Who's Your Butt-Kicker?

It's Who You Know - Janine Garner

It's Who You Know - Janine Garner

When you think of networking, how do you feel and what do you picture?

I see the Olympics. An event which sees people racing around the room to gather and give the most business cards – with the gold medal going to the person who runs out of cards! I feel uncomfortable with this scenario and I continue to experience this twentieth century phenominom!

stick of business cards.jpg

Fronting up to a networking event is hard enough for some, especially when the ‘card’ is more important than forming the relationship. Many people lack the confidence to attend on their own which makes the whole networking a task to master.

Whilst I’ve been doing some research into networking practices – it’s amazing to see the many varied practices; from hard core referral (think BNI and Business Builders) to the social aspect where it is more about entertainment (think Business Chicks) than 'doing business'.

Author, Janine Garner approaches her network as a prized possession – determining her core four, then her key 12 people and those that can potentially sabotage all your hard work.

These are small numbers – we’re talking four people, or at the most 12 people who you need in your network. It’s the flipside of the likes of LinkedIn and my address book where I have hundreds in my network.

Janine emphasises that we really need to treat our network as a valuable commodity and question ourselves - Who will add real value to our professional and personal development?

This sounds far more palatable than fronting up to an event on your own with a stack of business cards!

Her approach of 'Rework your Network' reminded me of how I declutter my wardrobe on a regular basis … likewise, we are advised to rework our network which involves analysing and auditing who we are leveraging. We need to move from’ how many you know in your network to focusing on ‘who are the right people to know’. 

We need to invest time, energy and commitment into strategically building a small but smart network. I read ‘It’s Who You Know’ a few weeks ago, and it's still on my desk and I keep thinking of the ‘The Nexus’ model, which highlights your Core Four - you can check out Janine’s website and complete the Nexus Profile diagnostic.

Core Four:

1.      Promoter – makes noise about potential possibility and inspires you to dream big

2.      Pit-Crew – keeps you on track, nurtures you and prevents untoward emotions from getting the better of you

3.      Teacher – helps you develop knowledge, wisdom and foresight

4.      Butt-Kicker – accelerates your journey, pushes you to do more and holds you accountable for your actions

These women are my Core Four. We call ourselves the Champagne Consultants. We meet every quarter and help each other out - tap our butts (ever so lightly), share great wisdom and fabulous ideas. Joanne Marriott, Lynne Cazaly, Karen Thomas, Louise Thomson & Karen Smythe.

These women are my Core Four. We call ourselves the Champagne Consultants. We meet every quarter and help each other out - tap our butts (ever so lightly), share great wisdom and fabulous ideas. Joanne Marriott, Lynne Cazaly, Karen Thomas, Louise Thomson & Karen Smythe.

These women are my Core Four. We call ourselves the Champagne Consultants. We meet every quarter and help each other out - tap our butts (ever so lightly), share great wisdom and fabulous ideas.

Like many good self-development books, there are several worksheets which you can access from the author's website (a good marketing strategy to get you connected with the author and services.) 

I had a great ‘Ah ha’ moment after completing one of these worksheets – sadly, I have a significant gender imbalance in my network. I need more men! What about you? If you had to write down the first 15 people in your network (think beyond your business network) – is there diversity? And we know when there isn’t diversity, we think silo: men think of men in their network and women aren’t thought of first.

‘Choose, Cultivate and Connect’ is Janine’s mantra – a smart approach to encourage you to be proactive in your choice of who’s in your network – it’s not a numbers game, it’s a game of quality which involves nurturing and investing in allowing these people to support you.

You’ve got to make your network work for you. And I think the first person you need to identify is your Butt-kicker. Whom in your current network performs these following tasks?

Butt-kicker Checklist:

o   Asks you about your goals and plans and how you are going to get there

o   Checks in on your progress regularly

o   Expects clear deliverables

o   Gives you honest feedback: the good, the bad and the ugly

o   Keeps you focused and decisive

o   Holds your accountable

o   Helps you navigate challenges and find new solutions

o   Helps you do more with less

o   Says, “you can do it, just get on with it”


I'm proud of my networking skills and the number of people whom I network with and yet, I can honestly say, I really learnt 'heaps' from 'It's Who You Know'. I don't have a Butt-kicker ... and I'm now deciding who I need to ask to do this for me.

I highly recommend reading it to work on your network. You can purchase a copy down below and I look forward to hearing your feedback on what you think about networking and this concept.


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How can a company put its people before profit? 

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A must read for anyone who questions the importance of people and leadership in their business.

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Speakership is Matt Church's book which is a practical 'how to' - it builds your competence and confidence to speak publicly - the strength which most people say they wish they had or would rather die than have! If you're a leader, then you need to read this book.

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Lucy Adams ‘doesn’t mince her words’ as my Scottish mother would say!

As a fellow Glaswegian, I was drawn to Lucy’s compelling case and urgency to waste no time getting HR folk to refresh and reinvent their business of ‘people’. Acknowledging the VUCA status of our world, her advice is generous, her reasoning credible and if you’re not on her wavelength then you’re in dire straits.

No matter where you are on the ‘HR Change Continuum’ I know you’ll glean plenty of useful ideas for your organisation. And no doubt, some of you should share your super HR practices with Lucy. However, I was appalled listening to a now ex-employee of one of Australia’s most iconic sporting institutions who recounted their ‘manager’s inability to lead’ and HR’s lack of support; sadly it was too late when the CEO listened and acknowledged his plight. This recent encounter heightened my drive to change Australian workplaces and getting the HR space involved in leadership.

HR Disrupted asks you to turn your HR upside down and:

·        Help leaders be more human in their communications

·        Become the people experts, not the policy police

·        Encourage staff to challenge the status quo

·        Be a provider of opportunities to innovate and be creative

·        Get fresh people to lead departments to see possibilities

·        Treat Employees as Adults, Consumers and importantly, as Human beings (a new HR model = EACH)

·        Listen to the five generations in your workforce, they all have different needs, and

·        Ask, How was work for you this week? Or, What policies frustrated you most? (And do something immediately about it.)

It would appear that Australia isn’t alone in creating policies based on the lowest common denominator (i.e. one person stuffing up) opposed to removing the ‘HR Policy Handbook’ and creating the People Book – building great people and leadership. 

Three components of the book were standouts:


I cracked open the champers when I read “remove appraisals” – thankfully someone agrees with me on this one. I have honestly never met anyone who enjoys the performance appraisal system. Have you? We waste so much of our time, people’s time and money to roll out, stuff it up and roll it back up. We would be best investing in helping our people and leaders give and receive awesome feedback.


Chapter Thirteen delved into my world of Leadership Development; challenging the approach to developing leadership by sending people off on a one day workshop or a six-week program. Whilst I didn’t agree with all of Lucy’s thinking, I wholeheartedly agree that we need to listen to the employee as a consumer of our products - not HR or the business alone. We do know that people struggle to implement their learning – it’s too easy to fall back to what is known opposed to showing courage and experimenting and failing in our attempt to change.


Motivation was examined at length; identifying that the key role of HR is to help leaders learn and understand, what drives people. Given that we know most people want to be respected, appreciated and work with a company doing something special, we can focus less on the need to onboard and off-load as people will be motivated to stay. When HR become the people experts they will be doing things terribly different.

The crux of Lucy’s message is this: HR need to work with leaders to become amazing human beings, helping them communicate in a human way: saying sorry if they get it wrong, use storytelling to engage, and praise staff in a natural and spontaneous way.  When this is done, HR have done a super job. In actual fact, HR might do them out of a job!

As more Millennials take on leadership roles and ‘command and control’ baby boomers leave their roles of authority we will have a greater opportunity to disrupt HR. However, that might take a while, so we need the current HR gang to take the lead and exemplify the mindset of VUCA world ready leaders. They’ll do this by building trust, lessening threats, encourage collaboration, connecting people across organisations and have a generosity of spirit.

I believe you get the gist that I’m quite fond of this book – so much so, I’d say it’s been the best read in my reading challenge.

Your actions include: read the book, share the book with people in your organisation and start doing HR differently. And, whilst I prefer to spruik my own workshops, I notice that Lucy will be in Australia in May – check out www.disruptivehr.co.uk

I’d love to discuss Lucy’s ideas and of course my practice – so let’s connect.

I’m endeavouring to read 52 Business/Professional/Personal Development books in 52 weeks. Yep, that’s one a week. As I read each book, I’ll share my thoughts, learning and recommendations. If there is a book that you’ve been meaning to read, let me know and I’ll read it for us!