Business Blog Community Communicate31 - Clare Mann

Communicate31 - Clare Mann

Is this where you thought you would end up?

Yes and no in one sense. I'm the type of person who likes to keep recreating. I have had enormous interest from childhood in what makes people tick. Instead of having a goal as such, I have a curiosity for people. I'm always open to change, but will always involve people and have conversations that matter.

What do you consider your biggest weakness?

One of the biggest weaknesses I have is overestimating what I can do in one year, and underestimating what I can do in five years. I've needed to ensure that I moderate myself, because giving a time frame for such desired achievements can create stress.

As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?

It’s hard to say, but the barrier relates more to other women. We as women should develop and harness our strengths and leadership skills, not just replicate men. Women have different skills.

Earlier on in my career, I got more involved and acted more like a male. Now that I know what I know I will speak my truth a lot earlier.

A key skill that females have is that they tend to be more collaborative and socialise. For example, men will do research and have a decision, then collaborate and consult. Whereas females will collaborate and ask questions, consider different solutions from others, then through teamwork will come to a solution.

Who inspired you and why?

There were not many influential women as there were men in the early part of my career. The two people who inspired me are Ricardo Semler and Doug Wead.

Ricardo Semler, is the CEO of Semco Partners and author of 7 Day Weekend. At 25, Ricardo took his father's company, Semco, and dramatically increased revenue. He did this by doing the complete opposite to what most organisations usually do. He removed job descriptions, got staff to interview managers, created salary transparency, and much more. Ricardo's management style placed trust in his employees, which created a shift in control.

How do you balance work and life responsibilities? What have you sacrificed (both personally and professionally) at each stage of your career?

I’m very big on balance, integration is required. I have no exception to rules, there’s things I will put in place to invest in my health and time, such as, 10 minutes of yoga 3-4 times a week; always eating breakfast, exercise, relaxation, routine, no exceptions.

An unrelenting rule I have is that you're never going to get through your in-tray, so it's important to ask yourself "what's the most valuable use of my time right now?"

When I travelled extensively, I often had to sacrifice cut off times for work. I found myself not knowing how to say no to others, which eventually led to burnout. At times I had to sacrifice relationships and aspects of my health. Overtime, I have learnt the importance of creating a balance between work and life, and now I actively work to create harmony between the two.

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?

  1. Be prepared to be unpopular for your values. If it feels right for you, stay in your integrity and say it.
  2. Be true to your values if you feel that you need to speak out about injustice, or something that you don't want to be involved in.
  3. Don't conform. Be prepared to stand out if it feels right, but don't just do it for the sake of it.
  4. Don't emulate the man. Find a new form and style of leadership that integrates characteristics of both males and females.

If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?

Knowing what I do now, I would suggest two things:

  1. Delegate and pay for help well before you can afford it.
  2. Do what you love and the money will follow.

What is an accomplishment that you are proudest of?

A few of my accomplishments include:

  • Presidential advisor, Doug Wead, writing the foreword to my book, Communicate: How To Say What Needs To Be Said, When It Needs To Be Said, In The Way It Needs To Be Said.
  • Personal philanthropic work, such as running events for important matters. I have worked closely with Animal Matters in organising corporate events which have brought together 680 C-level executives to discuss the ethics and treatment of animals in supply chains, as well as organising guest speakers such as Phillip Wollen, former Vice-President of Citibank.

What one core message you received from your mentors?

A message that has stuck with me is the importance of developing the unrelenting pursuit of a dream within yourself. This will be the compass that helps you move towards something, creating a focus on the journey, not just the destination.

Earl Nightingale's definition of success also resonates deeply with me. It considers the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal. It makes you ask yourself, what your worthy ideal is and what you are doing. It comes from a passion to make people present for the things that matter.

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