don’t have to take a giant leap or try to do everything all at once.  In fact, it is often better to start your change strategy from where you are right now, giving yourself the support of a secure foundation.

Start with a few SMART goals – that is small, modest, achievable, realistic tests.  Build your networks, update your social media profile, introduce yourself to a few strangers.  Become more visible and more interested in the people and world around you.

Practice taking risks, small ones, but anything that challenges your comfort zone – at the limit you find acceptable.  Allow yourself to fail, have someone say no or turn you down.  Learn that you can survive and be OK on the other side. 

And above all, practice being compassionate and kind to yourself.  Our motivation for change is more sustainable through self-compassion than self-criticism.  That holds true in the world of career development as any other.  Become your own best friend throughout this process.


New workshop – Creating your next career step – Saturday 13 February, Sydney NSW

Whether you’re an aspiring or accomplished leader, success in the arts takes being strategic, reflective and resourceful. In this high pressure and ever-changing environment, having a road map for your journey will help you stay focused and proactive, regardless of the circumstances within your organisation or the wider industry.

If you’re ready to get on the front foot with your career, join Albany Lane for this one-day workshop and gain the space, clarity and tools that will help you design the next steps in your career in the arts.

For more details and to book one of the limited places go to: http://albanylane.com.au/know-yourself/

 

Judith Bowtell of Albany Lane is an executive coach offering workshops, mentoring and coaching to individuals and organisations in the arts. Her background includes more than 20 years’ experience in arts strategy and policy, in funding and cultural agencies, as well as leading small arts organisations. 

Contact us if you want to find that strategic space in your working life.

www.albanylane.com.au

 

Posted in: Career Development, Inspiration, Making change

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<![CDATA[10 steps to diversify your income and win the fundraising game]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/10-steps-to-diversify-your-income-and-win-the-fundraising-game http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/10-steps-to-diversify-your-income-and-win-the-fundraising-game Thu, 03 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMT Everyday 100's of not-for-profits and charitable organisations are spending time and effort on fundraising: individual giving, workplace giving, high net worth individuals, philanthropic trusts and corporate sponsorship.  It is now a highly professionalized activity and competition is tough: both for the attention of potential donors and for the talented, committed individuals that can deliver the goods.

Government policy (and common sense) dictates that you “diversify” your income streams, encouraging you to develop new strategic partnerships and relationships.  Each of which takes time and resources to manage.

However, without the capacity and skills in house, most small arts organisations (or even a mid-size operations) are often knocked out of the party before you even get started. 

In the middle of this are dedicated, highly-skilled and hard-working arts managers trying to hold it together, and wondering why there is a culture of burnout in the arts.

Now I encourage arts and not-for-profit organisations to be entrepreneurial, but I wonder if the business development model most arts companies use is fundamentally flawed.  

Current situation – funding the gap

Each arts company develop a fantastic program, cost it, and then look to the potential sources of income to fund the program. Much attention is put into creating programs that are excellent, innovative, collaborative and creative.  That is all great and needs to be applauded.  

If you have secured multi-year or annual “organisational” funding, you then look for extra sources of funding to meet “the gap”, hoping that you can deliver sufficient surplus to bring the reserves up to a point that the organisation is “financially sustainable”.

If that does not work, either the program is cut or the organisation runs a deficit, drawing down on reserves, becoming less “sustainable” each year.

The experience within the organisations seems to be a scramble of activity, sometimes planned but often adhoc and reactive, trying all options to meet the elusive “gap”.  The management reports focus on that one element, without giving  a full picture of financial performance. 

It is no wonder that development staff have the highest rates of turnover and burnout across the arts (and charitable sector). Constantly being in a “sales” mode, often working in isolation from the rest of the organisation, with over ambitious targets and often without sufficient leadership, marketing and strategic support to be successful.

That is the curse of fundraising.  

New approach –create revenue strategies

I suggest that we flip this situation on its head, and take out the myth of “the gap” from our financial and strategic planning in arts organisations. Instead, we need to think more commercially and strategically (within our missions). We can then create sustainable revenue streams, which have real potential for growth.

  1. Take as the starting point your artistic program.
  2. Unpack all of your component parts into what services or products you produce: productions, tours, exhibitions, workshops, training, licensable material etc.
  3. Based on actual figures, calculate the full cost of each part (not just direct costs but all staff time, administrative support and all overheads).
  4. Based on realistic assumptions, estimate all potential revenue sources (which may include philanthropic, private or corporate support) for that particular activity.
  5. Analyse the risks associated with the activity, and adjust your costs or revenue as necessary.
  6. That will give you the net return on that component of the program. Remember - net return is the only return that matters.
  7. Once you have that information in front of you, then you can make some choices about what has potential for growth, and where you may want to invest some resources to grow.
  8. You will also clearly see the elements that have limited financial return to the organisation. It is then responsibility of management and board to decide if the organisation can sustain continuing that part of the program.
  9. Then set realistic budget and revenue targets for the components of the program you are continuing, and make it clear who has accountability for managing and delivering these outcomes.
  10. Finally, set up a clear set of reports that provide, in a snapshot, how these programs are tracking (in terms of net return) at each board and management meeting.

If you follow these steps you can free yourself from the curse of “fundraising” in a vacuum and constantly reacting to what is on offer from the increasingly competitive philanthropic, private and government “markets”.

Creating a holistic revenue strategy, embedded in your artistic program, with shared responsibility across the organisation, allows you to be entrepreneurial and pro-active. You are able to respond strategically to opportunities, forward plan, and make better choices.

You will be able to have a clearer and distinct point of view, be able to target those really interested in what you are doing, and become a known provider in your chosen "market".

It takes discipline and rigour, rather than hope and wishful thinking, but it puts you back in the driver seat. You need energy, confidence and a committed team approach.  You need to be honest, be able to review your performance, take on constructive criticism and feedback.  It takes maturity.   

It also takes you beyond the goal of “financial sustainability” to actual profit.  With profit comes the opportunity to re-invest funds in developing new programs, services and markets.

That is the only way to grow your organisation.

Judith Bowtell of Albany Lane is an executive coach offering workshops, mentoring and coaching to individuals and organisations in the arts. Her background includes more than 20 years’ experience in arts strategy and policy, in funding and cultural agencies, as well as leading small arts organisations.

Contact us if you want to find that strategic space in your working life.

www.albanylane.com.au

Posted in: Fundraising, Inspiration, Leadership, Strategic Planning

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<![CDATA[Worker bee or inspiring leader]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/worker-bee-or-inspiring-leader http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/worker-bee-or-inspiring-leader Sun, 15 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMT There is a lot a discussion about the difference between management and leadership. 

For me, management is a version of “doing” – that is you are very good (or at least competent) at getting things done. 

If you have a career as a professional arts administrator, manager or producer, you are more than likely very good at “getting things done”.  You would be unlikely to hold your current role much less get another if you could not produce results, get a show up at time, balance a budget etc.

Being a leader is completely different.

As the wonderful Nick Waterworth puts it: Leadership is having a plan, making it simple, telling others, telling them again, and then adapting as you need.

For me leadership is about developing a vision, communicating it, and recruiting support.

It takes a completely different head space, view of yourself and the world to be a leader.

Firstly, you need to know yourself: not just your strengths, weaknesses and personality quirks.  You need to know your values, your motivations, your view of the world and what you want to express and create in it.

You need to allow yourself space for time and reflection.  Unlike the busy doing of management, leadership requires stepping back, seeing the whole picture, making connections, seeing the opportunities.

You need to have the courage to take inspired actions.  You have to get off the treadmill of constant effort and take those leaps of faith and intuition.

You need to inspire others.  Leadership is not about delegation and accountability.  It’s about creating an opportunity for someone else to connect to their vision and values, and come along with you.

You need to respect others and inspire respect.  As a manager you have a good reputation to uphold.  However as a leader you need to model the types of behaviours you want to see around you. 

You need to champion others.  Leadership is all about giving opportunities for others.  You need to be generous, acknowledge the contributions of others, and share the credit freely.

You need to be ready to take risks, make mistakes and learn.  A good manager will work damn hard for a project to succeed. You need them in your team.  However when an unforeseen situation occurs and pooh hits the fan, you need to be honest and acknowledge the error. 

You need to be curious and constantly learning.  A good manager knows their stuff and gets on with the job.  A great leader is constantly evolving, seeing opportunities to develop themselves and others through their projects and ideas.  

You need to consult regularly and often – but not be afraid to make a decision. 

You need to have great support.  No-one becomes or stays a leader by themselves.  You need a network of mentors, sponsors, honest brokers and trusted advisers to keep you sane, smiling and safe.  You need to know that it is more than OK to be vulnerable and ask for help. 

Leadership is a different game from managing and doing.  It is a way of being much more than a job title.  Being a leader is about being willing to change yourself and others, as well as the world around you. 

If that excites and inspires you, create a little space and begin to explore the opportunities around you.

Judith Bowtell of Albany Lane is an executive coach offering workshops, mentoring and coaching to individuals and organisations in the arts. Her background includes more than 20 years’ experience in arts strategy and policy, in funding and cultural agencies, as well as leading small arts organisations.

Contact us if you want to know more about how you can develop your leadership ability.

Posted in: Coaching, Leadership

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<![CDATA[Do's and Don'ts of working with boards]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/dos-and-donts-of-working-with-boards http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/dos-and-donts-of-working-with-boards Sat, 07 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMT

If you are a leader (or aspiring leader) of an arts or not-for-profit organisation, you will be working with a board of directors.

How to work with your board is one of the big topics my clients want to talk about: especially if it is your first time working as a CEO (or equivalent).

I have run arts organisations, supported government-appointed boards and councils, and been a Chair and member of a few arts and community boards. 

So based on my personal 20 years+ history, and the experiences of clients and colleagues, here are some of my personal “golden rules” for an effective and productive working relationship. 

DO be professional and respectful at all times. Your board is probably made up of volunteers, who are giving you their experience and expertise. Treat their input, connections and expertise as gold.

DO NOT be obsequious. You are a fellow professional to the board members, appointed by them to do a professional job.  Apply your judgement to all board suggestions.  If you do not agree it is the best way to proceed, say so. 

DO ask for help and assistance when you need it. A good board will appreciate working in a culture of “no surprises” and will give you their support.

DO NOT lie (ever) or hide things from the board.  Learn how to present issues in a timely fashion (ie early as possible) and in a way that the board can get across the information quickly and take action if needed.

DO make recommendations. Make it common practice to present issues with a proposed solution.  The board may want to go a different way, but you have considered the issue and given options.

DO NOT assume the board knows as much about the organisation as you do (given they are not on the ground day –to –day).  This includes key dates.  Give plenty of warning and send reminders.

DO respect board members that have more corporate knowledge than you PLUS their professional, general and life expertise.

DO NOT be defensive if there is feedback or criticism in a meeting. Take a deep breath and give space for the board’s concerns.  Remember it is their role to ask the “right” questions and at times challenge (as well as champion) you.

DO manage expectations.  Your board may want everything done now or even quicker.  Develop a strategic or business plan that is realistic in what you can achieve.  Then report against this plan regularly.  Use a traffic light system or similar rather than lots of text. 

DO NOT over promise.  Stretch goals are great, but check in that you have the resources, time and space to make it happen.  Hope is not a strategy. Neither is wishful thinking. 

DO plan ahead.  Have an annual schedule of board meetings that tracks all the regular reports, strategic and compliance matters that need to come to the board.  This should include annual budget,with appropriate time to review.

DO NOT expect your board to always agree to things in the meeting.  Give sufficient time for matters to be considered, including issuing key papers well in advance of regular reports.   

DO ask for regular feedback and review of your performance, in a professional context. Also remember to consider and be responsible for your own professional development needs, as well as your staff members.

DO NOT be scared of your board.  If someone is intimidating, get some advice on how best to deal with that person (preferably not from a fellow board member!). 

DO get support outside your team and board members – this may be your friends and family, but even better, have a professional network of peers or the safe space of a mentor or coach.

DO NOT be reactive.  Don’t wait for your board to come up with all the good ideas.  Regularly survey and reflect on your environment for opportunities. 

DO sort out your delegations.  Be clear and up front about what you have permission to do: especially around committing resources of the organisation.

And my number one rule….

DO SAY THANK YOU.  A bit of appreciation and gratitude can go a long way in nearly any relationship, including professional ones.  This can be a simple note after a board meeting, thanking members for their time and input, with a reminder about upcoming key dates and next meeting.  (You can also summarise key actions out of the meeting at the same time instead of leaving it for the minutes of the next meeting). 

 Taking a bit of time to invest in some of your most important stakeholders will play dividends in your quality of working life and your professional goals. 

Judith Bowtell of Albany Lane is an executive coach offering workshops, mentoring and coaching to individuals and organisations in the arts. Her background includes more than 20 years’ experience in arts strategy and policy, in funding and cultural agencies, as well as leading small arts companies as manager, chair and board member.

Contact us if you want to find that strategic space in your working life.

www.albanylane.com.au 

 

Posted in: Inspiration, Leadership

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<![CDATA[Risks of being over-programmed]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/risks-of-being-over-programmed http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/risks-of-being-over-programmed Sun, 01 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMT Are you worried about burning out? Do you answer “busy” whenever anyone asks you how you are? Do you regularly work weekends and nights and eat lunch (if you get it) at your desk? Have you forgotten what it is like to have time to rest, reflect and simply play?

Then you are probably “over-programmed”?

Right now I am working really hard: My business is booming, I am working in house for a client and I sit on a community arts company board.

 I answer yes to all the questions above, except I sometimes eat lunch in my car rather than at my desk.  

The tricky thing is, is that I love this feeling.  I literally get an adrenalin rush from having too much to do.  I love being in demand, being important, getting things done.

Whilst the adrenaline rush of being “very busy and important” can kick you along for a while, it comes at a huge cost to your personal wellbeing. 

If you are leading an organisation, it is critical to build in time for reflection and review.

For me the key difference between being a leader and being a great “do-er” is your capacity to recognise the need and then create space for reflection and renewal.

So before you say “Yes” to yet another great idea, opportunity or obligation, pause and consider some ideas on how to move out of the world of being “over-programmed”.              

Regularly review your commitments

Individuals and organisations can get caught in the trap of needing to be “all things to all people”.  This is especially true in the world of SME arts organisations, who feel the need to “tick the boxes” of their funding partners. 

Develop a framework so you can say “No” more easily

Have a checklist of three or four key questions to ask before you say “yes”:  Will it further our mission; can we do it within our resources; what will we need to stop doing to do this: will it return to our bottom line.

Cost in getting support: then outsource

Everyone does some things great and somethings just OK.  Focus on what you do great, outsource the “OK” stuff to others who are great at it; and then find the opportunities to do more of what you are an expert in. 

 

Taking some time to address your need to be “over-programmed” will prevent the pain and loss that comes from burnout.  Kick the adrenalin habit before it costs you more than a bit of indigestion.

We all have the right to a bit of space in our lives.  

Judith Bowtell of Albany Lane is an executive coach offering workshops, mentoring and coaching to individuals and organisations in the arts. Her background includes more than 20 years’ experience in arts strategy and policy, in funding and cultural agencies, as well as leading small arts organisations.

Contact us if you want to find that strategic space in your working life.

 

 

 

Posted in: Balancing work and life, Coaching, Strategic Planning

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<![CDATA[How to be strategic when applying for funding]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/how-to-be-strategic-when-applying-for-funding http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/how-to-be-strategic-when-applying-for-funding Sat, 17 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMT Many small to medium arts companies are facing a crisis,  the result of the government announced major changes to its arts funding policy, namely moving $104M from the Australia Council to the new ministerial “Excellence” fund. 

There is still a lot of shock and anger about this decision, and some hope that a new Minister for the Arts may address the concerns raised about the impact this has on the sector.

However, in the meantime arts companies across Australia are gearing up for the 1 December deadline for applications to the multi-year funding pool: an opportunity for ongoing operational funding, critical to their functioning and sustainability.

If you are in this situation it is easy to feel disempowered, frustrated and overwhelmed right now. As CEO or director of a company you might feel at a loss, just when your team is looking to you for guidance.  If you have struggled with funding in the past (and who hasn’t) you might be feeling hopeless that it is all too much, and simply have not got the energy to go in again.

You will also be trying to juggle the ongoing demands of your organisation whilst trying to make some space for preparing and re-writing yet another business plan and application for a funding body, in an ever increasing competitive framework.

If any of that sounds like you, I would love to offer you some support.  Based on my experience it is time for a bit of tough love, hard work and clear thinking.

Sort out your strategy

This is not the time to be all things to all people.  This is the time to work out who you are as an organisation, what are your priorities, and what are you out to achieve. 

Get ready to answer the hard questions about:

  • Your purpose (why do you do what you do)
  • Your audience (who do you do it for)
  • Your objectives (what are you trying to impact, change, develop)
  • Your business model (how do you do what you do)
  • Your revenue (what funds your model and is it sustainable)

Unlike most businesses, you are not driven by profitability.  However you are seeking sizeable investment from the Australian tax-payer community to develop artistic products, processes and people.  If you cannot succinctly say why, how and what you do AND what that achieves you will struggle to make a compelling business case for any audience.

Simplify your story

Once you have a clear sense of your strategy, now is time to communicate it to your audience of peers.  It is tempting to assume they know you and your work, but you cannot assume they know your organisation like you do.

You cannot assume anyone understands your strategies, your projects and outcomes unless you make it crystal clear.  

Take plenty of time to review your applications and test your messages with a diversity of audiences.  Use your board, your team, your colleagues (if possible) to test your ideas and your language.  Get feedback and make changes.  Throw out your darlings, don’t be defensive and leave your ego at the door.

This is probably about your organisation’s profitability and financial health for the next four years.  Do not leave this to the last moment, produce a confusing business case and assume it will all just magically be OK.

Start working on Plan B

Yes put an all out effort into making the best case you can for the 1 December deadline, but remember that unfortunately the odds are probably against you.  Only the top third or so of 500+ companies will get through the cut-off, and many will not.  Even if you are successful, we have seen just how tenuous government funding can be.  If you rely on government arts grants for more than 30% of your turnover you are probably at risk.

Do not wait for the decision to be made next year.  As soon as possible start working out what to do next.  What are your reserves? What are your commitments?  Who are your customers?  Who else can pay for what you do? What would your organisation look like if you had to earn 80-90% or more of your income or more from providing goods and services?  What would you need to start, keep or stop doing?

Support yourself in a safe space

If you are leading an organisation and applying for multi-year funding, the next few weeks are going to be stressful and exhausting.  Even the best prepared CEO and director will be faced with revising and writing complex documents, drawing input from a range of sources.  You may face questions and even criticisms from your team or board during this time about your decisions and strategies.  You may lose faith in yourself and those around you.  You will get tired and emotional. Trust me, I have been there.  It can be lonely and scary.

If you do nothing else, make sure you have someone with whom you can confide in and get the support you need.  Someone on your side, who understands what you are trying to do.  Have somewhere that you can vent if needed and listen to your problems and ideas.   Hopefully this place or person can also remind you of the big picture and bring you back on track.  You have all that you need to do the best you can. 

At the end of the day there will be winners and losers from this round of funding, just like there always is.    The decisions will be made and you will need to abide by the judges decisions.  Some organisations will change, some may merge, and others will close up shop.  

The best thing to do now is to do all that you can so that you say with sincerity that you tried your best with the resources that you have, because then there are no regrets at the end of the day.

Judith Bowtell has over 20 years’ experience in arts strategy and policy, in funding and cultural agencies, as well as leading small arts organisations.  If you want a advice on coaching, leadership development and strategic thinking, please contact us: contact@albanylane.com.au

Albany Lane –.  www.albanylane.com.au

Posted in: Fundraising, Inspiration, Leadership, Strategic Planning

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<![CDATA[How to move forward with ease]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/how-to-move-forward-with-ease http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/how-to-move-forward-with-ease Fri, 10 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT I saw something great today.

On my way to work this morning I noticed a mum with pram and little girl about to cross the road.  The mother was pushing the pram and pulling on her little girl’s hand, trying to catch the lights when the little girl reached out her other hand and grabbed the light pole pulling them all to an abrupt halt. 

Then the mum did something wonderful.

Firstly, she turned to the little girl and was obviously a bit frustrated.  She may have even scolded her a bit.  But when she saw the light had changed, she simply stepped back and sat down and waited.  The little girl then came closer to her and I am not sure what they said or did but it seemed the little conflict was resolved.  The woman stood up, took the little girl’s hand and walked forward in time to cross the road when the traffic lights next changed. 

This all took less than five minutes, but it made my day.

Sometimes when we try to move forward, we see an opportunity that seems too good to miss.  We rush forward but for some reason we don’t quite make it.  We don’t apply for that job or course.  We miss the closing date for a scholarship or competition.  We see a moment where we should speak up, but then it passes and we never get to make our point.

What stops us might be the usual demands of time, other commitments or simply not believing we are good enough.  But there might be something sitting underneath that we just have not noticed or want to ignore.

When this woman made the choice today to take a step back and connect with her little girl it reminded me of the importance of paying attention to the things that hold us back.

Our fears, doubts and uncertainties might frustrate and annoy us, but when we deny them and push them away we just cannot get very far.  

Imagine if this woman had chosen instead to argue with her little girl or just pick her up and carry her across the road.  She would have had a screaming, angry, squirmy child on her hands. 

Instead she drew back for just a moment, took a pause, listened to what was going on and stayed connected to her little girl.  And then just moments later they went ahead, in unity.

In their book Switch: How to change when change is hard, Chip and Dan Heath liken managing sustainable change, on a personal or organisational level, as aligning the elephant with the rider. That is, no matter how hard the rider (our logical brain) wants to go somewhere if the elephant (the emotional brain) is not aligned you will stay stuck.

So next time you feel held back from moving forward consider making another choice.  Take a moment to check if someone in your internal space is hanging back.  You do not need to try to fix, analyse, convince or change anything, just stay connected to your inner messages. 

In choosing to stay connected to your inner self you will find the power to move forward with confidence, happiness and grace.

 

 

Posted in: Career Development, Compassion, Inspiration, Making change

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<![CDATA[Taking stock - numbers or values]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/taking-stock-numbers-or-values http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/taking-stock-numbers-or-values Wed, 01 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT During my working life I have had the privilege (and sometime pressures) of compiling and writing Annual Reports for a range of cultural and education organisations.  It is one of those skills that I have learnt “on the job” and has come in incredibly useful in my working life.

One of the challenges of doing an annual report in an organisation is that nearly everyone looks at it as a “have to do” part of their work.  Let’s get it done quickly and painlessly, which is a fair enough approach. 

However, a few people, particularly in public facing organisations, see this as an opportunity to highlight achievements of the year and position their organisation for the future.  Reporting is after all a form of communication, so let’s make the most of it.

Today, having come to the end of an operating year for Albany Lane, I thought I would take a moment and draft my own mini-Annual Report.   There were three areas of focus:

·         Numbers – How many clients, coaching sessions, workshops, participants, marketing and networking activities did we see or do? What did we earn, where did it come from and what did we spend?  That is what, are the facts about what actually happened over the year.

·         Achievements – What are the highlights or major milestones of the year? What did we do that pushed the company forward? What strategies were completed or developed?  What is different now than 12 months ago?

·         Values – How did Albany Lane express its values of courage, compassion and community in the year past? What did we do that brought these values to life and contributed to someone else’s experience?  How did we make a difference? 

What I found is that despite sometimes feeling that I was not doing enough or nothing was happening, that in reality there was considerable focused work and worthwhile outcomes during the year.  Could I have done more?  Well probably.  Would I do things differently?  Of course, we are always learning. Am I proud what I have done?  Yes!  I am.  And looking forward to doing more.

It need not take long to review your performance but there is value on taking regular stock.  Even when working alone (maybe even more so) we need to step back and assess: where are we now, and then where do we want to go. 

Sharing this information with the people around you is also important.  Ask for feedback and suggestions.  Be courageous and generous.  It is surprising how often people are willing to help if only they are asked.  It is wonderful how often someone is willing to celebrate with you too.  

One of the reasons that hold women back from having the life they love (based on our 2014 research) is negative self-talk.  Taking an objective appraisal of your year to date can bring you clarity and confidence.  It is all too easy to let the supposed failures overtake the achievements in our world.   So acknowledge all that you have done this year, be proud and let someone see how wonderful you are.  

Posted in: Inspiration, Leadership

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<![CDATA[Why I invest in developing self-compassion]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/why-i-invest-in-developing-self-compassion http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/why-i-invest-in-developing-self-compassion Tue, 14 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT This week I had a cold. I will spare you the gory details but it was one of those colds that hangs around, saps my energy and leaves my brain in a state of mush. It was hard to sleep, I had no appetite, and I just lay on the couch reading fluff.

Now I work for myself so each day I was in that state there were a pile of projects not getting done back at the office. There were cancelled meetings and postponed phone calls. There were unpaid bills and clients needing follow up. There were people that depended on me that I could not provide service.

At home there were dishes, clothes and a household needing attention. My husband also got the bug and the dog needed walking. I should have contacted friends and family for Easter, and enjoyed good food and time out. There was (a bit) of sunshine to be enjoyed and yet I stayed indoors.

It was an absolute perfect storm to thoroughly and completely beat myself up.

However, over the past few years I have been consciously working to bring more compassion into my life. And this week I noticed the difference that this practice has made.

Instead of beating myself up I gave myself the space to be “unwell” and only deal with the essentials of life. I allowed myself to rest, drink fluids, eat lightly and generally take it easy. I allowed myself to feel some frustration and even sadness with what I was missing, and then move on.

I was gentle with myself, no longer pretending to be super strong.

I am lucky that in life I am generally healthy and rarely have these types of experiences. I cannot say I am glad I got a cold (that would be weird) but I am glad I got to experience my more compassionate self at first hand. 

It actually came as a surprise to myself that I no longer felt the urge to sacrifice my wellbeing for some goal or other demands. I was waiting for the inner critic to get in there and tell me off for going “to easy” on myself, for letting others down. But for once, she was not there.

Instead there was just a sense that taking care of myself at this time was the wisest and most sensible thing I could do. In fact why would I even consider anything else.

Despite what a lot of self-development gurus would like to tell you (and sell you), transformation takes time. Insight and inspiration can come in a moment, but it takes commitment to new practices to truly change your life.

It has been more than a year since I began regular meditation and other practices to develop a sense of self compassion. It includes learning more about my critical and judgemental voice, my unrelenting standards, my competitiveness and perfectionism. It is understanding that all of those ways of being have a place, yet they are not all there is.

Having a sense of self-compassion means I can be with the bumps in the road that life brings: the worries, stresses and frustrations we all experience from time to time. It does not make these things magically go away, but it does make it easier to be with them and find a way forward.

Taking the time to develop my capacity for self-compassion is one of the best investments I have ever made in my own development and well-being. So I encourage you to take some time to learn as well.

 

Posted in: Compassion, Inspiration

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<![CDATA[Megan Hipwell]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/megan-hipwell http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/megan-hipwell Mon, 30 Mar 2015 00:00:00 GMT

What did you want to gain from coaching?

I gained clarity of what I really wanted from my business and what was stopping me moving forward. I gain the confidence and belief in myself to take the steps forward and to trust the process. I gained patience to look at what was happening and cut myself some slack. I gained a centeredness in myself that is where I want to live.

What did you learn during the experience?

I learned that I really do have all that I need already within. I just needed to move the furniture around a bit inside to make the picture clearer and to see what was in the way. 

What did your coach add to your development?

Everything. The guidance. The right questions. The support. The sacred space. I could not have been on this journey alone, my coach was the other side of the coin that made this happen.

What have you noticed has changed or developed since you have been coached?

Profound changes have taken place. I have the tools to immediately go back to my centre and be calm and positive. I am more at ease with my path and my business and what I have to do this year. I still get nervous and feel out of my depth but I have the simple tools to bring me back to my core being and to face the task from a place of love not fear. 

What was the most surprising thing about coaching?

All of it. I thought it would be about business planning but it was much more. It was about how I think and feel and about the blockages that I have that are holding me back. A business plan would have been no good if I still had all the blocks in the way.

What will you leave behind and what will you take forward from the coaching experience?

Behind me is the fear of what I could be and the fear of failing. I move forward with centredness and calm and focus and belief in myself.

This coaching process with Judith was profound. Judith was respectful, gentle and guiding in her manner and words. I always felt like I was in safe hands as I faced the blocks in my way and took them down one by one. She is a phenomenal coach and I could not have gone through this process without her supportive guidance. 

 

Megan Hipwell, 39

Founder, The Acting Experience
 

Posted in: Case Studies, Leadership, New Business, Strategic Planning

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