Leveraging Diversity

I wanted to talk a moment about Leveraging Diversity.

Often, when we go out and hire people, we like the people that are like us and I see it often in teams that I deal with where everybody’s kind of the same.

You have this sort of homogenous group of people who think alike, do alike, play the same sports. They’re very, very similar. And whilst that can be a fun environment to work in, it’s very narrow and diverse teams work really, really well.

If you create an environment where diversity is valued, then you really unlock an extraordinary amount of potential.

I have no idea, for instance, why we still have this debate around women on boards. I mean the science is there, the stats are there. If you have a diverse board from a gender perspective or race or background or religion or whatever it might be, all that diversity creates a melting pot of ideas and background and perspectives.

And I think the reason it works is this perspective’s piece: ...

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Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership.

Sounds a little wussy, sounds a little soft, and yet it is and continues to be, more importantly now than ever, the most effective way of leading an organisation.

Serving those around you, putting others before yourself. It’s been around for a couple of thousand years. Western civilization, the idea of it was really built on the back of the individual having sanctity and serving those people around us. And creating a Culture of Honour is paramount, I think, in an environment where the momentum of the marketplace is so quick that you have to leverage the collective experience and intelligence of those around you or you’ll fail as an individual. So it’s about serving the team.

The team is more important than the individual.

You can have a very high-performing individual who’s bringing in all the sales. I had a sales manager for a company that I ran. You know what? He was the samurai warrior. He was kicking down doors for a living, doing a...

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Risk Appetite


Don’t talk to the CEO or the CFO, in particular, about risk.

Risk one of those things where, particularly in large organisations, people don’t like risk. They have risk committees. We try to work out what the risks are and we avoid those things and I’m not talking about health and safety. Safety first. A hundred percent. Always.

However, from a business perspective, if you don’t risk, you don’t innovate. If you don’t innovate, you die. It’s as simple as that

So we need to get our head around creating an environment where risk is part and parcel of the things that we do in order to be able to innovate. So no risk, no innovation. No innovation, no differentiation. No differentiation, you get to play a different game because you have no clients left.

So we need to think about risk but, I think, within a box. If we just create risk for no sake, you know, there’s all sorts of downside for that. People innovate around...

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Passion and Purpose

Passion and Purpose.

Two things that are very aligned.

We talked about vision where you create a sense of direction very much around the same thinking around purpose.
A sense of purpose. Something that’s important to us that we can activate in our workplace.

Bring your heart to work.

As leaders, sometimes we think we need to be cold and stoic and just functional. It’s dog eat dog. And yet, you know, bring your heart.

Get emotionally involved in what you’re doing. It’s genuine. It’s authentic. Get excited about what’s happening around you. And other people will catch up on that and it does create a sense of momentum when there’s passion and people have a sense of direction and purpose.

So bring your heart to work.

Daniel Pink, who I really like, he used to be a lawyer but we’ve forgiven him for that. He talks about 3 areas that will create motivation, that will create passion and sense of purpose in your organisation.

One of...

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Culture of Honour

Culture of Honour. Oh, I love this. This is really the core of my operating, thinking, my philosophy, is to create a Culture of Honour and it’s a fundamental foundation block for the way that I’ve led different companies over the years and I’ve always tried to operate this way. Sometimes more successfully than others. But really it’s around valuing the individual.

We all have intrinsic value. So each person, regardless of what their role is, whether they’re wrapping parsels or chairman of the board, turning up to the board meeting in a big Merc. Or different roles. Sales. You might be area manager. You could be working on retail. Could be doing a number of different roles, but every single individual, from my perspective, has intrinsic value.

And if you bring that mindset to the table, then you tend to treat people in a different way. You will give everybody dignity and respect and take the time to listen to them.

Everybody has value.

You might...

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Today I’m talking about collaboration. Now you think as a leader, that the fundamental of leadership is you can’t do it by yourself, and it’s very true, yet a lot of leaders really rely on their own volition, their own capability, their own experience to try and activate what it is that they’re trying to lead.

Today with the marketplace moving so quickly - so much disruption, so many things going on, the old commander control methodology of leadership just doesn’t work anymore so we have to wrestle with how do we activate the collective intelligence, the collective experience of those around us.

It’s all about collaboration, creating a culture of collaboration and getting people to collaborate to a consistent, clear outcome.

I ran Gloria Jeans as I may have mentioned before. I was the group managing director there for a couple of years doing the turn around and it was a difficult situation. We had a lot of stakeholders, a lot of issues,...

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