Could you describe your typical day?
Well, this really depends on what day of the week it is and the time of year. Mondays and Tuesdays are typically admin days and also framing the week’s information/education piece, which includes article writing, as well as creating videos that get sent to subscribers. The remainder of the week is spent on video calls to coach clients and preparing training content or research. I also like to attend networking events whenever I can.
In regards to the time of year, towards the year’s quarter boundaries, travel becomes more frequent to attend quarterly planning and pre-planning preparation sessions.
What are the key skills you need for your work?
Primarily, listening skills. You need to listen thoroughly to the people and teams you’re engaging with, to ask the right questions. I am continually researching and gathering industry best practice, but unless I have a deep understanding of the business circumstances, I can’t apply the most effective approach.
What part of your job do you find the most challenging?
Enabling a player to identify their most important task and priority, so they can help themselves. Today executives are busy. Very busy. And everything seems both urgent and important. Clearly, not everything can be done immediately. Getting to a point of focus on what can be achieved and managing expectations is often challenging.
What aspects of your work do you find most enjoyable?
The challenges I just mentioned! When we can get to a place where we’ve identified the choke point for moving forward, this is also often a point of relief. When someone from the ‘outside’ verifies that you’re not crazy, you don’t need to do everything today, you can have some down time and the work will still get done somehow, it’s a release.
Also the results – when someone takes an approach that we’ve worked on, applies it and sees a result that helps them move forward in some way, its a massive buzz.
Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
My father was my best leadership mentor. I recall him talking about my school report where we got A to E for achievement and 1 to 5 for effort. The highest combination being A – 1. He said that he wasn’t bothered much about what I scored on the achievement scale, but only asked that I post 1s and 2s in the effort column. “Doing your best is all that we can ask.” He wanted me to have choices in my career. If I worked hard, had choices, and was happy and healthy doing it, that was the most important thing. For that I am always grateful.
What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
I believe that if we choose to direct our lives on purpose, we are leaders. Know your personal work values and objectives. Many don’t. Start getting clear on why you’ve chosen this position, what’s important about how you do the job, and what you’re trying to achieve. Never stop trying to improve and move forward, if you don’t you’ll stagnate.
If you’re accountable for another person or team, the same basic rules apply; but with the addition of using the organisation (and your position) to help your players rise to their highest level of potential. If you can do that, the organisation gets better and its results improve…whatever sector it’s in.
What developments on the horizon do you see as shaping the future of your industry/role?
The rate of technological change and its application in business. Machine learning, artificial intelligence, block chain, “the internet of things”, and many others will have a dramatic impact on businesses, whatever niche they’re in. We need to be aware of the implications and how they impact our clients.
What inspires you?
My family. These give me a clear sense of purpose and persistence when things seem tough or challenging.
What do you think is the best way to innovate?
Understanding the problem you think you’re trying to solve. When you begin with the problem you think you’re trying to solve, sometimes that’s not the actual problem. It can be something entirely different.
· Build something and get it into the hands of people who have that problem (or who are likely to have it)
· Gather feedback about what works and what’s doesn’t
· Build the next version and get that back into the hands of likely users
· Use this iteration to both clarify the problem exists and your solution to it
What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
I attend training sessions, both on-line and in-person, and dedicate time to reading and asking for feedback from players I’m coaching or have coached.
Why do you like being part of the LLM team?
The team members are all professionals and leaders in their own fields and in their own right. The culture is supportive and abundant. Focus is placed on what’s good for the team and the service of our clients.
What are the key projects you worked on as part of LLM?
· Nutreco leadership training in Bangkok
· Neovia Leading leaders program – two full 2-day sessions with senior managers.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work?
Spending time with my wife and family. My children are two and four years old so they take up a lot of, what was once, free time. I love participating in sport (running, cycling, swimming) and am an avid motor sports fan. I am also known to be a stand-up comedian, as well as a competent tap dancer and drummer.