Jess Barr, who has been with Specsavers since March 2013 and is currently a retail leader at Specsavers Clare in South Australia, began her six-month Pathway journey in early April. Pathway, which is Specsavers’ partnership development program for experienced optometrists and senior retail professionals, includes four core modules. Here, Jess provides some insight into what she learned in the first module.

I decided to join the Pathway program as I was looking to develop my leadership skills and to further my career with Specsavers. My first impressions of Pathway were that I would be put out of my comfort zone, however I was pleased to hear that there would be checkpoints and evaluations after each module to make sure I was moving in the right direction.

One of the main highlights of Module One, which also acted as an induction into the program, was meeting the other Pathway participants. By the end of the three days I felt as though we had each other’s support and could relate to one another. I also thoroughly enjoyed hearing from one of the graduates from the previous Pathway intake. The information he shared was invaluable and it was fantastic to listen to his experience.

Among the key things I learned in the first module were situational leadership and how to lead change. We learned Kotter’s 8-Step Model on creating a climate for change and models for managing, developing and leading people – two lessons I will be able to apply throughout the rest of the program and for the in-store project that I will be completing as part of my Pathway assessment.

The module also included a very valuable discussion on managing stress. As part of this, we completed a self-assessment to gain insight into areas where our time management could be improved. We also took a close look at an individual stress management plan and explored Covey’s Time Management Matrix, looking at ‘Urgent vs Important’ to understand the most productive use of our time.

Having now completed Module One, I feel very motivated and excited for the rest of the program. Our training managers have been extremely engaging and it is clear that they want to set us up for success in the program.

My transition into becoming a Pathway participant has been reflected in-store as well. Since joining the program, I have gained more responsibility in-store and have been gaining more confidence as a leader. My team has been highly supportive of my involvement in the program and I feel empowered in my role.

I’m looking forward to what’s next in Module Two!

More in the Specsavers Partnership Blog series
JVP inspired and empowered at the Partnership Seminar
Leading self and leading change with Pathway Module One
Leading teams with Pathway Module Two
Leading commercially and coaching with Pathway Module Three
Leading great customer experiences with Pathway Module Four