Five minutes with… Shona Glentworth

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Consultant, coach or trainer, Shona Glentworth, wears all three hats in her role in organisation development. She shares her advice for HR and explains her job, its challenges and the highs.

What changes do you think HR will have to make in the future to how their roles are carried out?

HR as a function in an organisation is carried out in a variety of ways, depending on the size and culture of an organisation. Who does it, and how it is described is not as important as what the function achieves. I would like to see more organisations working hard to create a culture that values people and their contribution that creates partnerships with employees to continually work on “employability”, that is strategic about people practices and which, as a result, is a great place to work.

Share a tip that would help HR better manage their team?

Work on the everyday things that build a team by building trust – greet everyone at the beginning of the day, spend some time each day talking about non-work subjects, find ways to collaborate on projects together and have fun.

What does your typical work day look like?

I don’t really have a typical day. A good week is delivering training to clients, working on a client’s project, meeting prospective clients, following up leads, networking and planning new initiatives.

What are some of your career highs?

I have enjoyed most aspects of my career to date. I have been very fortunate in that many of my roles have been new to the organisation as well as new to me and have therefore offered amazing learning opportunities. Even the less enjoyable experiences have contributed to what I bring to the table now as a consultant. Personally, my career high was being team leader in a newly formed Organisational Development team and working with an amazing team of people on significant culture change in a large organisation. Professionally, being involved in the merger team that formed Fonterra has to be a highlight and looks great on my CV.

What are some of the challenges and how do you deal with these?

Challenges are a bonus I think. I am married to a Taranaki dairy farmer and have a child (now adult). During most of my career I have balanced their needs and mine. I was very fortunate in being able to work in an industry that offered career challenge, learning (formal and informal) without leaving home. In my early career I did battle against gender stereotypes, but quickly found that if I was good at what I did these receded.

Have you always worked in organisational development?

No, I worked in a team titled “organisational development” for a relatively short time. However, my career has included quality assurance/improvement roles, strategic development and HR/Learning & development. It is all of these roles, experiences, learning and skills that I bring to my role as an organisational development consultant.

What is the most important lesson you have learned over the course of your career?

Don’t let opportunities slip by without at least considering them and ideally “giving it a go”. A career is a series of steps that add up to your own unique blend of knowledge and skills, make it work for you. 

What’s your favourite thing you love about your job?

I love working with people who are passionate about their organisation and who want to continue to grow and develop themselves and their business. I love the variety of work I do and the difference it can make.

HRD Forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

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