What great leadership looks like in difficult times
Episode 128 - What great leadership looks like in difficult times with Gary Ryan
Leadership and high-performance culture expert Gary Ryan highlights the critical differences between leaders who believe the people in their organization are human beings versus leaders who think they lead human resources.
About our guest Gary Ryan
Gary Ryan is the founder of Organisations That Matter, a boutique consulting firm in Melbourne, Australia. Gary works with organizations in a wide range of industries, including public transport, agriculture, building services, finance, banking, federal, state, and local government, universities, arboriculture, primary and secondary schools, professional sports, and individual leaders who desire to improve their lives and the lives of the people they serve.
In the mid-1990s, Gary was introduced to Servant Leadership and the theory and practice of Organisational Learning. These theories are constantly evolving and have spawned Authentic Leadership and Inclusive Leadership. The theoretical foundation of these bodies of knowledge has continued to influence Gary in everything he does. Most importantly, Gary believes in closing the gap between theory and practice, which is the space in which he has chosen to work. He focuses on leaders because they have the most significant influence on the culture within an organization. You can connect with Gary on LinkedIn or learn more about his book and organization.
Resources mentioned in this episode
Transcript of this episode
[00:00:00] Renata: But I am so keen to know from you because you've written a book. You know, you are one of those amazing people that use the pandemic in a very productive way and wrote not only any book, but a book that has been so well received. What have you learned about being a leader? Doing district? I
[00:00:22] Gary: think it's summarized in a single word and that's called care.
[00:00:26] Gary: I think what leaders have recognized, and some of them are in the book that, that weren't as familiar with how important it was, is it, as it quickly became for them that they need to genuinely care. They need to genuinely care about whatever the organization is trying to achieve. So Raymundo Flarity the CEO of the Metro trains.
[00:00:43] Gary: Metro trains were smashed by the pandemic because people stopped using public transport. And it's still a concern for a lot of people. And yet he had a workforce of six and a half thousand people that he serves that were required to still go to work because we still have our [00:01:00] health workers. We still had our police force, our, our ambulance, uh, folk, et cetera, the hospital workers who needed to be able to get to and from.
[00:01:08] Gary: But he had a workforce that needed to feel safe as a safe, as possible in a risky job. Now, because at that time, especially at the start of 2020, they didn't know what this virus really was. And so as much as Raymond was allowed to, according to the rules, he physically put himself out there to be with the staff where they were working at the very minimum saying, thank you for showing up.
[00:01:30] Gary: He cared enough to know that that was so important. I just need to thank you for showing up.
[00:01:47] Renata: hi, I’m Renata Bernarde and this is The Job Hunting Podcast, where I interview experts and professionals and discuss issues that are important for job hunters and those who are working to advance their careers. So make sure that you [00:02:00] subscribe and follow and let's dive right in.
[00:02:05] Renata: Gary Ryan wrote a book about leadership in times of disruption to write his book. Gary interviewed several Australian leaders and observed as they led and tried their best to manage large organizations and small doing lockdowns and several disruptions that have happened. In the past couple of years, I interviewed Gary today to get his insight on what great leadership looks like in this new normal that we're living in 2022 and how job seekers and career enthusiasts professionals, senior executives can get ready for the job search and find it.
[00:02:48] Renata: The great place that they all want to work. I interviewed Gary for this episode to understand from him what great leadership looks like. So when you are [00:03:00] looking for a job, you know how to identify the best organizations to fit you, the ones with better leadership, better culture. The ones that are looking forward that are preparing themselves for the future.
[00:03:14] Renata: Gary is an expert in leadership. He's a consultant, he's an author and a great person all around. I hope you enjoyed this chat where we start discussing his careers and his strengths and how he changed careers over time until he found his niece. We also discuss how to answer. That terrible question that we all get in job interviews.
[00:03:39] Renata: What is your leadership style? And then we discuss issues as how do I identify the best organization for you as you progress in your career and try to find the best fit for your skills and experience. I hope you enjoyed this conversation. I sure did. It just flows when I'm talking to Gary every time we have [00:04:00] such a great connection and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
[00:04:03] Renata: Hey, Gary. Welcome
[00:04:05] Gary: Renata. How are you? Welcome.
[00:04:13] Renata: great. So first of all, I like all my guests to tell us a little bit about their careers before we begin, because it's always great to hear a good career story. And I know that yours is pretty good.
[00:04:25] Renata: So tell us about your career so far, Gary, what took you from wherever you started to what you're doing?
[00:04:32] Gary: Well, I thought I was going to be a secondary physical education teacher. So that was my first degree. I was involved in a head-on car accident when I was 19, which is pretty serious. And my girlfriend at the time actually suffered a brain injury.
[00:04:44] Gary: So that was a huge shakeup event for life, but w w she ended up okay. If you ever met her today, Renata, you wouldn't know that she'd been through what she went through that the late. Completing that course. And in the end, I had the record for my cohort of taking seven and a half years to complete the [00:05:00] four year undergraduate degree.
[00:05:02] Gary: But it meant that when I graduated, there were no jobs for phys ed teachers. You literally could not get one. So I went into the fitness industry, which happened to be related to the tertiary sector. And my first full-time job was actually commercializing a fitness center for Monash university at its cornfield campus, and then contributed to the peninsula.
[00:05:22] Gary: Was involved with university sport as a result of that for a period of time, recognized a bit of a glass ceiling with sport though, Australia's population isn't that as much as we've got professional sports here, there really weren't that many great paying jobs. So I decided I needed to go back to university and along that way, started exploring, getting out of the sport and into more of the commercial side of the operation.
[00:05:45] Gary: That led me into a senior role in an organization that was partly owned by the university and the student unions, which involved retail, hospitality, sports. So we did everything from looking after the sports fields to running pubs, but it also included [00:06:00] the career service and student development programs.
[00:06:03] Gary: And. Eventually evolve into some organizations, such as the national Australia bank, the Commonwealth car service, which is the service that drives around the prime minister and all the ministers and special guests to Australia, all the VIP's et cetera with. So it's a national agency and they came and tapped us on the shoulder and asked us if we could help them with their culture, because we'd been working on a servant leadership and values based culture.
[00:06:25] Gary: And so I got tapped on the shoulder to be the one to become the head consultant, which is when I started to learn consulting skills. And as a result of. The story in 2007, I decided to start organizations that matter, which is my company. And that I wanted to work with organizations that recognize they had human beings in them and human beings matter.
[00:06:45] Gary: So I have been working ever since then for 15 years, we just turned 15 back in February. And I've been working with organizations that in some cases, Renata recognize that they're not that good at treating people like human beings, but they. Uh, in other cases and [00:07:00] probably most of the cases they've, they're actually quite good at it, but they want to be great.
[00:07:04] Gary: And there's a gap that they've got and there's an actual, there's an exponential difference between good and great. It's not a straight line and that's fundamentally the gap that I, that I tend to work in with the organizations that I serve. There's my story.
[00:07:15] Renata: That's great. Gary, before we go on and talk about leaders and the organizations that you've been working with, To ask you two questions about your career trajectory.
[00:07:23] Renata: First of all, a lot of generations, EDS, you know, people that are graduating just before the pandemic, during the pandemic. And now when things are going back to this new normal, they're finding it hard to get jobs. Do what was it during the time you graduated after seven and a half years of undergrad degree that made it hard for you to find a job as a school
[00:07:44] Gary: teacher?
[00:07:45] Gary: They just weren't there. The government had changed some rules. They were actually importing PE teachers when I started my degree. But when I finished because of, uh, Jeff Kennett it's well-known, um, and some changes that had happened here in the state of Victoria, there were no teaching jobs. There literally [00:08:00] were not.
[00:08:00] Gary: Now I knew that about a year out from graduating eventually. So I looked around and I suppose this is the one, you know, you've got to face your own. And my reality was this degree had been doing which to be brutally honest, Renata. I actually worked out, I didn't really want to be a teacher with people who didn't want to learn.
[00:08:17] Gary: I realized I actually have teaching skills, but I wanted to, and that seeds for my consulting work were actually planted way back then. I wanted to work with people who wanted to do. Right. I'll actually discovered that finishing that degree, but I knew normal trajectory wasn't available. So I looked around and at the time I was working as a casual gym instructor, which is where I met my wife.
[00:08:38] Gary: In fact, it was also a casual gym has dragged us up. I love Monash for that. We have five beautiful children. Um, But working there, I could see that Monash had only taken over the coffin and peninsula campuses four years earlier and the quality and the difference between the facilities at the Clayton campus and the cornfield and other campuses was a massive gap.
[00:08:57] Gary: So I guess [00:09:00] something had to happen. Yeah. And so,
[00:09:03] Renata: yeah, you, you were looking at alternatives, you saw it coming, you were looking at alternatives. And I think I want to focus on this point for a little beach, because even though my. Clientele is not that young. I know that they are young people in the audience for the job hunting podcast.
[00:09:18] Renata: And I know that a, uh, exiting the workforce more than others during the pandemic. And even now they, uh, you know, confused about what their careers will look. Post pandemic. And I think that learning from somebody like you, who also had issues when they graduated is, is a good thing. The
[00:09:37] Gary: similar thing actually happened when I formed my business, some things that happened with the university and there was a change in senior leadership in the university now, which they decided to restructure.
[00:09:46] Gary: And despite the positive performance of the organization, They made 460 of our staff redundant. I didn't actually, I wasn't, I didn't receive a force redundancy, but there was a voluntary one available to me. And so, and I knew that as well, a year out. So in both [00:10:00] instances, so I was obviously a lot older for the second time when that came around.
[00:10:03] Gary: That was 15 years later. Both instances is all about keeping your head up. And I know you use that language, keep your head up, look at what's going on. You know, you spoken recently about the sunk cost fallacy. I didn't know that language. I didn't know that theory then, but I guess they down, I understood it.
[00:10:18] Gary: And so in the first instance, you know, keeping my head up and looking around, I just, I could see something had to happen. And I was going to position myself that if it happened, I mean, the concept. I've got a PE degree, right? So I'll use a sporting one. The easiest place in most sports to score a goal is from right in front of the goals.
[00:10:36] Gary: Is it guaranteed? The ball will come to you. Is it guaranteed that if it does, you will still call it a kick a goal, but Hey, it's the best place to be. Right. So I actually approached my manager at the time at the gym and said, could I create a course that doesn't exist for members that they would actually have to pay for, to, to have access to, but I won't charge you anything to run this.
[00:10:58] Gary: Now, maybe that was not so smart, but I, [00:11:00] I was doing this about my future and getting experience and runs on the board that was going to be my payment. And I wanted to make it as easy as possible for my boss to say, yes, there was no cost to the boss. Right. And they say, yes, I ended up running. Cycles of this course over that 12 month period leading into when that job actually became available.
[00:11:19] Gary: And I've had it confirmed that that was the thing that got me across the line to the job compared to the other person who shortlisted. That's great.
[00:11:28] Renata: I'm glad you mentioned the sunk cost fallacy, because one thing that you mentioned before about doing the degree in education and in realizing that you weren't really keen to teach any student you had there as with specific.
[00:11:42] Renata: Now you could have used the sunk cost fallacy to drop out and do something else, but I am glad that you finished your degree and you, and, and sometimes people get confused about the sunk cost. Decision-making. If you've invested a lot of time into something, you can always [00:12:00] recycle. Right. I don't want people to regret spending time or investing money in projects that don't go ahead exactly as they planned, because I do believe in the power of recycling everything in your life and making every opportunity, a project, an experience that you wear as a badge of honor, and it moves you forward.
[00:12:21] Renata: So never regret things from your past, but make decisions that are good for your
[00:12:25] Gary: future. Yeah. So I'll look, I'll be dead straight five and a half years into that degree, I was at the point of, do I quit? Is this the same cost for me? Again? It wasn't the language I was using, but you know, we can, that's really what I was asking.
[00:12:38] Gary: And my now wife, then my partner at the time, Michelle, you know, we discussed it together and she said, look, no, this is. It's like a bus ticket. And it really was that undergraduate degree was like a bus ticket that it really didn't matter if I didn't end up being a teacher, but that ticket got me onto a bus that you couldn't get on without that ticket, without that, without a degree.
[00:12:57] Gary: And that could take you to all sorts of [00:13:00] places, which absolutely in my story is true. I do not regret one IO. Pushing through in that case, even though I knew I wasn't most likely going to be a teacher system helped me by making it an impossibility in the short term, which I'm grateful
[00:13:15] Renata: for. And Gary, uh, one more question about your career story that caught my attention.
[00:13:20] Renata: It was the, you decided that you wanted to do something commercial. What triggered you to think? No, I think that I have a strength year that I'm good at and I want to get better at it. What made you. Identified that as a
[00:13:34] Gary: strength. Well, I understood service excellence really deeply and that's applicable in any field.
[00:13:40] Gary: Now, clearly the commercial space is where there's, there's more money and, and, you know, quite frankly, it was just going to be more opportunity to be able to earn a higher salary, still doing what I love doing. And. Talent and strength that I've got. So it made sense to me to broaden my experience and I never have ever left behind the non not-for-profit side of things either.
[00:13:59] Gary: [00:14:00] So universities and student development, I still choose to spend about 20% of my time deliberately in that space, even though the returns aren't the same as in the commercials. The world that I work, but I just love working with students. I just love the energy, you know, both undergrad and graduate students.
[00:14:16] Gary: And, and when people, you know, bag Jens, EDS and millennials, I mean, I've got a couple of children that are exactly there myself, but I don't understand why they bag them. I, it makes no sense to me, to me, the fundamental differences is they don't tolerate things. My generation tolerated that aren't so good in a culture.
[00:14:32] Gary: And when an organization promises something and then doesn't deliver it, we would probably wear it on the chin. And so we have to cop that, whereas they own hold on, you promised this and you haven't delivered. I'm not hanging around for that. I applaud that.
[00:14:44] Renata: Yeah. No, that's, that's great. I agree with you wholeheartedly.
[00:14:47] Renata: I think it's because we have kids that age makes us really soft with them, but I love them. In terms of the strengths that you bring to the work that you do. You know, my coaching is all about [00:15:00] strengths. W we work on elevating the strengths in the same way that you said some of your client organizations are good already.
[00:15:07] Renata: They just want to be great. What was the strength that was built inside you as a DNA that has helped your career? Well,
[00:15:15] Gary: this is where I have to thank my family. And I have to thank the fact that I'm number nine with the twins that were nine and 10 and I blue collar family. I have store first cousins and for males to go to university, just, isn't what happened in my broader family, on both my mother and father's side of the families as a result of going down a different path.
[00:15:33] Gary: Uh, I can tell you the story if you like it. Came about, but I'd love it. Go ahead. Tell the story. When my twin brother and I are with 10, our parents satisfies down as I had done with our siblings and asked us where we wanted to go to secondary school. Okay. They blue collar family, but both my parents, my mother got taken out of school at age 14.
[00:15:51] Gary: My father at age 15, they both actually liked school. So they highly valued education because it was taken away. Through the economic reasons, et cetera, and then their stories. And [00:16:00] they sat us down. They said, where do you want to go to secondary school? And I said, I want to go to university. And dad said, well, I'm talking about secondary schools down and you're talking about university and what are you going to do at university?
[00:16:10] Gary: Anyway, I think. I don't know. And he said, well, why do you want to go to university? And I said, I just know I've got 10 thumbs. I don't really like swinging the hammer in the garage with you and my brothers. I, I, I, I'm pretty good at school. I'm pretty smart at school. I think I should go to university, but to get there, I think I should go to the boys second.
[00:16:28] Gary: Yeah. Local boys secondary and okay. And he turns to my twin brother and he says, where do you want to go to school? And he goes, I've heard they do too much homework at those boys schools. So I want to go to secondary school with my, where my brothers go and I want to be a tradesman, like. So dad said, okay, points.
[00:16:47] Gary: It means there's all right. You can go to the local boys secondary school and you can do that homework. He points at my twin brother and says, you can go to local technical school with your brothers. And then he pointed at himself and said, I'll go and get myself a second part-time job. So he had a [00:17:00] full-time job, one part-time job.
[00:17:01] Gary: Now here was saying, I'll go get a second part-time job so I can pay for you to go to that local boys school. Wow, exactly. Yeah. I knew that. And so as a result of that, there was no way I was going to have poor grades.
[00:17:13] Renata: Yes. Yeah. So you have to live up to those expectations and that hard work. I wanted you to, to tell us the story, Gary, because I do have clients that come from blue collar families and they are now executive senior executives.
[00:17:27] Renata: And there is something that they carry with them that that is a lot of pride, but also their sense of place in that executive presence that they haven't really received from growing up in a blue collar family, you know, You know, I'll tell you, my background is very different from yours. You know, I'm third generation ex-pat.
[00:17:47] Renata: So my, my grandfather worked in Washington, DC. My dad worked in the Silicon valley here I am in Australia. So the amount of knowledge and vicarious learning that I got from observing them, you [00:18:00] know, even though my mom didn't go to uni, she was also quite an intellectual. So it makes a huge difference in building up your.
[00:18:09] Renata: Presence and your ability to liaise at that senior exec levels, which you had to learn in a different way. And I had to develop for organizations that I worked for, as you know, I worked for Monash developing the master's students career readiness program. And then at the Institute of chartered accountant, Bringing gain a more diversity to the accounting profession here in Australia.
[00:18:33] Renata: And it's very different. Isn't it? Did you feel that as you were entering the corporate sector?
[00:18:39] Gary: Yes. And this is where, I guess my strength. This is the relationship back to my strengths. Okay. So as a result of that journey, When I finished, when I finally finished that degree, I swore I'm never going back to university.
[00:18:51] Gary: So I was so glad to be out of there. Right. And, and my grades weren't particularly great. But as a result of that car accident that had happened along the way, I actually realized I [00:19:00] needed to do some work on me and I started to read and I was not a great. And I'm such an advocate for reading now, like an and for gosh, since probably, well, since 1988, I've been, I started reading again and I haven't stopped and I chose to be a student of leadership, whether I was studying it or not.
[00:19:19] Gary: So even though I thought I'm going to finish, one of the things that started to emerge from me was I actually quite like as a result of my. And I actually quite liked the idea of trying to put it into practice, which is what I was doing in my early career. Once I got those jobs that I mentioned at the start, right.
[00:19:33] Gary: And then that led to going back to university in 1999 to do my first graduate degree. And I loved it. I loved what I was studying. And then when I got to do my master's degree, I loved that even more because. We actually had 30 people in the organization. You might recall, uh, the masters program that some of us were doing at the time at Monash.
[00:19:54] Gary: And we were able to negotiate with Monash university that the, the content and all the [00:20:00] assignments would be on the organization because the intent was we wanted to get theory and practice and put it together. So this comes to mind. With having 10 siblings who are strongly blue-collar I do have a sister.
[00:20:10] Gary: That's a teacher qualified as well. Um, so fundamentally nine two of us, um, more white collar and the rest, I guess we're, we're more blue collar to explain to them what I do along the journey. I've had to be able to find the way to find the communication skills and the language. So they could actually understand what I do and over time, I guess that blue collar background and my studies has led to what I believe is my gift is that I can speak with anybody.
[00:20:36] Gary: I can talk to C-suite people at the language they need to hear and understand. And I've literally been in minefields and Outback Australia. I've been in train yards here in Melbourne, Victoria and everything in between. And I seem to be able to find a way to communicate big concepts with people in a way that they can understand.
[00:20:56] Renata: It's such a gift. I had the word gift in my mind, as you were saying, [00:21:00] it's such an important thing. And even though it may not be a strength to other people, it might be something that you need to work on, regardless of what your strengths and DNA and DNA is because communicating at all levels is the same show for career advancement, career progression, or career sustainability.
[00:21:19] Renata: And that also means communicating. A younger audience as you get older. And all of a sudden you see all of these youngsters coming in. I know my dad struggled with that. You're listening dad, but it's really important too, to have that so well done. Now you mentioned being, I'm a student of leadership. Now you are a consultant and a teacher.
[00:21:44] Renata: You have. If people are watching this episode on YouTube, behind you, you have your brand new. On banners, uh, disruption leadership matters, you know, a lot of people going through recruitment and selection process, Gary, they are asked a very simple [00:22:00] question halfway through their interviews, which is, tell me about your leadership style.
[00:22:04] Renata: And they struggle to answer it, even if they have been leading for a decade, even if they have large teams. So why is it that people struggle to answer that question?
[00:22:16] Gary: If you just Googled the word leadership, you will hit, you will have over 1 billion hits on that one word. There are so many answers. And I think because there are so many answers without doing some smart, hard work that I'm going to advocate for in a moment it's confusing.
[00:22:33] Gary: What's the answer. What's the right answer. You know, the fact is with 1 billion responses, there's no one right answer, the most important answer. And this is where the smart hard work kicks in Renata. So people to actually work out, I get people to do this all the time. What's the seven to 10 behaviors of what you think an effective leader is.
[00:22:54] Gary: Just write them down from your life's experience, whether you, whether it's they're the opposite of what you experienced, because you had poor [00:23:00] leadership or whether you're actually got to experience the great leadership, what are the seven to 10 things? Now, once you do that sometimes then when you do your, your reading and it might be 10 minutes per day.
[00:23:11] Gary: Five times a week, 50 minutes a week of reading, watching YouTube videos, listening to audio books, podcasts, whatever it might be that comes into your 10 minutes of being a student of leadership. And think about that doesn't sound like much. How much would have you had the opportunity to be exposed to over 12 months?
[00:23:29] Gary: Yes. I have a 24 months over 10 years. Like it's enormous how much you can be. And what happens is, is you can find you eventually what'll happen is a style of leadership might come. You might come across, you go, gosh, that matches what I believe. So now I have a label that I can use. So for me, it's certainly.
[00:23:46] Gary: It matches what I okay. Which is also effectively authentic leadership, inclusive leadership. They're all very similar labels about the same principles that I tend to believe in about what makes an effective leader. [00:24:00] So if you do that little bit of work, it actually makes that question a lot easier to ask.
[00:24:05] Renata: Yes. I think it's important when you identify a trending label like servant leadership, which has been trained for a while, by the way, that you are able to not only identify yourself, if you're listening, I'm talking to you that, um, you're not, not only able to identify yourself as being a servant leader, but then arguing.
[00:24:25] Renata: Right. You can't say it. And I really demonstrate how and give examples in your answer for that. It's very important job interview questions. So there lies the need to do the research. And there are two things that I find happen. Gary, when I'm talking to clients is when they are avid readers like you and I, but they do not make the connection and blend what they're reading with it.
[00:24:50] Renata: Career and then, and themselves. So they they're detached from, from the theory. Ideally what I like to ask my clients to do as part of their [00:25:00] homework is to bring that together, you know, and I have things that sit behind my coaching to help them do that. But the other thing is. That they don't really explain and give a good example of their leadership in
[00:25:14] Gary: action.
[00:25:15] Gary: Yes. Yes. Yeah. And that's key. So if in my, I guess from my perspective, we're not, I think we're on the same page here is that you ha, if you haven't developed that level of clarity, it's really hard. So I give an example. It's really hard to actually put it into practice. Now you absolutely can reflect back on previous examples and go, I didn't realize that's what I was doing, but that's what I was doing.
[00:25:37] Gary: And now I understand it. Now I can tell the story as an example, when, when, um, I got that first job commercializing that fitness center for Monash university. I had already become a senior coach at the age of 27 of a, of a suburban men's football team. So I was coaching men. Many of whom were much older than me again, because of my family situation, working with people, I would have really wasn't that [00:26:00] big a deal to me, but I was actually try always doing servant leadership.
[00:26:04] Gary: Then even though I never knew what it was, I didn't understand what it was. I was, we were focused on vision and values and as I was reading, I actually read. What I was doing as a football coach, I wasn't doing in my job. It wasn't leading like that in my job. I was still command and control on the nodal leader.
[00:26:22] Gary: And I had this epiphany where I went, why aren't I doing this at work? So the, the, the, the skills I developed and more practicing and putting into practice in a, in a sporting context, we're 100% transferable into my career and the moment, and the moment I made that connection, my courageous went. And it's never really, it's never really stopped.
[00:26:45] Gary: You
[00:26:45] Renata: know, Gary, we learn so much from sports and I often use sports analogies as well to explain things as you do, because it's everywhere. And it's so easy to understand. I could use analogies from, let's say a [00:27:00] Shakespearian play, but I'm not sure if many people would get it, but with sports like it or not, it's easy.
[00:27:05] Renata: And you know, where you can also get so much knowledge about how to operate successfully in the. Nature. There's so much we can learn from nature. Right? I don't know if you got my newsletter yesterday and I will put a link in the show notes below for those who are not yet subscribed, if you're not, you should.
[00:27:24] Renata: And the article was about magpies and how they working together as a group, we're removing the tags that scientists have put on them and they, they worked out a way to help each other, remove those tags, the magpies. This is amazing. It shows that we are all animals and working as a group, as a team, we can collaborate and succeed in tasks much better if you know, in their case, they thought maybe that's an alien thing.
[00:27:55] Renata: That's, you know, a parasite or something. They didn't know it was a [00:28:00] scientific experiment. There's so much that we can learn. And for me, the analogy that I was trying to make is group coaching. You know, like it's, it's fantastic. People sometimes look down on it and I'm like, no, it's actually very good. Not only from me, but you can learn from each other.
[00:28:18] Renata: So, yeah. Nature and sports, everyone. I. Often like to recommend people watch documentaries about sports and HR. You know, there's so many great sports documentary there, especially for job seekers that are going through recruitment and selection process over and over again, and falling short, just what the net watch the Netflix series about formula one and you will see a whole bunch of.
[00:28:42] Renata: Really, really great guys, all trying to get to the finish line and how hard
[00:28:49] Gary: it is. Oh yes. And it's, it's, it's fascinating that that life has gifted me and middle child who is 17 and year 12 now as a performing artist and, and his name's Kellerman. And to [00:29:00] see what Callum does. And to see through, I guess I grew up with a sporting lens, but what he's doing as a performing artist with the shows that they put on and the way that they have to live on stage, when something goes wrong, just like those magpies find a way to fix it.
[00:29:20] Gary: Noticing is just amazing. And it's been beautiful for me to. Closer to seeing that, that world through that lens, I guess now, and seeing the beauty of the skills equally valid in that space as well. And so whether people like that that might be new Orleans, they might be involved with a church choir of whatever religious space or they might be involved in a, in a club that's it's about, it's a club to do with Lego.
[00:29:49] Gary: And they're on the committee. Absolutely. 100% transferable experiences and skills. And so when they share those sorts of stories, I'm not sure if you've touched on this, [00:30:00] but a lot of folk, I find think that those stories are irrelevant for a job interview. My, my view is unless you've got, if you haven't got a better.
[00:30:08] Gary: And that's what you've got then use it just that the end, explain how you would transfer that experience across, into a workplace environment. In other words, what's the core lesson and how would you transfer that across if you've got this job? So if you, if you hired me from what I just told you about that Lego's committee's story.
[00:30:24] Gary: This is how this might.
[00:30:26] Renata: That's great. I love that. I love that example. Thank you, Gary. That's a great tip. I wanted to shift gears now to talk about leadership and the turbulence, you know, under disruption, you, you mentioned disruption throughout the COVID years. I have been talking a lot about VOCA, so volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, and how important it is for every professional, not just the senior as X to be familiar with.
[00:30:52] Renata: That term and, and operating in that term, creating strategies and the importance of foresight looking [00:31:00] forward, instead of looking backwards with forecasting, which we do quite well, but I am so keen to know from you. Because you've written a book, you know, you are one of those amazing people that use the pandemic in a very productive way and wrote not only any book, but a book that has been so well received.
[00:31:22] Renata: What have you learned about being a leader? Doing district?
[00:31:27] Gary: I think it's summarized in a single word and that's called care. I think what leaders have recognized, and some of them are in the book that, that weren't as familiar with how important it was, is it, as it quickly became for them that they need to genuinely care.
[00:31:41] Gary: They need to genuinely care about whatever the organization is trying to achieve. So Raymundo Flarity the CEO of the Metro trains. Metro trains were smashed by the pandemic because people stopped using public transport. And it's still a concern for a lot of people. And yet he had a workforce of six and a half thousand people that he serves [00:32:00] that were required to still go to work because we still have our health workers.
[00:32:05] Gary: We still had our police force, our, our ambulance folks, et cetera, the hospital. Who needed to be able to get to and from work, but he had a workforce that needed to feel safe as a safest possible in a risky job. Now, because at that time, especially at the start of 2020, they didn't know what this virus really was.
[00:32:23] Gary: And so as much as Raymond was allowed to, according to the rules, he physically put himself out there to be with the staff where they were working at the very minimum. Thank you for showing up. He cared enough to know that that was so important. I just need to thank you for showing up and the, the, the recognition that so many leaders had with the pivot that people did.
[00:32:47] Gary: And I know it feels like such a long time ago. Now that that week or two weeks, when we all went from this world of going to work in a physical environment to we're working from home and millions and millions of people use [00:33:00] their own resources to another. Often in days or at most a week, maybe two weeks to keep the work happening.
[00:33:07] Gary: Remember that? Yeah, absolutely. And so a lot of the leaders I found in, in my book, uh, Christina Hermanson from FMC, Australian New Zealand, which is a chemical company that works with insecticides and agric that serves agricultural industry. Really important to keeping the food production going, et cetera.
[00:33:24] Gary: And she recognized the importance work of, of the, of the pivot that, that the team that she led had done. And on one level recognized, can I ever really repay that? Can I ever really repay that, that pivot that people did and, and, you know, I've got to continue to care with show care. So when in their instance, they, they were based in Sydney for their Australian head off.
[00:33:46] Gary: So they didn't quite go through what we did here in Melbourne. In, in late 2020, they were able to start to experiment. And this was a deliberate choice of words, experiment, how we go back to the office. So they've actually been doing it for about a bit more [00:34:00] than a year and a half of in and out of this experiment about what's going to work and they agreed.
[00:34:04] Gary: We'll okay. We'll have a Tuesday and a Wednesday when everyone will be in the office. And then there's one day a week, extra where at the teams need to be in the office and they can decide which day of the week that is and let's experiment and see how that goes. My understanding is if they've not found a better way and to still be open to the possibility of changes, where now in this hybrid world, and you mentioned foresight.
[00:34:28] Gary: I'd imagine we're not in hybrid
[00:34:30] Renata: forever. Yes. Yes. I was going to ask you that now, from what you've observed talking to so many great leaders, how do you think the people that are trying to change jobs and find the best organizations to work for? Because there are lots of people. To have decided at 2022 is the year that they will change jobs either because they spent two years thinking about it, but didn't change because people don't usually change when there's too much uncertainty and that's normal.
[00:34:58] Renata: So there's a backlog [00:35:00] of resignations that didn't happen for two years that are probably happening now, but also disappointing. With organizations that did not fare well with the disruption. Right? So there's those two things combined across the world. Uh, we're seeing the great resignation happening and rev reverberations of that happening in Australia as well.
[00:35:22] Renata: What do you think the listeners who are looking for a job should be looking for when they are applying for what are the signals of great leadership within an organization? Well,
[00:35:32] Gary: this is controversial. What I'm about to
[00:35:34] Renata: say, oh, we lied. We love
[00:35:37] Gary: Gary. Well, I think the thing, the thing that the pandemic has really brought to the surface is this term human resources, human capital human assets.
[00:35:46] Gary: Okay. Now I would argue strongly that the organizations that really have. Behave particularly well from a leadership and culture perspective over the past two years, which is why people are choosing to leave, uh, in many instances. So they're leaving a boss, they're leaving a [00:36:00] culture, they're leaving a manager, they're leaving a culture is because they've been treated as a resource.
[00:36:05] Gary: And that was actually what catalyzed my book. There was a couple of examples, fairly close to home where it was very clear, despite all the nice superlatives and all the nice talk about how important they are and that that classic people are our greatest. This is an asset or resort. Yeah. I have human computers and S a house as an asset, potentially.
[00:36:24] Gary: Like that's not what a human being is like. We've used this language. People don't realize these concepts come from Taylorism Frederick Winslow Taylor, and the production line of Henry Ford. Over 110 years ago. And yes, there's a lot to be said for the 20th century and the growth that was created from the industrial revolution that really exploded in the 20th century.
[00:36:45] Gary: But there's a lot to be said, that's not great from the 20th century that we re we now realize that the way we've treated our planet and our resources, maybe isn't so good. And I would argue treating a human beings as a 20th century concept in the 20th. First century has [00:37:00] been proven over the past two years, not to be any good is where it's controversial.
[00:37:05] Gary: Renata, if you're going for a job and the person that's going to interview you or recruit you has human resources in their title. What's that telling you? What's that telling you they still haven't changed. They think you're a resource. Why would you do that to yourself? And until there is no one to recruit because people aren't going to those companies or these leaders have no one to lead, I'm afraid many of them aren't going to change.
[00:37:29] Gary: They're going to keep working on this old industrial revolution, industrial age thinking. That you're a resource. And ultimately that means you're a number and I would suspect many folk if they're experienced on this call will have experienced what it feels like to be treated like a number by your organization.
[00:37:47] Gary: Right. And so that's the first one is ask the question. If they're still we're people with human resources, is that where. And then secondly, do your homework use tools like LinkedIn to reach out to people [00:38:00] that are already working in these organizations and ask the question. What's it really like to work there on a day-to-day basis?
[00:38:06] Gary: Do you have the autonomy you would expect to have in the role that you've got, where your experience. Tell me. Can you tell me about that? Are you getting to continue to learn and develop skills that are useful for you and your future? And, and do you feel that the work you're doing is contributing to a greater good of some degree?
[00:38:24] Gary: Like there Daniel Pink's Venn diagram of, of purpose, mastery and autonomy. And we know that folk that are, that are working in the intersection of that Venn diagram are highly engaged people who are going home quiet. So they terrific questions for people to be asking as part of their research or another.
[00:38:43] Renata: That's wonderful. Thank you, Gary. That leads me to maybe sort of the tail end of our conversation. I'd like you to tell me by researching so many leaders for the past couple of years. What will organizations of the future look like? I mean, you work with [00:39:00] organizations, you're seeing them develop over the course of your career.
[00:39:03] Renata: So this is not just about the pandemic, right? It's about you seeing the progress and you seeing how organizations evolve. Now we've had this massive disruption. We probably should learn how to live with further disruption, because this is not the last one that we will see. Maybe even in this decade. So what would a great organization of the future look like for my listeners?
[00:39:27] Renata: Well, I
[00:39:27] Gary: think, and this probably isn't going to be a surprise to most folks, but the diversity and inclusion aspect is that organization. I have come to realize all the good or the ones moving towards great, have recognized that we need to look more like the people that we're ultimately serving. So if we've got an executive team that looks a particular way and it's very.
[00:39:51] Gary: Similar probably isn't matching the people that we're serving. Ultimately. Now, whether that means we need people from different cultural backgrounds or whether we [00:40:00] need that people from different genders or people from non-specific genders, whatever it might be. I think that that's been the step change.
[00:40:07] Gary: So for me, disruption means we've moved from. Organic change or incremental change to actually step change. So diversity inclusion has been around for a long time, but I think the past two years have really awakened many leaders, even the great ones to recognizing there's. We need to get busy on this work.
[00:40:26] Gary: Now that's going to create a lot of opportunities for a lot of folk on the core and potentially frightened some of them. Uh, folks that look like me potentially, but equally people like me are still part of diversity and inclusion. So just yesterday I was speaking with a group of consultants that are looking at, having me potentially joined them as an executive partner and, you know, What they said to me was we actually don't have any males your age or your experience in our organization.
[00:40:56] Gary: We're predominantly female. We've got a lot of diversity there, but we actually need some [00:41:00] diversity. So, you know, that, that was, I guess, uh, it was, it was refreshing, but I just want to help people that look maybe like me not to be fearful and get too focused on. Okay. No one wants me. I don't believe that's true.
[00:41:14] Renata: That's diversity coming full circle, isn't it, Gary.
[00:41:18] Gary: And it needs to absolutely it is. Isn't it, you know, and look, you know, I have been privileged enough through my career that I would have never really thought too much about it. Um, my wife, Michelle is of Sri Lankan background. We don't think it's really impacted her background in any negative way here in Australia.
[00:41:35] Gary: And particularly in Melbourne was such a multicultural city. But maybe it has that we're not quite as, as fully aware, but I think that's the key going forward is that, that importance of diversity, because it brings, we know through research, right. That it brings the diversity of thinking and it brings questions that we otherwise wouldn't ask.
[00:41:53] Gary: And if we're going to continue. Learn our way forward. So that's a phrase I believe they organizations have now [00:42:00] clearer than ever about Renata, is that we've got to learn their way forward. Innovation is a big part of that. So they've got to innovate with their products, their services, their processes.
[00:42:09] Gary: And right now we're in this massive innovation period of how we get to work in this hybrid environment.
[00:42:16] Renata: Are there any issues or topics or ideas that you really wanted to share with the listeners today? And we didn't have a chance to talk about that. This is your time to come up with ideas if you want to, but just let us know how people can connect with you as well.
[00:42:32] Renata: That's also important.
[00:42:34] Gary: So there's a couple of things there. I want to be really clear that, and it's, I cover this in my book and a small section that while we've got the great resignation happening, which one of my heroes, Michelle Hunt calls, the great soul searching and another hero, Gary Ridge calls, the greatest Skype there's those three terms being, being used.
[00:42:52] Gary: And it can feel like it's all a one way street about engagement that it's all the in organizations responsible. [00:43:00] I believe there is a responsibility and yes, the leadership and yes, the culture has a massive impact, but we equally have a responsibility for being engaged in the work that we do to, to help us being engaged.
[00:43:11] Gary: What I have seen through my career and my work Renata is the happiest people are the ones working at the intersection of their talents and that. Now once, you know what those two things are. I believe that intersection is actually quite large. And once you've got that clarity, so for some of your listeners, maybe they need to do some work to help work out.
[00:43:29] Gary: Well, what are my talents? What are my passions? Because it can be plural and then that can help shape where we are now. Sometimes the talent might be something like people say to you. You're so funny. And 20 people say that to you. Maybe you've got a talent for that maybe working on breakfast. Radio is a possibility that you never thought of breakfast radio, generally speaking people on breakfast radio rather than super serious because of the channel they're on, or they're trying to be funny.
[00:43:58] Gary: Right. And you don't have to be a [00:44:00] comedian though, but it might, you might have a talent for it now. Absolutely. And of course, once you become aware of your passions, that can then help you look for the organizations that have roles that fit that intersection. So I guess that's, that's a key message that I'd love to share.
[00:44:17] Gary: Oh,
[00:44:17] Renata: thanks, Gary. And, and you know, that, that's part of what we've talked about all the time here on this podcast. So the listeners that have been following us will know that this is we're banging on the knowledge that we really liked to bang. But how can people getting in touch with you? What's the best way.
[00:44:32] Renata: If they want to buy your book, we will have a link in the show notes for sure. But if they want to work with you, how can they reach you?
[00:44:38] Gary: Yeah. So for the book, it's disruption, leadership matters or through any good online bookstore was Amazon Kindle, where we went to number one in a couple of categories, uh, in January, August that matter.
[00:44:50] Gary: So my company, I can see the night that the name organizations that matter, but it's a bit shorter for the, uh, web address. Dress it's all that [00:45:00] matter or they're the easiest ways to get in contact me or in fact, through LinkedIn, Gary I'm one is my tag at the end of the LinkedIn, a little URL at the start.
[00:45:09] Gary: So Gary Ryan, one for LinkedIn, I'd be more than happy to connect with people. Um, I'm not sure why LinkedIn shifted things to sort of pushing people to. I'm happy to connect with people.
[00:45:19] Renata: Okay. Now we will have all the links below in the episode, show notes, everyone. So if you're interested to know more about Gary and his book, don't forget to check the links, Gary, thank you so much for your time.
[00:45:30] Renata: It's been fantastic seeing you again, and we should catch up for a coffee.
[00:45:35] Gary: Uh, it sounds like we're going to do that 100% for sure. And I don't know. I really appreciate having the opportunity to speak with you today. Thank you. If you
[00:45:42] Renata: want to connect with Gary or buy his books, there will be links for you to follow in the episode.
[00:45:47] Renata: Show notes. If you want to connect with me and understand more about the work that I do. There are also links in the episode show notes, or you can try spelling my name, www [00:46:00] dot Renata Bernarde that's https://www.renatabernarde.com . And you will find my services, my free resources, and a lot more information for job seekers and career enthusiasts.
[00:46:14] Renata: Tell for now, and I'll see you next time.
About the Host
Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach professionals (corporate, non-profit, and public) the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress.
If you are an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, if you are looking to find your next job or promotion, or if you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running, then this podcast is for you.
In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, on my website, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients.
Contact Renata Bernarde
I’m determined to help you! I want you to feel empowered, nail your next job, and have the career you want.
My free resources for job hunters: The Optimized Job Search: Weekly Schedule & Masterclass.
Learn more about my services, courses, and group coaching: RenataBernarde.com