The STORY of the CEO Whisperer and BUSINESS PHILOSOPHER | Dr. Anthony Howard | TBCY

The STORY of the CEO Whisperer and BUSINESS PHILOSOPHER | Dr. Anthony Howard | TBCY

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Welcome to another episode of The Brand  Called You. A vodcast and podcast show   that brings you leadership lessons,  knowledge, experience and wisdom   from hundreds of successful individuals from  around the world. I am your host, Ashutosh   Garg and today I have with me a very, very  accomplished leader from Sydney, Australia. Mr.   Anthony Howard. Anthony, welcome to the show. Thank you, Ash, it's such a delight to be here. Thank you. Anthony is the CEO and founder of  The Confidence Group, and the Socratic Leader  

Academy. He is an author and all of you who  listen to me know I'm very partial to authors,   his book titled Humanise - Why Human-Centred Leadership is the key to the 21st Century,   we will talk about. So let's start Anthony with  asking you a question. Why are you known as the   CEO whisperer, and a business philosopher? It's an interesting mix, isn't it?   Can I take you back to a story many, many  years ago? Yes. I see in your background there   the map of the world, I grew up in a small rural  part of Australia. And when I finished school,   I went away to see I was a navigator in the  merchant navy and so sailing many of those,   those oceans. But as a young man, I had an  extraordinary experience. I found that I would  

be on watch in the middle of the night and it's  dark and the ship is you know, going through the   cutting through the water and I would hear  someone coming up the stairs and so one night a   man comes it was all men on the ship you know, I  hear a man upstairs and he part the blackout   curtain and he looks through and he kind of  looks around and gets his night vision.   And he finds me out on the wing of the bridge and he walks out and he stands beside me and says   let's call him Brian. And Brian stands beside  me. And we're both looking out at the horizon.   And he says, I've set a telegram  for my wife, she's just going to leave me and   and I had this kind of experience repeatedly  with people would come and tell me   the most kind of tragic and awful things that  they were facing that they were powerless to   do anything about, because we're stuck out on  a ship, you know, weeks away from port. This   was of course, before the days of the internet,  you couldn't get on the phone or send an email.  

And so he just needed someone to talk to.  Right. And I said to Brian,    that must be tough. And Brian wasn't looking  for advice. He was just looking to be seen or   heard and understood. And that's kind of what  most of us are looking for. We're just looking   for someone who's going to be there for him who's  going to hit see them, hear them and understand.   And I didn't really know them that, that would be  the seeds of my eventual career as you know what   became the CEO whisperer people have called me.  I wouldn't give me that title  

myself. But one of the things about  a horse whisperer. Horse Whisperer are prey   animals rather than predators. And they develop  a highly tuned sense of their environment   and the other if you like, and so because the  environments I inhabited, were very brutal, it was   a brutal world. I developed this high  degree of awareness of people and where they're   at. And so it gave me a facility to be able to sit  down with a CEO, a big personality, if you like.  

And create a safe space for them where they could  talk about the stuff that really mattered to them,   knowing that they weren't going to be judged.  They were just going to be seen and heard   and understood. And that's probably why people  call me the CEO whisperer. Okay. And the business   philosopher arises, I've always been curious.  And I pursued, you know, advanced studies in   philosophy, I have a doctorate in philosophy.  And so the ability to kind of ask questions   and seek meaning and purpose, that  would be why they also call me both   a philosopher and a whisperer. Wow, wow. And I guess that's where your group   the Confidere comes from,  which is from confidence is it? Well, Confidere comes from the Latin  together in trust and so I had started this kind of life as a  mentor, more than 20 years ago.  

But I found I became a confidant more than  a mentor. And so people would kind of   take me into their confidence and so  they might present with a business   problem in the initial stage, you know, growth  challenges, strategic challenge. But over time,   the relationship more difficult if you like, or  evolved into much more one of a confidant. Someone that they could talk to and say, Hey, this  is I just needed run this by before I talk to the   board or I'm thinking about this or whatever. So Confidere, right comes to that idea of being   a confidant to, you know, a senior person. Fabulous. And as a mentor for senior leaders,   what are some of the kind of challenges  that you normally work with? They kind of broadly fall into four  domains, the strategic operational,   stakeholder and personal. And that's really  the challenge for a leader to get those  

domains balanced, you know, to pay sufficient  attention to the strategic, the operational,   that the people stakeholder stuff and themselves. And themselves often comes along last. And   as you would know, and many of your listeners  would know. But hidden in what I've just said,   is the fundamental challenge for most  leaders, and that is to figure out what   are the things I need to do that really matter?  Because for CEO, their to-do list, never, ever,   ever get shorter. They don't come in tomorrow,  go wow, look at that, I've got nothing to do  

today. It's like I have so many choices,  I've got to make the best decision that I can.   And so to be able to give them clarity, this is  probably where we do our prior work about the   kind of endgame they're trying to create, which  is go back to the navigation idea of a lighthouse,   where am I going to get some clarity around  that? And say, right, now I can make decisions   in that kind of framework. And more than  anything else. I now know what to say no to.   Because I can't say yes to everything. Interesting. And what would you say is the   difference between coaching and mentoring when you talk to senior leaders? I appreciate that for many people, that kind  of means the same thing. And I appreciate  

that in different countries, we have different  understandings of coaches and mentors. And so   if someone wanted someone to call the work, I do  coaching or mentoring, I'm kind of comfortable   with that. But the distinction that I would make,  is, if I would look at for argument's sake, a   cricketing analogy. You know, when you're  selected the pride play for Australia or India or   the UK, when you're selected for the team, you  know, there's wonderful ceremony about   being given the cap, or you know, the uniform or  whatever, and you're proud to be part of the team.   And almost certainly someone is going to say to  you, hey, congratulations for making the team.

However, you're good enough to make the team,  you're not good enough to stay on the team,   and everyone else around the world. And so  we're going to give you all these coaches,   to be a batting coach or a fielding  coach, or whatever your skill is,   we'll give you coaches to develop your skills to  ensure you continue to play at this elite level.   But at the same time, the player would benefit  from having a mentor and the mentor is someone   who's played the game before. The mentor is someone  that they can go to is probably a retired player,   or someone has been close to other players,  the mentor someone that go and say, Look,   I'm finding it difficult, you know, I'm wondering about this, or I'm troubled by that,   or I'm not getting on with the coach or I need  to hone this skill. What do you think I should   do? The mentor is someone that they can talk to  about the stuff they really can't talk about with anybody else who understands their world.  That's the distinction that I would

say. Fascinating. And my next question,  before I move to the next segment, is, you know,   we often talk about a mentor or a coach supporting  different individuals and their challenges.   My question to you is, how does a mentee,  evaluate whether they have got a good mentor? One thing I think matters more than anything  else. And that's been clear at the start,  

why we're engaging together. And so the  way I would frame that for a client is,   you know, if we work together for 12  months, what will success look like?   What do you expect to see, what  will have shifted change development,   and that gives them something to kind of keep  measuring back against and to say, look, you know,   this is what I've done. Something  that still, I think, however, sets apart,   great clients from others. So good mentees  is the level of preparation they do.   You know, I have clients that come and say, this,  what's on the agenda? I need to think about this.  

We spoke last time I've done that, you know, so  in other words, they take the engagement very,   very committed to their own growth and development. Yeah. Okay. So Anthony, let's not move on  to the next segment and talk about your   the other baby that you have, which is the  Socratic Leader Academy. And you say that  

you are on a quest to reinvent the way the  world does leadership. Help me understand   this particular vision or mission that you have  and then we'll get into the more questions. Most of you listening  would know, by looking at a leader   saying what they say and do, how they  value the person that they're talking to   a lady. And my concern over many, many years  is, is I see people being treated as resources  

or assets being treated as units of economic  production being said, people are our   greatest asset. And do we get rid of that asset  real fast that we can afford to keep them and   so people were just treated not as Anthony or  Ash, you know, not as someone's husband or wife,   brother or sister, but as just a disposable asset,  and that really, frankly, really riles me. And,   it's just so unnecessary. And so  we're just on a mission to change that. Correct. Correct. And, you know, moving on, you  say, you're restoring human dignity to business,   government and civil society. Help me  understand this with an example or an anecdote. That's the grand plan. And bearing  in mind, we're still in the startup phase, but  

that is the grand plan. And so dignity, dignity  addresses this issue, you know, of the value of   the person, so the person is not a worker, but  as I said, you know, their husband, father,   you know, brother, sister, and so forth. So, you  know, for example, I was with a firm a while back.   And we'd spent the day talking  about human-centered leadership,   caring for people, being a person at work, turning  up hearing your story, all those very human   kind of things. And then at the end of the  day, one of the leaders of the firm join the  

meeting, and both kind of summarize what happened  in the day, but also gave an update on what was   happening in the firm. And the distinction  that I would make is we'd spent the day   in essence talking about a human system. And  he started talking about an economic system,   delivering the numbers, making sure  your people performed, productivity.   That's the distinction. You know, we want to be  sure that when we talk about people, we're talking   about people. COVID has given us so many examples,  I was reading in the newspaper here in Australia   the other day, about a COVID case, who came in on  an aeroplane from somewhere, and then the case   visited a bottle shop and a supermarket. And then  the case went home to their family. And then the  

case went to work the next day, this was not a  case. This was a person. This was a person who   happened to have COVID. This was not a case.  And we use this kind of language very subtly.   But it strips us of our dignity, that's why we're on a mission to restore. What you're saying  is we are dehumanizing humans.

We dehumanize all the time inadvertently,  because we label people and we forget who   they are by using the labels. It's tragic. Well said. And when you say actually, you are   reinventing leadership, help me understand  what are some of the challenges that you think   exist in current leadership that you want  to be able to correct or reinvent? It comes down to this whole thing that you  know, the management schools and so forth,   built around case studies, built around economic  kind of systems, I accept that. So I'm not   saying that's, you know, morally bankrupt or  whatever. All I'm saying is we've lost sight of   the person. And so we train people to, you know,  succeed on numbers, we celebrate the numbers,   we celebrate their successes. And 

if I talk about human-centered leadership, and  talk about, you know, putting persons first, the   audience will nod in agreement, and someone will  invariably put up their hand and say, Dr. Howard,   what's the business case for this? And  so I'm tempted to say well, do you want me to give  you a business case for treating people badly?   And in other words, it should just this is the  morally right thing to do. But I understand why   they're asking it because they want to go back  to their boss to do things, I've got to go to my   board and say, hey, if we treat people the right  way, this could be the impact on the numbers. Now,  

there's numerous case studies that prove the  value of it. But the proof point for me will   be in the years to come. Someone will put up their  hand and say, Hey, come and show us how to do it.   they'll no longer be saying, prove to us why it's  right. Well, now it's right. We'll say it's been   done. And we'll just want to know how to do it. That's so amazing. You know, and there's so many   people when they talk to me on my platform, and  this is what's your monetization model. I said   nothing. I said, this is my way of giving back and  this is what how can you do something like this.  

So I fully understand what you're saying  about people saying what's the business case. Moving on. You also  have a four dimension proprietary model   to build Human-Centered environments.  I'd love to understand a little more.

So this was the central piece of my PhD  research is that it was driven by this   concern about people being treated as a means to  an end. And so when I looked at leadership, and   almost everything that's written about leadership  talks about what leaders do, it talks about   traits, it talks about attitudes, behaviors,  competencies, and so forth, what I call the ABCs.   But I looked at and said, well, leadership, I  think is fundamentally a person leading another   person. And so what does it mean to be a person  leading a person. And so the model says, a  

person which will be a whole nother conversation,  but a person is someone who is a meaning-seeking   entity we seek we seek purpose, a person is  someone who is relational, we grow in relationship   with others, a person is someone who  is responsible, we're self-determining,   we want to make and be free to make our own  choices. And a person somewhat paradoxically,   becomes who we are by self-giving, by gift rather  than by taking. And so those four dimensions,   say, you know, I become fulfilled as a  person, by finding my meaning,   by having quality relationships, by taking  responsibility for my life, and by finding   where I can use my gifts. And so if that's what  it means to be a person, leading a person, if I'm  

a person leading another person, then leadership  is fundamentally a relationship between two,   two or more people and getting that relationship,  right. It's fundamentally about being clear   about what our responsibilities are in this  leadership relationship. It's fundamentally   about understanding where we bring our gifts to be  in service of one another for that, and so what's   really interesting, however, is I don't follow  a leader, which is the classic kind of model,   but the leader and I happen to have different  roles and responsibilities. But later on,   we follow in good organization, a purpose or  common good. So the purpose sits outside  

ourselves. So when you say this is what it  means to be a person, those four dimensions,   it's very easy then to say, so therefore, the  four dimensions of leadership mirror that. Fascinating. So let's now move to the last segment  of a conversation, which is about your book.   You've written a book title, Humanise - Why Human-Centred Leadership is the key to the 21st century. Tell me a little  bit about your book and your hypothesis. The book came from a number of conversation  I'd done with leaders around the world and   then talking about what they saw emerging in the world. And the kinds of   challenges confronting the world. And the  question that arise from that is, well,  

where are the leaders who can help us navigate  what's coming, and no one had an answer. And then   one day frame to that Monday, someone framed that  as well, where the new Mandela's this, you know,   where the new Mandela's, where  the new Mother Teresa's, the new Martin Luther King's, you know, and what  they were driving at was, there's a kind of leader   who stands above everything else who sees  beyond that, who actually sees the person   in some sort of way, the human-centered in some kind of  way. And so, so that was the thrust for the book   to say, how do we find and develop? How do you  and I become because what our grasp was the man that visti your earlier observation was  the Mandela's might be rare. There are actually  

1000s and 1000s and 1000s of people with you  and I, it's our listeners, it's every one of us,   who has a mission and a purpose. And if we step up  for that, and be the person we were called to be,   we're going to be that new Mandela, and  the challenges confronting the world today,   the depersonalizing, dehumanizing challenges,  the way we're treated at work, the way machines,   prayers and systems traders. Our hypothesis  in the book is let's put the human person   first and will change the world. Amazing. So I have to ask you this  

one more question. Because I've often heard  and read that there is this time theory of   history, which says that leaders are thrown  up when the time demands it to be thrown up.   But my question to you is, Are  leaders born or are they made? Well, the science kind of says, you know,  there's about 30% nature and the rest is nurture.   And I think there's obviously a good  argument for that, you know, I took drawing   and painting lessons. So I can paint  but I will never be a Picasso or Rembrandt.  

And so they have a talent that I just simply don't  have. So I think in that sense, we can all be   leaders, and since we all are, you know,  when someone looks what you're doing   and follows you in that moment, you are a leader,  but a better question or another question can be   are followers born or made? Because the  vast majority of us were actually followers.   We are actually following someone  else. And if we're a good follower,   we're probably going to be a good leader. Wow, what a great response. Anthony on that note,   thank you so much for speaking to me.  Thank you for telling  

me about your amazing journey on the big seagoing vessel and how you got the word   CEO whisperer attached to you. Thank you  for talking to me about The Confidere Group,   the Socratic Leader Academy and your book. And  one quick clarification. I'm assuming your book   is available on Amazon and other platforms. All the platforms. Thank you again and good luck. Thank you very much a delight to be here.

Thank you for listening to The Brand Called You,  videocast and podcast. A platform that brings you   knowledge, experience and wisdom of hundreds of  successful individuals from around the world.   Do visit our website, to watch and listen to a stories of many more   individuals. You can also follow us on YouTube,  Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Just search   for The Brand Called You

2022-01-09 07:05

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