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The H.E.A.R.T. of the matter

We are sometimes asked about our business slogan, “Developing the H.E.A.R.T. of your business” and the meaning of the acronym.  Literally, it refers to the values of Honesty, Empathy, Acceptance, Respect and Trust – and volumes could be written about each of those values!  Symbolically, it represents that which gives life and maintains rhythm, warmth, circulation, connection and unity.

Bringing the two together, we believe that values are what determine the health of any organisation: whether it has an open flow of communication or hardening arteries and worn valves; whether there is genuine caring, encouragement, support and acceptance or an unfriendly, antagonistic stoniness; and whether all parts of the system flourish with fresh ideas and inspired action or wither and fall off along the wayside.

Traditionally, references to the heart were more commonly associated with romance and perhaps the more frivolous, less cerebral aspects of life.  There was no place for “warm fuzzies” and excitement in the world of handshakes and the stiff upper lip.  We are all familiar with phrases such as “weak-hearted”, “soft-hearted”, “big-hearted”, “faint-hearted”, “heart flutters”, “heartfelt”, “hearty”, “heart rending”, “heart of gold” and so on, and their warm and fuzzy implications.

Words like love and happiness also had a hard time fitting comfortably into business and the workplace.  They implied softness, weakness and a lack of backbone and focus.  “Hard-nosed” and “bloody-minded” on the other hand tended to indicate a no-nonsense, serious determination by someone – generally male – who means business.

More and more, however, the business world is beginning to recognise that in order to innovate, inspire and orchestrate successful business outcomes, the intellect and the heart must work together.  They are no less interdependent than heart and lungs.  Dualities such as […]

The Wagga Wagga Council Female Leaders Alumni Event

While the council of Wagga Wagga may not be as big as its fellow New South Whales councils, its attitude towards gender equality is certainly forward-thinking. Over the years, they have strived to achieve an equal representation of men and women in senior management positions and even established an official gender equality policy in 2011. The Wagga Council acknowledged that achieving higher levels of gender equality wasn’t just a recruitment issue, but involved supporting and mentoring women within the corporate environment, so they could move to senior positions. Consequently it developed a ‘Women as Leaders Program’ in order to support and help it’s female workers grow their skills, confidence and ultimately their career. The program has been extremely successful over the last few years, and on April 9th the Wagga Wagga City council held their first ‘female leaders’ alumni event, in order to celebrate the achievements it’s participants have made since doing the program.
The alumni event included a session with  VM Learning’s own Julie Verner-Mackay, who has facilitated many of Wagga Council’s ‘Women as Leaders’ programs in recent years and has had extensive experience as a learning and development trainer. Julie herself said she was so pleased with not only the tangible changes she saw in some participants, such as their promotions to management positions, but also the intangible changes.
“All the women have such emotional maturity now and an inner confidence about themselves and what they’re capable of, which is great to see” she said.

The focus of the alumni event however, was not only to celebrate change but also for each participant to re-evaluate their current state both personally and professionally and identify goals for the future. This session was guided by Julie, who facilitated a […]

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

“All learning has an emotional base” – Plato.

Emotional Intelligence is something that keeps us interacting. Whether it’s dealing with colleagues or socialising with friends, we all use our emotional intelligence daily. However, not all of us have mastered a comprehensive understanding of our emotions. This leads to increased anxiety, passive aggression, and overall unhappiness.

Unfortunately, when we don’t understand and express our emotions effectively, we can’t even tell why we’re feeling so out of sync.

These days, passive aggression is quickly becoming the norm. From post-it notes on a dirty microwave to excessive food labelling in the fridge, passive aggression is bringing us down. In fact, Buzzfeed compiled this list of the most passive aggressive things to ever happen – warning, it is not for those who like effective communication!

The Internet is littered with free how-to guides on mastering your emotional intelligence and improving organisational health, but none of them are concerned with how to do it. Their level of success is the number of people who visit their website. Instead, we measure our success by how effectively our participants learn the course, and their overall satisfaction. We’ve been the people-training people for 25 years, and we don’t plan on slowing down.

Our trainers teach the importance of understanding your emotions and the methods to control and express them effectively. Our course focuses on self-awareness and acceptance, empathy, assertiveness and the power of body language in our daily interactions. 

At VM, it’s our methodology that sets us apart from other EI training providers. Our blended approach of online pre-reading and personal assessments leaves our participants more equipped to excel both personally and professionally. We include on-the-job activities that provide participants with opportunities for reflection and enhanced learning.

We teach […]

Talking about women leaders, we have met a quite a few in recent times!

We have been fortunate to provide learning for members of community and charitable organisations who provide emergency assistance on behalf of Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Many of the women attending our training work in very small offices with few resources and yet do a fantastic job in assisting people in financial emergencies to deal with their immediate crisis situation. These are women who lead.  They may not see themselves as leaders, but they support, nurture, influence, mentor and are committed to what they do; providing a service in a way that maintains the dignity of the individual and encourages self reliance.  That’s leadership to me!

The Emergency Relief services are an important gateway to other services and supports that can help people deal with more complex issues, including issues that have contributed to, or are a consequence of, financial stress. For example, Emergency Relief organisations also refer people to services such as financial counselling, financial literacy programs, drug and alcohol support, crisis accommodation, mental health and family support.

Training has been delivered throughout NSW and has just kicked off for Queensland. Our learning and development programs cover key communication, conflict management, emotional intelligence and compassion fatigue. This project has been a learning partnership and our consultants have found this a highly worthwhile and meaningful experience.