About Eddie Grobler
In July 2019, Eddie established Commerce 2040. The main objective is to use Commerce 2040 as a “platform” for engagement with different stakeholders in the payments value chain with the key focus on payment flows in a dynamic and changing environment. He is currently involved is a number of explorative engagements with stakeholders – mainly start-up organisations and entities who are interested in entering the Australasian market.
Eddie Grobler was the Executive Vice President: Australasia Division from 2008 and in August 2016, he was appointed as Executive Vice President: Realtime Payments. Based in London, he was responsible for the development and execution of Mastercard’s real time payments strategy. Part of this strategy was to acquire a UK real time payments company. Eddie was part of the due diligence team. After the successful acquisition of Vocalink he took responsibility for the integration of the company into Mastercard. This project was successfully completed in November 2018 after which he returned back to Australia. Eddie retired, after 20 years, from Mastercard on 31 December 2018.
Prior to 2008 Eddie was Based in Johannesburg, as the Senior Vice President: Sub-Sahara Division Eddie was responsible for all the Mastercard Africa business operations, in particular, the development of the Mastercard franchise in Africa, sub-Sahara. He was instrumental in the opening of the Mastercard offices in Nigeria, Kenya and Morocco.
Eddie holds two Master’s Degrees: one in Business Leadership the other in Psychology.
Lesson 1: The answer is in your hands 5m 58s.
Lesson 2: Culture matters and always will 8m 58s
Lesson 3: Writing in the snow 12m 08s.
Lesson 4: What’s your decency quotient 14m 35s
Lesson 5: Your mindset matters a lot 18m 03s.
Lesson 6: Far or fast…you choose 22m 58s.
Lesson 7: Make recognition your job 25m 00s.
Lesson 8: Reverse Mentoring 30m 42s
Lesson 9: Your career is not a one-day match. 36m 07s
Lesson 10: Don’t jerk the knee or shoot the mouth 38m 58s.
Eddie Grobler – 10Lessons50Years
Duff Watkins: [00:00:00] Hello, welcome to the podcast, 10 Lessons it Took Me 50 Years to Learn where we dispense wisdom, not just information or mere fact to an international audience of rising leaders. My name is Duff Watkins, and I am your host. This podcast is sponsored by the professional development forum, which helps young professionals of any age accelerate their performance and their career and the modern workplace.
And today you will hear honest, practical advice that you can’t find in any textbook, because it took 50 years to learn this stuff. Our guest today is Eddie Grobler. Eddie is the… Well, he had a 20 plus year career in MasterCard International. MasterCard. You know, the one in your wallet, you know this one with the logo.
Do you have you have one is lime green is my, no, you don’t have one like that.
Eddie Grobler: [00:00:51] That’s a nice colour.
Duff Watkins: [00:00:52] I know, isn’t it? Yeah. It’s special card for special people.
Eddie Grobler: [00:00:55] Of course, Of course
Duff Watkins: [00:00:57] they just mailed it to me. I don’t know where it came from. I met Eddie when he was heading Australasia for MasterCard. And since he was promoted to become executive vice president in the UK with a special project, which basically was the integration of a new company.
And, but he’s now back in Australia and non-retirement. Welcome Eddie.
Eddie Grobler: [00:01:14] Thank you. You know, the interesting in terms of retirement, you know, somebody said to me some time ago, there’s no such a thing as retirement. It’s re-wirement. So, after and then actually putting the wires in somewhere else as well. And then, but life is fun. It’s really good.
Duff Watkins: [00:01:33] Yeah. I know you’re doing a variety of, of things. Philanthropic, I suppose, is one of them now just start, let me ask you the first question you come from South Africa, which was, is a developing country.
Do you recall your first business lesson?
Eddie Grobler: [00:01:47] Yes. You know, this, this was in, I think in, in 1985 when I started to work with one of the banks in South Africa. And there was a person that I really always respected. He was not my direct boss. He was a boss, you know, my boss reported into him. And he was a person that I always respected, and I felt that he had a lot of wisdom, but he actually reconfirmed the concept of ownership with me, you know, and taking ownership for everything that you’re doing in life.
And the, I think what made it so valuable to me is that they actually shared it in a story, a true African story with me. And then I can share the story with you if you want me to. But that really resonated with me and it stayed for me for my life. And I’ve actually tried to share that with my family and even people that I’m mentoring as well as it’s the whole concept of ownership and taking initiative for what you do and what you stand for.
Duff Watkins: [00:02:47] Mm. Hmm. Okay. How about what have you unlearned lately? And by that, I mean, something you absolutely positively knew to be true then, but now you realize that’s not the case.
Eddie Grobler: [00:02:59] Yeah. Possibly a bit more on a philosophical way. You must keep in mind that I’ve been in corporate life for about 40 years. And you know, when I retired, you know, it’s obviously something that actually I realized, and this is the concept of that systems actually are bigger than individuals and systems have their own kind of space and I own kind of momentum.
And then I’ll compare it with, with a kind of a, a I think example somebody said to me, it’s like putting your hand in, in a bucket of water. And the bucket of water is corporate life. And then you take the handout, and it just flows. You just close it, you know? So sometimes you, you get into a phase in your life where you feel that you are the tail wagging the dog, the dog being the system, or the company that you work for, and that you make huge impact, but systems goes on.
That doesn’t imply that you can’t make an impact on organizations and you can’t actually contribute. That’s definitely not what I’m saying, but what I’m [00:04:00] saying is that, you know, I think all of us go through kind of phases in our lives where we feel if, if we’re not part of the organization, they will definitely suffer.
And won’t be able to move on that, that’s not true. Organization has got their own rhythm, but I think the counter side of that coin is that. You also always contribute and bring value to the organization, but that’s something that I’ve realized.
Duff Watkins: [00:04:25] Well, what did you unlearn before? Did you think that your well, yeah? What did you think before you realize that? Which by the way, is a hard lesson that everybody needs to learn?
Eddie Grobler: [00:04:33] Yeah, I think it’s, and I don’t like the word, but it’s the concept of, of leaving your kind of footprints in organization, or some people say legacy, but it’s a strong term to you. But you know, it’s, it’s that, that kind of concept though, that I’ve unlearned, you know, is that you, you must respect kind of systems and systems got their own kind of momentum going forward, and you must respect the fact that people.
Possibly we’ll forget the contribution that you’ve made. It’s not a personal thing, it’s just systems move on. You know I think it’s possibly more through the lens where I’m now, where I’m looking back on corporate life for a long time. And, you know, I’ve been part of that system and, you know, reflecting on myself as well for people that I worked for I never, when they left organizations, I retired or moved on, I’m not always very good to keep kind of contact and keep that going.
And then, and that’s a kind of a thing that I’m experiencing now as well, is that life goes on and I’m in the phase of my life where I now I spend a bit more time in, in, in developing and creating networks you know, possibly a bit more time and energy than in the past.
Duff Watkins: [00:05:42] Mm. Hmm. All right. Well, let’s begin with the 10 lessons.
I believe lesson number one is the African proverb that you mentioned before. The answer is in your hands.
Eddie Grobler: [00:05:52] Yes. It’s all about initiative death. And then there’s the kind of the, the, the African story is that. It goes like this, you know, there, there was a wise old man in a village in Africa and he had wisdom and always had kind of answers to everything.
And to, to use in the village, decided that they going to try and catch him out and there was kind of nestling that actually fell out of the nest a little bird. And they took the bird in their hands and they actually went to this wise old man. And they say to the old man. Well, we’ve got a little bird in our hands. Is it alive? Or is it dead? And he realized if he’s going to say the bird is alive, they will just squeeze it and say, no, it’s dead. And if he says it’s dead, they will just open their hands and say, no, it’s alive. And he’s answered. And that’s the one thing that resonated with me. His answer was that. The answer is in your hands.
And it’s, it’s about kind of taking ownership for what you do ownership for the business that you run ownership for the people that you work with, [00:07:00] the team that you work with. The, the kind of, I think the psycho psychological term for this is, is internal locus of control. And not to blame the system, but to take on of responsibility for yourself and the team and your team members.
So that, that was you know, something that I’ve learned, like I said to you in 1983, you know, with the story that I actually when this person shared it with me and it just stuck with me for the rest of my life, the interesting thing is I’ve actually rid of it. You know, in, I think it was in 90. No, it was slightly, it was in 2008.
I was on a flight from Sydney to Auckland and there was a, a video on the plane on a study that they’ve done in Dunedin in New Zealand. It’s one of the longest studies that been going on for since 1972, where they track individuals from birth through their life stages. And the one thing that actually stands out in that study is that the, the concept of self-control with children, these a strong predictor of success in future life.
So that just reinforce this. Simple story of the answers in your hands. And that’s something that I’ve always actually prior to live out and also to share with, with my teams and the systems in which I’ve operated.
Duff Watkins: [00:08:23] Well, first of all, can you give me the email address of that African wise man? Cause we’d really like to have him on this show.
He seems like, you know, some stuff.
Eddie Grobler: [00:08:30] But I’m not sure if he’s still alive.
Duff Watkins: [00:08:33] rather than getting duped by the young, the young know it all. So, he put the onus back on to them, which really is where it is all the time with us, whether we want to acknowledge it or not.
Eddie Grobler: [00:08:45] Yeah.
Duff Watkins: [00:08:45] Lesson number two, culture matters and always will.
Eddie Grobler: [00:08:49] Yeah, I think this is obviously a very broad concept, but I think the, the main thing here for me is, is the whole concept of purpose. And, and direction and the responsibility of a person that leads the team is, is to create a culture around, you know, purpose and values. And, and, and also in terms of strategy, just to actually reflect back on this that is that.
In 1993 I was, part of a massive merger between four banks in South Africa. And obviously this was just before South Africa moved into democracy and it was a very turbulent time, and it was a time of a high level of uncertainty. And You know, I started to do some work on, based on a work that a person by the name of Joel Barker did, and Joel focuses on the power of vision.
But the underlining thing is how important it is to have a purpose, not only for individuals, but also for organizations and even countries. And there’s a common thread, you know, if the purpose is clear and if it’s consistent, and if it’s articulated in a consistent way that translates into success and it translates into a positive culture that actually facilitates growth and facilitate success.
But the role that the leader in that context play is, is extremely important. And that that’s something that I actually, since you know, the 1990s, since I’ve worked with that, I actually always kept that with me. And then he also actually. Pull it through to some of the work that Viktor Frankl did, you know, in, in the concentration camps, you know, you reflect on that in these man’s search of meaning is that people who survived the concentration camps are consistently, again, people with purpose.
And with a positive view of the future. And again, that translates into culture, but this whole concept of a positive view of future and for a leader to talk about that in the context of the organization or the structures in which you work, I think is extremely important.
Duff Watkins: [00:11:04] How do you. Establish a culture.
Okay. You came from South Africa, when we met, you’re running MasterCard in Australia, then you went to the UK, which is another culture, and you had to assimilate a business that they bought and into the MasterCard culture. How do you, as the leader, as the boss, how do you establish a culture in a place.
Eddie Grobler: [00:11:25] You know, obviously this is a very broad concept, but I think again, it starts off, you know, what is the vision? What is the strategy? What are the values of the organization that you want to live out? And then I think to have a very clear plan and a simple plan to articulate that and to consistently.
Consistently communicate and demonstrate that in the way that you behave. And it brings me to my third lesson that I’ve learned, you know, in, in terms of this. And is it, it is so important for a leader to consistently communicate. The strategy to consistently communicate the values to consistently communicate the purpose of organization.
I think again, in, in psychological terms, like they refer to it is to internalize it into the organization. But I always say it’s like writing in the snow, you do it over and over again. And at one stage it will start to stick, you know, but again, I think. Sometimes, you know, some of us or, you know, you, you do a strategy, and you work on, on the values.
I mean, something that you just in actually parked somewhere. But the really the important thing here is to consistently right in the snow until it sticks, not stop writing in the snow, I think it’s, you need to do it over and over.
Duff Watkins: [00:12:49] Yeah. This is your third point, your third lesson that you’re writing in the snow, we’re all basically writing in the snow.
So, you have to write rewrite. You have to. Affirm then confirm and reaffirm in order to, and you were saying in a, in a company culture, you do that through your behaviour, through your actions, through your acts, through your words and, and the way you described it. So that it is one coherent whole then, and then it becomes a lot more believable.
Eddie Grobler: [00:13:16] Absolutely. I think it must be authentic as well, you know. And it, it, that links back to your integrity as a leader. Yeah. If it’s not consistent in terms of the way that you behave, the way that you live it out you know, obviously you weren’t getting any traction, but you know, sometimes I can remember many times where you, you communicate the value of communicating a little bit, then you communicate the strategy and you sit in a smaller group and you feel well, people just don’t get it.
And the important thing there is not to give up, but to keep on. Keep on living it out but keep on writing in the snow. It will stick at one stage, you know. So, I think that is, I think for me, that’s one extremely important part of, for leader is to consistently communicate and live the values and the strategy and the, the purpose of the organization so that it is quite clear.
Duff Watkins: [00:14:13] Hmm. All right. Listen, number four. No one’s ever asked me this, by the way, Eddie. What’s your decency quotient. And I’m glad no one’s ever asked me,
Eddie Grobler: [00:14:29] This is something that, you know, I’ve been exposed to quite recently. I think this is about six years ago. We obviously know that there’s the intellectual component in, in the referred to emotional intelligence and but the CEO of MasterCard, Ajay Banga. Introduced this concept of the decency quotient and what it’s about it is about one thing, something positive for everyone and to treat people with respect. RJ for me is a wonderful reference point. He lived it out. He’s just got it in his DNA to be like that.
Duff Watkins: [00:15:08] He’s the former head or of MasterCard international. Worldwide. Right.
Eddie Grobler: [00:15:13] He’s still, he’s still, the CEO, you know, you will actually, I think his, his new role early next year will be possibly to be the chair of MasterCard and somebody else will take over from him.
But. Ajay did a phenomenal job with MasterCard in a way that he’s actually transformed the organization. And I think in bedded in that is this whole concept in terms of the culture that he’s created around treating people with respect and decency and it’s. Actually, I think the way that it actually translated into at least with the leadership of that organization is I think it’s one of the best companies to work for and, and it, and I think it just reflects back to the things that we’ve discussed earlier as well. But Ajay has actually put a bit of a tag on this and say, this is what we should do. We should all actually be aware and try to live out this concept of the decency quotient. And, you know, I’ve tried to, to integrate it.
It’s, it’s something that I think as, as, when you are actually responsible for other people, you know, I think the, one of the basic things that you need to do is to have that whole concept of, of, of respect for people that you work with and respectful environment that you work in.
Duff Watkins: [00:16:31] Now, this seems kind of bleeding obvious, really now you’ve been in business 40 years.
So, so why, why, why does this message need to be written in the snow repeated at firmed reaffirmed over and over again? It’s kind of basic, isn’t it? Or. Shouldn’t it be,
Eddie Grobler: [00:16:47] it should be. But I think as part of this, you know, if, if you get into the normally kind of daily activities and stuff like that, it, you, you sometimes, you know, you, you get kind of in the operational zone and you, you get so kind of in, in things that’s possibly urgent, but not important.
I think this basic stuff that we are talking about now is. Not important. It’s not urgent, but it, or it’s important and not urgent. It’s something that really are extremely building blocks in terms of this future and the success of organization. And I feel. If I may say this basic kind of components actually played a role in, I think the success that I had as a leader, it’s not rocket science.
It’s just to actually keep the basic stuff in mind and to live it out. You know, it, that’s the important thing.
Duff Watkins: [00:17:39] Lesson number five, your mindset matters a lot.
Eddie Grobler: [00:17:44] Yes. You know, this is, again, a very basic thing is, is, is the whole. The concept of having kind of a positive mindset in a way it reflects back on ownership, you know, but you know, if you develop kind of a lifestyle and an approach to be positive about things and positive outcomes, it creates energy within yourself and it creates energy within your teams as well.
This is something that I think I was. Lucky enough to get from my dad. I actually grew up in an environment where I was quite involved in sport,
Duff Watkins: [00:18:20] Well let me guess rugby somebody from South Africa plays rugby… am I right?
Eddie Grobler: [00:18:29] Always. I mean, in team sport, you learn a lot, but you know, I think this is the whole thing of good positive mindset is important and they kind of two quotes that I always. Keep in mind, you know, and I actually got this from my dad. The first one is champions, my stumble fall, but they never quit. And a little story that I can actually share with you is, is that, you know, I was 12 years old, 13 years old.
And I played for my province rugby at that stage. And one of the big things that happened is we, we played at early curtain raiser for an international game between France and South Africa and the, the day that they announced the team I’ve played the whole season for four. For this provincial team. And, but the day when they announced this theme for, to play tin this curtain raiser, which was just the highlight, everybody, actually, I think that was a dream at that stage of your life. I was left out. I was not part of the team. And do you know?
Duff Watkins: [00:19:26] It really hurts at that age not to be selected? You know, I mean, that’s. It hurts at any age, but, you know,
Eddie Grobler: [00:19:35] I can remember that extremely well, but you know, in my, my dad, he actually was in a position to support me and always be at my games. And he was at that practice where, when the team was announced as well.
And when I walked off, I was almost in tears and I actually said to my dad that. This is not going to be the last time that I play provincial rugby. I will play it [00:20:00] again. Champions may stumble or fall, but never quit. And he, in a way you use that throughout my life, you know, where he actually put a bit of a bit of a label on me as a champion, every time that I feel I struggle a bit, but that, that is just that, that positive energy, you know, is, is not to give up, but also to see this kind of as challenge.
And then the, the, the other quote that I got is, and you know, that my dad also shared with, me at that stages. You know, extraordinary performances come from ordinary people with extraordinary attitudes. And it’s amazing how a positive attitude just rubs off on people. And I think all of us have been exposed to people with a negative or glass empty attitude that sucks energy.
You know, it just. Mostly. And, but I think a positive kind of mindset generates an image and energized people, energize yourself and, and energize the, the, the system in which you operate. You can’t be successful with a glass half full kind of a kind of attitude. That’s just not possible. And as a leader, you must be extremely, extremely aware of that, even when it.
It’s a challenging time, you know, and then you’ve got that kind of moment of weakness. When you want to blame the system, we want to play something that makes a huge impact on, on this team. And I think as a leader, you need to be very good. This is where this is kind of positive mindset is very important.
This is to share that always the positive mindset. I think that’s extremely important.
Duff Watkins: [00:21:25] A psychological term for that, which I like is called reframing. You take a situation and then you reframe it in such a way that makes more sense too.
Eddie Grobler: [00:21:36] I think that the first one for me, I haven’t heard that before. That makes sense.
Duff Watkins: [00:21:40] Yeah. I mean, whatever the situation is, you say you might have a, an initial visceral reaction. Oh, it’s bad. It’s negative, it’s hostile. And I’m going to say, and, you know, reframe it. What’s good about this as always, a good question. And what you end up doing is as you know, it’s what you tell yourself conversation you’re having with yourself, because you’re always interpreting the situation where your reality or your perception of reality.
And, and that’s, that’s an ongoing thing. And that’s, that’s a question I learned from somebody that to ask. What’s good about this situation. And of course, you want to say nothing, but that’s okay after you answer that, then say, okay, what’s good about this. And if you look. Yeah, it won’t be hard to see something good about it.
Eddie Grobler: [00:22:26] Yeah. Yeah, no, that’s, that’s a good concept. I’ll definitely take that one.
Duff Watkins: [00:22:30] lesson number six far or fast you choose.
Eddie Grobler: [00:22:34] Yeah. You know, this, this is saying that, and this actually deals with. Teams, you know, like I said, you know, I, I grew up in a sport environment playing team sport. And you know, I’m passionate about how teams operate and effective teams, but this far or fast, you choose, you know, the saying goes like this, you know, if you want to go fast, go on your own.
But if you want to go far go together and it links back to everything that we’ve shared with each other, in terms of what is the purpose, where do you want to go consistently communicate that and try to mobilize your team and people to move with you in that direction. It’s not sustainable to try and go fast.
You know that this just doesn’t work, you know, and on your own, and specifically in corporate life, you must understand this concept that if you want to have impact. Not only in terms of the organization, but if you want to have the impact in business, you can’t do it on your own. You can’t go far. And you’re the only way that you can go far is, is with people and with your team and in a corporate environment, what split cross-functional with other teams with other kinds of components in organization.
And then this is this whole concept of networking in organization., it’s extremely important. And. You know, it’s something that I always remind myself, you know, it’s you, you think sometimes you want to go fast, but just keep in mind. You know, if you, if you want to achieve this is you need to work at, you need to take the system with you and the different components of the system.
Duff Watkins: [00:24:01] My way of saying that, and I tell young people in business, it’s not me, it’s we it’s always, we and I get a light on me.
Eddie Grobler: [00:24:13] Yeah. Well, I did this, and I did that. And I think this is where also, I think the way that we communicate is important is, is we must be so careful not to say, you know, I achieved this.
I did that. It’s always, you know I think you can recognize that in terms of the, the, the team that you play with or the team that you work with.
Duff Watkins: [00:24:31] Mm, lesson number seven, make recognition your job. What do you mean by that?
Eddie Grobler: [00:24:37] Well, I think it links, it, it links it to the previous one, you know, is, is that your success is embedded in the success of the team and the success in the biggest theme of, of the organization.
But it’s again I think after something that you said earlier in our discussion, it’s not rocket science, but it is so basic is if, as a leader you must make recognition in your job. I think sometimes we can also take recognition a bit further as well. And we don’t do enough of that but let me share a story with you that I’ve experienced.
And it actually had a huge impact on my life. And this was, I think, in, in. The early nineties when I worked was also in the financial services industry. And the, the boss that I worked for was he was really a role model for me as well in terms of how to do things. But one day when I arrived home, my wife actually showed me a letter that he wrote to her.
And in the letter, he actually recognized the role that I play in the team and organization. And he also recognized the role that she played in, in my support. And now this is 30 years later, and we still have that later. It is an extremely important part for me. And I’ve started to use that practice as well. You know, I wrote many, many letters to my team members kind of meaningful others, you know, partners, parents.
It is something that I think I’m possibly recognized for, but it’s, it’s a practice. You know, I actually got from a boss that I worked for and this, you know, what I’m saying is that recognition is we sometimes I think we sometimes just need to think about the power of recognizing the, our team members in the systems, in which they operate outside of the working environment.
And the role that those systems actually play to support them. You know, I’m, I’m a firm believer in that, you know, every end of the year, I actually wrote a handwritten letter to all of my team members you know, thanking them and their families for their support. And then, and I think that is again, extremely basic thing, but I’ve been on the receiving end of that.
And I’ve experienced the value of that. I think it is something that we as leaders. Also, again possibly need to be, make a bit more time for, and that there’s a normal kind of structures and organizations, which we can use to recognize. And then that’s good. And then I think we need to do that. I think it’s just going that extra step.
Duff Watkins: [00:27:02] Well, I always say, I mean, it’s the, the phrase for it is psychic income. You know, the expression of appreciation of somebody and it costs the company nothing. And yet why, you know, it’s, it’s like, it’s such a rare currency. I’ll tell you a funny story. Cause you just made me think of one. When I used to run.
Psychotherapy groups in the Sydney, psychiatric hospitals. I was dealing with the sickest of the sick and I had a nurse young nurse who was assisting me, just gathered the patients up and we’ve got to get the chairs in a circle, things like that. And so, it was after Easter cause the chocolates were on sale. So, I bought some, some chocolates on sale. And then the next day I went into the hospital and I said I can’t remember her name. I said A small token, a small gift to thank you for your assistance and helping me with the groups over the course of these months. And she looks at me stunned, and then she grabs him by the tie, pulls me forward and kisses me right there on the ward in the hospital and says that’s the first time I’d ever been appreciated.
Eddie Grobler: [00:28:08] Wow. Wow. Whoa.
Duff Watkins: [00:28:10] Yeah. Think about that. A professional nurse who had been working, she wasn’t a kid she’d been working for years. And the first time nobody ever said, thanks, you’re doing a great job, or I appreciate your efforts. Or, and I see that so many times I hear it so many times a commercial version of that.
And I was talking to a guy within a client company, and he said to me, and I’ve always remembered this. Yeah. He said, I could make money elsewhere working for another company, but I’m having so much damn fun. Why would I leave? You know, He’s having an experience, a positive experience on their workforce.
And it was because of the people around him and the work that he was doing. And for me, it goes back to creating a culture that you are talking about becoming sort of, I think the official word for it is an employer of preference, but really, it’s just having a bunch of people that you, you like associating with is kind of how I see it.
Eddie Grobler: [00:29:02] You know, and everything, just listening to you and, and clicking on what we’ve discussed up until now, it actually goes back to RJ Banga’s kind of decency coefficient. It’s just to be decent and to treat people with respect. And I think that the challenge for leaders is who to do it in difficult times when, when a team is not performing, the team is not achieving is to consistently be able to do that authentically.
And in a way with it’s got credibility as well. What was the term that you used? Psychological
Duff Watkins: [00:29:33] Psychic income. Yeah, just that flow of positive appreciation you know, it kind of cracks me up. There are whole companies, industries that are built about giving tangible rewards and, and prizes. Yeah. Cartier watches. I mean, it’s like. And what do people really crave is the psychic income of actually feeling. I appreciate it. I don’t mean bullshit. Genuine feeling appreciated.
Eddie Grobler: [00:30:02] Yeah. Yeah. I must remember this then.
Duff Watkins: [00:30:06] point number eight. Now you’ll have to explain this one to me. I don’t understand where you reverse mentoring.
See that would. That would imply that I don’t know everything. See, and that’s what I’m having difficulty with as I explained, reverse mentoring.
Eddie Grobler: [00:30:19] Yeah. I think again, in a way, when you get older you must also understand that there’s new generations coming through in the system, not only new generations, but you know, gen Y gen Xs and everything as well, then you typically in a kind of a baby boomer kind of mindset.
You know, I grew up with the management structure was on planning organization, leading and executing. You know, that was the mindset that I grew up in and in a hierarchical organization with hierarchical structures. And obviously you try to transform yourself as a leader and you do that. And one of the ways that I actually try to do that is to implement the concept of reverse mentoring.
So, what it’s about is, is that to identify one of your high potential young and upcoming professionals in the team, or, and, and to use him or her as a kind of a mentor for you in terms of how they approach. Life, how they approach kind of the work environment, what is important and how they actually would like to address things like that.
And, you know, it’s, it’s something that I’ve started to do about eight years ago. And it was a huge value for me to actually hit kind of insights in terms of. How the new generations think about work, I’ve briefly touched on it. But you know, when I started to work structures, you know, we worked in the hierarchical organizations and then we moved on to kind of matrix organizations, which was again from a leadership point of view, something that, you know, I had consciously had to work on and how I adapt my kind of leadership style and quite recently, or the last five years.
I think organizations actually moved from kind of matrix organizations to network organizations, where it was more about how the network comes together and works together. And I think in a context of, of the COVID now as well, where. More and more people work from home. And, you know, I’ve heard about somebody that actually she’s got a kind of a global team and she has made two of the team members in person they’ve been working together for three years, but there’s this whole concept of, you know, reverse mentoring for the person that I think is in a possibly a different kind of life stage was very important for me and to help me to understand that process. So, I think it’s a conscious thing as well, to consciously try and understand, you know, what the mindset is of, of, of the new generation and what works. So that is reverse mentoring. The other two components and I think is important is the concept of sponsoring were you the sponsor or were you the sponsored person, but let me talk about the scenario where you, the sponsored person.
Working in a global organization, in a multicultural organization. I think it’s extremely important to have sponsors in organization and to consciously work on that. And specifically, you know, I think possibly, for example, for me moving from, South Africa, to Australia and from Australia to London what I consciously did is I’ve tried to identify individuals in the organization and, or even outside of the organization that can sponsor me.
And that can help me with the transition and can help me with the cultural components of the new culture in which I operate. You know, for example, when I moved from South Africa to Australia, you know, I identified a person and he added a lot of value to, to my career. But one of the, you said to me, two things, the first thing he said to me is don’t ever compare Australia with so Africa, Australians, don’t like it.
And I said, my goodness, we like sport, both countries like sport, we’ve got more or less the same sense of humour. We’ve got kind of a similar kind of lifestyles as well, and I’ve questioned him on that. And he said to me, you know, the one thing that you don’t see is that Australia is a developed country and South Africa is a developing country and there’s a sensitivity around that.
Just keep that in mind. So that was the one lesson. The other lesson was, for example, my, my home language is Afrikaans, you know, and we use the word that’s in our language, the same as must be in English, but it’s not a strong word, but we use quite a lot. So, we tend to use the word Must quite a lot. When we say you must do that, we must do that.
And what do you say to me is be very careful. It’s a very strong word. How you apply it, you know, and just that awareness that he’s created actually helped me quite a lot. It’s two simple kind of examples, but it’s actually, it will help a lot for me too. Yeah, yeah. To, to, to establish myself in a culture.
So, I think specifically in global multicultural organizations, that, that, that is important to think about the concept of sponsorship and work consciously to try and identify that. And then the other one is obviously the, the normal one in terms of mentoring. And then there’s a bit of a difference between, you know, sponsorship and mentoring for me.
But mentoring for me is way it’s more focused in terms of what can make you more efficient in your work environment. And there’s a more possibly a technical component to that.
Duff Watkins: [00:35:27] Hmm. Oh, alright. Lesson number nine. Your career or any relationship is not a one-day game or a one-day match if you’re a cricket fan.
Eddie Grobler: [00:35:38] Yeah, I think it’s, it’s, I think it’s a four day or five they game, you know, but let me give you the context yet in, in terms of, you know, the social media and technology we live in an environment nowadays of, of instant gratification. You know, if, if you want to buy something tonight at 11 o’clock, you buy it and you get it tomorrow.
You know, if you want to send a message to somebody, you WhatsApp him now, and you get a kind of feedback immediately, you know, and the whole concept of, of, you know, even emails I can remember, I suppose you can, as well, the days that we’ve actually operated with faxes and stuff like that with the, the communication loop was, was long.
But nowadays we live in the environment it’s fast, it’s instant, and we need this kind of instant gratification and do things fast. That is all good. But they two things in life that instant gratification is not possible. And the one is relationships. You know, relationship is like writing in the snow. You do, or you do it over and over again, you do.
It’s a lot of building work over a longer time. You start to develop sustainable relationships. So that’s the one thing. And the other one is as well is, is to develop your career. You know, it’s, it’s not a one-day game. It is something that you build on. You’ve got a purpose; you’ve got a long-term plan.
And then you focus on that. You’re positive about it. It’s something that you build over a longer-term period. So, the whole concept of instant successes in relationships and careers is just, it doesn’t exist.
Duff Watkins: [00:37:04] The reality is incremental. Success is really how it happens most of the time. And You know, even, even a band or, or who becomes an overnight success after 10 years, you know, it’s all incremental success that people just don’t see or appreciate or authors.
I mean, I, I read a memoir by Stephen King. He was one of the more prolific authors and the difficulties he had and just getting an article accepted or a short story. I mean, it was just. Indefatigable effort on his part and clearly, he got the hang of it. So, he’s done.
Eddie Grobler: [00:37:37] Yeah. And the amazing thing for me as well is you get kind of breakthroughs or those incremental success.
Sometimes you don’t expect it, but if you reflect on it, you know, is it’s been a building process as well. You know? So, I think it’s, it’s, it’s so true, you know, it’s, it’s an incremental process. I like that.
Duff Watkins: [00:37:57] Well, and yeah, I’m quoting some psychologists, but incremental success tends to work best and last longest as well.
If you think about it, it means not a whole lot of rocket science today. It either, I mean, it’s, it’s not any sport. I mean, not many people are born superstars. Maybe there are a few statistical outliers, but they’re not us, you know? So Yeah. All right. Lesson number 10. Don’t jerk the knee or shoot the mouth.
Eddie Grobler: [00:38:22] Yeah, I suppose this is about be careful what you say. And then sometimes where you’re getting a, in the heat of the moment, you tend to say stuff as well. And that’s in my experience when it’s, it’s good, just to say, okay. And I take a deep breath, think about this and then be careful in terms of not to knee-jerk and not to react in a, in a way that can actually create kind of harm.
So that’s the one concept here and the other one is. I’ve worked for somebody at one stage in my career who always, well, not always, but he frequently discussed his boss with me in a negative way. And in a way that undermined my respect for him, you know, and they made the assumptions that I’ve actually applied in my career is never to say something negative about a co-worker or boss but say positive stuff.
If you can’t say positive stuff, don’t say it, you know, it just creates a kind of a culture. And I suppose you can use the term white and thing as well, but that just undermines. Any, any kind of element of a positive winning culture. So that’s, that’s why I say, you know, it’s, I’m not trying to imply that you should be over controlled in terms of what you say.
But it’s the how and the when, and, and I think as a leader, you need to have the awareness of that as well as sometimes you say something that it actually has a broader impact that you think it has. We shouldn’t underestimate that. And then, and I think that’s, that’s why the two things for me are, you know, be careful what you say.
And then the second one is that undermine co-workers, or even your boss in a way that just undermines your own integrity.
Duff Watkins: [00:40:06] Mm. Mm. Mm. All right. All right. That finishes are 10 lessons learned, but I would like to ask you about a story and because this is one of the great management lessons, life lessons that I learned, I’m you a few years ago in here in Sydney, the, see if you remember this, we were catching up and.
You had a new boss at this point in your career, the previous boss, you got along well with very well. This new boss did not get along well with at all. And it was really becoming problematic. And as I recall, you’ll have to tell the story. You, you kind of had a self-talk session with yourself, deciding that I got to figure this out.
Eddie Grobler: [00:40:50] Yes, indeed. I mean, it, the context is, is if, if I can, I can remember that very well Duff is, you know, the person that had pointed me in Australia was a person that I had a huge amount of respect for him. And he was my sponsor. He was my mentor. And, you know, I was. In a way. I, I think one of these core team members as well, so, and, and when he retired, he was replaced obviously with a new person and this person’s kind of mission in life was to, to try and change the whole system.
And. More specifically focused on people that were possibly too close to the previous leader. And I was one of them. So, I felt the brunt of that and not, I felt very, very uncomfortable and, you know I was placed in a hot seat, many times in front of my team for possibly. Not always the right reasons.
And this is something when you go through the process, when you say, okay, is this worthwhile to do this? And again, I think if you think about the 10 building blocks that we’ve discussed today, you know, what is your purpose, you know, be positive about this you know, be consistent in terms of what you do.
And then, so, and. You know, I obviously I had a long chat with one of my best coaches of my wife and you know, she said to me, listen, this is what you stand for and do your best. And let’s see where it lands. And, you know, I actually made a conscious decision that, you know champions may stumble or fall, but they never quit.
And I’m not going to quit on this one long story short. And I’m extremely proud of that is that. This person was possibly just before he left the organization. One of my biggest sponsors we still have contact today. I think we call each other by not think I know we are friends. You know, the, the satisfaction that you get out of that to, to change a person’s kind of view on you and easiest kind of perception was possibly build on that I’ve been too close to the previous boss, but to, to be able to change that kind of mindset was for me was extremely, extremely satisfying. The change was based on outputs. The change was based on the success that we had as a team here in Australia. We won market share. We’ve actually in terms of the revenue that.
We generate it for the bigger organization. We’ve moved from number five in the world to number two in the world. So, I made it easier for him as well to accept me as well, I suppose. But again, that, that’s the kind of the, I think all the or most of the issue that, or components that we’ve discussed earlier today is consistently to apply that.
And again, not to be kind of this external locus of control and to blame it on your boss, but to focus on what you and the team can do. How can you actually perform this? How can you actually achieve your, your kind of purpose and your strategy? I think at the end of the day, something that I’m extremely proud of is that most of the people that I’ve worked for, we have.
Still very good relationships. I think I shared with you the other day is that this person that shared this African story with me, I haven’t had any contact with him for about 30 years now. And about. Two or three weeks ago, I actually received on LinkedIn a message from one of my previous bosses in that same time.
And you said to me that this person actually is turning 90 and they would love to have this for me to send him a message, you know, in terms of wishing them all of the best and so on. And that was extremely special. So, we’ve got contact now again, and it it’s, it’s very, very special.
Duff Watkins: [00:44:37] The reason I liked the story with your, the difficult to get along with boss is because it shows it reveals who has to make the effort.
Now I say to a lot of younger people, stop waiting for the boss to come to his or her senses and recognize your brilliant. Yeah, you are the one you take responsibility, all the points you just said, you know, and the onus is on you to figure it out, to work it out, to find a way it may or may not be easy.
And that’s one, I, I, I. Quote, that story that you tell me. And I, I did, I knew that it had a happy ending. I didn’t know the, the ending was that happy, but I’m not surprised. So, I’m, I’m, I’m. I’m proud of that story too. Eddie and I did,
Eddie Grobler: [00:45:21] I suppose to me, we can end where we started. The answer is in your head. If you want to make it work, you can make it work. Yeah. I’m also extremely proud of that. It’s, it’s, it’s a great achieve. It’s a great achievement to me and we made a team of period and it’s a really good achievement. A great achievement in the corporate worlds will.
Okay. We will finish here today. On that note, you’ve been listening to the international podcast. 10 lessons took me 50 years to learn. This episode is produced by Robert Hossary. and is sponsored by the professional development forum. PDF provides webinars, social media discussions, podcast parties use anything you want, everything you need.
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