Robert Hossary – It’s not who you know. It’s who knows you!

Robert Hossary
Robert Hossary has been in executive management for more than 30 years. He shares why "It's not who you know but who knows you", how to "become indispensable" and the "secret to success". Hosted by Siebe Van Der Zee.

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About Robert Hossary

Robert Hossary has been involved in international business for the past two decades. Since 2011 – 2018, Robert was the General Manager NSW / ACT for the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia (AmCham) and helped advise many Australian and US companies about their international expansion requirements. Prior to that, Robert Regional VP in the USA for a technology manufacturer and in 2008 was named in VSR Magazine’s 1st Annual Review & Outlook as a business leader in the USA’s Mobility Industry.

He has also worked in Taiwan with responsibility for Asia Pacific and the Middle East. With a background in Technology, Transport, Fashion and Healthcare, Robert has a wealth of experience to share.

Robert is a lifelong learner and has recently completed his MBA. “Keeping current is a must today” is his motto. He is dedicated to sharing his knowledge and working for the betterment of his community. He is also a Mr Perfect BBQ Host (a charity dedicated to men’s mental health) for his community on the Central Coast of NSW in Australia. Robert is passionate about this podcast as well as all the other community and charitable work he does.

Episode Notes

Lesson 1: It’s not who you know…It’s who knows you 07m 57s

Lesson 2: Respect is not earned Respect is lost 10m 33s

Lesson 3: You want to be indispensable? Become dispensable! 13m 39s

Lesson 4: You want bread? Go to a baker. 17m 30s

Lesson 5: you can learn from everyone…even if it how not to do something. 21m 05s

Lesson 6: The secret to success…24m 28s.

Lesson 7: never lie 28m 26s

Lesson 8: acknowledge your strengths but know that there is always someone that will know more 32m 42s

Lesson 9: knowledge is not power. The use of knowledge is powerful 37m 59s

Lesson 10: change is the only certainty so keep up. 39m 45s

Robert Hossary

[00:00:03] Siebe Van Der Zee: Hello and welcome to our podcast. 10 Lessons it Took Me 50 Years to Learn where we’re talking to businesspeople, journalists, ambassadors, artists, sports heroes, sages, gurus’ leaders, and luminaries from all over the world to dispense wisdom for life, for business, and to provide you with shortcuts to excellence.

This episode is supported by PDF the Professional Development Forum. You can find out more about PDF at professionaldevelopmentforum.org. My name is Siebe Van Der Zee and I’m your host. I’m originally from the Netherlands currently living in the great state of Arizona in the United States. Also known as the Dutchman into desert.

I hope you will enjoy this program. Our guest today is Robert Hossary. Robert is the executive producer of our podcast, 10 Lessons it Took Me 50 Years to Learn, and we’re all truly very grateful for his guidance. Robert currently serves as the commercial manager at Lasercraft an Australian national disability, enterprise manufacturing, high quality Australian made corporate recognition products like awards, plaques, and business gifts.

Before that Robert was for seven years, the general manager of the American Chamber of Commerce in Sydney, Australia. And prior to that, Robert worked in the United States in Taiwan, was responsible for the middle east operations and he worked in different companies in different industries. As you can imagine with a global background in technology, transportation, fashion, and healthcare, Robert has a wealth of experience to share.

Welcome, Robert. It’s great to see you and thank you for joining us.

[00:01:52] Robert Hossary: Thanks, Siebe. It sounds like I couldn’t keep a job. Doesn’t it?

[00:01:57] Siebe Van Der Zee: I’m glad that you bring to 10 lessons, right? Because we’re going to talk about that. But it truly is a great enterprise with our podcast and, you are of course spearheading it for our team.

And, if I look at your background and your experience, it’s not just your corporate background, Robert, but you have a drive that gives you a need to give back to the community. And it’s something that I have observed, but I’m kind of curious what drives that need to give back.

[00:02:28] Robert Hossary: It’s an excellent question, Siebe, and it’s one that.

I actually have never thought of, so I don’t have a ready answer for it. But if I have to articulate an answer as to why it’s because I have four children, I want to leave this world better than I found it. And helping my community has now become a passion for me.

This podcast is one way I can do that. Uh, as one of our guests said, if we can pay the stupid tax for our listeners, we will make the path smoother than ours was by making sure that they know the mistakes that we made so that they don’t make it. and This, this latest position that I’m in is for an Australian disability enterprise.

I work with people with disabilities and when I got there to consult to them, to help them, it, it just opened up my eyes at how bigoted I had been and how little I had done for the very community I’d lived in for so long that it almost shamed me into waking up. I work with some wonderful people.

Before I worked there, I would see people like that. And I’d say, oh yeah, that person has down syndrome. That person is autistic. That person has epilepsy. That person is this, that person is that I don’t see that anymore. I see people and I see people contributing to their community and I want to be the same.

So, I can’t answer the question because I don’t know. I haven’t actually looked into why I’m doing this. I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do. If you don’t help your community, then what are you doing? Are you just collecting stuff because you’re not going to be buried with it? So, what’s the point.

[00:04:29] Siebe Van Der Zee: I, think there’s probably more to it, but I understand that that’s what motivated you. And, again, it’s a, it’s a great thing what you’re doing and, our podcast. The beginning of 2021, and worldwide. So, I think you can, uh, you can be proud of that then we’re just at the beginning, right?

[00:04:48] Robert Hossary: I’m very proud of it. And Siebe, the, the fact that same with the current, disability enterprises I’ve worked for and this podcast and everything else, I’m doing the other boards, I’m on the other things that I do, because I’m surrounded with people with the same passion people like you, people like Duff people like Jeff, people like Rider, for this podcast in particular, it spurs you on.

So, if you surround yourself with people who have the same passion as you, it amplifies your passion and makes you want to do more.

[00:05:23] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah, it’s obvious. And I appreciate it. before we get to the 10 lessons, I’m curious, is there perhaps a first lesson that you have learned in life or in your career?

[00:05:36] Robert Hossary: There, there is. Uh, it’s still very vivid in my mind. it was my very first job. I was a junior. It was a job that doesn’t exist anymore. I had to put account numbers on invoices manually, manually, and I would have been working there for about two weeks. And it wasn’t a small company.

It was a rather large medical company in Sydney. And they had a counter, uh, where the public and by public, I mean, it was more of a trade counter where, ambulance drivers and the like, so the medical industry would come to because we had medical gases was some, one of the products that we sold and there was a gentleman that came to the counter, and he was looking at me very intensely.

And I just thought to myself, who is this prick? You know, why are you looking at me like that? And this is all in my head. And obviously I, I glared back, turns out he was the general manager of the business, and I was not introduced to him. So of course, he comes and has a look and says, well, who’s this new guy.

But it was my response to him. So that’s the very first lesson I learned was you don’t know who is who, so treat everyone with respect. And I think that’s something I’ve carried with me forever. And it, it actually fed into one of the lessons that we’re going to talk about because you just have to treat people well, whether you know them or not, because you have so no who’s who.

[00:07:20] Siebe Van Der Zee: Perhaps a good thing that you learned that early in your career, right?

[00:07:24] Robert Hossary: Very Early and yes, it was a very good lesson. Didn’t do me much good in that job

[00:07:30] Siebe Van Der Zee: Did you last?

[00:07:34] Robert Hossary: No, I was there for three years and oh yeah, I know. But no, no job prospects, no advancement opportunities.

[00:07:42] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, it’s interesting. And I can see, in a job, uh, especially early in your career, what a great lesson to learn it was, and it’s still with you, right?

That’s a, that’s part of it.

[00:07:54] Robert Hossary: And it, forms part of your character. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:07:57] Lesson 1: It’s not only who, you know, it is, who knows you?

[00:07:57] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. Well, obviously, uh, we’re looking forward to our discussion about your 10 lessons and let’s start with Lesson number one. Why not? It’s not only who, you know, it is, who knows you?

[00:08:11] Robert Hossary: Yeah. The, the adage out there that I’ve heard my entire bloody career is, it’s who, you know, well, let me tell you, in my, in my career, I have met many people.

I, and I’ll just name a few, Prince Charles, The then vice president, Joe Biden, the then vice president, Mike Pence, Karl Malden for our old viewers who know Karl Malden is, and a lot of others, a lot of others, um, I’ve met two, three prime ministers of Australia, so many politicians, so many celebrities, but I can assure you that I have met them.

So, I know them. They wouldn’t have a clue who I am.

[00:08:56] Siebe Van Der Zee: Uh, maybe, maybe.

[00:08:57] Robert Hossary: No, no, they don’t Siebe, and this is the point I’m making. It’s not about who, you know, it’s about. Who knows you. I’ve, I’ve sat, and I’ve had lunch with them. I know the, the head of Virgin Australia. I can guarantee you if I call him on the phone, he won’t know who I am, but if he knew me and I called he would answer.

And that’s the point I’m making. It’s about who knows you. It’s not about who, you know, it always comes down to who knows you?

[00:09:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: I like, I think of, uh, a situation where people serve on a corporate board. And typically, we’re talking about CEOs that are candidates for corporate boards.

[00:09:50] Robert Hossary: Correct.

[00:09:51] Siebe Van Der Zee: And you can look at the qualifications of that individual, whatever he or she brings to the table, but in the work that we do, it always comes back to what is the network of contacts that, that board member or prospective board member brings to that company. And it is highly valuable. Uh, not only that the individual has certain skills.

That’s kind of a basic expectation, but what is the network that can be helpful to that company and to that board? So, it’s, it’s a, it’s a very good point that I think perhaps more people should, should use. It’s not just who, you know it is. Who knows you.

 so, it makes sense. It’s a very good lesson.

[00:10:33] Lesson 2: respect is not earned. Respect is lost

[00:10:33] Siebe Van Der Zee: Number two, respect is not earned. Respect is lost very creative.

[00:10:40] Robert Hossary: Well, you know, how many times have we heard respect is earned young man. I have refuted that since I was young, because I think the basic tenant of being a human being is to respect other human beings.

And it’s not something that you earn. It’s something you lose. You should respect everybody until they give you a reason not to respect them. I don’t understand why I should have to earn your respect when I don’t know you, you don’t know me. So, why don’t we start with, uh, with a basic human principle of respecting each other.

[00:11:29] Siebe Van Der Zee: Respect is ground, ground zero.

[00:11:31] Robert Hossary: Absolutely.

You know, all the troubles we see in the world is because people don’t respect each other, come across with a, a reason why I have lost your respect and many times, it comes down to, ethics, It comes down to, you have done something that is against my values and therefore I have lost respect for you.

 But give me the respect I deserve to begin with. And then you can whittle away from there. Otherwise, you’re starting at a low with a low bar. And how am I going to earn your respect? What do I have to do to earn your respect? I don’t really have an anecdote other than a very strong belief that that’s how it should be.

That’s how I’ve always run my life. And yes, there’s some people I will not be associated with because I have lost my respect, but I’ve always given them respect from the very beginning.

[00:12:32] Siebe Van Der Zee: I think also Robert that gee, if we look around the world today, where are we when it comes to respect?

It seems very divided. And, and in many cases it becomes violent. It’s not just disrespectful, but my opinion is better than your opinion. And if you don’t believe that I’m going to come after you and, and that’s, that’s a sad situation, right?

[00:12:59] Robert Hossary: It’s a very sad situation. And it comes down to a term that, uh, has been overused and people are sick of hearing it, but it’s the echo chamber effect of just mixing with people who have your opinion.

, I mean, this goes way beyond respect, but if, if you start, as you said at ground zero, if that is the norm, you respect everyone and their opinion and their beliefs and their values. Then you can chip away from that point, and you know what? You may never get to disrespect. You may get to, well, you know, I respect this person, but he has done a lot of things that I don’t like.

[00:13:39] Lesson 3: You want to be indispensable, become dispensable

[00:13:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: Exactly, exactly. Good point lesson, number three, you want to be indispensable, become dispensable. That’s curious, I’m curious. Where are you going with that?

[00:13:52] Robert Hossary: Uh, in, in my early career, there was a lot of people who thought themselves indispensable to the business. And by doing that, by having that mindset, they kept information to themselves.

They kept it close to their chest simply because they thought that could give them power and it would secure their jobs. Yeah. I went the other way. I created processes so that if, if I was no longer in that organization, the organization will continue. The process would continue. Everything was transparent because I did that, I inadvertently found that my management or the management of the companies I worked at found me to be indispensable.

[00:14:41] Siebe Van Der Zee: I was going to say.

[00:14:42] Robert Hossary: Because I created that process, that culture of transparency, that ability that the business will go on, they saw me as someone who cared about the business, as opposed to someone who is protecting their own backside and their own job.

 Inevitably those people who protected their own little corner of that universe, their own little fiefdom, they got fired. They, they ended up losing their job anyway, because they were not productive. They didn’t change with the culture of the company. They weren’t didn’t have the company’s interest at heart.

And so, they were dispensable.

[00:15:19] Siebe Van Der Zee: Right. But there is perhaps a risk for you as well. If you say right, become dispensable while we no longer need you. Thanks a lot for what you do.

It’s very intriguing because I, again, I think it makes sense, but then like we’re talking about, there is a certain risk perhaps attached to it. Now, if whatever, uh, senior management is aware of your style and your approach, and clearly you have a track record, uh, with that management style, then you would say great do that for our company as well. And then there’s an understanding, but it could be, uh, indeed perceived differently and say, well, you know, he’s not handling anything. Everybody is handling everything and he’s dispensable, therefore he’s out.

[00:16:04] Robert Hossary: There is a risk, but here’s the thing. Siebe, true leadership is one where you look at the business in a holistic manner, and you say to yourself who is benefiting this this company who is benefiting this organization, who is benefiting our employees, our shareholders, our clients, and you will find that the ones that do benefit the organization are the ones that are transparent the ones that make sure that if they’re not there for whatever reason things go on. Yup. Now, if we look at this, this post pandemic era that we’re in, we’re actually, we’re still in the pandemic. But if we look at this era that we’re in right now, things have had to be transparent because you can’t just hold onto your little thing, little part of the world anymore, because you’re not at work.

You’re working from home. You need everyone else to be transparent. So that was so far ahead of its time because that is what a business should be. You shouldn’t stop because someone is not there. That’s ridiculous. And leadership does see that they do acknowledge that. And so, you want to make yourself indispensable, make yourself dispensable because yeah, there is a risk, but it’s really, really small.

[00:17:30] Lesson 4: If you want bread, go to a baker

[00:17:30] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah, yeah, intriguing there are many aspects to that point. The next lesson, lesson number four seems very straight forward. If you want bread, go to a baker. What’s behind that?

[00:17:43] Robert Hossary: That is a, that is a saying that I got from my father, it’s very straightforward, you’re not an expert in everything.

If you want to be more efficient, then go to an expert who knows what they’re doing and I’m not saying, you know, go, and consult your entire business away. That is, that is not the point here. The point is you need to know your limitations. I can bake bread. But am I going to invest, several hours of my time baking one loaf of bread, or am I just going to go to someone who does this for a living, pay a nominal fee and buy the damn thing, uh, and then get on with my life.

And the same thing goes for business. The same thing goes for any part of your life, your career. If you need expert advice, go to an expert. If you want to learn it yourself, by all means, do that. That’s fantastic. But what is your time worth to you? And that that’s where that lesson comes from.

[00:18:51] Siebe Van Der Zee: I like it. I was thinking Robert, that you, you brought up these points. If you need to save time, uh, you may be better off getting the experts, the baker, , to make the bread. if you obviously are able to spend the money, if you want to, you know, save the money, then perhaps you are debating whether you should hire someone for that particular issue, but the other one, and you mentioned it to learn things.

Uh, if I would have to learn how to make bread to use that example. Well then of course I need someone who has done it before, but then the, the focus is on for me to learn. But I think you were very eloquent in saying, well, it depends on the situation, uh, right?

[00:19:39] Robert Hossary: It does Siebe, and let me give you a more practical example, a more modern example.

, let’s look at Google advertising. So, what used to be known as Google AdWords. Now I have done several courses. On Google AdWords. I am no closer to understanding it than I was before I did the courses, but here is the thing and, and it, it opened up the understanding of the process. It opened up the understanding of the requirements of everything that we need to do as an organization.

But I know for a fact that if I want to get the best out of this, I will go to an expert who does this to run my Google ads campaigns, because there is so much data. There is so much information that it’s, it’s, it’s just all garbled and you need an expert to sort through it and give you what you need to make your decisions.

My time is worth a hell of a lot more than to piss around, trying to figure out what each individual piece of data means. So, I can get an expert to do that. I pay a nominal fee each month. I get it done. I get the information I need to then make decisions. I get the information I need to run a campaign that will generate more business.

So that’s a practical example of what I’m talking about.

[00:21:05] Lesson 5: you can learn from anyone, even if it is how not to do something

[00:21:05] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. It’s very practical. It kind of leads into the next lesson perhaps, uh, you can learn from anyone, even if it is how not to do something, right. We’re talking about learning and getting better, but that’s, that’s another one that you can obviously learn from people how not to do something.

[00:21:23] Robert Hossary: And that’s something that a lot of people neglect, you know, they, they think learning is only about learning how to do something.

[00:21:33] Siebe Van Der Zee: Do you have an example?

[00:21:34] Robert Hossary: I have a great example. I would go to these. Early morning, 7:00 AM breakfasts for salespeople because the sales profession and this is early on in my career. The sales profession is inherently a lonely profession.

You’re out there on your own, basically. You don’t go out in pairs, not the companies I worked for. You went out on your own, your own territory, your own everything else. And so, I would go to these early morning sales sessions with other salespeople. It was more like a club atmosphere, but we would go, we would listen to speakers.

We would discuss amongst ourselves different techniques, which share leads, because we were part of the same organization, uh, club, organization. And one day we had the speaker, and we had some fantastic presenters, but one day we had this speaker who was as boring as you can be you know, I was, I was falling asleep.

It was just mind numbing.

I’m just sitting in the back of the room and just minding my own business, drinking my coffee, having my breakfast. And he finishes his presentation and then he’s, he points at me and says, so Robert, what did you learn? And I just looked up and I said, had not to stand in front of a projector when I’m presenting.

I mean, I know it was a cruel thing to do, and I was a terrible thing for me to do, but.

[00:22:58] Siebe Van Der Zee: You could be Dutch, Robert, you couldn’t be Dutch.

[00:23:02] Robert Hossary: But you know, it was how not to present. And it wasn’t just standing in front of the projector, but it was how not to present. He did not do his homework. He did not capture the audience.

He did not read the room. And if you’re going to pick on someone, find someone who looks as though they found what you said, interests. As opposed to someone who looked as though they were bored. Yes. Um, so it was, it was a whole bunch of how not to’s that I learned on that day, but I’ve done that ever since.

I’ve always looked at the worst player and the best player. I did a lot of community theatre when I was young and someone once said to me, find the best actor in the group and learn from them, learn what they are doing, right. How the audience reacts, then find the next one and then find the worst one and learn what not to do there.

And I did that, and I’ve applied that in my entire career, find people, and I’m not talking mentors here, I’m talking, use your own cognitive abilities. Find people that you think are really good. Look at how they perform, in the fields that you are interested in. And don’t mimic it, learn from it, and find people who really suck and learn what not to do.

[00:24:28] Lesson 6: the secret to success

[00:24:28] Siebe Van Der Zee: It’s an important lesson you can learn from everyone, even if it is how not to do something now going to lesson number six, that’s obviously not how not to do something, but the secret to success.

If you have that for us, then I think we will be forever very grateful.

[00:24:45] Robert Hossary: I, I have no, I I’m not, I, this is not hyperbole. I have the secret to success. And let me give you a, uh, background on this. I was, I was divisional manager for a large Japanese company here in Australia, and I was, writing the, um, the strategy.

For the organization for my division, I was writing the tactics that we need to follow, and flashes would come into my head of success and then they disappear and, and for weeks I would grasp, but what the hell? Because I could see it, but I didn’t write it down. I couldn’t grasp it. It was just out of my reach.

And then one day it hit me, and I could see it and I could reach it. And I knew what the secret to success was in business.

[00:25:45] Siebe Van Der Zee: I’m going to write it down.

[00:25:47] Robert Hossary: You’re ready. Just do the work.

It is simple as that Siebe stopped talking about it stop pretending. Do the damn work, make the phone calls, see the client, write the damn report, write the strategy, execute, do the work. And it happens if you do the work, guess what you get results, results are success. It was, it was so liberating because it was so simple.

It was, it was Nike. Just do it. Yeah. Yeah. It really was that simple. And people for these grand, meanings, there is no meaning. Do the damn work,

[00:26:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: organize it. Plan it structure it,

[00:26:42] Robert Hossary: look, there’s a saying that’s attributed to Abraham Lincoln, I don’t know if it’s from Abraham Lincoln, but I’m going to assume it is.

, I Googled it. That’s what I’m assuming it is that if you give me five hours to cut down a tree, I’ll spend the first four hours sharpening the axe. And that’s what I was doing, writing my, my strategy, writing my tactics. I was sharpening the axe and I could see that if I implemented all of these, tactics, all of these strategies, if I put them all in a place, that tree was going to come down pretty quickly and it would be loaded with fruit.

And that’s why I’m saying, just do it, just do the work because that’s the only secret to success.

[00:27:27] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. There, there is something to say about that. And, um, I think you and I both remember. I say it a little bit facetiously that we talked about quality management, it’s still of course, highly relevant, but in the 1980s, 1990s we talked about total quality and Kaizen and all these theories.

 but a lot of those, come back to just do the work, just do the work. Right. And that’s what you’re saying. And, and in a way, if you do that in a structured way, the consistency, the reliability is even greater because you know how to approach it, the steps that you need to take, uh, instead of, you know, basically shooting from the hip and say, well, maybe this, or we can try that.

[00:28:13] Robert Hossary: Exactly. And it also leads back to you want bread, go to a baker because if you’ve done all the preparation, you realize what you can’t do. Yeah. And you just go and get it done.

[00:28:26] Lesson 7: never lie

[00:28:26] Siebe Van Der Zee: Now the next lesson yeah, I agree. And everybody will agree. However, lesson number seven, never lie.

[00:28:35] Robert Hossary: Look, again, this is something I probably learned as a child.

My memory is not good enough to remember all the stories I tell, but it’s good enough to remember the truth because the truth is embedded and if you can recall exactly what happened. Yeah. A lie is fabricated and that sits somewhere else in the brain, and it doesn’t stick, and you have to be really good to remember every lie you tell.

So, you want to make your life easy. Tell the truth. And I know this is glib I know this is all well, Robert this is not a lesson. Trust me. When I say that. If you refuse, if you actually make the conscious choice that in your life, you will not tell an inaccuracy, you will not lie. then you will never be able to get yourself in trouble.

[00:29:37] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, I have to add something there. And, and that’s why I’m kind of curious about never lie. I agree, of course. And I hope I live my life according to that rule and to that lesson. But now there’s another issue. not in recent times trying to save myself. I have received a lot of speeding tickets for driving above the speed limits.

Yep. And the last time I was pulled over, I was speeding. And when the officer came out, I said, I don’t think I was speeding. And we had an interesting conversation. I did not get a ticket and I don’t want to say that I came up with a, you know, a story, et cetera, et cetera. But I suppose as simple as he thought, and he was right, that I was speeding.

I lied. How does that fit with your lesson? Does that mean I’m a bad person?

[00:30:36] Robert Hossary: no moral judgment here. There’s no moral judgment. He, you have to live with yourself Siebe. But no, look, it’s not about the little things like this it’s about the big things. again, an example. I had a salesperson that worked with me in the United States. I subsequently asked him to leave the organization, not because of this, but for other reasons, but he would relay a story with a lot of joy about, a sale he made in the eighties to a very large company for a bunch of hardware.

So, they, they sold this company. He worked for, which I worked for at the time in the eighties sold hardware, computer hardware, and I’m not talking desktop computer, I’m talking mobile computing and he sold, I think, close to a million dollars’ worth of product to this company.

Which is great. Congratulations. He sold it to them. He got the commission; he left the organization. Here’s the bit that he was so proud about, which filled me with horror. The product had not been completed. So, it was still in design stage. It was not even a prototype stage. He sold that product. He sold them empty boxes.

They paid for empty boxes. And he left. Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. Of course, and he wasn’t telling us the lie. He was telling us the truth, but he told them a lie to get them to buy. So, if you’re going to go down that path and that’s your choice you choose to do that?

I choose not to. little white lies, like speeding tickets. That’s your own personal demon to, to deal with but big lies that affect your life, that affect other people’s lives, your choice. I choose not to.

[00:32:42] Lesson 8: there is always someone that will know more

[00:32:42] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yes, yes, absolutely. Uh, lesson number eight, acknowledge your strength, but know that there is always someone that will know more.

I like to hear your, your story on this, and I may have a few questions.

[00:32:58] Robert Hossary: There’s always someone better than you. There’s always someone who knows more than you. And if you decide to stick to your guns and be the expert, then you’re going to come unstuck. And this, this happened many, many years ago because I’ve been in IT for a long, long time.

 And I was pretty sure that I knew everything because back in the eighties, I actually worked for a company called Amstrad. That’s a believe it or not stands for Alan Michael Sugar Trading. Amstrad, no seriously Amstrad. Lord Sugar is Alan sugar is one of the UKs leading celebrities and he had the company Amstrad. Amstrad, I think is still around. I’m not sure what they do now, but in back in the eighties, they sold amongst other things, computers. So, we had PCs with colour monitors, twin five and a quarter inch floppy drives 512 kilobytes of memory, really cutting-edge stuff Siebe. So, I thought I knew a lot. And then I progressed to other companies where I would say in, in management meetings, all you need this, you need that only to be shot down by the IT manager who knew more than me. I would make a fool of myself because of my supposed background, which was maybe five years previously.

So, there’s always, and that’s a really bad example, but there’s always someone who knows more than you. So, I’ve learned not to think I know everything. I’ve learned that. Yeah, I know a lot, but it’s someone that knows more, and you should seek those people out and you should never sit back and, and think that, you know, everything.

[00:35:01] Siebe Van Der Zee: I fully agree. And in the way you explain it, it makes a lot of sense to me, there is something. And when I looked at the lesson by itself, without your explanation, I was kind of stuck with that word always. There’s always because, if I think of your background and your achievement, Wow. You stand on your own.

There is no second Robert Hossary that has that kind of background and experience that you have very unique and obviously very successful. So, if I would compare one individual in this case, Robert Hossary to other people and say, well, of course the other one is always better. No, it depends on what we’re talking about.

What, the value proposition is of that individual. But I understand again, in, in the scenario that you describe, yes, it makes sense to look at others and say, well, There’s no way. I know at all there have to be people and we can both say that, then everybody can say, there must be people that know more than I do.

[00:36:07] Robert Hossary: You just have to look at the world of science. Yeah. No scientists today. Maybe in the past they did, but no scientists today will bank their entire reputation on their theory. They will go to their peers, and they will, they will say, well, does anybody know more? Can anybody add to this? So, you’ve got to look at your life.

The only thing you know, is what, you know, I know that’s how stupid, but you only know what you logic. Right? You don’t know what you don’t know. It’s that there’s levels of competencies. So, if I may, so there are, four levels of consciousness the first is unconscious incompetence. So, you don’t know what you don’t know. There’s conscious incompetence, you know what you don’t know. Then there’s conscious competence, which is, you know what you know. And then there’s unconscious competence, which is, you don’t know what, you know. In our professional life at the later stages of our professional life, as we get more and more skilled, we go between unconscious competence and conscious competence.

So, we know we don’t know what we know, or we know what we know, and we keep going backwards and forwards and learning and learning until things just become natural and innate and people go, oh, well, you know, he’s a natural at it. Well, no, he’s not a natural at it. You worked your way to that. And so going back to, to the point, you can only reach those stages of consciousness and competence.

If you realize that there is always someone better than you, so that strives you to keep up-skilling yourself, keep honing those skills. Does that make sense Siebe?

[00:37:59] Lesson 9: Knowledge is not power use of knowledge is power.

[00:37:59] Siebe Van Der Zee: It really does. And Robert, I think it connects very well with lesson number nine. Knowledge is not power use of knowledge is power. I think that’s a beautiful connection to what we’re talking about here.

[00:38:14] Robert Hossary: Yeah, and it is the adage knowledge is power and I’ve heard so many idiots and I use that term say that, oh, knowledge is power. Well, if that’s true, then librarians would be the most powerful people in the world.

[00:38:30] Siebe Van Der Zee: Good point.

[00:38:31] Robert Hossary: Look, for any data analyst, they realize that knowledge is not power. Knowledge is data.

The use of knowledge is power. And again, I will use the Google example because I’m struggling at the moment with analytics and all of that. But if you look at analytics on your website, you get a ton of data. There are so many data points in analysing web traffic, social media, traffic, all of these, digital analytics that we would do in a business that is data, that is knowledge.

Every point of there is knowledge. Now, is that power? Absolutely not because it makes me feel powerless when I look at it, unless you structure it in a way that you can use. So, the use of knowledge is what is powerful to just have the knowledge in your head. Okay. I have the knowledge in my head that Siebe Van Der Zee is honorary consul general Dutchman in the desert lives in Arizona.

So, what does that make me powerful over Siebe Van Der Zee? No, it doesn’t.

[00:39:45] Lesson 10: change is the only certainty. So, keep up

[00:39:45] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. That’s a very good point. And it connects well, like I said to the previous point. Yeah. So, lesson number 10, that’s the number 10 change is the only certainty. So, keep up. Yeah, it fits again with what you were saying.

[00:40:00] Robert Hossary: It’s all got the same theme.

 And again, really old cliched adage. There are two things that are certain life, death, and taxes. I say there are three change, death, and taxes. So, the one thing that, again, being in IT since the eighties, I have seen change at a rapid pace. And now when I look at how that technological changes, transformed society.

I see change at a drastic pace. So, nothing is as consistent as change. And I put down the troubles we’re having in the world in between two sets of ideologies down to the fact that one of those, one of those groups will not accept the fact that the world is changing at a rapid, rapid pace. “I wanted to be like it was when I was a child”.

 it’s not going to happen. You know, the climate is not like it was when I was a kid. I would love it to be, I used to love summer, but it’s never going to be like that. You need to understand that the change. Happening and you need to embrace it and you need to prepare. And let me give you my own personal, view on this, my own personal anecdote around this, having gone through so many different industries in my career, having taken up positions, every position in an organization I’ve worked in BARR accounting.

So, I have, because I don’t have accounting qualifications. I understand business finance. I’m not an accountant, right. But I’ve done every position in an organization. So, I understand an organization holistically. What it has helped me do is it helped me identify what has changed, from what I’ve learned.

So let me give you again, a very clear example here. I refer to myself as a sales professional. Yeah, I am proud to be a sales professional when I was selling in the eighties and in the nineties and in the early two thousands, they’re all different styles in the eighties was pretty much door knocking in the nineties.

It was more direct mail. And then getting leads in the two thousands, maybe early two thousands. It might’ve been some social selling but they’re all in combination. Okay. So, let’s look at today and it all depends on the industry, by the way, it all depends on the industry, but the one thing every industry has in common, including yours Siebe is that your potential clients will research you.

They will get online; they will check you out. So, depending on the industry if your digital messaging today, Is not right. They’re just going to go away. You’re not even going to know they were there. In the olden days I would knock on a door, and I would see Siebe face to face. And I would say, hi, my name’s Robert. This is what I do.

You don’t even get that chance today. That’s why you have to embrace new technologies. that’s why you have to look at new ways of selling now to do that. You need to understand what those platforms are. And again, just to finish the example in the U S when I went to the U S the U S still has a lot of industry magazines, which we did away with here in Australia, we don’t have industry magazines in the same way they do in the U S.

when my digital agency or my marketing agency came to me in the U S and said, we need to advertise in these magazines. I just looked at them with a blank face. I said, are you kidding me? Who reads magazines? But that was the tool that needed to be used in the early two thousands. I’d launched a healthcare product, a digital thermometers and blood pressure machines here in Australia for Citizen, Citizen Health Care.

I launched in this country. In Australia you have, or you had probably still have three main wholesalers to the pharmacy industry and on a big marketing guy, you know, I ain’t got glossy brochures. I’ve got all of these wonderful stuff I can use. You know, what worked in that industry? Photocopied fliers.

I am not kidding. So, you have to understand what works in your industry, but today none of those techniques will work because today your consumer will go and search you out. So having all of that knowledge is not useless, but is not, are not able to use those techniques. I can use the philosophies behind those techniques, but I need to upskill myself today with today’s methodology in digital marketing, in digital sales, in digital communication.

, I need to understand who my clients are. So, I create a client avatars. So, there’s a lot of new learning that I have taken on. And that’s why I completed an MBA two years ago.

[00:45:24] Siebe Van Der Zee: I was going to say, Robert that you are continuing with learning and, and collecting. Degrees. I know that for fact, but it sort of underscores the point that a change is the only certainty, and you are you continuing to learn, and, and find new ways, et cetera.

And that’s very powerful. I have a question, 10 lessons, great, great information. Great wisdoms. Is there a lesson Robert, that you have unlearned? Is there anything in life or in business? And you said I’ve got to change this?

[00:46:05] Robert Hossary: Uh, not, not that I’m going to change this. There is definitely something I unlearned.

I went through, a long period there, uh, with a very, very false assumption. Hey, if I can do it, anybody can. That was my assumption. And I would get very upset at team members who couldn’t do what I was doing. I would get very frustrated at people I worked with, lived with, I was friends with who didn’t get what I got because it was easy.

Hey, I can use this program. I can use, you know, that device. I, I can understand what this, this theory is all about. Why can’t you? I’m no smarter than you. Yeah.

It took someone. I’m pretty sure it was my wife, who said to me, just because you can do it doesn’t mean everyone else can, and it. I had to think long and hard about that, because that, that went totally against everything. I believed in all this false modesty that I was displaying, that I’m no different to anyone else.

We’re all different. We all have unique capabilities. And as soon as I understood that and embraced that, I understood that not everyone is going to get what I get, especially in, in how to do things in a technical manner. they don’t have my background. So, I, I unlearned the fact that, I have to assume that my knowledge is so generic that everyone gets it.

[00:47:47] Siebe Van Der Zee: I think there’s an element of modesty in, in your approach.

[00:47:52] Robert Hossary: In what sense?

[00:47:53] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, in, in, in some of the lessons that I’ve learned from you as far as you know, you’re, you’re, you’re a humble person.

[00:48:00] Robert Hossary: I try not to be Siebe. Uh, I think I’ve said in one of our podcasts that I don’t believe in humility and modesty, I just don’t think I’m better than anyone else. I think I’m different. I’m absolutely different to other people, but I don’t consider myself better.

[00:48:17] Siebe Van Der Zee: I want to throw in that an opinion about someone being humble.

Unfortunately, doesn’t come from that person. It comes from the other people. So, okay. Robert we’re good friends, but your opinion doesn’t matter in this case. No, it was really great Robert and I want to thank you again for, for being a guest on our podcast and I’m, I’m also very grateful for everything that you’re doing for our podcast.

It’s more than just this interview, of course. And I want to thank you for that. And in closing, I want to make a few remarks. You’ve been listening to the international podcast, 10 lessons. It took me 50 years to learn sponsored by Professional Development Forum, PDF. PDF provides webinars, social media discussions podcast and parties. And the best part is it’s all free. For more information, please visit professionaldevelopmentforum.org. Our special guest today of course, was our podcast producer. Robert Hossary from Sydney, Australia, sharing his 10 lessons. It took him 50 years to learn and to our audience. I want to say, don’t forget to leave us a review or a comment.

You can even email us at podcast@10lessonslearned.com that is podcast at ten one zero. lessons learned so podcast@10lessonslearned.com. And if you go there, go ahead, and hit the subscribe button. So, you don’t miss any future episodes. And remember, this is a podcast that makes the world wiser and wiser podcast by podcast, lesson by lesson.

Thank you, and stay safe.

 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.

 
Robert Hossary

Robert Hossary – It’s not who you know. It’s who knows you!

Robert Hossary has been in executive management for more than 30 years. He shares why "It's not who you know but who knows you", how to "become indispensable" and the "secret to success". Hosted by Siebe Van Der Zee.

About Robert Hossary

Robert Hossary has been involved in international business for the past two decades. Since 2011 – 2018, Robert was the General Manager NSW / ACT for the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia (AmCham) and helped advise many Australian and US companies about their international expansion requirements. Prior to that, Robert Regional VP in the USA for a technology manufacturer and in 2008 was named in VSR Magazine’s 1st Annual Review & Outlook as a business leader in the USA’s Mobility Industry.

He has also worked in Taiwan with responsibility for Asia Pacific and the Middle East. With a background in Technology, Transport, Fashion and Healthcare, Robert has a wealth of experience to share.

Robert is a lifelong learner and has recently completed his MBA. “Keeping current is a must today” is his motto. He is dedicated to sharing his knowledge and working for the betterment of his community. He is also a Mr Perfect BBQ Host (a charity dedicated to men’s mental health) for his community on the Central Coast of NSW in Australia. Robert is passionate about this podcast as well as all the other community and charitable work he does.

Episode Notes

Lesson 1: It’s not who you know…It’s who knows you 07m 57s

Lesson 2: Respect is not earned Respect is lost 10m 33s

Lesson 3: You want to be indispensable? Become dispensable! 13m 39s

Lesson 4: You want bread? Go to a baker. 17m 30s

Lesson 5: you can learn from everyone…even if it how not to do something. 21m 05s

Lesson 6: The secret to success…24m 28s.

Lesson 7: never lie 28m 26s

Lesson 8: acknowledge your strengths but know that there is always someone that will know more 32m 42s

Lesson 9: knowledge is not power. The use of knowledge is powerful 37m 59s

Lesson 10: change is the only certainty so keep up. 39m 45s

Robert Hossary

[00:00:03] Siebe Van Der Zee: Hello and welcome to our podcast. 10 Lessons it Took Me 50 Years to Learn where we’re talking to businesspeople, journalists, ambassadors, artists, sports heroes, sages, gurus’ leaders, and luminaries from all over the world to dispense wisdom for life, for business, and to provide you with shortcuts to excellence.

This episode is supported by PDF the Professional Development Forum. You can find out more about PDF at professionaldevelopmentforum.org. My name is Siebe Van Der Zee and I’m your host. I’m originally from the Netherlands currently living in the great state of Arizona in the United States. Also known as the Dutchman into desert.

I hope you will enjoy this program. Our guest today is Robert Hossary. Robert is the executive producer of our podcast, 10 Lessons it Took Me 50 Years to Learn, and we’re all truly very grateful for his guidance. Robert currently serves as the commercial manager at Lasercraft an Australian national disability, enterprise manufacturing, high quality Australian made corporate recognition products like awards, plaques, and business gifts.

Before that Robert was for seven years, the general manager of the American Chamber of Commerce in Sydney, Australia. And prior to that, Robert worked in the United States in Taiwan, was responsible for the middle east operations and he worked in different companies in different industries. As you can imagine with a global background in technology, transportation, fashion, and healthcare, Robert has a wealth of experience to share.

Welcome, Robert. It’s great to see you and thank you for joining us.

[00:01:52] Robert Hossary: Thanks, Siebe. It sounds like I couldn’t keep a job. Doesn’t it?

[00:01:57] Siebe Van Der Zee: I’m glad that you bring to 10 lessons, right? Because we’re going to talk about that. But it truly is a great enterprise with our podcast and, you are of course spearheading it for our team.

And, if I look at your background and your experience, it’s not just your corporate background, Robert, but you have a drive that gives you a need to give back to the community. And it’s something that I have observed, but I’m kind of curious what drives that need to give back.

[00:02:28] Robert Hossary: It’s an excellent question, Siebe, and it’s one that.

I actually have never thought of, so I don’t have a ready answer for it. But if I have to articulate an answer as to why it’s because I have four children, I want to leave this world better than I found it. And helping my community has now become a passion for me.

This podcast is one way I can do that. Uh, as one of our guests said, if we can pay the stupid tax for our listeners, we will make the path smoother than ours was by making sure that they know the mistakes that we made so that they don’t make it. and This, this latest position that I’m in is for an Australian disability enterprise.

I work with people with disabilities and when I got there to consult to them, to help them, it, it just opened up my eyes at how bigoted I had been and how little I had done for the very community I’d lived in for so long that it almost shamed me into waking up. I work with some wonderful people.

Before I worked there, I would see people like that. And I’d say, oh yeah, that person has down syndrome. That person is autistic. That person has epilepsy. That person is this, that person is that I don’t see that anymore. I see people and I see people contributing to their community and I want to be the same.

So, I can’t answer the question because I don’t know. I haven’t actually looked into why I’m doing this. I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do. If you don’t help your community, then what are you doing? Are you just collecting stuff because you’re not going to be buried with it? So, what’s the point.

[00:04:29] Siebe Van Der Zee: I, think there’s probably more to it, but I understand that that’s what motivated you. And, again, it’s a, it’s a great thing what you’re doing and, our podcast. The beginning of 2021, and worldwide. So, I think you can, uh, you can be proud of that then we’re just at the beginning, right?

[00:04:48] Robert Hossary: I’m very proud of it. And Siebe, the, the fact that same with the current, disability enterprises I’ve worked for and this podcast and everything else, I’m doing the other boards, I’m on the other things that I do, because I’m surrounded with people with the same passion people like you, people like Duff people like Jeff, people like Rider, for this podcast in particular, it spurs you on.

So, if you surround yourself with people who have the same passion as you, it amplifies your passion and makes you want to do more.

[00:05:23] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah, it’s obvious. And I appreciate it. before we get to the 10 lessons, I’m curious, is there perhaps a first lesson that you have learned in life or in your career?

[00:05:36] Robert Hossary: There, there is. Uh, it’s still very vivid in my mind. it was my very first job. I was a junior. It was a job that doesn’t exist anymore. I had to put account numbers on invoices manually, manually, and I would have been working there for about two weeks. And it wasn’t a small company.

It was a rather large medical company in Sydney. And they had a counter, uh, where the public and by public, I mean, it was more of a trade counter where, ambulance drivers and the like, so the medical industry would come to because we had medical gases was some, one of the products that we sold and there was a gentleman that came to the counter, and he was looking at me very intensely.

And I just thought to myself, who is this prick? You know, why are you looking at me like that? And this is all in my head. And obviously I, I glared back, turns out he was the general manager of the business, and I was not introduced to him. So of course, he comes and has a look and says, well, who’s this new guy.

But it was my response to him. So that’s the very first lesson I learned was you don’t know who is who, so treat everyone with respect. And I think that’s something I’ve carried with me forever. And it, it actually fed into one of the lessons that we’re going to talk about because you just have to treat people well, whether you know them or not, because you have so no who’s who.

[00:07:20] Siebe Van Der Zee: Perhaps a good thing that you learned that early in your career, right?

[00:07:24] Robert Hossary: Very Early and yes, it was a very good lesson. Didn’t do me much good in that job

[00:07:30] Siebe Van Der Zee: Did you last?

[00:07:34] Robert Hossary: No, I was there for three years and oh yeah, I know. But no, no job prospects, no advancement opportunities.

[00:07:42] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, it’s interesting. And I can see, in a job, uh, especially early in your career, what a great lesson to learn it was, and it’s still with you, right?

That’s a, that’s part of it.

[00:07:54] Robert Hossary: And it, forms part of your character. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:07:57] Lesson 1: It’s not only who, you know, it is, who knows you?

[00:07:57] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. Well, obviously, uh, we’re looking forward to our discussion about your 10 lessons and let’s start with Lesson number one. Why not? It’s not only who, you know, it is, who knows you?

[00:08:11] Robert Hossary: Yeah. The, the adage out there that I’ve heard my entire bloody career is, it’s who, you know, well, let me tell you, in my, in my career, I have met many people.

I, and I’ll just name a few, Prince Charles, The then vice president, Joe Biden, the then vice president, Mike Pence, Karl Malden for our old viewers who know Karl Malden is, and a lot of others, a lot of others, um, I’ve met two, three prime ministers of Australia, so many politicians, so many celebrities, but I can assure you that I have met them.

So, I know them. They wouldn’t have a clue who I am.

[00:08:56] Siebe Van Der Zee: Uh, maybe, maybe.

[00:08:57] Robert Hossary: No, no, they don’t Siebe, and this is the point I’m making. It’s not about who, you know, it’s about. Who knows you. I’ve, I’ve sat, and I’ve had lunch with them. I know the, the head of Virgin Australia. I can guarantee you if I call him on the phone, he won’t know who I am, but if he knew me and I called he would answer.

And that’s the point I’m making. It’s about who knows you. It’s not about who, you know, it always comes down to who knows you?

[00:09:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: I like, I think of, uh, a situation where people serve on a corporate board. And typically, we’re talking about CEOs that are candidates for corporate boards.

[00:09:50] Robert Hossary: Correct.

[00:09:51] Siebe Van Der Zee: And you can look at the qualifications of that individual, whatever he or she brings to the table, but in the work that we do, it always comes back to what is the network of contacts that, that board member or prospective board member brings to that company. And it is highly valuable. Uh, not only that the individual has certain skills.

That’s kind of a basic expectation, but what is the network that can be helpful to that company and to that board? So, it’s, it’s a, it’s a very good point that I think perhaps more people should, should use. It’s not just who, you know it is. Who knows you.

 so, it makes sense. It’s a very good lesson.

[00:10:33] Lesson 2: respect is not earned. Respect is lost

[00:10:33] Siebe Van Der Zee: Number two, respect is not earned. Respect is lost very creative.

[00:10:40] Robert Hossary: Well, you know, how many times have we heard respect is earned young man. I have refuted that since I was young, because I think the basic tenant of being a human being is to respect other human beings.

And it’s not something that you earn. It’s something you lose. You should respect everybody until they give you a reason not to respect them. I don’t understand why I should have to earn your respect when I don’t know you, you don’t know me. So, why don’t we start with, uh, with a basic human principle of respecting each other.

[00:11:29] Siebe Van Der Zee: Respect is ground, ground zero.

[00:11:31] Robert Hossary: Absolutely.

You know, all the troubles we see in the world is because people don’t respect each other, come across with a, a reason why I have lost your respect and many times, it comes down to, ethics, It comes down to, you have done something that is against my values and therefore I have lost respect for you.

 But give me the respect I deserve to begin with. And then you can whittle away from there. Otherwise, you’re starting at a low with a low bar. And how am I going to earn your respect? What do I have to do to earn your respect? I don’t really have an anecdote other than a very strong belief that that’s how it should be.

That’s how I’ve always run my life. And yes, there’s some people I will not be associated with because I have lost my respect, but I’ve always given them respect from the very beginning.

[00:12:32] Siebe Van Der Zee: I think also Robert that gee, if we look around the world today, where are we when it comes to respect?

It seems very divided. And, and in many cases it becomes violent. It’s not just disrespectful, but my opinion is better than your opinion. And if you don’t believe that I’m going to come after you and, and that’s, that’s a sad situation, right?

[00:12:59] Robert Hossary: It’s a very sad situation. And it comes down to a term that, uh, has been overused and people are sick of hearing it, but it’s the echo chamber effect of just mixing with people who have your opinion.

, I mean, this goes way beyond respect, but if, if you start, as you said at ground zero, if that is the norm, you respect everyone and their opinion and their beliefs and their values. Then you can chip away from that point, and you know what? You may never get to disrespect. You may get to, well, you know, I respect this person, but he has done a lot of things that I don’t like.

[00:13:39] Lesson 3: You want to be indispensable, become dispensable

[00:13:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: Exactly, exactly. Good point lesson, number three, you want to be indispensable, become dispensable. That’s curious, I’m curious. Where are you going with that?

[00:13:52] Robert Hossary: Uh, in, in my early career, there was a lot of people who thought themselves indispensable to the business. And by doing that, by having that mindset, they kept information to themselves.

They kept it close to their chest simply because they thought that could give them power and it would secure their jobs. Yeah. I went the other way. I created processes so that if, if I was no longer in that organization, the organization will continue. The process would continue. Everything was transparent because I did that, I inadvertently found that my management or the management of the companies I worked at found me to be indispensable.

[00:14:41] Siebe Van Der Zee: I was going to say.

[00:14:42] Robert Hossary: Because I created that process, that culture of transparency, that ability that the business will go on, they saw me as someone who cared about the business, as opposed to someone who is protecting their own backside and their own job.

 Inevitably those people who protected their own little corner of that universe, their own little fiefdom, they got fired. They, they ended up losing their job anyway, because they were not productive. They didn’t change with the culture of the company. They weren’t didn’t have the company’s interest at heart.

And so, they were dispensable.

[00:15:19] Siebe Van Der Zee: Right. But there is perhaps a risk for you as well. If you say right, become dispensable while we no longer need you. Thanks a lot for what you do.

It’s very intriguing because I, again, I think it makes sense, but then like we’re talking about, there is a certain risk perhaps attached to it. Now, if whatever, uh, senior management is aware of your style and your approach, and clearly you have a track record, uh, with that management style, then you would say great do that for our company as well. And then there’s an understanding, but it could be, uh, indeed perceived differently and say, well, you know, he’s not handling anything. Everybody is handling everything and he’s dispensable, therefore he’s out.

[00:16:04] Robert Hossary: There is a risk, but here’s the thing. Siebe, true leadership is one where you look at the business in a holistic manner, and you say to yourself who is benefiting this this company who is benefiting this organization, who is benefiting our employees, our shareholders, our clients, and you will find that the ones that do benefit the organization are the ones that are transparent the ones that make sure that if they’re not there for whatever reason things go on. Yup. Now, if we look at this, this post pandemic era that we’re in, we’re actually, we’re still in the pandemic. But if we look at this era that we’re in right now, things have had to be transparent because you can’t just hold onto your little thing, little part of the world anymore, because you’re not at work.

You’re working from home. You need everyone else to be transparent. So that was so far ahead of its time because that is what a business should be. You shouldn’t stop because someone is not there. That’s ridiculous. And leadership does see that they do acknowledge that. And so, you want to make yourself indispensable, make yourself dispensable because yeah, there is a risk, but it’s really, really small.

[00:17:30] Lesson 4: If you want bread, go to a baker

[00:17:30] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah, yeah, intriguing there are many aspects to that point. The next lesson, lesson number four seems very straight forward. If you want bread, go to a baker. What’s behind that?

[00:17:43] Robert Hossary: That is a, that is a saying that I got from my father, it’s very straightforward, you’re not an expert in everything.

If you want to be more efficient, then go to an expert who knows what they’re doing and I’m not saying, you know, go, and consult your entire business away. That is, that is not the point here. The point is you need to know your limitations. I can bake bread. But am I going to invest, several hours of my time baking one loaf of bread, or am I just going to go to someone who does this for a living, pay a nominal fee and buy the damn thing, uh, and then get on with my life.

And the same thing goes for business. The same thing goes for any part of your life, your career. If you need expert advice, go to an expert. If you want to learn it yourself, by all means, do that. That’s fantastic. But what is your time worth to you? And that that’s where that lesson comes from.

[00:18:51] Siebe Van Der Zee: I like it. I was thinking Robert, that you, you brought up these points. If you need to save time, uh, you may be better off getting the experts, the baker, , to make the bread. if you obviously are able to spend the money, if you want to, you know, save the money, then perhaps you are debating whether you should hire someone for that particular issue, but the other one, and you mentioned it to learn things.

Uh, if I would have to learn how to make bread to use that example. Well then of course I need someone who has done it before, but then the, the focus is on for me to learn. But I think you were very eloquent in saying, well, it depends on the situation, uh, right?

[00:19:39] Robert Hossary: It does Siebe, and let me give you a more practical example, a more modern example.

, let’s look at Google advertising. So, what used to be known as Google AdWords. Now I have done several courses. On Google AdWords. I am no closer to understanding it than I was before I did the courses, but here is the thing and, and it, it opened up the understanding of the process. It opened up the understanding of the requirements of everything that we need to do as an organization.

But I know for a fact that if I want to get the best out of this, I will go to an expert who does this to run my Google ads campaigns, because there is so much data. There is so much information that it’s, it’s, it’s just all garbled and you need an expert to sort through it and give you what you need to make your decisions.

My time is worth a hell of a lot more than to piss around, trying to figure out what each individual piece of data means. So, I can get an expert to do that. I pay a nominal fee each month. I get it done. I get the information I need to then make decisions. I get the information I need to run a campaign that will generate more business.

So that’s a practical example of what I’m talking about.

[00:21:05] Lesson 5: you can learn from anyone, even if it is how not to do something

[00:21:05] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. It’s very practical. It kind of leads into the next lesson perhaps, uh, you can learn from anyone, even if it is how not to do something, right. We’re talking about learning and getting better, but that’s, that’s another one that you can obviously learn from people how not to do something.

[00:21:23] Robert Hossary: And that’s something that a lot of people neglect, you know, they, they think learning is only about learning how to do something.

[00:21:33] Siebe Van Der Zee: Do you have an example?

[00:21:34] Robert Hossary: I have a great example. I would go to these. Early morning, 7:00 AM breakfasts for salespeople because the sales profession and this is early on in my career. The sales profession is inherently a lonely profession.

You’re out there on your own, basically. You don’t go out in pairs, not the companies I worked for. You went out on your own, your own territory, your own everything else. And so, I would go to these early morning sales sessions with other salespeople. It was more like a club atmosphere, but we would go, we would listen to speakers.

We would discuss amongst ourselves different techniques, which share leads, because we were part of the same organization, uh, club, organization. And one day we had the speaker, and we had some fantastic presenters, but one day we had this speaker who was as boring as you can be you know, I was, I was falling asleep.

It was just mind numbing.

I’m just sitting in the back of the room and just minding my own business, drinking my coffee, having my breakfast. And he finishes his presentation and then he’s, he points at me and says, so Robert, what did you learn? And I just looked up and I said, had not to stand in front of a projector when I’m presenting.

I mean, I know it was a cruel thing to do, and I was a terrible thing for me to do, but.

[00:22:58] Siebe Van Der Zee: You could be Dutch, Robert, you couldn’t be Dutch.

[00:23:02] Robert Hossary: But you know, it was how not to present. And it wasn’t just standing in front of the projector, but it was how not to present. He did not do his homework. He did not capture the audience.

He did not read the room. And if you’re going to pick on someone, find someone who looks as though they found what you said, interests. As opposed to someone who looked as though they were bored. Yes. Um, so it was, it was a whole bunch of how not to’s that I learned on that day, but I’ve done that ever since.

I’ve always looked at the worst player and the best player. I did a lot of community theatre when I was young and someone once said to me, find the best actor in the group and learn from them, learn what they are doing, right. How the audience reacts, then find the next one and then find the worst one and learn what not to do there.

And I did that, and I’ve applied that in my entire career, find people, and I’m not talking mentors here, I’m talking, use your own cognitive abilities. Find people that you think are really good. Look at how they perform, in the fields that you are interested in. And don’t mimic it, learn from it, and find people who really suck and learn what not to do.

[00:24:28] Lesson 6: the secret to success

[00:24:28] Siebe Van Der Zee: It’s an important lesson you can learn from everyone, even if it is how not to do something now going to lesson number six, that’s obviously not how not to do something, but the secret to success.

If you have that for us, then I think we will be forever very grateful.

[00:24:45] Robert Hossary: I, I have no, I I’m not, I, this is not hyperbole. I have the secret to success. And let me give you a, uh, background on this. I was, I was divisional manager for a large Japanese company here in Australia, and I was, writing the, um, the strategy.

For the organization for my division, I was writing the tactics that we need to follow, and flashes would come into my head of success and then they disappear and, and for weeks I would grasp, but what the hell? Because I could see it, but I didn’t write it down. I couldn’t grasp it. It was just out of my reach.

And then one day it hit me, and I could see it and I could reach it. And I knew what the secret to success was in business.

[00:25:45] Siebe Van Der Zee: I’m going to write it down.

[00:25:47] Robert Hossary: You’re ready. Just do the work.

It is simple as that Siebe stopped talking about it stop pretending. Do the damn work, make the phone calls, see the client, write the damn report, write the strategy, execute, do the work. And it happens if you do the work, guess what you get results, results are success. It was, it was so liberating because it was so simple.

It was, it was Nike. Just do it. Yeah. Yeah. It really was that simple. And people for these grand, meanings, there is no meaning. Do the damn work,

[00:26:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: organize it. Plan it structure it,

[00:26:42] Robert Hossary: look, there’s a saying that’s attributed to Abraham Lincoln, I don’t know if it’s from Abraham Lincoln, but I’m going to assume it is.

, I Googled it. That’s what I’m assuming it is that if you give me five hours to cut down a tree, I’ll spend the first four hours sharpening the axe. And that’s what I was doing, writing my, my strategy, writing my tactics. I was sharpening the axe and I could see that if I implemented all of these, tactics, all of these strategies, if I put them all in a place, that tree was going to come down pretty quickly and it would be loaded with fruit.

And that’s why I’m saying, just do it, just do the work because that’s the only secret to success.

[00:27:27] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. There, there is something to say about that. And, um, I think you and I both remember. I say it a little bit facetiously that we talked about quality management, it’s still of course, highly relevant, but in the 1980s, 1990s we talked about total quality and Kaizen and all these theories.

 but a lot of those, come back to just do the work, just do the work. Right. And that’s what you’re saying. And, and in a way, if you do that in a structured way, the consistency, the reliability is even greater because you know how to approach it, the steps that you need to take, uh, instead of, you know, basically shooting from the hip and say, well, maybe this, or we can try that.

[00:28:13] Robert Hossary: Exactly. And it also leads back to you want bread, go to a baker because if you’ve done all the preparation, you realize what you can’t do. Yeah. And you just go and get it done.

[00:28:26] Lesson 7: never lie

[00:28:26] Siebe Van Der Zee: Now the next lesson yeah, I agree. And everybody will agree. However, lesson number seven, never lie.

[00:28:35] Robert Hossary: Look, again, this is something I probably learned as a child.

My memory is not good enough to remember all the stories I tell, but it’s good enough to remember the truth because the truth is embedded and if you can recall exactly what happened. Yeah. A lie is fabricated and that sits somewhere else in the brain, and it doesn’t stick, and you have to be really good to remember every lie you tell.

So, you want to make your life easy. Tell the truth. And I know this is glib I know this is all well, Robert this is not a lesson. Trust me. When I say that. If you refuse, if you actually make the conscious choice that in your life, you will not tell an inaccuracy, you will not lie. then you will never be able to get yourself in trouble.

[00:29:37] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, I have to add something there. And, and that’s why I’m kind of curious about never lie. I agree, of course. And I hope I live my life according to that rule and to that lesson. But now there’s another issue. not in recent times trying to save myself. I have received a lot of speeding tickets for driving above the speed limits.

Yep. And the last time I was pulled over, I was speeding. And when the officer came out, I said, I don’t think I was speeding. And we had an interesting conversation. I did not get a ticket and I don’t want to say that I came up with a, you know, a story, et cetera, et cetera. But I suppose as simple as he thought, and he was right, that I was speeding.

I lied. How does that fit with your lesson? Does that mean I’m a bad person?

[00:30:36] Robert Hossary: no moral judgment here. There’s no moral judgment. He, you have to live with yourself Siebe. But no, look, it’s not about the little things like this it’s about the big things. again, an example. I had a salesperson that worked with me in the United States. I subsequently asked him to leave the organization, not because of this, but for other reasons, but he would relay a story with a lot of joy about, a sale he made in the eighties to a very large company for a bunch of hardware.

So, they, they sold this company. He worked for, which I worked for at the time in the eighties sold hardware, computer hardware, and I’m not talking desktop computer, I’m talking mobile computing and he sold, I think, close to a million dollars’ worth of product to this company.

Which is great. Congratulations. He sold it to them. He got the commission; he left the organization. Here’s the bit that he was so proud about, which filled me with horror. The product had not been completed. So, it was still in design stage. It was not even a prototype stage. He sold that product. He sold them empty boxes.

They paid for empty boxes. And he left. Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. Of course, and he wasn’t telling us the lie. He was telling us the truth, but he told them a lie to get them to buy. So, if you’re going to go down that path and that’s your choice you choose to do that?

I choose not to. little white lies, like speeding tickets. That’s your own personal demon to, to deal with but big lies that affect your life, that affect other people’s lives, your choice. I choose not to.

[00:32:42] Lesson 8: there is always someone that will know more

[00:32:42] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yes, yes, absolutely. Uh, lesson number eight, acknowledge your strength, but know that there is always someone that will know more.

I like to hear your, your story on this, and I may have a few questions.

[00:32:58] Robert Hossary: There’s always someone better than you. There’s always someone who knows more than you. And if you decide to stick to your guns and be the expert, then you’re going to come unstuck. And this, this happened many, many years ago because I’ve been in IT for a long, long time.

 And I was pretty sure that I knew everything because back in the eighties, I actually worked for a company called Amstrad. That’s a believe it or not stands for Alan Michael Sugar Trading. Amstrad, no seriously Amstrad. Lord Sugar is Alan sugar is one of the UKs leading celebrities and he had the company Amstrad. Amstrad, I think is still around. I’m not sure what they do now, but in back in the eighties, they sold amongst other things, computers. So, we had PCs with colour monitors, twin five and a quarter inch floppy drives 512 kilobytes of memory, really cutting-edge stuff Siebe. So, I thought I knew a lot. And then I progressed to other companies where I would say in, in management meetings, all you need this, you need that only to be shot down by the IT manager who knew more than me. I would make a fool of myself because of my supposed background, which was maybe five years previously.

So, there’s always, and that’s a really bad example, but there’s always someone who knows more than you. So, I’ve learned not to think I know everything. I’ve learned that. Yeah, I know a lot, but it’s someone that knows more, and you should seek those people out and you should never sit back and, and think that, you know, everything.

[00:35:01] Siebe Van Der Zee: I fully agree. And in the way you explain it, it makes a lot of sense to me, there is something. And when I looked at the lesson by itself, without your explanation, I was kind of stuck with that word always. There’s always because, if I think of your background and your achievement, Wow. You stand on your own.

There is no second Robert Hossary that has that kind of background and experience that you have very unique and obviously very successful. So, if I would compare one individual in this case, Robert Hossary to other people and say, well, of course the other one is always better. No, it depends on what we’re talking about.

What, the value proposition is of that individual. But I understand again, in, in the scenario that you describe, yes, it makes sense to look at others and say, well, There’s no way. I know at all there have to be people and we can both say that, then everybody can say, there must be people that know more than I do.

[00:36:07] Robert Hossary: You just have to look at the world of science. Yeah. No scientists today. Maybe in the past they did, but no scientists today will bank their entire reputation on their theory. They will go to their peers, and they will, they will say, well, does anybody know more? Can anybody add to this? So, you’ve got to look at your life.

The only thing you know, is what, you know, I know that’s how stupid, but you only know what you logic. Right? You don’t know what you don’t know. It’s that there’s levels of competencies. So, if I may, so there are, four levels of consciousness the first is unconscious incompetence. So, you don’t know what you don’t know. There’s conscious incompetence, you know what you don’t know. Then there’s conscious competence, which is, you know what you know. And then there’s unconscious competence, which is, you don’t know what, you know. In our professional life at the later stages of our professional life, as we get more and more skilled, we go between unconscious competence and conscious competence.

So, we know we don’t know what we know, or we know what we know, and we keep going backwards and forwards and learning and learning until things just become natural and innate and people go, oh, well, you know, he’s a natural at it. Well, no, he’s not a natural at it. You worked your way to that. And so going back to, to the point, you can only reach those stages of consciousness and competence.

If you realize that there is always someone better than you, so that strives you to keep up-skilling yourself, keep honing those skills. Does that make sense Siebe?

[00:37:59] Lesson 9: Knowledge is not power use of knowledge is power.

[00:37:59] Siebe Van Der Zee: It really does. And Robert, I think it connects very well with lesson number nine. Knowledge is not power use of knowledge is power. I think that’s a beautiful connection to what we’re talking about here.

[00:38:14] Robert Hossary: Yeah, and it is the adage knowledge is power and I’ve heard so many idiots and I use that term say that, oh, knowledge is power. Well, if that’s true, then librarians would be the most powerful people in the world.

[00:38:30] Siebe Van Der Zee: Good point.

[00:38:31] Robert Hossary: Look, for any data analyst, they realize that knowledge is not power. Knowledge is data.

The use of knowledge is power. And again, I will use the Google example because I’m struggling at the moment with analytics and all of that. But if you look at analytics on your website, you get a ton of data. There are so many data points in analysing web traffic, social media, traffic, all of these, digital analytics that we would do in a business that is data, that is knowledge.

Every point of there is knowledge. Now, is that power? Absolutely not because it makes me feel powerless when I look at it, unless you structure it in a way that you can use. So, the use of knowledge is what is powerful to just have the knowledge in your head. Okay. I have the knowledge in my head that Siebe Van Der Zee is honorary consul general Dutchman in the desert lives in Arizona.

So, what does that make me powerful over Siebe Van Der Zee? No, it doesn’t.

[00:39:45] Lesson 10: change is the only certainty. So, keep up

[00:39:45] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. That’s a very good point. And it connects well, like I said to the previous point. Yeah. So, lesson number 10, that’s the number 10 change is the only certainty. So, keep up. Yeah, it fits again with what you were saying.

[00:40:00] Robert Hossary: It’s all got the same theme.

 And again, really old cliched adage. There are two things that are certain life, death, and taxes. I say there are three change, death, and taxes. So, the one thing that, again, being in IT since the eighties, I have seen change at a rapid pace. And now when I look at how that technological changes, transformed society.

I see change at a drastic pace. So, nothing is as consistent as change. And I put down the troubles we’re having in the world in between two sets of ideologies down to the fact that one of those, one of those groups will not accept the fact that the world is changing at a rapid, rapid pace. “I wanted to be like it was when I was a child”.

 it’s not going to happen. You know, the climate is not like it was when I was a kid. I would love it to be, I used to love summer, but it’s never going to be like that. You need to understand that the change. Happening and you need to embrace it and you need to prepare. And let me give you my own personal, view on this, my own personal anecdote around this, having gone through so many different industries in my career, having taken up positions, every position in an organization I’ve worked in BARR accounting.

So, I have, because I don’t have accounting qualifications. I understand business finance. I’m not an accountant, right. But I’ve done every position in an organization. So, I understand an organization holistically. What it has helped me do is it helped me identify what has changed, from what I’ve learned.

So let me give you again, a very clear example here. I refer to myself as a sales professional. Yeah, I am proud to be a sales professional when I was selling in the eighties and in the nineties and in the early two thousands, they’re all different styles in the eighties was pretty much door knocking in the nineties.

It was more direct mail. And then getting leads in the two thousands, maybe early two thousands. It might’ve been some social selling but they’re all in combination. Okay. So, let’s look at today and it all depends on the industry, by the way, it all depends on the industry, but the one thing every industry has in common, including yours Siebe is that your potential clients will research you.

They will get online; they will check you out. So, depending on the industry if your digital messaging today, Is not right. They’re just going to go away. You’re not even going to know they were there. In the olden days I would knock on a door, and I would see Siebe face to face. And I would say, hi, my name’s Robert. This is what I do.

You don’t even get that chance today. That’s why you have to embrace new technologies. that’s why you have to look at new ways of selling now to do that. You need to understand what those platforms are. And again, just to finish the example in the U S when I went to the U S the U S still has a lot of industry magazines, which we did away with here in Australia, we don’t have industry magazines in the same way they do in the U S.

when my digital agency or my marketing agency came to me in the U S and said, we need to advertise in these magazines. I just looked at them with a blank face. I said, are you kidding me? Who reads magazines? But that was the tool that needed to be used in the early two thousands. I’d launched a healthcare product, a digital thermometers and blood pressure machines here in Australia for Citizen, Citizen Health Care.

I launched in this country. In Australia you have, or you had probably still have three main wholesalers to the pharmacy industry and on a big marketing guy, you know, I ain’t got glossy brochures. I’ve got all of these wonderful stuff I can use. You know, what worked in that industry? Photocopied fliers.

I am not kidding. So, you have to understand what works in your industry, but today none of those techniques will work because today your consumer will go and search you out. So having all of that knowledge is not useless, but is not, are not able to use those techniques. I can use the philosophies behind those techniques, but I need to upskill myself today with today’s methodology in digital marketing, in digital sales, in digital communication.

, I need to understand who my clients are. So, I create a client avatars. So, there’s a lot of new learning that I have taken on. And that’s why I completed an MBA two years ago.

[00:45:24] Siebe Van Der Zee: I was going to say, Robert that you are continuing with learning and, and collecting. Degrees. I know that for fact, but it sort of underscores the point that a change is the only certainty, and you are you continuing to learn, and, and find new ways, et cetera.

And that’s very powerful. I have a question, 10 lessons, great, great information. Great wisdoms. Is there a lesson Robert, that you have unlearned? Is there anything in life or in business? And you said I’ve got to change this?

[00:46:05] Robert Hossary: Uh, not, not that I’m going to change this. There is definitely something I unlearned.

I went through, a long period there, uh, with a very, very false assumption. Hey, if I can do it, anybody can. That was my assumption. And I would get very upset at team members who couldn’t do what I was doing. I would get very frustrated at people I worked with, lived with, I was friends with who didn’t get what I got because it was easy.

Hey, I can use this program. I can use, you know, that device. I, I can understand what this, this theory is all about. Why can’t you? I’m no smarter than you. Yeah.

It took someone. I’m pretty sure it was my wife, who said to me, just because you can do it doesn’t mean everyone else can, and it. I had to think long and hard about that, because that, that went totally against everything. I believed in all this false modesty that I was displaying, that I’m no different to anyone else.

We’re all different. We all have unique capabilities. And as soon as I understood that and embraced that, I understood that not everyone is going to get what I get, especially in, in how to do things in a technical manner. they don’t have my background. So, I, I unlearned the fact that, I have to assume that my knowledge is so generic that everyone gets it.

[00:47:47] Siebe Van Der Zee: I think there’s an element of modesty in, in your approach.

[00:47:52] Robert Hossary: In what sense?

[00:47:53] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, in, in, in some of the lessons that I’ve learned from you as far as you know, you’re, you’re, you’re a humble person.

[00:48:00] Robert Hossary: I try not to be Siebe. Uh, I think I’ve said in one of our podcasts that I don’t believe in humility and modesty, I just don’t think I’m better than anyone else. I think I’m different. I’m absolutely different to other people, but I don’t consider myself better.

[00:48:17] Siebe Van Der Zee: I want to throw in that an opinion about someone being humble.

Unfortunately, doesn’t come from that person. It comes from the other people. So, okay. Robert we’re good friends, but your opinion doesn’t matter in this case. No, it was really great Robert and I want to thank you again for, for being a guest on our podcast and I’m, I’m also very grateful for everything that you’re doing for our podcast.

It’s more than just this interview, of course. And I want to thank you for that. And in closing, I want to make a few remarks. You’ve been listening to the international podcast, 10 lessons. It took me 50 years to learn sponsored by Professional Development Forum, PDF. PDF provides webinars, social media discussions podcast and parties. And the best part is it’s all free. For more information, please visit professionaldevelopmentforum.org. Our special guest today of course, was our podcast producer. Robert Hossary from Sydney, Australia, sharing his 10 lessons. It took him 50 years to learn and to our audience. I want to say, don’t forget to leave us a review or a comment.

You can even email us at podcast@10lessonslearned.com that is podcast at ten one zero. lessons learned so podcast@10lessonslearned.com. And if you go there, go ahead, and hit the subscribe button. So, you don’t miss any future episodes. And remember, this is a podcast that makes the world wiser and wiser podcast by podcast, lesson by lesson.

Thank you, and stay safe.

 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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André Haspels – Give people trust and space

July 12, 2022

Ambassador André Haspels talks about why you should "Savor unique experiences"; the benefits of "Being modest" why you should "Make...

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