Female Leader Conversations Ebook feature, Pollyanna Lenkic said,
“Back yourself, and when you can’t,
have a good crew around you who will back you when you need it most.”
- At 24, founded a business that grew to £11 million annual turnover and then successfully sold her share of the business
- Author of Women and Success & The Confidence Mess. Disrupting the Narrative (due 2019)
- 525 skydives, embracing fear and failure as a learning opportunity gave her a respect for preparation, practice, retraining. A habit that saved her life on many occasions. Pollyanna landing in a tree on an otherwise cleared field on her second skydive due to being fixated on the object she wished to avoid. A valuable life lesson sometimes we need to turn our back on obstacles and focus on the clear space
Pollyanna Lenkic authored Women and Success, and runs a suite of programs designed to support women to navigate specific challenges they face in the workplace. Starting off in IT recruitment with no experience or contacts, she approached people in the IT industry and asked them what they needed. Their mentorship, combined with her own determination to succeed, meant Pollyanna was soon triple billing other experienced UK consultants. After successfully selling her business, Pollyanna’s career now focuses on helping organisations to create high-performance teams/cultures, and programs that support women to advance in leadership.
HIGH PERFORMANCE CULTURES
How do you help organisations foster female leadership?
I support organisations by supporting the women in their organisations to navigate the specific challenges that they face that men do not have to navigate. We work on three key themes: Barriers, Shift & Accelerate. With a focus on disrupting the current narratives and looking at systemic change. We need to stop ‘fixing’ women and fix the systems we operate in.
HIGH PERFORMANCE TEAMS
What is one solvable issue that can derail a team?
There is no ‘one solvable issue that derails teams’. It’s a bit like expecting to purchase exercise gear and get fit. One mistake that we all make is to expect a one-off intervention to ‘fix’ our challenges. This sets teams up for failure. The ‘one solvable issue’ that leads to sustainable high performance is to be realistic about expectations of what a one-off intervention can achieve.
Three key ‘ones’ that can be easily addressed are:
- Work on both Engagement and Performance. Teams who are high performing focus on 7 key Productivity strengths and 7 Key Positivity strengths.
- Decision-making. Creating an effective decision-making process is like putting a stent in your arteries helping prevent blockages.
- Constructive Interaction is vital for teams to discover, grow and to benefit from diversity of thinking and styles.
What should teams prepare for over the next decade?
We are experiencing unprecedented change which has an impact however most of the challenges that teams face are:
- How they interact and work with each other.
- How they engage and invest in themselves, both individually and as a team.
- What they achieve (productivity) and how they engage (positivity).
Parental Return to Work Programs
Most leading organisations understand the imperative for supporting parents to transition back into the workforce after parental leave. We designed a program to support this reentry which also plugs into the organisation’s resources. Our program Survive, Thrive and Strive has 3 key focus points.
- Supporting parents returning to work, moving from Surviving through to Striving.
- Educating and supporting leaders on how to support their team members’ re-entry.
- Retention of women in the organisation. Based on the present system, allowances and culture, parental leave is largely taken by women. This program supports their transition back into the workforce. The system (both from an entitlement and cultural aspect) needs to change so that fathers have equal rights to take time with their children.
EXITING A BUSINESS
Why did you sell your 50% share in your multi million-pound UK company?
There were 2 key reasons that collided. Firstly, it was time. I felt this at a deep intuitive level. A friend once passed on some wisdom given to her. ‘Always leave when you are having a good time’. It was sage advice for so many situations! I loved my job, it fulfilled me. From a business perspective, for the company to thrive moving forward it was time for one of the business partners to move on. I decided to take that opportunity, change career and move back to Australia.
The second reason was my personal life imploded. This created lots of opportunity for honest conversations with myself. Not just what I wanted to do, but how I wanted to live. I took a leap of faith and silenced the fear that could have stopped me from doing so. A decision I will always be grateful for.