Real Life Story – Sam Williams

Real Life Story – Sam Williams

In this real-life story we hear from Sam Williams, Head of operations, Smart and Simpler for Woolworths Group. Sam talks about how she is the happiest she’s ever been. 


She shares her personal turnaround and how tragic circumstances allowed her to really fully understand the key components to her ‘Happy Cake’. 


Her Leadership Journey Founder, Emma Rhoades asked questions of Sam like:

  • How true is the story that stepping into a senior level role means more stress, anxiety and less time with family? 
  • What do we do to help women to start to believe in themselves more? 
  • What do you say to women who have applied for roles, but cannot seem to get a foot in the door? 
  • What have been some of the biggest wins of your career?

If you’ve been thinking that you can’t have a balance between family and career, and feel you’re not good enough in any way, then you need to listen to this real life story. 

The 4 Pillars of Influence

The 4 Pillars of Influence

For you to develop influence in your workplace, I wanted to share the 4 pillars of influence with you. These are areas that you MUST be working on in each phase of your journey.

These are:


People need to know they can trust you before they will follow you. And it’s not just about trusting you as a person though. And just like there are 4 pillars of influence, there are 4 key areas of Trust:

  • Trust of Capability – Can I trust in your skills?
  • Trust of Communication – Can I trust you to communicate with me effectively, give me feedback and share information?
  • Trust of Character – Can I trust you as a person?
  • Trust of Caring – Can I trust that you will care for me in the first instance?

Once you have those areas in focus, you will find that you  will develop trust with other people more easily.




Can you do your job well? Do you get good results? Can I count on you to have the necessary skills and capabilities to lead me on this mission? If I choose to follow you, will you help me to learn and grow my own skills?

These are the types of questions you need to be answering if you want to develop influence. In this pillar, we are looking for results or what I call “Street Cred”.

Make sure you are getting your own results, and those of your team before you start asking others to listen to what you have to say.



Are you a capable person? This goes deeper than just getting results, and looks to the emotional capability levels.

Can you handle the influence? Are you capable of dealing with many needs at once? Or do you find you shut down when there is too much going on?

How do you go with delegating? Have you been able to master this skill?

You need to be an emotionally capable person to handle the influence that comes your way.




When building networks, we need to easily be able to develop rapport. This means exceptional listening skills, learning, displaying and understanding empathy.

These skills allow you to create a sense of ease and have people say ” You’re really easy to talk to!”

You need to have an open mindset and control how your energy comes across to others.

Focus on this influence pillar if you find your networks and relationships lacking.


Now, rate yourself on each of these pillars  and focus on the next area for you  to work on. If you’re not having the influence you want or need, I can assure you, it’s in one of these areas.