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The Key Parenting Skills that Prepare You For Business

  • Written by Dr Liz Dallimore

Deal with it, delegate it, or delete it. This is the mantra I learned in the family home and have successfully incorporated into the operation of a busy national biotech business.

After working in senior business roles for going on 14 years I didn’t realise, until having young children of my own, just how positively the transference of skills from raising a family would impact the business.

Knowing what to prioritise, getting things done, and juggling work-life balance have made me a better boss and mother.

While we tend to expect a demanding business role will negatively impact family life – that doesn’t have to be the case.

My role as head of a business is challenging but taking it on has enabled me to drive the culture of the business so that our priorities suit not only the required operations of the business but also allow me to spend plenty of time with my family.

My time management skills, flexibility and patience, conflict resolution and negotiation skills in the office have all improved.

But the biggest take-away I’d have for other mothers (not only in leadership roles) – is when life in the office or at home is overwhelming, learn to ‘deal with it, delegate it, or delete it’.

It applies when you’re overloaded with anything – work trips, meetings or emails, or when you’re at home trying to cope with children’s meltdowns or seemingly never-ending school commitments.

By applying this mantra you’d be surprised how easily the ‘mental load’ can be lifted. Dealing with an issue “then and there” is instrumental in management success.

Whether it’s sorting out an issue on a school WhatsApp group message, replying to a birthday party invite, addressing a pressing investor task, or scheduling a team meeting – I do it then and there!

Everything goes straight in the calendar – it takes the pressure off and frees up time down the track.

Here are my ‘dealing, delegating or deleting’ tips:

Deal with it: work out the “essentials” required to effectively execute your work and family role which also suit your own priorities, commitments and personality. Then get the task done straight away! Procrastinating is no-one’s friend. I’d encourage more women to challenge the perception of the leadership and mothering role and mould each to suit your own requirements for family and home life.

Delegate it: know that you can always rely on other people to help. And that’s not necessarily family. It could be a neighbour, another school parent or even a work colleague. People are often happy to help, and don’t expect the favour to be returned (but it’s good form to do so).

Delete it: delete anything from your work and home life that’s not necessary. Whether that be a text message, an email, or removing mouldy food from the fridge! Clear clutter and “noise” from your life – and things will get a whole lot easier.

I can often be interstate travelling for up to a week each month, but I decide on trips according to the real “value-add” I get from them.

The key is to find your passion at work – then as a parent you can justify time away from your family.

If you have a partner, it’s also important that they help share the load. My husband and I have tense moments sometimes, but we back each other up – and again apply the ‘delegate it’ mantra.

Communication is key between the two of us and we both work dynamically and are flexible.

I recommend the Cozi app to help with planning for work and family tasks and commitments. Everything goes into it, from work meetings and trips to things like parents’ nights, parties and shopping lists, and I can tag which kids are involved and email details to my husband.

And even though time constraints can prove problematic, it’s very important to “give back”.

I’ve aimed to build a culture of work smarter, not longer. Where longer hours are required on any given day I can work early in the morning, or later at night.

I can do things for the school community like class rep-ing and I am still giving back and feeling part of something bigger than my work.

About Dr Liz Dallimore

Dr Liz Dallimore is a neuroscientist, CEO and Managing Director of drug development company Argenica Therapeutics, and co-founder and Executive Chairman of medical device company Inspiring Holdings, with more than 20 years of experience in research and development, innovation and commercialisation across Australia and the UK. Dr Dallimore is a non-executive Director of NERA and is also board director of WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry. With a PhD in Neuroscience, Dr Dallimore has worked at the Australian Neuromuscular Research Institute (now Perron Institute) and was recognised as one of Western Australia’s Top Women in Tech in 2020.


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