Hate Networking? Read on


I want to share the experiences of a favourite client of mine, Susie Burdekin.  Susie was Director of multi-award winning Brand Partnership agency Cherry London  and now runs the niche consultancy business The Drill Company.

Susie is someone who didn’t enjoy ‘networking’ – quite a challenge given the industry she is in.  Here’s her story in her own words.

‘At the start of my career the phrase ‘networking’ never seemed to be used. As I started out as an account executive in a fast paced digital world we met up for drinks and to be sociable – that was it.

No preconceived notions on how to behave, who you had to talk to, or what to say. It was about meeting up with others to share ideas, nightmare client stories, have a few drinks and a good laugh. It wasn’t called networking and it certainly didn’t feel like hard work.

Then things changed.

As I progressed through my career, the ‘networking’ term got bandied around more and more. There was a need to do it, you were expected to ‘mingle’ with other industry people and ‘raising your profile’ became an important point on the agenda if you were going to get on in your career.

Then it got worse.

As partner of a marketing agency and later sole business owner – the pressures of networking increased;

– As a new agency wanting to win high profile clients, we had to get our name out there quickly;

– Our offerings are complex, so standard pitching wasn’t effective for us;

– Like any company, we had salaries and bills to pay so securing new business and leads was a must.


– As leaders, we had to set the example. If we expected our team to be out there, we had to lead from the front;

– We wanted to be seen in the industry as experts in our field. That wasn’t going to happen without us talking to the right people and being at the right industry events.

The pressures of ‘networking’ started to mount up for me. I’d had a career of growing client relationships, but never saw myself as a ‘sales person’. I considered myself approachable, could facilitate a room of opinionated, difficult clients, but wouldn’t have described myself as a ‘born networker’ or someone who felt they could ‘work a room’ with ease.

All my pangs of shyness from younger days came hurtling back. What do I say? What do I talk about? Why would they want to talk to me? Do I have any gravitas or presence in these situations? And my biggest fear… what if I don’t have ANYTHING interesting to say?

The more I felt I had to ‘get out there’, the worse these fears became’.

Sound familiar?

Get off the Superhighway


Over the last three weeks I’ve been looking at Leadership Presence

Leaders with presence are great at really focusing on what they are doing and on the person or people they are with.

Many of you are joining me on a mission to get more focus in your own life and work so I thought you would love this great article from David Rock.  It’s a reminder that now, as Rock says, ‘might be the time to build in some limits and boundaries for our hyper-connected lives, to reduce the number of accidents along our information superhighways’


To download this article on the following link: Get off the Superhighway

Why You Won’t Delegate

What are your choice points?

There are many  lies or half-truths; excuses we make to ourselves and others that  stop us from delegating and keep us feeling overwhelmed…..but, if we’re honest, can also keep us SAFE from having to take on new, more scary, challenging or potentially risky tasks where we may no longer be the expert or the fount of all knowledge.  So rejection and fear of failure keep us doing tasks that really should be done by somebody else.

So, time for some honesty, here!

Let’s look at what might REALLY be going on.

Belief Number One

‘It’s quicker to do it myself’  – possibly.  And if it’s a one-off task it may well be quicker to do it yourself. But could it be that you don’t allow yourself enough time for planning and thinking; rush from one deadline to another and work at the speed of light?

The benefit in all of this is that you get through masses of work.  The downside is you may not be giving others the development opportunities they crave.

First Step

Think of one task you could delegate.  Start with something small. Then go back to last week’s email  and work through the ten steps.

Belief Number Two

‘He’s already too busy’ – maybe that’s true.  Or maybe you have a strong need to be liked which means you keep doing things that really should be done by somebody else.

First Step

Sit down with him and ask this question. ‘I would like to look at both our workloads as there is something I would like you to start taking on – let’s look at how we can make it work.’

Belief Number Three

He doesn’t have the experience/skills/ knowledge’. So how can he get them?

First Step

Is it a training course? Coaching or Mentoring? Buddying up with somebody?  Find the solution!  Now, if he is not competent then that is a different issue.  Why are you allowing incompetence in your team? (Fear of conflict? Strong need to be liked? Don’t quite know how to tackle it?)

Belief Number Four

‘She can’t do it as well as I will’ – so you’re a perfectionist and/or a control freak?

Aim for excellence, not perfection.  And sometimes ‘good enough’ is just fine.

If you know you’re a perfectionist at heart, read Brene Brown’s superb book The Gifts of Imperfection.

Click on the following link to download this article: Why You Wont Delegate

10 Steps to Successful Delegation

f10 Stepps to Successful Delegation


Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been exploring the topic of delegation – click here if you missed last week’s article

Last week, I asked you to draw up a plan outlining one thing to delegate each week or month to a team member.  Hopefully you have a team member in mind for your first task and you are ready to make a start.

So here are the ten steps to successful delegation (In bold type are the bits that are often forgotten – but they are CRUCIAL to your success)

1.  Set uninterrupted  time aside to explain the task to the team member and outline the context, purpose and importance of the task;

2.  Explain why you have chosen this person to do the specific task (what strengths/knowledge/experience does he/she have already and/or how will this task help him/her to stretch or develop new skills?);

3.  Then ask:  What questions do you have so far?

4.  Start with the end in mind. Be crystal clear on your expectations, desired outcome, the parameters and accountability lines plus any ‘non-negotiables’. (For instance, I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to punctuation so it is important to me that anyone who does work on my behalf pays attention to this).  Make these non-negotiables explicit; don’t expect people to know your foibles or preferences!!

5.  Then ask again: What questions do you have so far?

6.  Agree timescales – if your team member is concerned about ‘getting it all done’ help him/her  to find a way around this by asking the question ‘what needs to happen for you to be able to take this task on’?

7.  Once you’ve agreed all the details of the task, ask the team member to summarise back to you everything you have agreed so far (this will help to ensure that s/he understands what you are asking and you can fill in any gaps).  ‘Is that clear’?  Is NOT a good question at this stage;

8.  Agree regular reviews – diarise them.  This might be 15 minutes each morning or an hour a week depending on the task.  Don’t micromanage.  Instead, ask:  How is it going?  What support do you need from me? What are your challenges/successes so far?

9.  Give crystal clear feedback where possible on the work at each stage – what’s great and what can be improved ?

10. Recognise and reward the work when it is complete.

And remember:

  • Expect excellence not perfection (unless you are working on my punctuation, that is!)
  • Allow plenty of time for the task where possible – (yes, you might have to grit your teeth a bit….!)

To download this article click on the following link – 10 Steps to Successful Delegation

Delegation – 5 Key Questions – And More!

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We’re going to dig a bit deeper into WHAT to delegate – and how to make a start.

Firstly, it’s fair to point out that many of us know the theory of delegation but we still don’t do it or don’t do it enough.  Why?  Our mindset and limiting beliefs get in the way.  I’ll talk more about that in my 29 May post coming up. (You know by now that this is a constant theme in my writing!)

So, here goes.

What to delegate

One of my mentors used to say ‘never do anything yourself that somebody who is paid less than you could do’.

I can see you cringing as you read this but think about it.  In my experience many senior leaders are focusing on things that their own team members could do at the expense of the really crucial stuff. (we’ll  look at why this might be in my post on 29 May.)

Where to start

The best way to make a start is to take an hour or so out of the day and do a list of every task that, in theory, could be done by somebody else.  (In other words, it’s not critical that YOU do it). It could be anything from your diary management, emails, attendance at a particular meeting, presentations, reports …. and so on.  Don’t discount any task at this stage and, if necessary, keep going back to the list as you think of more tasks.  If you have a PA or assistant sit down with him/her and ask the question ‘What could you do for me that you are not currently doing? ‘ or ‘how can you help me be more effective?’  Indeed, these are great questions to ask your team members too. Trust me; there is a whole bunch of superb PAs out there whose talents are not being fully utilised.

Then there are five key questions to ask yourself:

• Who has (or can be given) the necessary training/support/knowledge to do this task?

• Does the task provide an opportunity for development and growth for someone else? Or is it a routine task that could be done just as well (or better) by someone else?

• Is it a task someone else might enjoy?

• How can I carve out time to delegate the job effectively and to check progress and offer support? (The answer here, by the way, is not ‘I can’t’!)

• How can I help THE OTHER PERSON/PEOPLE carve out time to do the task effectively?


Where do I start?

To which the answer is, as always – take the first step.  Decide on one thing, each week or month that you want to delegate and draw up a plan.

Click on the following link to download this article – Delegation – 5 key Questions – And More!