CA­REER CHANGE

How a pol­icy ad­viser can be­come a gen­eral man­ager

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THE AP­PLI­CANT

Name: Michael Clark For­mer po­si­tion: Pol­icy ad­viser in the Premier’s Of­fice, SA Par­lia­ment Skills: Bach­e­lor of Com­merce – Univer­sity of Western Australia; Mas­ter of Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Mas­ter of Com­merce – Deakin Univer­sity New job: Ser­vice to Youth Coun­cil com­mu­ni­ca­tions gen­eral man­ager. The dream: In 2000 I went on to be­gin a ca­reer as an ad­viser for a min­is­ter in the SA Par­lia­ment. In 2002, I moved into mar­ket­ing as a man­ager within Ser­vice to Youth Coun­cil, then in 2004 as a mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager with ITC Limited in WA. I did some fur­ther study and in 2008, moved to Melbourne as a prin­ci­pal at Porter Novelli, then moved back to Ade­laide to my cur­rent po­si­tion with the Ser­vice to Youth Coun­cil in 2011. It is im­por­tant to be cu­ri­ous and ask lots of ques­tions, make sure you lis­ten.

THE TRAINER

Name: An­drew Hen­der­son Po­si­tion: Chief ex­ec­u­tive, Lead­er­ship Man­age­ment Aus­trala­sia Ex­pe­ri­ence: Started sev­eral small busi­nesses, in­clud­ing a fi­nance com­pany, which grew over five years to em­ploy 130 peo­ple. He then moved to train­ing and de­vel­op­ment com­pany Lead­er­ship Man­age­ment Aus­trala­sia. The course op­tions: Diploma of Man­age­ment (for High Per­for­mance Man­age­ment), in which stu­dents un­der­take a work­place project. Skill tips: Gen­eral man­agers pro­moted from within the or­gan­i­sa­tion need to be able to prob­lem solve, think crit­i­cally, make de­ci­sions and com­mu­ni­cate on many fronts. They need to be able to in­flu­ence through com­mu­ni­ca­tion as they no longer are on the front­line. They must be able to main­tain and im­prove their team. They need to help peo­ple to rise to the oc­ca­sion.

THE EX­PERT

Name: Ian Wil­son Po­si­tion: Prin­ci­pal con­sul­tant, Aus­tralian In­sti­tute of Man­age­ment SA Ex­pe­ri­ence: Has more than 30 years ex­pe­ri­ence in de­vel­op­ing hands-on man­age­ment and lead­er­ship pro­grams across a range of in­dus­tries in the pri­vate and public sec­tors. Skill tips: As well as the soft skills ex­pected of any man­ager (good com­mu­ni­ca­tion, con­flict man­age­ment and in­flu­enc­ing skills), gen­eral man­agers need to have very solid man­age­ment ex­per­tise. They also need an in­ti­mate knowl­edge of lead­er­ship, in par­tic­u­lar how to in­spire and mo­ti­vate their team. Crit­i­cal, too, is their abil­ity to strate­gise. Tech­ni­cal knowl­edge and tac­ti­cal plan­ning is not enough. GMS need to be able to look for­ward and plan for an ex­tended time pe­riod – view the big picture and plant the seed for fu­ture growth.

THE RE­CRUITER

Name: Sinead Houri­gan Po­si­tion: Di­rec­tor, Robert Wal­ters – Bris­bane Ex­pe­ri­ence: Has worked in re­cruit­ment for 11 years. Skill tips: A gen­eral man­ager’s role re­quires tenac­ity, drive, ex­cep­tional lead­er­ship skills and highly evolved decision-mak­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Most can­di­dates who se­cure a gen­eral man­age­ment po­si­tion have ex­pe­ri­ence in an op­er­a­tional man­age­ment role and have dis­played an in­ter­est in un­der­stand­ing busi­ness from a holis­tic per­spec­tive. The most suc­cess­ful gen­eral man­agers dis­play the abil­ity to cre­ate a strate­gic vi­sion for the or­gan­i­sa­tion and en­gage at all lev­els to en­sure that all em­ploy­ees are in­vested in the busi­ness di­rec­tion. Ter­tiary qual­i­fi­ca­tions in a rel­e­vant field and com­mit­ment to on­go­ing pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment are highly sought af­ter.

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