Nobody’s perfect. What quality or ability do you wish you had?
I wish I could sing in tune (and I am sure many other people wish that as well!).
What is the best business book you have ever read, and why?
The Concise Communicator, by Clive Simpkins. It’s a small book, with great practical tips about communicating, presenting and public speaking. I did a training session with Clive when I was working in Africa and he has even stayed in touch since.
Someone you would most like to have met, living or dead, and why?
I would have most liked to have met my grandfather, who I never met as he passed away before I was born. Many people still talk about him and say how he was such a special person. I also think some of the scientists from a few hundred years ago would have been interesting to meet, whose formulas, findings and inventions we all learn about at school.
What do you consider to be your major achievement (in life or business)?
For me it’s that I’ve had a great career and a lot of fun at the same time. For example I regularly go scuba diving, mountain hiking, canyoning and have travelled to over 90 countries.
Who or what do you think is overrated?
Beach holidays in Mauritius (especially when compared to Western Australian beaches!).
What mistakes have you made (professional or otherwise), and what did you learn from them?
Learning how to manage stress has been important for me; whilst on the outside I can appear calm and happy, on the inside I can be a whirlwind… resulting from putting lots of pressure on myself, trying to do too many things at once, going from one meeting to the next with no time to consolidate in between, working late, long hours (12 to 18 hours a day), eating too much cake and chocolate, not putting time aside for exercise, and not getting enough sleep. It’s not good to keep that up for too long!
What have I learnt?.....
• Delegate to others (don’t try and do everything yourself) – things might not get done as quickly as you want but you have to learn to live with that.
• Make time to exercise regularly and eat healthy. I once saw a poster that said “Someone busier than you is running right now”.
• Whenever possible don’t pile meetings up one on top of each other (make time for myself during the day so I am not still working at 10pm).
• I also have to take a step back and remove the self-induced pressure. Why am I stressing about it? Will this thing I am stressing about really matter in two weeks’ time, in two years’ time, in 20 years’ time?
Which one piece of wisdom would you pass on to your successor?
It’s essential to spend time in the field every day with your team, getting to know and understand their jobs, discussing and improving safety, and ensuring you are approachable to the workforce.
Who has been your inspiration professionally?
No one person has inspired me professionally. By observing styles of other leaders I learnt what does (and does not) work well.
How would you like to be remembered after your retirement?
As a positive competent leader in the mining industry, totally committed to safety, who was approachable, achieved results for the business, who had a positive impact on careers of thousands of people, and who smiled lots.
Do you have a quote or motto you live (or work) by?
Go for it!