David Redhill – Be a sponge, a squirrel and be a thief.

David Redhill
David Redhill speaks to us about why you should "never say no to opportunity", the importance of " Being a sponge, a squirrel and be a thief" and why you "shouldn't die wondering". Hosted by Jeffery Wang

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About David Redhill

David Redhill is a specialist advisor working in the areas of marketing, brand and creative strategy, communications, and cultural transformation. He has worked with boards, senior executives, and the workforces of some of the world’s largest and iconic organisations, ranging from creative agencies and professional services firms to start-ups and global technology leaders.

As National CMO, Deloitte Australia for 12 years, David was a key contributor to the firm’s renowned turnaround and award-winning performance, and during his five years as Global CMO for Deloitte Consulting, he orchestrated the branding, alliance and marketing strategy of the world’s largest consulting organisation, as well as establishing a global creative ecosystem of the firm’s creative and digital agencies.

David has won two Cannes Lions for creative data and storytelling, along with multiple awards for editorial, video production, brand design, sound production, photography, and journalism. In 2013 he was named Australia’s Marketer of the Year by the Australian Marketing Institute. David was listed among Australia’s most innovative marketers in CMO’s 2015 CMO50 list.  

Episode Notes

Lesson 1: Never say no to opportunity 07:02

Lesson 2: Your values are your best guide 10:05

Lesson 3: Don’t die wondering 17:47

Lesson 4: The best conversations aren’t always in words 22:42

Lesson 5: If a job needs doing, you’re the best person to do it 28:55

Lesson 6: Trust your instincts 34:34

Lesson 7: Creativity isn’t the preserve of artists 38:22

Lesson 8: Be a sponge, a squirrel and be a thief 45:13

Lesson 9: Become a child, over and over again 54:40

Lesson 10: The reward of paying it forward are priceless 1:00:39

David Redhill – Be a sponge, a squirrel and be a thief

 [00:00:11] Jeffery Wang: Hello and welcome to the podcast 10 lessons it took me 50 years to learn where we talked to inspirational leaders from all over the world to dispense wisdom for career, business, and life. In order to provide you, our listeners, short cuts to excellence. My name is Jeffery Wang, the founder of Professional Development Forum and your host today, this podcast is sponsored by the Professional Development Forum, which helps diverse young professionals of any age find fulfillment in the modern workplace.

Today we’re joined by David Redhill. David served as the Global Chief Marketing Officer for Deloitte consulting, the world’s largest consulting organization, as well as Deloitte Chief Marketing Officer in Australia, where he was a key contributor to the firm’s renowned turnaround and award-winning performance.

During his five years as the global CMO for Deloitte consulting, he orchestrated the firm’s branding, alliance, and marketing strategy.

But David is so much more than his impressive corporate career, having been in journalism, advertising, branding, design, video production, music composition, and photography.

He has worked with boards, senior executives, and the workforce of some of the world’s largest and iconic organizations ranging from creative agencies and professional services firms to start-ups and global technology leaders.

In 2013, David was named the Marketer of the Year by the Australian marketing Institute. He’s won two Cannes lions for creative data storytelling, two New York telly awards for video production and creative direction, a global IPPA iPhone photography award, and an IABC Gold Quill award for communication strategies amongst many others.

David is also an author and a thought leader. He was the co-founding editor and the author of Deloitte seminal white paper series “Building the Lucky Country” and the author of the Financial Times Pearson global publication “Building Brands through Design”.

His work has been published in the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Journal of Brand Strategy, the Guardian, the New York Times, the London Times, the Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, just to name a few, in addition to his professional work, he also volunteers as an advisor at the University of New South Wales Galleries, the Drop-In Coalition in California, the Ocean Impact Organization and the Sydney Opera House to say that you’ve had an unconventional and diversified career wouldn’t begin to describe it, how you straddle both the creative and the strategic, and somehow you manage to succeed in both.

[00:02:55] David Redhill: Yeah, well, I think actually the two halves of the same coin, parts of the same coin in the end strategy and creativity. Although there’s sometimes depicted as being in conflict with each other, I’d say, culture eats strategy for breakfast. I think creativity and, strategy have to work in harmony with one another and creativity makes strategy come to life and you can’t just be creative without a good strategy to ground yourself. So, I think there are two essential symbiotic elements of business.

[00:03:26] Jeffery Wang: Absolutely. But what I found particularly fascinating about your story is that I just can’t put you into a box. You’re not like anybody I’ve ever met. And in fact, I. A fun fact. I remember from the last time you spoke at the professional development forum was that your grandfather composed the Malaysian National Anthem all those years ago, it kind of speaks to the international influence you’ve had throughout your life and career.

and certainly, you know, you’re somebody who I respect a lot because you have that perspective, you have that creative bent, it’s probably the epitome of diverse thinking if ever was one. And so, this is why I believe you’ll be a fascinating guest for this podcast, 10 lessons.

Now, before we jump into it, I must ask, how did you become a successful global CMO despite not having done marketing before that?

[00:04:21] David Redhill: That’s a, that’s a secret I tend to tell very few people Jeffery. So, you’ve just shared it with our audience, but it is, it is true that I never actually studied marketing. And then somehow, I ended up as a Chief Marketing Officer. One of the lessons I learned, and I’ll allude to it a little later is that you make the best of what you’ve got your natural attributes and you make sure that you make the learning matter.

Through my passions and through my studies and my natural creative qualities. I ended up being able to experience a wide plethora of marketing disciplines individually. And I certainly didn’t go up the greasy pole straight away. I actually did a lot of equivalent level jobs in different sectors and in different facets of marketing without necessarily getting promoted, but moving laterally for many years.

And that in the end ended up leaving me as someone who was very conversant with all the disciplines of marketing without necessarily having to have led any of them. But I was certainly able to argue with the PR director because I’d written thousands of press releases. And I was able to put together a good brand strategy because I’d worked on a lot of different brands and same with digital marketing, same with, design and layout and creative direction.

[00:05:42] David Redhill: I eventually got the shot at being a CMO, a leader and that was a point at which I had to believe in myself that I could actually do it. Even if other people already felt I could, I had to remind myself not to worry about the fact that I’d never actually studied it, but that I had learned from the school of hard knocks of actually doing the stuff.

And it was just a matter of putting it all together and delivering.

[00:06:04] Jeffery Wang: before we jump into our 10 lessons, we usually ask a little bit of a curve ball to begin with, just to keep you on your toes. What advice would you give to your 30-year-old self David?

[00:06:15] David Redhill: My 30-year-old self was a very impatient impetuous man. And I’d probably tell him to just get back in his box be patient and play the long game. All, that is meant to happen to you in your career will come in the fullness of time. If you just take the next best step, calmly and diligently don’t rush things.

[00:06:39] Jeffery Wang: I think that’s a valuable piece of advice, especially to the young millennials, as you know, the stereotype is that they want to be a CEO after three months. And usually that just doesn’t happen. So, certainly I think that would go a long way to, our listeners.

[00:06:52] David Redhill: depends on if they’ve found their own company or not. Then if you start, if you start up your own business, you can be CEO from day one.

[00:07:00] Jeffery Wang: That’s true. That’s true.

[00:07:02] Lesson 1: Never say no to opportunity

[00:07:02] Jeffery Wang: So, let’s jump right into it then. Lesson number one, you say, never say no to opportunity. What do you mean by that?

[00:07:11] David Redhill: Yeah, well, You were asking me about my 30-year-old self. Well, my eight-year-old self was actually in school. Having written a poem, just a fun satirical poem about the class and about the class next door. And when the teacher caught got a hold of it, he, he suggested that I read it out to the entire two classes.

And I was nervous as you can imagine, but I delivered it, too much hilarity and a great, great receptionist, sort of established my name as, as a creative writer, way back when I was eight 20 years later, or so I was studying at the Institute of technology and in the journalism school and, and the opportunity came. To they asked for a volunteer to be the first editor of the journalism review this university newspaper. And I was loathe to do anything, but someone beside me said, you should do it and sort of stuck my hand up, you know? and I never looked back, I edited this publication, it opened doors for me.

It gave me incredible insight and experience. I loved it. I had to work really hard to pull the thing off, but I just think that when these, opportunities come knocking again, they’re there for a reason. and you have a moment of, reflection and decision. You either put your hand up and, go for it or you, wonder why you didn’t years later.

And my learning is really. Yeah, it was that if you never leave your comfort zone, you’ll never grow and you’ll never understand your own potential to achieve. and if it leads to failure, well, that’s part of the learning journey too, but you’ve got to take the opportunity when it presents itself to you.

[00:08:43] Jeffery Wang: isn’t it a bit easier said than done. I mean, if it wasn’t for those around you who were supportive and sort of push you into it, would you have taken those opportunities otherwise, and for those of us that I’m always, you know, and I suppose, you know, if you’ve spent 30 or 40 years in your comfort zone, how do you go about taking that leap of faith?

[00:09:03] David Redhill: I’m not, I’m not saying it’s easy to do. And there are many times when I’ve, I haven’t taken opportunities that are, that I’m still wondering about to this day. It’s, it’s just a principle that I believe really resonates certainly when I think of, you know, friends and colleagues that have, deliberated vacillated procrastinated for weeks or months about taking a plunge, whether that’s the right idea, very, very few of them, regret that decision when they eventually make it.

and I think that’s part of my, belief is that this you know, the simile tiniest desire for and dread of change is always in battle within us. I think we should listen to the inner voice that if some, if change is occurring to us, we should actually listen to that voice and go with it and change things because. The most common reaction to having made the plunge and taking the opportunity is why didn’t I do this earlier?

[00:09:58] Jeffery Wang: I can certainly identify with that myself, which kind think it might be related to

[00:10:05] Lesson 2: Your values are your best guide

[00:10:05] Jeffery Wang: lesson number two, your values are your best guide.

Tell us bit more

[00:10:10] David Redhill: Yeah, well, that was a political situation. I got myself into as a result of being the editor of the journalism review. I was offered a job in a potential cadetship in a large news corporation. One of Australia’s biggest privately owned businesses. And I won’t go into the details of who was involved or the, or the owners, but, at that time, the ABC that our national broadcaster was cash strapped and the suggestion being made by this news organization was that they provide their own, journalists around the world, their, their stringers as a sort of a syndicated provider to the ABC.

And I felt very passionately as a journalist that, The ABC should retain its independence. And it shouldn’t be once it started taking news reports from, private company journalists. There was a conflict of interest. So, at the same time as applying for this job and in conversations with this news organization, I wrote a feature article in the journalism review, condemning this, challenging this, this notion that this same news organizations should be offering this, route.

And of course, if it costs me the opportunity to get a job with the organization in question, so it was pretty naive in one respect to sort of, write an, an article attacking the organization. I was applying for a job at.

[00:11:30] Jeffery Wang: that’s what’s called a CLM that the career limiting move.

[00:11:33] David Redhill: But Jeffrey, it really didn’t sit right with me. As a matter of fact, I didn’t get that job, but another better door opened up for me. And in fact, I took a job in a hardware company, one of the first large computer companies and organization in Australia. I learned all about technology in the birth of the digital age.

From the ground up, it didn’t hold me back as a journalist. It was the best, first opportunity first job I could have had. And I never looked back. I never regretted that. So, my, my learning again was, if it doesn’t feel good or sit right with you, then don’t compromise your principles or, cut corners to get ahead.

You know how hard work and integrity in that work will get you where you’re meant to go. And you’ll be able to sleep at night and you’ll be able to live with it. So that was, that was a, you know, a profound learning. It was one of those sliding doors moments, Jeffrey I could have gone that way and I elected not to, and I went in a very different direction that I’ve never regretted.

[00:12:32] Jeffery Wang: when did This, happen? What,

which

year was this

[00:12:34] David Redhill: this was in 1983.

[00:12:37] Jeffery Wang: 83, oh, wow. So, this will be before the digital age.

[00:12:40] David Redhill: It was the birth of, well, it was that year was the first appearance of, you know, Microsoft, programming for laptops for personal computers. And it was sort of taking off here in Sydney. I was working for a, as I said, a hardware manufacturer, which was more focused on.

Distributed resource systems, word processes, and the first barcode scanners in the world for retail. And in fact, I got to cut my teeth, launching barcode scanning in Australia as a retail technology. but those are the days when, you know, mainframes were buried down in the basement, and every week or so they would fire it up and push through a bunch of batch processed, payroll and sales data.

It was really one step up from tabulator machines. It was really quite primitive in the firepower, the data power of those machines, which were the size of rooms, would easily fit in inside an iPhone these days. So, it was a great opportunity to work at that at that stage. So early in the technology industry and that demystified technology for me because I just learned of it as a tool.

[00:13:48] Jeffery Wang: ahead of the curve ever since. So that’s truly, exactly, as you described, it’s truly sliding doors moment because you know who, who could have predicted that technology was going to be such a big dominant part of our modern conversation. Now, the second part of lesson that I had a question for is about how. It’s about how much the world has changed. Right. So, I mean, from what it sounds like that you, you took a principle stand and you were, you were punished at the beginning, but you’re ultimately rewarded for taking those principles stands right now. Does that apply to the world as it is today? Because, you know, and I’m thinking about, the modern culture, you know, you, you probably heard about the cancel culture, or, you know, if you were to say something that is, you know, against the public narrative, you’re, you’re almost making a very career limiting move, even when it’s the truth, and we’re talking about this age where.

facts also change over time. The facts will always change over time, but it’s almost, if you’re too far ahead of the curve, you get into all sorts of trouble. So, I guess that’s a long way to ask my question that, you know, do you still believe in today’s day and age, do you still believe that your principles are still your best guide?

[00:14:59] David Redhill: Yes, I do. I do Jeffrey. It’s a really good question. you’re, you’re suggesting that I’ve kept ahead of the curve is, is actually, inaccurate because I don’t think anyone really stays ahead of the curve for long. There’s always stuff that’s overtaking us. And that we’ve got to catch up with this sort of shift in values and language and the nuance of interpreting past behaviour actions and words.

It’s extremely difficult. It’s extremely difficult. because something that was acceptable, even five years ago with the shift in values and the focus on some, justifiable focus on some abhorrent practices, which have always been accepted, are now being confronted.

You know, we’ve got to go with those sort of standards that are being upheld as, indicative of decent human behaviour and, and values. I ultimately think that your values are your best guide because you know, some of the. Most fundamental values are, you want to treat people as they, you would have them treat you, you know, and that’s a universal mantra of mine and we all know, what good feels like and good looks like.

And, and we all know that people need to, do, as they say, you know, not be hypocritical. I think that if you adhere to those universal values, if you are pretty, consistent, and you also admit when you are confused and you don’t know it, I think you get to the right place and you make the right decisions.

and again, it’s usually values driven. I you know, I think, the expression of values and the outcome of decisions, the values they do change over time and the way words are interpreted, but the values of the core. Are, the universal values of the human condition. They do not change. we all have the same hierarchy of needs.

We all want to be valued. We want to be treated with respect. We want to be loved. We’ve got a range of other needs in our life to feel relevant, to feel like we’re making a difference. if you treat people not around you, in that knowledge, show them respect help them along the way you can’t go wrong.

Yeah. You’re not going to be cancelled. If you want to go out on a limb and start criticizing or taking a, a fervent stand on something, you’ve just got to be very careful. You’ve got to think through the consequences of as your language and your actions.

[00:17:28] Jeffery Wang: and I agree with that. I do believe that values don’t change over time. Underlying fundamental values that underpins us as human beings should not, should not change over time. and so, I mean, I’ll put potentially what we’re seeing is a storm in a teacup in the expression of those values rather than the values themselves.

[00:17:47] Lesson 3: Don’t die wondering

[00:17:47] Jeffery Wang: So wise words indeed. Now lesson number three, what do you mean by don’t die wondering?

[00:17:54] David Redhill: Hmm. So, as you alluded, I, I had an international career. I left Australia in 1985, supposedly for five years and ended up spending 20 years abroad. and you know, I got to live in some extraordinary places. I lived for a few years in Barcelona and Spain. I lived in France. I travelled through Asia for a couple of years.

I lived in London for nine years and travelled all over Eastern Europe, south America. And then I moved to San Francisco and lived there for five years during the first dot com revolution. And, and I got familiar enough to find my way around 20 other major cities in different parts of the world. So, when I eventually came back to Australia, one of, one of the common sort of reactions was, gosh, you’re lucky that you did that.

 You’re really lucky to have had that life and something didn’t sit well with me about that, because in fact there was, you know, there was a lot of challenge in that, if you spent. 20 years of walking down streets that you don’t know the name of and walking into rooms where everyone’s speaking a language that you don’t know; you don’t know anybody.

 If you’re putting yourself in constant situations of uncertainty and ambiguity and risk and, living hand to mouth, because you’re, you’re always changing when your old friends back in Sydney are building a career and making money and establishing families and getting into the microcosm of the community. That’s not luck. You know, that’s an outcome of choices. Those are choices and decisions that you may make in life. and I happened to make those decisions because I couldn’t not make those decisions. That’s who I was. And it was right for me, but at times it felt that I wasn’t, lucky, I was crazy.

this is not a good move to be here and why am I doing this? You know, so I don’t know, my learning in the end, was that, that path that we’re all on, is one of a search and we have to be true to that search and we have to keep searching. And if I hear regrets from people that they didn’t do it, it’s never too late, I would say never let your curiosity go to sleep. take those risks and push the boundaries because ultimately if you want to achieve something in your life, and I’m not talking about being famous or being an achiever, but if you want to feel that you’re, you’ve fulfilled your destiny and pushed yourself to search and found out things about yourself that you wouldn’t have had, you stayed in one place.

Ultimately, no one is remembered for being safe and the people who are remembered are those who stuck their necks out, took a, took a risk at times. Got a bit crazy. and at other times got lucky, but it’s, it’s not as simple. Just that the point being don’t die wondering what might’ve been, just do it and make the best of it.

[00:20:46] Jeffery Wang: There’s a lot of gems in that. So you know, First thing I picked up was the fact that you said it wasn’t like, I mean, there were, I think one thing that the word I’d probably use, the sacrifices that you have to make in order to get, what you got out of all the risk that you took and the times that you had to face uncertainty and be really, really outside of your comfort zone.

But having said that, I think the other, the other part I took out of that is your self-awareness. The fact that you knew what you wanted in life, you knew that you had to be uncomfortable. You knew that you had to throw yourself into the deep end and see what happens. not everyone has that level of awareness And, you know, unfortunately they die wondering.

[00:21:24] David Redhill: Funny. You should say that Jeffrey. I still wonder what I’m going to do and what I want to be when I grow up.

[00:21:30] Jeffery Wang: When you eventually grow

[00:21:32] David Redhill: I mean, knowing what you want to do in life, a lot of it is just, the next step you take the next best step, and it leads you somewhere. You didn’t necessarily know where you were going to leave, but I also want to caveat when you say making sacrifices, you know, I’m incredibly privileged, privileged.

I came from a middle class, a privileged background where I went to a private school, and I had a financial cushion that I could fall back on if things didn’t work out. So, I just want to make sure that that’s, understood. and that idea of leaving things behind. Well, you could, in the 1970s and 1980s leave things behind these days, it’s a little more difficult because we’re all so interconnected.

You know, if you go to the other side of the world, you can still be on, on a camera with your parents and your best friends 24 7. So, it’s a, it’s a very different world that we live in. I still do think that there’s a need for people to go off paste, again, explore the road, less travelled, get outside of their comfort zones and test themselves the unfamiliar and the uncomfortable has that real habit of making you grow up fast and learn things about yourself, which are very valuable as you take them forward.

[00:22:42] Lesson 4: The best conversations aren’t always in words

[00:22:42] Jeffery Wang: indeed. Now I like the next one. And I’m guessing this might have something to do with, being an international, executive. You say that the best conversations aren’t always in words. What do you mean by that?

[00:22:56] David Redhill: It’s actually nothing to do with being an executive Jeffrey. Though I can see why you may have gone down that route. This is to do with music. I am a passionate guitarist and, when I travelled for sort of two years through Asia, I travelled with a guitar, and I had a wonderful time playing with Indian Nepali Tibetan Thai musicians.

and anytime I pulled out an instrument, it was almost a way of giving something back into the society I was moving through because it certainly intrigued other, people from other cultures what I, what I would play them, you know, whether it was a pop song or a Bob Marley tune or classical composition or whatever.

 On my last night in Asia, in Sri Lanka I was in a Doss house. it was pretty ropey, but it was a place to crash for a night before I got the plane to Europe the next morning. and I was working on a Bach cello suite of the classical bass. I’d been muddling through for some months.

And I played the thing in my little dog box of a room. and the, the, the walls didn’t go quite at the ceiling. So, after I put the guitar down, I heard next door, someone pluck what sounded like a violin. and then the violin started playing. And the piece was the Bach cello suite that I had just attempted to play. And whoever it was playing, this thing played the entire piece through perfectly. It was absolute virtuoso. Absolutely beautiful. I was naturally stunned. And after that finished, didn’t say a word. I started playing something else up and started playing a blues jam. And this person came in over the top and started improvising on top of the music I was playing.

And we had this incredible jam, and it went on for literally hours, everything I played, he and I knew it was a, he, because at one stage I heard him laugh. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have known everything I played, he embellished beautifully. And it was this sort of conversation in music that went into all sorts of extraordinary places. And about five in the morning when it was all finished. I got up, put my guitar away, walked out the door and left, and I never even saw this chap’s face. And we never said a word. I call it the invisible jam. It was probably the best jam I’ve ever had in my life. And it was made that much more perfect because there was so much unsaid in words.

But w it was a complete conversation in music. So that’s why I say the best conversations. Aren’t always in words. And, you know, you’ve got to look more deeply than what is being said to have a great exchange, you know, a dialogue always trumps a monologue. So, listen and respond to what is going on around you.

And people say things in very different ways, and it might not always be in words. Yeah.

[00:25:59] Jeffery Wang: well, I like, I love that story and the way I kind of relate to that is it is through a concept of culture intelligence, you know, having been a kid that had to leave my sort of birth culture, enjoying the Western culture. I didn’t know a hell of a lot English when I first migrated. But then I learned very quickly that The communications that we have between humans aren’t necessarily in words.

And, and you learn very quickly to have, you know, to grow empathy, to have, you know, other ways of connecting. And I think the story that you mentioned about the music, you know, that’s just another way of being aware that there are other elements of communication that goes beyond words. And I think sometimes when, when we’ve only grown up in one single monoculture, you forget that you forget that people have all these assumed, understanding of each other’s intentions and meanings. That just isn’t the case when you’re dealing across culture.

[00:27:04] David Redhill: I so agree with you Jeffrey it’s a never ending source of fascination for me, the way people communicate and connect in different cultures and, you know, not only connect with the world around them and the each other, but with their ancestors and with their successes, you know, the way first Australians connect with each other through song lines and, and through passing down, mythology and the stories of the dream time and to articulate their connection to the earth, the way people in Asian cultures particularly use tone of voice and the tonality of, language.

One word can be said in 30 different ways. and you know, through wit rituals through, Traditions through, family circles and community interaction, you know, so much is said beyond what is actually said. and, as a communicator, I think that’s what makes life so rich and interesting.

Again, when you get out of your comfort zone and start experiencing, if you live within a monoculture, you understand everything, you know, it’s when you start, that’s, when you start not understanding what’s going on that you feel a little uncomfortable or out of place and you you’re given the puzzles to solve.

And once you solve the puzzle, you have that little frisson of satisfaction. But what, at the point you’ve learned something, and you are moving forward again.

[00:28:25] Jeffery Wang: indeed. And whenever I try to explain this concept of communicating interculturally, it’s very difficult because it’s like trying to tell someone that they live in the matrix, you know, and how would, you know, if you never knew otherwise, which is why I think your story is a brilliant way of describing it because everyone can relate to music as a way of communications.

I just love that story. So, thanks for sharing that

[00:28:47] David Redhill: and I love the matrix, but let’s not go there. That’s a, that’s a very different a tangent

we could get into,

[00:28:55] Lesson 5: If a job needs doing, you’re the best person to do it

[00:28:55] Jeffery Wang: oh, yes.

[00:28:57] David Redhill: well,

[00:28:57] Jeffery Wang: That’s bringing it back to lesson Number five. If a job needs doing, you’re the best person to do it.

[00:29:03] David Redhill: yeah, I’ll give you another anecdote and I’ll try and keep it shorter. This time. I was living in Spain Northwest Spain in a little fishing village, for, about nine months again, in the late eighties. and I saw a sign on a village hall, which was. Anatoly Karpov, the world chess champion is coming to play.

It’s 20 simultaneous games with kids in the, in the area. This, village happened to be a hotbed of chess talent. And then this sort of happens in the chess world. There are little, super cells of talented players, youngsters who play each other a lot and raise their standard. So, Karpov had decided to come to, this place called Yanes. As a journalist, as a freelancer I thought, I wonder if I can get an interview with him. So, I went into the local chess club and, and talk to them and they said, well, he’s going to be very busy on the day. He was only here for, for a few hours. we’ll see what, what happens anyway. So, the day arrives that Karpov is due in this little bit.

And the whole town Plaza is packed. You know, the throng with crowds of people. People have come out of the Hills to see this grand maestro of chess visiting this village. And this limousine pulls up in the middle of this square. The door opens Anatoly Karpov gets out and stands in the sun, sort of blinking and looking quizzically around him. And everyone’s looking at Karpov and nothing’s happening. I’m thinking what’s going on. Yeah. Someone say something turns out Karpov was on the understanding that they were going to provide a translator. The village assumed he would be bringing his own. Yeah. So, nobody spoke Spanish and English. And I suddenly dawned on me what was happening, and my father was Russian.

So, I, I stepped forward and introduced myself in Russian and he said, oh, well, you know, what, what what’s happening? Where are you from? And I said, well, I’m from Australia. And he said, I’m going to Australia next month for the first time. What are you doing here? And I, it went from there. I ended up translating for Karpov for the entire day 20 simultaneous games with, in front of the whole village, you know, explaining in Spanish what, what Karpov was talking about as he was analysing the moves.

I was pushing my Spanish to the limit, as you can imagine translating back for him from what the locals were saying. And it just happened to be that there were very, very few people who even spoke English in this, in this part of remote Spain in the late 1980s. and it went on and on and in the evening, I accompanied him to, the airport, at Santa Andrea, about a hundred, kilometres away.

And I managed to interview him on tape because I developed a good enough relationship for him to trust me. And I wrote as a journalist, this four-page feature article that was published in the world’s chess, magazine. And it was literally Karpov his first ever, open interview about the political situation that he had emerged between him and Kasparov, his successor as well champion.

There was a lot of bad blood between them, but he was very candid with me. I took photographs of him, and I had this four-page feature, which was like an exclusive first breaking story. And it all went back to that moment where I thought, well, No one here is doing this job of actually making this happen. I’m the only one who seems to be able to have a chance of doing it, even if I don’t do it well the job needs doing, I better do it because I’m the best person to do it right here and now, so there’s, there’s actually a story. There’s a, there’s a saying in photography, I forget the forgotten, the photographer who said it, he said the best camera is the one that you have on you.

You know, if you’ve only got a box,

a little Instamatic or a Polaroid or of an iPhone in your pocket, don’t complain about what, it’s not just use it because the best camera you’ve got is the one on you.

[00:33:08] Jeffery Wang: It’s the one you have.

[00:33:08] David Redhill: Yeah. And so, as a, as a person, if you’re not the best, if you’re not adept or really highly skilled in something, but you’re the only one they’re able to do the job and it needs to be done.

Exactly. Make the best of it. If you make the best of it, the, your best will be more than good enough for the situation.

[00:33:28] Jeffery Wang: See I love that story because there are so many people believe that they have to be the best in the business before they’ll be able to score a job, but the reality is and I love that saying, you know, the best camera is the one you got when you need it. Well, the reality is that most of the time I’m the best you’ve got at this point in, and I think this goes back to your first lesson. You never say no to opportunity because that’s exactly what it is now, just back on the theme of not being able to put, put you in a box. So, I just picked up that not only you’re a creative, but you also speak Spanish and Russian.

So, there you go. Even more things outside the box which

uh,

[00:34:06] David Redhill: My Russian is very sketchy as is my friend. I mean, the, the language is I actually speak better Spanish and a bit of French and, and you can’t live in Spain for two and two and a half years without throwing yourself into it. And that was a joy, just, learning another language and discovering again, another part of myself that wouldn’t have been, apparent had, I was stayed in, in, in my home language

[00:34:30] Jeffery Wang: And you wouldn’t have got your exclusive of Karpov

[00:34:34] Lesson 6: Trust your instincts

[00:34:34] Jeffery Wang: right now. I love lesson number six. Trust your instincts. I sense. A good story here.

[00:34:41] David Redhill: Well, it was actually one of, the most stressful moments of my executive career. this was on the stage of the Sydney opera house. You know, Deloitte Australia had hired out the Sydney opera house for the first-time and. We were in the main hall, you know, the concert hall with 2000 people there.

And I was on the on the agenda I had to get up and deliver a speech. So, I had prepared a script and revised it verbatim. I’m a third of the way into my speech and it’s gone completely disappeared out of my head. And a few seconds went by, and I tried to think of what it was I, where I was, and it was almost like my life passed before my eyes.

I looked down into the audience. I saw the CEO looking at me with alarm and all I wanted to do Jeffrey was walk off the stage, straight out of the building and never come back. You know, it was one of those moments where I was just blind panic and the, all the air went out of the room. what I did was. I just took a breath and I started again not with the beginning of the speech, but I just spoke from the heart. Yeah, I absolutely, I knew the reason I was there was to get a message across, but I didn’t have the words in the way that I had rehearsed it to describe it. So, I just spoke from the heart and created the narrative on the spot by just telling them what we needed to do.

And people in the audience saw it for what it was. They all saw me stumble and they all sort of felt that sick feeling in the S in your stomach where you see someone about to fall. but the fact that I pulled it together and gave them an honest, narrative. They could all relate to that. And as a result, they liked it even more.

Yeah. And, and it was actually one of my better moments. It was a terrifying experience to, to have stage fright like that. And everyone goes through it at one time. but my learning was, you know, be prepared for that to happen, trust your instincts in the moment to stay real and be prepared to change the script.

You know, nothing ever goes perfectly as planned. You know, there’s always a technical hitch. There’s always a dog starts barking.

There’s always something that, that doesn’t go to plan. So just go with it, be authentic and stay real and you can pull it off.

[00:37:09] Jeffery Wang: Great advice. And I do believe that we are very good human beings are very good at picking in authenticity. And I, I personally believe it. That speech that you gave was probably more real, more authentic, and more impactful than probably the one that you rehearsed it’s times like those that I think, you know, you probably inspired by some spark of genius that, you know, was somehow better that. What you could have prepared had you had more time,

[00:37:40] David Redhill: I, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t put it in that category. I’d say it was just the product of sheer desperation and my career was on the line. And know, when you’re backed into a corner, you you’ve got to pull something out of the hat. And I mean, it wasn’t pretty, it worked, I think people enjoyed it because they saw me go so close to the edge and pull back from disaster.

So, whatever I said, thereafter, at least it was half comprehensible. So not sure it was that inspired to be honest, but anyway, I think, as bad as it could be, you can always say something for yourself and just be prepared to get stripped back to the basics and say what’s on your mind, say what’s in your heart and again, it will be good enough.

[00:38:21] Jeffery Wang: be good enough. lesson

[00:38:22] Lesson 7: Creativity isn’t the preserve of artists

[00:38:22] Jeffery Wang: number seven, creativity. Isn’t the preserve of artist. What he’s saying there that we can all be creative?

[00:38:29] David Redhill: Absolutely. You know, one of my, one of my favourite quotes is Brian Eno. You know, the great English, polymath, musician, artists, digital creator, curator, he says, art is everything that you don’t have to do. And basically, what he means by that is, we all have to wear clothes, but we don’t have to wear Chanel.

You know, we all have to eat, but we don’t have to eat baked Alaska or tortillas. the fact that we embellish anything in front of us that we don’t need to, well, that’s art, that’s creativity. the first part of my career was working in communications and journalism and, and it was very hard nose, dry and messaging it was almost the science end of that creative spectrum, as a journalist formulaic writing, who, what, when, where, why in 25 words or, less. It’s the first draft of history. But when I joined a creative agency Landor a design agency, I felt like for the first time I was bringing my whole self to work.

and for a few years thereafter, I revelled in that opportunity to combine my passions in music and literature and creative writing and photography, by building brands for business and creating an emotional resonance for a business message. But when I left Landor, and went to work back in a big four consulting firm, Deloitte, I felt devastated.

So that was sort of selling out to work on the client side and that I’d never get a chance again, to be creative, truly creative in my professional work that I’d have to compartmentalize that into my private life again. So, what a ridiculous notion, you know, I was so wrong. All the global roles I did thereafter at internet agencies and middleware companies and management consultancies, they all benefited hugely from me bringing creativity and emotion.

To fairly dry topics and, and pretty stayed articulations of what those companies did. and Jeffrey, you know, it made me realize that in all the jobs I’ve ever done, whether it, you know, and I’ve done quite a few between times I’ve liked boxes and I’ve written stories and I’ve weeded gardens and I’ve produced videos and I’ve reordered alphabetical files into numerical order.

And I’ve washed dishes and peel potatoes, and I’ve driven taxis and I’ve done some wonderful creative work, but in all those jobs, there’s always been ample opportunity to be creative. And my lesson is that there is art in everything. Yeah. I have never yet met an individual who works a black and white job.

Everyone is creative. They may not think it in that way, but they are absolutely creative in the choices they make. because they’re all doing things that they don’t have to do to make their work more interesting, and more accessible and more enjoyable through creativity.

[00:41:20] Jeffery Wang: I could, yeah, I can absolutely relate to that. As an Asian kid, you know, you’re often told, ah, you’ll, you’ll be good at maths, you know, and that’s what you should focus on. And the problem is that it becomes a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. So, it gets what I studied, you know, math and science, you know, it did a really good score.

Get a good HSC. What I never really understood until later on in my career is to sheer enjoyment of the creative side of me and how important it is that I satisfy that in order to feel happy and fulfilled. And it’s no surprise then that I actually didn’t end up in a technical career. You know, I’m not, I mean, I work in IT, but I’m a, I’m a, I’m a sales And the reason I’m a sales guy is because I do enjoy the interaction. I do enjoy the presentation. I do enjoy the creative liberties I can take when I represent a message.

You know, and they, and the impact of how that framing, how I, you know, describe, and link the benefits to, you know, to your, to the solutions that we’re trying to sell.

It it’s that creative element that really, really engages me. And I wouldn’t do it for anything else. I wouldn’t do any other job. I mean, I do love the technology. But it is the creative side of it that make, makes my job really, really enjoyable. So, you know, I can, I can absolutely attest to that now.

I only wish my parents knew that. And let me actually study, you know, things like English or you’d learn the, joined the debating team or

[00:42:56] David Redhill: Well, you got to the right place for you in the end and, and that’s, that’s a. Great story. You’ve shared Jeffrey that it is absolute stereotype amongst Western kids and adults like me that oh, you know, if it’s, if it’s maths oriented, definitely the Asian kids will be at the top of the class, you know, and, and, and that assumption number one should be cancelled.

Emphasize, cancel culture should be absolutely, you know, put, put out to, to, to us, because as you say, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, you actually stereotype people that way you put them in a compartment, of course, they’re going to perform the way you think they should. that to me is that’s infinitely sad that so many, you know, generations of people, are shunted into, you know, disciplines and categories where they’re not actually realizing their full potential.

They’re actually looked out for their physical characteristics or the mental aptitude or something. And actually, their destiny is given to them and shaped for them instead of them finding their own way.

[00:44:03] Jeffery Wang: Yeah. And the absolute travesty, is that because they aren’t finding that fulfillment in what they do, that they never realized the best in themselves, you know, that all that they could be. And I, and I think, you know, if anything we could do with this podcast is to encourage that creative side, you know, you, you may be good at maths, but for you to be all that you could be, you know, straddle both sides.

I think if that’s the message that we can get through, that’s what I like them to take out of this conversation.

[00:44:34] David Redhill: And you can be good at more than one thing. You can actually be good at a number of things, which.

may not seem complimentary at first, but you will be able to draw some pretty interesting connections between them, you know, when you get, and whether you get an economist who is really interested in classical Renaissance painting, and can then tell stories and use metaphors for what happens in those paintings to describe economic policy.

Well, that’s a, that’s an economic lecture I want to sit through.

[00:45:05] Jeffery Wang: that’s right. And we’ve all heard the age-old story about how Steve Jobs dropped into the calligraphy class. And now we got fancy writing on their computers.

[00:45:13] Lesson 8: Be a sponge, a squirrel and be a thief

[00:45:13] Jeffery Wang: So, lesson number eight and I love, love, love, love, love this one, because you said be a sponge, a squirrel, and a thief. Be a sponge, a squirrel, and be a thief.

[00:45:24] David Redhill: yeah, yeah, absolutely. You know, when I was CMO at Deloitte Australia, I worked for guy who really inspired me, the CEO Giam for many years he was an inveterate, you know, insatiable consumer of business books every year. He got a big idea, from, Harvard. professor or MIT big thinker about where business was going, or digital disruption was taking us or whatever that was published as a sort of a New York times bestseller on the business books list.

 And without fail before Christmas, he would purchase sort of 70 or 80 copies of this book and give it to the entire cadre of senior executives and senior partners at Deloitte. So, I would get these books year in, year out and, and I’d read the executive summary and I’d get the idea about the big idea, but then, you know, I wouldn’t, I, I, I did it for a couple of years.

I read 300 pages of case studies, which all, you know, reinforced the lesson. But I really had already got the idea from the executive summary. And eventually I just thought, no, I’m just going to read the, the, the summary and I, one year I told him this, I said, you know, I’m going to give you a book.

I’m going to give you a book for Christmas. Cause you always give me one for Christmas. And I gave him Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, you know, an 80-page parable about the journey for truth and the inner self, and when we talked about it, I said, look, I would not be a good CMO for you.

And I wouldn’t be the person I am. If I was just reading business books all the time. Yes. I’m a CMO for big business and we’ve got to know what’s going on, but I need to sponge up references to ancient history, to pop culture, to children’s cartoons, Japanese, manga, comics, dance, music, symphonies, you know, Twitter feeds and exhibitions in great galleries.

You never know when that oblique reference that I pick up from something completely detached from what we do is going to come in handy and give me a great creative idea to drive a campaign. So, he never read Siddhartha, I don’t think, but I, I really believe that you’ve got to be as a leader and as a great marketer, you’ve got to be a sponge and soak up things from all directions and never think that something isn’t your territory, just seek and find and bring back. And to be a squirrel, you know, store them, store those ideas, document them, record them somehow and store them away in your memory banks, ready to bring to the table when you’re looking for lateral inspiration, and don’t hesitate to put them on the table when you need to, to help solve a problem.

you know, you won’t be ridiculed, you’ll be thanked. So be a sponge and be a squirrel with that stuff. And don’t worry about being a thief because if the reality is that all the great ideas in business today are derivative. You know, Steve jobs used to admit openly that he wasn’t the inventor.

He just put great ideas, which are already out there together. so, borrow and adapt ideas from all directions. Sure. Be sure to credit. If you will be lifting images directly or quoting copy, you know, verbatim, you’ve got to credit the authors, but be a thief, you know, from all directions, ideas that succeed in one category, they just might with a smidgen of adaptation succeeded in your own category.

And that’s really the lesson for me is, be a sponge, be a squirrel and be a thief and you cannot go wrong.

[00:49:12] Jeffery Wang: So, I love that reference because it is such an interesting way to look at this particular problem. But the issue, I think, That I’m seeing in a lot of corporates today is one of group think. And when people tend to all read from the same, you know, when they all sing from the same song book, for example, these business books that you talk about and, you know, these are called management fads, right?

Everybody’s gone through them TQM, Six Sigma and when you repeat it enough, it becomes the truth and or becomes a narrative that everyone accepts. And it’s kind of, bit of a, again, self-fulfilling prophecy, because that’s what everyone reads. And yet for the truly transformational leaders are there.

Like you spoke about the Steve jobs. It’s a sponges that can join two completely disparate concepts into something brand new and understanding how that works, you know, and this speaks to it a lot too. Another topic that I’m very passionate about, which is around diversity, you know, the diversity of thinking.

And, and I’d argue that we probably don’t do a good enough job of bringing that diversity to the floor and which is, you know, the same reason why I find you so refreshing to speak with, because you’ve got that perspective that, you know, just like nobody else. And the reason you’re like nobody else is because you’re so open to things which may not fit your paradigm.

And yet you find a way to understand you find a way to grapple with it and you find, you know, you get insights that, you know, no one else can have because you had that input. The question I have for you though, is can you teach

that? Can you teach how to be a sponge? And can you teach an open mind?

[00:51:01] David Redhill: Ah, look

[00:51:02] Jeffery Wang: Is that the

[00:51:02] David Redhill: yeah, that that will Yes, of course you can, you can teach anything, and you can advise you, you can check number one. If one thinks that one is always open to new ideas and never beyond set preferences or dogma, or, you know, entrenched points of view. You’re joking.

You know, every, everyone is subject to this it’s life for me is a constant battle to keep refreshing and casting aside my preconceptions about how things should be. And I learned that from kids and from my own children and from you know, younger people at work because they see the world differently.

And your point about diversity is, is really, really well-taken because it’s, diverse you know, gender culture, belief, system, age, or, and, and ways of thinking. And I happen to think that, you know, one person can be infinitely diverse because you never feel the same way on five days of the week.

Some days you go in, you are in a really bad mood and really dogmatic and others, you’re at peace with the universe and very open to suggestion and very you know, you can riff on other people’s ideas and, and build something magnificent. So, I’ve, I don’t know if you can teach a, almost a methodology of being more sponge-like or more thief, like, or more squirrel, like, but I do think that you can continue to remind people on the journey that, that every idea has value if it’s considered objectively that the best inspiration comes from the most unlikely sources and help people understand the value of what they’re that they’re coming up with because you know what disappoints me or what distresses me sometimes is people underselling the power and the value of their own ideas and their own backgrounds.

I’ve always felt that everyone in the world has a fascinating story to say, even if they think, oh, I haven’t, I haven’t done much with my life, or I haven’t worked in many cases and I’m not very good at it. You probe and you find the, the passion and the insight and the self-knowledge is always there.

You’ve just got to figure out a way to unlock and I love doing that. I love, number one openly admitting that I fail all the time with staff and that I’m nervous as hell when I go out on stage and talk in front of people, then, you know, people see me sometimes it’s very comfortable in my own skin and talking in public or articulating an idea.

No, I’m thinking at twice the speed, because I’m in a mild state of panic that I’m going to fall and I’m going to fail. I’m going to make a fool of myself. That’s a constant state of anxiety, but that’s again a good feeling because it means you’re always digging deep to originate ideas. You’re always bringing your best game to the situation instead of sinking into complacency or a, have a sense of comfort or entitlement that what you’ve got is good enough. No, you should always dig deep and try and bring your best game to situations. And I think that’s I think that’s a lesson than many people forget once they achieve something and they get very, you know, more senior, they start coasting, and they stop challenging themselves.

that’s an advantage because you will always dig deep to, to produce your best there.

[00:54:30] Jeffery Wang: Yep. And indeed, you’re more aware. All right. So, if you’re in a creative if you’re in a creative role that you’re always aware when you’re coasting in your career.

[00:54:40] Lesson 9: Become a child, over and over again

[00:54:40] Jeffery Wang: And in fact, that’s a brilliant, brilliant segue for lesson number nine. Now I have to say, this is a lesson we’ve had many times before, but nobody quite worded the way you do, which is just brilliant. So, lesson number nine, become a child over and over again. Now, what do you mean by that?

[00:55:00] David Redhill: Well, I talked a bit about going to Spain and I think the process of learning Spanish for me was a revelation. And something that was a huge lesson in humility for me. It’s not often as a grown man that you are reduced to speaking in short, badly pronounced sentences, and you are unable to express yourself in anything other than very simple ideas.

And more of the point, it’s not often that you repeatedly reduce people around you to laughter, but not because of your dry wit or, you know, references to humour, but because of your inability to articulate things in terms other than a child, and that’s the point about learning something new, which I believe you should do continually you should always seek to put yourself in that situation of being a child, learn another language, read about a new discipline practice, new skills, get coached in a new sport and challenge yourself on the learning journey over and over again. It’s a really healthy reminder that you know, firstly, you can only keep growing as an individual if you keep learning.

And secondly, the only way you can learn is to fail often and make yourself vulnerable and become a beginner in, in a new field of knowledge and become a child again in that discipline. Don’t worry about making a fool of yourself because failure is essential to the progress on a journey that everyone else is on anyway.

So, it’s not, you know, learning isn’t just about remaining relevant. It’s actually about continuing to enjoy life as it changes instead of railing against the changes, go with them, keep learning. Because my learning from that sort of experience of learning Spanish was that once you stop learning, you stop living

[00:56:54] Jeffery Wang: indeed, indeed. And this is what I love about the way you described this lesson. You know, we’ve had this lesson never stopped learning as a lesson before. And we often joke about this lesson because, you know, duh, why wouldn’t you stop learning? But what I like about the way you describe this lesson; it’s about putting yourself into that mode of a child.

A child’s not afraid of making a fool of themselves. A child is not afraid of failure. A child is not afraid of getting outside, trying something new, stepping into the unknown, but the best part of it is that it’s, it’s a child’s approach that allows you to be And so that is why I love the way, chose those words for this lesson, become a child over and over again.

[00:57:35] David Redhill: well. It’s funny that you just articulated it beautifully. Jeffrey.

The way a child looks at the world. I went to a school auction about 15 years ago. You know, when you, when you’ve got children who are six years old a smart school, we’ll get them to do a whole lot of paintings and then sell them back to you as adults.

Because, because you know that the parents are going to auction and pay that pay top dollar for your children’s. Anyway, so Ken Done, the Australian artist was there to give a speech at the beginning of this auction. And he said, you know, all the, there were no kids there. He said, how many in this crowd where artists, when you were six-year-old and every one of the adults put their hand up and he said, okay, now keep your hand up.

If you are an artist today and all, but about three or four of the hands went down and he said, what happened. You said nothing changed other than your fear of being accepted as an artist, you are all artists, it’s this idea again, of seeing the art and everything and, whether it’s courage or, or self-awareness or belief. I believe everyone is art an artist. They just might not believe that they are. That being a child is all about being conscious that you’re capable of anything. If you want to be.

[00:58:57] Jeffery Wang: Great lesson. So, thanks for sharing that. Now, before we jump into lesson, number 10 just want to throw you another curve ball. What lesson have you unlearned?

So, what I mean by that is what is one thing that you’ve held to be an ironclad truth? When you started your career that you later learned that it just wasn’t the case.

[00:59:17] David Redhill: Yeah, I think it’s I think that understanding of one’s place in the greatest scheme of things is a lesson that we have to learn painfully on the route. One of my favourite quotes and I’ve maybe it was Lawrence Durrell the English author said you know, when I was in my twenties, like all young men, I set out to be a genius. Mercifully laughter intervened laughter you and know, we all aspire and our idealistic youths to change the world or to write the great novel or to run an industry, you know, whatever the, point being that, no matter how high you go, there’s still summits yet to be climbed that you will never get to you’ve got to recognize that we’re all just passing through and the lesson I learnt along the way, well, the lesson I unlearned was that, you know, in the end, it’s not material or career or reputational achievements that actually make you fulfilled. it’s simply the happiness and the love of those around you that make you happy. And. Maintain that and good health and enjoy life. That’s more than enough.

[01:00:36] Jeffery Wang: that’s very profound, indeed. And so

[01:00:39] Lesson 10: The reward of paying it forward are priceless

[01:00:39] Jeffery Wang: we’ll end on lesson number 10, and I suspect this will be a pretty altruistic lesson as well the reward of paying it forward are priceless. I suspect you’re talking about helping others.

[01:00:50] David Redhill: Yeah. Well, paying it forward is what’s commonly known in, in, you know, certainly in places like Deloitte and professional services about the next generation. Giving them the opportunities, paying, you know, the fact that people have invested in you, your elders. And so, use your duty to pass it on to the youngest.

I wouldn’t even describe it as an altruistic motive. Jeffery, I actually think it’s quite expedient and hard-nosed because it’s the way the world works. if we don’t take the lessons from our elders, we’re just missing a huge opportunity. And if we don’t pass them on, in turn to the people who come after us, we’re cutting ourselves short.

In terms of investing in our heritage, you know, I was always grateful to my elders and my mentors as I started out and progress through my career. But I didn’t actually realize how much they shaped me until I started thinking about these lessons in advance of this podcast. You know, for many of the lessons I’ve talked about today I gained the learning myself, but only after someone pointed me in the right direction or challenged me to deliver or invested their faith in me.

And once I started getting more senior positions with larger teams of young folks under my leadership, I began to see the opportunity to help accelerate their learnings and frequently to avoid the mistakes I’ve made. And for them to take full advantage of opportunities they might take for granted, but which would unbeknownst to them, benefit them hugely in the long-term. And, and the biggest point of all was that by paying it forward and helping the next generation by imparting some experience and, and, you know, whatever wisdom you’ve picked up along the way. The learning actually comes back fivefold to you, you know, where you’re working with people at an earlier stage of their careers, who, who see things differently and who assimilate information more readily than I ever could.

And who’s, adeptness with technology while maintaining perfectly normal relationships on and off screen, that’s all taught me immensely in turn. I have benefited hugely from that. And so, paying it forward, isn’t just a one-way thing. It’s actually a very much a co-creative, you know, mutually beneficial act.

And so, my learning in that was that I guess our value. Does not wind down. As we reached the end of our corporate careers, it’s crystallized and enshrined in the, in the generations that come after us. And it’s a worthy and really fulfilling legacy to leave behind. If we make the effort to invest in it wisely,

[01:03:38] Jeffery Wang: and that’s the perfect note to end this podcast on, because that’s exactly why we’re doing this 10 lessons. You know, it, we often joke about how we would like to pay some of your stupid tax so that you know, though, through our learnings, we can help our listeners avoid some of the mistakes that we have or, you know, shortcut that.

Yes, certainly some, some lessons have to be experienced to be understood. But without the insight that those of those people that came before. It’s a much tougher journey. So, I just like to thank you for the generosity in sharing your 10 lessons. And certainly, I’ve enjoyed our chat and, you know, I’ve found those lessons to be very profound and insightful. And I hope our listeners will have as well.

[01:04:29] David Redhill: Well, Jeffrey, I love what the professional development forum does. I think congratulations to you and all your colleagues who work within this, this wonderful network to the people investing their time as listeners and to the people who put it together and orchestrated like you. I think it’s just a wonderful initiative.

And it’s been a pleasure talking to you today. It’s always a pleasure talking with you, and I’ve chewed your ear off with some of these lessons, but thanks for listening. And I’ve, I’ve enjoyed it just as much.

[01:04:56] Jeffery Wang: Thank you, David. And we’ll finish on that note. You’ve been listening to the podcast in lessons. It took me 50 years to learn where we dispense wisdom for. career business and life. Our guest today has been David Redhill sharing the 10 lessons it took him 50 years to learn. This episode is produced by Robert Hossary, and sponsored by the professional development forum, which offers a webinars, insights, community discussions, podcasts, events, and the best part it’s all free.

You can find them online at www.Professionaldevelopmentforum.org. Please don’t forget to leave us a review or comment. You can even email us at podcast@10lessonslearned.com that’s podcast@ number one zero lessonslearned.com. Go ahead and hit that subscribe button so that you don’t miss an episode of the only podcast that makes the world a little wiser lesson by lesson.

 Thanks for listening and stay safe, everyone.

 This episode is produced by Robert Hossary. Sponsored as always by Professional Development Forum, which office insights, community or discussions, podcasts, parties, anything you want here, but they’re unique and it’s all free online. You can find the www.professionaldevelopmentforum.org you’ve heard from us we’d like to hear from you. Email us it’s podcast@10lessonslearned.com that’s podcast, 10 number one zero, lessons learned.com. Remember, this is the podcast the only podcast. That’s makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.

 
David Redhill

David Redhill – Be a sponge, a squirrel and be a thief.

David Redhill speaks to us about why you should "never say no to opportunity", the importance of " Being a sponge, a squirrel and be a thief" and why you "shouldn't die wondering". Hosted by Jeffery Wang

About David Redhill

David Redhill is a specialist advisor working in the areas of marketing, brand and creative strategy, communications, and cultural transformation. He has worked with boards, senior executives, and the workforces of some of the world’s largest and iconic organisations, ranging from creative agencies and professional services firms to start-ups and global technology leaders.

As National CMO, Deloitte Australia for 12 years, David was a key contributor to the firm’s renowned turnaround and award-winning performance, and during his five years as Global CMO for Deloitte Consulting, he orchestrated the branding, alliance and marketing strategy of the world’s largest consulting organisation, as well as establishing a global creative ecosystem of the firm’s creative and digital agencies.

David has won two Cannes Lions for creative data and storytelling, along with multiple awards for editorial, video production, brand design, sound production, photography, and journalism. In 2013 he was named Australia’s Marketer of the Year by the Australian Marketing Institute. David was listed among Australia’s most innovative marketers in CMO’s 2015 CMO50 list.  

Episode Notes

Lesson 1: Never say no to opportunity 07:02

Lesson 2: Your values are your best guide 10:05

Lesson 3: Don’t die wondering 17:47

Lesson 4: The best conversations aren’t always in words 22:42

Lesson 5: If a job needs doing, you’re the best person to do it 28:55

Lesson 6: Trust your instincts 34:34

Lesson 7: Creativity isn’t the preserve of artists 38:22

Lesson 8: Be a sponge, a squirrel and be a thief 45:13

Lesson 9: Become a child, over and over again 54:40

Lesson 10: The reward of paying it forward are priceless 1:00:39

David Redhill – Be a sponge, a squirrel and be a thief

 [00:00:11] Jeffery Wang: Hello and welcome to the podcast 10 lessons it took me 50 years to learn where we talked to inspirational leaders from all over the world to dispense wisdom for career, business, and life. In order to provide you, our listeners, short cuts to excellence. My name is Jeffery Wang, the founder of Professional Development Forum and your host today, this podcast is sponsored by the Professional Development Forum, which helps diverse young professionals of any age find fulfillment in the modern workplace.

Today we’re joined by David Redhill. David served as the Global Chief Marketing Officer for Deloitte consulting, the world’s largest consulting organization, as well as Deloitte Chief Marketing Officer in Australia, where he was a key contributor to the firm’s renowned turnaround and award-winning performance.

During his five years as the global CMO for Deloitte consulting, he orchestrated the firm’s branding, alliance, and marketing strategy.

But David is so much more than his impressive corporate career, having been in journalism, advertising, branding, design, video production, music composition, and photography.

He has worked with boards, senior executives, and the workforce of some of the world’s largest and iconic organizations ranging from creative agencies and professional services firms to start-ups and global technology leaders.

In 2013, David was named the Marketer of the Year by the Australian marketing Institute. He’s won two Cannes lions for creative data storytelling, two New York telly awards for video production and creative direction, a global IPPA iPhone photography award, and an IABC Gold Quill award for communication strategies amongst many others.

David is also an author and a thought leader. He was the co-founding editor and the author of Deloitte seminal white paper series “Building the Lucky Country” and the author of the Financial Times Pearson global publication “Building Brands through Design”.

His work has been published in the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Journal of Brand Strategy, the Guardian, the New York Times, the London Times, the Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, just to name a few, in addition to his professional work, he also volunteers as an advisor at the University of New South Wales Galleries, the Drop-In Coalition in California, the Ocean Impact Organization and the Sydney Opera House to say that you’ve had an unconventional and diversified career wouldn’t begin to describe it, how you straddle both the creative and the strategic, and somehow you manage to succeed in both.

[00:02:55] David Redhill: Yeah, well, I think actually the two halves of the same coin, parts of the same coin in the end strategy and creativity. Although there’s sometimes depicted as being in conflict with each other, I’d say, culture eats strategy for breakfast. I think creativity and, strategy have to work in harmony with one another and creativity makes strategy come to life and you can’t just be creative without a good strategy to ground yourself. So, I think there are two essential symbiotic elements of business.

[00:03:26] Jeffery Wang: Absolutely. But what I found particularly fascinating about your story is that I just can’t put you into a box. You’re not like anybody I’ve ever met. And in fact, I. A fun fact. I remember from the last time you spoke at the professional development forum was that your grandfather composed the Malaysian National Anthem all those years ago, it kind of speaks to the international influence you’ve had throughout your life and career.

and certainly, you know, you’re somebody who I respect a lot because you have that perspective, you have that creative bent, it’s probably the epitome of diverse thinking if ever was one. And so, this is why I believe you’ll be a fascinating guest for this podcast, 10 lessons.

Now, before we jump into it, I must ask, how did you become a successful global CMO despite not having done marketing before that?

[00:04:21] David Redhill: That’s a, that’s a secret I tend to tell very few people Jeffery. So, you’ve just shared it with our audience, but it is, it is true that I never actually studied marketing. And then somehow, I ended up as a Chief Marketing Officer. One of the lessons I learned, and I’ll allude to it a little later is that you make the best of what you’ve got your natural attributes and you make sure that you make the learning matter.

Through my passions and through my studies and my natural creative qualities. I ended up being able to experience a wide plethora of marketing disciplines individually. And I certainly didn’t go up the greasy pole straight away. I actually did a lot of equivalent level jobs in different sectors and in different facets of marketing without necessarily getting promoted, but moving laterally for many years.

And that in the end ended up leaving me as someone who was very conversant with all the disciplines of marketing without necessarily having to have led any of them. But I was certainly able to argue with the PR director because I’d written thousands of press releases. And I was able to put together a good brand strategy because I’d worked on a lot of different brands and same with digital marketing, same with, design and layout and creative direction.

[00:05:42] David Redhill: I eventually got the shot at being a CMO, a leader and that was a point at which I had to believe in myself that I could actually do it. Even if other people already felt I could, I had to remind myself not to worry about the fact that I’d never actually studied it, but that I had learned from the school of hard knocks of actually doing the stuff.

And it was just a matter of putting it all together and delivering.

[00:06:04] Jeffery Wang: before we jump into our 10 lessons, we usually ask a little bit of a curve ball to begin with, just to keep you on your toes. What advice would you give to your 30-year-old self David?

[00:06:15] David Redhill: My 30-year-old self was a very impatient impetuous man. And I’d probably tell him to just get back in his box be patient and play the long game. All, that is meant to happen to you in your career will come in the fullness of time. If you just take the next best step, calmly and diligently don’t rush things.

[00:06:39] Jeffery Wang: I think that’s a valuable piece of advice, especially to the young millennials, as you know, the stereotype is that they want to be a CEO after three months. And usually that just doesn’t happen. So, certainly I think that would go a long way to, our listeners.

[00:06:52] David Redhill: depends on if they’ve found their own company or not. Then if you start, if you start up your own business, you can be CEO from day one.

[00:07:00] Jeffery Wang: That’s true. That’s true.

[00:07:02] Lesson 1: Never say no to opportunity

[00:07:02] Jeffery Wang: So, let’s jump right into it then. Lesson number one, you say, never say no to opportunity. What do you mean by that?

[00:07:11] David Redhill: Yeah, well, You were asking me about my 30-year-old self. Well, my eight-year-old self was actually in school. Having written a poem, just a fun satirical poem about the class and about the class next door. And when the teacher caught got a hold of it, he, he suggested that I read it out to the entire two classes.

And I was nervous as you can imagine, but I delivered it, too much hilarity and a great, great receptionist, sort of established my name as, as a creative writer, way back when I was eight 20 years later, or so I was studying at the Institute of technology and in the journalism school and, and the opportunity came. To they asked for a volunteer to be the first editor of the journalism review this university newspaper. And I was loathe to do anything, but someone beside me said, you should do it and sort of stuck my hand up, you know? and I never looked back, I edited this publication, it opened doors for me.

It gave me incredible insight and experience. I loved it. I had to work really hard to pull the thing off, but I just think that when these, opportunities come knocking again, they’re there for a reason. and you have a moment of, reflection and decision. You either put your hand up and, go for it or you, wonder why you didn’t years later.

And my learning is really. Yeah, it was that if you never leave your comfort zone, you’ll never grow and you’ll never understand your own potential to achieve. and if it leads to failure, well, that’s part of the learning journey too, but you’ve got to take the opportunity when it presents itself to you.

[00:08:43] Jeffery Wang: isn’t it a bit easier said than done. I mean, if it wasn’t for those around you who were supportive and sort of push you into it, would you have taken those opportunities otherwise, and for those of us that I’m always, you know, and I suppose, you know, if you’ve spent 30 or 40 years in your comfort zone, how do you go about taking that leap of faith?

[00:09:03] David Redhill: I’m not, I’m not saying it’s easy to do. And there are many times when I’ve, I haven’t taken opportunities that are, that I’m still wondering about to this day. It’s, it’s just a principle that I believe really resonates certainly when I think of, you know, friends and colleagues that have, deliberated vacillated procrastinated for weeks or months about taking a plunge, whether that’s the right idea, very, very few of them, regret that decision when they eventually make it.

and I think that’s part of my, belief is that this you know, the simile tiniest desire for and dread of change is always in battle within us. I think we should listen to the inner voice that if some, if change is occurring to us, we should actually listen to that voice and go with it and change things because. The most common reaction to having made the plunge and taking the opportunity is why didn’t I do this earlier?

[00:09:58] Jeffery Wang: I can certainly identify with that myself, which kind think it might be related to

[00:10:05] Lesson 2: Your values are your best guide

[00:10:05] Jeffery Wang: lesson number two, your values are your best guide.

Tell us bit more

[00:10:10] David Redhill: Yeah, well, that was a political situation. I got myself into as a result of being the editor of the journalism review. I was offered a job in a potential cadetship in a large news corporation. One of Australia’s biggest privately owned businesses. And I won’t go into the details of who was involved or the, or the owners, but, at that time, the ABC that our national broadcaster was cash strapped and the suggestion being made by this news organization was that they provide their own, journalists around the world, their, their stringers as a sort of a syndicated provider to the ABC.

And I felt very passionately as a journalist that, The ABC should retain its independence. And it shouldn’t be once it started taking news reports from, private company journalists. There was a conflict of interest. So, at the same time as applying for this job and in conversations with this news organization, I wrote a feature article in the journalism review, condemning this, challenging this, this notion that this same news organizations should be offering this, route.

And of course, if it costs me the opportunity to get a job with the organization in question, so it was pretty naive in one respect to sort of, write an, an article attacking the organization. I was applying for a job at.

[00:11:30] Jeffery Wang: that’s what’s called a CLM that the career limiting move.

[00:11:33] David Redhill: But Jeffrey, it really didn’t sit right with me. As a matter of fact, I didn’t get that job, but another better door opened up for me. And in fact, I took a job in a hardware company, one of the first large computer companies and organization in Australia. I learned all about technology in the birth of the digital age.

From the ground up, it didn’t hold me back as a journalist. It was the best, first opportunity first job I could have had. And I never looked back. I never regretted that. So, my, my learning again was, if it doesn’t feel good or sit right with you, then don’t compromise your principles or, cut corners to get ahead.

You know how hard work and integrity in that work will get you where you’re meant to go. And you’ll be able to sleep at night and you’ll be able to live with it. So that was, that was a, you know, a profound learning. It was one of those sliding doors moments, Jeffrey I could have gone that way and I elected not to, and I went in a very different direction that I’ve never regretted.

[00:12:32] Jeffery Wang: when did This, happen? What,

which

year was this

[00:12:34] David Redhill: this was in 1983.

[00:12:37] Jeffery Wang: 83, oh, wow. So, this will be before the digital age.

[00:12:40] David Redhill: It was the birth of, well, it was that year was the first appearance of, you know, Microsoft, programming for laptops for personal computers. And it was sort of taking off here in Sydney. I was working for a, as I said, a hardware manufacturer, which was more focused on.

Distributed resource systems, word processes, and the first barcode scanners in the world for retail. And in fact, I got to cut my teeth, launching barcode scanning in Australia as a retail technology. but those are the days when, you know, mainframes were buried down in the basement, and every week or so they would fire it up and push through a bunch of batch processed, payroll and sales data.

It was really one step up from tabulator machines. It was really quite primitive in the firepower, the data power of those machines, which were the size of rooms, would easily fit in inside an iPhone these days. So, it was a great opportunity to work at that at that stage. So early in the technology industry and that demystified technology for me because I just learned of it as a tool.

[00:13:48] Jeffery Wang: ahead of the curve ever since. So that’s truly, exactly, as you described, it’s truly sliding doors moment because you know who, who could have predicted that technology was going to be such a big dominant part of our modern conversation. Now, the second part of lesson that I had a question for is about how. It’s about how much the world has changed. Right. So, I mean, from what it sounds like that you, you took a principle stand and you were, you were punished at the beginning, but you’re ultimately rewarded for taking those principles stands right now. Does that apply to the world as it is today? Because, you know, and I’m thinking about, the modern culture, you know, you, you probably heard about the cancel culture, or, you know, if you were to say something that is, you know, against the public narrative, you’re, you’re almost making a very career limiting move, even when it’s the truth, and we’re talking about this age where.

facts also change over time. The facts will always change over time, but it’s almost, if you’re too far ahead of the curve, you get into all sorts of trouble. So, I guess that’s a long way to ask my question that, you know, do you still believe in today’s day and age, do you still believe that your principles are still your best guide?

[00:14:59] David Redhill: Yes, I do. I do Jeffrey. It’s a really good question. you’re, you’re suggesting that I’ve kept ahead of the curve is, is actually, inaccurate because I don’t think anyone really stays ahead of the curve for long. There’s always stuff that’s overtaking us. And that we’ve got to catch up with this sort of shift in values and language and the nuance of interpreting past behaviour actions and words.

It’s extremely difficult. It’s extremely difficult. because something that was acceptable, even five years ago with the shift in values and the focus on some, justifiable focus on some abhorrent practices, which have always been accepted, are now being confronted.

You know, we’ve got to go with those sort of standards that are being upheld as, indicative of decent human behaviour and, and values. I ultimately think that your values are your best guide because you know, some of the. Most fundamental values are, you want to treat people as they, you would have them treat you, you know, and that’s a universal mantra of mine and we all know, what good feels like and good looks like.

And, and we all know that people need to, do, as they say, you know, not be hypocritical. I think that if you adhere to those universal values, if you are pretty, consistent, and you also admit when you are confused and you don’t know it, I think you get to the right place and you make the right decisions.

and again, it’s usually values driven. I you know, I think, the expression of values and the outcome of decisions, the values they do change over time and the way words are interpreted, but the values of the core. Are, the universal values of the human condition. They do not change. we all have the same hierarchy of needs.

We all want to be valued. We want to be treated with respect. We want to be loved. We’ve got a range of other needs in our life to feel relevant, to feel like we’re making a difference. if you treat people not around you, in that knowledge, show them respect help them along the way you can’t go wrong.

Yeah. You’re not going to be cancelled. If you want to go out on a limb and start criticizing or taking a, a fervent stand on something, you’ve just got to be very careful. You’ve got to think through the consequences of as your language and your actions.

[00:17:28] Jeffery Wang: and I agree with that. I do believe that values don’t change over time. Underlying fundamental values that underpins us as human beings should not, should not change over time. and so, I mean, I’ll put potentially what we’re seeing is a storm in a teacup in the expression of those values rather than the values themselves.

[00:17:47] Lesson 3: Don’t die wondering

[00:17:47] Jeffery Wang: So wise words indeed. Now lesson number three, what do you mean by don’t die wondering?

[00:17:54] David Redhill: Hmm. So, as you alluded, I, I had an international career. I left Australia in 1985, supposedly for five years and ended up spending 20 years abroad. and you know, I got to live in some extraordinary places. I lived for a few years in Barcelona and Spain. I lived in France. I travelled through Asia for a couple of years.

I lived in London for nine years and travelled all over Eastern Europe, south America. And then I moved to San Francisco and lived there for five years during the first dot com revolution. And, and I got familiar enough to find my way around 20 other major cities in different parts of the world. So, when I eventually came back to Australia, one of, one of the common sort of reactions was, gosh, you’re lucky that you did that.

 You’re really lucky to have had that life and something didn’t sit well with me about that, because in fact there was, you know, there was a lot of challenge in that, if you spent. 20 years of walking down streets that you don’t know the name of and walking into rooms where everyone’s speaking a language that you don’t know; you don’t know anybody.

 If you’re putting yourself in constant situations of uncertainty and ambiguity and risk and, living hand to mouth, because you’re, you’re always changing when your old friends back in Sydney are building a career and making money and establishing families and getting into the microcosm of the community. That’s not luck. You know, that’s an outcome of choices. Those are choices and decisions that you may make in life. and I happened to make those decisions because I couldn’t not make those decisions. That’s who I was. And it was right for me, but at times it felt that I wasn’t, lucky, I was crazy.

this is not a good move to be here and why am I doing this? You know, so I don’t know, my learning in the end, was that, that path that we’re all on, is one of a search and we have to be true to that search and we have to keep searching. And if I hear regrets from people that they didn’t do it, it’s never too late, I would say never let your curiosity go to sleep. take those risks and push the boundaries because ultimately if you want to achieve something in your life, and I’m not talking about being famous or being an achiever, but if you want to feel that you’re, you’ve fulfilled your destiny and pushed yourself to search and found out things about yourself that you wouldn’t have had, you stayed in one place.

Ultimately, no one is remembered for being safe and the people who are remembered are those who stuck their necks out, took a, took a risk at times. Got a bit crazy. and at other times got lucky, but it’s, it’s not as simple. Just that the point being don’t die wondering what might’ve been, just do it and make the best of it.

[00:20:46] Jeffery Wang: There’s a lot of gems in that. So you know, First thing I picked up was the fact that you said it wasn’t like, I mean, there were, I think one thing that the word I’d probably use, the sacrifices that you have to make in order to get, what you got out of all the risk that you took and the times that you had to face uncertainty and be really, really outside of your comfort zone.

But having said that, I think the other, the other part I took out of that is your self-awareness. The fact that you knew what you wanted in life, you knew that you had to be uncomfortable. You knew that you had to throw yourself into the deep end and see what happens. not everyone has that level of awareness And, you know, unfortunately they die wondering.

[00:21:24] David Redhill: Funny. You should say that Jeffrey. I still wonder what I’m going to do and what I want to be when I grow up.

[00:21:30] Jeffery Wang: When you eventually grow

[00:21:32] David Redhill: I mean, knowing what you want to do in life, a lot of it is just, the next step you take the next best step, and it leads you somewhere. You didn’t necessarily know where you were going to leave, but I also want to caveat when you say making sacrifices, you know, I’m incredibly privileged, privileged.

I came from a middle class, a privileged background where I went to a private school, and I had a financial cushion that I could fall back on if things didn’t work out. So, I just want to make sure that that’s, understood. and that idea of leaving things behind. Well, you could, in the 1970s and 1980s leave things behind these days, it’s a little more difficult because we’re all so interconnected.

You know, if you go to the other side of the world, you can still be on, on a camera with your parents and your best friends 24 7. So, it’s a, it’s a very different world that we live in. I still do think that there’s a need for people to go off paste, again, explore the road, less travelled, get outside of their comfort zones and test themselves the unfamiliar and the uncomfortable has that real habit of making you grow up fast and learn things about yourself, which are very valuable as you take them forward.

[00:22:42] Lesson 4: The best conversations aren’t always in words

[00:22:42] Jeffery Wang: indeed. Now I like the next one. And I’m guessing this might have something to do with, being an international, executive. You say that the best conversations aren’t always in words. What do you mean by that?

[00:22:56] David Redhill: It’s actually nothing to do with being an executive Jeffrey. Though I can see why you may have gone down that route. This is to do with music. I am a passionate guitarist and, when I travelled for sort of two years through Asia, I travelled with a guitar, and I had a wonderful time playing with Indian Nepali Tibetan Thai musicians.

and anytime I pulled out an instrument, it was almost a way of giving something back into the society I was moving through because it certainly intrigued other, people from other cultures what I, what I would play them, you know, whether it was a pop song or a Bob Marley tune or classical composition or whatever.

 On my last night in Asia, in Sri Lanka I was in a Doss house. it was pretty ropey, but it was a place to crash for a night before I got the plane to Europe the next morning. and I was working on a Bach cello suite of the classical bass. I’d been muddling through for some months.

And I played the thing in my little dog box of a room. and the, the, the walls didn’t go quite at the ceiling. So, after I put the guitar down, I heard next door, someone pluck what sounded like a violin. and then the violin started playing. And the piece was the Bach cello suite that I had just attempted to play. And whoever it was playing, this thing played the entire piece through perfectly. It was absolute virtuoso. Absolutely beautiful. I was naturally stunned. And after that finished, didn’t say a word. I started playing something else up and started playing a blues jam. And this person came in over the top and started improvising on top of the music I was playing.

And we had this incredible jam, and it went on for literally hours, everything I played, he and I knew it was a, he, because at one stage I heard him laugh. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have known everything I played, he embellished beautifully. And it was this sort of conversation in music that went into all sorts of extraordinary places. And about five in the morning when it was all finished. I got up, put my guitar away, walked out the door and left, and I never even saw this chap’s face. And we never said a word. I call it the invisible jam. It was probably the best jam I’ve ever had in my life. And it was made that much more perfect because there was so much unsaid in words.

But w it was a complete conversation in music. So that’s why I say the best conversations. Aren’t always in words. And, you know, you’ve got to look more deeply than what is being said to have a great exchange, you know, a dialogue always trumps a monologue. So, listen and respond to what is going on around you.

And people say things in very different ways, and it might not always be in words. Yeah.

[00:25:59] Jeffery Wang: well, I like, I love that story and the way I kind of relate to that is it is through a concept of culture intelligence, you know, having been a kid that had to leave my sort of birth culture, enjoying the Western culture. I didn’t know a hell of a lot English when I first migrated. But then I learned very quickly that The communications that we have between humans aren’t necessarily in words.

And, and you learn very quickly to have, you know, to grow empathy, to have, you know, other ways of connecting. And I think the story that you mentioned about the music, you know, that’s just another way of being aware that there are other elements of communication that goes beyond words. And I think sometimes when, when we’ve only grown up in one single monoculture, you forget that you forget that people have all these assumed, understanding of each other’s intentions and meanings. That just isn’t the case when you’re dealing across culture.

[00:27:04] David Redhill: I so agree with you Jeffrey it’s a never ending source of fascination for me, the way people communicate and connect in different cultures and, you know, not only connect with the world around them and the each other, but with their ancestors and with their successes, you know, the way first Australians connect with each other through song lines and, and through passing down, mythology and the stories of the dream time and to articulate their connection to the earth, the way people in Asian cultures particularly use tone of voice and the tonality of, language.

One word can be said in 30 different ways. and you know, through wit rituals through, Traditions through, family circles and community interaction, you know, so much is said beyond what is actually said. and, as a communicator, I think that’s what makes life so rich and interesting.

Again, when you get out of your comfort zone and start experiencing, if you live within a monoculture, you understand everything, you know, it’s when you start, that’s, when you start not understanding what’s going on that you feel a little uncomfortable or out of place and you you’re given the puzzles to solve.

And once you solve the puzzle, you have that little frisson of satisfaction. But what, at the point you’ve learned something, and you are moving forward again.

[00:28:25] Jeffery Wang: indeed. And whenever I try to explain this concept of communicating interculturally, it’s very difficult because it’s like trying to tell someone that they live in the matrix, you know, and how would, you know, if you never knew otherwise, which is why I think your story is a brilliant way of describing it because everyone can relate to music as a way of communications.

I just love that story. So, thanks for sharing that

[00:28:47] David Redhill: and I love the matrix, but let’s not go there. That’s a, that’s a very different a tangent

we could get into,

[00:28:55] Lesson 5: If a job needs doing, you’re the best person to do it

[00:28:55] Jeffery Wang: oh, yes.

[00:28:57] David Redhill: well,

[00:28:57] Jeffery Wang: That’s bringing it back to lesson Number five. If a job needs doing, you’re the best person to do it.

[00:29:03] David Redhill: yeah, I’ll give you another anecdote and I’ll try and keep it shorter. This time. I was living in Spain Northwest Spain in a little fishing village, for, about nine months again, in the late eighties. and I saw a sign on a village hall, which was. Anatoly Karpov, the world chess champion is coming to play.

It’s 20 simultaneous games with kids in the, in the area. This, village happened to be a hotbed of chess talent. And then this sort of happens in the chess world. There are little, super cells of talented players, youngsters who play each other a lot and raise their standard. So, Karpov had decided to come to, this place called Yanes. As a journalist, as a freelancer I thought, I wonder if I can get an interview with him. So, I went into the local chess club and, and talk to them and they said, well, he’s going to be very busy on the day. He was only here for, for a few hours. we’ll see what, what happens anyway. So, the day arrives that Karpov is due in this little bit.

And the whole town Plaza is packed. You know, the throng with crowds of people. People have come out of the Hills to see this grand maestro of chess visiting this village. And this limousine pulls up in the middle of this square. The door opens Anatoly Karpov gets out and stands in the sun, sort of blinking and looking quizzically around him. And everyone’s looking at Karpov and nothing’s happening. I’m thinking what’s going on. Yeah. Someone say something turns out Karpov was on the understanding that they were going to provide a translator. The village assumed he would be bringing his own. Yeah. So, nobody spoke Spanish and English. And I suddenly dawned on me what was happening, and my father was Russian.

So, I, I stepped forward and introduced myself in Russian and he said, oh, well, you know, what, what what’s happening? Where are you from? And I said, well, I’m from Australia. And he said, I’m going to Australia next month for the first time. What are you doing here? And I, it went from there. I ended up translating for Karpov for the entire day 20 simultaneous games with, in front of the whole village, you know, explaining in Spanish what, what Karpov was talking about as he was analysing the moves.

I was pushing my Spanish to the limit, as you can imagine translating back for him from what the locals were saying. And it just happened to be that there were very, very few people who even spoke English in this, in this part of remote Spain in the late 1980s. and it went on and on and in the evening, I accompanied him to, the airport, at Santa Andrea, about a hundred, kilometres away.

And I managed to interview him on tape because I developed a good enough relationship for him to trust me. And I wrote as a journalist, this four-page feature article that was published in the world’s chess, magazine. And it was literally Karpov his first ever, open interview about the political situation that he had emerged between him and Kasparov, his successor as well champion.

There was a lot of bad blood between them, but he was very candid with me. I took photographs of him, and I had this four-page feature, which was like an exclusive first breaking story. And it all went back to that moment where I thought, well, No one here is doing this job of actually making this happen. I’m the only one who seems to be able to have a chance of doing it, even if I don’t do it well the job needs doing, I better do it because I’m the best person to do it right here and now, so there’s, there’s actually a story. There’s a, there’s a saying in photography, I forget the forgotten, the photographer who said it, he said the best camera is the one that you have on you.

You know, if you’ve only got a box,

a little Instamatic or a Polaroid or of an iPhone in your pocket, don’t complain about what, it’s not just use it because the best camera you’ve got is the one on you.

[00:33:08] Jeffery Wang: It’s the one you have.

[00:33:08] David Redhill: Yeah. And so, as a, as a person, if you’re not the best, if you’re not adept or really highly skilled in something, but you’re the only one they’re able to do the job and it needs to be done.

Exactly. Make the best of it. If you make the best of it, the, your best will be more than good enough for the situation.

[00:33:28] Jeffery Wang: See I love that story because there are so many people believe that they have to be the best in the business before they’ll be able to score a job, but the reality is and I love that saying, you know, the best camera is the one you got when you need it. Well, the reality is that most of the time I’m the best you’ve got at this point in, and I think this goes back to your first lesson. You never say no to opportunity because that’s exactly what it is now, just back on the theme of not being able to put, put you in a box. So, I just picked up that not only you’re a creative, but you also speak Spanish and Russian.

So, there you go. Even more things outside the box which

uh,

[00:34:06] David Redhill: My Russian is very sketchy as is my friend. I mean, the, the language is I actually speak better Spanish and a bit of French and, and you can’t live in Spain for two and two and a half years without throwing yourself into it. And that was a joy, just, learning another language and discovering again, another part of myself that wouldn’t have been, apparent had, I was stayed in, in, in my home language

[00:34:30] Jeffery Wang: And you wouldn’t have got your exclusive of Karpov

[00:34:34] Lesson 6: Trust your instincts

[00:34:34] Jeffery Wang: right now. I love lesson number six. Trust your instincts. I sense. A good story here.

[00:34:41] David Redhill: Well, it was actually one of, the most stressful moments of my executive career. this was on the stage of the Sydney opera house. You know, Deloitte Australia had hired out the Sydney opera house for the first-time and. We were in the main hall, you know, the concert hall with 2000 people there.

And I was on the on the agenda I had to get up and deliver a speech. So, I had prepared a script and revised it verbatim. I’m a third of the way into my speech and it’s gone completely disappeared out of my head. And a few seconds went by, and I tried to think of what it was I, where I was, and it was almost like my life passed before my eyes.

I looked down into the audience. I saw the CEO looking at me with alarm and all I wanted to do Jeffrey was walk off the stage, straight out of the building and never come back. You know, it was one of those moments where I was just blind panic and the, all the air went out of the room. what I did was. I just took a breath and I started again not with the beginning of the speech, but I just spoke from the heart. Yeah, I absolutely, I knew the reason I was there was to get a message across, but I didn’t have the words in the way that I had rehearsed it to describe it. So, I just spoke from the heart and created the narrative on the spot by just telling them what we needed to do.

And people in the audience saw it for what it was. They all saw me stumble and they all sort of felt that sick feeling in the S in your stomach where you see someone about to fall. but the fact that I pulled it together and gave them an honest, narrative. They could all relate to that. And as a result, they liked it even more.

Yeah. And, and it was actually one of my better moments. It was a terrifying experience to, to have stage fright like that. And everyone goes through it at one time. but my learning was, you know, be prepared for that to happen, trust your instincts in the moment to stay real and be prepared to change the script.

You know, nothing ever goes perfectly as planned. You know, there’s always a technical hitch. There’s always a dog starts barking.

There’s always something that, that doesn’t go to plan. So just go with it, be authentic and stay real and you can pull it off.

[00:37:09] Jeffery Wang: Great advice. And I do believe that we are very good human beings are very good at picking in authenticity. And I, I personally believe it. That speech that you gave was probably more real, more authentic, and more impactful than probably the one that you rehearsed it’s times like those that I think, you know, you probably inspired by some spark of genius that, you know, was somehow better that. What you could have prepared had you had more time,

[00:37:40] David Redhill: I, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t put it in that category. I’d say it was just the product of sheer desperation and my career was on the line. And know, when you’re backed into a corner, you you’ve got to pull something out of the hat. And I mean, it wasn’t pretty, it worked, I think people enjoyed it because they saw me go so close to the edge and pull back from disaster.

So, whatever I said, thereafter, at least it was half comprehensible. So not sure it was that inspired to be honest, but anyway, I think, as bad as it could be, you can always say something for yourself and just be prepared to get stripped back to the basics and say what’s on your mind, say what’s in your heart and again, it will be good enough.

[00:38:21] Jeffery Wang: be good enough. lesson

[00:38:22] Lesson 7: Creativity isn’t the preserve of artists

[00:38:22] Jeffery Wang: number seven, creativity. Isn’t the preserve of artist. What he’s saying there that we can all be creative?

[00:38:29] David Redhill: Absolutely. You know, one of my, one of my favourite quotes is Brian Eno. You know, the great English, polymath, musician, artists, digital creator, curator, he says, art is everything that you don’t have to do. And basically, what he means by that is, we all have to wear clothes, but we don’t have to wear Chanel.

You know, we all have to eat, but we don’t have to eat baked Alaska or tortillas. the fact that we embellish anything in front of us that we don’t need to, well, that’s art, that’s creativity. the first part of my career was working in communications and journalism and, and it was very hard nose, dry and messaging it was almost the science end of that creative spectrum, as a journalist formulaic writing, who, what, when, where, why in 25 words or, less. It’s the first draft of history. But when I joined a creative agency Landor a design agency, I felt like for the first time I was bringing my whole self to work.

and for a few years thereafter, I revelled in that opportunity to combine my passions in music and literature and creative writing and photography, by building brands for business and creating an emotional resonance for a business message. But when I left Landor, and went to work back in a big four consulting firm, Deloitte, I felt devastated.

So that was sort of selling out to work on the client side and that I’d never get a chance again, to be creative, truly creative in my professional work that I’d have to compartmentalize that into my private life again. So, what a ridiculous notion, you know, I was so wrong. All the global roles I did thereafter at internet agencies and middleware companies and management consultancies, they all benefited hugely from me bringing creativity and emotion.

To fairly dry topics and, and pretty stayed articulations of what those companies did. and Jeffrey, you know, it made me realize that in all the jobs I’ve ever done, whether it, you know, and I’ve done quite a few between times I’ve liked boxes and I’ve written stories and I’ve weeded gardens and I’ve produced videos and I’ve reordered alphabetical files into numerical order.

And I’ve washed dishes and peel potatoes, and I’ve driven taxis and I’ve done some wonderful creative work, but in all those jobs, there’s always been ample opportunity to be creative. And my lesson is that there is art in everything. Yeah. I have never yet met an individual who works a black and white job.

Everyone is creative. They may not think it in that way, but they are absolutely creative in the choices they make. because they’re all doing things that they don’t have to do to make their work more interesting, and more accessible and more enjoyable through creativity.

[00:41:20] Jeffery Wang: I could, yeah, I can absolutely relate to that. As an Asian kid, you know, you’re often told, ah, you’ll, you’ll be good at maths, you know, and that’s what you should focus on. And the problem is that it becomes a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. So, it gets what I studied, you know, math and science, you know, it did a really good score.

Get a good HSC. What I never really understood until later on in my career is to sheer enjoyment of the creative side of me and how important it is that I satisfy that in order to feel happy and fulfilled. And it’s no surprise then that I actually didn’t end up in a technical career. You know, I’m not, I mean, I work in IT, but I’m a, I’m a, I’m a sales And the reason I’m a sales guy is because I do enjoy the interaction. I do enjoy the presentation. I do enjoy the creative liberties I can take when I represent a message.

You know, and they, and the impact of how that framing, how I, you know, describe, and link the benefits to, you know, to your, to the solutions that we’re trying to sell.

It it’s that creative element that really, really engages me. And I wouldn’t do it for anything else. I wouldn’t do any other job. I mean, I do love the technology. But it is the creative side of it that make, makes my job really, really enjoyable. So, you know, I can, I can absolutely attest to that now.

I only wish my parents knew that. And let me actually study, you know, things like English or you’d learn the, joined the debating team or

[00:42:56] David Redhill: Well, you got to the right place for you in the end and, and that’s, that’s a. Great story. You’ve shared Jeffrey that it is absolute stereotype amongst Western kids and adults like me that oh, you know, if it’s, if it’s maths oriented, definitely the Asian kids will be at the top of the class, you know, and, and, and that assumption number one should be cancelled.

Emphasize, cancel culture should be absolutely, you know, put, put out to, to, to us, because as you say, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, you actually stereotype people that way you put them in a compartment, of course, they’re going to perform the way you think they should. that to me is that’s infinitely sad that so many, you know, generations of people, are shunted into, you know, disciplines and categories where they’re not actually realizing their full potential.

They’re actually looked out for their physical characteristics or the mental aptitude or something. And actually, their destiny is given to them and shaped for them instead of them finding their own way.

[00:44:03] Jeffery Wang: Yeah. And the absolute travesty, is that because they aren’t finding that fulfillment in what they do, that they never realized the best in themselves, you know, that all that they could be. And I, and I think, you know, if anything we could do with this podcast is to encourage that creative side, you know, you, you may be good at maths, but for you to be all that you could be, you know, straddle both sides.

I think if that’s the message that we can get through, that’s what I like them to take out of this conversation.

[00:44:34] David Redhill: And you can be good at more than one thing. You can actually be good at a number of things, which.

may not seem complimentary at first, but you will be able to draw some pretty interesting connections between them, you know, when you get, and whether you get an economist who is really interested in classical Renaissance painting, and can then tell stories and use metaphors for what happens in those paintings to describe economic policy.

Well, that’s a, that’s an economic lecture I want to sit through.

[00:45:05] Jeffery Wang: that’s right. And we’ve all heard the age-old story about how Steve Jobs dropped into the calligraphy class. And now we got fancy writing on their computers.

[00:45:13] Lesson 8: Be a sponge, a squirrel and be a thief

[00:45:13] Jeffery Wang: So, lesson number eight and I love, love, love, love, love this one, because you said be a sponge, a squirrel, and a thief. Be a sponge, a squirrel, and be a thief.

[00:45:24] David Redhill: yeah, yeah, absolutely. You know, when I was CMO at Deloitte Australia, I worked for guy who really inspired me, the CEO Giam for many years he was an inveterate, you know, insatiable consumer of business books every year. He got a big idea, from, Harvard. professor or MIT big thinker about where business was going, or digital disruption was taking us or whatever that was published as a sort of a New York times bestseller on the business books list.

 And without fail before Christmas, he would purchase sort of 70 or 80 copies of this book and give it to the entire cadre of senior executives and senior partners at Deloitte. So, I would get these books year in, year out and, and I’d read the executive summary and I’d get the idea about the big idea, but then, you know, I wouldn’t, I, I, I did it for a couple of years.

I read 300 pages of case studies, which all, you know, reinforced the lesson. But I really had already got the idea from the executive summary. And eventually I just thought, no, I’m just going to read the, the, the summary and I, one year I told him this, I said, you know, I’m going to give you a book.

I’m going to give you a book for Christmas. Cause you always give me one for Christmas. And I gave him Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, you know, an 80-page parable about the journey for truth and the inner self, and when we talked about it, I said, look, I would not be a good CMO for you.

And I wouldn’t be the person I am. If I was just reading business books all the time. Yes. I’m a CMO for big business and we’ve got to know what’s going on, but I need to sponge up references to ancient history, to pop culture, to children’s cartoons, Japanese, manga, comics, dance, music, symphonies, you know, Twitter feeds and exhibitions in great galleries.

You never know when that oblique reference that I pick up from something completely detached from what we do is going to come in handy and give me a great creative idea to drive a campaign. So, he never read Siddhartha, I don’t think, but I, I really believe that you’ve got to be as a leader and as a great marketer, you’ve got to be a sponge and soak up things from all directions and never think that something isn’t your territory, just seek and find and bring back. And to be a squirrel, you know, store them, store those ideas, document them, record them somehow and store them away in your memory banks, ready to bring to the table when you’re looking for lateral inspiration, and don’t hesitate to put them on the table when you need to, to help solve a problem.

you know, you won’t be ridiculed, you’ll be thanked. So be a sponge and be a squirrel with that stuff. And don’t worry about being a thief because if the reality is that all the great ideas in business today are derivative. You know, Steve jobs used to admit openly that he wasn’t the inventor.

He just put great ideas, which are already out there together. so, borrow and adapt ideas from all directions. Sure. Be sure to credit. If you will be lifting images directly or quoting copy, you know, verbatim, you’ve got to credit the authors, but be a thief, you know, from all directions, ideas that succeed in one category, they just might with a smidgen of adaptation succeeded in your own category.

And that’s really the lesson for me is, be a sponge, be a squirrel and be a thief and you cannot go wrong.

[00:49:12] Jeffery Wang: So, I love that reference because it is such an interesting way to look at this particular problem. But the issue, I think, That I’m seeing in a lot of corporates today is one of group think. And when people tend to all read from the same, you know, when they all sing from the same song book, for example, these business books that you talk about and, you know, these are called management fads, right?

Everybody’s gone through them TQM, Six Sigma and when you repeat it enough, it becomes the truth and or becomes a narrative that everyone accepts. And it’s kind of, bit of a, again, self-fulfilling prophecy, because that’s what everyone reads. And yet for the truly transformational leaders are there.

Like you spoke about the Steve jobs. It’s a sponges that can join two completely disparate concepts into something brand new and understanding how that works, you know, and this speaks to it a lot too. Another topic that I’m very passionate about, which is around diversity, you know, the diversity of thinking.

And, and I’d argue that we probably don’t do a good enough job of bringing that diversity to the floor and which is, you know, the same reason why I find you so refreshing to speak with, because you’ve got that perspective that, you know, just like nobody else. And the reason you’re like nobody else is because you’re so open to things which may not fit your paradigm.

And yet you find a way to understand you find a way to grapple with it and you find, you know, you get insights that, you know, no one else can have because you had that input. The question I have for you though, is can you teach

that? Can you teach how to be a sponge? And can you teach an open mind?

[00:51:01] David Redhill: Ah, look

[00:51:02] Jeffery Wang: Is that the

[00:51:02] David Redhill: yeah, that that will Yes, of course you can, you can teach anything, and you can advise you, you can check number one. If one thinks that one is always open to new ideas and never beyond set preferences or dogma, or, you know, entrenched points of view. You’re joking.

You know, every, everyone is subject to this it’s life for me is a constant battle to keep refreshing and casting aside my preconceptions about how things should be. And I learned that from kids and from my own children and from you know, younger people at work because they see the world differently.

And your point about diversity is, is really, really well-taken because it’s, diverse you know, gender culture, belief, system, age, or, and, and ways of thinking. And I happen to think that, you know, one person can be infinitely diverse because you never feel the same way on five days of the week.

Some days you go in, you are in a really bad mood and really dogmatic and others, you’re at peace with the universe and very open to suggestion and very you know, you can riff on other people’s ideas and, and build something magnificent. So, I’ve, I don’t know if you can teach a, almost a methodology of being more sponge-like or more thief, like, or more squirrel, like, but I do think that you can continue to remind people on the journey that, that every idea has value if it’s considered objectively that the best inspiration comes from the most unlikely sources and help people understand the value of what they’re that they’re coming up with because you know what disappoints me or what distresses me sometimes is people underselling the power and the value of their own ideas and their own backgrounds.

I’ve always felt that everyone in the world has a fascinating story to say, even if they think, oh, I haven’t, I haven’t done much with my life, or I haven’t worked in many cases and I’m not very good at it. You probe and you find the, the passion and the insight and the self-knowledge is always there.

You’ve just got to figure out a way to unlock and I love doing that. I love, number one openly admitting that I fail all the time with staff and that I’m nervous as hell when I go out on stage and talk in front of people, then, you know, people see me sometimes it’s very comfortable in my own skin and talking in public or articulating an idea.

No, I’m thinking at twice the speed, because I’m in a mild state of panic that I’m going to fall and I’m going to fail. I’m going to make a fool of myself. That’s a constant state of anxiety, but that’s again a good feeling because it means you’re always digging deep to originate ideas. You’re always bringing your best game to the situation instead of sinking into complacency or a, have a sense of comfort or entitlement that what you’ve got is good enough. No, you should always dig deep and try and bring your best game to situations. And I think that’s I think that’s a lesson than many people forget once they achieve something and they get very, you know, more senior, they start coasting, and they stop challenging themselves.

that’s an advantage because you will always dig deep to, to produce your best there.

[00:54:30] Jeffery Wang: Yep. And indeed, you’re more aware. All right. So, if you’re in a creative if you’re in a creative role that you’re always aware when you’re coasting in your career.

[00:54:40] Lesson 9: Become a child, over and over again

[00:54:40] Jeffery Wang: And in fact, that’s a brilliant, brilliant segue for lesson number nine. Now I have to say, this is a lesson we’ve had many times before, but nobody quite worded the way you do, which is just brilliant. So, lesson number nine, become a child over and over again. Now, what do you mean by that?

[00:55:00] David Redhill: Well, I talked a bit about going to Spain and I think the process of learning Spanish for me was a revelation. And something that was a huge lesson in humility for me. It’s not often as a grown man that you are reduced to speaking in short, badly pronounced sentences, and you are unable to express yourself in anything other than very simple ideas.

And more of the point, it’s not often that you repeatedly reduce people around you to laughter, but not because of your dry wit or, you know, references to humour, but because of your inability to articulate things in terms other than a child, and that’s the point about learning something new, which I believe you should do continually you should always seek to put yourself in that situation of being a child, learn another language, read about a new discipline practice, new skills, get coached in a new sport and challenge yourself on the learning journey over and over again. It’s a really healthy reminder that you know, firstly, you can only keep growing as an individual if you keep learning.

And secondly, the only way you can learn is to fail often and make yourself vulnerable and become a beginner in, in a new field of knowledge and become a child again in that discipline. Don’t worry about making a fool of yourself because failure is essential to the progress on a journey that everyone else is on anyway.

So, it’s not, you know, learning isn’t just about remaining relevant. It’s actually about continuing to enjoy life as it changes instead of railing against the changes, go with them, keep learning. Because my learning from that sort of experience of learning Spanish was that once you stop learning, you stop living

[00:56:54] Jeffery Wang: indeed, indeed. And this is what I love about the way you described this lesson. You know, we’ve had this lesson never stopped learning as a lesson before. And we often joke about this lesson because, you know, duh, why wouldn’t you stop learning? But what I like about the way you describe this lesson; it’s about putting yourself into that mode of a child.

A child’s not afraid of making a fool of themselves. A child is not afraid of failure. A child is not afraid of getting outside, trying something new, stepping into the unknown, but the best part of it is that it’s, it’s a child’s approach that allows you to be And so that is why I love the way, chose those words for this lesson, become a child over and over again.

[00:57:35] David Redhill: well. It’s funny that you just articulated it beautifully. Jeffrey.

The way a child looks at the world. I went to a school auction about 15 years ago. You know, when you, when you’ve got children who are six years old a smart school, we’ll get them to do a whole lot of paintings and then sell them back to you as adults.

Because, because you know that the parents are going to auction and pay that pay top dollar for your children’s. Anyway, so Ken Done, the Australian artist was there to give a speech at the beginning of this auction. And he said, you know, all the, there were no kids there. He said, how many in this crowd where artists, when you were six-year-old and every one of the adults put their hand up and he said, okay, now keep your hand up.

If you are an artist today and all, but about three or four of the hands went down and he said, what happened. You said nothing changed other than your fear of being accepted as an artist, you are all artists, it’s this idea again, of seeing the art and everything and, whether it’s courage or, or self-awareness or belief. I believe everyone is art an artist. They just might not believe that they are. That being a child is all about being conscious that you’re capable of anything. If you want to be.

[00:58:57] Jeffery Wang: Great lesson. So, thanks for sharing that. Now, before we jump into lesson, number 10 just want to throw you another curve ball. What lesson have you unlearned?

So, what I mean by that is what is one thing that you’ve held to be an ironclad truth? When you started your career that you later learned that it just wasn’t the case.

[00:59:17] David Redhill: Yeah, I think it’s I think that understanding of one’s place in the greatest scheme of things is a lesson that we have to learn painfully on the route. One of my favourite quotes and I’ve maybe it was Lawrence Durrell the English author said you know, when I was in my twenties, like all young men, I set out to be a genius. Mercifully laughter intervened laughter you and know, we all aspire and our idealistic youths to change the world or to write the great novel or to run an industry, you know, whatever the, point being that, no matter how high you go, there’s still summits yet to be climbed that you will never get to you’ve got to recognize that we’re all just passing through and the lesson I learnt along the way, well, the lesson I unlearned was that, you know, in the end, it’s not material or career or reputational achievements that actually make you fulfilled. it’s simply the happiness and the love of those around you that make you happy. And. Maintain that and good health and enjoy life. That’s more than enough.

[01:00:36] Jeffery Wang: that’s very profound, indeed. And so

[01:00:39] Lesson 10: The reward of paying it forward are priceless

[01:00:39] Jeffery Wang: we’ll end on lesson number 10, and I suspect this will be a pretty altruistic lesson as well the reward of paying it forward are priceless. I suspect you’re talking about helping others.

[01:00:50] David Redhill: Yeah. Well, paying it forward is what’s commonly known in, in, you know, certainly in places like Deloitte and professional services about the next generation. Giving them the opportunities, paying, you know, the fact that people have invested in you, your elders. And so, use your duty to pass it on to the youngest.

I wouldn’t even describe it as an altruistic motive. Jeffery, I actually think it’s quite expedient and hard-nosed because it’s the way the world works. if we don’t take the lessons from our elders, we’re just missing a huge opportunity. And if we don’t pass them on, in turn to the people who come after us, we’re cutting ourselves short.

In terms of investing in our heritage, you know, I was always grateful to my elders and my mentors as I started out and progress through my career. But I didn’t actually realize how much they shaped me until I started thinking about these lessons in advance of this podcast. You know, for many of the lessons I’ve talked about today I gained the learning myself, but only after someone pointed me in the right direction or challenged me to deliver or invested their faith in me.

And once I started getting more senior positions with larger teams of young folks under my leadership, I began to see the opportunity to help accelerate their learnings and frequently to avoid the mistakes I’ve made. And for them to take full advantage of opportunities they might take for granted, but which would unbeknownst to them, benefit them hugely in the long-term. And, and the biggest point of all was that by paying it forward and helping the next generation by imparting some experience and, and, you know, whatever wisdom you’ve picked up along the way. The learning actually comes back fivefold to you, you know, where you’re working with people at an earlier stage of their careers, who, who see things differently and who assimilate information more readily than I ever could.

And who’s, adeptness with technology while maintaining perfectly normal relationships on and off screen, that’s all taught me immensely in turn. I have benefited hugely from that. And so, paying it forward, isn’t just a one-way thing. It’s actually a very much a co-creative, you know, mutually beneficial act.

And so, my learning in that was that I guess our value. Does not wind down. As we reached the end of our corporate careers, it’s crystallized and enshrined in the, in the generations that come after us. And it’s a worthy and really fulfilling legacy to leave behind. If we make the effort to invest in it wisely,

[01:03:38] Jeffery Wang: and that’s the perfect note to end this podcast on, because that’s exactly why we’re doing this 10 lessons. You know, it, we often joke about how we would like to pay some of your stupid tax so that you know, though, through our learnings, we can help our listeners avoid some of the mistakes that we have or, you know, shortcut that.

Yes, certainly some, some lessons have to be experienced to be understood. But without the insight that those of those people that came before. It’s a much tougher journey. So, I just like to thank you for the generosity in sharing your 10 lessons. And certainly, I’ve enjoyed our chat and, you know, I’ve found those lessons to be very profound and insightful. And I hope our listeners will have as well.

[01:04:29] David Redhill: Well, Jeffrey, I love what the professional development forum does. I think congratulations to you and all your colleagues who work within this, this wonderful network to the people investing their time as listeners and to the people who put it together and orchestrated like you. I think it’s just a wonderful initiative.

And it’s been a pleasure talking to you today. It’s always a pleasure talking with you, and I’ve chewed your ear off with some of these lessons, but thanks for listening. And I’ve, I’ve enjoyed it just as much.

[01:04:56] Jeffery Wang: Thank you, David. And we’ll finish on that note. You’ve been listening to the podcast in lessons. It took me 50 years to learn where we dispense wisdom for. career business and life. Our guest today has been David Redhill sharing the 10 lessons it took him 50 years to learn. This episode is produced by Robert Hossary, and sponsored by the professional development forum, which offers a webinars, insights, community discussions, podcasts, events, and the best part it’s all free.

You can find them online at www.Professionaldevelopmentforum.org. Please don’t forget to leave us a review or comment. You can even email us at podcast@10lessonslearned.com that’s podcast@ number one zero lessonslearned.com. Go ahead and hit that subscribe button so that you don’t miss an episode of the only podcast that makes the world a little wiser lesson by lesson.

 Thanks for listening and stay safe, everyone.

 This episode is produced by Robert Hossary. Sponsored as always by Professional Development Forum, which office insights, community or discussions, podcasts, parties, anything you want here, but they’re unique and it’s all free online. You can find the www.professionaldevelopmentforum.org you’ve heard from us we’d like to hear from you. Email us it’s podcast@10lessonslearned.com that’s podcast, 10 number one zero, lessons learned.com. Remember, this is the podcast the only podcast. That’s makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.

 

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