Development. Who Pays? Who Wins?

From Cath Nolan, our CEO

It’s interesting. When I’m looking at résumés and asking what people have achieved, they’ll often list things that they’ve achieved personally, rather than things they’ve achieved for the business. Alternatively, they’ll list their responsibilities. That’s not an achievement, that’s doing your job.

Your work achievements are the projects or initiatives that you undertook above and beyond the expectations of your role. It’s blitzing your KPIs or creating new systems or bringing a project in on budget and on time under very difficult circumstances. Completing a course is not an achievement. It’s a benefit to you. Okay, of course all of your achievements are a benefit to your career.

But when it comes to our achievements most of us really have to be drawn to uncover what we’ve accomplished. We’re too busy getting on with doing the job to stop and evaluate our performance.


Please, may I encourage you to take stock? It’s only by doing so that you can evaluate your actions & adjust your course. Do it regularly & make it a priority. It doesn’t have to be a frequent activity, but certainly every 6 months is just plain sensible.

Your job pays you most of your income, right? So isn’t it then a good idea to be reflecting with some level of determination on how your career investment is performing?

Some questions you can ask to ‘take stock’:

  1. What’s important to me and how does this role deliver to that?
  2. How well have I performed against outlined expectations?
  3. What general direction would I like to move toward and what skills have I collected in the last 6 months that will be of benefit?
  4. What strengths am I most proud of and how much have I been able to flex those / leverage those / pass those skills on?
  5. What is important to this business / team / boss? How do my values align?
  6. What can I say that I have achieved for the business in the last 6 months and what would I LIKE to be able to say I’ve achieved over the next 6?


We’re talking here about your time investment. The answer is highly personal.

What drives you? Are you motivated by money or association or work-life balance? Do you crave challenges and learning opportunities or thrive in a work-hard play-hard environment? Perhaps you loathe that idea and would prefer to spend your time in the pursuit of the greater good for all humanity?

You might choose to gear your career toward immediate returns (big bucks, flexibility or brilliant holiday perks), or you may be working toward a more long-term pay off (traditional role in a conservative organisation with a clear path to progression and more moderate short benefits).

There are times that you will make what feels like a career sacrifice, taking a role that sits outside your values or imposes a compromise on what you’d really prefer. That’s ok if it’s a considered choice. If you determine that you’re willing to forego X for a defined period of time or a specific purpose, then you will be empowered enough to make it work.

On the flip side, take a role that imposes a compromise without real clarity on what’s important to you and you will be miserable for the duration.

Of course it’s not always your choice. Most of us have at some time had the perfect job lose its lustre with a change in corporate direction or a new boss. If you’re unclear about what’s important to you that can be really tough. With clarity though, you can better navigate and certainly better negotiate. Your stay-or-go decision will be much better informed.

Your career SHOULD allow you to meet your financial commitments, aligned with your values and help you accrue the skills you need for your next step and the one beyond.

If you’re building toward the next role and the one beyond, your current boss is unlikely to benefit, right? So why do so many of us submit our entire development plans to the actions of our immediate boss?

devt plans

If the financial return is all for you, what’s holding you back? Find a good solution for moving you forward and get your money working for you! You already invest A LOT in your career. Why wouldn’t you maximise that when you can?


Know where you’re heading. Investigate the options for development and up-skilling.

You’re going to apply the same scrutiny that your boss would, only you’ll be evaluating the benefits against your bigger-picture plan not just your current role.

Questions for determining whether you should invest:

  1. What sort of return are you expecting from this development?
  2. How would you categorise the investment: is it a piece of technical expertise you’re looking to acquire or something more related to personal management / people management or business management?
  3. How will you evaluate the likely return?
  4. How will you determine if this development expense can benefit your potential future paths?
  5. Who can you speak with that has the insight or experience to add value?


Of course it’s in an employer’s best interests to offer you targeted development opportunities. However, it may not be in your immediate boss’ best interests! After all, by doing a great job right where you are you’re saving them a whole lot of pain.

Your boss will be motivated to foot the development bill if you can demonstrate a likely improvement to your performance in your current role. Your employer will be motivated if it will prepare you for future roles and boost their leadership pipeline

This might seem obvious, but separating out ‘who benefits’, will help you to decide who’s likely to be prepared to pay for the course you want to do or the membership fees you want covered.

Feed this information into your planning when you’re determining how to pitch to the boss to get them to pay for that upcoming course. Keep “what’s in it for them” at the front of your mind – and the front and end of your argument.

Let’s say you decide there’s not much in it for the boss’s benefit. If you’re a high performer that should not stop you from asking – for time to study at the very least.

Don’t see yourself as a high performer? Go back to the first point. Schedule some diary time and a positive space with perhaps some affirmations to put you in a positive frame of mind. Then take stock! Evaluate what you’ve achieved. If you can’t name anything you should put plans together for what you’re going to achieve in the next 6 months so you can improve your position.


There is no one who will be as proactive in determining your future direction as you can be. No one knows you better, your unique skills and interests, your pet hates and the secret yearning you’ve always had to be a … fire fighter? Jet pilot? Writer?

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The development path you take will be determined entirely by your direction. Even if your career has been a zig-zag, with effective narrative you’ll be able to weave the common ground through it. With that narrative you can plan the best development options to springboard you to the next tie-it-all-together opportunity.

Not sure what development you could do with, or even where you might be headed? Check out our Career Empowerment Program.

Career Empowerment provides online access to resources for identifying career direction, closing gaps and leveraging strengths, building effective networks, self-promotion and setting and achieving career goals. And a bunch more! Gender Gap Gone Members also receive free monthly content webinars and access to the closed community forum for impartial advice, inspiration and encouragement on their career journeys.

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Cath Nolan is CEO & Founder of Gender Gap Gone. A corporate coach and key note speaker, Cath has 15 years experience in organisational and individual development.


Before You Negotiate A Pay Rise…

The Gender Pay Gap for Australian women is irrefutable. But what is it for individual women? How does any employee understand what they should be paid? In truth, most people don’t know how to evaluate their worth objectively, which leaves them to negotiate (or not) based on what they feel they are worth.

The Gender Pay Gap is currently 18.8% in Australia. The implications are as complex as the contributing factors. One of those implications is that as women, when we don’t know our market value we can assume that we’re being underpaid. Sure it’s statistically possible: but without credible evidence it becomes very personal. You risk feeling undervalued and disengaged and your employer risks feeling bullied.

‘One confronting challenge in determining your salary is that it’s more about what the job is worth than it is about what you’re worth.’


Well if money is very important to you, you should target industries and roles that pay handsomely. If you’re moving from financial services to aged care for instance, you should expect a dip in pay.


This one is the most obvious. You could speak with a niche recruiter. Be sure it’s someone who knows their market well, rather than a ‘flick and stick’ transient recruiter who covers all roles and all industries. An experienced niche recruiter will be able to share insight into the salary range you can expect for your job type. This is generally going to be industry specific and affected by location.

The implied advice here is to nurture your relationships with good recruiters!

Recognise that there should be a win-win: you may need them to recruit for you or find your next role and they can provide you with excellent market intelligence.


If you don’t know the credible recruiters in your market, find them. It’s an investment. Like a shortcut? Consult the Hays Salary Survey. The beauty of this annual document is that it’s divided by industry, by level of role and by location.

You’re not looking for an absolute dollar figure here, you’re looking for a salary range. If you’re being paid above the range, consider whether your job title could do with adjustment.

Some time on Google will fairly quickly uncover job descriptions for any role. Feed this information back into your salary enquiries.


Recruiters can help with this too, but you’ll need to be able to articulate what you do for them to translate that to a market value.

Recognise the difference between responsibilities and achievements. Achievements are generally things that you did that sit above and beyond the normal expectations of your role. Perhaps you’re responsible for executing a certain task but you additionally created processes that wiped 3 days per month from that task. You can calculate the dollar value of your initiative there.

Or perhaps you overachieved your KPIs by 15% … quantify it. Quantifying your achievements is the factor that helps to determine whether you are an average performer or above average. If you can demonstrate that your performance adds value above organisational expectations, then you’re in a good position to convince that your skills sit at the top end of the market’s salary range.

Performance appraisals have a good deal of benefit for you, right? For many they’re the only time (outside of job transition) that they reflect on what they’re achieved. It’s an excellent opportunity to take stock of what you’ve achieved and to make it known.


Are there lots of you or are your skills in high demand?

If a couple of major competitors have recently moved operations off-shore leaving dozens of highly active job seekers with your skills, you’ll have to work harder to prove you deserve a pay rise.

If the four closest competitors are actively making you job offers on a weekly basis because there are so few people with your skills: clearly you’re in a good position to negotiate.


Not all highly competent people are recognised as highly competent. Not all highly regarded employees are competent!

For sustained credibility across roles, it’s essential that you have the magical mix of competence and the ability to be heard. It’s the 2-part success formula of Executive Presence.

Executive Presence

Be really good at your job and gather evidence as you go. Gather skills along the way in communication, confidence and people management that you can apply to peers, influencers and leaders within the business. ‘Managing Up’ is as critical as managing your team.

These are all skills that are essential for effective leadership: the sooner in your career you can get them working for you, the greater your career trajectory will be.


I’ve heard a LOT of employees say that they’re underpaid, that they do more hours than is reasonable and deserve to be rewarded for it. Long hours is a generally a separate issue to your salary. Let’s assume here that the long hours are not related to poor productivity or a lack of training in particular skills.

If your hours are long and that doesn’t suit you, you should negotiate workload or delegation options.

“I can see how XXX is an important priority. Let me walk you through the other responsibilities I’m carrying right now and you can tell me which is less important. Alternatively, if they’re equally important we can discuss resourcing.”

Alternatively, decide that you’re prepared to do it for a defined period of time. Be vocal and get agreement on that definition.

Perhaps you’re seeking a pay rise as a reward for a hard slog on a particular project. Remember that your salary will reflect what your job is worth, so if you’re taking on a project that is going to demand a higher level of responsibility and extra hours for a period of time, you should negotiate upfront. Agree to KPIs and expectations and get written agreement on the reward for effort and/or outcomes.


We’ve talked about how to find the data, but how do you clear the emotion from what can feel like a very personal conversation? The most reliable solution is to go outside yourself: speak with a mentor or coach. Being prepared with data is incredibly helpful.

Be clear about your expectations and don’t bring personal circumstances into the conversation. This is not the time to mention the favoured holiday destination or kid’s school fees!

“The industry norm for this role is between C and G. I’m being paid D, which is at the bottom end of that range, however my performance reviews, KPIs and customer reviews confirm that my performance is much closer to the top end of that range. I would like you to review my salary.

What information can I provide you to make that easier? What timeframe should I expect for your decision?”


  1. Take stock. Many people don’t reflect on their achievements until they need to change jobs and are subject to situational insecurity.
  2. Know what your skills are worth in the market.
  3. Know how critical your role is to the organisation.
  4. Get your timing right (don’t approach a negotiation the day before a major product launch or catastrophe when all eyes are focused elsewhere)
  5. Be objective. There should be no “I feel I deserve…” involved.
  6. Be confident. Our earlier blog with tips from The Confidence Coach Lisa Phillips can be helpful
  7. Be good at what you do! And be able to talk about it. Nobody will be as aware of your capabilities as you are- they have their eyes on their own stuff.
  8. No business will pay you more than they have to. You’re an employee not a charity recipient. If you want to be paid more money, you need to be able to justify it.


Particularly for women when gender pay inequity is so prevalent in the media, it can be a quick assumption that our individual circumstances warrant a better deal.

I would encourage you to NOT assume. Instead, be empowered to uncover the facts for your circumstances. Gather your evidence and find a mentor or coach who will give you an objective ear, not just agree with you!

If it turns out you are being paid less than the market for your level of skill in the role you’re doing, be smart about putting your case forward. Be prepared and be confident.

Know how important it is it you. Be prepared for a ‘No’: there may be other circumstances going on that you’re not aware of. If your negotiation is met with a no, what’s your Plan B?

Having an alternative will be empowering and will help remove some of the emotion from your negotiations.

Cath Nolan, CEO and Founder of Gender Gap Gone, is an Executive Coach and Key Note Speaker with background in organisational and individual development. With a team of associates Cath launched Gender Gap Gone, enabling organisations to ensure that their diversity goals are translated to a lived reality for all employees and that more women enter and rise through the Leadership Pipeline. With a business model designed to fit around competing priorities, Gender Gap Gone helps more women into the roles of their choosing. Subscribe for  the latest free resources and upcoming Programs, or follow us on Twitter Instagram or Facebook and be inspired to keep your career on your work-day radar.

The Diversity Debate… Over Dinner

As far back as 2004 we knew that there was a direct correlation between the number of women at board level and an organisation’s financial success. A report by Catalyst showed that there was a higher financial performance for companies with higher representation of women board directors.

Since then there has been a gradual increase in the numbers of women at board and management levels, but the progress has been really slow. We know that’s not the result of a deliberate choice by any organisation or group, so what is the hold up?

And if that is what is happening for women, what is happening for other segments of our community? Which other groups are under-represented?

The Diversity Debate

That’s one of the questions that Sonia McDonald will be asking a panel of industry leaders on Wednesday and Thursday nights this week.

Leadership powerhouse and diversity champion, LeadershipHQ hosted their first Diversity Debate Dinner back in May. I was so impressed by the solutions- centred outcomes CEO Sonia McDonald drew from that first event that I just have to spread the word about the events this week.

Here are the key insights from the first Diversity Debate:

(Speakers there included Megan Houghton, CEO City Smart, Peter Birtles, MD and CEO Super Retail Group and Martin Moore, CEO CS Energy)

  • Diversity is about a focused strategy but culture is the KEY
  • We need a way to make both men and women accountable for our results
  • The GLASS ladder (source Megan Houghton) – it’s not the glass ceiling which is the problem. It’s the weakness of the glass rungs on the ladder which slows a woman’s career progression.
  • It’s about targets, not quotas
  • It’s essential to begin building leadership capability in women and develop a pipeline to feed them into the right companies and the right roles.
  • Build within the organisation rather than waiting for an external change.
  • Think outside the square when recruiting female talent. The approach which appeals to males doesn’t always work for women.
  • Be honest with ourselves, and with training, learn to be aware of our unconscious bias and the impact it has on the way we work.
  • It’s not all about gender. It is about race, age, disability and It’s aboutbusiness sense, too.
  • It’s a great idea for women to have a sponsor, coach and mentor.
  • Create an internal Diversity and Inclusion board and create your own champions of change.
  • Ask yourself how you are making a difference. If you’re not, then get up and do something.
  • We are seeing women with the right kind of experience, but why aren’t women applying for roles? What needs to change? Is it the way women see the roles, or the roles themselves which must change?
  • Women need to support women.
  • Change – it won’t happen overnight, but should we make it a priority?

In Sydney and Melbourne this week Sonia McDonald of LeadershipHQ.will again draw ideas and evidence on what’s working and what needs to, for good leadership and good business. A panel of Australia’s top CEOs and leadership experts will be sharing the strategies and insights they are successfully using within the diversity space.

In addition to high profile speakers such as Laurice Temple (CEO NAWIC), Amanda Rose (Founder & CEO of The Business Woman Media), Nicola Mills (CEO Pacific Retail Management) and Fiona Vines (Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Change Management, ANZ), the panel includes respected male speakers including Chris Lamb (HRD Lend Lease), Barry Borzillo (MD & CEO Intrax Consulting Engineers), Neil Dalrymple (CEO Bowls Australila) and Peter Birtles (MD and CEO Super Retail Group).

These are just some of the topics the panel will discuss:

  • What works and what doesn’t work when building diversity into workplace culture?
  • Does setting a numerical target really achieve diversity or it is just a numbers game?
  • Is there an organic way to build diversity within organisations?
  • Is there a right way to build diversity into the business so that both customers and your teams will benefit?

It’s important that we start finding the answers to these questions so that we can reshape the workplace to draw on the skills and talents of every one of its members. While diversity is often used as a term to refer to gender balance, it actually refers to all groups within the workplace – old, young, people with disabilities, different cultures and religions as well as both sexes.

Until we can find a way to include everyone in our workplace processes and discussions, we will not be as financially successful as we should be and, as a country, we will be overlooking some of our most talented and versatile workers.

This has to change, and the Diversity Debate Dinners are an excellent springboard for discussion. If you’re available I highly recommend you join these high profile speakers and an audience of committed change makers.

You can secure tickets for the Sydney and Melbourne Diversity Debate Dinners by clicking on the location you’re interested in. Alternatively, we’ve posted the events on our own Events page too.

Like to hear more but can’t make it to these events? Stay tuned for highlights.

Cath Nolan

Founder & Director, Gender Gap Gone

What’s Missing From Your Leadership ToolKit?

From our MD, Cath Nolan

Despite the individuality of the path to leadership, there is undeniably a central set of skills that need to be acquired if you want to be considered for The Big Chair. At Gender Gap Gone our conversations with aspiring leaders place a great deal of emphasis on Executive Presence. It incorporates credibility and being heard. Success is impossible without both.


Today I want to talk with you about the capabilities required for credibility. What are the must-have skills for a leadership toolkit? Not all who are great at their job will be selected for promotion. Credibility speaks not only to your area of specialisation, but also to a small number of skills that are big on importance for leadership. Here are the essentials.


People Management – Not all of your roles need to at the helm of large teams. Two things are important here. If you’re a large-complex-organisation type of person, then you’ll need to quickly work toward leading large teams if you’re headed for the top. Otherwise the size of team isn’t necessarily the biggest issue. The best people management ability is created in difficult circumstances. Having tough performance conversations with people and equally identifying future starts and helping them rise. Those who master these two people management skills will far outperform the people manager who has always had “lovely teams” with never a conflict to speak of.

Next time you’re dealing with a tricky people management issue, count your lucky stars: you’re having a great, skill-building career day. You don’t lead any people who stretch you? Find a few! Mentoring an employee elsewhere in the organisation is a low-risk, high potential reward scenario if you’re at a loss.

Next time you’re dealing with a tricky people management issue, count your lucky stars: you’re having a great, skill-building career day.

Communication – So you can string a sentence together? You haven’t earned a tick in this box yet. Do you actively communicate with your team? And the one-below team? What about the one-up leaders? Your internal network?

Poor communication is frequently highlighted in exit surveys. Either because the leader (immediate or senior team) hasn’t communicated direction, or because they’re seen as disconnected from the worker bees, or because the workers don’t believe that the organisation can offer them the opportunities that frequently do exist, if only managers were actively engaged in unafraid, two-way conversation with their employees.

You may feel the need to speak more or even to speak less with your team members. I’d like to challenge you to narrow your focus. Improve the quality of questions you ask. Great questions lead to great insight. Without it any talking you do may be missing the mark entirely.

better questions

What can you do, right now, to improve the quality of your questions?

Influence – The ability to influence will help get you into a role and render you far more effective once you’re there. How influential are you? Let’s break it down. Here are three components you can work on.

Preparedness | Communication | Confidence

How do you measure on these? What can you do to stretch yourself on these?

You’re already strong here? Who can you bring along with you?

Strategic Orientation – This one requires an excellent read on your environment. For some it means you’re able to think big and come up with a long-term, broad-based plan. In many organisations though, it means you’re able to follow the boss’ lead and translate a corporate policy into specific, actionable plans. Sometimes a rapidly changing corporate policy!

Here’s a story I’ve been close to on many occasions. An impressive, capable individual takes a “strategic leadership” role within a business claiming to want a new direction, a fresh perspective to reach uncharted heights. The brief is to challenge the status quo. The enthusiastic new leader takes stock, completes some analysis on the organisation, the market, the global trends. Then they deliver their recommendations. The board curls up their collective toes: “We’re not ready for THAT!”

Read your environment. Understand when to introduce innovation in strategy direction and when your input should be confined to (perhaps innovative) approaches to delivering on pre-set strategic plans.

Knowing the difference and investing accordingly will bring a great deal more success and job satisfaction for you.

Financial Acumen – I’ve written about this one before. If you’re heading for a senior role, there is no avoiding the need for sound understanding of the financials. 

You don’t have it? Who can explain it to you? What course can you sign up to?

How will you present it to your boss, so it’s paid for?

You do have it? Who do you know that’s in need of some basic skills in this area and how can you help while limiting your time commitment?

Cross – Functional Awareness – The age of the CEO who started as the accountant and progressed through narrow, financial channels is for the most part very long gone. Many organisations struggle with overly siloed cultures, where divisional leaders have competing KPI’s, competing priorities. Being able to demonstrate partnerships beyond your specialisation is essential for those pursuing leadership progression.

Client Experience – A service orientation is highly favourable at junior levels. At senior levels, it’s important to be able to demonstrate that you’re able to achieve win-win outcomes. That is, you can balance the organisation’s needs with keeping your internal / external client base in a state of advocacy. The more senior the role, the less hands-on your experience will be. Rather, you’ll need to have experience engendering a culture of service, cross-functional interaction, open communication and so on.


If you’re a high-achiever you’ll probably be all over this list of potential developmental gaps you can close.

Take a moment to reflect on your strengths. What do you want to be known for? What are you passionate about? What do you want to make a difference in? How can you have an impact on your team /workplace / industry?

Then what experiences might help you get there? Greater exposure? Training to formalise what you naturally do well? Coaching others to also be strong in your areas of expertise or passion, perhaps?


Each industry has it’s own unique hurdles: the qualifications or capabilities that are valued highly. If you’re not sure what they are in your space, find a mentor or three, do some research and work it out. The fundamental mistake that many aspiring leaders make at this point is to assume they know. Years in the space can cloud your judgement about what’s around the corner. Emergent businesses are impacting whole industries by doing things differently. Look at Uber and AirBNB. What emerging technologies or emerging business trends globally could be impacting the way your industry operates?

How will you do a check on the market trends affecting your industry?

How can you be prepared for those trends?


An MBA may be essential in your market. Or it might not be. If an MBA supports your experience, it’s a big positive. On it’s own it’s not worth much. When undertaking post-graduate studies, be sure that you’re interested in the content and not purely the piece of paper. The paper itself is not a guarantee of success, but if you choose wisely the learning may well be.

Not everyone has the time or resources to allocate to significant leadership programs though.

What alternatives can you consider? Are there leadership programs that interest you, or conferences that broaden your network and introduce you to new concepts?

Yet make no mistake: some paths demand a certain qualification. If that’s you, make it a priority and get it behind you.


We might politely talk about ways to get around the business structures that hinder promotion opportunities. In reality there are women who have navigated that path before you. Others are doing it right now. The female executives I’ve met have these above skills in spades. They are highly respected, highly effective and apparently effortlessly successful.

Understand that you have the power to make it too. Tap into mentors or even resources to help you navigate internal barriers.

eBook image with FREE DOWNLOAD 250x400

Download the eBook here.

If the skills you have are not recognised by your organisation, find a way to be heard. If they simply don’t value the same behaviours that you do, find a new direction. But perhaps get a second opinion on them first.

If it can be avoided you don’t want to throw away time invested and a brilliant opportunity if it really just comes down to one dodgy boss.



Cath Nolan is the MD & Founder at Gender Gap Gone  as well as Director of CN Consulting. An Executive Coach with a strong background in all areas of individual and organisational development, Catherine is passionate about the impact of individual empowerment in seeing the Gender Gap Gone. Subscribe to hear the latest free resources and upcoming programs, or follow us on Instagram / Twitter / Facebook for resources and inspiration.

Why Successful Leaders Are Raising Their Digital Profiles And How You Can Too

I’ve met far more executives whose digital profiles lacked oomph than aspiring leaders with the same problem. Why is that? Executives tell me they don’t have time and frankly are often thoroughly disinterested. They’re busy getting the job done, without much thought to the next role in their career. Additionally though, it’s likely been a while since they had to be proactive in career search and many still attribute a digital profile with finding a new job.


In short, it’s what you see in a Google search of your name. For many your digital presence is your online résumé and social media pages. But it’s more than that too. For most professionals it’s a LinkedIn Profile, along with evidence of publications, articles and speaking engagements.

Sure, there’s a good deal of rhetoric for millenials with tips for avoiding negative content on facebook or instagram, but that’s less a challenge for Leaders who don’t tend to have as much time for the more social aspect of social media anyway.


A strong digital profile is not just for extraverts. Neither is it the exclusive domain of those in the market for their next job move.

“I have a LinkedIn profile, although it’s little more than my name and a couple of past job titles… I’m not even sure this job is on there actually” – so then you really don’t have a profile at all.

“I’m not in the market for a new job, I really don’t need to be visible online.” Job offers are always great for your confidence, even if you’re not looking to make a move. Aside from job offers, there are many opportunities that you can take advantage of today- well ahead of career moves, to put you in a far stronger position when it is time to take that next step.

1. Opportunity is knocking. Of course you’ll receive an electronic shoulder-tap from time to time for a great new job. But even while staying put you might be interested in exploring board involvement, participation in industry forums, associations or projects, contribution to articles and speaking opportunities. With a strong online presence, those looking for people with your expertise can find you.

Rich Evans of The Village Voice describes social media as our inevitable, primal return to community. Once we lived in tribes then villages, with our support community close by. Everyone knew your business. Over the last few decades our families are far more geographically spread, our social lives consumed by busy-ness to the point of disconnection. Rich says social media feeds an intrinsic need to connect, as well as serves to help us get things done. If you’re in a pickle, it’s better to get someone through word of mouth, right?

Social media helps you build that bridge. You just need to choose the forms that are right for your purposes.

2. Hire stronger performers. Quality employees have initiative and curiosity, whatever the role they’re applying for. Anyone with those qualities is going to check you out, along with your business, before deciding to commit to a career under your tutelage. Quality employees are often spoilt for choice. If your online presence is impressive, your next high performer will perceive that they can learn a good deal from you. It’s a case of your personal brand working in tandem with your business’ employment brand, in winning the war for talent. When you have the strongest team you get the strongest results, right?


3. Bargaining Power. Opportunity begets opportunity.

So let’s fast-forward 6 months. Your profile brands you as a leader in your knowledge area and you’ve published a blog or two on your own LinkedIn profile. You’ve been carving out 15 minutes each Friday to extend your network, read a couple of articles and join the conversation among your extended network. Opportunities start to come your way. Your team is becoming stronger with the overall rise in calibre of new hires. Your internal reputation and your external profile are on the increase. Surely that’s a position of power for your next salary negotiation?

How often have you heard “Look at my résumé now: even I think I’m perfect for the job!” I’ve heard it lots. With a great profile, whether it’s a Word doc résumé or on online, you feel more confident, walk taller. Like killer heels without the killer back-pain.

A great profile makes you walk a little taller. Like killer heels without the killer back pain.


What you’re great at and what you stand for are clear.

All leaders need to have some operational, some strategic, some financial, some functional and a lot of people capabilities. But if that combined mix is all you’re selling, it sounds like a pretty boring product that’s quite common among senior managers. These two questions might be useful:

“What are you known for?”

“What do you want to be known for?”

BREVITY – Remember that people will read less online than they will in print. In theory your LinkedIn profile could just be a copy & paste of your résumé. In reality you could start there, then edit it back by half. It should be gripping, bite-sized. Talk highlights. Long wordy paragraphs don’t work online. If this is a challenge for you, get onto Twitter quickly: the ‘140 characters or less’ parameter provides excellent training!

SUMMARY – Most people leave this blank. It’s what makes you 3 dimensional. It’s where you get to talk to your passions. If you’re clear with the world about what you want to be doing, that’s what they’ll call you for.

I understand there’s a risk in expressing too narrow a focus. Unless you’re a narrow-field specialist, you might be concerned about pigeonholing. Like the person who takes a golf lesson and suddenly every gift forever more is tees, balls and collared t.shirts.

But by not standing for something in particular, you’re forgettable. Your summary is typically a few very short paragraphs. A short story that expresses either your journey or your strengths. Some choose to incorporate a little of the personal here and many don’t. It’s up to you, but just be sure it’s relevant. Once it’s written, sit back and ask: does it show what I’m known for?

Kathleen Elkins recently wrote of a significantly impactful résumé addition. Jeff Scardino, a senior creative at Ogilvy & Mather, set two profiles to work. One he called his ‘relevant résumé’ and included “failures, bad references and non-skills”, while the other was a standard same-as-everyone-else résumé format. What a great attention-grabber! Kathleen says “The results were surprisingly lopsided. The regular résumé received one response and zero meeting requests, while the relevant résumé received eight responses and five meeting requests.”

Be known for something. Don’t be bland or you’ll be overlooked.

BRAND – you can change your tag line & you should. It’s rare to find 2 comparable senior roles with the same job title. If your actual job title (the auto-generated one) appears below your name, how will they find you? They’re unlikely to look for you by name, or by a convoluted or obscure title. Use an industry-recognised term for the work that you do and the level at which you operate.

URL – when you set up a Linkedin profile you’ll be assigned a number. You can change it though. I’m surprised at how often peoples names are still available. Not everyone knows about this little feature! If your name isn’t available, try a variation (surname first, include your middle name etc).

Of course there are many resources available for helping you to get your digital presence up to speed. Indeed, our some of Gender Gap Gone Career Coaches can help you with it. But you’re looking to do it yourself, in my opinion the very best resource is by Louise Fletcher of Blue Sky Résumés in New York. Louise has written The Blue Sky Guide To LinkedIn and you can purchase and download very quickly. Please note I have no affiliation with Louise but have certainly seen MANY people benefit from this resource. If you’re looking for a comprehensive step by step how-to, with lots of examples, this is it.

TWITTER – what is it that you want to be known for? You’re a dynamite kisser? You run a half marathon every 3 months? You’re exceptional at getting to the crux of business process issues and coming up with high ROI, low impact recommendations for improvement? Whatever it is you want to hang your hat on, search the topic in the online media. Find the conversation and follow it. (Of course, you know I’m joking about the kissing, right? I can’t think what kind of path you might be on if that’s a career advantage!)

Still not sure who to follow? Start with some news sites that interest you or some public figures you’ve heard speak in your interest area. Interested in leadership and women on the rise? Follow us! @GGapGone You’ll soon see a bevy of smart ideas coming from across the globe.


  • Add your Linkedin URL to your résumé.
  • Connect with people. But be selective. Your connections should be people you know or have worked with.
  • Be active. If you see an article while reading the AFRonline, post it to LinkedIn. A colleague has written a post? If you believe the content has merit, share it. Share it on LI, share it on Twitter.
  • Get published. Writing a post on Linkedin is the simplest thing in the world.

Once you’ve got LinkedIn working for you, your presence elsewhere will start to grow. Business journalists want sources, conference organisers want speakers, others in your industry want to connect.

Be brave. Make time for it and let it work for you.


Cath Nolan is the Founder and Director at Gender Gap Gone ( as well as Director of CN Consulting, est. 2007.  An Executive Coach with a strong background in all areas of individual and organisational development, Catherine is passionate about the impact of individual empowerment in seeing the Gender Gap Gone.

Do You Find It Difficult To Be Confident? With Lisa Phillips, The Confidence Coach

From Lisa Phillips, THE Confidence Coach

Do you suffer from a lack of confidence or self-esteem? If so, you are not alone! As a coach with over 15 years’ experience, this is one of the main issues that I help people overcome during my workshops and coaching sessions.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a Company Director or stay at home mum; a lack of confidence can rear its ugly head in any area of your life and can really restrict you from moving forward, following your passions and doing what you really would love to do.

Take a few minutes now to think about your own life, is there a particular area where you lack confidence or self-esteem? Now consider how this may have held you back over the years. Has it stopped you asking for that pay rise, putting yourself forward for that great job, or has it resulted in someone taking advantage of you or walking all over your kind nature?

Thankfully (with a bit of focus, willingness and a sense of humour!) low confidence is something that can be easily resolved. Confidence is really just like a muscle, you just need to do some work on it daily to build it up! Interestingly, one of key obstacles people encounter when practising to be more confident is that they realise they really have a bigger fear that is holding them back – the fear of what could happen if they do start to change.

It sounds a little crazy but more than often it is the fear of what ‘may happen’ that can actually stop us taking action and moving into confidence. Unfortunately, these fears keep us small and comfortable. More often than not, they actually relate more to how other people will react towards us if we do begin to become a more confident and assertive person.

Some common fears which prevent moving into confidence include:

  • Worrying what people will think if you do speak up for yourself or start behaving in a more confident way.
  • Concern that you will end up upsetting someone else or letting them down
  • Thoughts about other people not liking you any more
  • Strong beliefs about always needing to be seen as a nice person!
  • The fear that we are being ‘ selfish’ in some way

Although staying small may feel more comfortable or the easy option, over time, it often ends up in resentment, frustration and blaming other people for situations we find ourselves in.staying small

Do you end up saying yes to attend functions even though you don’t really want to? Do you feel obliged to do things because you want to be seen as a nice girl or you don’t want to let anyone else down? Do you end up saying Yes when you really mean No?   Ok, it may seem the easier option but at what cost to yourself?   The chances are you will end up feeling resentful or blame other people (and yourself!) for asking you in the first place!

In my blog today, I am going to start with sharing some of my top tips for increasing your confidence and also changing the habit of being a people pleaser. If you think you haven’t got the time or maybe you believe you are too busy, then please think again! Many of these will only take a few minutes of your time or can be done when you are in the shower or perhaps brushing your teeth each morning.

Remember, every little step you take will build up that confidence muscle.

TOP TEN For Increasing Confidence (& Leaving The People Pleaser Behind)

1) Write a list of things that you like about yourself and your positive qualities. These could be the fact you are helpful, creative, traits or the fact that you get things done on time. Make sure you write down at least twenty!

2) Each day affirm to yourself (at least ten times if you can!) ‘ I am really looking forward to feeling more confident’ and I am starting to believe that I am a valuable, loveable person and I deserve the very best’

3) Quit comparing yourself to others. Remind yourself that there will always be some people who have more than you, and some people who have less. Comparing yourself to others will NOT make you feel good about yourself.

4) The next time you feel yourself saying Yes, when you really want to say No – ask yourself who you are trying to please? Then, decide to please yourself instead. If you find it difficult to say No – stand in front of the mirror a few times and practice saying it until it feels comfortable.

5) Try not to worry what people will think if you do say No or act assertive around them. The right people will respect you and your boundaries.   Don’t get into the habit of justifying your decision to them.

6) Remind yourself that you are HUMAN. Release the need to beat yourself up for not being perfect. Vow each day to praise yourself, not criticize yourself. This takes practise but even if you stop yourself from criticising yourself just once then you are making great progress. Why not get into the habit of finding one thing to praise yourself for every time you look in the mirror?

7) If you are surrounded by negative people or energy vampires, this will make you feel bad about yourself and will lower your self-esteem. Re- think the people you hand out with. Are they adding to your energy or draining it? Try to surround yourself with positive and supportive people. This will help you feel better about yourself and this will raise your self-esteem.

8) Each night before you go to bed, think about (or write down if you wish) five successful things you have done that day. This could be as simple as getting to work on time, helping a friend or cooking a healthy dinner.


9) Set yourself a target of saying No at least twice a week. It will be scary at first but after a few times, you will feel empowered and fabulous. Recognise that you may feel uncomfortable after saying No.   Don’t let this feeling trick you into feeling guilty.

10) Make sure you are living your own life and not the life someone else wishes you live. If you feel nervous about standing up for yourself etc, make this one of your mini goals. You won’t develop self-esteem if you sit on the sidelines and don’t push yourself to take risks and new challenges.

Remember, we are all capable of having a strong confidence muscle. In doing the steps above, you will also start to take more risks and be less concerned with making a fool of yourself or failing.

One of the additional benefits is also being less concerned about what others think of you or seeking approval from others. Most importantly is the fact that you will be far more comfortable in your own skin and feel at peace with the wonderful person you really are.


Benefits of Confidence

Lisa Phillips is a Life and Confidence Coach based in Sydney, Australia.   Lisa features regularly in the media and has her own life coaching radio show.   She is also the author of The Confidence Coach book ( Exisle Publishing) .  Lisa also runs workshops at GGG which can be found here

To find out more, please see /

Having The Tough Conversations – With Lorena Healey

If it’s not uncomfortable, you’re not going hard enough

A few years ago, I was in the office of a senior executive asking for advice on a tough conversation I had been dreading. I was planning to raise a sensitive issue with a peer and was looking forward to it in the same way most people look forward to a root canal!

His advice was simple. He said ‘if it’s not uncomfortable, you are not going hard enough’.

I remember thanking him at the time, and privately rejecting the idea that I had to ‘go hard’ to get my message across. I was a believer that being honest and fair does not necessarily mean tough and ruthless and that I could be direct without reducing the person to a withering mess.

The issue I was addressing was related to the way my peer had run a project meeting, and the off-handed way she had treated the team. I knew she was unaware of the impact of her actions, so my feedback was going to be a shock for her to hear.

So, with all of the confidence of someone settling in for a 2 hour dental procedure, I asked to speak with her. We politely dissected how the meeting had gone, and agreed a plan for how the next meeting was going to run. All of a sudden it hit me. Agreeing a plan that might actually address the problem without really having to address why it was an issue in the first place meant I could hover in the safe territory of generalities and abort the more difficult mission.

The truth here is difficult to admit. I’d like to say that the reason I wanted to avoid the tricky bit of the conversation was to protect my peer’s feelings. The honest truth though, is that was possibly 50% of the reason at best. The other half of the reason was that I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable.

I have since worked with many Managers who recognise this scenario all too well. We know intuitively what we need to say, but sometimes the difficulty in actually saying it means we can soften the blow and pull our punches, just at the time that it’s most dangerous to do so.

And so the ‘going hard enough’ advice took on a different meaning for me. It wasn’t the way I needed to deliver the message that had to be hard, it was the message itself.

Here are 3 tips that I share with Managers, to turn this into action;

  1. Plan your message prior to starting the conversation. This only needs to capture what the 2 or 3 key messages are that you need to deliver. If you are clear on the core messages you need to send, you can check yourself before winding up to ensure you have actually said them. Hold yourself accountable to saying them, even if you have danced around them during the conversation.
  2. Ask yourself this: If the person was to leave this meeting right now, and someone asked them to replay what was said, what message would they have received? Would it be the same as the one you had intended to give? If there is any doubt in your mind, don’t end the conversation until you’ve said ‘let me be clear…..’ and ensure you’ve covered your 2 or 3 key messages. This will eliminate any doubt that you have softened the message, and that they have heard it.
  3. Lead with the most difficult bit first. Those that know they are prone to start a conversation softly, and work their way up to dealing with the issue, run the risk that they either run out of time, or abort when things get tough. Remove this risk by ripping that proverbial band aid right off at the start. Lead with, “I need to talk to you about…..’ and jump right in. You then have the rest of the meeting to explore how they feel about it and what can be done, which is likely to yield far better results. And the added bonus is that the feeling of uncomfortableness tends to dissipate once the hardest part is over.

Tough Conversations Infographic

Delivering hard messages is tough but we should acknowledge that as Leaders it’s always going to be part of the gig. Perhaps we need to get comfortable with the knowledge that we are actually uncomfortable because we are doing the right thing.

Lorena Healey

3Here at Gender Gap Gone we look to Lorena as a Guru of Culture and Change, working at both organisational level and with individual leaders.

But in truth her scope is far broader than that. After a foundation in accounting with PWC, Lorena worked in HR for a global professional services firm before migrating to Seek in 2006- then a domestic employment classifieds business. Through rapid expansion in services and geography, Lorena’s initiatives in organisational development, performance managment and talent strategies contributed to ensuring the business had the culture it needed to execute it’s ambitious business strategies. With Seek nudging the ASX top 50 and recognised as a Hewitt Best Employer – still with the magic of a start-up culture, in 2014 Lorena left to create Lorena Healey Consulting.  

Aligning cultures with business strategies, Lorena is a pragmatic organisational development practitioner, passionate about making business better.