At The Icehouse, we’re on a mission to help all Kiwi entrepreneurs, owners, managers, leaders and their teams reach their potential and succeed in business. This Women on Programme special highlights some success stories from our Leadership Development Programme (LDP) and showcases how the programme helps transform the way you lead and how you can affect change.
It’s also important to address and acknowledge that there are many underrepresented groups in business in Aotearoa. The Icehouse welcomes programme participants from all demographics and is actively looking at ways to provide even greater access to programmes, workshops and coaching services for all.
Globally, for example, ‘women represent about one in three high growth entrepreneurs and one in three innovation entrepreneurs focused on national and international markets,’ according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2021-22 Women’s Entrepreneurship Report. These findings roughly mirror our own programme demographics.
Most academic studies cite a need for improved access to funding and training programme support, more mentoring and role models to offer guidance, and greater networking opportunities to help underrepresented groups and individuals reach the heights they deserve.
Our alumni tell us that these are often universal issues. Pre and on-programme, feelings around self-efficacy and imposter syndrome – which can discourage professional development involvement – are also felt across the board.
Furthermore, stagnating in your career, in your current role, and desperate to get a fresh injection of energy and thinking are challenges we all face; we just need a pointer on where and how to make a change.
LDP is built on refining your leadership style, developing your personal and business skills, and finding empowerment to play a greater role in the growth and direction of the business in which you work.
It’s designed to help you better understand your business, help you think more strategically, to action and implement ideas, and give you a platform and the space you need to evaluate your personal well-being and resilience.
It can also help foster a more inclusive, stimulating and rewarding working environment, says Celia Crosbie, Founder and Managing Director of Scope Media NZ and an LDP alumni. “I am really pleased that I did [LDP] and just took the bull by the horns and set it up. So over that time, we have just really grown the team with like-minded individuals. I really focus on bringing people together who are better than me. I love encouraging other people to really shine in their own strengths.”
Often LDP can be the validation you’re looking for as a leader; your style is working, you’re doing the right things, and that others are going through precisely the same challenges.
Kaylie Hopkins, Project Delivery Manager at Energylight, says of her LDP experience: “I was a little bit hesitant at first – 'What's it going to be like?' and 'What will they know?' were questions I had. It was a really great experience and what I found on reflection, some of the things you learn in the subjects you go through, instantly click, I got it, I get it, I was already living that, and this is perfect. It kind of justifies everything I was already thinking.
“Then over the next coming weeks and months, and sometimes even years later, there are still things that click for me. It was great to learn that everybody else is also on a journey. You share the same frustrations, you share the same problems, and you share the same thoughts.”
At the most basic level, business training and development programmes need to offer two things; to provide immediate value, and to have long-term benefits.
“When colleagues come back from LDP, they make gradual changes, rather than instant ones. They think and approach situations and tasks differently without realising and, as I’ve grown, I’ve done the same. I’ve slowly transitioned from thinking like an advisor to thinking like a manager and focus more on future improvements and long-term solutions, rather then quick fixes,” says Jess Williams, HR Manager & Admin Support at Firstflex Cables.
Introducing very simple concepts can also work wonders, as well as taking a step back to facilitate fresh thinking and innovation. “There are so many easy, really low-hanging fruit ideas, that you can actually come back to your business and put in place straight away,” says Rahui Corbett, Partner, Director and chartered accountant at Morrison Creed Advisory.
“It's not all about these big, grand strategic ideas, there are just some little tweaks and little things that you can do differently, almost instantly, when you get back. I found those sorts of things made a lasting and positive impact, and it brought it back and it just keeps that energy alive.
“The other thing that LDP makes you do is hammering home the importance of just taking stock and resting, giving ourselves a chance to connect and have that balance.”
For information on programmes, workshops and business coaching services from The Icehouse, click here.
For more business ownership and leadership advice, check out more of our resources.
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