Accountability is often shared: On leadership, resilience & mentors

Remember, accountability is often shared: Rosie Cairnes on leadership, resilience and mentors

Rosie Cairnes
Rosie Cairnes says she’s long struggled with the idea that accountability is shared, and see it as essential thing to remember every day.

Thinking you’re 100% accountable for every single decision can be stressful, it can hurt your resilience and your work/life balance.

Rosie is the VP of Sales Australia & NZ at Skillsoft Asia Pacific, and lives by the idea that leadership is a marathon, not a sprint. She also met the woman who would become a significant mentor in her career at male-dominated networking event.

She’s the latest to feature in our Q&A series The Link, exploring the work, ideas and advice of different women.

Who and what do you lead?

I lead the sales organisation across Australia & New Zealand as part of the APAC Business at Skillsoft. We’re a trusted partner and leading global provider of high-quality, innovative, cloud-based learning and performance support resources.

What are you working on right now that’s got you really excited?

Leading the team through rapid change as part of our overall business transformation is really exciting. Though we have a long history of learning innovation, our aim is to bring a better standard of learning experiences to the workplace with more relevant content, technologies and services to serve the five generations of learners in the workforce.   

What one issue is making you really angry right now?

The notion that employees need to seek permission or management approval to access learning for skills or knowledge they need to perform their jobs better or to keep pace with new technologies to improve their efficiency. This is no longer a barrier in the age of technology, yet many organisations have not refreshed their thinking or their approach to learning. With the much publicised skills-crisis, it’s time for new thinking about how organisations continuously build talent within the enterprise for today’s work and tomorrow’s opportunities.

Best piece of career advice you ever received?

Trust your instincts. Work and leadership is a marathon not a sprint. It’s OK to say “I don’t know, what do you think?” It’s OK to ask for help.

Biggest hurdle you’ve faced (or are still facing) in your career? And how did/are you push through/work around it?

The biggest hurdle I’ve faced, and still face, is around shared accountability, in that I always feel 100% accountable and in the process I forget to view accountability as shared, this can be a real source of stress for me at work.  It’s an area of personal development for me as a leader. It’s something I have to consciously work on every day. I know it’s important and necessary, particularly for resilience and balance.

How have mentors or sponsors (or both) aided your career?

My very first professional job came from a stranger, who became my close friend and mentor.

After completing my diploma at Adelaide University, I joined the SA Marketing Association professional body.  The association was holding a networking cocktail event so I took myself along hoping I’d learn something that could help me find a job.  The room was filled with men, with only one other woman in the room, who I did not manage to speak to that evening. Two weeks later I received a phone call from that one woman in the room that night. She had inquired about me through the association, hearing I was a marketing graduate, who took the initiative to become a member of an association of which she was chair and invited me into her offices to meet with her.  Within three weeks she had found a place for me to start in her Adelaide marketing firm. I will never forget Noelene and how that chance meeting started my career.

What’s your favourite piece of tech?

Skillsoft’s intelligent online learning platform Percipio.

What daily publications do you read or follow? 

Australian Financial Review. HR Director Australia. CIO Australia

What apps or tools do you use to help manage your day?  

Outlook. WhatsApp. Salesforce Analytics Studio

What book do you most recommend to other women when it comes to their career?

Change Your Questions Change your Life” by Marilee Adams

And what are you reading/watching/listening to right now (for work or pleasure)?

For Work: Small Acts of Leadership by Shawn Hunter

For Pleasure: Natural Born Keller: My Life and other Palaver by Amanda Keller

Got a woman to suggest who you’d like to next read about on Women’s Agenda?

Annabel Crabb; Journalist

Amanda Keller; Journalist

Charmian Fry, Head of Learning Suncorp

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