Potential - Tom Larter's Top Ten Truth Bombs to Team Leaders


Tom's Truth Bombs: 10 key thoughts on business, talent, and growing teams 

We all want a service provider we can trust to work with us to reach the best possible solution for a project. When we bring an outsider in to consult we want to see workable, practical and cost effective solutions. We want to know that the advice we are getting is tested and proven on the “Business Battleground” - and is the right fit for our business. 

WithYouWithMe Chief Customer Officer Tom Larter has been handling Sales and Customer relations since the company was born. I sat him down the other day and picked his brains on the ten most common “Truth Bombs” he finds himself delivering to customers and stakeholders. 

We call them Truth Bombs because if you haven’t heard them before they are like a lightbulb moment with TNT explosive– they tend to make quite an impression! 



“I borrowed this one from an advisor, but it really resonates” says Tom.  

You’ve spent a lot of time and resources hiring the right talented people with the right skills then and the right culture fit now. Sadly, you’re facing the impact of technology changing your jobs and demanding more of the business. You will never be able to hire net new talent as fast as skills change. You also don’t want a reputation as a company with high staff turnover rates from a ‘fire and hire’ mentality.  

Building skills every week and investing in your people will help you solve your talent shortage faster than you think. Identifying employee raw potential and matching to skills your business needs is a great strategy. 

Your people have always been talented – and it’s likely they have hidden skills and aptitudes that you have never seen in the workplace. You just need to unlock their hidden potential and bring their skills up to date.  

A WithYouWithMe Potential assessment and follow-on Bootcamp is one way you can quickly and efficiently upgrade the skills of your talented team. One hour per day over five days Instructor Led Training on any of our Pipeline subjects – Data, Cyber Security, Process Automation, Project Management, IT, and Cloud  - with new products being added all the time.  



“This one was coined by our CEO and makes so much sense that you won’t know where you went wrong”. TL 

Your Business Data is the lifeblood of your business. You need to know that it is accurate, relevant, up to date and secure. You’d rather lock all that vital information away in a safe but sadly – you have to let your employees see and use it – greatly increasing the possibility that somebody is going to really mess something up. As much as you might like to you don’t have time to stand over their shoulders and watch every step they take. If you are going to do that you might as well do their job for them. 
It’s tempting to lock your employees down to tightly with controls because its easier to teach people how to follow the rules than to change their ways of working. Rule bound teams can give the illusion of being safer but ultimately they slow the business down. 

Here’s why rules and controls don’t work.  

The impact of technology does present risks to security and privacy - we know this. Technology also presents a large upside for growth and optimisation of your workforce. Giving your employees the skills to use new tools, systems, and data more competently and accurately empowers them to move fast. Everyone wants their job to be easier and everyone hates process.  

Control heavy organisational Big Data management is a classic example. Excessive organisational controls around data slow down time to decisions, increase both time to customer response and time to insight – slowing down the whole business. Digitally skilled workforces reduce time to decisions, speed up response to customers and supercharge the ability of the team to respond to insight.  

Your employees need to be able to mix things up, compare things and inject new datasets into the table without having to go through 5 layers of process.  

The answer is to enable your employees with the skills to explore ideas effectively and enact solutions for themselves. Sure – they’re going to make mistakes – but they’ll also know how to drive business growth without having to wait for your personal involvement.  

The best way to protect the integrity of your data is to ensure that the people using it are as highly skilled as possible. 



As soon as you start researching products for a digital upgrade it’s likely you are going to be bombarded with all of the “latest and greatest” new ideas and software developments. Let’s face it - artificial intelligence, machine learning and process automation are exciting and powerful cutting edge tools. Most human beings want to be able to say that they are using the latest and the greatest. In many cases though applying these exciting new tools to your business pain point might be like bringing a cannon to a boxing match – massive overkill.  
Ask yourself first if your workforce is using your existing tools to their maximum potential. If the answer is “probably not” – then your cost effective solution is likely to be training your people to maximise the potential of the digital tools they already have. If your people are not comfortable using the everyday tools – they are unlikely to fall in love with the more complex ones.  

Try the simple solution with the tools that you have at hand before you spend capital on tools that you may not necessarily need.  



WYWM believes in a future where humans dictate how machines will work – not the other way around. Build the digital skills of your team to prepare for the future of technology and show them a positive career trajectory. 

Machines can not create, machines will never be able to make the intuitive leap of true genius. There will always be a problem that a machine can not solve where the only solution is found via the involvement of a human being.  



Straight from Tom’s mouth: 

“Many of the most in demand skills in industry right now are not that technical. You don’t need a team of PHds. You don’t need a team of highly experienced technicians. You need critical thinkers, abstract reasoners and good communicators. You can train analysts and apply those skills in Data, Cyber, Automation, AI and much more. Ground your team in fundamental skills & industry leading tools and you will progress.” 



“More and more job descriptions are showing their irrelevance for talent attraction. People want to know how exciting the work is, what the team culture is like and what skills they will need every day.” 

The pace of evolution of digital and technical skill sets is always going to be fast and iterative - and it’s only going to get faster. The only people who really know what technical skills are required for a task are the technicians themselves. Even the most motivated HR professional drafting the job description will be unlikely to have a clear understanding of which technical skills will be critical to the role and which will be optional extras.  

Even the best intentioned and most transparent Hiring Manager will be naturally reluctant to admit that the new hire they made has the wrong skill set – so the tendency is to craft the job description to mitigate risk. Fishermen know that if they cast the net wide they will get more fish – but will they get the fish they need?  



Instead of thinking about the best person with the right skills sets to achieve a task, think about which skills and dynamics will complement each other in the best way.  

Mapping the skills, aptitude and potential of your team members is the best way to gain visibility on where your team members are likely to contribute to success and growth. 

Good teams learn to work together – Superteams fit together from the start.  



Accept the fact that the new digital capability you purchased started the countdown to obsolescence on the day the design was completed. Are you focusing exclusively on your next digital upgrade when you should also be thinking about the second, third, eighth and tenth upgrade?  

You can’t replace your team every time you upgrade your tech. You can’t afford the loss in production caused by a long post upgrade scramble to upskill. Your only real choice is to make that period as short, efficient and painless as possible for your team. You don’t want to be fighting resistance and confusion every time you introduce new tech into the workflow.  

If you want a team that can move smoothly and happily through tech upgrades - skills training is the answer. If you want a team with the capacity to grow happily and smoothly into the digital future of your business- mapping potential and skills training is the answer. 



Are you training your team to do their job to meet regulatory requirements– or are you growing potential thought leaders in your business? Do you want future Masters or just a team of experienced Apprentices? If you only train your team to meet compliance regulations you are unlikely to be accessing all of their potential.  

Apprentices work with a limited toolbox and have to be closely supervised. Masters make their own tools or repurpose any tool in the workshop to achieve an innovative and creative solution. When you only train for compliance you are only training apprentices with limited skill sets. When you train for skills and capability you are growing your business Masters.  



If you can build a Superteam with a Growth Mindset the pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow is going to look like pocket change.  

Any Business owner or manager these days can tell themselves that their team has all the access they need to any learning they want via the internet – and it’s mostly true. We recommend you ask yourself few questions: 

Are my people curious enough? 

Do my people feel safe to spend “work time” learning and teaching others? 

Do we recognise and celebrate new learning in our team? 

Do my people feel they need permission to explore opportunities and take risks?  

Does your culture connect what needs to be learnt to individual and business growth?  

Does your training speak to long term business and personal career goals?    

If you’ve answered “No” to any of these questions then we can help you build a Growth and Learning Mindset in your Team. Register and book a call at www.withyouwithme.com to unlock the Potential in your people.

Potential - Taking Data Driven HCM to the Next Level

You’ve already got a Human Capital Management (HCM) System that you are comfortable with. It tracks everything you need to know about your employees. You can see what training they’ve done, what promotions (or demotions) they’ve had, where they’ve worked and how much you pay them. 

You can see what your people have done and where they’ve been but can you see who they are? 

Why do you need to know?  

We don’t know of any other HCM system that knows your people as well as Potential does.  

So what?  

A lot of people are talking right now about a Digital Revolution that is “on its way”. If you’re telling yourself that this “pending Digital Revolution” hasn’t arrived yet then it has already left you and your team behind.  

How are your people responding to the pace of change? Do they struggle to learn new technology on the job? Do your people fear change in the workplace? How much control are you really giving them over their own workload? How much ownership do your employees really have in their areas of responsibility? How comfortable are they really to experiment and risk manage new situations? Are they really engaged with their work or are they just warming a seat while they look for a vocation they like better?  

You’re thinking a piece of software can’t solve those problems for you – and you’re right. 

Potential won’t make your decisions for you. Potential won’t talk to your people for you. Potential won’t train your people for you. Potential won’t wave a wand and magically give your teams a growth mindset. Potential won’t lead your people for you.  

What Potential will do is show you insight on why the Creative in your team hates work that is repetitive and boring – and why the Doer probably excels at it. What Potential will do is show you why Creatives and Doers usually need a Translator to work together happily. What Potential will do is show you why Doers are the best people to drive change against resistance.  

Most of all – Potential will show you who these people are in your team. Data driven Human Capital Management at the most fundamental level. 





Stories of WYWM - Transition Services by Andy Ronalds


  Year 17, decide to quit at 20.  Year 20, intend to quit.  Year 25.5 actually quit.  Where did I go wrong?  Did I not follow the transition steps right?  Was I just not a good enough human being to be employed anywhere other than the Army?  Why, if everybody is telling me I have so much to offer, is nobody giving me a job? 

So spoiler alert, I did get a job.  And not just a job but a career I’m excited about that I hope will carry me all the way to the finish line.  Other spoiler alert, it had absolutely nothing (almost) to do with any advice I got along the way from any of the transition services who “helped” me out.  As sincere as the intentions of most of the contracted service provider individuals were, their help amounted to years of struggles, depression, bitterness and 2 tiny positives.  I heard about LinkedIn for the first time through one of them. And one line stuck with me about interviews: “Be yourself.  If they hire you based on somebody you’re pretending to be, do you really want to pretend to be something you’re not for 20 years?”. 

What did I expect / want / hope for?  I was naïve.  I thought the CF transition group had this magical pile of jobs that were held exclusively for vets.  And that they paid well.  And that they recognized our informal training and “soft skills”. And that is was streamlined and easy. 

What services did I experience?  A couple SCAN seminars, because they say you should attend them frequently as benefits and options change.  A n initial release interview where I was handed a folder 2 inches thick with a bunch of stuff highlighted that was explained to me in a half hour info session.  Surprise, surprise, 90% of that info left my brain before I walked out of the office. And a CTW where: 

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve witnessed first hand a lot of successes in transitions.  But the vast majority fall into 2 categories: 

  1. The services were tied to a medical release.  It is my observation that that opens a lot of other doors such as actual priority hire, paid re-training that is coupled with a cost of living allowance that can let you go to school and not work, financial supports and better access to assistance.  I’m not saying these providers are very good either, I’m just saying that there are more to be accessed. 
  1. The vet did 99% of it on their own without the help of a service provider.  Whether they landed a job through “a friend of a friend”, or they went back to school on their own time and dime (or used the ILP when it still existed) to get an actual trade/skill, or they rolled the dice and went after a business of their own, I have never heard anyone say, “Thank God for that resume I built in the resume writing course.  If it wasn’t for that piece of paper I wouldn’t be where I am today”. 

A couple big complaints I’ve heard on more than one occasion are; “It’s officer-centric”, “It’s Ontario-centric”, and “they only offer jobs in the trades, not much good to officers”.  Yes, I know 2 of those contradict each other.  But I’ve heard all of them several times now.  My new career is in data analysis and although just because something occurs a lot of times, doesn’t mean it’s the hard truth; it also doesn’t mean it can be ignored.  I believe the experiences are contextual, they will be applied to the case of the individual and the reason for the fail will consequently be contextual as well. 

In fact, about 3 months after my release, I got wind of some science behind the ineffectiveness of the transition services.  They’re a government contract. The more people they have complaining about lack of supports provided to veterans, the more money gets thrown at contracts and grants by government to fix the problem.  So it actually benefits the service provider to provide a shitty service that veterans and their advocates bitch loudly about to government to spend more money…. See where I’m going with this?  For anybody with a disability claim pending… Sound familiar? 

I know some people will counter this.  The Prince’s entrepreneur program has benefitted quite a few of us.  The education monies available to us aren’t available to the average Joe.  Preferred hiring exists for vets, ranking somewhere between disabled vets, visible minority, bilingual and average dude.  And I left each of the services I attended with a better feeling of self-confidence than I had when I went in.  That last one probably actually had the worst effect on me though, the bigger they are the harder they fall if you know what I mean.  You can only think of yourself as awesome for so long when rejection is the name of the game every single day.  My job hunt eventually turned into that sign you see on the office wall or the door to the troop bay, you know the one.  It has a handprint on either side and a bullseye in the center and says “place palms on handprints, apply forehead to bullseye forcefully and repeatedly until desired outcome is achieved”. 

So what’s the answer?  I don’t have the answer.  If I did I’d sell it to the government for an over-inflated asking price and some clause that would let me live out my life on a sandy beach collecting residuals.  All I know is that for me, it didn’t work.  And I think it has to change so that we can start tackling the real issue.  Vets offing themselves at a ridiculous rate because they struggle in the life after the life. 

Stories of WYWM - Burning the Resume by Andy Ronalds

Where did I start?  1995.  I dropped out of university, walked across the road to the recruiting center and my career as a Combat Engineer began.  Where did that chapter end?  It’s a long story and I’ll keep the reasons to myself but I decided in year 17 that at year 20, that would be it.  I did a little research, saw that there were several transition support resources available to vets and about 6 months prior to my 20 years I started along the transition path. 

So why did I do 25 ½ years?  Because I drank the kool-aid and believed that if I followed the simple steps that were shown to me for how to get a job, that a door would open and I’d walk through into my second career.   I did what they said. I: 

  1. built a resume.  I got a great looking resume put together. I got that torn apart and translated into non-Army speak.  I put it out there, everywhere. 
  1. got an online profile.  I cleaned up my Facebook, I got active on LinkedIn, I spent hours every day on Indeed/Workopolis/etc… sorting through potential job matches, and I linked them all together. 
  1. networked.  Initially online and then more and more in my community through sports.  I had those awkward conversations that were essentially me asking for a job without asking for a job. 
  1. got advice.  I asked my co-workers (big mistake, they’d never gone through transition) and a bunch of ex-military friends who had successfully transitioned. 

I did all these things on and off with varying levels of effort for 5 years.  I landed some interviews.  I got spammed by headhunters.  I got constant notifications from online job boards for jobs I was “perfectly suited for”. I got awesome references and tips from friends who were looking out for me. I had great people spend a lot of time helping me out. And at the end of the day, I didn’t  get a job. For almost 6 years of looking. 

Do you have any idea how many hours I spent customizing my resume to tailor it to the specifics of each job I applied for?  I can honestly say about an average of 15-20 hours a week when I wasn’t deployed somewhere like the BC forest fires, various exercises or Iraq.  That’s half of a full-time job, unpaid, just looking for hopefully a full-time job. In hindsight, that’s pretty fucking dumb.  Especially since I was doing pretty much the same thing for pretty much the same result for 6 years. 

So when did it change?  LinkedIn was the starting point.  But not how I thought it would be.  I had a friend share a post from WithYouWithMe for a job-fair webinar type thing that just happened to be taking place while I was bored, at home, waiting for my posting date to come up.  It was the CEO and a couple of others (who all seemed to be named  Tom) talking about veteran under-employment and training for the tech industry. I was curious but not really buying into it too much until he said “burn the resume” and my ears perked up.  I was so done with the resume and this guy was offering a different path and he wasn’t asking for money.  I had time on my hands, motivation to try something new and a hands on crew was helping me choose a tech field pathway.  It was the perfect storm. 

I picked away at the data pathway that the Potential testing had steered me towards and it turns out it was kind of interesting.  I met some great inspirational instructors online, I was getting pretty regular phone calls (not automated emails) asking about my interest in certain positions and once my release timeline, position location, and salary requirements were met I pulled the trigger.  My release paperwork went in, my home office got a makeover, and within a couple of weeks I was working for a new employer, in a new field I hadn’t even considered, and enjoying family time and  a work culture that I hadn’t been able to enjoy in a very long time. 

As far as the resume goes, while I was getting recruited I told them I had one.  They said “Don’t care, we don’t look at them.  Just tell me a little bit about who you are”.  I told them I had spent a few hundred bucks getting one written for me and a few hundred hours rewriting it.  They said “How’s that going for you?  Bet you wish you had spent that money and time on something else right?”.  They cared about my interest in the industry, about my scoring on the Potential platform but most importantly to me, they cared about how I fit into a fast-growing company’s culture. 

So that’s it. Did a test, did some courses online, chatted with some people and here I am.  Gainfully employed, well paid, working from home, contributing to a squad’s workload and I have a long-term plan to pay it forward and keep growing as WithYouWithMe grows.  I ceremoniously printed off a copy of my most up to date resume and put it on the BBQ.  It was a little underwhelming visually but it felt damn good! 

Stories of WYWM - You Chase the Carrot only to find it a Turnip Painted Orange by Peter McInerny

Tell your WYWM story 

#becurious #befierce 

“You chase the carrot only to find it a turnip painted orange!” 

How to describe my journey trying to find a role? There was a time where the tech industry was growing and if you made some effort to learn and showed you could work hard, companies were happy to give you a chance. Sadly, these times have changed. A list of expensive courses is expected, having the right experiences, worded carefully to get past the recruitment bots and being happy with entry level jobs now requiring 3 years' experience (on top of a degree) has become the norm. Add to that if your slightly not aligned with the heavily researched “model employee” or have skills the “churn and burn” recruitment monoliths AI models cannot compute and you're not willing to sell your soul then you have no chance of landing not just a job, but a job that benefits you and the employer. 

If you read the steady flow of Linked In stories you can see that these experiences are becoming normal and the impact this has on good people with good skills is rubbish. When I say good skills, I don’t mean skills that have been rightly handed over to be handled by computers, automation and technological advances. I am taking about skills that require an attitude and aptitude that help people succeed in roles like leadership, people skills and innovation. Modern, up to date skills that still very much have a place in our society and can be built on.  

This is the issue with automating the very people-based industry of recruitment. Crow baring an infinite number of personalities into a text-based screen scrapper that counts the number of keys words someone download off the internet is not smart recruiting, its minimal via product. It may seem they are getting the best candidates to interview but they are not. They are getting a lookup table response max_wordCount_num_hit == interview. 

Thankfully, despite the endless disappointment, hundreds of applications, 30+ individually crafted cover letters and lots of smiling nods, I did not give up and when I saw an ad for WithYouWithMe I still had the curiosity and resilience (hint: good employee traits!) to give it a go. From the first interaction, it felt like all the good things about being in the military with none of the bad. They understood where I was coming from, showed me where to do meaningful training courses and we started looking at roles. Did I get the first job I applied for? No. Did I turn my back only to find they had disappeared because I was not a “quick win”? Nope, we kept talking about it and planned a training path. With the new Potential website this went to another level. I was now able to go through the tests that identified my potential. Then, when a role came up that I was suited to, they called me, were there as I interviewed and made it through. So, were they right, did I have the potential? Yep – I now have three industry certifications with another on the way, working for a major worldwide company to cement these skills and part of a company culture where if I need to, I can (and have) literally contact anyone – including the CEO - that’s how transparent these guys are.  

So now, I am back on track, getting educated, working in a job I enjoy, allowed to be creative, listened to when I am being creative and moving forward again. That’s all I wanted. 

Stories of WYWM - Selling Ideas and the Terrible Toos by Audrey McLean

“And that’s my idea. What do you think?”

I was in a Teams meeting with WYWM’s CTO and head of System Two. I was showing her a prototype I’d built a week ago, based on an idea I’d had two weeks ago.

The truth is, I’ve always had plenty of ideas. What if we used animation to communicate scenarios to workshop participants? What if we took these paper forms, made them digital and allowed people to complete them on their phones? What if I used rare earth magnets to mount my medals so I’d stop pushing holes in expensive outfits on ANZAC Day? Generally, however, when I had these ideas, I’d be hit with a barrage of what I like to call ‘the toos.’ It’s too hard, too much, too big, too soon, too impractical, or worst of all: too outside your lane.

This is not to say that some of my ideas didn’t warrant the toos. Magnet mounted medals may sound like a great idea, but ANZAC Day isn’t the only time people wear medals and having them detach from their owner mid-parade is likely to cause some raised eyebrows. At a minimum. Alright, I’ll give you that this one probably was too impractical, and that’s okay. Feedback is a critical part of refining ideas, and every too I ever got taught me something about selling ideas.

It’s too big, or too soon. Clearly, I haven’t done enough to show you the need that supports this idea. A solution without a problem is just noise. Also, just because this situation frustrates one person, doesn’t mean that it frustrates everyone. If you have a big idea, then you have to show that the problem it solves is just as big; and for a significant amount of people.

It’s too hard, or too much. Clearly, I haven’t done enough to convince you that I’ve thought this idea through, and I’m willing to do the work. It’s not enough to simply have a vague idea, you have to have a plan, and be willing to not only see it through but often push it through. An idea without a plan is just a daydream, and an idea without a commitment is just an increased workload for those around you.

Then there were the too outside your lane remarks. Okay, maybe it was outside my lane.  But if I had the passion to articulate it, the evidence to support it, and the drive to learn whatever I needed to build it, why wouldn’t you open the gate and let me run with it? This particular type of too taught me I was taking my idea to the wrong people. Not everyone has an appetite for the risk that is so often associated with innovation. Not everyone has the energy to invest in more than they currently have in front of them, and that’s okay too. But if you really believe in your idea, you need to put it in front of the right people. The people who have the appetite and the energy.

This brings us back to my Teams meeting with the CTO. I’d already had a lot of positivity from my colleagues and managers in previous meetings, but what did she think? Well, let's just say that I'm now working with Product Growth to get the idea built.

Take ownership.

Dare to be different.

Move fast.

Potential - What are the WithYouWithMe Archetypes?

Putting together a Super Team is all about finding the right balance of personalities, skill sets and natural abilities to achieve team goals.  

Everybody wants to be happy in their work. Everyone wants to contribute to team success in the best way they can. WYWM Potential takes a lot of the guess work out of finding the right mix of creativity, agility and productivity for Superteams. 

There's a lot of science behind it but basically we’ve loosely identified three basic personality types. You more or less mix and match on team composition according to task requirements and team/business maturity.  


Creative people typically have high levels of openness to experience, imagination and artistic interest. They also often have comparatively lower levels of conscientious and self-discipline. The Creative within a team will typically develop high-level ideas and spend time theorising the many solutions to a problem and the consequences as well as the second (and third) order effects. They think outside the box, typically have less resistance to change and don’t necessarily need structure or process to operate effectively. A higher percentage of creatives in Start-up, Growth and Resurgent teams is beneficial because they will typically challenge the status quo, theorise a better way of doing things and thrive in a dynamic environment.  


The Doer is the workhorse of the team who thrives in a process-driven and structured environment. They want to be able to execute and deliver on tasks, projects and other responsibilities but can get focused on doing and achieving rather than questioning why a task or process is being undertaken. Doers are typically high in conscientiousness, self-efficacy and achievement striving. They are also typically lower than average in neuroticism and openness to experience. A high ratio of Doers is desirable in mature teams because structure and process are typically in place, and the focus is typically on business as usual rather than disruptive changes.  


Translators are an essential component of the team as they’re able to discuss and understand the ideas of the creative and translate them into executable action for the Doer. Translators are typically high in agreeableness, altruism and cooperation, but also tend to not have extremes in any of the psychometric assessment metrics. The percentage of Translators required within a team is typically stable irrespective of its maturity stage as their key role is to understand the premise and intent of an idea, process or function, and identify executable actions. Translators also typically have a contrasting disposition to the Creative which enables them to articulate an idea in a different way that is often more understandable to the individual(s) who will be executing. Due to their nature, translators are often able to fill the role of a doer or creative in lieu of these types within a team. 

Every team needs all three archetypes in a different balance to achieve and maintain creativity, productivity and agility. The mix of archetypes in a team needs to grow and change with the business to remain relevant and productive. Start up businesses need a more Creatives than mature businesses. Mature businesses stuck in rut need more Doer’s to really drive a change in culture. Translators are desirable in any team at any stage of business maturity.   

Potential gives you the visibility to get the right mix of personalities in your Superteam.   Give us a call if you want to know more.

Potential - Taking the guesswork out of upskilling your workforce into the Digital Revolution.

When the pace of digital technological development outstrips the development of personal and team skill sets then you have a Digital Skills gap. Should you choose to look you can find some pretty unnerving projections about job fluidity in the future of work. Depending on which statistics you choose to believe roughly 40-50% of current job descriptions will cease to exist within the next ten years (if not the next five). Take the logic to the next step and it is almost impossible to predict which current industry qualifications and certifications will remain relevant in the future of work.  
That’s a pretty unsettling view of a future career path – both as an employee and as a manager. How do you ensure your business and your employees can thrive in that kind of environment?  

How do you prepare your employees and your business for that kind of fluidity? You can’t control the pace and direction of the changes but you can influence and risk manage the way your teams respond to it.  

Ask yourself what it might take for a person to thrive and succeed in the future business environment. When faced with uncertainty in an unfamiliar environment people rely on the skills they have to find solutions to problems. Innovation is always born from an existing skill base. The skill that solves the problem might not be the one you expected – it might even be the skill or ability that you never knew the other person had until you needed it. If the combined skill base in your team is broad and deep then you have the Potential for a Superteam. 

In business, as in life, the person who knows they have the skills they need is more likely to thrive and excel in an environment of uncertainty. When desirable skill sets change so quickly the only answer is to enable people to learn new skills when and as needed. Employees need to be able to add to an existing personal skills base quickly and effectively.  

That means your employees need to know when and how to learn to best effect. When your people know their own natural aptitudes and abilities and can leverage their preferred learning styles to best effect then you have the Potential for a Superteam. When your people know where their own efforts can be most effective in a team then you have the Potential for a Superteam. When you can see easily how to fit your people together to achieve a result then you have the Potential for a Superteam. When you can see easily how you can encourage a growth mindset in your people then you have the Potential for a Superteam. When you can match the right personalities to the right roles then you have the Potential for a Superteam.  

WithYouWithMe Potential delivers a level of visibility on the natural aptitudes, preferred learning styles and personality traits in your team that will change the way you view the Potential of your workforce. 

WithYouWithMe Potential takes the guesswork out of upskilling your workforce to lead their own Digital Revolution.

Angry Young Woman

For the women in the military Physical Training - or PT- is it's own special kind of battleground. At least that's how I remember it.

The military is one of the very few workplace cultures where your physical fitness can and does dictate your suitability for a job. The ability to keep up or excel in PT can, and often does impact an individuals credibility and social standing in the team.

Although I was raised on a farm and have ridden horses for a large part of my life I was not a particularly athletic kid. We lived too far from town and fees for team sports for three children proved to be too expensive for my family when we were kids. I am not naturally competitive and had never done any serious running or fitness training. 

Although I tried to run and prepare myself for enlistment I still only just passed my initial fitness test.

Technically military fitness tests acknowledge the physical differences and capabilities of men and women.


The law of the jungle in basic training says otherwise. Early on in the year Officer Cadets are required to nominate a sport to play. Never having played much team sport I kind of wanted to try everything. As I was small in stature I was asked if I would like to be a Coxswain for one of the men's rowing teams - didn't matter that I knew nothing about the sport. The Blue Ribbon Men's eight sacked me fairly quickly and I ended up coxswain of the Disher Cup Winning Men's Four. I fell in love with rowing and rowed Bow Side in the Women's Eight until I finished my Honours year in 1996.

I did all the ground training with the crew and learned that I liked the gym and I liked running - so my base level fitness developed fairly well. Crucially - I could perform reasonably well in group PT sessions. I could usually finish somewhere towards the front of the women and in the middle of the men.

There are studies about the culture which mention that women in military training have to learn to be surrogate men. One clear conclusion stated by the study is that the bar for social acceptance for the women was quite a bit higher than the bar for social acceptance for the men - and was clearly tied in to physical aptitude and performance. The women really actually did have to be twice as good as the men just to be accepted at all.  The boys could fail at PT and still be accepted socially. One of the girls who struggled or failed at PT would often be ostracised (to put it mildly) and labelled in less than flattering terms.

A lot of us  learned to be very sensitive about social perception and reputation as it linked to physical ability in PT - at least I did. You simply had to be able to keep with the boys and at times could be forced to defend your reputation quite aggressively. At the time I simply did not have the maturity or life experience to disengage with social criticism that I now enjoy. I rapidly developed a personal policy of "Attack before you are attacked". My reputation for being prickly and stand offish was well earned.

PT was a social battleground and I was a very angry and aggressive young woman.

In the last few years I've put a lot of work into examining and changing my learned behaviours and reactions- with a very positive impact on my life and relationships - especially at work.

A few months ago WithYouWithMe set up an employee exercise and wellbeing programme for all WYWM employees. We have group fitness and wellbeing sessions delivered online, tailored to veterans and delivered by Brett Turley at Minimalism Fitness. Brett is a veteran who has been in a few tight spots of his own. You could call him a tough guy in some ways (absolute Teddy Bear in others though).

On the day in question I attended a class that included CEO Tom Moore, one of our ex US Army Ranger veterans who destroys punching bags for relaxation and few other fairly tough people. As is usual with these sessions there was a fair bit of friendly sledging going on.

Someone said something and without even thinking I told the CEO (you know - the guy who had to teach himself to walk again) to "stop being a cupcake and get on with it". Someone else said something and with out even thinking I turned on an ex US Army Ranger and lashed out - told him to "get lost" if you know what I mean.

Wide eyed and shocked Brett said to me gently:

"Wow Mel - you can be scary."

Back to the Drawing Board - start again.

Against a Stacked Deck

Why Job Agencies do stuff all to help Veterans get jobs.

I used the money I had saved while deployed overseas to buy a house. Despite my faultless credit rating, the bank refused me a mortgage because I was single, in a fluid employment phase, and had not lived in the same place for more than twelve months at a time for more than five years. My local credit union gave me a loan but made me pay a 20% deposit because I was single and my parents had to guarantee the loan.

I was basically treated like an unstable vagrant. I should have just applied for the loan through my Army bank  - but I was so pissed off with the Army at that point I didn't even want to look at that bank account.

I was also made to purchase mandatory unemployment insurance on the mortgage. After I was terminated via text message from job number three (or was it four?) I was forced to activate that insurance and access welfare for the first time in my life. One of the conditions of the insurance was that I had to register as unemployed with Centrelink and supply proof of registration to the Credit Union.

I followed the bouncing ball through all the various steps of registration to find employment - including drafting and submitting my resume.

Good thing I didn't wait for them to find me a job. It was months before I heard from anyone.

At the time you were still required to fill out a job search/employment log book and fax it in on a fortnightly basis. Something I did religiously - I needed the money to eat. I was also very lucky to strike a sympathetic internet cafe owner (now a very good friend) who allowed me to Job Search on the Internet for free. Yes - money was really that tight. I also had no personal networks to lean on because I had only just moved to town.

Several months later I received the first phone call from a Job Search agent notifying me that I had to submit my job search history and attend Job Search training or my welfare would be cut off.

It was blatantly clear to me that the person on the other end of the phone hadn't even bothered to pull my file before they rang.

I managed to keep my temper while I explained that my first job out of the Army was Vocational training with an Occupational Rehabilitation provider. I explained that I had been working a couple of jobs on a casual and part time basis the whole time - reported religiously. Then I really gritted my teeth and said "please actually look at my Resume and then contact me when you are ready to pay me to run the Job Search training for Centrelink".

I attended the mandatory week long Job Search course. Well aware of the importance of impressions I dressed well and arrived promptly prepared to make the most of the opportunity. I will always help someone who genuinely tries, but the other people on the course were the biggest pack of loser no-hoper welfare parasites I'd ever encountered in my life. They were there because their welfare would be cut off if they didn't attend - they weren't there to get help finding jobs. An ex Army Officer, I found the fact that one person didn't even bother to put a shirt on (or even shower) truly offensive.

I have no problem with hardworking people who get dirty and smelly working hard but these people hadn't even made even the smallest effort. I didn't belong with these people.

After that I finally got notified that I could see an Agent in person and duly took myself in for my first (and only) one on one appointment - after about six months on the dole. I attended well prepared with all of my documentation and expected to spend the interview time talking about job leads and being helped to set up interviews. I dressed well and had all of my paperwork organised.

Again - the agent had not even looked at my file and hadn't bothered to find out anything at all about my case history. I had expected that he would have checked out my file, had a think about the jobs on the books, maybe lined up a few local contacts for potential interviews.

My mistake was in thinking that this guy actually had any intention of helping me get a job. The only value I got out of the interview was when he explained the pricing structure of the process and detailed to me why I would never get priority treatment from any Job Agency. The process repeated itself almost exactly 12 years later when I was made CORONA redundant.

Not a single thing had changed. Lucky for me I had learned a few things in the meantime.

Let me tell you why the deck is stacked against veterans when we step into the job Search Agency meat grinder. 

  1. Job Agencies don't get paid to find you a job. Job agencies get paid by the number of people on their books - not how many people they got into jobs this month. No financial or business incentive exists to motivate agents to get people into jobs. Just the opposite.
  2. Too many skills. Job Search candidates are classified according to their skill levels and employment history. Basically the agency gets paid more for time spent on long term, low skill welfare recipients. If they see that you have a solid work history and a decent set of skills your file goes straight to the bottom of the pile. Physical abilities and injuries might nudge the needle a bit - but not much.
  3. Military Skill sets are hard to recognise. Best you lose the expectation that the Case Officer handling your file will have any understanding of the skill sets you bring to the table. It's also a mistake to expect that the Case Officer will have time or the inclination to find out.
  4. You won't get access to the agents professional networks. Long term low skill "clients" get priority for any job opportunities that come up through the agency network. They get the leads, the introductions, the hand holding. Remember - your file is at the bottom of the pile.
  5. It's almost impossible to establish a personal relationship with your case manager. It's hard to get face to face appointments and establish personal relationships when everything is done via a website or a call centre. They actually do have quite large case loads - and remember - your file is probably at the bottom of the pile.
  6. Resumes are processed by Bots. These days a submitted Resume is likely to be filtered by a Bot before a human being ever lays eyes on it. That means that if you don't use the exact words it is looking for (you guessed it) your Resume goes to the bottom of the pile.

Your personal, professional and social networks remain as powerful as they have always been. Time and resources invested in maintaining and developing those networks will never be wasted. Waiting for an agency to find you a job is a waste of time and rarely ever gets acceptable results.