A New Perspective on Professional Styling, Fashion & Corporate Careers  

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” Anais Nin

Image Source Instagram @graffiterati

This quote rang very true for me this week. After many lockdowns in Victoria, I finally managed to progress with a booking to see Professional Styling expert Samantha La Porte from Style Union StyleUnion.com.au   some time back. While I was reluctant to move forward with it, given like many I am in recovery mode, my initial commitment to the stylist and a desire to support small businesses kicked in.  I found the courage to invest some energy and time in pursuing an uncomfortable area for me being fashion.

How profound an experience it was to have someone who is an expert in their field, feed back to me what my image says about my professional image. To challenge me on how I dress and why, and to provide other fashion perspectives that may be more relevant for me where I am at in my career right now.  So many aspects of our lives are driven by habit, some conscious some unconscious. For me fashion has been one of those. While I like to look neat and professional, I have a somewhat utilitarian view to clothing. Since being a small child, I have had a love of boots and clothing with pockets!  

On the career front I have been privileged to have worked successfully for many years as a coach helping my clients develop their personal brand from an employment perspective, capturing their career stories, their unique value proposition, their career purpose, and goals. My work with clients is often at an intellectual and emotional level.  Not so much on a physical image level.

It was a powerful experience to be on the other end as a client going through effectively an image and emotional coaching experience.  To learn so much about how I approach my clothing choices based on largely unconscious influences and behaviours from my past.  While some have served me well, others not so greatly.

The value of having someone who is an expert in their field, provide an honest and insightful perspective of how they see me visually and the messages this sends to them about my personal brand was confronting. It was uncomfortable however also hugely useful, to help me move out of my comfort zone and challenge some of my thoughts about my image and brand.

I will admit I felt very vulnerable through the experience, and it also seemed somewhat decadent to be spending money on such a service. However, I could also see what a worthwhile time and financial investment I was making in myself and my career.  As someone more analytical and less visual I had glossed over this aspect of personal branding to my own detriment for too long! Not since my twenties have I dedicated such time to the pursuit of fashion and image.   I now have a style summary and know what to look for when I do go shopping, which will ultimately save me time and money. I have cleared out the clothes and shoes no longer serving me, or my brand (with the help of my stylist doing a wardrobe consult) and I do overall feel clearer and more positive about my personal brand going into 2022.

Having had the professional styling experience with Samantha, I do honestly feel better about myself and my visual image. There is a renewed positivity towards clothing, and I am looking forward to taking on the advice and applying it more frequently to my clothing choices and checking in more frequently with how others see and experience my brand on a visual level, not just a technical and emotional level.

Should you wish to explore engaging a Professional Stylist you can find Samantha’s details below. Samantha La Porte , Founder | Style Union Email: samantha@styleunion.com.au Instagram: style.union

Simple Weekly Reflections to Refocus Your Career, Energy & Mindset

Reflection involves serious thought or consideration being given to experiences, which can be difficult to do given the busy lives we all lead. Many of us are stuck in a cycle of action &/or re-action with little time for reflection.  For more information see The Triangle of Responding to Change & Stress!  

Reflecting on our experiences is a way to understand and know ourselves better. While thinking is a cognitive activity, reflection involves the emotional and physical dimension which can be lost, particularly in our work. Exploring with curiosity issues from a different perspective can help challenge our assumptions and preconceptions, while encouraging the growth of new ideas and opinions.

*Give yourself permission to spend 10-15 minutes at the end of each work week to capture in a notebook your reflections.
Below are some grouped reflection prompter questions to start with. Focus on up to four questions each sitting.

How was my work week?

– Have I experienced any internal resistance at work?  What did it feel like?

How did I overcome this resistance?

– What strategies are working for me now at work?

For more reflection prompters download the attached document.

BUILDING RESILIENCE DURING CHANGE

Is change really that new?

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Today’s business world is faced with many challenges of change and disruption. That, we can all agree on. However, change and major disruption is not actually new! Change that we are experiencing today is often due to technological change as well as short – termism in a chaotic environment. Is this change necessarily bigger or different than other changes our environment has had to endure in the past? Think about how world wars, disastrous weather events, political coups and corporate takeovers have reshaped reality for many people over the centuries. On a personal level, we may experience accidents that lead to disabilities and loss of a loved one at any age, which has not changed over time.

Each generation is experiencing their change in their own way and they will face challenges relevant to the current disruptions in their world.  Some industries and professions will have different factors to drive their need for change. Overall, we find that many clients get stuck trying to understand the changing environment, or simply get lost in the chaos and become immobilised.

Understanding the environment

In an attempt to understand the chaos of today’s world of work, a popular term – Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity (VUCA), has evolved in management speak. Initially developed in the military, this term is being used as a framework to help leaders to understand the world they operate in as well as indicate the key strengths they need to survive.

The Agile method was introduced to create effective project management skills. Is all work in today’s business world 100% project based? Are all roles temporary or changing all the time? Unfortunately, one method seems to be adopted as best practice in many work environments. In some cases, the senior management have not changed their work practices and further alienated the employees but forcing change on them. Adopting one method of work does not necessarily alter the culture in which we work or help each individual to cope with change. It seems that proper analysis of work practices, employee needs and talent management is missing from the transition to new work environments.

Coaching tools to build resilience

Whilst these terms, VUCA and Agile, are helpful to understand the environment, more needs to be done to help leaders and their teams to cope with this dynamic world and build resilience.  How we experience and overcome change and chaos is an individual journey. From our coaching experience, we do not see enough proactive assistance to help individuals in their personal and professional development to build resilience before they are thrown in the deep end. Often organisations contact us after the change (or several changes) has been enforced and then they want remedial coaching when employees are not coping.

One of the key interventions that we use to help our clients cope with the world work is personality profiling tools. We use Birkman or Type tools such as MBTI or Majors to help our client really understand their behaviours, interests and needs to help them readily identify how they will build resilience to cope in a VUCA world as well as build relationships and communicate effectively to people who are different to themselves.

Being proactive and introducing professional development using personality profiling at the forming stage of teams and new recruits into the organisation will provide the tools to help everyone in the organisation prepare for and cope with the chaos. Hopefully then we can move away from the analysis of the environment and into building resilience to manage the environment effectively and create teams that successfully cope with a VUCA world.

Diversitas have supported with organisations of all sizes in developing and delivering effective career and executive coaching programs using personality profiling to build resilience for senior management and their teams. Go to www.diversitas.com.au for more information.

 

 

 

So, you want to be a leader? Find out how to transition successfully into a leadership role!

02A15HS9When my coaching clients come to me and say that they want to be a leader. I automatically start to explore the driver for this desire. What actually do they mean by ‘leader’? Is it power to make decision for others, or have authority over others? Is it a title (noun) or a change agent (an adjective) they seek? Or is it just a trend – to be successful you must be a leader?

In the exploration with my clients on this topic I also did some research on the term ‘leader’, ‘executive’ and ‘manager’, producing interesting results. There is no simple descriptor for each of these titles. Therein lies the challenge, or possibly the reason for the confusion. Whilst we speak of leaders do we mean their title/responsibility or do we mean the act of leading (adjective).

Leadership is often misunderstood as being the same as management. Leaders in an organisation need to be able to set strategy for their team/organisation. These roles are there to motivate others and create the organisational culture. Whereas Managers have functional responsibility such as completing a technical task or managing a budget. They may have a team reporting to them who follow instructions set by the manager, who follows the organisational culture.

An Executive role is usually another term for a leadership role or a management role. Executives can be in several roles in an organisation and every organisation tends to have their own language on the hierarchy. Using names like Director, Associates, Senior… etc.

No wonder, the constant demand for new leaders is not satisfied as we are unclear on what we want these ‘leaders’ to do.

If you are seeking a leadership role I suggest that you qualify what you want to achieve as the leader/manager/executive and make sure it agrees with the hiring organisation’s definition before embarking on the role. That way you will be defining your role consistent with the expectations of the organisation.

For those looking to transition into a leadership or executive role, Diversitas offer a comprehensive worksheet to help you define your personal style and create your strategy.

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Author:
Sue Daniels is a Director of a Career Consulting business and has extensive experience of designing innovative career development programs in the university sector at Melbourne Business School and for the London Business School.  Sue has served seven years on a not for profit board and has a background in international investment management.