Alan Colvin is an HR industry leader that has enhanced the workplace culture and capability of hundreds of organisations. His special interest in developing and facilitating workshops on leadership and soft skills lead Alan to develop iHR Australia’s newest program, Developing Leaders.
Tell us about your work background and experience.
My career began with a Bachelor of Economics from Monash University many years ago. I then worked for Hewlett Packard, beginning in finance and admin roles before I became the Head of HR. After around 14 years at HP Australia, the company went through a global merger and I moved to Telstra where I was an HR Executive for 12 years. Now, I am a CPHR (Certified Practising HR Professional) in Australia.
As a CPHR, what types of organisations have you assisted with?
Big businesses, such as HP and Telstra, as well as SME businesses, councils and not-for-profits. Basically, every type of company you could imagine, including both blue collar and white-collar industries. I’ve worked with Accountants, R&D people, sales professionals, workers in manufacturing, and just about everything in between.
How did you first get involved with iHR Australia?
I was looking for more facilitating roles and a friend recommended iHR Australia. From there, that friend introduced to Eileen Walsh (Director, Professional Services) and the rest is history.
What experience do you have in Leadership and Management?
Eighteen years of my twenty-six year career have been in leadership and management roles, from frontline to middle management, then executive and senior leadership.
In your opinion, what are the most challenging aspects of Leadership?
The complexities of managing people make leadership one of the hardest jobs in the world. Leaders take people from different backgrounds, genders, skills, ages and motivation and get them all working together. It can be a great challenge to get everyone flying in the same direction; just when you think you’ve it nailed, something changes.
As a facilitator/coach/investigator/consultant, what sort of trends are you seeing in Australian workplaces?
Organisations are focused on building culture while still trying to maximise productivity. In some ways, reacting to the VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) nature of modern businesses is making it tougher than ever to shape work environments.
What advice would you provide to Australian employers in regard to Leadership and Management?
The problem with Australian employers is that when they select people to be leaders, they select the best individual contributor and not the person with the most intelligence. They expect them to perform without any training and then wonder why they don’t make great leaders. Training is crucial for leaders to fulfil their role.
Do you have any hobbies or interests in with your spare time?
My main interests are family and sport. I played basketball for many years, but I’m a little past that now. My main activity now is swimming. I follow American basketball and AFL. I also love music, but it has to be pre 2000 as I don’t regard anything prior to that as music.
Alan delivers Public Training sessions for iHR Australia, including ‘Stepping Up – Front Line Managers’ and ‘Developing Leaders’. Take advantage on our introductory promotion for ‘Developing Leaders’ and save 20% off the standard price. Enter the code DVL20 upon registering to apply the discount.
Read about iHR Australia’s available Leadership and Management Training.