Natalie Brennan is among the 16.3 per cent of women who head up Australian businesses.
Brennan was appointed GM of Muffin Break earlier this year after 17 years with the brand working across HR, training, R&D and procurement.
Here she reveals the rules which guide her approach to life…
Five rules to guide your life
1. When people show you who they are, believe them the first time: Maya Angelou
This is particularly relevant to women in management: we make excuses for people. If someone does something wrong, whether it’s an employee or a peer, or a supplier, we make excuses for them.
But the reality is the behaviour they exhibited reveals their character; they showed you then who they are, and they will go on to repeat the pattern of behaviour. So deal with that, brecause their actions are not going to change.
2. Back yourself
Put your hand up and say yes.to things, even if it turns out to be not the right thing, or right for your time of life.
People think there will be offers falling in their lap, and to some degree there are people out there willling to mentor you and help you but on the whole, there’s no-one out there focused on improving your career – you have to take ownership of this.
Be confident and back yourself.
3. You only need to be 80 per cent right, 80 per cent of the time.
This is about giving people the space to fail and not to be frightened of failure. When people are trying to get things right 100 per cent of the time they get bogged down in perfection – ‘we’re not going to move forward because it’s not 100 per cent’ for instance – well, that’s really fear of failure.
We have to create a culture that it’s ok to fail, in fact if you’re not failing, you’re not learning.
So what I say to my team is you can be 80 per cent right 80 per cent of the time, and it gives them that space to give it a go, and if it’s not right, they’ve got a 20 per cent buffer.
It gives them space to move forward and in business if you’re not going forward, you are going backward. You’ll lose more money by doing nothing than if you do something, make a mistake and fix it. Fail fast and fix it.
Remember innovation is just relentless forward motion, and eventually you look back and see what you’ve done.
4. Own your fear
Fear is what stops people from doing anything. We’re frightened of people laughing at us for instance. But people aren’t thinking about you, they’re thinking about themselves.
It isn’t what people think about you that counts, it’s what you think about yourself and if you get paralysed by fear, you’ll just stay in the same place.
When fear grabs me I think, what is the worst that can happen? And the reality is, it’s not that important and I can deal with it. It’s about overcoming the fear and turning it into something with momentum. There has to be a healthy level of fear.
5. Know your why
People talk about finding a job you love and that means you’ll never work a day in your life.
But that really minimises when people have to do work that they don’t love it, but they do it for a reason. If you’re cleaning toilets because you have to earn an income for your family, then that’s your why.
Even in the best roles there are some days when you don’t love your job. So if you understand why you’re doing it then that’s what it’s all about.
I’m doing it for my family, I want to be a role model for my children, to be that daughter that my mother is proud of. All of those things are why I get up in the morning.
Whatever your job is, do it 100 per cent, and do a great job – not because you love it, but for all those other reasons.
Understand your why, and it makes your career decisions easier.
- Listen out for the Inside Franchise Business podcast interview with Natalie Brennan, coming soon…