A conversation Launa Inman had on a flight from Perth to Sydney changed her life.
Launa confided in the colleague she was sitting next to that she was interested in a managing director role that had just become available – but she was disappointed no one had approached her.
The colleague had some simple but sage advice. She burst out laughing and said, “You are so naïve. Don’t wait to be tapped on the shoulder; if you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
As a result, Launa put herself in front of the decision maker the very next day and told him she wanted the job. He handed it to her there and then, saying, “I wondered when you were going to ask – the job is yours!”
And just like that she was managing director of Officeworks, and a new chapter of her impressive career began.
Launa shared this story last week at our annual conference Movers and Breakers, where we hosted 120 women from the community for a very special few days.
I was lucky enough to facilitate a conversation with Launa as part of the line-up – a woman whose career I’ve long admired. Today, she’s a non-executive director of the Commonwealth Bank, and has had a rich and diverse career at the top of corporate Australia, having served as managing director/CEO of Officeworks, Target Australia and Billabong International.
Launa spoke frankly about the highs and lows of her career to date and it was refreshing to hear the above story: proof that advice like this isn’t just the stuff of inspirational quotes, but that taking action and putting your hand up really could open up your next opportunity.
How many of us wait for that tap on the shoulder? Expect people to read our minds? Whether it be our boss, a potential client or even our partner, how many people do we assume know what we want? Too many I believe …
Her advice echoes that of Sophia Amoruso‘s, who we can’t wait to welcome to Australia this week. She says, “If you’re frustrated because you’re not getting what you want, stop for a second: have you actually flat out asked for it?”
If you’re sitting there now, waiting for that tap, why don’t you get up and go tap someone on the shoulder instead … and then tell them what you want. Because if you keep waiting, you might be there forever.
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