Walking the talk


I recently celebrated my first year anniversary at SenateSHJ.

In that time, I’ve grown into my shoes as a Senator by learning how to wear a variety of footwear. Most important are my elegant critical thinking heels, my practical implementation gumboots, and my courageous out-of-the-box stilts.

Critical thinking heels

At SenateSHJ we have a saying that strategy is the most elegant solution to a perfectly understood problem. Reading this sentence on my first day made me pause for thought – why did it have to be elegant? What did ‘perfectly understood’ involve?

A year on and I’ve learnt to pick this apart in a way that makes sense to me – it’s about finding order from chaos and discovering clear and direct solutions.

Being able to think critically about a problem or issue has helped me learn to take a step back and work to fully understand the problem before jumping in and seeking solutions. This is a big change from a year ago, when I would jump straight to solutions and find a few potholes along the way.

Stepping back has opened my eyes to a world of different perspectives, building my understanding of practical and strategic communications – like writing for your audiences, not just telling them what you want them to know.

While I have a way to go to be a qualified smart thinker, I am wearing my heels in and can now be seen wobbling to the end of the street.

Implementation gumboots

I’m a get-stuff-done kind of person. When I came to SenateSHJ I owned a pair of gummies, but they were a bit too clean and needed some wearing in.

Again, I needed to step back and make sure that what I was doing fitted into the big picture, while producing quality work. Coming in fresh out of university, I’ve had to work hard at becoming more detail oriented to make sure my i's are dotted and my t's are crossed. Fortunately, tips and tricks have been gladly passed on to help me out.

I’ve been able to see the thinking and quality in my work improve over the past year. This has given me more pride in my work and shown me that, no matter how much experience I have, a quick spell check really pays off.

I now proudly wear my muddy gummies, leaving footprints as I go.

Out-of-the-box stilts

To begin with, reaching creative solutions when wading through problems was more of a stumble than a graceful stroll on my stilts.

In the past year, I’ve watched, listened, and learned from a team, who all have different ways of reaching a solution. Some brain dump on a whiteboard, others shout out for help in exchange for a chocolate fish, and everybody is up for a serious team discussion when the occasion calls for it.

I’ve learnt that fantastic ideas often come from bouncing ideas off others and working in a team.

I’ve found my stilts fit best when I’m wearing them alongside other people.

Thanks to the people around me for supporting me to learn. I’m looking forward to the challenges that await me now that my wardrobe is equipped with my critical thinking heels, implementation gumboots, and out-of-the-box stilts.