Keeping Small Businesses Competitive through Sharing Best Practices of Global Leaders

Annalie Killian’s BIO

Annalie Killian

Annalie Killian is a self described ‘intrapreneur’ at AMP Financial. She created the Amplify Festival in 2005 which draws the biggest brains-trust of thinkers, business innovators, and thought leaders from all over the world to Australia for one week of exploring the edge of business innovation and ideas.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

1. What prompted you to start your business? 

Annalie: I am not strictly speaking an entrepreneur in the sense of risking my own capital although I occasionally self-fund my own experiments….I’m what some call an Intrapreneur- a person who nurtures an entrepreneurial spirit inside corporations and creates / sponsors start-up ventures on the inside. One of my recent successes is the Amplify Festival which I created in 2005 and which has been a catalyst for many spin-off ventures ever since.

 

2. For most successful entrepreneurs, there is no typical day so give us a sample of your schedule from start to finish.

Annalie:  My days are a-typical too. I confess to being one of those people whose first stop out of bed in the morning is checking Twitter and my social media feeds for news updates from my global network of friends, acquaintances and thought leaders I follow. While Australia is asleep, it’s daytime in North America and Europe so early mornings before I go to the office, my social media feeds get me thinking/ taking action on stuff I want to follow-up for the day. (Whilst at work, I am often too busy to get to deep thinking time again until late at night after the kids have gone to bed.) I also deal with the usual parenting stuff like wrestling teenagers out of bed and off to school and I usually allow the first hour of my day at the office (where possible) for dealing with email or catching up with colleagues face to face on anything that needs fast attention and action. ( I very seldom rely on email as communication medium for urgent and important stuff…) In a typical day, I would have around two face to face interactions with something new – either attending an event to learn something, meeting new people or a face to face meeting around a new concept/ idea that could be useful to our business. I would also spend around 2-3 hours a day progressing work on a project or innovation in the form of creating IP or moving actions along, and probably an hour all up on relationship building….that could include anything from a chit-chat in the office kitchen with who-ever is there, a coffee with a colleague or team member or participating in staff conversations on Yammer or commenting on ideas in our Innovation Management System. I aim to leave the office by around 6:15pm and make a short stop at the shops to get something for dinner. I try and get off all screens by 10 pm (usually internet- I watch only about 3 hours of TV in a year!)  and then I would hop into bed with a book….almost always non-fiction except when I am on holidays when I might read the occasional novel. I also enjoy poetry and have a daily poem app which I am usually reserve for commuting time.

 

3. What are your “can’t live without” apps on your desktop/cell phone?

Annalie:

  • Dropbox: it has been the best productivity invention since  the advent of the internet and all my stuff now lives in the cloud, accessible from anywhere on any device…its been the answer to years of prayer!.
  • TripIt: I love Tripit for all my travel arrangements converged in a single place in the cloud.
  • Kindle:  I use Kindle for reading books when I travel. I still like reading the physical paper book when I am in bed….it’s a different experience.

 

4. What are your tricks for time management?

Annalie:  I am hopeless at time management….I can be seduced by life’s pleasures any minute and trade priorities in the blink of an eye….but I don’t like to miss deadlines or let people down so if I allow myself to be seduced away from a task, I punish myself by long hours and working till the wee hours of the morning to get something done.  Hmmm….dont use me as a role model…but hey…I can claim to have a rich and varied life!

 

5. Best advice received when you started your career?

Annalie:

  1. The art of the one-page memo. If you can’t get an idea across in a page, don’t bother.
  2. The art of corporate survival without playing politics. In times of conflict and decision making, let the best interest of the company and it’s stakeholders guide your decisions. You cannot go wrong that way.
  3. Work only for people who will help you grow. If you work for a jerk, find a way out and pick the boss you want to work for.
  4. Helping others achieve success and making others look good is a far greater career builder than focussing on how you can look good. Your own success will follow.
  5. You don’t have to compromise on your values to be successful, but it helps to first understand the rules and build success within them before you can break them. It’s the recipe of mastery in any discipline.

 

6. Given the current economic climate, how has your strategy for building awareness of your work changed for the short-term and long-term?

Annalie:  I don’t think the current economic climate has had a significant impact on my work. Changing corporate culture and driving innovation is a long-term thing and success is often only noticeable after 5 years of sustained effort. Many programmes with inpatient and unrealistic goals have folded in under three years because of a failure of understanding sustainable large-scale change.

 

7. What’s been your proudest achievement as such an immensely accomplished Entrepreneur?

Annalie:  The Zululand Community Foundation and Community Park that we created whilst I worked for BHP Billiton in South Africa and The Amplify Festival that we created in AMP in Australia

 

8. What are some of the ways that you achieve balance in your life?

Annalie:  Kids force balance…if they weren’t there, I’d probably work much longer hours. I also believe in long holidays in far-flung places where I can escape from ubiquitous connectivity.

 

9. Your top 3 book recommendations for our readers (and why?)

Annalie:

  • [amazon_link id=”B0043EV51W” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]’What Technology Wants'[/amazon_link] by Kevin Kelly: It’s a fascinating insight on the role of information technology by someone whose been at the forefront of much of the technological revolution
  • [amazon_link id=”1594484805″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]’Drive[/amazon_link]’ by Dan Pink: He makes human motivational theory very accessible to the average reader and he is a great storyteller
  • ‘[amazon_link id=”0393311066″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Courage To Create[/amazon_link]’ by Rollo May: For personal development and reflection….anything by Rollo May, but especially this book.

 

10. If you had an exceptional month and earned double of your average month, what (if anything) would you spend it on?

Annalie:  A holiday with my kids doing something wild like the dog-sledding mushing trail across the Yukon or trekking by camel through Morocco.

What are some of your most rewarding charitable involvements and why?
Annalie:  The work we did in South Africa will always be very close to my heart and its still going strong 14 years after I left…I was very pleased about building a solid foundation for sustainability. In Australia, my team created a crowd-based project called IT makes a difference last year and invited 800 of our IT people to get involved on a self-selection basis and apply their IT expertise to a charity of their own choosing to show how technology can transform outcomes. The participation, creativity, passion and impact blew me away and this project has continued to spiral out in ever expanding circles without any further “official” management….

 

11. Who has been the most influential person to you as you’ve advanced in your career?

Annalie:  Probably my current boss, our CIO Lee Barnett. She has a passion for developing people, a moral compass that I really respect and a humility about her that helps keep my own ego intact and which has been very helpful!

 

12. What’s your advice to my someone interested in entrepreneurship?

Annalie:  I see entrepreneurship as the art of the start. These are people that just start and work it out as they go along…they don’t let the grass grow under their feet or opportunities slip away through perfectionism and over-analysis, but this doesn’t mean they are reckless…they are just flexible and agile to change in mid-air as the circumstances dictate. I also think that whilst there is probably a touch of narcissism in many entrepreneurs, that the most successful ones can keep their ego and greed in check.

 

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