Maree Burgess shows individuals

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Imagine if we were all invested in being the best we can be. Imagine the difference this would make to us, the team we work in, and the organisation we work for.

Often we operate from a lack of self-awareness of how invested we are in an organisation or how well we are operating. The ‘expertise and mindset’ model below shows the significant differences between being unaware and being self-aware.

I’m assuming if you are reading this that you fall into the top half of this model.

Figure 1: Expertise and Mindset

Thrive to Survive Value Model

If organisations were filled with people who value being invested at 100% and had a mindset of living to serve, imagine the success we would be able to achieve.

Focusing on building a diverse, balanced organisation filled with trusted individuals whose expertise is valued, positioned, and sought after, and who themselves feel engaged, energised, and invested in their abilities, will help to create a workforce that operates above the line and thrives.

When I show this model to clients, they can identify either themselves or their team somewhere on the ladder.

When individuals are operating below the line, they are surviving. Their expertise is avoided, ignored, or tolerated.

When a person’s expertise is avoided, it is often because they do not have the necessary skills to do their job effectively. Perhaps they have fallen into a role that doesn’t suit them because they don’t know what their strengths are. They have poor productivity, and they are under considerable stress from the expectations of those around them to lift their game.

When a person’s expertise is ignored, they are often stressed out as they try to do work that may be beyond their skill set. They madly try to keep up, but still feel ignored. They may ask for help in ways that aren’t noticed.

When a person’s expertise is tolerated, they aren’t raising too many alarm bells as to what they are or are not doing; however, they aren’t operating at the expected levels for their role. This may be because their skills are lacking and they find their role too challenging, or it may be that they feel unchallenged or bored by doing the same old thing over and over.

At the mid-point, when a person’s expertise is accepted, they are on par with what is expected for their role. They are capable of doing everything required, they feel very comfortable, and they know what is expected day to day. This is a danger zone, as they are very much in their comfort zone. They may become complacent and do no more than is absolutely required.

When a person’s expertise is valued, they are kicking goals by doing and achieving more than expected in their role. They are leading and creating. They have a real belief in their abilities, a good understanding of their strengths and values, and an inner conviction of self.

When a person’s expertise is positioned, they are energised and find everything effortless. They are in flow and thriving in their role. Their abilities are noticed beyond their own team, and they are likely to find that more senior leaders are seeking to sponsor them into other roles and areas.

When a person’s expertise is sought, they are shooting the lights out. They are invested in the organisation and living to serve. They may feel everything is ‘easy’, yet they are still challenged and always on the lookout for opportunities to stretch themselves. They know what their strengths are and use those in their role. They are doing far more than expected and truly stepping up in their leadership.

Everyone has the potential to move to higher levels in this model if they wish.  Even just the recognition of this is sometimes enough to make a change to how we operate.

Why don’t you focus on identifying what you need to step up into higher levels of this model, and become instrumental in creating change and bringing much-needed excellence to your organisation?


Maree Burgess works with Leaders, Leaders of Leaders, Experts and anyone else looking to increase their skills in leading change, sponsoring projects, build their confidence to step into more senior roles.

She is an author of “The XX Project: Giving women the skills and confidence to step up in corporate”. You can order your copy here.

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Connecting Us

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This is your personal guidebook as a leader to building high performing teams.

My new book, Connecting Us, has just been released, and will help you build dynamic and engaged teams.

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The XX Project

The XX Files by Maree Burgess

Giving women the skills and confidence to step up in the corporate world

I've just released my latest book that unlocks the toolbox used by women already in leadership roles.

Buy your copy now...