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Never leave career moves to chance

Divina Paredes | Oct. 14, 2010
Pip Marlow and Russell Crowe share a vaguely similar career trajectory, sort of.

Marlow's insights are drawn from her experience in moving into senior ICT roles. She is presently in charge of one of the largest teams in Microsoft Australia, servicing the government accounts that include defence, education and health.

When shifting roles or workplace, "be clear what you are looking for", she says. When she was considering the move to Microsoft, she asked her dad for advice, as she thought it was a "backward step" from her MD role. "At Microsoft, you are in a big pool," she quotes him as saying. "Sometimes you take a sideways [step]."

Marlow, who is married with two daughters, says wherever you are working, it is important to focus on emergent opportunities. At Microsoft, she looked at the role of becoming a managing director, and thought about getting the right development "so when the role becomes available, I am a great candidate".

At the same time, she says, "I don't put my eggs in one basket." If she does not get the role she aspires for, she is looking at other options, like another international move.

Her message is also about continuous development and to stay in a "learning mode".

"There is always an opportunity to learn in any role," she says.

At the Global Women Forum, Jennifer Moxon, managing director, IBM New Zealand, discussed what leading organisations are doing to be globally competitive.

Citing the results of the latest CEO survey of IBM that included ANZ respondents, Moxon says the standout companies share three common qualities: creative leadership, customer centricity and operating dexterity.

Elaborating on these three areas, she says, creative leadership means persuading and influencing rather than command and control style of leadership. "You encourage experimentation, invite disruptive innovation and keep innovating in the way you lead and manage using viral communications rather than top down commands," says Moxon.

Customer centricity or focus means companies analyse masses of data on the web and tap that intelligence to predict what their customers really want. The standout companies even "co-create" products and services with their customers.

The third, operating dexterity, refers to organisations that simplify their operations and increase flexibility to improve response.

Moxon says New Zealand's geographical distance has encouraged Kiwis to come up with "creative solutions, particularly in our political and regulatory environment, science and education. However, there is always room for improvement -- particularly around business innovation and general infrastructure."


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