Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What does Sister Angela Mary AO teach us about business?

Sister Angela Mary AO was the CEO of the Mater Hospital Group for 22 years. She never earned a salary. Why not? She is a nun!
Sister Angela Mary is now 87 years old and is a true level 5 leader. What can we learn from her? How does a nun get recognized as a top business leader?
Her messages are:

1. Use your full potential and be an influence for good. All the education you have will count for nothing unless you can give of yourself and unless you put yourself in another persons situation.

2. Life is dynamic - but we can't react automatically. Listen carefully so you know how to respond. Do not repeat the past. Believe in the business but it is not unchangeable. Prepare for change. Prepare to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

3. Learn from other disciplines. Be flexible and look broadly.

4. "While CEO of the Mater , I never considered if I was male or female. There was a job to be done." Do not get over stressed about being the only woman in the C Suite. The community out there expects ethical and practical outcomes.

5. Who we become depends on the choices we make!

Sister Angela came to Australia from Ireland in 1947 as a teacher. She gave life to God. In 1948 dispatched to the Mater to be trained as a nurse. Initially she did not want to go there. She never knew that this is where she would end up. She never thought she was prepared to be the CEO.

"What we decide to do determines what comes next."

6. Religious organisations were conducted as family businesses and positions not advertised widely. Sister decided to advertise all jobs and the Sisters who worked hard for the Mater felt as though they had been sold out. This was a high price was paid for this decision.

When you face problems and where there is no clear solution, be guided by your conscience. Remember Thomas Moore - don't forsake your private conscience for the sake of your public duties!

7. For all the women in leadership roles, remember what Marc Anthony said of Shakespeare's Julius Cesar:

"His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed in him that the nature might stand up and say to all the world, 'This was a man.'"

Let someone say of all of us, 'this was a woman!'

Sister Angela Mary had the courage to swim against the tide and that is also part of personal branding and strong leadership.

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