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Ned Carrick – 2021 in Review

​​Ned Carrick began as a consultant with Keogh in 2021, after seven years at the University of Queensland and completing a Masters in Business Psychology in 2020.


As someone who hasn’t known full-time consulting work without lockdowns, he has a perspective that not many in the consulting world have, which he shares in his end-of-year recap for 2021.

Ned, how would you describe 2021 in four words?

Considering all the new responsibilities I’ve taken on, the new learnings, my four words would be ‘roll with the punches’. I think with the ever-changing landscape of businesses and industries — especially being thrown in and out of lockdowns — agility is the key to thriving through it all. Remaining flexible has made all the difference.

This year has, for me, also been about growth. While I’ve finished my university studies, I’m still learning more and growing with the experiences I’m afforded with Keogh.

For example, when I first started here, I was offered a comparatively smaller piece of work to lead within my first month. I think being given those sorts of opportunities, the baptism by fire, is where people have an opportunity to shine.

That job has snowballed into a much larger body of work that will carry through until the end of the year — and hopefully beyond. Taking on work of this scale is something that I didn’t know would happen as quickly as it has. I think that’s a lesson for anyone bringing in new employees, is letting them get a little out of their perceived depth to see what’s possible.

Who or what had the most significant impact on your life this year?

I’m a family man, and regardless of whether I say it often enough, my family is the centre of my world. There are my relatives, of course, and my work family at Keogh. I’m incredibly grateful for the faith they’ve shown in me and the support to get my career into gear.

While COVID has caused chaos, disconnection and even death for some, I feel incredibly fortunate that my family and friends are all pretty local here in Brisbane. I have a couple of uncles that are interstate that I haven’t been able to see for a while. But other than that, I think you have to remind yourself how lucky you are to connect with those that matter.

If you could travel back in time 12 months, what advice would you give yourself?

Before I started this role with Keogh, 12 months ago, I was in a position where it felt as though I was just going through the motions. I was giving up faith in terms of where I was going to land in my career. While I was capable, I could see that that role just wasn’t for me; where I wanted to be after spending seven years at university. I think all have these moments when it’s helpful to step back and be a bit more objective about what we want to change and be brave enough to take a step into the unknown.

So I’d say to myself to “have faith that everything will work out.” Don’t sweat the small stuff. You’ll know what to do when the situation arises. As soon as you start putting emotional weight behind the micro ‘what-ifs’, it’s easy to create a whirlpool of worry.

I use the five-by-five mantra: If it’s not going to matter in five years, don’t spend five minutes worrying about it now.

Tell us how you use the Keogh Wisdom Wheel to add balance to your life.

I’ve been put through a coaching program with Allan (founder of Keogh Consulting) on the Wisdom Wheel. On the PQ (Physical Quotient), I’m an active person, up at 4:30 am to go to the gym daily. I can’t sit still for longer than five minutes, so the physical activity of the morning flows into everything, really, including keeping my emotional wellbeing in check.

I was very green coming in, in March. The technical aspect (TQ) has always been a big thing here, honing the practical skills of the job while leveraging the knowledge I accumulated throughout university.

The most significant aspect for me this year that will continue into 2022 has been the spiritual aspect (SQ) of understanding my purpose. What am I on the earth for? And that’s still an evolving journey for me.

When you look back over the last year, how are you different?

I think this is a reflection of Keogh itself. The people I have around me at Keogh have helped my confidence skyrocket in my consulting ability and my ability at work. I feel that confidence now that I do belong, I’m here for a reason. I can deliver high-quality work to clients, go out and win work, and bring clients aboard for the journey. I’ve also built the confidence to back myself in areas where I didn’t think I would be able to, and not just be a sheep.

So what was the best decision you took this year?

Starting at Keogh. It came out of the blue. It’s one of those things that you don’t think would happen, but a hundred per cent was taking on this job with both hands. At one point, Allan tried to talk me out of a consulting career before offering me the job, and I was too deer-in-the-headlights to say no. Now, looking back, I think it is the best decision of the year, and it’s set me up for where I want to go with my professional career.

Where are you looking to step out of your comfort zone next year?

Next year I’ll keep stepping out into the areas that I don’t feel particularly confident in right now. I know I learn more by making mistakes than trying to walk the tightrope of apparent ‘perfection.’ We learn more by trying new things and new ways of doing what we think we know and bringing back those boons to share. There’s a lot of success to be found in failure.

What do you want to accomplish in 2022? What does that look like, if you can paint a vision for that?

Personally, I want to solidify my position at Keogh and expand my network to bring in meaningful, impactful work. When it comes to this time next year, I’m excited to see the positive impacts that I’ve had on clients, their organisations, and at Keogh as a whole. Nothing is easy, and nothing is set in stone, but I just want to continue on this journey and find myself as an even better consultant.

What advice would you have for leaders in an organisation as they move into the new year?

In society, we don’t open ourselves up to the risks and rewards of failure enough, which can prevent us from moving forward. All organisations should be working towards a culture whereby their people feel safe to try things that may not work and know that they have the support and ability to move forward from that with the benefits of lessons learned.