Thank you to the 1646 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions! I hope reading 7 Questions with
helps you in your leadership.
Name: Vanessa Jones
Organisation: Vanessa Jones Consulting
With a successful career spanning more than 20 years in marketing, communications, sales and customer experience, Vanessa offers a pragmatic blend of senior management experience coupled with proven results and effective leadership.
A highly effective influencer with extensive remote leadership experience Vanessa has worked with high performing brands across a range of sectors including public, private, profit for purpose and franchised businesses.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
As I grew into leadership roles the move to a supporting role for my people was a huge mindset change. It is no longer about 'you' or what 'you can deliver' it becomes about how well you can support and enable teams to achieve both theirs and the company goals. Enabling them to both fail and succeed is tough but critical for leaders to understand!
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I've worked my way up from the bottom! I learnt my craft working in media from a young age (newspapers & radio) and then moved into marketing roles a bit later which really combined all the skills I loved! I had great success throughout my career which led to leadership opportunities, but I watched many leaders who had the old-style command and control ethos - which I knew was a barrier to delivering exceptional outcomes into the future. This made me determined to do it differently!
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I'm a morning person! After working out early, I clear emails and make a plan for the day ahead depending on which clients and brands I'm working with and what meetings I've got locked in. I always tackle the tough stuff first. I've learnt the importance of clearing my head to work through big challenges, so you'll often find me outside muttering to myself solving the issues of the day, before coming back to commit it to the laptop. I very rarely work at night unless I'm supporting a crisis of some type, so time with family, cooking and taking time out happens late in the day for me.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Don't hire smart people and then micromanage them and tell them what to do! This one drives me nuts and says much more about the leader than the team members capability.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
I don't have 'one' magic book. I read lots of books, papers, case studies and articles and get different gems from different places. My leadership is more impacted by watching amazing leaders 'do their thing' and seeing how it inspires those they lead.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Be kind. Be open and keep learning. Never be afraid to hire people smarter than you and let them run.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Assuming the younger generations aren't hard, adaptable workers. Leading teams through Covid within the Aged Care sector is a time forever cemented in my memories. It didn't matter how smart you were, how much experience you had, it was a massive leveler. In the early days of the outbreaks and going into lockdown we pulled staff from throughout the business to help build the 'rule books' as these simply didn't exist. Time and time again it was the Gen Y's and Z's that really stood out, they didn't care what their PD said, or what they thought they'd been hired to do, they were often the first to roll up their sleeves and just pitch in on any task that needed doing. It was a huge team effort and I couldn't have been more grateful for my team!