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Sandi Givens is a Certified Speaking Professional , Past Victorian President and Speaker of the Year (Vic) 2004 of the National Speakers Association of Australia. She is an award-winning Author, Conference Speaker, Workshop Facilitator and Coach and is a leading expert in the areas of Team Re-Building & Leadership, Women's Professional Development and Attaining Work/Life Balance.

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8 Ways you can Foster Better Workplace Mental Health

It's about time!

As a society, we are finally beginning to realise the critical need for our employees to be healthy - in all aspects of the word.

Physically - emotionally - mentally - and I trust we will come to see the place for discussion about the spiritual health of people, as well.

Organisations need to do more than just 'realise' or 'appreciate' or 'understand' this need - they need to take ownership of and responsibility for this, too.

Published May 27th, 2014, have given our business world a clear guide to get started in creating a workforce that enjoys much better mental health.

( Read more... )

What is a 'Leadership Style', really?

During the past 25+ years in my business of facilitating workshops on teams and leadership, I have seen many existing and emerging leaders relentlessly search to identify their natural – or even ‘ideal’ leadership style.

Yes, models abound that suggest there are specific ‘styles’ of leadership, such as the Situational Leadership ModelCollaborative/Directive LeadershipHuman Synergistics Organisational Culture Measurement Tool … and the list goes on.

When it comes to actually living your leadership, what matters far more than knowing your ‘leadership style’ is what you do.

( Read more... )

Are we getting 'soft'? Or not hard enough?

As a Leader, are you sure you understand how the Fair Work Act affects you and your responsibilities at work?

The Fair Work Commission gets to work

The Fair Work Commission handed down one of its first findings recently, which surprised many HR professionals and simultaneously relieved some employer organisations.

( Read more... )

Challenge Yourself - You're Bigger than You Think!

A new year often brings about the desire to reflect, take stock and make changes.  (Actually, I believe the start of a new calendar year is not the best time to do this, as commitments that are made from a sense of ‘that’s what’s expected’ frequently don’t last the distance.  Any day is the start of a new year, and so picking a time when you deeply believe in your commitment to change is the best time for this!)

Why bother?

For some, the desire for new career and business opportunities will be the catalyst to set new challenges.  (In motivation terms, this is often called a ‘move towards pleasure’.)

Alternatively, perhaps you are moved to action by a ‘move away from pain’.

( Read more... )

Are You Guilty of these 5 Fatal Leadership Mistakes?

Leadership is hard. Managing the ‘stuff’ (the processes, things that need to be produced, meeting specifications, quality standards and deadlines) is almost easy in comparison.                            

Why? Because Leadership is about people. It’s about inspiring, delegating, sharing information, transferring authority, enabling creative input, guiding, enthusing, communicating the vision, setting the model, creating culture, supporting … just for starters!

And all these activities require you to work with people. You need to be able to confidently utilise effective and exceptional interpersonal skills and communicate with clarity, empathy – and, most of all, courage.

( Read more... )

5 Ways to enjoy Life More!

“I never seem to get the chance to really enjoy myself anymore! If only there was more time…”. An all-too common cry in our society these days.

The ‘bad’ news is there will never be more time. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks in the year for as many years as the cards deal to us. That’s all we’re going to get.

The good news is that there are ways of experiencing more enjoyment during that time. Here are five of them …

( Read more... )

Can-Do Thinking – it does make a difference!

The diversity in people will always fascinate me! And when it comes to Customer Service, the differences can be particularly striking! As you probably know yourself, it’s the people involved (not the specific ‘product’) that makes the service memorable – in either a positive or negative way!

Here’s an interesting recent experience of mine that really brought home the importance of our attitude – to our work and life in general …

( Read more... )

You Cannot Not Influence! How to achieve desirable outcomes through others

Influence: An invisible or insensible (unconscious or incapable of being perceived) action exerted by one thing or person on another; the power of producing effects by invisible means; to modify, affect, sway; to move or impel to (do) something.

The Macquarie Dictionary gives us this definition of one of the most important aspects of interpersonal relationships. Whether or not we are aware of it, every day in countless ways, we are influencing those around us. Clients, employees, prospects, peers – all are impacted in some way by what we say and do. In is in our interest, then, to become aware of the influence we are having on others and to ensure it matches out intentions.

( Read more... )

Presentations with Pizzazz! The Top 10 Considerations when selecting your Visual Aids

Nervous about making presentations? Welcome to the human race! Public Speaking has for many years consistently been rated as adults’ #1 fear. Amazingly, this phobia rates higher than fear of snakes, spiders, flying and other potentially scary things and life events.

At the same time, delivering effective and impactful presentations in a variety of contexts in the business world has become a skill crucial to our continued and future success. Think of all the circumstances in which you are asked to lead a discussion, present a proposal or convey new information. As our careers take flight and our business grows, we may be called upon many times to inform, inspire, motivate, encourage, educate, promote, sell, persuade, market and convince many people. Being confident as a presenter is an invaluable asset to take with us through our journey.

( Read more... )

Self Awareness – A Path to Serenity

Ever had one of those days? Sometimes the reasons are obvious – the car ran out of petrol, you arrived 20 minutes late to an important meeting, a last-minute job with an urgent deadline got dropped on you at work and you returned home at 8:30pm to find only mouldy left-overs in the refrigerator for dinner! Pretty easy to see how this kind of day could leave you feeling out-of-sorts!

But what about those times when the reasons for your low mood aren’t obvious at all? You can clearly discern a sense of uneasiness, despondency or even sadness. On reflection, none of this can be traced back to any specific event or circumstance. Yet the feeling is ‘real’, nonetheless, and you may begin to feel even worse because in the absence of a ‘cause’ you feel powerless to actually do something to help you feel better.

( Read more... )

The Myth of ‘Balance’: How to live a more satisfying life

We are five times richer and live thirty years longer than we did a century ago … but are we happier?

The average Australian can afford the car, home, food, clothes – and, for many, even a private education – yet they can’t afford to take a day off work.

Employees take promotions to pay for the longed-for overseas family holiday, but can’t find the time to enjoy the time off.

Despite our wealth, 40% of Australians believe life is getting worse, not better.

Further, research has demonstrated a close link between work hours, family life and life satisfaction.

The bad news is that there is no magic wand, pill or formula that will get our lives in the desired ‘balance’.

The good news is that we can unlearn many of the habits that have led us to our current state of dissatisfaction and learn new and more fulfilling ways of living our life.

( Read more... )

Today is a Gift

“The only thing constant is change.” “Be prepared.” “You never know what tomorrow will bring.”

We certainly live in uncertain times – especially so since the events of September 11, 2001.

With continuing shifts in our economy, downsizing and outsourcing in business and readjusting the goal posts, I am increasingly asked by my clients to equip their staff to deal with change.

Managing ourselves (and our businesses) requires high levels of flexibility and tenacity. In developing these skills and attitudes, there is, of course, no ‘quick fix’. However, there are things we can do that will move us in the desired direction.

( Read more... )

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Recent Blog Posts
  • In my work, I frequently speak with people who are disenchanted with their lives.

    “I feel so frustrated … I’ve been doing the same thing at work for years and I just can’t seem to get ahead.”

    “I feel lost. I know I am capable of doing more but have no idea how to achieve what I really want to do.”

    “Maybe I’m just not meant to do anything else. I mean, who am I to want more?”


    I find this very sad. 

  • Work/Life Balance doesn't exist - and while we continue to strive to achieve it, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.


    The phrase itself suggests a couple things that are inherent in the problem:

  • Frankly, no. It's not possible - and we are causing ourselves untold frustration and disappointment while we keep trying to achieve it!
    Why do I say this?
    Well, think for a minute about the phrase itself - 
  • (WARNING: Your life as you know it is about to change)


    “How can I handle difficult people?”

    Answer – you can’t.

    “Wait – what? You mean I’m stuck with them in my life?”

    Answer – it all depends on how you look at it.

  • I recently attended a three-day women’s festival that I attended for the first time in 2016. It’s never the same the second, third or umpteenth time around is it? First of all, there’s that ‘first time newness’ that we can only get once. “Wow! Look at that!” “Goodness, that’s amazing!” And so on … because we are seeing things through fresh, first-time eyes.

    In our subsequent visits, while we look for that same magic, but logically know it will be different than our beloved ‘first-time’.  We then start to notice what’s not there that we liked the previous year(s), and lament “But I really liked that!”

    So this year, I decided to focus instead on what was new, different and intriguing. And that’s how I came across The Release Tree.

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