Leadership causes culture not the other way around

Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash

Tony’s* leadership team confronted the predictable future they faced if nothing changed. They were once an important group but now they risked becoming irrelevant. They refused to accept the nauseating prospect of a gradual demise. Once they decided to end the predictable future, they were able to design a new future. It was a future based on their commitment to make a difference in the lives of their clients. They took on a bigger game to convert their words into action.Read more

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Create opportunities to change the game


Frances* keynote address at the CIO conference was a big hit. The audience could all relate to her experience of IT systems being considered too late in mergers, acquisitions or reorganisations. She had a depth of understanding on the topic and recommendations for success that had come from gathering market intelligence on the topic. She was a demonstration to them of the strategic value that CIOs can provide. 

A few months earlier she had turned a problem into an opportunity.Read more

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Who are your role models?

What organisational leader has the most positive influence in your life? Gallup Polls asked that question of more than 10,000 people in a study of leadership from the follower’s perspective. Who would you nominate? Perhaps a leader who influenced your early career or it could be someone who still inspires you to go the ‘extra mile?’

Gerry Moriarty has been a role model for me and countless others. He will be embarrassed by my acknowledgement. But as he retires from his advisory role with Macquarie Banking Group, I have reflected not just on his significant accomplishments, but on his attributes, that make him such a respected and successful leader.Read more

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Exceptional leaders practice self-development

The feedback from the business unit clients to the CEO was that they were unhappy with the IT department. Projects were off the rails, day to day operations were patchy and there was no confidence that IT could contribute to business strategy. Grant (not his real name) was the CIO and it was only a matter of time before he was next through the revolving door. Of course, he was equally sure that the clients did not know what they wanted and that they changed their priorities when it suited them.Read more

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Can you subtract as well as add?


Peter’s* boss had lost the plot and the board were moving to replace him. Peter and the rest of the leadership team had lost focus. The business was not performing well and staff morale was at an all-time low. Everyone was waiting for someone else to do something. Peter took on being ‘the one’ to challenge the leadership team to turn things around during the hiatus period while the search for a new CEO was conducted.

It was a personal decision.Read more

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Listen and connect to change the game

Photo by Ridham Nagralawala on Unsplash

My 92 year old father still has the ability to connect with others in a way that I can only aspire to achieve. I took him to the pathology clinic for blood tests recently. We were greeted by a grumpy nurse behind the desk, who did not even look up as she asked what we wanted and gestured to us to take a seat. I was annoyed by her behaviour and concerned that my dad would be on the receiving end of her grumpiness.Read more

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Are you Amazon-ready?

Amazon failed with its attempt to introduce a cool smartphone, Fire Phone. The hotel booking site, Amazon Destinations, was similarly an epic failure. Amazon Auctions and several other ventures crashed and burned.  Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, believes failed experiments are a necessary evil to creating successful inventions. He says failure and inventions are “inseparable twins.”

Photo: Wired Magazine TED S. WARREN/AP
But some of Amazon’s bold bets such as Amazon Web Services are paying off big time. The launch of Amazon in Australia may be another bold bet.Read more

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Leadership is a conversation


My good friend and colleague, Dean Phelan, retired recently as CEO of Churches of Christ in Queensland.  His premature retirement came after he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in February this year and stepped down for the good of the organisation. He continues to inspire us with his positivity in adversity and is now well on the road to recovery. Reflecting on his leadership serves to inspire the very best in us.

One way of thinking about the leadership he provided is as a series of conversations.Read more

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Is impostor syndrome getting in your way?


If you are a game-changing leader then chances are that impostor syndrome could be getting in your way. That is the term that was coined to describe the fear we have all experienced that one day we will be discovered as a fraud. Faye* is a case in point. She impressed her prospective employer at interview and won a big new job. When she started in the new role and confronted the magnitude of her new challenge she privately questioned whether she really had the capability to deliver on her promise.Read more

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Are you successful and happy?

Ivan* was a perfectionist. It served him well for much of his career. People were impressed with the results he produced and he quickly moved into leadership roles. But now it seemed more like a curse. He was working long hours and was not fulfilled by his work. His health was suffering from sleepless nights. His team found him demanding and impatient. But the thing that really irritated him was that he was now making predictable commitments to reduce his fear of failure.Read more

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