Author Archives: Steve Dybacz

Career goals: What you need to do if you want to switch in 2021

After a weird 2020 when many of us worked from home, cut off from the office and our daily routine, it’s understandable that some are re-thinking their career options. 2021 feels like a fresh start.

In any year, it’s not unusual to see people suffering from the post-Australia-Day blues. That first full month back at work can be tough, even more so if you’re still effectively a prisoner in your own home and only edging back into office life one or two days a week.

My personal experience this year is a little 50/50 on whether it’s career change time. Some of our contacts are feeling a little anxious about shifting and moving on, while others are seeing plenty of opportunities out there as business looks to get back to normal service.

Whenever I’m asked whether now is a good time to move, my answer is generally ‘no more or less so than any other time’. If you are looking to move, here are a few tips on making sure you’re in the best position to find the role you want.

  1. Don’t cram your CV

Like many areas in life: less is more when it comes to your CV. Streamline your approach, and don’t cram it full of long-winded explanations of every job you’ve ever held.

My rule here is to highlight and elaborate on only the core skills and experience that help you make that next jump in your career. Writing ‘War and Peace’ in your CV won’t make you more employable, it’ll just bore the hell out of the person reading it. You’re much better off being succinct and to the point on your achievements, calling out those that are important and not padding your CV with superfluous dribble.Think about it this way: What would I want to highlight about myself to make me attractive to someone hiring for the role I want?

  1. Check your social media

 Here’s a free tip: Most potential employers will look at your public information, and that means your social media accounts. It’s not rocket science that what you put out there on social media will be reviewed and analysed by businesses looking to bring you in. It’s all part of a wider background check on you…shock, horror that recruiters and employers don’t just rely on your references alone!

Firstly, make sure your online presence is consistent. For example, if your CV says you were a General Manager, but your LinkedIn profile says Sales Executive, don’t be surprised if you don’t receive a call back.

Secondly, if you want to keep it personal, then make your personal social media accounts private. That way, any of your personal opinions and views can’t be used as a part of making a hiring decision. It also eliminates you having different stories on different platforms and contributes to that consistent message point I made earlier.

  1. Know what you want

This one sounds like basic common sense, but you would be surprised how many people want to switch careers without knowing what they want to switch to.

Idealism is awesome in many areas, but for your career, the reality is that you’ll most likely have to make compromises in what you want at a career level (unless you’re in the top 1%).

Knowing where you want to go is crucial to getting it right. Test it out with your current employers; if they can’t get you there, then you’ll know it’s time to find it somewhere else.

A good starting point is to get it down on paper. Create a list and share it with any recruiters you’re working with. It’ll help them find the right type of roles for you and put you in the game. It will also help sharpen your thinking so that you won’t just grab any role available. Often knowing what you don’t want is more valuable than knowing what you do.

Want to discuss your career options? DM me here or email me at steve@projectprofessionalservices.com.au.

 

 

Bored at home: Is working from home losing its shine?

It’s been one of the comments of 2020: “I love working from home, it’s so much more productive”. And for some people, it really is. We’ve had a work-from-home culture in the Australian workplace for some time now, and for a good number of people doing a day or two at home has long been part of the working norm.

The pandemic changed that to being a full-time scenario for many workers. At the time, we wrote a piece talking about it and how it worked for many of us. For those who already loved it, it was paradise. For those that missed the human interaction in the office, it was a nightmare.

One thing I’ve noticed though in recent times, both in conversations in my network and in the media, is that even some of the more ardent supporters of work from home are starting to sound a little, well…jaded. Could it be that full time working from home wasn’t all it was touted to be?

We still like working with people

In the end, we’re all social creatures. For many roles, social interaction is crucial to your success and is a key part of your working life. For all the annoying things about the office, there are many positives and I think people are starting to miss it more than they thought they would.

Everyone loves their partner/family/flatmate etc., but 24/7 contact with no breaks? It’s enough to test anyone. I’ve certainly experienced it in my life. My partner is working from home full time and I’ve noticed that she’s very keen to chat when I get back from the office. I think she misses that day-to-day human interaction too!

We can’t replace human connection through video and phone alone. We crave it, and I think that’s why we’ve seen an uptick in people going back to the CBD. It’s so much easier, for example, to brainstorm with a colleague or ask a key question when you’re there face to face. And much more interesting than talking to your cat all day.

For roles like ours, where its heavily sales focused, video and phone can be limiting. Communication is about so much more than audio, for example it’s much harder to read someone’s body language from his or her head alone on a video screen.

Mental health

There’s also the mental health aspect. Think about those that live alone as an example, I’m sure there’s people there that miss that daily interaction. I know I would.

Working is a big part of our lives and while video is great it just can’t replace human contact.

CBDs are built for work 

There’s also the fact that our CBDs in places like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane have seen huge investment in recent times. The office spaces in places like Barangaroo are state of the art and provide the best environment for work we’ve ever had. Infrastructure like the NBN is optimised for these locations to ensure we can work to the standards we need.

Then there are the hospitality and retail businesses that are being smashed by the double whammy of COVID and a huge drop in traffic through their businesses.

At PPS, we’ve always had a flexible working arrangement and that won’t change. But even I’ve noticed more of our team spending time in the office. So, to answer my own question: Yes, I think the full time work from home gloss is wearing thin, and there will be more people ready to return at least part of their working week to the office in the near future. .

What do you think? Keen to hear what you think; DM me here or email me at steve@projectprofessionalservices.com.au

Prioritise: Now is the time to be smarter than ever before

What a crazy year 2020 has been. As we start to see a return to something that resembles a more normal life, with the notable exception of our friends in Melbourne (hopefully soon guys!), it’s a good time to focus on how we can work smarter.

I wrote a post recently around the use of the word ‘busy’ that generated a little commentary. It is something that drives me mental at times, and it seems that there are plenty of others out there with a similar view! I want to focus this piece on one of the points I raised in that blog: The need to prioritise.

Choose what’s important

As I said in my earlier blog, we all have enough time in our lives; it’s just what we choose to do with it. When we say we’re ‘busy’ we’re making choices on how we spend our time.

Those choices reflect our priorities. It’s a simple fact of life that if we are motivated to do something, we will find a way to do it. So, the question you need to ask yourself is: Why am I not prioritising that thing I say I’m too ‘busy’ to get to? What is the real reason I’m not seeing it as being important enough to dedicate time to?

If we focus on our working lives, I’m a big believer in the issue of people focusing on delivering the wrong tasks. We often see businesses and management teams focusing on tasks that fill their day…but possibly don’t add a huge amount of value to the organisation. It makes you look ‘busy’, but is it really delivering a result?

Start with the end in mind

When I think about prioritising my time, I try to look at a bigger picture. You need to know why you’re prioritising that task and how it fits into where you want to go.

For example, our approach at PPS is to focus on outcomes. We’re not so focused on the team’s daily task list; it’s not our management style. What we want is a focus on starting with the end in mind. Once we know the end goal, we can then set priorities within the business or project to focus on delivering that result. It sounds simple but it actually takes discipline in your approach to achieve this.

So ask yourself: What’s the end goal? Will the activities I’m prioritising get me there?

Create the right environment 

So what’s stopping you from setting the right priorities? In reality, it could be the management style you’re employing that’s stopping your team from achieving more.

In recruitment, I’ve seen plenty of managers/businesses that have an overreliance on call numbers. While activity is a part of your success, it’s not the only measure, and I’d argue that there are other more important priorities for your people to focus on. There are plenty of people churning our calls and never closing a deal.

It highlights for me that for your team to set the right priorities, you need to create the right environment. I’ve already mentioned our outcome focus at PPS: That’s been super important during COVID where we’ve been working remotely. Some of our team will continue with remote working longer term, and, in my view, if that’s going to put them in a situation where they can deliver a result, it’s entirely fine by me.

Think about what you’re giving your team in terms of a frame of reference for setting the right priorities. For many managers, it can be eye opening when they do.

How are you making sure you prioritise the right activities to achieve success? Keen to hear what you think. DM me here or email me at steve@projectprofessionalservices.com.au.

 

 

Case Study: Downer Group

Read how PPS helped Downer Group deliver and resource their FttC project.

Download the Case Study

Busy is the new ‘stupid’: Can we drop saying we’re always ‘busy’

 It’s certainly been a very strange time to be alive. We had terrible bushfires that then morphed into a 6-month and counting pandemic that has changed so many things in our lives. For business in particular, it’s changed the way many do what they do.

One thing hasn’t changed though: Everyone tells me that they’re too ‘busy’. In some ways, there are reports around that back this up with people suggesting that while they’re working at home/remotely, they’re ‘expected’ to put in more hours. I’m not sure that’s the case, but I can tell you one thing: I’m tired of nearly every conversation I have starting with some variation of “I’m great but I’m too busy”.

So, it led me to pose the question: Is everyone running around saying they’re busy the new definition of stupid?

Busy or just not efficient?

Before everyone starts slinging arrows at me…It’s easy to concede that it is a crazy period. Adjusting to new ways of working can be difficult and I don’t doubt for a second that there are plenty of hard-working individuals out there.

What it comes down to is this concept of being too busy. I get that it can feel like that. There are plenty of demands on everyone’s time and no one is ever going to find extra hours in a day. But the question is: Do we need to lead every conversation we have in our lives trying to out ‘busy’ each other?

It leads to another question: Are we all really that busy? Or are we just choosing to spend our limited hours per day on activities that aren’t proactive or efficient? There is an argument that we accept overreaching demands from our employers so there’s a certain amount of self-blame we can attach to work making us busy. The other question to ask here is: If we are really that busy, is it a case of just not managing our time efficiently?

Time management

Time management is one of those soft skills in business that many people scoff at but is absolutely crucial. It’s one that more of us could spend some time working on (no pun intended). In business, it’s crucial as no one wants to live to work. You need to take an approach that allows you to maximise your time to deliver what you need to deliver…but also factors in everything else you need out of life too.

It’s not just in a business setting either, it’s in our personal lives too. How many friends have you got in your life who are constantly late? Or always moving a catch up with you? Chances are that they are also struggling with efficiently managing their time. No one is perfect, but if it keeps happening, it’s a repeat behaviour and one that suggests their time is more important than yours.

The question to ask yourself is: Is this important enough to me? I guarantee if it is, then you’ll find a way to make it happen.

Taking accountability  

I’m not perfect, and I’m not suggesting that I am. I do, however, try to improve the way I manage my own time to ensure that I am as on top of this as possible. I try to lead a life that has time put aside for work, personal, and health activities. Running your own business isn’t easy at the best of times, so it does take work to make it as efficient as possible. The trick is focusing on keeping myself accountable. I challenge myself every day to do that, so when the alarm goes off at 5.30am for the gym, I bounce out of bed as quickly as I can.

Holding yourself responsible can be difficult, but it’s the first step in getting control back and avoiding throwing ‘busy’ into every conversation.

Does anyone else feel like we’re overusing the word busy? Keen to hear what you think, DM me here or email me at steve@projectprofessionalservices.com.au.