Karen Schmidt's Blog (65)

2018: Your career in review

So it’s that time of the year when your thoughts are probably turning to reviewing the year. That’s because it’s bound to be a popular topic of conversation at the many social events you’ll attend, especially with people you don’t see very often.

But your reflective mood is…


Added by Karen Schmidt on December 21, 2018 at 11:30 — No Comments

Why are people so interested in future proofing their careers?

What happened?

I recently posted an article on LinkedIn called  “How to future proof your career” that clearly hit a nerve with many people around the world. My focus was on the threat posed by technology impacting a range of careers and how to use a 5 step pivot…


Added by Karen Schmidt on December 5, 2018 at 12:11 — No Comments

Helping your employees to future proof their careers

The 2018 “Future of jobs” report by the World Economic Forum listed the top 10 careers that will be in decline by 2022 as a result of the increase in robot technology. How many of your employees are at risk? 

  1. Data entry clerks
  2. Accounting, bookkeeping and payroll clerks
  3. Administrative and executive secretaries
  4. Assembly and…

Added by Karen Schmidt on October 31, 2018 at 11:59 — No Comments

The future role of Human Resources in career planning

A recent report by Monitor Deloitte on the Future of Human Resources paints an interesting picture for the future role of the profession:

“The days of Human Resources as we know it at present may be numbered … shifts in the role and importance of unions in the business world, employee preferences regarding…


Added by Karen Schmidt on October 5, 2018 at 12:19 — No Comments

Hybrid leadership development will get your new leaders blooming faster

Are you still offering traditional leadership development programs and wondering why you aren’t getting better results? Have you updated the content, hired new trainers or adjusted the delivery schedule hoping for a boost but nothing has changed? Maybe you’ve implemented a Blended Learning or Flipped Classroom model but are yet to see any improvement. Then what you need is to apply a valuable lesson from the gardening world and learn how to use the power of the hybrid.

In the…


Added by Karen Schmidt on October 10, 2016 at 13:32 — No Comments

Stop calling them team leaders if you don’t expect them to lead

Language matters. What we call something can help or hinder our understanding of it. The gardening world is full of examples of plants that have been given names that have no relationship to the plant. This can make it very confusing for new gardeners. For example, Pineapples aren’t related to pines or apples, Peanuts aren’t actually a nut and Primoses aren’t roses. I see the same problem happening in the workplace when we call people team leaders when they are really team managers. I have…


Added by Karen Schmidt on September 28, 2016 at 10:42 — No Comments

3 reasons intensive training programs fail to develop effective leaders

I was inspired to write this post while watching a telecast of the 2016 Rio Olympic games. With a motto of “faster, higher, stronger” the Olympic movement is all about pushing people to their limits to see how well they can perform, thus separating the top .01% from the rest. At one level I admire that goal but at another level I am concerned that some organisations are using…


Added by Karen Schmidt on August 30, 2016 at 12:47 — No Comments

Applying Pareto's Principle to maximise your leadership development budget

Did you know that “Pareto’s principle”, also known as the “80/20 rule” came about as a result of engineer and mathematician Vilfredo Pareto growing peas in his garden. He observed that 80% of his crop was being produced by 20% of his plants. This is one of the examples he used to demonstrate his world renowned principle. As someone who develops new leaders you need to work out where to find the best return on investment for your development budget. Where did your money go last financial year…


Added by Karen Schmidt on July 26, 2016 at 15:23 — No Comments

How to make a strong case for developing frontline leaders

With frontline leaders being responsible for up to 80% of your workforce and making up 50% of your leadership team it is vital that they are able to perform their roles effectively. When they struggle it has a direct impact on your organisation. If you are having trouble convincing decision makers to spend money on developing your struggling frontline leaders I may have the answer.

The issue of a lack of investment in frontline leadership development was highlighted recently with the…


Added by Karen Schmidt on June 30, 2016 at 11:38 — No Comments

The missing step that causes frontline leadership development programs to fail

Leaders are vital to the success of any organisation and we spend huge amounts of money every year developing them. The problem is that most of that development fails to yield the hoped for outcomes of increased productivity, reduced turnover and higher employee engagement. In fact sometimes it does the exact opposite.

This is particularly true when you are developing people who are in their first leadership position. I call them frontline leaders but you might use the term team…


Added by Karen Schmidt on May 11, 2016 at 15:00 — No Comments

Why you should stop training your frontline leaders

I have a confession to make. For over 15 years I have been working with clients to develop their frontline leaders by running workshops. Over time I have come to the conclusion that, no matter how good the content or how skilled I am as a presenter, workshops don’t work. That’s why I’ve recently changed the services I offer. It turns out I’m in good company.

A recent …


Added by Karen Schmidt on April 14, 2016 at 18:26 — No Comments

The number one reason your frontline leaders fail to perform

I’ve spent my whole career observing people and analysing their behaviour. I started out in Human Resources then moved into Learning and Development before deciding I wanted to share my insights with a wider audience. Along the way I found that there were lots of frustrated leaders who were tired of spending all their time recruiting, handling complaints and seeing people working below their capabilities. 

I realised the root of the problem was that most organisations have managers…


Added by Karen Schmidt on March 10, 2016 at 8:30 — No Comments

Coaching is the key to learning

This article from Human Capital Online calls into question the validity of workshops as the most suitable way to develop leaders, suggesting instead that the real learning happens as a result of coaching and in particular during group coaching.

It backs up the anecdotal evidence I’ve seen in the last 12 months. People who are responsible for developing leaders are…


Added by Karen Schmidt on February 25, 2016 at 11:27 — No Comments

Do you wait too long to develop your frontline leaders?

Gardening, like leading, is a life skill I believe people should be exposed to as early as possible if we are going to encourage them to pursue it. This has been proven by Australian chef Stephanie Alexander via her school based Kitchen Garden Scheme. She has found that by getting young children to grow and cook their own vegetables they are far more likely to eat a healthy diet and avoid obesity. This article by Jack…


Added by Karen Schmidt on February 4, 2016 at 14:30 — No Comments

Meeting the development needs of regional, rural and remote leaders

As someone who has lived in big cities and regional areas I can tell you there is a big difference in the way you garden depending on your location.

That was brought home to me recently when I visited Cairns. As you can see from this picture the plants that grow there are quite different to what you find 1,700kms south in my home city of Brisbane. Many a gardener has…


Added by Karen Schmidt on November 26, 2015 at 13:21 — No Comments

When did you last review your leadership development strategy?

One thing that developing leaders and gardening have in common is that they are not “set and forget” activities. An experienced gardener knows that regardless of how much planning and preparation they have done, things change constantly and they need to be able to respond to those changes. That is why they take stock of their garden on a regular basis.

Now for…


Added by Karen Schmidt on October 28, 2015 at 9:46 — No Comments

How practical is your leadership development strategy?

Gardeners are, by their natural, practical people. They don’t operate in a world of theory. Their focus is on the tangible actions they can take to get a result. I would like to see more organisations take a similar approach when it comes to developing their frontline leaders.

Frontline leaders are also practical. I describe them as the people who get their hands dirty in an organisation, often pitching in to help their team with the day to day tasks. This means we need to provide…


Added by Karen Schmidt on October 14, 2015 at 10:34 — No Comments

Does your culture need fixing so frontline leaders can thrive?

“When a flower doesn't bloom you fix the environment in which it grows not the flower” Alexander Den Heijer

If you are spending a lot of time, money and effort developing your frontline leaders but not seeing the results you want then maybe you’re putting your attention in the wrong area. I believe this quote could be the root cause of your…


Added by Karen Schmidt on September 21, 2015 at 10:27 — No Comments

Are you setting up new leaders to fail?

There is nothing worse than watching a promising leader fail to develop because there are too many barriers put in their way. Whilst a few are to be expected, you do need to be careful when placing them in a position where they encounter more than they can cope with. No matter how skilled or enthusiastic they might be, these barriers can…


Added by Karen Schmidt on September 8, 2015 at 10:52 — No Comments

How to shelter new leaders while they get established

Senior leaders are the trees in organisations, shading budding leaders from situations that can destroy them. When you appoint a new leader in your organisation do you leave them exposed to the ravages of the organisation or do your senior leaders provide them with some shelter from the more extreme elements?

Once you have…


Added by Karen Schmidt on August 24, 2015 at 16:20 — No Comments

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