Member Blog | Caroline Waldron – The Year That Was

CarolineCaroline Waldron| NZAL International Established Member
Chief Marketing Officer, Norton Rose Fullbright 

Key takeouts for 2015:
We live in demanding times where it feels like one needs to be fast, fit and almost fidgety to succeed.  Most businesses are facing disruption in some shape or form. Banks have evolved into serious technology players, online shopping is de rigeur to a growing majority, the spare room at home is now being offered to strangers looking for an alternative to a hotel room and the humble work desk is becoming a hot desk!  Indeed the way we work, where we work and how we work have all changed significantly in the last 5 years. What’s more the way we communicate with each other has completely transformed.  We are now expected from the moment we are old enough to own a mobile phone, to be omnipresent  – thanks to email, text, phone and social media, all of which dutifully track and signal our whereabouts.  Unsurprisingly, client and consumer expectations have changed to match this – people want responses immediately.  So it follows that agile businesses that are prepared to take risks are likely to be the biggest winners in the long term.
People are more mobile (within and without organisations) than ever.  The days of a single lifetime career have long gone. Many choose to do different jobs and purposefully map their careers.  My own path reflects this – from law to HR to internal audit and risk to marketing!  Progressive organisations actually want people who have had a wide range of experiences to be on their teams because they understand and value diverse thinking.  As the world shrinks to become a local marketplace, the need for fresh thinking has never been a greater prerequisite.  We have enough talent in our midst from all walks of life, from all age groups and with all sorts of experience to provide that continuous freshness.  The challenge now is for business leaders to lead by example ie to empower their people to self-career map, tap into talent pools so as to produce corporate thinking that crosses functional boundaries and create a workforce that the rest of the world would love to emulate.
Risk management cannot be a mere box-ticking exercise.  Organisations that handle risks best are those that have inculcated a culture where risk management is intuitively managed by, and the responsibility of, every employee.  This takes time to create as it requires trust, accountability, and the preparedness to show little tolerance for decisions that reflect poor judgement.
Focus for 2016:
I have been privileged to have had some great mentors throughout my professional life, all of whom have given me the courage to break barriers and learn from mistakes.  My focus for 2016 is to share some of my time with younger professionals, especially those new to the corporate world, so that they too feel that they can learn to do different things and do things differently.  I am hoping this will be in the form of mentoring, speaking engagements, training sessions etc.