Garry Browne – Learn to be Vulnerable

Listen to Duff discuss the 10 lessons that Garry Browne learned over his 50 years. Invaluable information such as: " To be the fastest doesn’t mean you’re the winner" , "Change the people or change the people"  and the cryptic "Message to Garcia" plus 7 more. 

About Garry Browne AM

Garry Browne AM has extensive CEO and Chair experience across business, not-for-profit, and education sectors, including the Centre for Social Impact, Legacy, Rotary Foundation, UTS and UNSW. Garry is a highly regarded industry leader, known for his expertise in consumer branding, leadership, cultural change and business innovation.

Garry was CEO and Managing Director at Stuart Alexander & Co. for over 20 years and was appointed Chair in January 2018. One of Australia’s largest privately owned companies, Stuart Alexander imports, distributes and markets premium consumer goods in Australia and New Zealand, turning over in excess of $300 million annually. Garry has a proven record for introducing and building brands.

Garry is passionate about building community and charitable organisations through working with young CEO’s and up and coming leaders.

“Brand New Brand You” was inspired by the desire to share his learnings and experiences building reputation and maintaining relevance.

Episode Notes

Lesson 1: You can’t do it on your own 05m31s.

Lesson 2: Learn to be vulnerable 10m50s.

Lesson 3: To be the fastest doesn’t mean you’re the winner 16m27s.

Lesson 4: Reputation; It’s yours to lose 17m 59s.

Lesson 5: Disrupt yourself and your business 23m16s.

Lesson 6: Change the people or change the people 26m54s.

Lesson 7: Loyalty and competency need to be in balance 30m 54s.

Lesson 8: Failure is part of life so be prepared for it 37m32s.

Lesson 9: A job description is not a job prescription 43m 10s.

Lesson 10: Message to Garcia 46m 13s.

Garry Browne – 10Lessons50Years

[00:00:00] Duff Watkins: Hello, and welcome to the podcast 10 lessons. It took us 50 years to learn where we dispense wisdom, not just information when mere fact to an international audience of rising leaders. My name is Duff Watkins and I’m your host.

Today’s guest is Garry Browne.  Garry, welcome to the show.  You’re on the show today, not because you’re a member of the order of Australia or for your philanthropic work.  Not because the 20 years you were the CEO of a $300 million company, not because you wrote this book Brand New Brand You (which you can get here). You’re here because when you were the boss, you walked the talk. You walked away from a $30 million opportunity to represent a very popular brand because you didn’t like the way that brand represented themselves to the consumer, they weren’t authentic, and you didn’t want to associate with that.

So I thought the guy that turns down $30 million, that’s the kind of guy we want on this show!   Oh, and can I just point out four years later that brand spent millions and it’s no longer around. So, my first question for you today, think back. Do you remember your very first business lesson?

Garry Browne: Probably the, the first business lesson was probably some period of time after where I’d been working in the UK and [00:02:00] had an absolutely horrible boss who really made my life difficult. But I realized he made many other people’s life very difficult. And to me it was the fact that he was a bad manager.

He wasn’t a leader, he was a bad manager. And if anything, it taught me what you needed to do to be a good manager. The lessons that I didn’t learn from him were the lessons I took away to really implement, to be a good manager.  That was my first real lesson because you learn good management and good leadership from bad management and bad leadership.

Duff Watkins: Learning what not to do is pretty crucial.  At seminars I ask people, how many of you have ever had a good boss? And, [00:03:00] maybe, one or two hands go up; then I ask how many of you have ever had a bad boss? And people usually raise both hands.

So it’s very common, but you can learn so much from a bad boss.

What about unlearning?  Is there something you’ve unlearned, something you absolutely positively knew to be true at one time, but now realize it’s not the case.

Garry Browne: When we younger and coming into a position of authority, whether in business or in professional life where you aspire to be the boss or the leader, let’s say it takes you a few years, but you start to realize that the boss is not the one that’s making the real decisions.

The real decisions are made by your customer.  When I was studying and learning management theory, it was all, all very [00:04:00] much about the boss and top down. When in fact it’s bottom up, it’s an upside down pyramid. The consumer decides whether you are going to survive, whether you’re going to succeed.

The leader is there to facilitate a positive outcome.  I quickly learned that you really need to recognize that the consumer and the customer pay your bills. The boss may facilitate, but does not decide what the consumer will buy.

Duff Watkins: That reminds me of a story. I knew a  guy who worked for the Mars company in the factory where they made pet food, and they had this new super-duper cat food.

They put all this R&D into it, all the marketing, to get the can right. And it went nowhere. It didn’t sale. Didn’t do anything despite all their input.  So they investigate. They ask, what’s the problem?  Why isn’t this product selling?  Answer came back [00:05:00] cats don’t like it. Just that simple.  I think your message is that we forget that sometimes.

Garry Browne: We do.  The consumer pays the bills.

Duff Watkins:  Let’s start with your 10 lessons.

Number one, you can’t do it on your own.

Garry Browne:  You get to a point when you are putting in a management position where you actually want to prove that you can do it, but you really need to understand that because of the organization and the role you’ve got, there’s no way you can do it on your own.

You really need to have a good solid team around you. And it’s one thing to have people around, but it’s having good people that you have to be able to bring those people together, harness them in a way [00:06:00] that is going to allow them to maximize the opportunity that may exist in the business.  To believe you can do it by yourself is just, it’s not going to happen.

You have to do it collectively with a team of people. And believe that you can lead them, engage them, enroll them, and inspire them to the outcome that you aspire to achieve.

Duff Watkins: Leading inspiring. That takes a lot of effort

Garry Browne:  It does, but when you practice something often enough, it becomes second nature.

It’s about working with people, dealing with people and engaging them in a way that’s going to have them follow you as a leader.  Look at the non-profit sector. It’s a different dynamic. People are there as volunteers. They’re not paid. People need to be inspired and they need to be [00:07:00] engaged to follow them.

And that’s very much the same in business, except people are being paid. The dynamics are different, but the philosophy is the same.

Duff Watkins: Delegation is an issue that breaks or makes an organization.  What do you do when delegation doesn’t work?

Garry Browne: There are two elements there.  First, is it delegation or abdication?  And if you delegate, then you must  have the elements of educating training and developing those people so they are able to accept the delegated responsibility because it’s not good enough to say I’m empowering or delegating people to do the job if they don’t know how to do it.

So it’s actually inspiring those people and recognizing that they have to come along with you. I have to be part of the team. They have to; they have to have the similar mindset to you.  It’s important that you check in with them to ensure that they can accept the delegation.

Duff Watkins: You use the phrase, enrolling the support of others.  It’s like you have to sign up, you have to subscribe, on an ongoing basis. And it is completely utterly voluntary.

The [00:09:00] statistic that I bandy about is 40% of a person’s effort is discretionary. In other words, I work for you, Gary. I come in, punch the clock, 60% of my job I do because it’s required but the other 40% pretty much depends on you.  Can you elicit that from me? Can you induce from me the support, the effort, the exertion, the intelligence, whatever I may possess?  That’s the leader, manager or boss’s task, as I see it.

Garry Browne: I totally agree. I hear people say to me that people don’t leave leaders, they leave companies.  

[00:10:00] Enjoying and getting satisfaction from your job means you’ll stay. And you’re going to maintain that engagement with a leader and do the best you can to deliver what you are all mandated to.

Duff Watkins: Psychic income it’s called, you know, people tend to stay, were places where they’re valued and appreciated.

And the funny thing about it, it doesn’t cost anything to appreciate someone.

Garry Browne: The only cost is the energy and effort that the leader puts into the people and that should be absolutely everything because people make and break organizations. Without people you don’t have an organization.

Duff Watkins: Point number two. This must be a mistake. It must be a misprint point.  Learn to be vulnerable. Now obviously Gary, I’m a man and no one must ever discover that I don’t know something.  So please explain.

Garry Browne: If you build up [00:11:00] a facade in such a way that no one feels as if they can get close to you or being engaged with you, you are going to have a very frosty relationship with the people around you.  You’ll appear to be not the sort of person who you can confide in, can work with. And these sorts of elements were something that I experienced when I was working in Belgium. I had a very courageous boss and I say courageous because his background was, he fought in the war going back a few years.

And if you think about it in the military, they are ruthless, they’re rigid. And when he came out, he saw a lot of people whom, he didn’t want to grow up like him. And he took me under his [00:12:00] wing and said, you appear to have a chip on your shoulder. You are not able to express yourself in a way that I can feel I can work with you.

If you can’t do that, you’re not going to be a good leader and you’re not going to be able to bring the troops along with you. And from that day on, he made me realize how important it was for me to have confidence in myself and articulate my weaknesses. As we’ve seen in more recent days, when leaders stand up and say, I’ve made a mistake, that’s been valuable.

That’s accepting the fact that we are human. We are not perfect and that we all make mistakes. And so that’s the vulnerability aspect that is critically important. And if you can’t communicate that in a positive way, then you’re not going to be able to communicate and articulate to your team to get them to do the tough yards that are so common when [00:13:00] times are tough.

And when times are tough, we all have to get together and believe we’re in the same boat and we’re riding the same direction to be able to survive and succeed. 

Duff Watkins: Why do we even need to discuss this? Everybody knows that they’re vulnerable. Well, they may pretend otherwise. My own view is this is a particularly male thing about needing to appear invincible.

Garry Browne:  I don’t agree with you. I reckon it’s a human trait. Some of us do it badly. Some of us recognize we need to do it better. Doesn’t matter what gender it is. Some express ourselves, some protect ourselves better than others. Hmm.

Duff Watkins: Your comment reminds me of something Marcus Aureliuss wrote centuries ago.  He was the emperor of Rome and also a battlefield leader. He said, you’re a soldier, you’re storming a wall. You get injured, you need help. You call out for help. Where is the shame in that? Where is the loss of face in asking for help when you need it?

Garry Browne: Exactly.  We have been conditioned, society has conditioned us to act and react in certain ways and unfortunately it isn’t allowing us to be, in a lot of instances, the best person we could be.

We are constrained by the perceptions and societal pressures. That is where we run into trouble,

Duff Watkins: Societal pressures to do what?

[00:15:00] Garry Browne: To live enact in certain ways. You have to be courageous and be able to know that you can stand out from the crowd and be confident that what you are doing in terms of this vulnerability.

But that is something that you are confident to articulate and you are prepared for everything that comes your way.

Duff Watkins: It does require courage.  The funny thing is, it’s bleeding obvious to everyone else around you. Your vulnerabilities, your limitations, your deficiencies. I mean, it’s no secret.

Makes you wonder why we bothered or hide it from ourselves in the first place, but it does take courage to face it.   I like to say that takes this much (small) courage and not this much (extremely large), it’s not that hard, really.

Garry Browne: People [00:16:00] don’t necessarily learn courage. They’re not given the opportunity to be courageous. We tend to mix up the difference between risk as opposed to courage and actually taking that step. Once you’ve taken that step, you build more confidence to be able to go forward for them.

Duff Watkins: Lesson number three, to be the fastest doesn’t mean you’re the winner.

Garry Browne: Correct. In my younger days I was a marathon runner and athlete and I was always taught that, if you’re going to win a race, you’ve got to be the fastest.  But that’s not the case in life.

That’s all about finishing  a project together.  It comes back to the point that you can’t do it alone. You have to be a team player, it’s about bringing every one along. [00:17:00] Not you finishing ahead of the rest at the end of the day.  As we said, businesses are made up of people and a team finishes together, not boss or leader ahead of everyone else.

They’re just the catalyst and the facilitator to the outcome.

Duff Watkins: In business, it’s always we and not I. Point number four:  A reputation is yours to lose.

Garry Browne: Reputation is really [00:18:00] your persona; who you are. If you lose it as Arthur Ash said, you lose everything, and it is your brand.

It is how people see you as an individual. What you do, the way you behave, the way you act, it is critical. If you want to get ahead in business in family, in life, generally, people who have a reputation and whether it be good or bad, that is what they’re known for.  When we’re talking about reputation in business, you’ve got to be recognized and understood for what your reputation is.

Duff Watkins: I think people pay far, far, too much attention to what other people think and how they regard them. So I’m cutting to the chase here, a lot of what people perceive is simply inaccurate, incorrect, false, even stupid. So how much is a person to be governed by those false, inaccurate impressions of them?  If you have a reputation that is simply not steeped in reality, that reputation exists and has its own life, its own power, but it’s still not correct.

Garry Browne: Correct. If you know what your purpose is, then to some extent that should be aligned to your reputation because your purpose in life and your values and everything you stand for are all wrapped up in your reputation.

People’s perception of you is not necessarily going to change [00:20:00] when you know what your purpose is, what your values are and your reputation. People can throw stones at you, but if you are standing firm on your purpose, your values, you will certainly deflect them.

Duff Watkins:. There is a cost to managing reputation.  In the intro I used the example of that $30 million opportunity you passed on. That would have been a big hit, a big boost to the profit, to the bottom line of a business.

I see people obsessed with image. Now, maybe that’s not the same thing as what you’re talking about with [00:21:00] reputation, but they seem to spend too much time, mental energy, life force, maintaining an image, which is, just that, an image, not the reality itself. How does that tie in with what you’re saying about reputation

Garry Browne:  Some people have substance, not star or style, we’re talking about substance of the individual. Reputation is not only who the person is, their values, it’s the way they behave, the way they act the image. It’s a perception of a belief. It’s not necessarily reality in terms of the individual.

From that perspective, image is quite different. The image that people project, as opposed to the reputation of what that person is, can be different. [00:22:00] And it can relate to the environment in which they’re in, the circles in which they find themselves, the people they associate with, but at the end of the day, reputation is everything that an individual has, that is theirs that no one can take away.

Duff Watkins: They can’t take away who you are, but you can lose it by doing stupid things and lose it fast too. As we see every day in newspapers online. 

Garry Browne: Criminals tend to go get the best lawyer in town, whether they can afford it or not, but they want to be associated with the best lawyer in town, because that potentially is going to show that maybe they’re not as bad as they seem

Duff Watkins:  Proceeding then to lesson number five, disrupt yourself and your business.

Garry Browne:  I was told many years ago, contentment is the first sign of the end. And the one thing I’ve learned very clearly is disruption is something that you have to do continually.

One has to look at reinventing oneself, of innovating, of looking for new ways to do things, because the day you stop looking for new ways and new ideas and new approaches is the day that you actually start dying. And so you really have to have a good, strong mindset that looks at new ways and innovative ways to live [00:24:00] your life better.

Continually refresh your relationships. It’s going to be part of your DNA because if it’s not, it’s going to be such hard work and it’s going to make life incredibly difficult. If there’s anything we’ve seen in more recent times, especially in COVID is that people talk about doing things differently.

I’ve always believed you need to stand out from the crowd to be able to be noticed. And when you are noticed, you’ve got the opportunity. Taking on and doing things differently. That in itself is about positioning your brand ahead of where everyone else is, because you are noticed, but it’s also about reinventing yourself and the organization in which you’re in.

So disruption, it’s a buzzword, today, but you know, it’s reinvention of everything you do, whether in your work, business, play, whatever.

[00:25:00] Duff Watkins:  One of the things I find intriguing about your comment is initiating the disruption, don’t just sit there and wait for the next pandemic or the next change in the business world, but actually engage and initiate it within yourself, within yourself as a person, but also within your business.

For example, when I moved to Australia 40 years ago, IBM sold big mainframe computers. Now they sell consulting services of all kinds. And they’re pretty good at it from what I’m told, but it’s a very different company than what it was before.

You worked for 136 years old company.  They do the kind of do the same thing that they did years ago, but they do it a lot differently and with very different products.

Garry Browne: Yeah, very much so.  Reinventing our portfolio, our profile, the methodology, the name is there, but it’s quite a [00:26:00] different business to what it was many years ago.  The common theme is building brands.

It’s about trying to keep looking for new ways, new approaches. Over that period of time environment changes, governments change, consumer tastes change, so you’ve got to continually adapt.

Duff Watkins: Well, adapt or die is the evolutionary motto, and it’s just as true of a business and people.

Or maybe people that don’t die, but they decay

Speaking of change, the next lesson, number six, change the people or change the people.

Garry Browne: If you take the cold, hard statement, it looks, it looks uncaring and,  [00:27:00] insensitive, but at the end of the day, the most important thing to do is to try and educate, develop and highlight to the people how important it is to reinvent yourself.

To disrupt the marketplace, to be ahead of the pack in the market. Now, if people can’t recognize that and can’t undertake that new initiative, then they have no choice, but to change the placement, so change the people or change the thing.  And as a result, what you see is a lot of people recognizing that they need to change but human nature is such that they resist because they’re very comfortable with the status quo. And as we’ve seen in more recent times with COVID, you can’t afford to be that way anymore. You’ve actually got to change.

Duff Watkins: What you’re saying is it’s a very hard lesson. I’ve been on the giving and the receiving end of firings and, and being, [00:28:00] let go and both were equally traumatic, but it’s a very hard lesson to learn.  As a boss, as a manager, as a company, as a person, you have to learn to think very objectively, very critically, not in a negative way, but do critical thinking. And do it with a Zen like detachment. That takes a kind of mental, emotional discipline that takes a while to acquire.

Garry Browne: Absolutely. Right. We’ve all been in this situation and it never gets easier.

You probably get more efficient at it, but it never gets easy because you’re dealing with [00:29:00] humanity and livelihoods. And that, to me is a very important part of life and business, — to ensure that the people are looked after.

Duff Watkins: You reckon most people will make the transition from the old status quo to the new status quo. You reckon most people will go along with you on that trip. If you help them, show them, support them and show them how to get there, show them what to do

Garry Browne:  Yes, in the main.

That is the case. I think it’s, even more prominent after COVID is because a lot of people are in denial of what’s going on around them. They just think the security blanket is the company or the organization. And nothing’s going to change for me. Everything will be the same.

I think what COVID has done is allowed [00:30:00] organizations in society generally to recognize that nothing is sacred anymore. Nothing is safe and nothing is secure. And you need to be able to recognize that. And not only adapt, you actually have to be proactive to find a way. To get through those steps to ensure success for the future.

Duff Watkins:  I know CFOs who are saying right now, why do we need that office space, why do we need to take those flights overseas? Executives tell me they  can accomplish just as much through zoom and email as they did before.

Lesson number seven, loyalty and competency need to be in balance

Garry Browne:  That that’s always a challenge with staff.  We’re talking about humanity in the last lesson, but having really loyal, [00:31:00] supportive people in the organization is one thing.

Having competent, capable, individuals in the organization is another. And it really needs to be in balance. You need to have competency and loyalty align because on either ends of the spectrum, they are bad for the organization, bad for the culture and really does not allow an organization to have a sustainable future.

You’re not going to have a business going forward in an organization that’s totally competent and not loyal.  It becomes transactional and it will drive itself into the ground. So it really needs to be in balance.

[00:32:00] If we’ve done restructures and reshaping, it’s to ensure that the loyalty and competency of the individual is in balance, whether it be in corporate change, structural changes, tax changes, whether it be GST or, when Y2K was around 20 years ago.

Or whether it was some form of computer implementation that didn’t go right. All these things damage the business in some way. And so you need to make decisions that really allow for the organization going forward.  It’s important to make sure that people are looked after in such a way that if the organization changes and they find themselves without a role, it’s recognized. I like to use the words of speed and sensitivity in resolving these issues so that people can get on with their lives.

Duff Watkins: So why do so many politicians, so many professional coaches, so many business leaders surround themselves with people who they say are loyal to them?

Garry Browne:  I think it lacks the confidence and courage of people in leadership positions to accept that there should be diversity of views and diversity of opinions. Whenever I was employing senior executives, one thing was critical to me, apart from capability [00:34:00] competency, et cetera, is the question we’re they going to challenge me?  If I wasn’t going to be challenged on the issues and topics that I was for the business, then I would not have had them around because I might as well have done it myself.

And so I always had people around who I encouraged to challenge me, recognizing that we would come to a conclusion. But I didn’t always have the right answer. They didn’t always have the right answer, but collectively we would have a solution and a decision that would take the business to the next level.  I hated having Yes People around me.

Duff Watkins: If the task of the senior management is to make the senior leader feel comfortable, I detect a business problem.

Is there a method Garry, by which you can balance loyalty and competency and the people you work with?

Garry Browne:  Loyalty is usually built up over time. Competency can come into the business in a much shorter period of time.

And it is about trying to bring diversity across the business. Now, there are some people who have loyalty and they did have competency at a point in time, but they haven’t been able to reinvent themselves and maintain their relevance within the organization.

The question is can loyalty be built up? Yes, it can. They don’t always match. There is a timing difference in a lot of instances. But I think that it can be, they can be blended to a certain extent when you recognize that those with loyalty can move to a point of competence.

It’s a continual review or continual monitoring to help those people get to that point.  It is leading. It’s a clear focus when you have that as one of your mandates to bring them closer together.

Duff Watkins: Loyalty builds up over time. Competency can be injected at any time, but it has a used by date as well.  Just because you’re competent at one time [00:37:00] doesn’t mean it’s eternal.  If you were the world’s expert in the DOS system of computing back in the sixties or seventies, good for you, but nobody’s interested in that anymore.  So competency needs to be refurbished on an ongoing basis.

Point number eight.  Failure is part of life. So be prepared for it. It’s coming.

Garry Browne:  If you haven’t failed, then you haven’t learned.  We don’t talk about failure  often, we talk about making a mistake and don’t make the same mistake twice.  I didn’t like talking about my failures because that was actually declaring your weakness. If you can’t talk about your failures, then you’re not going to be able to talk about the successes because success comes from having made a mistake because you actually have learned accordingly.

It doesn’t matter how much you prepare to ensure you don’t fail. There are extraneous circumstances in the environment will always bring you unstuck to some extent.  It’s about the degree of failure that you’re prepared to tolerate.

I remember very clearly when I was in sales and dealing with supermarkets. I was very keen on and passionate about making sure that I was able to get my product in on the shelf in the supermarket. And I pushed so [00:39:00] hard and I kept getting rejections and was actually kicked out of the buyers off, he literally told me, go away.  I don’t want to talk to you anymore.

It hit home to me. At first I didn’t understand because I was there to sell the product. And this brand, I thought he really needed. Because it wasn’t in the stores. He really gave me the learning that I needed to recognize the buying signals and recognize that he had a point of view and he didn’t think I was appreciating his point of view in the store.

That was a really big value and I missed out on getting that order. I did go back years later and I was fortunate enough to get it in because it [00:40:00] was a different buyer, but I learned a really good lesson out of that.

I had other lessons as well, where, you know, um, I secured a huge order from another supermarket buyer and then thought, I’m on my way. And then I get a call a day later saying that I don’t think I can take it because I’ve, I’ve got some competitive pressures and we don’t think we can fit it on the shelf and your competitors come up with a better deal and all this sort of thing.  I’d secured a shipping of that product and I was suffering. They were chocolate bars and we had a Mount Everest of chocolate bar sitting in the warehouse. And it made me very much aware that once you think you’ve got success, you’ve actually haven’t until it’s actually delivered and the consumer’s consuming it. [00:41:00] I didn’t secure enough of the right documentation to lock it in, I took him on his word.

And you can’t always do that.  People change their mind, circumstances change.

Duff Watkins:.  Garry, first of all, if you ever find yourself with a warehouse of excess chocolate, call me. The other thing is you’re describing is a business situation, but it’s really life.  It’s a live performance. It’s live and in 3D and a lot of things can happen. Some of which you have some control and influence over, but many, many, many things you have no control over. I like to say it’s jazz, not classical music where each note is orchestrated and, and you have creativity to play it. [00:42:00] Jazz is much more freewheeling and interactive. There’s structure, but it’s much more interactive and that’s the way business and life are.

Your comment reminds me of a past friend of mine.  I hadn’t thought of him in decades. He was at one time, the world, super lightweight professional karate world champion. He has some stories to tell. And usually the stories were about getting kicked out of the ring or, getting knocked through the ropes or how he lost this bout.

And, he said to me one time, and I’ve always remembered this, oh man, you lose eight times more than you win. And this is world champion professional, super lightweight. I don’t know about the number, but I’ve always thought that sounds about right to me, you lose eight times more than you win.

So you better get used to failing and losing because that’s on the menu. [00:43:00]

Garry Browne:  Very much so.

Duff Watkins: Lesson number nine: a job description is not a job prescription,

Garry Browne: Doing your job within the parameters of your job description really is not enough. It may keep you relevant for a moment in time, but it certainly won’t keep you in a sustainable role.

And it really is a guideline. If you are going to be relevant and you’re going to build your brand, you need to step outside the square.  It’s guard rails as opposed to handcuffs.  When we talk about a job prescription it’s that people have got to continually develop and be aware of what’s going on around them.

And it’s about in many [00:44:00] ways, seeing what opportunities exist outside of that, because if you want to stick within the square and do nothing else, that’s fine, but if that job ain’t going to survive and be around in the long-term, because life changes, business moves on.

Duff Watkins: Doing your job as a way to keep you employed temporarily.

I liked the way you put it elsewhere. It’s about delivering an outcome, not just doing a job. And you talk about adding value to your internal customers, as well as your external customers.  Internal customers, the people you interact with inside the company or in your overseas subsidiaries. And it is a continual adding of value rather than simply mailing it in or punching the clock.  

Garry Browne:  I take the view in not just business, but in any of the other sectors I work in, in non-for-profit or government is that I’m there to serve whether you’re there to serve a customer, whether you’re internal or external, you need to do a job. But at the end of the day, you’re serving an organization.

And that mindset I think is critical and will change people’s approach to the way in which they actually look at what they do. But there are many people who actually don’t like serving. So they’re better off not being part of organizations.

Duff Watkins:  And that’s fine too, by the way.  I do so many psychometric assessments and some people are meant for the front office and interacting with the public and some people are more comfortable, better suited for the [00:46:00] backroom.  So, let’s get them sorted, get them where they’re most useful.

Lesson number 10, our final point, message to Garcia.

How did you do it, Gary? How did you manage to quote a book that not only have I not read, but I’ve never even heard of?  What is Message to Garcia?

Garry Browne:  It’s a book that I was instructed to read and was given very early in my career. It really changed the way I looked at, and understood how work and life should be.

It was a leadership book in America at the [00:47:00] time. And I think that really what it did was it brought together everything that I saw within myself of being conscientious, taking initiative, looking for ways to actually do a job. Well, the problem was I took it to the extreme and it helped me to set my expectations and my standards for myself, but also for those who were around me now and it’s ups and downs, and I had to tailor accordingly.

Because we’re all human and we all make mistakes, but I think in the end, it really gave me a good grounding of how to be a good leader. What would you say

I became too focused on trying to achieve and trying to do a job to the extreme. I was out of [00:48:00] balance and I put my job at that stage at center of my life, as opposed to trying to balance out my life of having work, social play, et cetera.

Duff Watkins: Thank you for sharing that. Ultimately we all learn an essential existential fact that it’s just a job, man. That’s really what it comes down to.  It’s important, but you know, it’s just a job at the end of the day. 

Garry Browne: As someone said to me on your death bed, you’re not going to wish for another day’s work before you drop.

Duff Watkins: The things you won’t hear in your death bed, I wish I spent more time at the office. I wish I had accumulated more stuff. 

Duff Watkins: We will finish here on this note;, you’ve been listening to 10 lessons that took me 50 years to learn.  Today’s episode is produced by Robert Hossary and is sponsored by the Professional Development Forum.


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