With Jo Smyth

Lead Like A Giraffe

There is sooo much stuff out there, so many opinions, so many strategies on how to be the best leader ever! It's like the diet industry where you find a lot of confusion. Do you go; Paleo, Vegan, Vego, Keto, The Sunshine Diet….??? It’s the same in the leadership industry. It’s hard to know who to trust and with the plethora of options and styles it’s really hard to know what would be best for your organisation. 

Some leadership strategies work well - totally worth the investment.  Others are outdated, yet followed by the masses, so they must be good right? There are “out there” strategies with fancy claims (backed by science of course!), then there are overpriced, unrealistic and unsustainable practices. 

What’s important here is, what works for one organisation might not work for a different organisation….so let’s try to bring some clarity to this by introducing you to Jo Smyth. 

If you are someone who knows they need to make substantial change within your organisation but don’t know what to do Jo is the woman for you. She’ll sort you out and have you thriving using an ingenious philosophy that we will talk about below. 

An expert of 20 years in change management Jo will empower you to make the changes needed in a way that suits your style and the environment of your business. “I care about building sustainable organisational change, where people are resilient, where the culture is change capable and where the business is well managed. This is where leaders thrive.”

“If you think about organisational change as a ‘continuum of reaction’ based on an individual’s level of understanding, resistance happens when understanding is low. Embracing change occurs when understanding is higher, and this is the crucial role of the leader. The more context I can help the leader create, the more confidence they have to do the same for their people. This is the most critical first step towards change.”

Change must be autonomous

From our experience in working with coaches and facilitators the best way to achieve results is, change must be autonomous. This means that the answers to change management lie within the organisation and are not dictated by a rigorous set of rules created by the coach or change manager. Guide by the side is the mantra commonly used here. 
“I focus on what the individual wants to achieve and what they want to get out of the coaching experience. It’s important to clarify the goal, focus on the outcome and create a coaching experience that helps the individual to develop and take charge of their own change. From here, we work together to make the visible, symbolic change – what is the one thing the leader will do differently from tomorrow that will make a difference for their people and show their commitment to change? Not always easy but this is what creates a change experience for people that is meaningful; that people can connect with.”  

So to get these results Jo has adopted a philosophy called TWIGA. “Twiga is the Swahili word for Giraffe. To me, the giraffe symbolises what a great leader should be. It has presence and gravitas. It moves with grace, and they have a defined place in their tribe. Good leaders grounded in presence, working with purpose and wisdom, taking care of the tribe. When I work with people and organisations, I keep Twiga front of mind and work to understand and define the leadership role during times of change. How to translate ‘business as usual’ leadership capability into what is needed in an environment of complexity and rapid change.”

So what does a good leader look like? 

“A good leader has a presence, without dominating. They act with purpose and intent, and they use wisdom to be a change leader to guide action.  They create a safe place in the ‘tribe’ for people to explore, experiment and communicate. Importantly, they are respected because they are genuine and they are comfortable showing a level of vulnerability.”

5 tips on how to be a great leader.

- Be honest and genuine
- Let people do their job, don’t get in the way
- Recognise the impact that you have on others (your words, actions, behaviour)
- Be silent - there is much to learn taking time to be still and listen
- Employ smart people who can be amazing doing what they love + recognise their awesome-ness
- And the bonus tip - Buy the drinks! Or the chocolate, or lunch, or cake!

Jo is the type of person we want you to meet, have a drink with, share ideas and possibly become friends…How cool would that be! “I am really looking forward to spending time with such an amazing group of successful women, hearing their life and career stories and learning as much as I can to help shape the next phase of my own career journey.”

For more details on Jo, please visit her website www.josmyth.com.au 

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