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Cara Farrelly leads the Vodafone Supply Chain Operations teams across New Zealand, Portugal, Ireland, Greece Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic, Albania, Malta and London. She is credited as a highly committed leader with an inherent ability to establish highly respected relationships with both internal and external stakeholders. This episode demonstrates her attention and care. She is passionate about people and about cultivating inclusive cultures and connected communities that support and challenge each other to achieve exceptional results. She is also a soccer Mum. Her son Gavin Bazunu aged 17 has been signed to Manchester City from Shamrock Rovers here in Ireland. She is extremely proud of Gavin and Todd her sons who mean the world to her.

Show Notes

Podcast episode summary: This episode is about Leadership and team leadership. Cara spoke about her career trajectory and how certain people had an incredible influence on her ability to lead. She learnt early on that “vulnerability can be your strength”. She cites the importance of trust on teams but also a leaders ability to be vulnerable. She wishes she could have been braver sooner to allow herself to show up and lean into her various roles.  

  • Sports teams can help organisational teams think about team spirit and the importance of understanding each other for strengths. 
  • Trust is essential and trust between members augers well for future performance 
  • Cara’s role is as leader as coach she believes it important to give people space & bandwidth to allow team members to learn and innovate. 
  • Some leadership myths we can bust: Leaders do not need to know all the answers, coaching is probably better than telling, Organisations are not looking for a particular type, you can be yourself at work
  • The best way to control is to give it away!
  • Launch well. Cara’s team of 10 countries came together to divine a collective purpose and to work out how to work together. This launch ignited their passion to work together
  • In addition they have weekly huddles where everyone is visible, present and engaged. 
  • Care & Kindness are two qualities Cara believes to be important. Listening is an important skill to allow people to really show up –it also supports mental well being when people can talk to their concerns. 
  • AAR, after action reviews which is a process from the US army, really helps the teams to learn together
  • Not everyone can survive on a team and it is important to help people be with their limitations and not let them suffer in silence. Important too to call out early what is not working 
  • Dysfunction on teams is partly to do with not knowing how to work together. Competition and suspicion can erode a team’s confidence. Having a collective or common goal and building trust are just two ways of mitigating dysfunction. 
  • Teams at Vodafone are being asked to work in an agile way, to work across boundaries and to partner over the entire ecosystem. This means teaming well. 
  • Cara and her team have invested time to get experiential and learn together in ways that are not usual but allow the team to see each other away from the day to day or the office. 
  • Cara’s own coach training is supporting her learn the need for structure and also the importance of climate in a coaching relationship. For her coaching is about forwarding the action and deepening the learning. 
  • Cara ended by reminding others and me that her purpose is to help others. 

Quotable Quotes: “Vulnerability is your strength” “best way to control is to give it away” “Care & Kindness is important for leaders” “Competition is not inside the team” “forward the action and deepen the learning” 

Resources: the following include the resources we alluded to over the course of our conversation

  • a coach training course run by June Duffy 
Tara Nolan

Author Tara Nolan

I wasn’t always a coach, in fact I never conceived I would be a coach, the word simply wasn’t in my lexicon. I love, however, where I have landed. The truth is I really did not know what I wanted to be when I first started. I had a vague inkling I wanted to be successful but that was the sum of my plan

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