Bonus episode #2! How to develop great leadership teams

This is the second bonus episode – in between seasons 2 and 3 –  where I am joined by colleagues from The Leadership Context, a boutique consulting firm that I co-founded with several friends and Partners.

Today, Carole Field, Greg Lourey, Allan Tillack and I, have a deep dive into how we partner with leadership teams (top teams) to help them become great teams.

BONUS episode! How to ensure your leadership development program works

I am joined by colleagues from The Leadership Context, a boutique consulting firm that I have co-founded with several friends and Partners. Today, Carole Field, Greg Lourey, Allan Tillack and I take a deep dive into the reasons why leadership development programs fail. And they do fail, on a spectacular level!

We talk about the principles of:

  • Swimming in the context to ensure we are addressing the right areas,
  • Aligning the program to specific parts of the organisational strategy,
  • Getting hyper-clear on a small number of objectives,
  • Aiming for learning depth,
  • Structuring groups to learn together which mitigates against losing the benefits when individuals leave the organisation,
  • and myth busting mirrors!

The best of Season 2 Summary Session

The best of Season 2!
We had some marvellous guests on our show over season 2.
They shared great insights, learnings, mistakes, tactics, ideals and a whole lot more.

In this episode, hear about:

  • The importance of listening as an expatriate leader,
  • The uniqueness that is New Zealand style of leadership,
  • How evening reflections on the car on the way home from work, helped one CEO transform his impact in meetings,
  • What one CEO who is renowned for her continual innovation does to bring ideas from one industry to another,
  • How one leader survived a very public and traumatic humiliation when his multi-billion dollar business collapsed,
  • How another CEO described his ‘thumb sucking in a foetal position’ moment!
  • Why one leader took a 9-month sabbatical stepping away from his CEO position,

And a whole lot more….!

Ep 29. Peter Webb on wisdom and decision making during times of disruption

Peter Webb is an organisational psychologist who has a passion for all things related to wisdom and decision making. In this conversation he shares;
  • His early experience at age 14 crossing a bridge that was about to collapse over a torrid river in Papua New Guinea and what this taught him
  • What is wisdom and how is it cultivated
  • What is System 3 thinking and decision making
  • The WISE framework for decision making
  • The T3 profile

and much more…

Show notes


Favourite song

Ep 28. Craig Le Masters on overcoming the ‘thumb-sucking-in-a-foetal-position’ that leaders often find themselves in!

Craig Le Masters, former CEO of Assurant insurance in USA, current CEO of GXG and author of Unstuck talks about:
  • The moment he woke up to see on the TV news a headline that suggested that the industry he was in was about to go into free fall
  • The soul searching and deep conversations that followed
  • Humility based experimentation
  • What are learning ecosystems
  • He talks about wisdom – the intersection between knowledge and experiences
  • And, finally, we talk about COVID and how it is allowing people to re-engage with a sense of personal purpose

Ep 27. Michael Ilczynski on opinions, mandates, humility and evening reflections

Michael Ilczynski is the CEO of Red Bubble, a global leading marketplace for artists and art lovers. In this refreshingly open conversation Michael shares;
  • The mistakes he made as he progressed into CEO level leadership roles
  • How a background in strategy taught him to make decisions but also to (unwittingly) block out other people’s opinions
  • When he started noticing his leadership shadow across the organisation
  • How he learned to use language that enabled other people to understand when he was giving ‘just an’ opinion versus a real mandate
  • The power of not personalising feedback and listening through a lens of humility
  • How he used evening reflections to help him steer through behaviour change

and much more…

Show notes

Ep 26. Stuart Elmslie on purpose driven organisations, agile tribes, trades, teams and why curiosity is the antidote to judgement as a leader

Stuart Elmslie is the CEO of one of the most successful market placed tertiary level education organisations in the world. Based in Melbourne, they have supported over 450,000 students successfully enrol and attend undergraduate and postgraduate university programs.
In this conversation he shares:
  • His own move from investment banking to education
  • How he and his leadership team have turned around a loss-making organisation
  • How they turned around employee engagement by over 50 NPI scores
  • Leading a “soccer team instead of a set of golfers”
  • Why his daily practice of mindfulness has transformed his leadership impact
  • How his feedback skills have improved enormously
  • and, why curiosity is the antidote to judgement

Ep 25. Warwick Fairfax on overcoming failures, crucible moments and re-designing your life!

Warwick Fairfax, from the famous media conglomerate Fairfax family who, in his mid-twenties, took over the leadership of the publicly traded organisation and privatised it, back into family control. Unfortunately, the 1987 global crash soon followed, and three years later the organisation almost collapsed.
In this refreshingly open conversation Warwick shares:
  • What it was like to grow up in such a famous family and the comparisons between the Royal family and the Fairfax family,
  • How his sense of duty to his family and his ancestors drove many of his decisions,
  • The impact of his decision to privatise the organisation on him, his family and the ensuing ripple effect,
  • How Warwick distinguishes between epic failures and the person who fails,
  • What he believes a crucible moment is and why these can define a person,
  • The impact his faith has on him,
  • How he now looks back on those experiences.

Show notes

Ep 24. Rachel Frizberg – Leading at scale!

Rachel Frizberg leads the Asia Pacific region for Roche Pharmaceuticals, one of the largest and most successful healthcare organisations, globally.
In this wide-ranging conversation, we discuss:
  • The role of healthcare during a pandemic
  • Leading from afar during shutdowns across many countries
  • How she has adapted her leadership style as her roles changes
  • Implementing an agile approach to leadership
  • How her ‘peer pods’ keep her honest
  • Different archetypes of leadership and how she uses them in her own planning
  • The importance of scaling leaders and leadership

Show notes


Favourite song

Ep 23. Michael Spayd on all things agile

Michael Spayd is an expert in all things agile and the co-author of Agile Transformation.
He shares:
  • The differences between doing, being, and leading agile
  • How the integral framework influences his work
  • Leading self-directed teams- is that an oxymoron?
  • The benefits for leaders by embracing agile mindsets

and much more.

Show notes


  • Michael’s book:
    Agile Transformation – Using the Integral Agile Transformation Framework to Think and Lead Differently