Episodes
Episode #153 // This Q&A episode deals with two excellent listener questions! The first, is about how to communicate the uncertainty of the current environment, while still making employees feel supported and secure. Sometimes, it can be tricky to find the balance between honesty and optimism. In the second question, we explore how to manage your emotions when a new employee comes in, all shiny and keen, and casts a shadow over you. The contrast between their attitude and energy, and...
Published 08/03/21
#152 // We get so many questions from listeners about career management and progression. I normally shuffle these to the back of the deck, purely because I always feel as though this isn’t my sweet spot - leadership is!  But, due to popular demand, I’ve decided to do an episode (with a little help from a friend). My special guest is Laurie Ruettimann, and this topic is absolutely her sweet spot! Laurie’s an ex-HR professional who became disillusioned with how organizations worked, and chose...
Published 07/27/21
Episode #151 // I was being interviewed for a podcast in the US a few weeks ago, and the interviewer asked an excellent question: he said, “it’s all well and good when you talk about motivating professionals and senior leaders, but not everyone has jobs like that. How do you motivate people who have mundane, repetitive, and mind-numbing jobs?” Although we tend to imagine occupations like cleaners, fruit pickers, and production line workers when we think about mundane jobs, we may have many...
Published 07/20/21
Episode #150 // Our listener base incorporates leaders from a massive range of different circumstances and experiences…leaders in over 70 countries, in countless industries, leading at all levels, in organizations of all shapes and sizes.  That’s why not everyone gets the same things out of each episode - it’s obviously context dependent!  This episode attempts to bridge all of these worlds, by addressing the issue of organization size, and highlighting some of the differences you’ll face...
Published 07/13/21
Episode #149 // Quite often, when we push back on a boss who wants us to take on more work, we’re told to “just do it”. Or sometimes, when we raise risks, issues, and problems with our boss, they gloss over or ignore them, and we’re told to “just do it”. Given that the world’s leading athletic brand has the tagline, “Just Do It!”, I took to calling this type of leader the Nike Boss. You don’t want to be that boss, and you certainly don’t want to work for that boss. This episode gives both...
Published 07/06/21
Episode #148 // Everyone has different levels of mental capability, emotional capacity, resilience, drive, and ambition. To make things even harder, on any given day these can vary for an individual, depending on what’s going on in their world. What works today may not work next Friday. Knowing what this means for each of your direct reports at any given point in time, is the baseline for understanding how far you can stretch them (without breaking them)! In this episode, I explore why...
Published 06/29/21
Episode #147 // In this episode we have another couple of great questions to work through! First we’ll deal with how to manage the fallout of peer envy. There’s no doubt that when you start to rise above the pack, the pack will try to pull you back to them (especially in Australia - say hello to Tall Poppy Syndrome).   I saw a lot of these situations in my corporate career, and watched some people deal with this better than others! I’ll be sharing with you what I think works best.   Secondly,...
Published 06/22/21
Episode #146 // Regardless of the size of business you’re in, one of your primary objectives is to prepare for the future. This means ensuring that you have the talent and capability in place so that, if something untoward happens to you or one of your key people, your business doesn’t skip a beat. So how do you actually ensure you have stability and continuity in your talent, especially in a micro-business where your options can be limited?  Knowing your people, the market, and what...
Published 06/15/21
Episode #145 // We spend a lot of time talking about the difficult elements of leadership, and how to overcome them. Mastery of the right habits, behaviors, and mindset is crucial if you want to have a successful and happy career. But what about having fun at work? Let’s face it - we have very serious jobs, doing very serious work for our very serious stakeholders. But it doesn’t mean that every interaction has to be deathly serious! Knowing when and how to lighten the mood is a delicate...
Published 06/08/21
Episode #144 // Since Covid, it has become a lot more difficult to attract and retain the right talent (which is a little counterintuitive, given how many people’s livelihoods were affected during the pandemic). But government stimulus measures in many countries have distorted labour markets. As it becomes increasingly difficult to secure quality candidates, it’s important to understand how to secure the right capability at the front end. Let’s face it, you just want to hire the best person...
Published 06/01/21
Episode 143 // Some companies have turned the concept of believing your own bullsh!t into an art form! It’s really easy to convince ourselves that we are achieving amazing things when, in actual fact, very little is changing. The Emperor’s New Clothes, the classic fairytale from Hans Christian Andersen, is a wonderful metaphor for this. Leaders often pretend that they’re in control, that they have all the answers. They even convince themselves that they’re excellent leaders, whom people...
Published 05/25/21
Episode #142 // When tech firm Basecamp released some new company policies, around a third of their people resigned (hey, it’s only a small business, but even so)! What’s all the fuss about?    These fairly innocuous changes made by co-founder and CEO, Jason Fried, drew clearer lines between social and work-related interactions, and set some boundaries that Basecamp deems appropriate.   So how much should we let our people integrate their social and political interests with the work they’re...
Published 05/18/21
Episode #141 // Understanding risk, and being able to respond in a manner that’s both appropriate and proportional to the level of risk is a fundamental capability for leaders. When we talk about judgement in leadership and decision making, a lot of it comes down to how well we can assess and respond to risk, given the uncertainty that faces us at any given point in time. This episode brings the discipline of risk management to life, with a number of examples that take the mystery out of...
Published 05/11/21
Episode 140 // In this week’s Q&A, we’re going to cover two questions about the subtle art of managing upwards and how to deal with a passive aggressive boss. We do get an awful lot of questions about how to deal with those leaders above you, so much so that we’re actually planning out a mini-course about it! In the meantime, the two questions we’ve chosen for this episode cover the main issues that we see. The first question from Genevieve is about how to influence upwards when you...
Published 05/04/21
Episode #139 // This week we take on a great listener question that will be on many people’s minds at the moment. Fear has been stoked to extraordinary levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the subsequent impact of lockdowns and travel bans on many businesses has been severe. Many people are living in fear, as they see their companies struggling to survive, and are faced with the harsh reality of their own lack of job security. What impacts are felt when individuals operate from a...
Published 04/27/21
Episode #138 // I recently had a robust after-dinner discussion over this old expression. It’s often said by someone who’s trying to explain the reasons behind another person’s success. And, yes, it’s designed to somehow diminish their achievements. It implies that learning and knowledge are inherently more noble and worthwhile than building relationships… or perhaps there’s an element of favoritism or nepotism at play… or that anyone who leverages their connections is (at best) taking a...
Published 04/20/21
Episode #137 // This week’s episode is another interview, this time with marketing icon, Eric Siu! Em managed to secure this interview with the man who was instrumental in us understanding how to build our business, in a world that requires mastery of both physical and digital marketing channels. For those of you building your own businesses, this episode will be invaluable. For those working in larger corporations at any level, Eric shares his insights and hard-earned wisdom on everything...
Published 04/13/21
Episode #136 // How do you know when it’s time to leave an organisation? Like almost every question in leadership, the answer is - it depends. Every situation is completely different, and only you know the factors that affect you: the workplace culture, your personal circumstances, the impact your boss has on you, and your ultimate career aspirations. But wouldn’t it be great to have a framework that could help you make smart decisions whenever you face a career dilemma?! This episode...
Published 04/06/21
Episode #135 // Is there such a thing as “too much empathy”? Despite what many pundits say, I believe that there’s a place for almost limitless empathy in a leader. The more you have, the better you’ll be able to lead your people.  The risk is that weak leaders often allow their empathy to devolve into sympathy, which is a very different thing. If you combine empathy with the right leadership behaviours - strength of character and uncompromising standards - it will build the foundations...
Published 03/30/21
Episode #134 // Have you ever been told that you need to be “more strategic”? t can come as part of the dreaded post-interview feedback, when you find out that you haven’t got the job, or in a talent management discussion when your boss tells you that you aren’t seen as someone who might rise to the next level. Telling someone that they need to be more strategic means… well, nothing! This episode explores what your boss really means when she says “you need to be more strategic”, and I...
Published 03/23/21
Episode #133 // INTERVIEW After 130-odd episodes of me giving my two-cents worth on all things leadership, we’re starting to introduce the occasional interview with a leader who has really made a difference in the world. In this episode, I interview Luc Robitaille, President of the Los Angeles Kings National Hockey League franchise. After a 20-year career as an elite athlete in one of the toughest sporting arenas on the planet, Luc made the successful transition to corporate executive...
Published 03/16/21
Episode #132 // There are many variables that have an impact on what a CEO role entails at a given point in time - industry, company size, maturity of the business, external market forces, customer segmentation, ownership structure etc. On top of this, every day can be vastly different, which is why some of the most important attributes for a CEO to possess are adaptability, change tolerance, and mental agility. Add to these the ability to communicate and align the organisation around a...
Published 03/09/21
Episode #131 // I run into leaders all the time who struggle with the personal impact that a leadership role has on their lives. It can be emotionally draining, and it can have far reaching impacts through every aspect of their lives. To be a successful leader in the longer term, and at the most senior levels, you first have to learn how to manage yourself. As they say during the airline safety briefings, “if oxygen is required, fit your own mask first before assisting others”. Strong...
Published 03/02/21
Episode #130 // As leaders, we expect most things to be logical. They should make sense to us, and be easy for us to explain to our people. And to a large extent this is true. But we also can’t overlook the fact that some of the most important principles of success are actually counterintuitive, and we need to be able to hold this dissonance in our heads. It’s in our nature to look for easy answers to the things that challenge us. The fact of it is, though, there are no silver bullets....
Published 02/23/21
Episode #129 // INTERVIEW In today's podcast, I talk about the 'Executive Breakthrough' with Michelle Foley, Chief Customer Officer at The Arnott's Group. Michelle has been with The Arnott’s Group for over 17 years now, and knows the company intimately. The iconic Aussie brand that brings us Tim Tam cookies and Jatz crackers is now going through some change, and Michelle is one of the key executives guiding the company through its next phase. In this exclusive pre-recorded interview,...
Published 02/16/21