Writer versus Project Management

The framework of project management applied to the practice of writing, the use of a professional tool in your creative works

The Key Principles

Project Management in Australia is based
on the PMBoK (TM) and uses the following
framework to achieve an outcome or
goal:
• Scope
• Cost
• Schedule
• Risk
• Procurement
• HR
• Quality
• Stakeholder Management
• Communications

Scope

What is your book about?
Must be pretty cheap to make a book these days, every is doing it.
I reckon I’ve got a book in me…

Why, for what audience, by when and for how much are you producing this book? How do you determine what is client satisfaction – the project complete?

For your plot, how do you summarise what you need to have happen and the step along the way according to the following considerations:
• Plot
• Length of Story – both in words and in story timeline

Cost

The cost of editing, publishing, marketing, illustrating,
writing, printing, selling, appearing, talking,
promoting, and otherwise begging for anyone to buy
your book now it’s complete…
The cost of writing to your life:
• Time
• Sacrifice
• Imposter Syndrome
• Mental Health
• Motivation

The cost in your plotting, why the conflict occurs and
who it affects most, what is the payoff at the end?

Schedule

When do you find time to write?
Must be nice to have all that time to just sit and write.
I’d love to write a book but I would never have the time. Routine is over rated, but kind of helpful in getting the habit of writing practiced and actually finishing a project. Or a novel.

In your pantsing, how can you keep your writing to the point and focussed on the outcome, not getting sideline by subplots, other ideas that look shiny, new book concepts, marketing, social media, people…

Risk

What could possibly go wrong? Consider things like keeping two copies of your work and saving regularly and backing up your work. Have a agreements in writing with people who are “supporting” you – editors, publishers, book-sellers, cover artist… Try to make sure that when you publish your book, it remains YOUR book. Read the fine print.

When you are plotting and pantsing, this is all of the reasons we write, we love what we do and the bit that makes it worth while to write, when we ask of our characters… What could go wrong?

Procurement

All of the other things you have to write for…
• Website
• Social media
• Hashtag everything
• Speeches, press releases, and readings OH MY!
Plus writers photos and inspo backgrounds and time. Do we know anyone who has stock in time? In order to save money, or spend money, or both. The experts you need to assist in the polish of your writing aren’t taking exposure bucks for payment either. While still writing, what else does your MC need to achieve the scope? What risks will they take to obtain it and how will that affect the timeline of the story?

HR

What team do you need around you and what skills are they offering? What are your weaknesses and can you find someone with a complimentary set to help you meet your scope and schedule and just keep writing? Did you even know the other skills you are supposed to have when you decided to be a writer? Surprise!

Does your MC have the skills to pay the bills? How has their life contributed to the skills set they suddenly need in order to achieve the scope, is that the point of the story or is that subordinate to the plot? Is it the character development they need and who will assist them? How will they procure this help, pay for it, and what will it do to the schedule?

Quality

What you wanted to create versus what you actually created. Where did you go in your journey as a writer and will you use it next time to make you a better writer (continuous improvement) ? How much did you invest (time, money, etc) versus the reward, personally or financially, or both, that you and others received from this experience? Are your readers responding to this?

Are your characters and your plot, your outcomes and your delivery what the scope was originally? How did it change the story and did it make it better? How far from the plan did you go?

Stakeholder Management

Juggling family, career, study, learning, work, expectations, appointments, life, writing, marketing, begging for sales… Rinse, repeat… The writer is also a stakeholder in this mix and sometimes, you just get to pick one or maybe two of the framework categories to focus on today. And let tomorrow take care of itself. At least you have a plan to come back to. Or sort of. Maybe. Lets check the schedule…

As you MC finishes their journey through the maze, the plot twists and the resolves all the risks, who else is changed by this adventure? How will this benefit those around the MC? And will they make it through the editing process?

Communications

The sales pitch. How do we sell ourselves, our products, our wares, our words, when we have spent so much time nurturing them and protecting them from risk. What do we say when asked “what is that book you’re writing about again?”
The very word needed and the bloody thesaurus just won’t work properly enough for you to find it and you’ve just lost 2 hours to time and space vortex or alphabet soup. And did you get that social medial blog post website update new blurb written yet?

When all is over and the arc is resolved, did the MC and cast carry out the vision, the mission and achieve the scope. Did they gain the rewards and complete the project in full? And most of all, did they satisfy the client requirements? Are you happy with what you wrote, and are your readers?

And They All Lived Happily Ever After

Breaks the process of creating a book into manageable portions and separate from the process of writing the book. Help build categories of knowledge for use and re-use as you produce more work. Gives you a different angle to examine writer’s block and other associated writers’ problems. You can discard any category if not relevant to the outcomes at any time, or re-instate it.

Gives you an overall pathway to finalising aspects of your novel and a new way of looking a your writing once complete to see if you have left any key details out of your world building. And your world domination plans.

Provides a reference point to where you wanted your journey to take you, even if you didn’t follow it, you can still see how far you made it.

Mentoring Writing

Film Crew versus Construction Team

It’s a weird one right?  Who would think that working on a film set would have anything to do with construction.  The tie in is via my Project Manager qualification and the cross over into this world from a position of observation. 

I was safety girl for the film set, a local company that was organising and producing a short film for entry in Cannes Film Festival, and through the power of networking, one of my contacts called upon me to support.  It wasn’t a thrilling suggestion, offer my skills for free in return for … what exactly?  If that sounds selfish, you might recall I am a highly paid and qualified construction project manager, coach, mentor, and published award winning author.  I don’t come cheap and I have worked my ass off all my life to earn that high price.
(see journey to cover girl blog)

However, I also enjoy experiencing new ideas and being able to see alternative ways of doing, how other careers work, and I like to learn new things. When I found out there were children involved, I was sold on the idea. To be a safety manager is an important job, one I take seriously. The entire premise is to make sure people are safe and stay safe, and once you add children, and a new learning experience, it was a pretty easy choice. 
Except they forgot to mention the early starts!  The long hours. The disarray that comes from working with a new team should have been something I had thought of based on my own experiences building skilled teams, but nope. Foolish mortal!

I realised early that it really was so similar to project management in the construction industry, that I spent some time thinking about how the various roles matched my experience. It was good fun, and kept me focused on those 14 hour days when I saw both sunrise and sunset. So here goes, a breakdown of the film crew through the eyes of a construction guru…
First you have the Producer. They are the client in my world, the ones who put up the money.  Our producer was also intimately involved in the film behind the scenes organising, dealing with problems and making sure everyone got fed. I can say not most clients in my work would do that, but it was awesome to have a chance to connect with the person who was responsible for making such a project happen. 

Then there is the Director. It is his vision, his script, his concepts the rest of us were tasked to bring to life. So he is similar to the Design Manager on a project. Creating the vision, the layout, the goals, the ideas from scratch and expecting the construction team to bring it to life. Make it so!  
The Assistant Film Director and the Production Coordinator are the next two people who come to mind. They are the project management team, the project leads in my world. Keeping the Director focused, on time and ensuring the here-and-now outcomes, acting the liaison between the rest of the team and the vision, they are integral to the success of leading the team through the creation process. 

The cinematographer is the Construction Manager.  Using a camera instead of a white board, but nonetheless responsible for interpreting the Director’s vision, he uses his lens, carefully selecting the correct one, at the right height, angle and aperture, in order to capture the creation.  In much the same way that the Construction Manager will ensure the right people and activities occur according to the schedule, he alters the concept from idea to reality. 

Then you have the gripping crew. I struggled at first to place them, but they are the highly skilled operators. Working in close conjunction and consultation with the cinematographer, they use their experience,  judgement and precision plant and equipment to create the very effect that the cinematographer needs, the Director desires, in order to make the vision accurate and highlight the beauty of the creation unfolding. Machine operators are not often viewed as being specialists by those in senior management, nor seen as creators. Without them nothing can happen, nothing works quite as it should, and very little can get accomplished. In both worlds. 

The film cast are the project team. It might seem weird that they are seemingly not important to the overall scheme but they are critical. They are the doers, the people who get the job done while the vision unfolds around them. Following the instructions from a multitude of management, they are the people who act out the collective creation from all that have been mentioned before. 

There was an amazing crew of interns who I would call middle management. The support, the help, the organisers and the runners of the film world, just as they are in the construction industry. Our interns were from a local highschool and they have such bright futures ahead of them from the dedication I saw.  Their teacher was also an incredibly helpful support to them and the film crew on the day. You could call him one of the project sponsors. 

And then there is the art department. Procurement in my world, they obtain the things necessary to assist the vision. The art, the backgrounds, the props, the costumes, they are the procurement specialist, without them, you run the risk of getting the wrong pipe. Or the wrong prop to complete the analogy.   They can make old sheds looks like a mystery world, garages looks like a cavern of treasures and planets look like they were plucked from the sky. 

I almost forgot about the sound department!  Which is understandable, because we mostly take the effect of background – bird calls, machinery hum, wind – for granted… Until it is not there. They are the unseen support crew, something like the surveyors in a project team. They are just there, doing the work, checking the measures, and without them something just doesn’t feel right. It was ironic, or perhaps simply poetic, that the sound crew were some of the quietest members of the set. But so important to the overall finish and polish of the creation. Just like the surveyors of the construction world, without the sound team, you risk the final product not being quite right. 

And if anyone is wondering if I struggled with not being in charge, the answer is yes, I did.  After managing multi-million (think $500 Million average) projects and being the overseer, it was a real problem for me to keep out of the way.  But I did.  After all safety works best when noone realises they are doing their job, but everyone gets to go home. 
And that’s a wrap. 

Mentoring resilience Uncategorized

Dancing with Imposter Syndrome

“it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back, so shake him off’  
Florence and the Machine – Lyrics from “Shake It Off” 

We have a name for it now.  That feeling of inadequacy and the doom that shrouds us when we consider ourselves, particularly in comparison to others, when we allow the not-good-enough to rule our minds and emotions. 

I have been active participant in a dance with imposter syndrome ever since I can remember.  My father made a point of sharing his displeasure that I had been born a girl.  He often expressed that with more than his voice; fists were involved.  Fortunately for me I was of the type that used the physical pain to overcome and fight against.  The fight was only in my mind for many years until I developed the words to “shake him off”. 

My mother was not a role-model for me, many years of domestic violence had whittled away at her for so long she didn’t know who she was.  Even if there was a space for her in the world he created; her husband, my father, was far too controlling to allow any form of self-expression. 

In my professional life, I chose the difficult path of engineering and construction.  I didn’t really choose it, not back then.  Back then it was a suitable use of my skills and the fastest way to a high paying long-term career – in my mind – escape!  What I didn’t realise, that at no point was this industry going to make my dance with imposter syndrome smooth, more coordinated, elegant.  It made it worse.  And I still didn’t know what it was, just that I didn’t fit… anywhere. 

I was in an industry that (back then) was much more resistant to females in the ‘power roles’ – admin and HR were perfectly fine – but engineer, leader?  I was one of 10 women in my university course of over 600.  I had some wonderful men who didn’t see my gender as an issue, they went out of there way to acknowledge that as I was bright, determined, and logically smart, I could make it.  They supported and trained and mentored me before mentoring was even on the radar as a powerful tool.  Since then I have become my own mentor, failing to find anyone who could fulfil that role for me during the early professional years of my life.

Fast forward through sever and on-going chronic illness, the final death of my father and my mother coming to live with me, and the many numerous projects and construction experiences I have had and it is only now, coming out of my thirties, that I feel I am now the lead in this convoluted dance.  I chose when and how to turn, I choose the steps and the path.  The imposter syndrome is now subdued, my pet almost, something that lifts it head for attention but does not insist any more than I dance to the tune of its making.  I check in with it every now and then, because I also do not want to become its opposite – an ego monster, one so enamoured of itself that it becomes as consuming as the imposter syndrome once was.  But it is now a tool, a function, one I have embraced and integrated into my life, rather than forced out.  I stopped giving it permission. 

The voice that tells me I have come so far from that scared, frightened, shy and subdued young lady is now a roar that echoes through the lives I have affected, showing the world and its propensity for shutting down the shine, that I am here and I am an incredible survivor, a high achiever, and I am not stopping any time soon.   

I hope that your journey with imposter syndrome can be turned on its head and that you too can see the light that shines within you.  I made it, I know you can too.  

“pretty pretty please, don’t you ever ever feel, like you’re less than f###ing perfect” 
P!nk – Lyrics from Perfect  

Becky Paroz doesn’t fit in.  She has worked for nearly 30 years in the construction industry, taking names and making one for herself.  She loves her workboots, colours her hair purple and speaks loudly with a strong and confident voice.  Bek makes her place in the world, she has never waited for a space to open for her Moving beyond  mentoring within industry for the last 10 years, Becky is now seeking her tribe to connect within and would love to hear from any fellow mavericks and nonconformists out there at any of her social media spots which you can find on her website www.wordsofbek.com.au  


If you would like to talk to Bek about her mentoring please fill in the form below:

Empowering Mentoring Uncategorized

Guest Blog by Nurdiah K

Words by Bek – I met Nurdiah in the same week she started work in the industry as she describes below. I saw an amazing young woman who was keen (and pretty clueless about what was ahead of her!). She had some amazing raw materials and plenty of potential, and so we have worked together to craft a beautiful and powerful women. I asked her to share her insights on what mentoring has done for her and she has created this beautiful story that makes me feel incredibly privileged to work with her and watch her development. It gives me a great deal of pleasure – in this month of April’s awe-inspiring women – to introduce to you to someone who is already, and will be, creating amazing things for her future!

Journeying with a Mentor

Journeying with a Mentor

Just shy of three years ago, I began my journey. I had no understanding of what I was about to get myself into. All I knew is that I wanted a change in my ‘job’ and that it was about time I stopped procrastinating stepped onto the path to pursue the career I dreamt, spoke and was fearful of for so long – Project Management. I was longing for a challenge and didn’t want to regret being in the same situation a year from now. Same thing, different day. I didn’t want that.

But, how do start? I had so much ‘catching up’ to do and to think that someone my age (28 at that time) would have started around 8 years ago, I felt I was already at a disadvantage – not to mention I was a female walking into a male dominated industry – Construction!

My introduction to the industry was like no other. It was September and I was given an incredible opportunity for a (then) small company who hired me as a Project Administrator/Trainee Project Manager. It was agreed that with time, exposure and training that the ‘Trainee’ on my role title would be removed. How long was this going to take? When would they know that I was ready? That I was no longer a ‘Trainee’. I guess it was the same as asking ‘How long is a piece of string?’. A few things I knew is that I wanted to be a Nationally Certified Project Manager within 5 years, have a good chunk of completed projects under my belt and most importantly, the salary to match! I was a single mother at the time and being an independent mother was a big deal to me.

During my first week on the job, I saw the General Manager of the Company let go and within months, the only other team member for my region say ‘It’s been great working with you!’ in an email while I was on holidays overseas. He gave me no indication, notice or a ‘heads up’ that I would be returning to work with no one (I repeat) no one in the office. Yet, there were three (I repeat) three unfinished projects. They were all in the delivery phase (check me out using the right terminology… ask me the same thing 3 years ago and God help ya!) I had barely been shown how to read plans let alone understand scope of works and specifications. These words and what they meant were foreign to me. Not to mention, the company I worked for had just been awarded an FSC project due to be kicked off in the upcoming months. What was I to do? Is this normal?

Then, came a Knight in Shining Armour. Well, more like a Superhero. A #GladiatHER In steel cap boots. Wearing Jeans instead of a cape. Wearing a polo shirt. Rocking purple hair. My Superhero’s name is Becky Paroz.

Over the next 2 and half years (and still to this day), Becky mentored, supported, encouraged, challenged, tested, sculpted, and threw me into the deep end. There were a lot of hard conversations (and tears on my end) that only my today self would understand it was part of her unique strategy.

Her unique style of teaching me about the industry had me gobsmacked some days, where I realised later she taught me a very valuable lesson without knowing it. She mentored me in a way that she knew so much about me; my strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes to harness qualities and skills and way of thinking I already possessed to be a Project Manager.


One of the qualities I admire about Becky, is that she taught me all of these things simply for the fact that she wanted a different experience for other women going through the same challenges in the industry. All she wanted in return was to see me believe in myself and use my true potential to influence someone like me one day and make a change in the world a person at a time. When she told me words of encouragement and eulogized me, I believed her – because it showed, and she proved it to me in how much she taught me. That’s inspirational in itself.

I have seen such a change in myself in such a small amount of time due to Becky’s mentoring. It’s not something you can describe on a pamphlet or put a price on. Taking away valuable life lessons that can impact your way of thinking, operating, negotiating, strategizing is something not a lot of people can offer you and really succeed and prove it. I have changed and grown so much in that I have self- confidence, I am able to initiate and get through difficult conversations, I am respected by men and women within my industry, able to think strategically and one of my favourites, pull off a mean poker face.

Becky has taught me that although first impressions can last, it’s what you bring to the table is what will change it. At the end of the day, it was not my hair, my make-up, my outfit nor my gender that was going to matter, it was my skills, knowledge, capabilities and confidence in myself that mattered. Like many superhero stories, this one has a happy ending. Two and a half years later, I achieved exactly those things I aspired to have/be – a Nationally Certified Practicing Project Manager, over $12 million dollars of completed Defence project under my belt AND earning the six-figure salary to match – all because I have the best mentor the industry has to offer, Becky Paroz.

Connect with Nurdiah Via Linkedin


If you would love to start your mentoring journey with Bek just contact her on the form below:

Empowering guest Blogger Mentoring

Mentoring is NOT Parenting

Coaching and mentoring are the new way of saying trades and apprenticeships for those industries that used to use clerks. That period of “junior internship” type of arrangement that is less practical and prevalent than it used to be. 

Instead now we have many coaches and mentors, most of who are leveraging their experience in order to support and nurture a new and emerging wildcard to the industry – the rise of the indie. 

The phenomena of self-publishing has created some monsters that feed off the innocent and new, but has also led to the ability to access some true industry greats and learn from the leaders.

What is missing in many of these areas is the commercial aspects (corporate, industrial and even retail skills are all relevant here) of running a professional business.  For people who have not had that experience before and, generally speaking when one is of a creative nature, they have never been exposed to that kind of knowledge, never had the chance to learn those kinds of skills.  What is risk management to an author?  The answers should concern you.

So here is a list of what mentoring is and isn’t.  If you are in the market for a mentor – keep in mind that you want them to have their own success, not feel they need to patronise you with promise of your future success, be genuinely interested in your future success, and not at all busy talking about their own success when they are with you.  Just a few hints to help narrow down the wide market availability of those who would soon part you from your hard earned investment.

So mentoring…

  • It’s not telling you what to do
  • It’s not being upset when you don’t take action
  • It’s not showing you the ‘right’ way of doing things
  • It’s not taking care of you or your mental health by replacing any kind of medication or physician/specialist advise (and if they do – run – they are dangerous and unqualified)
  • It’s not counselling
  • It’s not training, but it can have some of those elements
  • It’s someone sitting  down, calling you on the excuses you might be telling yourself on why you can’t do anything about where you are in life, communicating those challenges and options professional and without self-interest, and in such a way that you ‘get’ it, not just get told it.
  • It’s knowing that if you don’t want change, don’t go looking for it. It’s knowing that if you go looking for change, you need to do the work once you find it, and change too.
  • It’s someone who shows you all the cock-ups they made, all the opportunities they failed to take advantage of, the ones they did take advantage of, and how they achieved the success they did, without telling you to do the same exact thing
  • It’s showing you the process of how success happens, in which you get out of your own way, changing your mindset to what’s possible instead of what you don’t want, and by sharing the lessons and ideas of performance excellence as applied to your success measures
  • It’s about support not about ‘help’, you have to do the work
  • It’s about knowledge combined with experience applied to your circumstances
  • It’s about getting the best out of your skill, knowledge experience and own personal power to achieve success in life, whatever that looks like for you
  • It’s about being really clear that you’re worth it and you can earn it
  • It’s about action. Making plans, setting goals getting clear on what you want, and action.

IT’S ABOUT YOU.

It’s still not parenting.


Becky Paroz doesn’t fit in.  She has worked for nearly 30 years in the construction industry, taking names and making one for herself.  She loves her workboots, colours her hair purple and speaks loudly with a strong and confident voice.  Bek makes her place in the world, she has never waited for a space to open for her. Moving beyond mentoring within industry for the last 10 years, Becky is now seeking her tribe to connect within and would love to hear from any fellow mavericks and nonconformists out there at any of her social media spots which you can find here

Empowering Mentoring

What’s In It For Me?

(extract from Words of Bek published October 2018)

International Women’s Day 2019 Special Release by Top Ten Women to Watch 2019 YMag Australia


“… Highly skilled women succumb to stereotype-driven expectations. It begins early when girls as young as six stop believing that girls are the smart ones, while boys continue to believe their gender is gifted. As women get older, these stereotypes discourage them from pursuing careers thought to be typically reserved for men. And, with fewer women in a field, subsequent generations  of women are deterred from pursuing them.  It’s a vicious cycle, but it can be broken. … ”
https://hbr.org/2019/02/research-based-advice-for-women-working-in-male-dominated-fields

As women, we are not encouraged by society to ask ourselves “what is in it for me” as a natural attribute.  In fact you may already be feeling uncomfortable about the question, before you even read the article. 

We are told as young women to “behave”, to support and nurture those around us.  Who has heard “nice girls don’t do that” in a response to a spoken wish, perhaps to something as personal as desire for a tattoo or even as simple as a haircut. 

When it comes to time management, as women we usually put ourselves last in factoring the allocation of minutes to tasks in our work, let alone in our personal life (and sometimes they are the same).  Add children into the equation and there is even less ability to put ‘you’ first.  Some of that is practical.  Some of that is a societal condition that we have been encouraged to believe – that we are not allowed to be selfish.  And that definition of selfish can be very broad depending on who wants your attention.  It often gets thrown around when we, as women, dare to say “NO”.

Boss wants you to stay back and work on his presentation and you have sick family to attend – “are you going to be the one to let the team down?”.  Significant other springs a surprise dinner party on you for their work colleagues and wonders why you don’t have time; between soccer, the ballet lessons and cleaning; to just whip up that 3 course gourmet meal in less than an hour.  Children forget to tell you about a project that is due the next morning and requires you to build a science project or bake a cake. 

All of these things are unavoidable and often just have to be dealt with in the moment.  However, ask yourself how many times, both in work and home life, do you get asked to do something and just say “yes”?  You don’t stop and think, you don’t know if you have the time, but it becomes easier to just say yes and worry about ‘how’ later.

What if there was a question, that if you allowed yourself to ask it, could help you, in that moment, to have a second thought and decide on your answer; instead of that instant, automatic response?

That question is “What’s in it for me?”.  WIIFM.  This question allows you to take a moment and realise if the activity you are about to agree to is something that adds value to you and your life.  When it is to do with your children, the obvious answer is the time you spend with them, the joy of their achievements and watching them learn.  Similar might be said of your significant other.  There are benefits.  This question asks you to check in and see what those benefits are in that moment. 

When it comes to the work place, often, if you are an achiever, you might find that you are asked to complete tasks simply because you get them done.  Which is fantastic if you receive acknowledgement of your efforts; a pay rise, or a promotion.  How often does that happen?

Does your senior management thank you for those extra hours, or do they now just expect it?  Do your work colleagues commend you on the time spent to achieve the outcome, or do they take the credit for themselves?  Do you get any satisfaction out of what you have achieved, or is it just momentary relief another task is complete, before you start the next one?

It is not a selfish act to ask, why am I doing this – what is in it for me?  It is an act of sanity.  It allows you the space to realise that this particular task may not benefit you – and if it doesn’t – allows you to ask “Why am I undertaking it?”. 

Obviously you get paid to achieve certain things in your work role, but you don’t get paid to be treated like a slave or whipping post for others’ inability to meet deadlines.  It is a fabulous skill to be able to “get things done”, but if you are not getting them done for yourself, or for some achievement that you want – what is the point?  Why are you fixing the mistake of others?  Why are you allowing yourself to be used in such a manner?  You might have answers to these questions, or you might be wondering to yourself why you didn’t ask these questions a long, long time ago.  The answer doesn’t matter as much as allowing yourself the space to ask the question in the first place.

You might have to simply undertake the activity, but, now that you have asked the question, you can be aware that is why you are undertaking the task.  If the task isn’t important to you, then you know to spend the least amount of time on it, and not to engage in sleepless nights over the outcome.  You can let go a lot of anxiety with this simple little question.  It doesn’t mean do it poorly, it means do it efficiently.  Which gives you more time for the things you do love, such as spending time with family or that hobby you never get to.

It assists you to check in with where you are going, what your goals are, and filter out the things that do not align with those goals, whatever they may be. 

So, what is in it for you?

Becky has 5 only strategy sessions left between now and May 2019 when her other courses commence.  The 3 hours focuses on your #gladiatHER – the warrior that is passionate, fired up, focussed, high functioning and fixated on HER future. The kind of woman who wants to #getyourbootson – who has developed an addiction for success. Want more?

Drop me a line here, private message or via other means (using that amazing concept first thought of by a #woman, #hedylamarr  – wifi) and take action now.

What are you waiting for? 

Empowering Mentoring

Training VS Learning

Where is the incentive to Learn?

Most training centers are just that.  They offer training, certification to a certain level, with a certificate or some sort of acknowledgement of completion at the end of the course.  The course is structured with listed, usually measurable, learning outcomes and as you progress through the course, you receive a level of competency from a trainer overseeing your progress.

This is how it is normally done and has been for some time in our modern world.  Previously in history, before the advent of the training organization, there were things like “learn-on-the-job” and apprenticeships, where you were mentored and taught by someone with years of experience in conducting the actual tasks you were to learn.

This art has died out in recent years, to the point where, certainly in Australia, it is becoming a crisis in some industries as the older generations move into retirement…. But there are no replacements in their field.

Apprenticeships are no longer what the next generation aims for in a large part due to the allure of a “degree”.  Whether it is via an education facility such as a University, or more flexible arrangements from a private college, the “degree” has become the latest fashion trend to supplement your career skills.  There is merit in that as education and knowledge become intertwined in our digital age.

And now universities and other training organizations are starting to look at “on-the-job” experience as a part of those who would graduate with degrees.

We seem to have come full circle and still don’t seem have the results we need to further the next generations of skills and experience.  What is missing? Learning.

The training is delivered according to the guidelines set down by the trainer, the organization, the regulations of the country.  All good so far.  But how does that translate into real learning for the student?

This is the key missing element of the training organization.  Along the way, tutors, trainers and teachers seem to have disengaged from the process of learning, and the next generations, without being shown what learning is, suffer from the lack.  It may be in part due to motivation, in may be in part to the vast array of knowledge that we can access in an instant instead of the “old days” where a library required your to attend and reading was needed for research.  It took time back in the “old days” to find something out for yourself, to build a body of knowledge.  Now “google” is the new library.  And why learn when you can “ask Siri” and have an answer immediately? 

WHERE IS THE INCENTIVE TO LEARN?

The incentive needs to be given to the student, along with the material to learn these days.  Some places are trying “gamification” concepts to engage with a new generation.  Some offer “experiential” learning – a combination of knowledge and activities designed to use that knowledge and allow it to embed in the conscious while the training takes place.  These are less traditional ways of training, but are they less effective as a result of being new?

There are some studies that prove this to be an effective channel to take.  Perhaps there needs to be more.  Perhaps there needs to be better explanations of what those studies really prove and how to embrace these new concepts for training.  Where are the champions of this?  The older generation did not learn that way, so it may be hard for them to teach that way.  It may be seen as “silly” or a waste of time, when they “should just learn it”.  It may just be “new” and therefore a threat to those who have held their positions for some time and are resistant to change their ways.  It may be the old “us versus them” as the generations change from subordinate to senior.

Engagement is the key.  However it occurs, the student, no matter the age, wants to know why this piece of information is important to truly know, to have learnt it, not just to be able to “google it” whenever the question comes up.  How will it assist in performing the role better?  How will it help the student?  How will it contribute to their work and progression through a career?  Just about anyone can learn like a parrot, by rote, and by having the knowledge drilled into them, rather like we used to with our times tables.  But to truly know something, to have learned, is entirely different to being able to recite facts.

It is up to the trainers, the training organizations themselves, to encourage learning through new and innovative methods if there is ever going to be the knowledge transfer that companies desire for their futures to be secure.

Becky Paroz is a mentor, women’s empowerment specialist, AND one of the TOP 10 Women to Watch – Ymag 2019! who is here to teach and engage with you in a down to earth and approachable way. You can find more about her mentoring packages here.

Mentoring

The Importance of a Mentor 2.0

The importance of a Mentor – Part Two

The importance of the Mentor – Part Two.Skills that make for a good mentor, what to look for and just who should be your guide – Continuing from pervious blog posting 6th January

Efficient – you know how to get your message across, you know how to say it a few different ways to ensure it is received and you know when to end a conversation after the information has been exchanged.  You are good at what you do because you always manage your time well and you can do that with appropriate communication to the situation.  You don’t waste your own time, so you certainly don’t waste anyone else’s.  You also know when someone is wasting your time and you will manage that too.

Honesty – it’s not a trait that will necessarily win you friends, but you know it is a necessary one for assisting others.  You know when to offer a feedback whether it is positive or negative.  You know when to challenge the thinking of the other party and when to let them work their own way to a solution.  You know when to call them out and when to call them on the phone to remind them how awesome they are.  And you are also good enough to do this more than once if needed.  This skill is no good without a sense of giving, otherwise you are just as blunt as Thor’s hammer in your delivery.

Failure – no fear.  You don’t pretend that you haven’t failed, because we all have in one way or another.  It’s called the human condition.  However, you don’t fear it.  Out of every failure comes a learning experience, a new way of approaching a problem.  Experience is what causes a person to make new mistakes instead of old ones.  You encourage others to learn from old mistakes so that they can make new mistakes, instead of repeating history.

I hope this has helped you in finding what kind of mentor you need, understanding what it means to be a mentor and inspires you to be challanged by your own personal mentoring program and in the future be a strong mentor to those surrounding you in your professional and personal life.

Being a mentor offers new insights through seeing problems from another perspective you may not have had yourself.  It gives a sense of purpose to the learning that you have had over the years. 

You will never know the pleasure of seeing someone else take your knowledge, apply it and enjoy their own success as a result.  You may not ever get credit for the changes you have assisted in others.  What matters that it feels right for you to be a mentor.

Mentoring

The Importance of a Mentor

Becky has 20 years’ experience in engineering and construction and has been a qualified Project Manager for over five years and a qualified performance coach for over 10 years. She has been involved in public speaking since one of her managers put her in front of 600 men and told her she had 20 minutes to teach them how to do their job properly. Becky is known for her use of humor to challenge status quo thinking and offering alternative views for consideration. She is motivated to pass on her lessons learned to assist and educate the next generation of leaders to become high achievers like herself.


Mentoring is about other people.  Genuinely, honestly, and completely.  There should be no self interest in a true mentor. 

There is always secondary gain to being of service to people, but it should be exactly that – secondary to the people you work with, otherwise you are a manager, or a dictator, not a mentor.  And dictators need not apply.

Mentoring takes a special set of skills that can’t be taught in a classroom, although I am sure that a degree in Mentoring is not far away, if not already in place somewhere. 

The skills that make for a good mentor are included in the following list.  Perhaps not all, but certainly more than one of these skills apply if you want to be a good, or even great, mentor. 

The skills that make for a good mentor are included in the following list.  Perhaps not all, but certainly more than one of these skills apply if you want to be a good, or even great, mentor. 

Experience – a broad range of skills and abilities in many areas that you can vary and apply to each set of circumstances.  You don’t use the same process every time you are faced with a challenge.  You have tried and tested many ways of solving problems during the course of your own career.

Problem solver – see above.  You enjoy a challenge and see it as a goal to overcome the problem, in fact see it as an opportunity.  You don’t complain about how hard it is, you just get to it and get it sorted.

Giving – you enjoy offering your skills and services to others and don’t seek reward.  You like reward, don’t get me wrong, but it is not the first thing you think of when you observe a situation that you can assist with, improve, solve or add value to.

Communication – a very tricky one.  The biggest downfall of most peoples’ communication is talking to others in the language they use, not the language the other party uses.  This causes failure, confusion, and misinterpretation which can sometimes lead to disastrous results.  An example might assist.  If you are building a high tech facility, do you use emoticons to demonstrate the outcomes you want or do you use technical language?  This might be a slightly exaggerated example, but it offers the point that the delivery must be understood by the person receiving the information, not simply to show how many big words (or emoticons) the person making the delivery has access to

I can offer you a blue sky concept that encapsulates a paradigm shift via a panel based approach 

OR

I can offer you an alternative solution that will engage all your team members and encourage maximum participation and uptake of the concept.

Who would you choose from those two statements?  And yet they offer a similar meaning.

To be Continued in the next blog on 10 Jan 2019 …

Mentoring

Everyday Passion

A New Year Story

I am passionate about writing.  I have passion for what I write.  I am passionate about the messages that are exchanged when communication occurs e.g. I write, you read!  I am passionate about assisting people with improving their lives; their outlooks; their mindset.  As a coach, I am passionate about people. 

So why is this article so hard to write?  Because I am also passionate about many other things.  Sometimes I just get really passionate about sleep.  Mainly because as an insomniac, I don’t get much! 

If you haven’t been under a rock lately, you will no doubt have heard, read and seen all the various ways in which you can be passionate, have passion, get more passion, find a new passion, on so on! 

Do we really need to be passionate ALL the time?  Do we need to live every second as passionately as we can?  As a young women, my answer was absolutely yes!  I had been diagnosed with a chronic illness that saw me not likely to make it to old age.  I dived into life, I got hobbies, I went travelling, threw myself out of planes, flew helicopters and did everything I could with passion and zeal, enthusiasm and vigour.  Now I have reached the age I was told I’d never make (40 for anyone who is curious) I am a bit tired! 

I still have passion; after all I am writing this article during the Christmas holiday period which is generally when we all get full of the spirit(s) of the festive season, not so much passion.  You might be passionate about spending time with your family, but at this time of year, it is traditional that we all give passion a rest in exchange for parties! 

It takes passion to be motivated to do something we don’t really want to do.  Or we do want to do, but in our time, not to deadlines!  So, how have I found the passion to write this article?   

Now that I am a little older, I can see that passion is tiring.  It can be exhausting to try and feel passion for something, everything, all the time.  So I give myself a break from being passionate every now and then.  I distract myself with some cheesy movies, or a great fiction; something that takes me away from the life I live, and puts me into another pair of shoes for a short time.  Once I have had a vacation from myself in this way, I can take a deep breath and dive right back into that passion pool. 

Sometimes I check out altogether, turn of the social media, the computer, the phone and just sit still – you might call it meditation.  I just STOP.  It has taken me a long time to forgive my all too human body for letting me down and being tired or unable to perform.  It has taken a long time to convince myself, she who must squeeze all she can out of life before its too late; that it is okay to have a minute; an hour; a day; or even a week, where I do not achieve something, educate myself or be of service to the community in some way. 

It’s okay to take a break from passion and being passionate.  To sustain any kind of intense emotion takes energy.  In this busy world, with the expectation on women to “have it all”, we can all feel guilty for not being there yet.  We can be our own worst enemy for not achieving something according the goals, the rules, and the deadlines we set, or have set for us. 

But how about, as we start another new year, filled with opportunities, excitement, growth and passion, we take a moment to remind ourselves that we are not machines, we are not robots; we are in fact simply human.  We need our downtime.  We need to have some silence or solace in order to gather our thoughts, file our facts and figures, to re-assess and regroup before the next round of passionate achievements. 

And that is how I have written this article.  By taking a break.  By not worrying too much about the deadline.  By taking a deep breath and realizing what I want to achieve this year.  When I did that, I realized that I want to reach more women, I want to assist all of us to be easier on ourselves and manage our expectations for success along with our health – mental and physical. 

And writing this article is a part of that passion that I have to ensure that every woman, no matter what they are going through; no matter what they wish to achieve this year and for their future; has an ally, a good friend, that says – it’s okay to just breathe.  You are still a passionate creature. You have the ability to tap into that source of passion at any time you want.  Just reconnect with why it is you want what you want; and remember why it is you do what you do. 

And if in realizing that you are not passionate about something, make it okay to change your mind and be passionate about something else. 

Passion is flexible and changeable.  It is not fixed.  It is movable.  It is the creative flow that assists, along with some motivation, to move you towards your destiny, your goals, your desires.  So I hope you all enjoyed your festive season as much as possible.  I also hope that you have something that you can reconnect with and be passionate about this year.  I know I do and I am excited and passionate about what 2019 has for all of us. 

Passionate New Year to you all.

Mentoring