Authentic Achievements with Special Guest Friska Wirya

Authentic Achievements with Special Guest Friska Wirya

From Bestselling author, currently writing the forthcoming book Authentic Achievements – The 7 Secrets to Building Brave Belief, Unstoppable Sales, and Turning Your Leaders Into Talent Magnets for Guaranteed Sustainable Growth, this show shares advice, stories and inspiration to help you achieve exponential growth personally and for your business.

Featuring interviews with industry leaders and a separate series on #confidencehacker to help you build authentic confidence.  

In this episode, I am delighted to be joined by my good friend Friska Wirya. Friska transforms organisations to enable them to better respond to the changing environment, having worked for some of the biggest names in mining, engineering and technology. A change and transformation expert for a decade, she’s led change programs influencing up to 23,000 people across 6 of the seven continents – digital transformations, operating model redesigns, M&As and global restructures.

Her expertise has been sought after at Microsoft Indonesia, Salesforce, Expert360, NCR, Women in Construction & Engineering, Women in Leadership Asia, Future of Mining Sydney, Female Influencers in Tech, Swiss Cognitive, Women in Tech, Women in Leadership Melbourne, Contino’s The Leadership Panel, Wonder Women Tech, Women in Mining & Energy Indonesia and Minerals Week Canberra.

Friska contributes her thought leadership to The Future Shapers, Thrive Global and Delivering Happiness and was featured in the Sydney Morning Herald.

To find out more about Friska visit https://www.freshbyfriska.com

If you want to find out more check us out at https://www.authenticachievements.co.uk

If you enjoyed it, please check out our YouTube or our recent blog or subscribe to our Mastermindset Newsletter

Full Transcript : Authentic Achievements with Special Guest Friska Wirya

Authentic Achievements – Friska Wirya

Kim-Adele

00:00:09

Hello, and welcome to this episode of authentic achievements, where today I’m delighted to be joined by my good friend Friska transforms organizations to enable them to better respond to the changing environments. She’s worked with some of the biggest names in mining engineering and technology. She’s a trait change and transformation expert with over a decade’s experience, leading change programs that influenced up to 23,000 people over six of the seven continents and specializes in that digital transformation. But I think for me, the bit that I love about at Friska, amongst many things is the fact that she absolutely understands the importance of taking the people on the journey and her transformational journeys are always about enabling that people and culture change. So Friska welcome.

Friska

00:01:01

Thanks, Kim. It’s so great to be here.

Kim Adele

00:01:04

Oh, it’s so far to have you along. It’s always such a delight to chat to you. I always get, find so much insight in actually, how do we, how do we really help people make change? Because change is pretty much the only thing that’s a constant, isn’t it it’s like yep. Only thing that’s pretty much guaranteed. And yet it’s the thing that we are often the most fearful of. So can you tell us a bit about your journey so far, please?

Friska

00:01:28

Yeah. So let’s see. I’ve, I’ve been doing this for about a decade and you know what I’ve found that over the years, I’ve noticed that really when it comes to like inciting change, especially in an organization, the three CS have to be present. And that is the communication. It needs to be ongoing, regular, honest, and transparent at all levels. The second C is the culture. So, you know, if the culture is not favorable to risk taking and innovation, that you’re not gonna get that change, like change doesn’t happen by accident. It doesn’t happen overnight. It happens by good design and planning. And lastly is the capability. Like if we don’t help our people get ready for change, we can’t expect them to change. So it’s like when we first learned to drive a car, right, we didn’t get in the car and start driving straight away. We had the theory. We maybe we put in 100, 200 hours of practice and we kept on going until it feels natural. Now we don’t even think about putting the key in the ignition, you know, putting the car into gear the same with change. We leaders often get frustrated that it doesn’t happen immediately, but it doesn’t work like that. You need to give your employees the mind space to first of all, learn the knowledge that they need to change and then translate that knowledge to ability.

Kim Adele

00:02:51

I love that. It’s so true. Isn’t it? Cause you know, when, when you are leading some of those changes, it tends to be the bit that gets missed. You know, they think about how that digital transformation’s gonna make the processes easier. The system going to perhaps improve the experience for the customer. But we don’t always plan in for the fact that actually changes uncomfortable. It, you we’ve got to, I was doing it this way for so long until your point on the drive in the car. I do it unconsciously that way now because I’ve been doing it so long and now you’re gonna make me think about it. Well, that’s always a bit harder and a bit more tiring when you’ve got to think before you do. Cause you’re very conscious about it. So it must be, you know, and you see so many don’t you transformation programs that don’t transform that don’t actually ever impact.

Friska

00:03:40

Yeah. The failure rate is startlingly high. It’s about 86%. And for digital transformation it’s even higher. Their success rates are only in the single digits, anywhere from three to 8%, depending on the type of research that you need. And I think a lot of it is driven by the fact that most leadership and executives put all their eggs in one basket. And that is they’re focusing on the tool. Yeah. But the tool is only as powerful as the people who are ultimately gonna use it. So there’s, it’s like, it’s a one sided investment. It’s not gonna work, you know? Yeah.

Kim Adele

00:04:13

It’s true. Isn’t it? Cuz you know, we, we, we might have avoid in it. I’m I’m gonna own up. Yeah. We go and buy that amazing gadget for, for the kitchen. That’s gonna save so much time, but then we find ourselves using the knife. We’ve always used cause we, and it just gather in the cupboard. Yeah. It’s possibly a bad analogy, but it’s true in life. Isn’t it is, is that we do these things to go, oh my God, that’s gonna be amazing. But you’re like, oh, it’s just too much effort to take out and plug in and, and fit together. Just do this. It’s much, much faster. And that’s what happens often when we do these big change transformations. So tell us a bit about your journey and what got you into doing change.

Friska

00:04:54

I was in California at the time. So I’d won a scholarship to study at USC and a professor that I really looked up to. He’d spent his entire career consulting to fortune 500 companies flying all around the world. And I thought, that’s what I wanted. I thought, oh my God, that’s so exciting. It’s so glamorous da da, da, da, da. And I said, how do I get to where, where you are? And he said, you know, go get your MBA, cut your teeth in management consulting, you know, work hard and work your way up. That’s what I did off. I went, got my MBA, cut my teeth in management consulting. But the, the shine got tarnished pretty quickly. And I felt like it was the same problem just in a different packaging. And so I wasn’t challenged anymore. And each project kind of felt like the same.

Friska

00:05:39

Yeah. I came back to Australia after a few years abroad. And at that time change management was starting to be recognized as an actual discipline, not just fluffy comes and training and it really intrigued me and it played to my strengths. You know, the developing rapport and trust, engaging stakeholders, critical analysis. I thought, oh, this is interesting. I wanna learn more about this. And so I took a leap of faith. I took a 40% pay cut to start from nothing. Start as a change analyst. I shadowed an experienced change manager and I just worked my way up with unwavering dedication and laser-like focus. And fast forward, seven years later, I was the youngest head of change for the biggest gold mine in the Southern hemisphere. And since then I’ve done changes of all shapes and sizes, mergers and acquisitions, restructures process reengineering digital transformation is my bread and butter. And so it was about throwing myself in the deep end. You know, I’ve done some of the most challenging projects with most resistant people. You know, I’ve had, I’ve had stakeholders about 10 centimeters from my face, yelling at me full P because they were losing their car parking privileges as part of this change. So I’ve seen it all done it all. And I’ve got a pretty thick skin and that’s got, got me to where I am today.

Kim Adele

00:07:03

Love it. I’m sorry. I was only laughing at the car park piece, cuz some, some of my most challenging conversations over the years, I haven’t been about the things I expected to be challenging. They’ve been around the car parking space or once the fact that, you know, in the middle of a, a massive compliance crisis where we were potentially as a bank going to lose our license. I had spent 45 minutes talking to somebody about why the vending machine had overcharged them by a penny. I was

Friska

00:07:29

Like, oh my God, the,

Kim Adele

00:07:31

You were funny. And I know it’s really important to you and I need to give you my time, but really like right now it’s a, but

Friska

00:07:39

Oh my God. The, the amount of, yeah,

Kim-Adele

00:07:41

Just

Friska

00:07:41

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And, and this is another reason why it’s really important to get to know your stakeholders. So stakeholder analysis is a key fundamental step when you’re conducting a change impact assessment, like the number of meetings and lost productivity hours that have been caused by a seemingly small change. So I remember one, it was a cost cutting exercise for a very large mining company. They decided no more, no biscuits in the staff lunchroom, holy moly, that caused like a Flury of activity and gossiping and you know, feelings that when they’re not being valued. So yeah, it may be a small change in your eyes, but that’s small change. Someone makes it mean something else to them and that’s why you get this resistance. So yeah,

Kim Adele

00:08:28

I love that. That’s so true. Isn’t it? Cuz as human beings, we think we’re very logical beings, but we’re not. We’re very emotional and our emotional brains respond 24 times faster. So very often what happens is instead of responding to what’s happening, we respond to what we’ve made it mean factually we just stopped getting biscuit is what we’ve made it mean is that they no longer valuers. They don’t like us anymore. We’re we are suddenly having our privileges taken away. Yep.

Kim Adele

00:08:51

And that’s what we end up dealing with. And I think that’s one of the challenges in leadership and in change isn’t it is that actually you’re trying to deal with facts and everybody else is dealing with what it makes them mean. And they’re the bits that you can’t always plan for. If you’ve not done the due diligence of getting somebody like you in to help plan for the communication that needs to happen. And transparency of saying we’re doing this, but don’t make it mean that cuz it doesn’t. Yeah, it just means this and this is what we’re, this is what we’re looking at doing. So what would you say in your journey so far has been your proudest moment?

Friska

00:09:28

Let’s see. I would say one of the most challenging projects that I had, it was, it was not, it was not about the number of people, but the actual scale of change. So it was a, it was a lift and shift. So a relocation of about 600 employees, typical public sector mentality, very ingrained, as you can imagine. And it had changes of everything. So not only was it a physical relocation, new technology, new security, new branding, new CEO who was a bit of a hard task master. And what happened was their current office building was decrepit. It was really old built in the 1950s. It was going to get demolished to make way for a five star hotel. And their new premises were brand new, but inconvenient about 20 kilometers away from the C B, D, and not a lot of routes for pub for public transport.

Friska

01:10:24

And it was just really challenging because we were the fifth consultant in the door and also their leaders didn’t own their role in helping their teams through this change. They kind of used the consultants as a bit of a shield. You know, if they didn’t wanna answer the tough questions, they would leave it to us. Yeah. And you know, and some peoples were losing their offices as well. So it was a shift to open plan living. So yeah. Changes of all shapes and sizes, long story short had no budget and rumors were circling such as, oh, it’s really unsafe to take public transport to the new place. The building’s not gonna be very good. There’s nothing around there. And with no budget means you have to get creative as a consultant. So what did I do? I went over there and I went to every single business in that vicinity and because it was a new development, they were so excited for this new government department to relocate there.

Friska

01:11:28

And so I donations from all of them. It was simple things like coffee vouchers, pens, calendars, vouchers for laundry, you know, things like that. Free calendars from the local council got goody bags. And then I also negotiated with the public transport authority to get discounted transport cards. And I literally felt like a tour guide and I orchestrated the whole damn thing. I took 20 of them at, at one time with me. And I had literally taught some of these people to take a train. They had never taken public transport in their life. So I was like, swipe on, get in, swipe off, you know? And when we got there, they were just surprised because there was this big event organized just for them. There was catering, there was the goody bags. I got the tech team to talk to them about the new technology. I had the security guide to talk them about the, the specifics of the building.

Friska

01:12:25

And they were like kids in a candy store. And when they came back to the old office, the positive news spread like wildfire and those who are really resistant and against it, they were no longer loud and proud. And I think it was a week later, what really meant a lot was one of them came up to me and he was nearing retirement. And he said, oh Frisco. I was so excited after our trip last week I took my granddaughter for the first time ever on the train into town and she loved it. You know? So it’s like the little things like that, that like shift, you know, decades old mentality. Yeah.

Kim Adele

01:13:01

Oh, I love that. And what, what an amazing thing to, to then have him go and recreate at that memory with his, with his grand that’s basically, I remember taking my little girl the first time on, on public transport and she was like, mesmerized. Whereas we got on, we’re like

Friska

01:13:19

Bloody

Kim Adele

01:13:23

With the wonder of a child, don’t you where they’re like, mommy look, everything like wizards passed. And you’re like, which is, which is cool. So what would you say so mean? That was, that was great. And I can imagine how proud you were to turn an organization from being so resistant to the trees, to embracing it and actually making it part of their every day. Yeah. Is amazing. But on the counter side, there must have been some, some things way ago. Oh, I wish I’d done that differently. That was a real lesson for me. What was your biggest lesson?

Friska

01:13:58

My biggest lesson would be having the difficult conversations with leaders who aren’t picking up the slack and doing their part in breathing life into this change. Like me as the change professional, I set the conditions for adoption to thrive. I, I do the stakeholder analysis. I do the resistance. I, I identify resistance hotspots, but it’s you as leaders. That’s why you make the big bucks. You actually have to put your big boy pants and big girl shoes on and actually help me manage the resistance because people look up to you, employees look up to their leaders and they get their signals by what you prioritize. So if you don’t place importance in this, then your people won’t either. So yeah, there’s a, there’s a culture change program, which went pear shaped, which yeah. Went pear shaped because it lost support and it lost support because a leaders weren’t owning it and B very unrealistic expectations. So they were expecting the culture to change in less than six months, you know, multinational 13,000 employees. It’s not gonna happen in six months. Yeah.

Kim Adele

01:15:12

Yeah. It takes time. Doesn’t it? Mm. People, people look for that. I remember many years ago going to work for an organization and it wasn’t until things went wrong, that the culture really changed. So I’d gone in and was very fortunate. We were, we were hitting our numbers. Then we got into growth and everything was going really well. And it wasn’t till we hit, I have to share this through. We hit August. So in July it was going that well, my boss was like, you might need to slow down Kim. It’s like gonna make next year really hard. So I was like, oh, I’ll take all out on a CSR. Yeah. We’ve never done that. I’ll do it in September. Then we fell off a cliff in August. It was horrendous. In fact, we amalgamated August in September and called them or September

Kim Adele

01:15:55

That we could pull it back. And that was the moment that changed. I remember talking to guys and saying, can you tell me why it changed? They went well up until this, you know, you seemed very nice. You seemed like you, you know, you were really consistent. You listened to it, you understood, but nothing had gone wrong for you. So we were like, let’s just see what happens when she’s actually got a real challenge. And then when you were hit with that challenge and when you fell off the number, but you remained consistently who you were, you didn’t change what you were saying. You didn’t change the priorities. You, you kind of just went, no, it’s, we’re doing the right thing. We’ve just gotta keep going. And we’ve gotta look for the opportunities to change that. We believe that actually, this is who you are. And this is how you lead that point. They really bought in. But you were like it’s disaster almost to, to get them to realize that that this is how you are. And I think that’s the thing with culture. Isn’t it. People wanna see how it, how it pans out under pressure, as much as how it pans out when things are going smoothly. Cause

Friska

01:16:57

That that’s right. Yeah. And, and to your point about consistency, the more consistent you are in your behavior, if you’re exhibiting the right change leadership behaviors, the faster you’re gonna get there, the faster that culture is gonna change. But if one day, you know, you say you, you value, integrity, all these values. And then a week later they see you acting contradictory to those. That’s just gonna undermine all the credibility, all the hard work that change professionals have done in the background. Cause people aren’t gonna believe it. They’re just gonna roll their eyes and say, yeah, I’ve seen this all before. Let’s see how long this lasts. And that is exactly what happened.

Kim Adele

01:17:32

Yeah. And it’s true, isn’t it? You know, I, I go into organizations like you and the amount I go into that go, oh, you’ve got a culture problem. We’ll go and speak to HR. And I’m like, I’m not being funny. Love if you’ve got a culture problem, you need to look in the mirror. You are your culture. So yeah. It’s not clear what you want it to do. You have to look here first because what are you doing or saying, or allowing others to do and say that is contradicting the culture that you want have happen. Cause that’s, it’s, you can’t just outsource it and have somebody do it for you. Don’t would you, so what would you, what would you say is the biggest challenge you are seeing in the sector right now?

Friska

01:18:17

I, I really think it’s the absorption and the meaning making of new information. So I was reading an Australian Institute of management study and our ability to get data, internalize it and understand it is 50% less than pre pandemic levels.

Kim-Adele

01:18:35

Wow.

Friska

01:18:36

That is huge. Yeah. And unfortunately, moist organizations think, oh, the answer to that is more communication. Like, no, that’s not the answer. Like we are time poor. We are bombarded with content. You know, deadlines are looming. The pressure to achieve more with less has never been higher. It’s not about more communication. It’s actually about better communication and better active listening. And this is something that doesn’t happen enough. Very often a leader sends an email, forwards a report and says, I’ve communicated, that’s it? My job’s done. It’s like, no, it’s you need to engage in a dialogue, not a one sided monologue. So that’s the biggest challenge. Getting that cut through when the airwaves have never been noisier than ever before.

Kim Adele

01:19:24

Oh, that’s so true. Isn’t it? You know, it reminds me when I was just talking to you of, of that old saying and forgive me. I can never remember who said it, but it might have been mark Twain. I wrote you a long letter cuz I didn’t have time to write you a short one. Yeah. Is that actually, how do you distill, you know, I’m just gonna throw a whole, a whole 10 page report at you. Instead of saying the bits I really need you to understand are these

Friska

01:19:46

And, and we, we weren’t taught this, right? We weren’t taught this in schools like throughout my undergrad, my MBA, it was report writing, you know, discussions, position papers, not short and chap short and sharp emails. No, that was never taught. So this is some, this is a skill that we have to unlearn and relearn for the 21st century. Mm.

Kim Adele

02:20:09

So, so true. I remember many years ago working at RBS and they were actually really good at this, in that if you had to write a paper for the board, you were allowed seven slides, just seven. Yeah. And if you wanted to do an entire strategy update, you were allowed 11 no more. So if you couldn’t get it and you weren’t allowed to do font eight, you know, had to be readable. Yeah. You’d spend hours on it. You’d have like a 50 deck pack that you

Friska

02:20:38

Were trying to

Kim Adele

02:20:38

Condense into these seven that actually told them what they absolutely needed to know. But it was a great skill in saying, actually I’ll condense this, I’ll have read the 50 pages. It’s still there. If you need to dig into 20 detail, we’ve got it. But actually I’m gonna tell you what I think it means and what I’m asking you to do as a result of it or what I’m asking for you to what recommendation I want you to accept or you know, whatever those parts are, but you’re right. We we’ve got, we’ve got bombarded. Haven’t we, I think in that, in that need to stay connected. We, we kind of started communicating more, but in reality, we’re communicating less, cuz all we’re doing is putting a lot of noise out there. So we’re not talking the understanding. We’re not checking events. It’s landed. We’re not even checking. If people have taken away from their conversation. What we put in, it’s like a giant game of digital Chinese whispers. Isn’t it? Where we like go, well, I thought it meant this wandered off. So what advice could you give to people on and how can they, how can they unlearn that? Like, you know, just bombarded people and instead start effectively communicating.

Friska

02:21:58

First of all is know who your communicating with and know who, what their preferences are. Some people are detail oriented. Some people prefer pictures. Some people prefer reports. So the better, you know, your stakeholder, the more likely you are to be able to communicate with them effectively up, become aware of basic slide hygiene. For example, one of my rules, never more than eight words in a sentence, on a slide and three bullet points and be ruthless with that. And for me, if I’m providing a lot of context and I know someone’s gonna get overwhelmed, I end the communication with the one thing that I want them to do. So it’s like if you take away anything from this communication, it’s that this has happened. And I want you to do this by this date. So being clear is being kind and yeah, really be ruthless with your word count. If you can say something in two sentences instead of six, then do it and trying to sound like a dictionary, thinking that it makes you sound intelligent. It doesn’t, you just sound like an arrogant jerk, like use simple, clear language that people can understand and cotton on because our processing power has been diminished greatly. So the easier you make it to understand, the more likely it is, your message will stick.

Kim Adele

02:23:16

I love that such great advice and it it’s true. I think, you know, even I think there was some research and I can’t remember who did the research that says that the average reading age that we like to read at, not that we can, we can read it much greater. Yeah. The average age we’d like to read at is the age of 12 to, fourteen’s easy to understand. We can absorb it. We know what it’s what it’s saying. And that’s what they’re now teaching it as, as a skill. I think Einstein used to say, if you can’t explain it to me, like I was six, you don’t know well enough. Yeah. I always have that in my head. Whenever I’m trying to think about the communication, not to think that the people I’m communicating to are six. Yeah. But that piece says actually it puts the onus on the communicator to make it understandable, to make it, to make it absorbable and to allow them then to actually do it. Because, you know, I spent a lot of time in corporate life and got told I didn’t have the vocabulary or the gravitas. So I had to go and learn a new one. And I did the people I was communicating to. My people didn’t understand me anymore. Cause I’ve got plethora of ideas. They’re like what? There’s lots of them.

Kim Adele

02:24:22

What’s that where you work, you don’t work from the office. Like couldn’t you just say that? Yeah I could. So I had to unlearn all of that cause you’re right. It just made me look pretentious Albe it was what I was driven to do because that was deemed to be what you needed to get on. And I think we’re, we’re kind of unlearning that as the world’s moving on, isn’t it and saying actually, if you wanna get on, you wanna be authentically you and you, you wanna make sure that the people that you’re talking to understand what it is that you’re trying to explain to them what it means to them and, and what next what’s that call to action? Where do they, where do they go? Isn’t it?

Friska

02:25:00

Yeah. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. And, and for me, when I’m leading change programs, I always check for understanding, but not, not in a, so do you get what I said? Not like that. Yeah, but in a fun gamified way. So I use surveys, polls, people love it. Like they love to, you know, and, and you make it funny. So it’s, it’s like a game for them and it really helps with the memory retention.

Kim Adele

02:25:24

I love that great advice. So if you could go back and give the younger Fresca some advice, what do you know now that you wish you’d known, then

Friska

02:25:36

Blood is not always thicker than water and to cherish your friends and your peers because they are the family that you wish you were born with and re and really nurture those friendships and relationships. Yeah. Don’t let them with on the vine.

Kim-Adele

02:25:53

That’s that’s so true. Isn’t it remembering to nurture the, the relationships that are around us. And we, we end up with some, you know, some, some amazing friendships as, as a result of that. And I think it’s going back, isn’t it. If you realize that you have not spoken to somebody for a while, don’t use it as a reason to not speak to them now back and say, GE, I realize I’m not charity for a while. Yeah. I’d like, I’d like to make amends because we all have those moments. Don’t they, where somebody pops into our head. And I always think that that that’s our gut telling us we’re supposed to go and say hello. Not just they stay there. Don’t they, they back up a couple of days later and you’re like, why are they, why are they in my head? Why can’t I? And sometimes they’re the best relationships to rekindle.

Friska

02:26:43

Yeah.

Kim Adele

02:26:44

I love it. So what’s next for you

Friska

02:26:48

Now that everything’s open again, face to face events back are back on. So I’ve got quite a large workshop at the end of this month for women in construction and engineering. Yeah. This will be my first one in three years. That’s face to face. And then I’ve got a talk at women at Google coming up here in Sydney. So looking to get out there more

Kim-Adele

02:27:09

Fantastic. And I know both events will be amazing. Friska. You have been a delight, you know, I could always chat to you all day. It’s always so insightful. We will definitely have to have you back on, but in the interim, how do people get in touch with you?

Friska

02:27:24

You can find me on LinkedIn. So just search for me. Friska surname. Wirya and you can find my contact deal details there. So follow me, add me, send me a message. Would love to chat further about all things change.

Kim Adele

02:27:38

Fantastic. It’s been a delight as always. I will make sure that all your contact details are in the show notes. And thank you so much for sharing your journey so far. And I look forward to chatting to you again really soon.

Friska

02:27:50

Yes. Thanks for having me.

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