I still remember the way he looked at me as he said it.
“You must be the new work experience kid are you? what school are you from?’
He was a champion at the top of his game, and though I was almost ten years younger, I was now his coach. In that moment I realised that all my qualifications, knowledge and even the experience I had built up until this moment meant nothing.
I used this moment as impetus for a new challenge. I knew that if I could not learn to become a leader, none of the athletes I was responsible for would follow my advice.
Over the next ten years, and while working for some of the highest profile sports organisations in Australia I watched closely to learn what separated the best leaders, and their teams from the rest.
I immersed myself in as many learning experiences as I could to build the skillset, and mindset that would help me master the art of leading people and driving performance in high pressure, fast paced environments.
My continuing education led me to business school. As I completed my MBA I built the vocabulary and capability to translate my expertise to the corporate context.
As I transitioned from the sports world to the business world, once again I studied the successful to uncover patterns that might point to principles.
Over time and with experience working with organisations and individuals within large and small companies, across a wide variety of industries I have come to see that although context is specific, what powers performance is largely the same.
I've boiled it down to three simple principles.
There are many ways to lead, and no one way works best, rather each is effective in a specific context. There are plenty of models that will identify various leadership traits and archetypes. These can be useful for building self awareness and skill. However, there is only one way to identify a leader: a leader has followers. Followers are committed to the person and the organisation and have internalised the cause as their own.
Identifying, attracting and retaining top talent is not enough. Great teams own their story, and keep each accountable to a shared sense of purpose. Culture exists whether we like it or not, but great teams don’t leave theirs to chance. They work together to design and develop an environment that supports a long-term view of success in achieving something that matters to each and every member.
Every person holds inside them great potential. The extent to which this is realised in a particular context comes down to engagement and expectation. The truth is every single person is yearning to be led, to contribute and to belong. Rather than working to try to form fit unique individuals into a preconceived notion of ‘what we’re like’. Great teams honour each individual for who they are and leverage their unique strengths and eccentricities.
Many consultants peddle the same information, I don’t.
After taking time to understand your situation, I will give you real world in the trenches knowledge and practical, tangible tools. I am much more interested in tools than models. A model is useful, though inaccurate version of reality. A tool is something that can be taken away, tested, applied and refined to fit the context. Models help us think differently, while tools help us act differently.
B.App Sci (Ex Sc.) (hons)
Masters of Business Administration