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Activate Report - Week Four - Leading with influence

Activate Participant:      Rebecca Callaghan

Position:                           Major Events & Deakin University Special Events Manager

Organisation:                  Truffleduck

Session:                           Week 4

Theme:                             Leadership with Influence

Inspiring guest speakers, an insight into our fellow participant and team DISC styles, the marshmallow challenge and an introduction to 'situation leadership', was 'Activate' week 4!

Our session began with an introduction to Mike McKinstry, Chief Executive Officer of Karingal. Originally from Scotland, Mike has led an interesting and versatile career that spans from Glasgow, to the British Midlands, to Melbourne's South Eastern suburbs, to Detroit, USA and now presently, Geelong.

Mike, when speaking of his diverse roles across the globe, re-iterated to our group that when a chance comes along 'you take it'.  You may find yourselves with opportunities in which you believe you have limited experience. However, upon assessing the environment you are in, being involved, honest and open with your fellow team members, your leadership style can adapt to suit the situation. Always listen intently, but at the end of the day, base your decisions only on the facts.

Next 'Activate' had the privilege of hearing from Stephanie Asher of the Geelong Consulting Group.

Stephanie awakened us to the 'sleepy hollow' type cast of Geelong, 'The Geelong Context', and the unique aspects our regional city displays, past and present, and the concept of risks vs opportunities.

"We can make positive change by communicating for influence.  Find your target and speak their language and always be yourself! Authenticity cannot be faked, even on social media," Stephanie told us. "You need to understand your 'brand' and match your ambitions with your capability. Understand your values and always be kind to yourself and others, know your objective and play to that. People have different ideas of success." However, the most captivating quote that Stephanie left us with today was, "You may as well be honest, it takes less energy!"


And on that note, we revisited our DISC reports with Damien O'Malley of the OMC Group (see Week 2 Activate Report). After a quick review of our results from the previous weeks, we joined fellow participants of similar DISC styles and looked at the opposite style to our own. An entertaining twenty minutes followed with participants presenting to the group, their opposing DISC style, promoting "Activate Series 2".  We had presentations that were short, sharp and direct appealing to the 'Ds' style, the friendly enthusiastic bubble blowing 'Is', the supportive patient harmonious 'Ss' and the factual reserved attentive 'Cs'.

Laughs were had by all whilst understanding we are not all the same, and each of our styles are authentic to us and that we can all work cohesively together, to achieve a positive outcome. As displayed, following Damien's task, 'The Marshmallow Challenge'.

Split into groups consisting of each of the DISC styles, we were given the task of constructing the tallest structure that was able to hold a marshmallow at the tallest point, made from dry spaghetti, string and sticky tape.  This was to be done in 18 minutes with only the help of scissors and good teamwork. Our teams got to work and tried hard, however, our winning team did display true architectural and engineering ability to create a very clever structure that not only could withstand holding a marshmallow, but that could actually stand up, non-assisted!

So until next week's 'Activate', and in the words of our guest speaker Stephanie today, "You learn and soldier on".


Activate Participant:      Chelsey Cameron

Position:                           High Performance Coordinator

Organisation:                  Barwon Sports Academy/Pathways

Session:                           Week 4

Theme:                             Leadership with Influence

Today's session started off with the Simon Shiek Ted Talk, which looked at theGolden Circle. The concept involved the "Why", "How" and "What" and emphasised that people will buy into things because of the "Why" rather than the "How". Whatever setting it is, it's the "Why" that we are passionate about, not the "How". "Why are we doing things" is what interests people, and "what is our motivation behind it", not the process or steps it can take. The concept is common to technology giant Apple. Another Ted Talk to follow up on is "Why great leaders make people feel safe".

Next up the group was fortunate to hear from Karingal CEO Mike McKinstry on his leadership journey. Mike's fascinating background has seen him move from the industrial/automotive industry and travelling all over the world to his current role based in Geelong as the CEO of Karingal.

Mike shared his leadership insights believed to be vital in any situation including; involvement, openness and honesty, communication, situational leadership and assessing the environment around you, to name a few. In closing Mike spoke about Culture Change and going from Good to Great. The key factors required were employee engagement, customer satisfaction/engagement, cash flow and stakeholder engagement.


Next up was guest speaker Stephanie Asher who spoke about communicating effectively within "The Geelong Context". Stephanie gave a thought-provoking speech from the perspective of somebody who has moved to Geelong from Melbourne and how to communicate effectively in this environment.

Stephanie provided a light-hearted guide to surviving in Geelong and looking at the ways we can be great leaders and contribute to this community.  One great quote Stephanie used was "We all must pull on the same rope" - Frank Costa. A great analogy that we all need to be on the same team, working together.

Within her presentation Stephanie shared with the group her political insights and her journey to run for Mayor. Key topics included communicating for impact and the importance of using perspective and knowing the context, looking for a point of difference and finding your unique selling point.

A lot of Stephanie's presentation revolved around the importance of always being yourself, we are all unique, authenticity cannot be faked, understand your brand and match your ambitions with your capacity in life.

Stephanie's closing statements were KEEP IT CLEAR AND SIMPLE!!! (Simple is not stupid, Jargon is not clever). Be kind to yourself, know your objective and play to that, different people have different ideas and success.

To finish off the day we were then fortunate enough to have Damien O'Malley return and delve more into our DiSC profiles. The group recapped over key points from the previous session looking at the ABC - Activator, Behaviour and Consequence and how understanding each in a person can help us to work better with different personality types and behavioural patterns.

A new concept for the group was looking at the communications impact that states effective communication is made up of words (7%), tone of voice (38%) and body language (55%).

To finish up the session the group broke into the four different DiSC groups and delivered a pitch to run a second 'Activate Leadership Program' based on the behaviours and characteristics of that behaviour type.

The takeaway message from Damien's is that we can modify our leadership and behavioural style to suit different situations, whilst still being an 'authentic leader'.



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