In this episode, you’ll hear from Trevor Matthews former MD/CEO of Legal & General Australia, ManuLife Canada and Japan, Standard Life UK, Friends Provident PLC and Aviva UK. He is currently a non-executive director of AMP, BUPA ANZ, FNZ Asia Pacific and Tokio Marine Asia. He is also Chair of the State Industry Regulatory Authority and 1st Group Ltd.
Trevor tells the story of his remarkable career from actuary to CEO and President of some of the world’s biggest insurance companies. He outlines that a leader is a dealer in hope, you have to build a track record and importantly you need to be respectful about the past, realistic about the present and optimistic about the future.
Trevor’s top messages include:
- Travel was great in that it gave me a global perspective
- It’s the execution of the strategy that makes the difference for success on a sustainable basis
- Compete aggressively on the outside and collaborate superbly on the inside
- You've got to line your people up shoulder to shoulder and get them out in the market aggressively going for business
- The more you know about more parts of the organisation the more chance you have of getting collaboration happening and that is when the magic occurs. That’s when companies really move ahead I believe, when you have superb collaboration on the inside.
- You've got to have a lofty purpose in whatever you're doing
- Look for ways to move ideas from one geography to another
- To get up a level – learn the other parts of the business, ask for more work, show good teamwork, and never lose sight of the end customer
- Don't take it all too seriously
- Don’t get too hung up if things don’t happen as rapidly as you thought
- I didn't understand the CEO role until I became the CEO – there were so many more stakeholders than I thought
- People always say you hire too fast and fire too slow
- If you’re so busy that don’t have time to work on bigger projects then getting good people around you is the secret. It releases you to work more across the business.
- When hiring for my executive team I look for people who know their business, expertise, somebody who will fit into the team, like me but not like me, people of the same mind who are willing to share
- Every time you add a new person you have a new team
- If you have a star who is causing trouble remember that no one is indispensible
- I've had a lot of success promoting people whom others say is not quite ready and then watching them blossom and grow
- One of the most important secrets is stamina and resilience. That is the only way you will succeed in the long run.
- Getting external advice is incredibly valuable
- Be respectful about the past, realistic about the present and optimistic about the future
- You have to work hard to develop a track record
- If you haven't got a track record you should be working on getting one. And you don't have to do it alone.
- Build confidence by doing things one step at a time. Tackle things in bite sized pieces. Don't look for the big massive solution.
- It's normal to be overawed to start with – I was nervous in my first executive meetings
- What should every leader ask themselves everyday – What can I learn today? How can I do it better?
- A final message of wisdom for the next generation is from a Napoleon quote – A leader is a dealer in hope.
Trevor Guest Post: Leadership Counts
Check out Trevor's guest post.
Other Key Links:
Young Presidents Organisations: www.ypo.org
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