Board Member profile - Mike Zissler FAIM

Date: 
Friday, June 12, 2015

As part of a regular new series where we introduce the AIM Group Board, we recently sat down for a chat with AIM Board Member, Mike Zissler FAIM to hear how he got involved with AIM and what role he believes AIM Membership can play in the careers of Australia's managers and leaders.

Mike Zissler is the Chief Executive of The Australian Property Institute (API) having been in that role since October 2014. Prior appointments include the Chief Executive Officer of Lifeline Canberra, the Commander of the Northern Territory Emergency Intervention and the Chief Executive Officer of a large ACT Government Department. He has extensive public sector experience having been in senior roles with a number of State and Territory Government agencies.

Mike trained as a Registered Nurse and specialised in Paediatrics before undertaking a Bachelor’s degree in Health Administration and a Masters of Business Administration.

Mike is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Management, a Member of the Institute of Company Directors and is currently the Chair of the ACT & Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Tell us about yourself and how you became associated with AIM.

I’ve been a Member of AIM for 25 years as I joined in 1990 as a student Member. My goal at that time was to understand what AIM had to offer and while I was doing my bachelor’s degree someone from AIM came through and presented on the benefits of becoming an AIM Member. When I saw you can access a library, research and this great association I joined and following that I was involved in a number of committees both as a student Member and an Associate Fellow in New South Wales, South Australia and Canberra.

I’ve been a Board Member on various AIM boards since around 2004 and of course since the National merger with the AIM Group Board. I’ve been a Fellow of the Institute for about the same time and my goal throughout that time has been to develop myself and those around me into being a better manager and leader.

Why do you believe professional memberships are important for managers and leaders?

Affiliation with a membership organisation such as AIM is important because not only does it provide you with a professional career pathway, it also provides opportunities for networking and gaining peer support through formal and informal mentoring programs. It also enable you to self-develop your skills alongside peers and colleagues both senior to you and junior to you. Professionally it is good to know that you have an organisation behind you that can provide considerable support both as an association and through peer support.

Over time I’ve undertaken various forms of continuous professional development through AIM. I believe in being a lifelong learner so I’ve used AIM for more selective pieces of learning as opposed to formal academic learning. I’ve done a couple of bachelor’s degrees and a Masters so I’ve used AIM as a backstop to assist me in that but I’ve also used AIM to fill in knowledge gaps. Academic learning is obviously necessary but as a practical manager and leader there are other things you need to learn along the way as well.

What do you think is the key benefit AIM offers to Members?

I think it’s the collegiality as to be a Member of AIM is totally discretionary. Where you need to be a member of an organisation for your professional advancement in some cases such as with CPA or the API, AIM is much broader as it is a discretionary spend and you don’t have to be a Member of AIM. The reason I’m a Member of AIM is that it gives me access to colleagues within the association with whom I can leverage knowledge, network and garner a whole range of different views and different perspectives without being limited to one professional stream.

For example, I’m a member of the Australasian College of Health Service Managers and health service managers tend only to talk about health services. AIM is obviously much broader so you can garner a huge wealth of experience and knowledge from meeting and exposing yourself to managers and leaders from a variety of industries and learning from them.

Which Membership initiatives are you most enthusiastic about?

Without a doubt I think the strategic alliance we have with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) in the UK is the best thing we’ve done in a number of years. I think the opportunity for a young and upcoming manager to have the capacity to have qualifications and exposure to a broader international set of experiences is huge. In terms of leadership, knowing that you can take your current qualifications and experience around the world and work in different places is a fantastic opportunity.

I also believe there is massive potential in AIM’s Thought Leadership as we do a huge amount of research on a regular basis with managers on a whole range of managerial and leadership issues. Dr Malcolm Johnson does a great deal of work that has positioned AIM as thought leaders in the managerial and leadership space. I think members need to know more about the research we do so they can leverage that knowledge for themselves and their organisation.

Personally I’d like to see us grow our Membership. I want it to be seen as a “cradle to the boardroom table” membership where young people come out of school or university into frontline management positions and that’s where they engage with AIM for their whole career pathway. I think whether you are a frontline manager, a leader of a small team or a leader of a large organisation, AIM has the capacity to support you, to be there with you as you grow your career in management and leadership.