How important is it to feel deeply connected to what you are trying to do? Kevin recognises that the new generation are more attracted to businesses with more purpose. After experiencing a role where he felt he could make a really big difference to NZ he understands it. Purpose brings people together. You see it in employee engagement. You see it in the way people act and behave. You see it even in the micro-decisions people make in every moment of every day. Once people have purpose they’re aligned, heading in the right direction. It’s not to say you can’t be successful without it but you will perform a lot better with it.
What is the secret to success? Glen believes that success comes when you merge talent with ambition and a willingness to take risks. His vision is to create retirement villages where people want to live and not come to die. Where the walls between the home and the community are permeable, so that kids want to come and visit their grandparents. To succeed Glen will need to empower and enable his people to be creative, to stretch themselves and to be their best selves. To achieve this he makes sure he takes the time to stop and chat with them for as long as they need. Because for Glen being a great leader is about being a better listener than a talker.
For Vic Crone, winning on the world stage is about putting one’s people first. Not telling their people what to do but encouraging, listening, and allowing them to be different whilst constantly asking them questions. Innovation is changing the way we do everything and as leaders we can’t leave our people behind. We need to retrain them and develop their skills to be more resilient. We then need to work collaboratively with them to define our vision. Once people have clarity in what they do they gain the confidence to chase their dreams. It’s this that will give us the edge over our competitors.
Is listening to your people the most important trait of a great leader? Mike demonstrates time and again that it’s his people that are the most important asset and that they deserve to be invested in and listened to. In fact, Mike holds these values so dear that he quit a job when he was told he couldn’t have the budget to develop his people and he spent the first year at Z Energy entirely focused on his people, determined to discover who they were, what they wanted to achieve and why they do what they do. Having won CEO of the year – it’s clear that his approach works.
Great leaders have a clear vision for the future. For Marc it’s about changing the way that consumers engage with energy. How do you do that? How do you make change happen? You have to have an appetite for the right type of risk. You need to have an intent-based leadership but you also need to have a humility, so that people relate and connect with you. It’s a huge task that Marc has ahead of him, guiding not only his people, but the customer, to change the way that they interact with energy. And this kind of leadership demands the strength that Marc displays.
How do you get your people on board with your vision? You have to have hundreds of conversations. You have to demonstrate through your actions that you mean what you say. To achieve this, you must be authentic. It wasn’t until Nick knew who he was – why he wanted to be a leader and what type of leader that he would be that he became the CEO at Southern Cross Health Society. It’s this sense of purpose that gives vision and clarity and ultimately guides the success of the organization, keeping it relevant and profitable.
What does it mean when your customer bakes cookies for you? For Chris, this is the ultimate symbol of a job well done. This is when you know that what you’ve done is worthwhile. For Chris great leadership requires taking people on a journey. A leader has to be able to say, ‘This is what I want to do. This is why I want to do it and this is how we are going to do it.” You have to be able to sell the dream and take your people with you. Your team are looking to you for answers, guidance and direction and you need to give it to them so that they can help your customers. It’s all about leaving people in a better space.
The toughest place to be is the CEO. But when does a leader change tack, and decide to move away from just creating profit for the shareholder and decide to do something for the benefit of the whole community? It seems cliché to say a midlife crisis can change a man’s values but it’s not unusual. Often, when people reach the top of their career and have made more money than they ever imagined, they start to see that material wealth does not bring happiness and fulfillment. It has no purpose. Giving back does, and that’s exactly what Sam is set on doing through Simplicity Kiwi Saver.