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When COVID 19 first hit, Angela Harlen, Director of Queensland based ACS Engineers, started to spiral. Like many of us, she was churning through all the possibilities of what a global pandemic might mean to her family, her team and her business.
It took one Zoom call with certified Scaling Up coach Anna Samios for Angela to realise that the best course of action was to take a few deep breaths and stay focused. Anna’s advice was exactly what Angela needed to hear at that moment.
“As soon as we finished the call, I sent Anna an email and said you’ve got no idea what that meant to me. Anna told us to stay true to who we are and ride it through. And she was right, I just needed to pull my socks up, saddle that horse and keep riding.”
Angela did just that and found that because she already had a robust Scaling Up process and systems in place, the business was well placed to run smoothly, even with remote working in place. “COVID has had no impact on us so far. We already had all our systems and processes in place; it’s merely been a blip on the radar.”
Angela and her team were self-implementers of the Scaling Up framework before they joined Anna’s Masterclass. But for Angela, the two-day intensive enabled her to take Scaling Up to a new level. Anna provided her with expert validation that she was already implementing correctly and she has worked through new tools that Angela has since integrated into the business.
“When you read Scaling Up 2.0, you’re implementing from your interpretation. Anna was great with making sure we had interpreted everything right. She really turned the book into reality. It was just the best two days.” Angela loved the interactive nature of the Masterclass and the fact that although there were many different industries together in the room.
“Anna’s energy and positivity are infectious and she values what everyone has to say. Angela walked away after two days feeling inspired and prepared to take her business to the next level.”
ACS Engineers is a female-led company, something unique in what is traditionally male-dominated industry. For Angela, this point of difference informs the values and daily operations of the business.
Angela states, “If you want to improve your business, you’ve got to be improving yourself… You have to be prepared to change, and take on board what Anna delivers, because it does make a difference in your business.”
“We walk the talk,” says Angela, “We don’t have policies that say one thing and then we do another. We live and breathe it. Our families come first and we set ourselves as role models and benchmarks of how we want our employees to live.
We all know that the key to work-life balance is flexibility, especially when you’re a working parent”.
Angela says ACS Engineers achieved this balance by setting a rhythm. “If you keep the rhythm then you keep systems moving then you can have that family life.” And it was keeping the rhythm throughout lockdown, like the consistency of the daily huddle, that helped Angela to keep calm and carry on during the crisis’.
For Angela, one of the most rewarding aspects of working with Anna has been the ongoing relationship they have formed.
She really values that connection, from the fun stuff, like sharing the fact that they are both Roosters fans, through to the important matters.
Angela knows that she can always reach out and that Anna will always have her back – just like she did at the beginning of COVID.
“Anna makes a point of finding out how you’re going on a personal level. She asks what you’re doing as the leader to make sure that you are okay within yourself. I think that is very unique.”
“I think you have to be prepared to open yourself up. Like many of the leaders, she valued the time to work on her business rather than in the business.
It’s a challenge that Anna, as a long-term business owner herself, truly understands. And that’s why she builds in accountability tools to help her clients focus and stay productive.
“Anna really lives for what she delivers… She’s a very positive person and she has that hands on experience.
She brings everyone together in the room but also gives you time individually… you leave full of confidence and you feel like she has your back.”
"Anna' is a champion. You don't often come across people with her enthusiasm and genuine interest in helping people. This is more than a job to her... it's her passion. Peter Salveson, CEO Hansen Yuncken.
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