SPOTLIGHT – SUSAN PUTTERS (People, Performance & Culture Specialist)
Sue is an accomplished leader in the TIC industry, with extensive experience in managing complex divestments and acquisitions. She also developed a successful Leadership Development Program that trained over 400 mid to senior managers. In this interview, Sue shares insights into her approach to leadership and team management, as well as her thoughts on the biggest challenges facing the industry today. Her success is a testament to the importance of hard work, strategic planning, and effective communication.
Can you share with us a specific project or accomplishment that you are particularly proud of and why?
I created a Leadership Development Program that trained >400 of ALS mid to senior managers. As a result, all senior roles were filled internally including the last CEO and current interim CEO, it also enabled a consistent growth in the number of women promoted to leadership positions.
“As a result, all senior roles were filled internally, including the current CEO, and it also enabled a consistent growth in the numbers of women promoted to leadership positions.”
What do you think is the biggest factor affecting the TIC industry at the moment?
Finding and keeping good people, this is not a new challenge, however.
Can you speak to the biggest challenges you have faced in your career and how you overcame them?
I managed multiple divestments and acquisitions during my time at ALS and previously with Worley Limited. Some of the acquisitions doubled the company headcount overnight and others had vast footprints across new geographies. The challenge of learning new employment legislation and industrial relations approaches was difficult but harder still was harmonizing the cultures of the new and existing parts of the businesses. I discovered that to solve an issue, the best place to start is by asking people at all levels of the business their perspectives. The insights gained as well as the engagement of stakeholders leads to better integration plans and a consequently faster return on the investments made in their new companies. That and working 80 hours per week!
What is your approach to leadership and team management?
I have mentioned listening above, I also believe it's critical to work to ensure your team's interests are met as far as possible through the delegation of relevant tasks. The team needs to enjoy their work and be stretched intellectually but at the same time the allocation of work must be fair. I also strive to create a fun atmosphere and help the team members understand and respect each other. This approach leads to engagement and better productivity as well.
“To solve an issue, the best place to start is by asking people at all levels of the business their perspectives.”
How do you prioritize and manage your workload to ensure success in your job?
I have always used a Dupont Strategy Map, along with an annual work plan for each of the 3 years of the Strategy. From this I develop a project plan for each large project/body of work. Prior to commencing a project it’s important to understand return on investment from a range of possible approaches to solving the issue. I prepare a presentation to showcase the various options with their cost and benefits. Once this is done its usually clear which approach makes the most sense and project fund allocation is easier.
How do you spend time outside of work?
I am very keen on horses, I also enjoy hiking and pub lunches with my husband.
In three words only, what is the secret to your success?
Always Work Smart.