This is the 2nd in a series of reflections on the amazing experience that was ‘The Women’s Business Forum’ I attended in Harrogate at the end of September. The overarching theme was “It’s Time… to Make a Difference” and featured a host of leaders from around the globe.
Kirsty Bashforth, Head of Organisational Effectiveness, BP plc delivered a thought-provoking session called “It’s Time… to Realise Your Potential”. She was very honest about what it’s like working in an environment where being non-engineer is not the norm. She was clear about the need to be well-grounded and having a core of authentic self-belief as well as needing to be passionate and committed to your role. Without this ‘do what you love’ principle, working life can be pretty stressful in a negative way. However if you can find a role where you can really excel then everyday challenges can be taken in your stride.
Kirsty went onto stress that there’s a different energy that comes from a job well done (good enough), and a job where you can really stretch and reach your potential (fabulous feeling of achievement). She reminded the audience that women more motivated by influence, and men more influenced by money. This means that women need to be much more tactical in terms of connecting with people and positions of influence.
Top Tips on how to reach your POTENTIAL
Kirsty’s suggested tactics are simple:
- Have a plan
- Don’t be shy
- Be pragmatic
For Kirsty her Eureka! Moment came when she became much clearer about what motivates her, and what in her working and personal life gives her meaning and purpose. She suggested that each of us think about ways in which we can become conscious about what deeply motivates us, and to consider how this then impacts on:
- the VALUES we hold
- the BEHAVIOURS we expect
- the ENVIRONMENT we create
- how we value DIVERSITY
- how we bring TEAMS together and support them
Part of Kirsty’s role in BP is to write ‘The Golden Rules’ and to ensure they are lived throughout the corporate environment, despite the challenges associated with, for instance, the Deep Water Horizon disaster. She says that the “HOW” we work is as important as the “WHAT” we do at work.
Lastly, Kirsty shared her Recipe for Achieving – here are her recommended ingredients:
- Contacts: Build your very own network including ‘reality-checkers’ and ‘levellers’, people you can depend on to give you honest feedback about your performance.
- Capability: Build your own track record, develop your thirst for learning, be prepared pick up those skills you still need.
- Choice: Everyday make a conscious choice, a decision made on your consistent script of “who am I, why I’m doing this?”
- Confidence: Build this by being clear about what you want, and what you need in terms of inputs and support, and your ‘wished-for’ outcomes; this is a critical make or break for women in that they often don’t ask and don’t state “this is what I want.”
Her final message is one of resilience: have a plan, take responsibility and make it happen.