Each month, we interview a prominent communicator about a ‘lights on’ moment they’ve experienced in their career. This month we speak with Future of Work panelist and Head of Marketing and Communications at Aurecon, Danielle Bond.
Can you describe a major ‘lights on’ moment in your career … an event, occurrence or moment in your career when you learned a powerful lesson that significantly changed your approach?
My ‘lights on’ moment relates to making the transition from a solo operator to leading a team. It is a huge leap.
What was the background to your ‘lights on’ moment?
When I first started managing people I had one direct report, then I had four and then a team of 30. At one stage I had 70! The toughest thing I’ve had to learn is how to be a leader of teams and ensuring that the team understands the brand and how we build it from the inside out.
What was the major lesson you learned?
Making the transition from being an effective individual, who is good at doing the technical aspects of their job, to leading a team takes time and I’m still learning. It’s not possible to personally manage every aspect of a Marketing & Communications function. You have to invest time and effort in hiring the right people and co-creating an integrated strategy that all team members understand, buy-into and know how to bring to life in the role (s) they perform.
How have you applied that lesson in your career and what has the impact been?
I’ve learned that to be effective in a leadership role, the skills you need to work on are not necessarily your core professional skills; although you still need to be on top of your game; particularly with the revolution in our profession brought about by digital. The skills that have helped me most are about ‘leadership’ – how to get teams together to collaborate across borders and functions. I wished I’d learned some of these lessons earlier in my career.
How do you believe other communicators could benefit from your experience and the lesson you’ve learned?
Building and managing a brand isn’t the sole responsibility of Marketing and Communications. The ‘lights on’ moment I had around getting an M&C function to work collaboratively to do it better is also relevant to getting other parts of a business engaged and aligned.