What happened when Libby Walsh realised she loved working with people
Not long after beginning her career in finance, Elizabeth Walsh discovered she liked people much more than spreadsheets.
The Lonsdale Financial Group manager is now putting her people skills, developed at Melbourne Business School, to good use.
"What I love about financial planning is working with clients who need you in their lives, on the journey with them, understanding everything about them, and helping them plan and make decisions that lead to positive outcomes," she says.
Elizabeth – or Libby as she prefers – is the Regional Business Manager for Victoria and Tasmania at Lonsdale. She chose our Emerging Managers Program to better support the company's network of financial planners, who look to her for advice on ways to manage their staff, business and themselves more effectively.
"We work with them to future proof their businesses, and a big part of that is developing my own skillset," she says.
Libby was attracted to the program because of its focus on managing, negotiating, coaching and mentoring people.
"It's really important to challenge how you manage and motivate people. You can gain a lot from stepping back and reflecting on how you've approached things in the past to find a different technique that produces a better outcome."
Libby particularly wanted to develop her negotiation skills – which are a must for an effective manager, she says.
"No one teaches you how to negotiate. You might know some basics from school, but no negotiation is ever the same in the real world of business. The exercises we did on the program were about bringing more to the table and not focusing too much on specifics, so both parties win."
Libby says the program helped her understand the importance of putting people at the centre of decision-making.
"Change management is a big challenge for us, but a big part of why it can fail is ignoring the human factor. All parties and stakeholders need to understand the rationale behind the change. The takeout for me was, if you focus on the human factor, the rest falls into place."
She also learned that people aren't always motivated by money alone.
"Three things motivate people in complex jobs – having autonomy, being able to take on challenges, and feeling a part of the purpose so they can buy into what they're doing."
Libby's next goal is to put her new leadership and management skills to use within Lonsdale.
"For me, that's sort of the impetus for gaining the skillset, to lead and manage a team, and move into a key account-management role," she says.
"That's where I see my future – as a leader within the business, working with key clients."