How To Develop Resilience In Times Of Change

By Don Holley, Managing Director & Transformation Practice Lead

Something stressful happens at work. What do you do?

Do you:

  1. Stick your head in the sand and ignore the problem

  2. Take the bull by the horns and enjoy the ride

  3. Pull your hair out and complain to everyone who’ll listen

Stress and work are two peas in a pod. They go together like cheese and wine.

But have you noticed how some people seem to be able to cope with whatever change comes their way? Others, on the other hand, seem to find it really difficult to move outside their comfort zone…

What separates the two is resilience.

Resilience in a corporate context

Resilience is needed to deal with factors or events that cause stress. So it’s essential for coping with the challenges of work.

What characterises resilient people is that they move forward, deal with change, learn from challenges and emerge strengthened and even more resourceful.

Resilience is good for individuals and organisations.

Rod Warner, author of The Building Resilience Handbook, states there is significant value for organisations that enhance resilience in their workforce. He says resilient people:

  • experience overall more hope, optimism and positivity, so are better able to cope with job demands;

  • are best able to get through tough times at work and at home;

  • are more likely to learn new skills and knowledge when their existing set become outdated;

  • are less likely to become mentally or physically ill during stressful times;

  • turn adversity into a growth experience, and leverage it into new experiences and ways of working and living.

How to develop more resilience

Dr Alan Zimmerman suggests three strategies to build resilience:

  1. Recover

To regain a sense of composure, step back from your new situation for a period. This may mean time out for yourself through exercise or having coffee with someone who will listen to your concerns.

Aim to focus your thoughts on what choices you can make for yourself and, as Dr Zimmerman, says: “What you are willing to accept is what you get”.

  1. Refocus

Take a helicopter view of the change. Reflect on what has happened, why and what it might mean for the organisation and for you.

Identify what is causing your strong feelings. Ask yourself if this will still matter in a year’s time. You have an opportunity to change your mindset towards what is happening now.

In Monkey Business, researchers Wright, Hager and Tyink wrote, “When you change the way you see things, the things you see, change”.

  1. Regenerate

Change is stressful, so you need time to regenerate. Be kind to yourself by getting additional rest, eat well, and avoid overuse of alcohol. Spend more time with positive, encouraging colleagues and friends.

It may require addressing your own self-defeating behaviours. You will recognise your roadblocks in “that’s just the way I am” statements. Changing these habits requires you to be ready, willing and able to make the change stick. So seek support if appropriate.

In conclusion

Some people are naturally resilient. But if you’re not one of them, that’s no reason to despair. Resilience is a skill that can be developed.

And like anything, it takes practice. The more you train yourself to be resilient, the easier it will come. It’s about choosing one mindset over another. I choose to take this in my stride. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a challenging process, but it may just turn out to be extremely rewarding.

How is your mindset helping or hindering you in times of change?

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How To Create An Environment For Change: Self-development Questions Great Leaders Ask Themselves

By Don Holley, Managing Director & Transformation Practice Lead


What do Captain Jack Sparrow and change leaders have in common?

No, it’s not the eye makeup. It’s to do with navigating the seas of change.

In stormy weather, the captain of the ship must pull himself together and get his crew to pull together. Otherwise the ship will end up on the rocks. It’s the same with your change strategy.

You must create a cohesive team environment in times of change and exhibit strong leadership, otherwise you’ll all be heading down to Davy Jones’ Locker. Either that, or you’ll have mutiny on your hands.

Your change strategy thrives (or rots) from the change leader down.

That might sound dramatic, but actually it’s true. And as a leader of change, self-awareness and self-leadership are critical to creating the right environment for success.

Creating an environment for change

It is sometimes uncomfortable to step back and reflect on the environment you create as a leader. However it is essential to understand your impact. This is because people experience you from your behaviour and your actions, not your intentions, thoughts, or feelings.

Douglas McGregor proposed that “the attitudes of managers flow through into their behaviours towards their direct reports and impacts the responses of their direct reports in turn.”

In times of business change, leaders are dealing with their own transition as well as that of their teams. This can make it difficult for leaders to recognise the impact they’re having on others.

Great leaders have the self-awareness and self-leadership to go beyond the difficulties they’re facing themselves, and understand their role in exacerbating their team’s situation.

Self-development questions great leaders ask themselves

To foster mutual confidence and respect, there are three fundamental questions you need to ask yourself. Your answers will drive the aspects of behaviour that underpin the relationship you have with your team:

1. Where do you place your attention?

Your behaviour is the clearest guide that your direct reports have about what’s important and what’s not. Inconsistency causes confusion, which leads to inefficiency, uncertainty and reduced morale.

2. What / how do you reward and discourage?

Productive workplaces are those where there is generous use of subtle encouragements (like showing appreciation and support) in response to strong social and self-esteem needs of direct reports.

3. How do you treat people EVERY day?

Do you have a personal demeanour that indicates respect, emotional self-leadership and sound judgement in your professional interaction with others, regardless of your personal feelings?

(Adapted from: Dr Judith Chapman)

As a leader of change, investigate these questions with yourself honestly. Self-awareness and self-leadership are critical to creating the right environment for successful change. Leaders need to be open to receiving constructive feedback, for their own development and the team’s benefit.

If you’re leading a team or organisation through a change project of any kind, let us know in the comments what underpins your team relationships. Is what you’re currently doing working for you?

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Distracted At Work? Dealing With Corporate Attention Deficit Disorder

By Aaron Dodd, Director

We’ve all seen it.

We know those that have it. You may even be afflicted yourself.

Corporate Attention Deficit Disorder (CADD) is rife in the modern workplace, among individuals and the organizations themselves.

But don’t worry, there are strategies to manage it.

What is Corporate Attention Deficit Disorder (CADD)?

In its simplest form CADD can be seen in those who flit from one task (or corporate fad) to another. They won’t finish it or implement it fully before moving on to the next thing.

The digital revolution has seen a massive increase in CADD in the workplace, as professionals attempt to keep up with the rapidly changing corporate landscape.

Individuals with CADD exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Easily distracted
  • Miss details
  • Forgetful
  • Frequently switch from one activity to another
  • Quick to jump onto the latest fad
  • Have difficulty maintaining focus on one task
  • Bored with a task after only a few minutes
  • Fidgety and restless in meetings
  • Constantly checking their digital devices (likely sufferers of FOMO – fear of missing out)
  • VERY impatient!

Organizations with CADD

CADD will have its most damaging impact if the CEO and/or other executives suffer from it.

Long term strategies are suddenly thrown out in favour of the latest fad, technology offering, or buzzword.

The enterprise suffers, as employees play catch up to the latest campaign message or strategy. Often, there is little attention paid to the relevance of the latest initiative, nor any benefit gained from its implementation.

There is no better cure for corporate attention deficit disorder than a good dose of strategy.” Nick Cowling, HuffPost 

So what’s the cure?

The cure is simple: plan your work and work your plan.

Don’t get caught up in the latest this or that. Just because there’s something new on the market, it doesn’t mean it’s relevant to your organization, audience, or business plan.

Strategy is the basis for everything in business. Recruitment, communications, sales… everything. As Simon Sinek famously advised, “start with why.” And ask yourself that question every time something new comes along.

Why is this useful? Why is this relevant? Why is this worth the time? Why is this beneficial? Why, why, why, why, why.

Your why is the only narrative you must stick to.

Bottom line is, your innovations will have much more impact and much less risk if you build them with your narrative in mind and continue to deliver on why you exist and what you believe.” Nick Cowling, HuffPost 

Don’t get distracted. If you see a colleague going off track, intervene and get them back on the right path. Source outside counsel. Get some perspective.

And if you are a CEO who has CADD, realise the implications it has on your staff. They’ll become rapidly disengaged. The constant change of direction will decrease motivation and productivity.

If you’re choosing a new course, understand and communicate why you’re doing so. Be strategic when making your moves. Spend time to make them work and measure their success. THEN, and only then, should you start to make new ones.

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Contingent Vs. Retained Recruitment: What’s The Difference?

If you’ve ever outsourced your recruitment, you may have been surprised to find that there isn’t simply one way to do it.

I often find myself outlining the different ways for clients, so they can make an informed decision about what will best suit them.

Usually, it’s a tale of two options: contingent vs. retained recruitment. And having worked in both fields, I am well placed to comment.

What is contingent recruitment?

When I worked as a contingent recruiter, it constantly felt like a race. Or a battle. The flick and stick. The push and shove for fantastic candidates to fill speculative roles. You cross your fingers and toes, avoid ladders, broken mirrors and black cats, in the hope of getting paid for the work you’ve done.

This is the world of a contingent sales recruiter, and it is tough. The pressure to make something out of nothing is great, the activity levels are high, and the culture is cut throat.

Contingency is sometimes described as No Win, No Fee (or even No Cure, No Pay). It is what it says on the tin, a service performed by a recruitment company for free until the day a candidate represented by them takes a position with their client.” The Undercover Recruiter 

Working on a non-exclusive competitive contingent assignment, is often working for free!

Working this way is how the recruitment industry got the reputation of “throwing CV’s against a wall”. That’s because this way of working means that the recruiter has to be quick – do a quick database search and get as many CV’s that look OK to the client.” Beaumont Wood

What is retained recruitment?

At Mindset, I’ve learned that retained recruitment involves selling from the beginning. You offer your professional service to a client and ask to be paid upfront for the hard work you are about to undertake.

The research, mapping, screening, interviewing, testing, references, and last but not least, the general management and constant sales within the process, ensures the client gets a candidate for the role that will deliver the right results.

This all takes a considerable amount of time and effort, for which, as a professional, you should be paid.

Coming from years of contingent recruitment, adapting to retained was a daunting task. The calls are cold, the conversations are at a much higher level, and the sales cycle is slow.

Where once the aim of a meeting was to walk away with the sniff of a job, it is now to develop a long term relationship with the client, to understand their business, people and culture. To have a good level of engagement with your client and understand its offering, so that when a vacancy arises, you’re ideally placed to fill it.

The verdict

Contingent vs. retained recruitment: the difference between the two models is now clear to me.

With retained work you must sell yourself, the recruitment company and its process. The sale is up-front and it’s something you have control of and believe in.

With contingency, you sell candidates to clients and jobs to candidates. And everyone else is trying to sell the same candidate to your client and others! It’s survival of the fittest. Only the fleetest of foot will survive.

Give me a retainer every time! I get paid and clients get better candidates. Win-Win!

The retained recruiter takes their time to get things right using processes and agreed methodology, knowing they will eventually fill the position thanks to their exclusivity terms. The contingency recruiter will be a lot quicker and most probably deliver more candidates to increase the odds of making a placement.

Another difference is that the retained recruiter has signed up to a service level, sometimes a retained search can be challenging and these projects can be rather lengthy. The contingency recruiter will simply move on to another vacancy or client where they believe they can get a more straightforward win.” The Undercover Recruiter

For all the extra time and skill that retained assignments take, every second is worth it both for me as the recruiter and also for the client. Less anxiety for me. More time to do a great job. A better candidate for the client. Happier people all round.

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Dealing With Change: 4 Lessons I Learned The Hard Way

By Ben Ramsden – Senior Transformation Consultant

Ever heard of someone losing their lifetime’s computer data in a hard disk crash?

Yeah well, it happened to me recently. And I was surprised how this particular dark episode reminded me of some key lessons about dealing with forced change.

The dark day my hard disk died

I was initially (reasonably) relaxed about the expiry of my computer drive because I had two backups. Or so I thought.

Unfortunately, for reasons I still don’t fully understand, neither of them could be restored.

For a split second I found myself at the brink of having a very unattractive, major meltdown. But then I paused, drew breath, paused, breathed again, and noticed something quite remarkable.

The world hadn’t ended. The sun was still shining outside. I still appeared to be fit and healthy.

I finished work early that day and spent more time than usual with the family (very nice. I also had a very good night’s sleep.

The following morning, I went out and purchased a new computer from a different manufacturer containing a tried and tested backup solution, and started afresh.

This new computer came with much better software. It has allowed me to do things quickly and easily that I had always wanted to but never thought possible.

I should have upgraded years ago, I thought.

Then a couple of weeks later, a very clever technician managed to extract all my lost data from the damaged drive. But the funny thing is, I’ve barely needed it since!

What I learned about change in the process

So what lessons did this incident remind me of when it comes to dealing with forced change?

1. Emotional reactions are just that

No matter what it is that happens to thrust change upon you, know this: the world will not end.

This simple reminder can help you shift your mindset from a state of extreme stress to one of control and calm. You control your emotions, not the other way around.

2. Adversity contains hidden opportunities

If my computer drive hadn’t crashed and burned, I would still be slogging away with an outdated and sub-standard computer system.

There is always something to learn from change and, a lot of the time, it’s just the kick in the pants we need.

3. Behaviour in the moment is all that matters

Look forward not back. Ask “what next”, not “why”.

4. Comfort feels good but has limited value

We all get stuck in ruts or habitual patterns of behaviour. I knew there were probably more efficient and effective solutions available than my dinosaur computer, but I didn’t act until I had to.

The whole experience has been a timely reminder to examine other areas of my life that have become “comfortable”, to challenge myself out of my comfort zone.

What are your experiences of dealing with forced change and what did you learn?

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Roadblocks To Success: Fixed vs. Growth Mindset

By Suzanne Corliss – Senior Transformation Consultant

A very good friend reminded me the other day that we lie to ourselves far more than we ever lie to anyone else.  Self-deception can be a hard habit to break.

You’ve probably experienced the feeling of things moving in the right direction, you’re feeling positive about certain triumphs, then suddenly – BAM! Up comes one roadblock after another. You hear your inner voice saying to yourself, “not again.” Or, “why does this always happen to me…?”

Sound familiar?

It’s not you

The truth is, it doesn’t just happen to you. It happens to everyone at various times.  The difference is in how you approach it.

With some people, you don’t notice that they’re working through roadblocks, because they seem as enthusiastic and determined as ever. Others are feeling deflated and flicking it into the “too hard” basket.

Maybe it’s time to look inside and see what’s going on in your mind. What deceptive little tricks is your mind playing on you?

Everything starts with a thought

Thought –> Action –> Outcome

When taken a little deeper, this says our reality is determined by Be –> Do –> Have. The results and outcomes we reap begin with the thoughts and energy we sew.

So, how do we become aware of what our thought process is? How do we know what Mindset we’re in?

Let’s look at a simple example to assess your mindset.

Imagine you see someone exhibiting behaviours you consider unacceptable. They may be overbearing, loud and dominating. Or maybe they hold a belief or value system that differs greatly from your own. Does your inner judge quietly condemn the person? Does your facial expression hold signs of dismay or disgust?

Fixed vs. growth mindset

Perhaps you try and put yourself in that person’s shoes and offer explanations for their behaviour. That’s what’s called a fixed mindset. A person whose beliefs tell them, “they are the way they are,” and there’s precious little they can do to change it.

So, how would someone with a growth mindset approach this situation? Well, they’d probably just talk to the person about their behaviour! From their point of view, that person presents an opportunity to learn something.

Someone with a growth mindset will confront a challenging person or challenging behaviours/views with the following approach: “I may not understand this person’s motivations or actions right now but I’m going to find out what this person has to offer and try to understand their perspective.”

That inner voice is a great opportunity to understand where your mindset sits regarding certain situations.

If your mindset is focused on failure (even if it is avoidance) you are already on the path to it. Listen to whether your inner voice is telling you, “this is the way things are/aren’t.” Or whether it’s exploring new possibilities. Challenge your inner voice to see whether it’s trying to keep you in your comfort zone, away from potential failure.

Where’s your head at?

When we embrace challenges, new ideas and other people’s perspectives we allow ourselves to grow. What was once seen as a roadblock is now an opportunity to do something even better, create something that may make a difference.

So here’s an exercise for today. Ask yourself, where is your head at? Is it helping or hindering your growth and ultimate success?

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3 Steps To Setting & Implementing A Compelling Business Strategy

By Ben Ramsden – Senior Transformation Consultant

A key part of setting strategy is aligning with the business culture, so there is one single direction and approach.

I often have clients say, “We want help with our strategy.” What they actually need help with is getting full and passionate alignment to see the strategy through to execution. I mean consistently aligned actions and behaviours throughout the organisation, not just nods around the Board table.

Some clients recognise up front that they need help with alignment. But for most, it only becomes clear during the engagement.

The trouble is that by then it’s too late.

People who are good at telling you what to do (high IQ functional experts) are often not great at fostering organisational alignment and engagement (high EQ team players). People who can do both well are very rare indeed.

Further, a linear process of setting strategy in isolation from execution often has problems later.

3 steps to success

The approach I recommend for success in any strategic consulting project is to ascertain the following 3 steps at the outset of the project:

1. Direction

In his mega-selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey suggests: for sharp direction and approach, you must first know where you’re going.

This involves strategic planning, a full review of the strategic planning process, and design of process fit for your business.

2. Agility

Achieving organisational alignment and confidence creates passion and speed. This stage involves a leadership alignment session to link strategy to execution by ensuring appropriate plans, targets and capabilities are in place. A Management KPI dashboard is also useful, to include leading and lagging indicators.


The final stage is about building an internal change capability to create and sustain desired change, realising planned benefits.

I always develop a change plan to achieve appropriate buy-in, support and behavioural change across the client’s organisation.

Another piece of advice borrowed from Stephen Covey is, “Begin with the end in mind.” Essentially, if you are not clear about the end then you won’t get there – and you certainly won’t get there quickly.

Setting effective strategy is all about clarity of direction and approach. So, I would ask you, how clear is your strategic direction and do you really have the skills internally to correct it?

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Pro’s & Con’s Of Internal Candidates And How To Manage Their Applications

By Aaron Dodd – Director & Talent Practice Leader

Here at Mindset, we provide sourcing and selection services. Our clients usually come to us because they realise their time is better spent growing their businesses, while we can best be of use in making their selections for them.

Enlightened managers recognise that to get the best people for a position they must consider all possible candidates, both internally and external to the company.

Internal candidates can often be the ideal candidate. But they often come with a lot of baggage and may have unreal views of themselves and their capabilities. They are highly valued by our clients in their current positions, yes. But internals can tend to feel entitled to a role.

Mindset usually handles internal candidates by having them apply for the role and then putting them through the same detailed selection methodologies as external candidates. This enables us to make positive, objective recommendations about which candidate is the right person for the job – not just the most convenient.

Common pro’s and con’s of internal candidates

Positives Negatives
Candidates know the culture, products and/or services of the organisation. Meaning fast ramp-up into the role. Can be entrenched in the ways of doing things, and resistant to change. This is especially the case in transformational projects, when new heads with new ideas and ways of doing things are important.
Are well known to the company’s management – “better the devil you know….” Are well known to the company’s management. No one is perfect; if someone has been in a role for a while, their colleagues know their strengths AND weaknesses (which will likely be focused on more).
Can start in the role quickly, does not have to give notice/move cities etc. Leaves another hole to be filled, which may prove to be even harder, especially with the prior occupant still involved.
Often can be less expensive than external. If you are under-paying an employee (compared to market values) then they are readily headhuntable, something becoming increasingly common as the talent shortage bites.
Convenient, easy solution. Convenient does not mean they can do the job!

The above does not mean that internal candidates should be ignored. Far from it! But they should go through the same stringent selection processes to ensure they can deliver the expected results in the role.

How do you prevent good employees from going bad when they don’t get the role?

Good question. How do you manage internal candidates when they’ve been unsuccessful in their application for an advertised position within the organisation? And how do you prevent them from becoming disengaged and a distraction to your business operations?

When managing internal candidates through a recruitment process, it is not uncommon for them to be left with negative feelings if they’ve been unsuccessful. Here at Mindset, we see the following scenarios:

Scenario 1

Internal candidate feels they’ve been overlooked, becomes disengaged and leaves. Especially if they have been led to believe by management that they were being groomed for a position (and haven’t been, or are not yet groomed enough).

Scenario 2

Unsuccessful internal candidate “white ants” a new external appointment, as they know the corporate weak spots and relationships to attack.

Scenario 3

Disengaged internal candidate becomes a disruptive influence on others, especially colleagues who may morally have supported them in their application. It sends a signal to the rest of the employees that is (mis)interpreted as, “the company ignores us, we have no career path, etc.”.

How do you prevent these scenarios?

Mindset puts in place different processes to mitigate these sorts of outcomes.

Most internal candidates will go through a full objective assessment of their suitability for the role.

If they prove unsuccessful, the internal candidate is fully debriefed by a Mindset consultant as to why they didn’t get it. This debrief is usually the start of a coaching program. So Mindset actually works with the candidate over a period of time, addressing identified issues and working with them so the next time a suitable role arises they are better prepared.

Debriefing in this way provides relevant information to the candidate (rather than “sorry, we’ve given it to someone else”). It also provides them with a positive message and support that will hopefully minimise potential disengagement.

But most importantly: the company’s management MUST support the new appointment if they are external.

Similarly, if an internal appointment is made, they must be supported through the transition into their new role, especially if they are managing former colleagues. Mindset’s coaching programs can also assist with this scenario.

I hope this helps to empower you in your hiring decisions. If you have any questions or comments, let us know below. Of course, if you’d like further help or information, just give us a call.

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Mindset & Managing Change: When Will CEO’s Realise Their Mistake?

By Don Holley – 

Change management is one of the biggest barriers companies face when moving to a shared services or outsourcing model.

Many Australian companies are looking at business transformation initiatives such as these to achieve some level of organisational improvement. It may be the need to become more competitive on an international level, broader access to supply constrained skills, or the need to reduce costs and/or improve operational efficiencies.

But what’s the one constant that’s required to realise any of these improvements? Change!

They all require significant amounts of change to occur in the organisation, both at an individual and enterprise level.

Change management affects every layer of the shared services journey. As such, it presents challenges both at SSO staff and business stakeholder levels. It’s the people involved in the change that will make or break its success, so it only makes sense that you need a plan from the outset to manage the transition.

Mindset and managing change

I recently read an interview with Pfizer’s ANZ Head of HR Shared Services, Jonathan D’Souza. He said, “For us at Pfizer, it’s a mindset change.”

Music to my ears!

A key part of setting strategy is achieving alignment within the business, so there is one single direction and approach. A single mindset.

Don’t fall into the usual trap

A lot of clients only begin to understand this mid or part way through the transformation project. The trouble is that by then the activity has already started and the dye has been cast.

Why do so many organisations continue to dedicate inadequate resources to manage the change that is required for a successful transition?

We know all too well that mistakes made during the transition can have an impact for years to come, leading to delays and loss of financial benefits. Or even worse, stakeholder dissatisfaction.

Culture is either the key enabler of strategic execution or the invisible force that kills it. But so many CEOs are still overlooking this critical piece of the puzzle, a fatal mistake in my book.

When will CEOs and leaders of business finally realise that the soft skills are actually the hardest?

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