“Thank for a great experience from the time I walked in the door”

Ellen-Maree Gadd
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For more information:
Stephen Crowe

Managing Director

Ph: 02 8042 8907

[email protected]



Many people have shared their views on who is responsible for career development.  Answering the question of where the responsibility lies, is like asking who is accountable for Usain Bolt’s success. While he was the face in the public eye, there were teams of people, each with their own duties, helping him become number one.


The employee needs to be passionate about the career path and have a desire to work hard towards being the best they can.  Like Usain Bolt, they need to put in the hours, training to achieve their goals and pushing to get to the next level.


And every employer, small or large, needs to appreciate that if they are to thrive as a company, they need to make investments to get the best out of their staff.


For people working for large organisations, training and development is often defined by the HR team, who plan for staff at different levels. A grad accountant for example, may be put through the CA program or form part of a rotation program to gain on the job experience. Senior leadership may be given an opportunity to take part in career development initiatives including career coaching, mentor programs or leadership training.


But for many people working for a smaller firm, these career plans are not in place and the emphasis is on the employee to ask for training and support.


While most employers are likely to cover the cost of training courses and further study, ultimately, the employee needs have a plan and know what they are aiming for. The long-term responsibility lies with the employee. You need to have a clear idea of what your career aspirations are and how you plan to get there. You should set goals and milestones that you can scratch off once completed. Ask your manager for regular one on ones, to discuss what you’d like to do, what support you need and to update them on your progress.


Career development is not all about training courses and further study though. Both the employee and the manager need to be thinking about opportunities to gain practical experience. The managers should be thinking about what else they can give the employee to do, where can they be seconded to and what the next step on the ladder is. For people working with larger firms, you should be looking for openings as and when they become available, whether it be a sideways move or a promotion, you need to let your manager know that you’d like to express your interest and be considered for the role.


So, if you don’t have a career plan in place right now, you need to put something into place. To round off, here’s a quick summary of the steps you should take:


  • Set some time aside to sit down and consider your long-term career goals
  • Break it down and list the things you want to complete in the short term
  • List any training or development opportunities you’d like support with
  • Set up a meeting with your manager to discuss your plan and make sure it aligns with the business to ensure you get the support you’re after



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Meetings. We all have to attend them. Sometimes we actually need to. But it is an incredibly common bugbear of most professionals that meetings get in the way of actually doing work. 

Our online survey last week asked: “What is the #1 reason meetings are a waste of time?” 

It ended up being a tie for first place. More than 20% of respondents selected both “No set agenda or purpose for the meeting” and “Meeting turns into a pointless gab-fest because no-one is in control”. 

One financial services manager I personally asked this question of did not draw breath for at least two minutes as he described (somewhat more colourfully than I will paraphrase here) his feelings about meetings: “I spend more than half my time in meetings on an average day. Frequently, the meeting commences and after about three minutes I find myself thinking ‘why am I here?’ There is no clear purpose, no set agenda, no notes are provided or taken, and no-one is assigned to any action items at the conclusion. Utterly pointless. 

“Another thing I hate is when people attending the meeting have not come prepared by reading any of the pre-meeting information provided. Half of the meeting is wasted bringing them up to speed. 

“It is also extremely annoying when the person who has called the meeting is unwilling or unable to maintain control over the pace and length of the meeting because they allow attendees to talk endlessly about the meeting’s topic or, worse still, get off topic altogether. Someone has to run the meeting, even with clients. Especially with clients. Some of the clients I deal with have all day to talk. I don’t.”

Right then. 

Knowing all of this, is there such a thing as a worthwhile meeting? Of course there is, but, as Dr Ken Hudson, author of the international series “The Idea Generator, The Idea Accelerator and Speed Thinking”, says: “I may be being harsh on corporate Australia, but making the most out of meetings seems to be lost on most managers.” * 

So, what can be done? Here are some tips for effective meeting management to guide you (or your organisation’s meeting organisers – pass this on!) through preparing and running a meeting that people want to attend and actually benefit from **: 

1 – Plan the Meeting: Effective meetings that produce results, begin with meeting planning. First, identify whether other employees are needed to help you plan the meeting. Then, decide what you hope to accomplish by holding the meeting. Establish doable goals for your meeting. The goals you set will establish the framework for an effective meeting plan. 

2 – Make Sure You Need a Meeting: You may find that you can accomplish the meeting goals with an email discussion or by distributing and requesting information through the company newsletter. Make sure the meeting is needed and not just convenient for you – you’ll get better results from attendees. 

3 – Ensure Appropriate Participation at the Meeting: If a meeting is the appropriate means to accomplish your goals, check with the participants who must attend for the meeting to succeed. The needed attendees must be available to attend the meeting. 

4 – Distribute and Review Pre-work Prior to the Meeting: You can make meetings most productive and ensure results by providing necessary pre-work in advance of the actual meeting. The more preparation time you allot, the better prepared people will be for your meeting. 

5 – Effective use of meeting time builds enthusiasm for the topic. It generates commitment and a feeling of accomplishment from the participants. People feel part of something bigger than their day-to-day challenges. Therefore, a well-facilitated, active meeting, that sets the stage for follow-up, will produce meeting results. 

6 – Effective Meeting Facilitation: An effective facilitator, who keeps participants on track, ensures the accomplishment of expected, desired results from the meeting. 

7 – Use the Pre-work in the Meeting: You reinforce the need for participants to spend the time needed upfront to review material that is integral to accomplishing the desired results. 

8 – Involve Each Participant in Actions: Every work group has various personalities that show up for meetings. You have quiet co-workers and people who try to dominate every platform. Whether facilitating or attending the meeting, you need to involve each attendee in the accomplishment of the meeting goals. 

9 – Create an Effective Meeting Follow-up Plan: During the meeting, make a follow-up plan with action items, including: the specific action item, the name of the person who committed to “owning” the accomplishment of the action item, the due date of the action item, and an agreement about what constitutes completion of the action item. 

10 – Publish Meeting Minutes: Begin by publishing your minutes and action plan within 24 hours. People will most effectively contribute to results if they get started on action items right away. 

11 – Effective Meeting Follow-up: Following the meeting, each person with an action item should also make a plan for their personal accomplishment of their commitment. Whether they write the steps in their planner, delegate the tasks to another staff person, or just complete the task, the individual is responsible for follow-up. So is the meeting planner. Your goal is to check progress and ensure that tasks are underway. Remember that what you ask about gets accomplished.


* Too Many Meetings Hurting Business

** Effective Meetings Produce Results: Tips for Meeting Management