A few years ago on 8 August 2005, I came back to a promotion after maternity leave. In my new role as Global Head of IT Service in this City law firm, I inherited an underperforming department that nobody else wanted to manage. I turned it around in just 11 months.
When I first inherited the department, there was poor attendance, mediocre timekeeping, low morale, high turnover, inconsistency in service levels, as well as frequent complaints and grumbles from lawyers and support staff alike. No-one could see what was happening.
Oh, and by the way, I was based in London, but of course this team was based in another city (another continent even!) – in Chicago.
Unique insight and talent
When I took over the department, it really surprised me that I could see the problems. They were glaringly obvious to me but they had been invisible to others. I discovered that I was noticing things that others did not. Everyone else was working in a fog, and I was the only one to find a clear way forward.
What I really wanted to achieve was an effective team with coherence and efficiency; a team that modelled best practice; that was seen as a centre of excellence; that was the envy of other department heads. A team I could be proud of.
Well I tell you, I was bursting with pride 11 months later, when I walked on stage to collect an international award at a supplier Annual Awards ceremony; an award which no other law firm has won or been shortlisted for. Not only that, my team exceeded all the short-term targets and achieved the long-term key performance indicators well ahead of schedule. And I was asked to roll out the model to the other 15 offices in the firm.
The “all-seeing eye”
It made me laugh when my former colleagues at another firm used to call me the “all-seeing eye”. Then I found out about the Sherry shrine in somebody’s locker – if I get to work with you, I will tell you all about that one day. It seems that I have a unique insight and talent. And that is why I decided to help other ambitious women in technology and professional services to achieve their full potential; to achieve their career ambitions. That’s what I have been doing since April 2012.
What keeps you awake at night?
I work with ambitious women who want to develop their own performance as well as their team’s. I work with organisations who recognise and value the differences between the communication and leadership styles of men and women.
You may well be asking yourself all sorts of questions about your effectiveness, your career, your career goals, your talent pipeline, the kind of questions my clients ask me when I start working with them:
- What can I do to make sure I’m not overlooked for promotion?
- How do I ensure that my talents and ambitions get noticed?
- How can I improve my team’s performance?
- What’s the best thing for me focus on now?
- What are the quick wins that I can put into action now?
- How do I make sure that differences in communication and leadership are valued?
- How the hell do I take on a new leadership role and not mess up my work-family balance?
- How do we make sure that we retain our best female talent?
How do you get the answers to your questions?
Well, you can sit there in your office and try to figure it out by yourself. Of course, sometimes that works but it can be a very lonely and demanding way of doing it. I know many who have tried it, become disillusioned, tired and frustrated, and finally admitted “I need help!”
There are others who know straight away that she is facing a challenge and actively look for help from someone who knows the sector, and who they know and trust. Who want to take effective action and fast. Or organisations who recognise that they are struggling to close that gender gap and who actively want to encourage, recruit and retain their female talent. Because they know it makes business sense.
Let me be very clear. I am not interested in working with leaders and organisations who want to go from poor to mediocre. Who just want to play the ‘gender game’ because it will look good in their annual report or helps to build strong investor relationships. I want to work with those women who want to be leaders and those organisations who want the competitive advantage of having the best female talent in the market.
You might not have worked with me before. I know how important it is to find somebody that understands professional services; who recognises what it is like to provide a service to lawyers, accountants, auditors and consultants; who appreciates the pressures that firms face in the current climate. I know how important it is to work with somebody who is action-driven and can produce results fast. And that is important for me too. I want to work with clients who are committed and who want to succeed.
Ready to take the next step?
Are you ready to take the next step and invest in your future?
What is truly powerful about coaching one-to-one or as part of a group leadership confidence programme, is that ongoing support and accountability. You will be encouraged, supported and challenged at times. However in return you will achieve your goals more quickly and far more effectively than if you work in isolation. I offer coaching and/or mentoring for you, your team or your line managers.
I work with individuals privately on a one-to-one basis or as a group on Leadership Confidence. Leadership Confidence is a group run independently bringing women together from different organisations. However I can bring ‘in-house’ to a group of 6-8 women in your organisation.
I also offer a range of workshops designed specifically for teams and leaders to develop personal effectiveness, leadership, communication and coaching skills.
Give me a call on 07905 826267 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss your requirements.