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Leadership Through A Crisis – What Do Australians Really Want?

Great leadership during a crisis is crucial so that everyone can feel safe, certain and know that there is positive way out. In this episode of my ‘Wine and Wisdom’ show called Leadership Through A Crisis – What Do Australians Really Want?I talk with the very talented Ashley Fell from McCrindle Research.

We discuss:

  1. What does your research say about what Australians are looking for from leaders during a crisis?
  2. How will COVID-19 impact the future of work and learning?
  3. Will working from home be the new normal into the future?
  4. What can leaders do in response to this?
  5. Plus lots, lots more.

You can either watch the Q&A here or read the full transcript below.

#leadership #research #generations

H – I wanted to share with you a little bit about why this show is what it is. Because this actually started last year. But I think, especially in our times of self isolation there is nothing more important than coming together, sharing a little wine, a few stories, having a laugh, and then tapping in to the amazing wisdom of the people in our community. And I have always felt extremely lucky that I have been surrounded by very talented people. And tonight’s guest is certainly one of those. I first met Ashley a couple of years ago. I was MCing an event in Queensland for three days, it was an education event where she was one of the keynote speakers. And it was my first time seeing her live on stage and I feel like it was just incredible how she was able to distill all this research and then be at articulate it in a way that normal Joe-blows like me can actually understand it and make sense of it. And then last year I was lucky enough to be speaking with her in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne at the Future of Leadership Conferences. Where we got to know each other a little bit better. And I got to really understand how talented she was with this kind of research that she does. So tonight we are having our episode all about how to have better leadership through a crisis. And what Australians are really wanting from our leaders. So tonight, I’d like to welcome our amazing guest, Ashley Fell, hello Ashley welcome. Cheers to you. Do you have a wine for you to have a cheers with?

A – Cheers.

H – Welcome to the Wine and Wisdom show. Thank you for coming on tonight, I really appreciate it. I know you’ve been working hard all day. But thank you. Why don’t we start with you telling everybody who you are, what you do, and the positive impact that you are making in our world.

A – Great well thank you Heidi for having me, and good evening everybody. My name is Ashley Fell. I’m the director of communications at a company called McCrindle Research. So we’re a small boutique research communication agency. And we are really passionate about helping Australians and people all over the world really understand sort of the current context that we’re living in. So we do a lot of research on lots of different topics and different sectors from education to not for profit, and a study that we’ve just recently completed which is extremely relevant in the current context is how Australians are responding to COVID-19. So all the nerdy research, methodologies is what we spent a lot of our team doing. So surveys, and focus groups, and data analysis. But my role as the director of communications is to distill that data and that content and make sure that it does get out into the hands of people. So a big part of that which is where Heidi and I have crossed over is speaking at conferences and delivering media commentary and writing blogs, and writing some books, and distilling that research and communicating it. So McCrindle’s very passionate about helping people understand, ’cause we feel as though and we really do believe that when we understand, particularly when leaders understand the current context in the future, we do a lot of trend predictions around population and generations. So once we understand some of the shifts and the changes taking place we can better respond to those shifts and changes. So that was the whole reason behind running this COVID study to help leaders and organisations understand where Australians are at, how they’re feeling, what they’re looking for from leaders so that we can all respond in these really uncertain and crazy times. So really passionate about data and making sure that gets into the hands of people, and they can interpret it and understand it, and then use it.

H – Yes fantastic. And that’s what we need because there’s such a lot of clickbait and with the kind of 24/7 media cycle where the stories are being distorted and they’re being catastrophised, that when you know of a company like yours that we can go to, to get the real data, the proper data where there’s research behind it, it makes such a difference ’cause there is so much misinformation out there. And yes we are in a really terrible, tricky, crazy time right now. There’s no denying it. But some of the stories and the data and the research that is being shown across social media can be really confusing and overwhelming to know whether it’s true or not. Have you found that people are really struggling with that?

A – Yes absolutely. So we did ask in this survey how Australians are feeling. And a lot of people said, most common response was anxious and a bit scared, and obviously really uncertain. And we did ask as well in the survey who were they turning to for advice, and a lot of people are turning to the government, which is good because that is that credible source of information, but there is so much opinion and like wherever you look on social media or in the news it’s COVID-19 related, and if that news source isn’t super trustworthy then it can be difficult to know and can be really overwhelming, so we did find Australians are feeling anxious. But we also found that 27% of Australians are actually feeling hopeful. So there is hope in the midst of all this and there’s definitely opportunity around the new working from home measures, which I’m sure we’ll get into.

H – Yes.

A – So crisis and lots of rapid change is really hard to deal with, but also presents opportunities for us. So Australians are a bit anxious but also hopeful which was encouraging from the research.

H – Absolutely. And before I talk a little bit more about that I’d like, you’d like to have a call out, hello Amanda, thank you for being on, it’s lovely to see you. And if anybody else is here I’d love for you to let us know if you are having a wine with us. Is it a red, is it a white, is there bubbles, is it a Pinot, or a Via, and where you’re tuning in from. ‘Cause we’d love to say hi to you. But just coming back Ashley to that point that you just made about the anxiety levels. I know normally in Australia there’s about 23% of Australians who experience anxiety, but I think from your research you found that it’s at 47% at the moment are finding they’re feeling, they’re getting those feelings of anxiety around the current situation? Is that correct?

A – Yes that’s right. That’s right, so almost half of Australians, 47% said they were feeling anxious. So I mean, as I said before there’s so many opportunities and positive about some of the restrictions that we’re facing, like working from home, and less travel time, and less, more flexibility, and to spend more time with family, but I think with that, and obviously the fact that this is a pandemic and there’s a lot of uncertainty, Australians are feeling anxious, and we know that even the traditional norms of our life, like going out and socialising, and going to work. I mean work is so much more than just where we go to get paid. For most people hopefully it’s a sense of purpose and contribution, and even though we’re working from home, even the people in the workplace culture is all really important aspects of physical workplace that so many people now don’t have. And then you’ve got elderly Australians who aren’t able to go out because they’re at risk, and so they’re not used to perhaps being at home all day. So that social interaction aspect, I think as well is also impacting that aspect of mental health and the anxiety, but also just the uncertainty and we are asked about how Australians feel, how long this is going to go on for, and I think almost half said, won’t be back to normal for like at least eight months, that’s obviously what they’re feeling, and every day we learn something new about how long this is going to go for. So that uncertainty I think also plays into that anxiousness that so much of us feel at the moment.

H – Yes of course. I mean no one knows ’cause we’ve never gone through this before, we can’t revert to, well I mean there have been pandemics before, but not in our time. And it’s such a different world now that it’s very difficult to compare it to anything prior that we’ve experienced. So what have you found Australians are really wanting from our leaders? What are the traits that the research is telling us that us as Australians are looking for our leaders to articulate or behave, or think, what are those traits?

A – Yes so we asked this question in the survey and we said what are the most important qualities that you really need from your leaders at this time. There was two most common responses, so 50% half of Australians that we surveyed said that leaders need to be completely open and honest with sharing information. So there’s that openness and the ability to just over-communicate in a crisis, and make sure that we’re aware of what’s going on. And not holding back information. ‘Cause we know that when leaders hold back information and the people they’re leading know that, that can create a sense of distrust. So making sure that we’re open and honest about that. The second or I guess tied first quality that Australians are also looking for from leaders which was also 50% of Australians said, is to be prepared to make the tough calls, to make them early, and back themselves. So again there’s that confidence that can be really difficult at this time for leaders to back themselves when we are all going through something that we’ve never really been involved with before. But the need to make those calls early and to back themselves. Then what else we found in this survey was that 36% of Australians said they want their leaders to lead with strength and communicate confidence. We found that 33% said give voice to the experts and follow their lead and advice. So knowing that not everything rests on the leader to know everything, but where there’s health experts, and health advice to refer to that. And then what I also found really interesting even though it was a little bit further down in terms of the percentage of Australians who wanted this, in our other research that we’ve conducted it’s really important aspects of leadership with 27%. So more than one in four Australians said they want their leaders to show compassion and empathy. So those were the main top five findings that we found around what Australians are looking for from their leaders in this crisis.

H – Yes. And it’s so interesting. I mean I know you’ve done a lot of this kind of leadership research prior to COVID-19. How has that change to what people would have said last year, what are the differences that people are wanting right now?

A – I think one of the things, so we’ve done, as you just said, a lot of research into the qualities that leaders and Australians want, and that can relate in a political context for the leaders of an organisation or a team leader to even I think leaders in our families. I would of probably suspected prior to COVID-19 that perhaps that last one I mentioned around compassion and empathy might have been higher up the list but we heard those words of confidence and strength. And I think during this crisis Australians are looking for those qualities in leaders, perhaps more so than we’ve seen. We’ve seen a lot of I guess common and popular literature around leaders leading with empathy and vulnerability, and telling stories with that aspect which I still think is relevant in this context, absolutely, but I feel as though it might have been just shifted in the preference of Australians because we are in really uncertain times and we need strong leadership. And we’ve seen that as much as, I don’t want to get into the politics of it, I do think the Australian government and we did ask that question, and Australians do think the Australian government has responded pretty well compared to other nations in terms of responding to this virus. And even though there’s been some really harsh measures, it has shown some seriousness towards to the vulnerable in our community. So there’s some of the differences I think compared to what it would have been say pre-COVID-19.

H – Yes. And I’d be interested to know what your thoughts are in regard to how you’re seeing leaders respond or how leaders should respond to this type of research when they perhaps have not been quite sure on what is expected of them right now?

A – Yes I think we did this research so that leaders can just have an understanding and awareness and looking at the quantitative data and the hard figures. And just rather than going on gut feel like, oh I think maybe my team’s feeling like this, or I think Australians are feeling this way or that way, to actually give some evidence based in sight as to how we’re going. And so I hope leaders can look at this data and just hopefully increase their awareness of how their teams are feeling. And when they do have to make the tough calls knowing that people are feeling anxious, but they’re expecting leaders to make those tough decisions and I think one thing that also just I guess changes the context around this piece of research is and we’ve heard it so many times, that we’re all in this together, and that so many organisations and so many individuals are facing real uncertainty about job security and health and well being, and that goes just not from the fear of the coronavirus but to the mental health capacity, and the resilience that of course you would know a lot about Heidi. Just impacting so many areas of our life. So we’re all in this together. We have I think increased empathy for our leaders who need to make those tough decisions. But hopefully it can just equipped leaders with a bit of an understanding of where Australians are at, and we looked into the opportunities around working from home, and where people think the future’s going to go. So we always wanted to look at sort of not just what’s happening now, but where do we need to go in the future? Because a real key part of leadership is to have that foresight and that vision. And so we know that this crisis will pass, we don’t know when, but we know it will and so hopefully a lot of organisations I feel as though are in survival mode, which is absolutely understandable. But also, leaders I guess have that responsibility of having that longer-term vision as well. So looking at what the new workplace, what the new online learning or training, and the education sector, how is that all going to respond after this crisis passes. So hopefully that helps leaders as well from the research.

H – Yes and look I’ve been talking to people about how we need calm, kind, smart, and visionary leaders right now. And you used that word visionary because we do need leaders to be able to look beyond this real crisis period that we’re in right now. And be able to extract the good things that are going to come. And show to everyone in their team, in their country, in their family, whoever it is that they’re leading their community, that there will be positive things that will come from this. And we do need leaders to be able to remind us of it daily, because there is so many other places and platforms that are telling us how bad it is. But really as a leader it is their job to be visionary, and be visionary in not a pollyanna kinda way, but in an optimistic way. So we can look forward and know that okay, when we come through this crazy uncertain change, stress, or time we’re in right now, there will be some goodness that comes. And it really leads me to my next question about how do you, what is the research telling us, not just how do you think, but what is the research telling us that our future what will look like post coronavirus, what is going to happen to work and the way we learn, and the way everything goes on? Tell me about that.

A – Yes. So we asked firstly the question just to get a gauge how many Australians feel that they can work from home. And we found 58% agree that their job allows them to do that, so that’s quite a high proportion, obviously not everybody allows their job, the nature of their role or their job allows them to do that. So there’s quite a few of us, almost three and five who can work from home. And obviously that’s not without challenges, just over half of those we surveyed, 56% said, that would be challenging with other people working at home, and then your throw in all the parents who are now needing to be, although it’s school holidays now and you just have to wait, so hope that’s giving a little bit of rest. But needing to be the teacher as well as wanting to work themselves from home. So there’s some challenges there. But we also found Australians are really positive towards online work and online education. So we found at nine and 10 Australians were positive about online education in vocational training and workplaces. 89% were positive about online university education, and 86% positive about online learning in school. So I guess the fact that we’re so digitally connected and obviously everyone’s on the Zoom calls now, and can interact and collaborate with work, colleagues and classmates in the online learning and connecting is really well setup for this crisis. I can’t imagine going through this like two decades ago when the technology wasn’t as sophisticated as it is now. So I think there’s that aspect. We also ask the question though looking to the future, how many Australians sort of believe this will be the new normal. And we did find 78% of Australians that we surveyed said that it is likely this will be the new normal, this working from home. And we also found that 76% of Australians said, so three and four Australians said they would stay longer with their employer if they were offered more remote working or flexible working options. So some other research we did pre-COVID-19, we looked at the top attractors and what aspects of a workplace attract people towards it. And it was things like training, flexible working conditions, the leadership style, the workplace culture. So flexibility and this remote working has always been attractive. Now so many organisations who maybe had some reservations about adopting that have just been thrust into it. Hopefully seeing how positive the experience has been, and so we do think and we do predict, and Australians feel from this research that we will have more remote working and working from home capacity post-COVID-19. But I did just want to say as well, and it draws on some research we conducted a couple of years ago about remote working, and the positives and the negatives of that. So you know there’s, as so many of us are learning now and experiencing this, there’s no commute time. Which can be a positive if you have a long commute, but can also be a negative if you use that commute to disconnect from your workday. I know for me, I’m sitting at my desk right now, my desk, sort of my dining table, and then I’ll walk a few meters and you know just got to instantly switch off. So there’s some challenges that working from home provide, but also you miss the social connection and the opportunities for spontaneous collaboration that come from working in an office or a job site where you’re working with other people. So I think all that is to say I do think and the research shows that we will be moving towards this more of new normal. But this survey we conducted a few years ago, 68% of Australians said the culture and output is best in a workplace when everyone is working in the one place with the degree of flexibility for remote working. So I don’t think it’s just going to be everyone working from home all the time. I think we will move back to some of those more traditional working environments. But more organisations probably will adopt some more flexible working practices, which hopefully helps different people in different roles have some work-life balance. And moms looking after her children and wanting to have a career. So all those different aspects.

H – Absolutely. And for anybody who is listening in now or later when we finish the recording, if there is anybody you know who is very interested in the future of work, it’d be really worthwhile you tagging them in the comments so that they can hop into this conversation because I mean the stats that Ashley’s sharing with us are absolutely incredible and I think it’s really important for us all to understand what perhaps ’cause it still is a bit of a crystal ball, is the future going to look like. I think about and you touched on it Ashley about our workplace is our such a like a hub for connection and a place of belonging for many people. And I know with so many people really wanting it, was it 76% you said would stay longer if they had more flexible work arrangements. But I don’t know if that needs to be all the time because as you said just to have those spontaneous collaboration moments where you just kind of bounce ideas when they’re coming to your brain, and people, those ideas come at random times when there are random discussions. Which can’t always happen via the technology that we’re having to use right now. But I think even more to the point is this whole sense of belonging. Our workplace can create a home away from home. And for many people it is a better home than what they’ve got at home. And I don’t think we would ever want this to be forever, I would imagine not. But if we can find a nice balance I would imagine that would be a very positive thing to get from the future of work. What do you think?

A – Yes absolutely. I mean a lot of the work that I’ve been doing over the last 12 months has been around the importance of work and the role that work plays in our lives so and I are co-authoring a book called “Work Wellbeing” and it looks at all these different aspects of the workplace but a lot of it is trying to elevate the role of work in our lives, and I think in this environment where there’s the normal rhythms of life has just been completely swept out from beneath us from obviously the working environment to picnics in the park, and going to the beach with friends and all those social things. And even seeing family members for Easter, like just the things that we maybe took for granted or didn’t realise was such an important part of our rhythms of life and work is absolutely a huge part of that. When they’re stripped away we do realise the importance that they carry for us. And I’ve read this quote a little while ago which said, it kind of came about around COVID-19 as we started to all work from home, and people like lost their jobs which has been really tragic for so many, and the quote said to many work is simply a job, but to many more it’s a lifeline to social interaction, purpose, and a place of belonging. And it’s exactly what you said Heidi basically. That the workplace is so much more than where we go to get paid. For many people the workplace culture or the sense of community is sometimes our only sense of community, and so when that is stripped away and when it’s forcibly been taken away from so many of us, we really do value that. So I think absolutely we will return to some of those more traditional aspects, but hopefully some of the organisations perhaps or leaders who are a bit fearful around allowing teams to work from home every now and then, or remote working ’cause of maybe a lack of trust, some of those barriers hopefully can be alleviated and we can have more of these flexible options to people moving forward.

H – Yes. I think that once we take what we’ve learnt during this time and what’s been great and what’s not been so fabulous, it will allow us to arrange our worlds in a whole different way. And when you’re looking at the research that you’ve just recently done, if we’re looking to the future, what should leaders already start to be thinking about in regards to creating this new, kind of this new way, like what are perhaps the three top things that leaders within a workplace should be thinking about creating when we’re out of this current crazy operational, holy shit how do I like even, get things done every day, let alone think about these kind of big-ticket high-level things. What are your thoughts on those?

A – So I think one thing that I’ve sort of been saying I think pre-COVID-19, it’s relevant now in the new normal when we are working from home through to when we pass this crazy pandemic is to build culture intentionally, so we know particularly for the emerging generations there’s often five key things we talk about that attract somebody to an organisation. And the five things are training, job content, leadership style, work-life integration, and workplace culture. And workplace culture is often number one for these emerging generations because of exactly everything we just mentioned before around the workplace being a community for them, and a workplace family, and a place of connection and belonging. And in workplace culture, so how an organisation does things and interacts is so important. And I think we’re seeing the importance of that now that it’s been taken away, but I think in this new normal or interim normal where we are working from home, it’s still a key role of leaders to build culture and be intentional about that, so you see a lot of the Zoom calls, I mean sometimes our organisation we’ve got quite a young millennial team so we tend to like play games at lunchtime in the office. And so we’ve been trying to do that virtually at lunchtime or on a Friday at 4:30 with a glass of wine, so that’s been interesting to navigate and innovate. So I think that’s one tip to build culture and value the role that, that plays in a lot of people with the workplace, and it’s not just a nice happy, like a nice thing to have, we’ve done a lot of other research that shows organisations that prioritise that, and their teams have greater retention, have great stuff, advocacy and brand advocacy to other people, they speak highly of their organisation to their customers and their friends. So it’s got some real return on investment aspects as well. As just being a good thing to do. So I think that’s the first thing. The second thing I would say is to continue to invest in the training and upskilling of your team. So we were just discussing before as keynote speakers and trainers sometimes in this weird world we’re now in can feel as though that’s fallen off the radar, and there’s other things businesses need to be thinking about, and how they can sustain themselves through this time. But I think also remembering that training and development is a key aspect of particularly retaining stuff if we’re feeling as workers that we’re being invested in our professional development, we know that, that’s really important. So and I’ve seen some amazing opportunities and things that this new normal has been providing like I signed up for this online wellbeing course at Yale, and it was a free one, but it was just I’ve got more time now, I want to invest in a bit of my own personal development and it relates to the work I do professionally. So I can do that and it’s a university over in the states, and you can do that. So there’s this global digital world that we are living in and have access to, so continue to invest in training. And then the third tip that I would say is use this time as an opportunity to innovate. So there’s this great quote from Winston Churchill who said, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, and I think there’s, it can be really hard sometimes to take our heads above the water and the stress that we’re feeling and the anxiety, but it is an opportunity for us to rethink some of that, those aspects of our organisations and efficiencies and processes as we might have a bit more time on our hands now, and to innovate in response to this in terms of how we lead our teams. So hopefully the three tips, build culture intentionally, continue to invest in training the team, and use this as an opportunity to innovate is what I would say.

H – Well they’re fabulous, and I especially love number two, investing in training, continual training and development would be awesome. But you know, I mean I know from being in the audience to your keynotes that as a millennial group coming out training and development is truly one of the most important things to them, they do want to continue their professional development with technical skills and non-technical skills, so if you want to attract top talent, that is certainly something that you should be continuing with. By the way, that Yale course, can you put the link in the comments, I think there’d be a few people who would like to have a look at that, definitely.

A – Yes absolutely, I will do.

H – Thank you. I have two last questions for you Ashley, the first one is about the fact that the two of us in our separate, same same but different ways, of building or supporting organisations to build resilience so that they can navigate out the end of these very stressful uncertain unchanging times. And resilience to me it has to be done at an organisational level as well as an individual level. So I’d love to know what is it that you are doing right now to ensure as you are in lockdown to ensure that you are resilient enough to cope with all the challenges that are going on right now? What’s your number one thing you do for you?

A – I think for me, I’ve always liked to think of myself as a very active person. When I was at university and I was studying, I worked at Virgin Active the health club for a number of years and I still go there as a member now. Although obviously that’s stopped. But I think for me, with more time, I’ve been really conscience when working from home just trying to get out of this little apartment that I live in. So I’ll go and get a coffee in the morning which is just a three-minute drive up the road. I try and go for a walk or a run at lunchtime, and now daylight savings is here, but particularly at the end of the day, I just found it was so hard to disconnect from work, and the space that my husband and I are in at the moment is, is quite small, so it’s not a study, it is not a confined space, where that’s the work environment, it’s all just one open in the bliss of open plan living. And so I think for me it has just been and more recently actually just investing and looking and exploring in all these online forums, like online workouts that I can do in my lunch break, and I’ve just over the last, Easter weekend actually with a lot of time at home, did a few yoga sessions and meditation, so things that I always said oh I’m too busy for that to actually give that a priority and a space in my life. And I think there’s no excuse anymore for me not to be doing that, and I’ve just found whenever I do that whether I go for walk or a run or do a yoga session, I just feel really refreshed and I can move into a different space away from work. So that’s been one thing particularly since iso. has started as the gen’s ed’s are calling it. Isolations. Since iso started I’ve been doing more of that which I’ve found to be really beneficial. And I’m hoping that as long as this goes on for I can build that into more of a regular part of my day, that it becomes part of my routine even when we go back to more traditional ways of working. And when you and I start travelling again and speaking hopefully that can be something I can take with me, so. It’ll happen.

H – Absolutely. It will happen, it will happen. In fact, it reminds me of a great book by Dr. Adam Fraser called “The Third Space” I don’t know if you’ve read it. But it’s all about creating this space. The third space between work life and then home life. So you don’t go home in a cranky stressed-out mood which infiltrates on your family. And also if you’ve got lots of personal issues going on at home, you don’t go into work and carrying all that baggage. So it’s about finding this space between and I think when we’re in our normal worlds that was a lot easier than it is today. But I think if we can acknowledge that we do need to find this space between, this third space so that we can separate our lives a bit especially for those of us who aren’t living in mansions and can have a tiny awful, well big or a closed-off office somewhere in the house. And then we can go into our normal life. But to find this kind of thing in between that just disconnects us, is a great way to build resilience. And before I ask you the last question, I just, before I forget, I do want to remind everyone that I, you have a really special gift which is that report on how Australians are coping amongst COVID-19, and I will put it into the link for everyone to get access to. ‘Cause I’m sure that had a lot of the data that you’ve been talking about tonight, is that right?

A – That and a lot more. It’s really good, it’s an in-depth report but it’s really visual as well so hopefully it’s really easy to pick up and have a read of.

H – Yes that was my question, is it in Ashley language or is it in data nerd language?

A – It’s in a hybrid but I think what we’ve done as well is made this, like we’re moving away to more of, moving towards this visualised reports where traditionally there are just the TLDR, the too long didn’t read is hopefully not happening anymore.

H – Yes.

A – It’s got lots of visuals that pop out of the text so if you do need to scheme read it, perhaps that’s what you first do and then if you want to delve deeper you can go back and read with some of those, so. Yes, I think it’s pretty good, pretty engaging.

H – Okay. Excellent. All right last question for the night Ashley. What is the most impactful piece of wisdom that you have been given over your lifetime, and why did it make an impact on your life?

A – I think for me I sound like such a Virgin like advocate, but I, it’s a quote from Richard Branson, who’s obviously the head Virgin group, and it’s I think it goes something like, not exactly word for word, but it’s if you don’t feel like, if a great opportunity arises and you don’t feel like you can do it, do it anyway. And I feel as though that’s sort of been like the mantra of my life. I’ve been given, and I’m really lucky from when I was in high school to university, and opportunities at Virgin Active, to the opportunities in other places I’ve worked and especially at McCrindle where we’ve had great leadership and Mark McCrindle is fantastic and really in trusting, and going there’s a really young team here but I’m going to give you the opportunities to go and give keynotes at big conferences in the U.S. And I’m going to give you opportunities to talk to channel seven on TV on camera, and particularly when I was a bit younger and I was just thinking there’s no way I’m qualified enough, there’s no way, that insecurity that plagues us all comes out and I think for me that mantra has just been especially if I don’t feel like I’m ready, I should just do it and Emma Isaacs got a great book on winging it and how so many people are winging it. And I feel like so often we just feel like we need to be absolutely 100% ready before we take a step into the unknown or new opportunity but it’s actually when you do take those steps that’s how you learn and you grow into that. So that’s definitely been my experience. And yes I think I’ve always been scared of having regrets so I just tend to be a yes person, I’ll do this, I’ll do that, and I’ve just afforded me so many great opportunities and relationships, so I would say that particularly to young women as well. I’m really passionate about that, and I feel like sometimes especially as young woman you can reckon that I’m not qualified enough, I don’t have the confidence, but it’s about stepping out and learning as you go. And I think that’s been a great journey for me and it’s changed my career and it’s changed so much of what I get to do day to day, which I just love so. Yes.

H – Yes. Fantastic. And I do love that. And I haven’t read Emma Isaacs book on ‘Winging It’ yet. But I truly love the whole premise of it. And now that you’ve reminded me I’m going to get onto Booktopia tomorrow and get that book.

A – Yes we’ve all got a lot more time to do a lot more reading.

H – Yes we certainly do. And yes. I think that there’s so much gold in what you said because especially we know as women that’s certainly the research tells us that I think it’s like we need to have, something like, 90% of all the things on a job description before we would go for the job. But a man is quite comfortable to go for the job when he’s only got 30% of what is required. Because he would just step up and wing it as such, as Emma would say. So we have a lot to learn from men in that space I think.

A – Yes I agree.

H – But that brings us to an end, Ashley thank you so much. It’s been so important to get the actual research, not just the hype and the catastrophising, and the clickbait, and I think everybody who is either watching now or watch the replay later will get so much value and be so appreciated, appreciative of the fact that a company such as yours, McCrindle are there to really get the true facts. Which is what we need right now. We do need smart leaders who can give us the right information. So we can all make decisions that are appropriate to the right information. So thank you very much for being on The Wine and Wisdom Show. Cheers to you and cheers to everybody. I hope you’re having a wonderful Wednesday evening. As you know this will all be transcribed and replayed, and if you would like to share it amongst people who you know are very interested in leadership and the future of work, and the research that is really steering us for how things will be post-pandemic, then I’d love you to share Ashley’s conversation. Because it is just so important that we do have this absolute gold that she has shared with us tonight. So thank you, everybody, for being here. Thank you, Ashley. And I look forward to seeing you all in two week’s time. Goodnight.

About Ashley:

Ashley Fell is a Social Researcher, Author, TEDx Speaker and Director of Communications at the internationally recognised McCrindle. From topics including future trends, business insights, leadership and communication skills, Ashley delivers over 50 visually engaging, tailored, and research-based presentations annually for corporate, government and not-for-profit clients in Australia and overseas.

With academic qualifications in communications and as a generational expert, Ashley understands that leaders need to inspire and engage employees and consumers, and connect them with the organisation’s purpose and vision.

Her expertise is in training and equipping leaders and teams on how to lead across generational divides; particularly Gen Y (popularly known as millennials), Gen Z and now the newest generation, Generation Alpha.

From Ashley’s experience in creating engaging research-based content, strategising public relations, managing social media platforms and coordinating industry events, she is well positioned to advise on how to achieve cut through in these message-saturated times.

In addition to delivering informative keynote presentations with splashes of humour at conferences, boardroom briefings, and PD Days; and MCing special events; Ashley is regularly interviewed for print media, TV programs, radio and podcasts.

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