Episode 56: People First with Sally Dillon

I'm Shivani Gupta, and welcome to the Ask Shivani podcast. I believe that one of the best presents that you can give yourself is time to be able to sit down and ask yourself some questions. I believe that the quality of the question that you ask yourself will determine the quality of your life.

Shivani Gupta (00:38)

Hello, everybody and welcome to the Ask Shivani podcast. I have got Sally Dillon as my podcast guest today, let me tell you a little bit about Sally. One of the really things that she, really important things for her as her calling in life, which is to make a positive impact and other people's lives. And she's particularly got an interest in mentoring and empowering women. That's something we have in common. Sally, so we can have a big long conversation about that. And she talks a lot about heart-based leadership in both careers and alive. She's a very progressive HR leader and coach. She's also recently left the corporate world to set up her own consulting and HR business. And she particularly focuses on change, whether it be business employee culture, or individuals seeking some of that transformation. And she has a side gig. It sounds like a pretty big side gig, which a makeup and skincare range, which has had for three years, and is pretty involved also in her community through Rotary. In 2019, she did this amazing book with 19 other women called “The Changemakers” and it became an Amazon Best Selling Author. Sally, welcome.

Sally Dillon (01:50)

Thank you. Thank you. It's funny to hear that all said like that.

Shivani Gupta (01:58)

Well, you have, you have achieved all of those things, and perhaps much more. Tell us a little bit about your, you know, when people talk about their journey, it's not just kind of step by step, but mainly the really big ups and the really big downs that have got you to where you have today. Sally, tell us a bit about that.

Sally Dillon (02:15)

Okay, um, gosh, there's been a lot. There's been a lot going on in the last 15 - 20 years. I guess I would start with I started in recruitment back like 15 - 20 years ago. And that was just so much fun. And I think that sort of got my start in HR, almost it was the old days where we were going into businesses more so and actually helping advise on their structures as well as their recruitment needs, which I think it's changed a little bit these days.

So, my parents always said they couldn't believe that, that I managed to get a career out of talking to people, because I talked so much at home, but I guess that was the first stint. And then I did this sort of initial gig in a HR space as a favor for someone and really went, oh, no, this is more me more branching out. So, I think finding that connection with people, I guess I've always been curious about people. And then finding that also from a business perspective. You know, people are great businesses are great, he's, he's the link. So, it's just something I took, I guess, like an adopt to water, you know, and I think I've always been someone who's been, I guess, approachable, people, even first meetings, they sit down. And suddenly they life stories coming out. And I definitely found that in the HR space. So, I think some of those really pivotal moments for me. Very early in my career, I had a person come and speak to me, who was suicidal, it was late on a Friday afternoon. And they came in and just said to me, I'm afraid to go home. And that was probably about two years, to three years into my HR career. And we did get that person some help. And we got all of that sorted. And they're doing very well now.

But I think that was the moment where I realized how much of an impact not only HR, but I could make on people if I was approachable and available for people to talk to. And I think that's been what I call the HR evolution or the HR revolution is around. Historically, HR people have either been all advocates only for the employee or for the business, you they've either had one slant or the other. I think mine is trying to find that win-win for both. So being approachable, still having some frameworks to work within. But then that way, you know, the whole person, you're learning the whole person, and you're learning how that person needs support, to thrive at work. If people are thriving at work, the business is thriving. So, I think that's kind of those pivotal moments for me around what I do and where I think I'm a little different to one or the other. You know, yes, there's rules. Yes, sometimes there's misconduct issues that you have to manage in a certain way. But but my belief is, you know, get people thinking get people engaged, be a person, treat people like people and people will thrive.

Shivani Gupta (05:29)

And took me about the decision to finally leave the corporate world so they did that in my career at some point and into mentoring as well. And so, what was the what was that catalyst for that last bit? When yeah, this is what I meant to do what? What got you into that?

Sally Dillon (05:44)

I think it was I had been thinking about it for a couple of years. And I probably dabbled in it just before my previous role. But then I got offered the previous role. And that role really spoke to me. And I was like, I have to do this role. I, you know, and I really, and I had a great time there for three and a half years, but I kind of I had achieved what I wanted to achieve there. There was some more change going on. And I was like, it just feels like the right time. So, I guess then I had a deep thoughts and discussions, talk to my husband, of course, and said, you know, should I go back into the corporate world or, you know, go out on my own. And, you know, he was like, you've been talking about this going on your own for a long time now. You know, and I want to help. The good thing about being within an organization, you have influence over a lot of decisions, and sometimes coming in as a consultant, you don't. But coming in this way, I can also help businesses that either don't aren't big enough for HR or I can help more businesses or I can come in for those pieces of work that bring me joy, as well. So, I think that really was the catalyst for I'm just going to have a crack at this. Let's see how we go.

Shivani Gupta (07:02)

I joke about with my kids now probably wouldn't get a job if I wanted to know, because a fine and a couple of weeks. Sally, tell me about when challenges hit your way. Obviously, you know, that Friday night challenge sounds pretty big. When somebody says a bad potential can't go home. Some of us have, like methodologies or systems or processes or ways of thinking, like, how do you deal with challenges? Do you have a system or a process or a philosophy? What do you do when they come fire in your way?

Sally Dillon (07:34)

Wow, look, it does depend on the challenge. But look, I think I do these things differently, I do have a few rituals and things, you know, I'd love to be able to say I leave it all at work. And I go home and I switch off. I'm not built that way. So particularly in that, that situation, or people where people are sharing things that that I'm tearing home and I find difficult, I do actually reach out to an EAP or support network. So, I know when I need to get some more serious support for some of those heavy situations. You know, doing the mental health first aid courses really helped recognize that a little bit earlier in myself rather than staying up at night. So, I have those systems in place. I also have a little few real ritual that I do.

So, every morning, and sorry, the end of every day, I sort of put my thoughts together on paper. And you know, that could be just writing to release some things, or it could be just planning the next day. But every morning, I also have this little book, I should have had it here. But I used to do it on a scrappy bit of paper. But it's “what are the three things I'm grateful for today?” And what is one thing I want to achieve today. So, I think I'm a to do list person. And sometimes my to do list goes from this to this to this. And that can get stressful. So, I always just try and refine it to the moment, get that gratitude in early. And then I start my day with gratitude. You know, and the other stress release is of probably the same as everyone else, right? I have cocktail Saturday nights with my husband. I like a little bit of trash TV and a bit of self-care with a mosque on a Sunday night. So, a few different ways to deal with a few different things.

Shivani Gupta (9:30)

Awesome, that's great. What about the future, you might be able to weave in the skincare thing that you've got going on to? Tell us what does the next 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 years look like? What are some of the future things that you want to be able to do or achieve?

Sally Dillon (09:44)

Oh, my goodness, I have at least as long as my arm I just get excited about life. Really, and I've got so many things that I want to do I want to, now that I've sort of gone out on my own, I have a little bit more spare time or I can schedule that in the last 12 months with Rotary and my Rotary Club. I've probably done some minimal things less than that before. So, I actually want to do a lot more there. I want to do more mentoring of women in that space and that comes in many forms, even the makeup and skincare business.

Often, I have conversations with women around you know, confidence and things like that. They never buy a thing from me, but it's really about providing a support helping them get on a path. So doing that I also think, you know HR, broadly speaking, I want that to be available to everybody. And I think in my business space, while I offer that service now, it's really about getting that out there. Like, sometimes I find in my friend’s group, they'll say, hey, Sally, I've got an HR question. Oh, hey, Sally, I'm not sure how to ask for this, hey, Sally, I'm not sure if this is an issue, I want to resign, I will make a complaint, I'm not sure how to do it. It's getting the HR support out to everybody. At the moment, you know, I guess businesses, you know, businesses and people looking for leadership coaching, has really kicked off in this last six weeks that I've launched, but making the services and support available to everybody. Making them affordable for people to get advice, I think is really important. So that scenario I'll be focusing on in the next 12 months about how do I get that service to the people? What is that service look like? You know, and just making that a normal conversation. Sometimes people just need to bounce something off, somebody and they can't go to their HR department, or they're not part of a union also offers that service. So that's really something in the business space I want to do.

Shivani Gupta (11:51)

And, Sally, when you look at philosophies of leadership, and you've probably done a lot of study, and you've worked in corporates, and you're going and you're in business, you talked about courses, you've done a mentoring as well. Are there certain philosophies that you really live by, that really are true to who you are, whether they be in the business or the personal sense?

Sally Dillon (12:11)

Absolutely. You always employ people who are smarter than you or better than you at things. I mean, I know old school, a lot of people were threatened by that. But you know, if you have people who know things that you don't, and if they fit the right culture, it lifts the whole team, it lifts the whole business, it lifts you as a leader and as a person. And I really think that's probably the most important, I mean, as a leader, my role is to bring out the best in people and let them shine. You know, and if you know more than everybody else, you know, there's only so much you can bring out of them. And there's always that, that ceiling for them. Whereas if people are teaching me as much as them, you're much more fulfilled. So don't be afraid. Don't be afraid to employ the person that knows more about you or has higher qualifications than you in in something because you know, you will, you will all bounce off each other if you've got the right culture.

Shivani Gupta (13:15)

And I'm not sure cocktails on Saturday count for wellness, but for some of us they do. What about other wellness rituals that you have? Do you have things that you do daily, weekly, yearly, that really helps you manage when you're giving lots of yourself out to your clients and to your family that help you manage who you are? What are some of those rituals?

Sally Dillon (13:35)

Yeah, look, definitely I do think cocktails is a wellness ritual, I will put that out there. But definitely I look, I'm not a particularly good meditator, as you know, just sit there quietly, but I do I have a bunch of podcasts and things that are guided meditation, and I, I have different ones for different times of the day. Depending on what I'm feeling and what I'm doing. I have one for sleep, I'm historically not a good sleeper. And I have these really amazing yoga nidra for sleep, podcasts that I listen to at night to help me wind down. I've got some, you know, for some energy or just the managing stress during the day, and it's really about it's less about the words, but I think it's about taking that 10,15, 20 minutes to stop and focus on that. I find that really helpful. The other thing I do and I know a lot of people do this is I get outside in the sun, whether I'm at a client site or I'm at home, I get in the sun, I take my shoes off my feet on the grass. That is something that grounds me significantly. And if I can just walk on the grass for a couple of minutes, we'll stand there and breathe it in. That's something I do you know, when life's a little crazy.

Shivani Gupta (15:01)

Yeah, that's beautiful. I know a lot of people feel that grounding when they be able to do that. And Sally, if people want to find you, where's the best platform to find you and find out about you and your work that you do. What are the best channels to find you?

Sally Dillon (15:18)

I'm pretty easy to find. I'm on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram on under my name Sally Dillon, but also the revolution Consulting Group. My website will be up in the next week or so potentially the time this goes out, it will be up or we just did some photos on the weekend. So that website will be https://www.revolutionconsultinggroup.com.au/. But always just reach out for a chat. Any questions? You just want to talk about where you might want to go, you know, I'm always open for a chat to see if I can help.

Shivani Gupta (15:56)

Awesome Sally, thank you for being on you today.

Sally Dillon (16:00)

No worries. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

I'm Shivani Gupta. And you've been listening to the Ask Shivani podcast where I'd like to ask some questions. Thank you so much for listening. Please follow Ask Shivani on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. And if you haven't done so, please go to the Apple podcasts and subscribe rate and review this podcast. It would mean a lot. Thank you.