Valerie Ling

Clinical Psychologist Pennant Hills, Hornsby and Hills District



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Communication and Alignment

Posted by Valerie Ling on October 13, 2019 at 11:40 PM

How hard can it be to get open communication and alignment in a small business? Very.

Some of the costs are:

- Team friction

- Erosion of small business owner and team trust

- Time and money wasted on having repair conversations

- Regret that all this could have been avoided earlier on in the piece.

Have you been on a big liner cruise? I have. You don’t really feel any movements that come from the waves. You have no idea what the engine looks like. You assume that walking from point A to point B of that ship will not lead to any instability. When there is a storm - you ask whether everything is ok, get your positive answer and carry on. You might even make extra requests for blankets and pillows so you can have a good sleep. Now. Swap over to a small oar-driven boat. Been on them? I have. Every person has a job. You cannot move from one end of the boat to another without causing the whole vessel to be vulnerable and impact the rest of the passengers. When the storm comes, everyone buckles down, and we all row. If someone makes a request to stop, adjust, change oars - well, that may not happen!

So it is when we take on team members as a small business owner. Especially if they have not worked in, or been exposed to the back scene reality of what makes a small business run with united success, innovation and synergy. One of the fit and alignment conversations that I have with new recruits into our business, is what they can expect of working in a small business with me at the helm. Generally this means getting used to CHANGE.

In a small business, CHANGE is NORMAL. Normalising this, getting feedback, having open communication about the impact and direction of changes is all part and parcel of a small business environment. It might be worth having a conversation with your team about their understanding of what it means to be in a small business. If this is something that you find difficult to do, then let me do the work for you.

Every week, for 5 weeks, from the 7th of November 2019 I will provide you with templates and visual material for both you and your team to align your perspective. It’s a DONE FOR YOU RESOURCE called ALIGN BY DESIGN. What you get:

+ 5 conversation templates for you as the business owner to have with your team

+ 5 videos and processing material for you to get comfortable and confident with these conversations AND

+ 5 videos and communication prompts for your team members to view and align their thinking with yours

+++ LIFE TIME OWNERSHIP, never have to renew - it will always be available

Modules will start to be available from the 7th of November, one conversation released each week. You can start to access the conversations relevant to you, or use them all! Your choice, there is no EXPIRY date.

How can you be part of this conversation revolution? Click here for more details…

Growth Mindset in a Small Business

Posted by Valerie Ling on October 13, 2019 at 10:40 PM

Growth comes in unconventional ways in a small business...

In one of my roles I was part of a consulting business that was in start up phase. My boss was an amazing executive coach who had international clients, one of which was a conglomerate of media companies. He would survey and analyse their corporate culture and present insightful reports that would help them shape policies and programs. When I was brought in on the project, I could not wait to learn the technology and sophistication of doing this work.

I was presented with 2 or 3 volumes of ring bound folders with the reports that had been done in previous years. They weighed a tonne. From there, I was to manually look through the surveys, extract the data, and content analyse masses of open ended answers. There was no sophisticated software other than the statistical software once the responses had been sorted, coded and entered. Say what? Yep. Old school. This was a long time ago ....

There were many other assignments such as these. Designing development and assessment centres from first principles, re-configuring software on the go because it glitched in the client's offices (but not at ours). Then there was the trip to India after 9-11 figuring out new visa requirements, safety protocols.....

Needless to say, not only did I learn lots, I also grew in personal confidence that no matter what situation came up, I could work it out, work it through, and in some corporate MacGyver way, work with some top people who simply gave it a go.

Such is the environment of a small business. Having conversations early in the piece with our team to help them to identify the value of their growth in ways that university, and other larger organisations would not provide is key to helping small business teams feel like they are part of something that grows organically each day, and to be energised, and not intimidated (or feel short changed) by this. You can't see what you haven't seen before, how does one know they are looking at a treasure chest if they have never seen one?

This conversation on the Small Business Growth Mindset is so, so important.


I kick start my Align by Design Master Class November 2019. The Master Class provides you with all the material you need to have 5 pivotal conversations with your team to position you for a positive, growth mindset team. The best thing is - I do the conversing for you! It's easier when someone else says it. How does it work? Send me an email...

Email me at for more information


It's almost the end of the year, how are your energy levels doing? Take this Quiz and I will send you a FREE resource, the right one for you to get the best recharge for you:


Posted by Valerie Ling on September 29, 2019 at 11:40 PM


What comes to your mind when you hear this?

For some you will see lightning flashes, war like scenes, loud voices, destruction.

That is one scene of conflict.

Now imagine this. Two people are standing in a room together. One has diamonds, the other rubies. Both believe they have the best jewels in the world. Both cling on to them and never show them to the other. Perhaps they believe that expressing their opinions might offend the other. Perhaps they think that they would be showing off if they brought out their jewels. Maybe they wholeheartedly believe in their opinion of what is the best - theirs. Maybe they just can't be bothered.

The net result is neither will have a chance to see the other person's jewels, and none of us will get a chance to see a stunning necklace made of rubies AND diamonds.

These two people are in conflict. They have a conflict of opinion, and ultimately a conflict of a point of view.

Depending on how passionately and resolutely they believe in the value of what they hold on to, is likely to shape how loud the clash is when they start to share. If they remain open, however to the possibility that they both could have something to offer the world of jewel-wearers, the tone might change. If they stay in the tension, accepting each other's point of view and influence, then they might learn something new.

Conflict is not necessarily a bad thing, how we manage it requires skills, trust and open communication. Conflict in family, the workplace, in friendships needs to be normalised, and spoken about. Frameworks, understanding our own personality and that of others goes a long way in remaining curious about where tension lies and where resolution may come.

As I speak to people who own small businesses (please do not minimise this - if you are someone who earns an income from their own efforts and you are your own boss - well you have a small business) - there is a source of EMOTIONAL EXHAUSTION that comes from managing a team. A vicious cycle of shock, despair, bitterness, resentment and ultimately feeling like you want to throw the towel in is very much part of the burnout cycle for small business owners.

*** 5 CONVERSATIONS you NEED TO HAVE if you have a TEAM in your business ***

ALIGN BY DESIGN: A 5 series Masterclass for YOU AND YOUR TEAM. Specifically walking you through those difficult and important conversations to have. Stay tuned for more information....