The journey to here…

2016 had been a pretty tumultuous time. I had resigned form a senior Executive role in a global company. The company had experienced its greatest growth and most profitable period under my stewardship. The team had grown and I was assembling a diverse array of highly competent global talent.

On the other hand, I was miserable and was turning into – if not already – a goal orientated leader. The next KPI or bust. It was not me. I liked taking people along for the journey and all too often, it felt like I was taking my team for a ride. Compounding this antagonism was a a feeling that I was more pariah to my head office than a valued leader.

Searching for Balance

I needed to find time for my long suffering wife and…to finish my MBA. It turns out it is extremely difficult to complete an MBA whilst running a company. Consequently, I performed most of my assignments and study on planes and in hotel rooms. (FYI…not ideal!) 

My final subjects were Financial Management – a brutal look back into High School Mathematics – complete with relearning the scientific calculator – and new leanings of capacity costing, dividend discount models and how to use hurdle rates…I finished the three hour written exam in just under 90 minutes, and scored my second highest mark. The final paper was a research project that would take over three months – full time – to complete.

I chose Corporate Governance as the topic and mirroring my journey; researched what support was available to new and aspiring directors who took on leadership roles within Australian Based Subsidiaries of Global operations. The brief took six weeks to be approved as I was treading uncharted territory: Calling out our current Corporate Governance system and learning Institutes as being deeply flawed.

A business opportunity?

To make a long story much shorter, (you can read the paper here) I interviewed over 50 leaders and found that 87% had little in the way of formal training to perform their director giving roles… Probably the most satisfying day of my four year MBA journey was reading the mark it received. The paper received a High distinction and raised my very average GPA to creditable 5.2

I thought I had found my Niche business as I was deeply passionate about Corporate Governance and believed I lived and have led a highly ethical and accountable life to date. Another three months were invested in developing financial models and business plans before I took the plunge. My new business would offer and facilitate Corporate Governance Training training with a difference. Hopefully I could negate the anguish and difficulties I felt when I had taken on a directorship. There would be no institutionalised lawyer and accountant speak.I would offer Practical real world governance strategies for novice and aspiring directors….

The Leadership Void

Alas…It turns out that most businesses and “leaders” don’t really want to be informed or compliant. They will mostly do only what they need to. You can read my views on our current leadership void here.

“Our Leaders are Long on Words & Short on Action” – @PaulPolman posed at the recent Davos 2020 talkfest… A great insight was provided by Halla Tomasdottir here. What caught my eye was the need this.

Leaders who think in terms of people and planet, and value sustainability, equality and accountability in business are growing in strength and collaborating like never before. “

Plan B – Halla Tomasdottir

Most noteworthy, here we are 47 days into 2020, democracy, our environment and ethical leadership teeters on a knife edge.

What could I do?

What can I do?

In a moment of rage, driven with the inaction of the Australian Government to mounting environmental destruction from mining, fires, floods, droughts, CO2 emissions etc, etc etc… I Googled “Ecocide“, and found an amazing organisation.

A ray of Hope?

The Australian Earth Laws Alliance. What’s more, the home page teased me with:

The Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) is a national not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to increase the understanding and practical implementation of Earth centred governance, with a focus on law, economics, education, ethics and the arts

Earth

Centred

Governance

As a result, I’ve volunteered and am studying again. This time I’m finding out what KPI’s I have to meet to provide a sustainable future for our community. Not the company.

I’ll be sharing my journey along the way. Please comment or share as appropriate.

Brett

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