Stepping up to strategic leadership
In a world of radical transformation, effective leaders of people and culture are critical to an organisation’s success. Today, five generations are working together as Gen Z start their first jobs and Baby Boomers live longer and retire later.
This diverse, multigenerational coexistence calls for leaders to close the generation gap, think differently and draw on the strengths of each generation to create a cohesive and inclusive work place.
One such leader is Frankie Ifrah, who completed our Executive Education programme Leading People and Culture for Business Impact last year. The highly experiential programme provides a supportive but challenging environment for taking those steps into strategic leadership.
We sat down with her to find out more about her learning experience and what difference it has made for her.
- Tell us about yourself.
I’m Frankie Ifrah and I support the Brian Perry Civil division, part of the Fletcher Construction Company.
As National People and Performance Manager, I work closely with the GM and business leads to manage and develop talent, support engagement and ensure we are providing a market-competitive and attractive value proposition to current and prospective employees.
- Why did you choose to attend Leading People and Culture for Business Impact programme?
It is essential that our business be ‘future ready’, supporting our growth and being ahead of the curve of what our customers and employees expect.
Equally important to me was improving my business acumen and deepening my understanding of corporate strategy and the part people play within that. Keeping up with the latest thinking in the HR field was also a real plus – who has time to do that each day?
- What attracted you to this programme?
Having recently taken this role, I aspired to step into it successfully and bring a new level of people-focused support to the business. Longer term, I aspire to reach senior leadership positions of increasing responsibility and scope. This programme gave me the opportunity to explore what it means to think more strategically and ‘step up’ in my role. It also seemed to bridge the gap between theory/strategy and application in the real world. I really liked having diverse speakers show us how they work and deal with challenges in their role. With a small number of participants, we could ask them anything we liked.
- Undertaking a strategic project is a key feature of the programme. What project did you choose to do? How has it progressed?
I chose a really cool project! We needed to improve the quality of the onboarding experience for people new to Brian Perry. We knew this would improve performance, fit and job readiness, but our existing onboarding experience needed improvement.
To change all this I explored how we could use VR technology to give people a REAL experience of being in the company – see the culture, meet some of our leaders, see our sites, know about our key systems and programmes and how they fit – and all that in a headset!
The project has now come to fruition – the video has been shot and we are almost ready to go. The Exec team loves it and I feel great that I’ve made a difference to something that was a challenge for us. I’m expecting that the ROI on the programme will be much more than we put in.
- What did you learn in the programme that has made a distinct difference in your life? What challenged you?
The session on strategy provided a wonderful overview and a degree of clarity on a subject that eluded me before. I learned what it means to create strategy and speak in a way that engages other parts of the business, and gained a much better appreciation of the next levels of leadership and what they take personally and professionally. I also saw the power of working through issues with a group of people who are all tackling similar things – I learned heaps!
- How do you intend to keep learning?
I would like to stay connected with the group, my mentor, and the Executive Education team. There are a lot of events and opportunities to further my skills and knowledge based on what we learnt together so that seems an important next step. Plus people were fun to be with – it gets a bit lonely otherwise.
- What do you love to do outside of work?
I’m a traveller, I love to go to unusual places and experience different cultures – particularly if they have good food!
Applications for Leading People and Culture for Business Impact 2019 are now open. Applications need to be received by Friday 10 May 2019, and the programme starts Wednesday 12 June 2019. To apply, click here.