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10 Questions: Mick Walsh


Each week TrainingZONE will feature a questionnaire completed by one of our members. This week it's the turn of Australian member Mick Walsh, Managing Director of Southbank Management Consultancy in Victoria.

Name: Mick Walsh.

Position: Managing Director, Southbank Management Consultancy Pty Ltd.

How did you get to your current role? My original career was nursing. I gradually rose through the ranks to become Assistant Director of Nursing responsible for the HR function for 1000 nurses – all HR responsibilities except payroll. I completed post-graduate studies in HR/IR and then became an internal HR consultant within a hospital environment. In 1994 I decided to start my own HR training and consulting business. We provide services to all sectors and industries.

What are the best and worst aspects of your role?
Best: Creating client-specific solutions and then seeing the beneficial effects as a result of our involvement.
Worst: Because we create client-specific solutions we have a ‘process’ and not a ‘product’ as such. This becomes difficult to market in the traditional sense. We rely on networking and referrals which can lead to peaks and troughs in activity. However, it all levels out over time and after 10 years we are still out there.

What is your most over-used phrase? Fair dinkum!

What is your most-hated buzzword? Empowerment – I see very little evidence of it in practice.

What is the best lesson you have learnt? Know what you stand for - your values and beliefs - and never betray them irrespective of the situation. Integrity is paramount.

What has been your best career moment so far? A consulting assignment where we conducted a strategic review of the HR service of an organisation of 8,500 employees. We totally restructured the HR service with a new organisation structure, HR competencies and position descriptions; and we developed a new model of strategic HR, a HR customer service charter, and identified the HR values that would shape the delivery of HR services.
Recently the organisation has had some significant business challenges to deal with and the HR Director advised me yesterday that they would not have coped so well without the new structure, people and processes.

What has been your worst training moment? In the first hour of a five-day leadership development program for engineers a participant advised me that I was “full of B…S…” It turned out that he had mis-heard something I had said.

What's the next big thing for training? It already exists but in a limited form in Australia, and that is the comprehensive evaluation of training outcomes and calculation of return-on-investment.

If you would like to complete a member questionnaire email the editor Claire Savage at


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