10. Lord Mayor and Chairman Jim Soorley on the importance of energy and getting connected to people on the ground

10. Lord Mayor and Chairman Jim Soorley on the importance of energy and getting connected to people on the ground

EPISODE 1o – Jim Soorley – Legend of Brisbane

In this episode you’ll hear from Jim Soorley, Former Mayor of Brisbane and Chairman of CS energy and Unity Water.

Jim has left an almost unrivalled legacy in Brisbane through his tireless work as Lord Mayor. He led the introduction of CityCats, Air conditioning on buses, RiverFire, RiverWalk and brought a business and commercial approach to the running of the council.

Key Points:

Jim outlines the importance of energy, getting connected to the people on the ground and role modelling the behaviour you want to see.

Jim’s top messages include:

  • Life is about sales. You’re always selling something. An idea, concept, product or service.
  • For people who are working in management roles, they've got to see it is the system that determines outcomes. I guess the lessons out of that are that, if you're going to engage in training, restructure, reorganisation, you, A, must take a systems approach and B, let the people on the ground have a say. The worst thing in the world you can do is impose new structures, new disciplines, new ideas without consulting people
  • I think it's important to get good people around you. You've got to let them do their job and you've got to give them confidence and puff them up so that they feel like they're safe and secure and are delivering.
  • I came to the conclusion that the decision to employ is often made in the first 30 seconds. Initial impressions are critical. For people who are going for an interview in a job process, I still believe it's that first 30 seconds. You don't get a second chance at a first impression.
  • I think there's a few of things people need to do in the first 30 seconds; show energy, good presentation and rapport. Initially they are the critical things. If they come into an interview, can they really connect with you, because if they connect with you, you can't not connect with them, so to speak. So, that's your way to take charge of the interview process.
  • If you're in an organisation, emails is often an avenue to cover my arse. If you're working with people and it's important, make it personal. Get out of your chair and take the five steps or even 20 steps and say, “Hey, we need to fix this up. How about this?”
  • Management is not about control, “I've sent you an email. Do this. I've got it off my desk and it's now on your desk.” Sometimes we must do that, but management is about getting people to understand, engage and lead and that's important.
  • Stop tapping away at the keyboards and go and talk to people. Know your customer, know your people, that way you can inspire them and give them the tools they need to do their job.
  • There's a guy I studied with in America, Gerard Egan. He's written about 14 books on organisational culture and his last one's on the dark side. That's the unknown stuff that's going on. What are the real values, the non-espoused values?
  • You've got to take a risk. If you're running a department you've got to say, “What do I really want to achieve here? How do I do it? What resources do I need? What resources don't I need?”
  • You've got to be able to show, you build a team, the team has delivered outcomes, and in many environments delivered them safely, and you know, “I deserve the next gig”.
  • To be really be a successful manager, you've got to bring the last person with you or get rid of them. They'll either come the journey or they go. Sometimes, the ones who are slow can be your best outcome and deliver best results.
  • In job interviews a reference is basically non-sense in most cases, particularly if they're not known.
  • To have a network of people who you can bounce ideas off and have a beer with or whatever is important. But to have that network who can then, if you're looking for the next move up, can be referees and support for you. That’s very important.
  • So when you're recruiting, you've got to get the person with the energy, the vitality, the difference.
  • A question I always ask is in recruiting is, “Why are you not the best person for this job?”
  • A successful leader generates by their presence and by their disposition and by their action a sense of urgency and a sense of energy, and a sense of the outcome.
  • I think a successful manager has got to generate energy and insight and cooperation.
  • You have to build up your own confidence. That, “This is my opportunity. I am a unique individual, and what I want to do I can do.”
  • Believe in yourself. If you believe in yourself, you can do anything. Then, clearly define what you want to do and go to it. The thing that I think holds a lot of people back is
    1. they don't know what they want to do, and
    2. they don't believe they can do it.

Put those two things together and you can conquer the world.

 

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