Blog Archives

The year of the long shot

2016 has been a year that turned the tables on all of the favourites. In sport we saw outside wins by the Western Bulldogs, the Cronulla Sharks, Leicester City and the Chicago Cubs. Ireland defeated the All Blacks. In hockey, the Argentina Men’s Olympic Hockey team and the Great Britain Women’s Hockey team triumphed. On a global scale, who could have predicted Brexit… and now President-elect Donald Trump!

Common to all of these examples are the inner beliefs among team members that led to each outstanding achievement – what separates the firsts from the also rans.

Throughout my time in professional sport and the world @work, I’m constantly amazed by long shots.

I’d like to share four traits I’ve observed in all successful teams, on or off the field, which resonate strongly with me:

  • Vision – a shared belief in a common goal
  • Leadership – taking ownership of individual and team responsibilities
  • Desire – a strong will to succeed
  • Selflessness – it’s not important who receives the accolades

I am working with a well-established group in the FMCG sector at the moment whose brands are well-known to Australian and international consumers. They are in the process of rebuilding their organisational culture with a clear vision, which exemplifies these traits. Focussing on their talent, they have assessed their current capabilities, as well as the leadership potential of candidates. They are investing heavily in people who can add strength to those four traits to accelerate performance.

It just goes to show that no matter what business you are in – anything is possible.

When the adrenaline pumps, a team motivated by a shared belief comes alive and propels its own success. Witnessing such achievement is inspiring to all involved. So when you’re looking for leaders to build you teams and organisation, keep a keen eye on those four traits. You could reveal a long shot.

What are the milestone events for your organisation in 2017? Do you have the people with the Vision, Leadership, Desire and Selflessness to achieve them?

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Posted in Slade Executive, The world @work

Hitches, glitches and sheer brilliance

At 8am this coming Saturday many of us will be watching the Olympic Opening Ceremony telecast from Rio, crossing our fingers for only a few hitches, given we’re prepared for some glitches. I’m prepared to overlook all of the recent events (building delays, security issues, disqualified athletes…) that go with staging a major worldwide sporting event for those moments of sheer brilliance we’re all anticipating!

To get you into the mood, check out the brilliant ‘superhumans’ in this video. The Superhuman Band was assembled by bringing together 16 talented super-abled musicians from every corner of the world to re-record Sammy Davis Jr’s classic track from 1964 Yes I Can – an uplifting song which encapsulates the superhuman spirit. The track features Brisbane vocalist Tony Dee and was recorded in the famous Studio 2 of Abbey Road studios. It’s the perfect anthem for this summer’s Rio Paralympics.

Now that you’ve enjoyed 5 minutes of toe tapping optimism and inspiration, you’re well prepared for the fortnight of the Olympics, which always carries unexpected and inspiring stories; names previously unknown suddenly shoot to stardom. However, none of these athletes would claim overnight success, when it’s taken years of endless training, pain and sacrifice, as well as a huge reliance on family, friends, coaches and supporters to get there.

Nothing takes the place of hard work and persistence, going the extra mile and working through those times when it all just seems too hard.  It’s a very obvious analogy to success in the world @work and the extra effort that pays off: perseverance, attitude, focus and belief. They’re great qualities to look for when recruiting people for your organisation too.

So, while you’re watching the games in awe this month, look beyond the performance and ask yourself what it takes to reach this level of performance? Some may come first, some may fail to win a medal, but all participants in an Olympics or Paralympics are winners in my mind.

Where do you find inspiration to achieve success in business?

 

Read more on this topic: 4 ways an Olympic triumph translates into success at work

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Posted in Slade Executive, The world @work

4 ways an Olympic triumph translates into success at work

It’s a simple formula for athletes in elite sports: focus, preparation, practice and teamwork. Recently I attended a lunch with the Victorian Chamber featuring Australian Olympians Michael Klim, Nicole Livingstone, James Tomkins and Craig Mottram. For them, achieving a lifelong dream by representing Australia and competing at the Olympic Games was secondary to their gold medal winning performances. But the most interesting part of their stories was how they had found new passions post retirement outside of the sporting arena.

  1. Preparation and process

It is very important to keep an unwavering attention to detail during a time of high stress and pressure. Klim spoke of the 1998 Olympics in Atlanta, where he was favourite for the 200m freestyle event. He missed the bus on the way to the pool, couldn’t find his coach and was only able to complete a brief warm up swim – he didn’t qualify for the final. In business, it’s critically important during stressful times that we stick to our defined processes, don’t rush hires or deviate from the norm just to fill a gap.

  1. Challenge and stretch

Tomkins mentioned that he and the other members of the Oarsome Foursome constantly challenged each other to come up with new, innovative ideas that could separate them from the challengers. However it wasn’t up to the athletes alone. They challenged their coach, nutritionist and psychologist to always come up with new ideas. Sometimes all it takes is a fresh set of eyes on a project to change the delivery model, reworking a central piece to pull together all the essential elements of a project. Businesses shouldn’t be afraid to hire from outside their sector or industry if a candidate has an open mind. New talent may give your organisation a ‘shakeup’, offering innovative solutions with the potential to benefit all teams.

  1. Don’t settle

So what happens when you’ve realised the dream and the celebrations are over? Since hanging up his togs, Klim has created the men’s skincare range Milk (a clever anagram of his name) with his family company, Milk & Co. Livingstone has enjoyed a media career as a well-known television host and sports commentator. Mottram recently completed the London Marathon (the competitive bug still bites) and has started his own consultancy business, Elite Wellbeing. Tomkins has worked for nearly 30 years in Banking & Finance, a career he maintained alongside rowing.

  1. Conscientiousness beats lucky

We can all relate to thrill of a win or the inherent disappointment when we fail to reach our goals. Livingstone says athletes make good recruits because they are by nature hardworking, dedicated and committed. I think you’d agree those are common leadership traits too. It’s a buoyant time in the Victorian infrastructure market, so I’m championing the lessons of these Olympians in my approach to executive recruitment.

What have you learned from successful people in your industry? Do you have a success story you’d like to share?

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Posted in Slade Executive, The world @work