The Importance Of Building A Solid Support Network

In 2009, Pippa Hallas became the CEO of Ella Bache, stepping in to replace her father John Hallas, who had led the beauty empire successfully for several decades. In just her early 20s, Pippa had witnessed the GFC take a hit on the industry, ramping up the pressure as she took on the role of the company’s third CEO in the family’s history.

10 years on, Ella Bache remains one of Australia’s top skincare franchises, with 140 locations nation-wide, and Pippa is just about to launch the inspiring story of her great aunt in her book Bold Moves, in which Pippa opens up about the journey behind the brand, the disruptions, the innovations, the mistakes, and of course the story of her great aunt Ella Bache.

Ahead of the launch, we asked Pippa to take us through some tips when it comes to one of her best business tactics: how to establish and surround yourself with a strong support network.

“To achieve success in both your professional and personal life, it’s important to surround yourself with people who can support you to achieve your goals or vision, or people who will be kind, honest and give you that support unconditionally,” says Pippa. “It’s essential to choose your tribe wisely as the people who you surround yourself with will have an enormous impact on your happiness and success.”

Pippa maintains the philosophy that in relationships (including business), what you give is what you get, and you should never expect instant gratification, respect, or return on your investment. Her tips in building these long-term connections include:

Seek a mentor
Keep reminding yourself that you cannot succeed alone. Surround yourself with supportive friends and mentors that you can bounce ideas and problems off, and that fill specific needs. “Over the years I have found a lot of my support network both by chance and quite organically. But there have also been times when I have clearly identified a gap I had to fill and gone out there and found a mentor or role model or network that has given me the support I needed to achieve my goals. Either way the people I am closest to in my life have all been a big part of who and where I am in my life today.”

Attend events
Networking is a time-honoured and trusted business tactic for a reason, and one Ella Baché engages in regularly. We put a lot of focus on holding events that encourage deep relationships, networking and time spent together to build our tribe,” says Pippa. “A lot of time is put aside for yearly conferences, award nights and events, the purpose being to create relationships but also to learn.”

Your attitude, says Pippa, plays a large role on the day too. “Be positive, be genuine, ask questions and be friendly. You never know what someone is going through in their personal world. Everyone’s life is complex, and there are many times when I haven’t slept (thanks, kids!) but I wouldn’t ever tell anyone how tired I was or how I just wanted to be at home in bed instead of being there. I would always show up and be positive.”

Find people that think differently
Rather than simply seeking out like-minded individuals and information, it may be worth trying to incorporate those that offer alternate points of view into your daily life. “We usually belong to social communities with only people and content that is in line with yours, which can lead to uniformity, shallow thinking and less meaning,” says Pippa.

Particularly when it comes to social media, we have become accustomed to only accepting supporting messages and viewpoints, ‘switching off’ conflicting ones. This can be very limiting, and prevent us from learning valuable new lessons and information. “You should keep seeking out information that challenges you and is thought provoking—it may be books, movies or travel to different cultures—to keep an open mind and ensure things challenge your views and knowledge. The same need for diversity goes with the group of people or the tribe of people surrounding you. The greater the diversity, the deeper the thinking and the more chance of coming up with innovative ways of doing things. People expand you by bringing different but equal strengths to the table.”

Recognise how your goals and values compare
Another key, says Pippa, is accepting that not everyone will have the same goals and values as you – and that it’s perfectly alright.

“Over the years I have learned that I first always see the good and potential in everyone, but not everyone has the same wants, desires or values—and that’s okay, but it’s important to recognise that quickly and move on. Don’t try to rescue them. Don’t try and force the relationship to work. They may not want it.”

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