Posts by Dean Howell

Think outside the square and really believe that anything is possible. For many years now I have been a business owner in the recruitment and mapping industries, starting and running my own successful businesses but never really had a lot of time freedom. I recently changed direction and became a Professional Fire Fighter in Adelaide. Being a fire fighter is a great job and gives me a great deal of personal satisfaction but not the financial freedom that I would like to provide my family. What I was looking for was an opportunity to use my entrepreneurial skills that give me the freedom and lifestyle to choose my own destiny and to enjoy the things my wife and children do on a day to day basis. We have a motto in our house and also in my business that is “Imagine, Dream, Believe” which I love and feel very strongly about. Its aim is to remind everyone that enters our home or that works with me, that they have the freedom to imagine, to dream for the things they want and to truly believe that all is possible if they believe in themselves. Join me on this journey so we can he how high the sky really is :)

Professional Growth: Building Relationships, Not Just Connections

Building Relationships

No matter at what point you are in your career, moving up the ladder, or even just trying to get into a new career, success is determined by how skilled you are at building relationships, and not just building connections.

It is very easy these days to build a lot of connections, friends, fans, and followers on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Google Plus, etc. It is also rather easy build good quality connections in a short period.

But one must always be asking themselves if these connections are actually good for advancing your career?

3 Ways to Professional Growth

Let’s have a look at three broad areas in which you can build your professional networks. These can also be extremely helpful in advancing your career and professional growth.

These broad areas are:

  • Quality vs. Quantity

  • Mentors vs. Colleagues

  • Networking vs. Chatting

Quality vs. Quantity

Quality RelationshipsI have almost 8000 connections on Linked In, there may be a good chance you are one of these people. But how many of these people do I really know and connect with on a regular basis?

To be honest,  not that many.

That is not to say I have not had at least one e-mail conversation with a great majority of them but there are probably only a couple of hundred people who I converse with on a regular basis.

In many ways business and finding a job can be seen in this category, so it is a real numbers game.

The more people you connect with the more likely you are to find people you resonate with.

The aim of the game is to find enough quality people to build a professional relationship with. Find people who are doing the sort of role you would like to be doing, or work for the company you would like to work for. Reach out and introduce yourself, connect, follow and ask questions.

Build the relationships as this is what will get you a job or promotion or anything you desire.

Mentors vs. Colleagues

When you are building your quality list of connections, look for people who can help you on the journey.

And keep an open eye for those you can serve along the way!

As mentioned above, people in the role you would like to have, or who work for a company you would like to work for. These are the sorts of people who can mentor you or give you the inside running on a job vacancy that may be coming up.

Don’t disregard your college mates or other work colleagues as one day they may be in the position of influence but build the relationship with the people who can help you right here, right now.

Networking vs. Chatting

It is very easy today to waste time chatting to your connections about the weather, the results of the weekend sports, family or any irrelevant small talk. Don’t get me wrong, this is important in building a solid relationship as you want the people you are connecting with to feel a genuine connection.

But too many times we waste time chatting about nothing and forget to ask simple questions that will help us to get to the crux of why we are networking.

Networking is probably the most important part of the job seeking process but it is one part that most people do not put time into. When I ran GISjobs Australia for over 10 years, I would say that less than 25% of all GIS industry roles were filled through advertising or through external recruitment agencies.

This means that most jobs are filled through word-of-mouth, well before they are advertised.

Make an effort to be involved in your local business and user groups, get know in your industry, be an active participant not just expecting things to flow to you without any effort.

So what are you doing to advance your networks in ways that actually help your career? Are you spending valuable time just chatting, or are you giving your efforts more professional purpose? What professional resources are you using, or are considering to help you build the right kind of connections? I would love to hear your thoughts!


Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today here.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Dean Howell
Dean Howell is Founder and CEO of 
GeoSpatial Connect
He connects GeoSpatial Industry Professionals across the Globe
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Google+Blog | Web | Skype:dean.howell1

Image Sources:,

About these ads

On Leading Yourself: Mastering Your Time

Leading Oneself

One of the biggest killers of time these days is the stream of e-mails that continue to bombard our inbox.

Some of this avalanche of information is important, some interesting, but most is simply a lot of junk.

Many people see e-mails as so important that they need to reply the second they pop into our inbox, I know as I often find myself doing this.

This action is often to the detriment of other more important tasks in our daily routines.

A Better Way to Lead Oneself

I would like to suggest a tool that can make your day considerably more productive.

I was introduced to this concept a few years ago and have found it to be one of the most effective time management tools around. This tool breaks your day into ‘mini-days’.

It will take some dedication and some initial preparation but I can guarantee you that it will help you get control of your day and become more productive.

Step 1: Mini-Day Preparation

Over the next three days take a note of everything you do, each and every individual task and how long it took. Don’t group tasks at this stage but ensure you note down everything. For example

Day 1

  • Phoned Joe for to set up sales meeting – 5 minutes

  • E-mailed Mary to respond to accounts query – 5 minutes

  • Meeting with xyz company to present new product range – 2 hours

  • Lunch – 20 minutes

  • Prepared sales report for management – 1 hour

  • Etc…

Day 2

  • Phoned XYZ company to follow-up on sales meeting – 20 minutes

  • E-mailed Henry product information – 5 minutes

  • Etc, etc…

Day 3

  • Phoned XYZ company to follow-up on sales meeting – 20 minutes

  • E-mailed Sarah product information – 5 minutes

  • Training on new product – 1 hour

  • Etc, etc, etc…

Do this for a minimum of three days. This task alone will surprise you as how much time you are spending on non-productive tasks.

Step 2: Grouping

  • Look through your list and group the individual tasks into categories i.e. e-mails, phone calls, business development, meetings, financial, personal time, etc. The categories will be different for different people but try to break it into at least five broad categories.

  • Tally up the time you spent on each category.

  • Order your categories into the most appropriate times each day to undertake that task. For example you may like to make all your phone calls first thing in the morning and have meetings in the afternoon. This may vary on different days of your week, dependant on the influences.

Allocate a defined time period for each category, for each day.

  • E-mails – 1 hour

  • Phone calls – 1 hour

  • Business Development – 2 hours

  • Meetings – 2 hours

  • Planning  / Operations – 2 hours

Step 3:  Define your Mini-Days

8:00 – 9:00AM – Emails

9:00 – 10:00AM – Phone calls

10:00 – 12:00PM – Business Development

12:00 – 1:00PM – Lunch

1:00 – 3:00PM – Meetings

3:00 – 5:00PM – Planning / Operations


  1. It is important to stick to the mini-day allocation, once the time for the next mini-day has arrived, finish what you are doing and move to the next mini-day. Don’t be tempted to knock over another couple of e-mails or make another couple of phone calls. Any tasks not completed in each mini-day, leave to the following next time you have scheduled that activity.

    It is rare that the e-mail can’t wait 24 hours or the phone call has to be made today.

  1. If you work in an office environment, inform your colleagues, managers, assistants of your mini-day plan so they do not schedule meetings out of time. It may take getting used to but you will find that everyone will become more efficient if they know your schedule.

Step 4:  Stick to It, But Be Open to Change

The biggest piece of advice I can give is to stick to the schedule you have.

That does not mean you should not re-evaluate after using it for a few weeks as you might find that as you become more efficient with your time you can reduce some of the mini-days and allocate that time to other mini-days or add a new category.

Good luck with setting up your mini day.


Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders™

Dean Howell is Owner and Founder at Imagine Dream Believe

He serves clients with Business & Personal Development, Leadership, and Recruiting
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter |  Web 

Image Sources: