What qualities define effective leaders?
Great leaders are excellent listeners, talent spotters, and observers who see the distinctive skills and talents in others and are intimately familiar with their team members.
What effect does a leader's management and understanding of their team have on productivity?
Team members who feel trusted and empowered by their leaders are 210% more productive than those who are inefficient bottlenecks.
What characteristics define a good leader in the oil and gas sector?
A good leader in the oil and gas sector is encouraging, has faith in their team, and promotes an atmosphere that encourages originality, innovation, and strategic planning.
What distinguishes a manager from a leader, in particular?
A leader concentrates on inspiring and guiding people to become their best selves, whereas a manager is more concerned with day-to-day management duties and occasionally slips into micromanaging, which demotivates staff.
Marcus Cauchi: Hello and welcome back once again to The Inquisitor Podcast with me, Marcus Cauchi. Today, I have as my guest, Andrea Petrone, he is an executive coach, a high performance coach, and he works with CEOs, CXOs and their team. And he's also a speaker.
60 to 90 seconds on your background
Marcus Cauchi: Andrea, please, can you give us 60 to 90 seconds on your background and how you ended up doing what you're doing?
Andrea Petrone: Thank you so much. First of all, Marcus, for inviting me to your podcast. I'm so happy to be here. I come from the corporate world as many. They do what I do right now. So I've been in the corporate world for 20 years. Interesting. I work in seven different countries in a very different roles, but most of these roles have been in leadership executive roles.
Andrea Petrone: So work in West Africa and North Africa, Middle East, uh, Scandinavia, my own country, Italy. And then I up to the UK in 2013 and, uh, primary work in oil energy that has been my, my main industry. And then I became a consultant. So I work in a consulting industry and I learned a lot as you can imagine from different contexts, also from a different leadership that actually, that led me to think more about leadership and current leadership.
Andrea Petrone: The leadership I experienced, I don't think was good enough for what the society requires right now. So this is, has been a major drive to say, you know what? I want to fight this mediocrity. And I decided to, to certify as executive coach, I went, you know, I did all my studies as necessary. In the US, but then really I launched my practice early 2019.
Andrea Petrone: And since then I really started working with the CEOs and executives and really to find mediocracy that's exactly my main vision, cuz I do believe there is still a lot of mediocracy and what I don't like really when I see people in leaders set up for average. And that's why I focus on high performance.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. So, uh, I'm with you a hundred percent. What passes for average in leadership and management is truly appalling. Not everywhere, and many people appear to have achieved management and leadership roles, because they were good functionally or operationally in the thing that they would do to manage.
What is it that makes a great leader stand apart from mediocrity?
Marcus Cauchi: However, if you read, uh, Google's Project Oxygen information, it's clear that actually being able to do the job comes eighth in that hierarchy. And the number one is that the people in the team recommend joining that team to people they like and care about. So what is it that makes a great leader stand apart from mediocrity?
Andrea Petrone: Yeah, such a great question. So what I think Marcus is, so that many leaders became became leaders actually by being very good functional managers, right? And in sales, for example, we seen this so many times, right? People there, they get promoted as sales leader just because they were a great sales manager.
Andrea Petrone: But when they, when, when actually all position as safe leader, for example, they fail incredibly because they, they're not equipped from a leadership standpoint, actually managing things. So, but back to your point really is for me, great leaders are essentially people, they're incredible, incredible, interesting to empower other people.
Andrea Petrone: That's really simple. Cause it's empowering, it's all about leadership. Cause when you are able to change your mindset and stop thinking about yourself and your ego and start really thinking about how can empower others and making sure others can become the future leader in organization? That is my opinion, what is really supposed to be done by a leader.
Andrea Petrone: That's one thing.
Great leaders are great listeners, great observers and they're talent spotters
Marcus Cauchi: So what I'm hearing is that great leaders are great listeners, great observers and they're talent spotters. And what they do is they identify the behaviors, skills, talents in others that most people would consider to be magic. But when the, you compliment the person about them, they're almost surprised because they think everybody can do that.
Marcus Cauchi: Is that a fair observation?
Andrea Petrone: It's a fair observation. And it starts with one very important thing is actually you need to know your people inside out. And that's for me is a big thing, Marcus, because I believe that many leaders that say, you know, well, I have a team. And, uh, as long as I know the team as an entity, it's good enough.
Andrea Petrone: It's not, it's actually how much, you know, every single people of your team. And we'll probably discuss with you later, right? About motivation, actually other things, but you really need to know your people. And that is really something that leaders, they don't really spend enough time on just because they, they think they're too busy.
Andrea Petrone: Right? And to me, that's one of the major failure of the leadership.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, they're often they're too busy because precisely they don't understand their people. If they do, then they'd be able to delegate. I dunno if you've read Liz Wiseman and Greg McCuen's book "Multipliers"? In there there's a fundamental premise that multipliers, people who spot talent and who empower others and give trust are able to get 210% more than a diminishing leader who is a bottleneck.
Marcus Cauchi: They're always the smartest in the room. They play the gotcha game. And as a result, they have a tendency to do what's called, uh, what I term "Rescuing", which is helping without boundaries or permission or they're persecuting. And if they're persecuting, they punish people for taking risk and failing. And as a result, what they end up with is 50% productivity instead of 210% productivity.
Andrea Petrone: Yes, absolutely right. What you just shared is such an incredible point. Cause I think it's, I mean, there've been a lot of studies about. How important you actually trust in not only actually building great teams, great leaders, future leaders, but also our trust for example, is related to results to the financial results organization.
Strong correlation between trust in organization and financial results
Andrea Petrone: So that's another thing Marcus is, you know, I said just, you know, a few minutes ago about importance of empowering people, but we, we shouldn't forget, the leaders had one single or not single, but one of the major colleagues essentially bring your results to the organization. Cause you know, I don't believe to the leadership that says, yeah, you know, I want to be good with people.
Andrea Petrone: You know, I want to be very social. I want to be, you know, the best love leaders organization. Although that is important from a such ability standpoint, it's still super important to get results. Now, the good thing about trust is trust now is, you know, studied by by many neuroscientists actually is how there is such a strong correlation between trust in organization and financial results.
Andrea Petrone: So, but when, when you actually lose trust in people, it's really everything full apart, isn't it? Because without trust, there is no way to empower people delegate. As you said, to increase productivity, to boost their motivation, to get the most of the people to increase performance. So there's so many undesired consequences actually of not having enough trust in your people.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, this really begins with giving trust. And unfortunately, so often what you find is that many leaders have a command and control. Mentality. They're worried about losing control. And the grim reality is that by trying to maintain control, they lose it. And by giving it up, they gain it. So how do you get leaders to understand that paradox?
Andrea Petrone: That is one of the most challenging things you have to look at their behaviors, first of all. Cause I always say here's the thing, Marcus is I always say the Triangle if you imagine Triangle right? So where there three things, if you like, there are egos, let's say status and then there is a result and then there is a relationship.
Andrea Petrone: Okay. So the best leaders, as you can imagine, they're just in the middle of that. So they're able to balance a good level of status and not losing status, but not even become super egocentric, but also they're not over shifted if you like, either to, to the results side or to relationship, you have to be very balanced.
Andrea Petrone: So you need to be good relationship with people, but keeping your status, protecting that. Focus on results. But at the same time, not take, you know, not putting the results on top of everything else and disregard your status, but also your relationship. If you think about these three elements, that's, that's exactly what we're looking for.
Andrea Petrone: We're looking for leaders able to really be in the middle of that. But as I said, there is a behavioral change that is actually needed for people they don't get most of the time. I'm sure that's your experience from markets is when people that get promoted to an executive roles to a leadership role, unfortunately, that's when that test stay on, start to increase.
Their ego is getting in their way to become a better leader
Andrea Petrone: And that is when their ego as well, start to increase. That is challenging how many people, they don't realize that they don't realize that that is getting their way to become a better leader with others. They think that they reach red status and that's also is the time when they start to be complacent. And when you get complacency, then you start looking, what is happening around you?
Marcus Cauchi: Well, you either get complacent or you start to apportion blame and, uh, you punish. And what that does is it stifles risk taking, people won't put their head above the parapet. And as a result, what you end up with is a homogenized team of people who tell you what you want to hear. You only have to look at the last president and the amount of time people spent sanitizing the message so that he heard what he wanted to hear.
Andrea Petrone: Um, correct.
Marcus Cauchi: And that's very, very dangerous. And I think it's also really key that the leader understands that their job, their role is a service role. They need to serve their people. So it's almost an inverted pyramid and they're right at the bottom of that pile, because if they're not, if they don't understand their people, if they don't give trust, if they don't empower and develop their people, then that drives that command and controll strategy, which generally doesn't work where you need to be highly adaptable, where you need to come up with creative solutions.
Marcus Cauchi: So they tend to recruit in their own image, only weaker, and they rely on what they're familiar with and they don't brook any challenge. And so all the best leaders that I've interviewed that I've come across, that I've worked for have incredibly high levels of humility. They play an infinite game. Their objective is to keep the game going and make the pie bigger, as opposed to take a bigger piece of a shrinking pie and either play to win or play not to lose, which is an incredibly depressing, boring place to work.
Marcus Cauchi: And what they also do is they encourage diverse opinion. They encourage people to take risks because what they don't ever do is they don't punish risk taking they punish hiding failure.
What were the innate qualities of the best leaders?
Marcus Cauchi: So I'm really curious again, to understand if, if you look at the best leaders that you've had the pleasure of working with, what were their innate qualities and what's it like when you meet them to be on the receiving end of that conversation?
You don't want a "Yes Man"
Andrea Petrone: Yeah. First of all, just a very quick comment, what you said, cause you, you nailed Marcus. I mean, what you really don't want end the day is having around you what I call the yes, man.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Andrea Petrone: The people that are gonna, they're gonna tell you. Yes, yes, yes. Just because they're afraid of what my happen did they say no, isn't it. And then maybe we can come back to it because it's, it's all about culture because then, you know, it's one individual, but how can you develop in a culture that allow people to thrive, to be empowered and know actually to be blamed. So it's, it is such a great point. So back to your question, I'll tell you what, that's something interesting question I can, you know, freely say that the majority of leaders I work with, they haven't been good, they haven't been great to be honest. Because that's probably one of the reason why, you know, I do what I do is just the fact that I don't have big experience.
Andrea Petrone: And if you ask actually people around, it's interesting. Cause most of the people are gonna tell you, if you, you ask the question, did you have a good boss in your career? I'm pretty sure that most of the people are gonna say no for the majority of my time, probably not. That's something there really, but I remember very well when I worked actually in, uh, in Egypt.
Andrea Petrone: So I spent five years in Egypt for I worst game working there at the time. And actually I had three different bosses during the five years. So one of them has been just awesome. Amazing. And you know why Marcus? Because he was supportive, he was, it was never directed in a way to approach me. And because there was such a level of trust, you know, we are always coming back to trust isn't it?
Andrea Petrone: So, you know, what I felt there was safe was for me to open up and ask, sometimes even just very stupid question. Sometimes you don't ask when you feel there is a judgment, right? From the other side of the table. I think that is important because when you are, you know, not only when you're a leader, but also when you're growing as an individual, you have a lot of stupid question to ask.
Andrea Petrone: Lot about your work, about procedures, about system processes, just because you're learning, you know, and especially in my industry, the energy is interesting. Cause it's not something that you learn on the book actually, you learning by doing. So that that's the strategy, if you like in the oil and gas industry, or this has been for many years.
Andrea Petrone: So you, you know, they, they, they put you in a position say, you know what, either you thrive or, or survive or, or not. So that's exactly the, you don't have really the option. So, so there is a lot of stupid question during the process. But I remember that boss at it's such a very high level of trust. And instead of say, Hey, Andrea, you have to do distinction this way.
Andrea Petrone: You have to do this in that way, or don't do this or don't do that. It was actually supporting me in any decision was made. So one, I think couple of things I remember well was one approach, when you used to say, Hey, Andrea, I'm not sure I have an idea, but you take a decision. If you fail. That is the right decision.
Andrea Petrone: Either you take it or go back to your thinking process and see what, what steps you need in order to form the final decision. I love that. That's for me is the best approach possible to spark, as you say, to spark creativity, innovation, and strategic thinking. And the other question I used to say is, how can I help you?
Andrea Petrone: Instead of say, A
Marcus Cauchi: Absolutely.
Andrea Petrone: How can I help you to achieve what you want to achieve for me? This is everything.
What are the qualities and what are the different functions of a manager versus a leader?
Marcus Cauchi: So a great manager is gonna be different from a great leader. What are the qualities and what are the different functions of a manager versus a leader? Well, uh, as being, I dunno, many articles, a conversation about the difference between a manager and leader.
Marcus Cauchi: It's interesting, cause everyone is a different opinion, right? And so, so for me, I think that the major difference, the fact that leader shouldn't necessarily manage day by day, manage what's going on with people is actually leading people to be a better version of themselves. That's for me, the difference, the problem is the many leader they tend for to fall into the management role.
Marcus Cauchi: So, and that's when they start to micromanage people and that's is, as you know, Marcus is the worst way actually to motivate people. Cause as soon as you get micro micromanage, you're gonna disengage hundred percent with the business, right?
Marcus Cauchi: Well, you, you can't motivate anyone to do anything ever. Cuz motivation is an internal force, but you can demotivate with that behavior.
Andrea Petrone: Totally. Right. Totally. Right. So that is for me is the main thing. As we said at the beginning, I'm sure that you've experienced too. How many times you have seen managers, right? That we, you know, they've been promoted, but they keep doing what they were doing before they keep managing.
Marcus Cauchi: It's like sales and get promoted into management.
Marcus Cauchi: They keep selling. They forget the real job, or it becomes an inconvenient afterthought. Oh, I'm too busy to manage. Of course you are. Cause you're an idot,
Andrea Petrone: But you guys what . Yeah, but also, cause that's the comfort zone, isn't it, that's a comfort zone. They've been good in that. And for them is actually a bigger, fresh moving into leadership role, least in their mind to keep doing what they were doing because they thought they were good.
What does the apprenticeship for leadership need to look like?
Marcus Cauchi: This is really difficult question and sorry for putting you on the spot on this one. What does the apprenticeship for leadership need to look like?
Andrea Petrone: A leader? What have to, to become a leader?
Marcus Cauchi: In the runway, the apprenticeship from producer into manager, and then learning how to be a leader whilst you are a manager so that when you move into the job, you are equipped. I'm curious about what that should look like in your mind?
Andrea Petrone: It's not as difficult as you, as you think, because it, it really depends. So there are three or four things that you have to do it, do it now, whether either you do it alone or with a coach or someone that doesn't matter, but first is really start thinking of managing not anymore managing up.
Andrea Petrone: I start managing down in other words is how can I get the most out of my team and stop really stepping into, into the roles. Now, maybe you are still a manager you're still managing day by day, but you know what you have to do. You start changing your mindset and start thinking, okay, I can keep doing what I'm doing right now.
Andrea Petrone: But the reality is I start, I need to start to change my mindset first and think as a leader, be regardless of what I'm doing right now. So there is a mindset element. The second are some typical behavior. So first you have to change your communication style. The communication start that you've been using as a manager is gonna be different than the communication that you're gonna use as a leader.
Andrea Petrone: For a simple reason, as a manager, you are giving more instructions to people you're giving task, right? As a leader, you're gonna talk more about the vision.v Why we're doing what we're doing, and you have to embrace different leadership, sorry, influence style or communication styles as a leader. They're not necessarily required as manager.
Andrea Petrone: So what you have to do is really learning different styles of influence, communication. Cause that is key. So these are already, I think, couple of things. And then I think is there is an element of confidence. Cause as a manager, you can be a very confident manager, but when it comes to leadership, in my experience, you require a different level of confidence too.
Andrea Petrone: Cause when you, when you're guiding people towards a vision, the level of confidence of yourself, your capability to do that has to be higher than the confident that you have as a manager. So the scope is different. So, so that's something in my mind is important to consider.
Great leaders who were great learners
Marcus Cauchi: I'm gonna challenge you on that.
Marcus Cauchi: Cause I've come across several examples where the confidence comes from very high levels of humility. And it's admitting you don't know what you're doing or that you're struggling with something and inviting others to participate. So a couple of people who spring to mind immediately are Michael Brody-Waite, Michael was building an Inc500 fast track company.
Marcus Cauchi: And at the time they were 10 people, he just managed to get on the Oprah show or something like that. And all of a sudden things went through the roof and he had no idea what he was doing. And he spent a couple of weeks in absolute turmoil. Wondering what the hell he was going to do. And his breakthrough moment was where he had the team around the table and he said, you know, I'm a recovering drug addict. This is my second or third business. And in all honesty, I'm way out my depth. I have no idea what I'm doing. I need help.
Marcus Cauchi: And it was that moment where he galvanized everybody to rally around and they saw that act of courage, that act of vulnerability as a clarion call. And they ended up selling out to a publicly listed company for hun, uh, hundreds of millions.
Marcus Cauchi: And that was hugely successful. Tom showed off who took Splunk from 42 million to 1.3 billion. Interestingly enough, he was passed over for promotion into management for about seven years. And eventually he managed to get his break. He just skyrocketed when he was in management, cuz he was a fabulous manager and then he grew into a fabulous leader.
Marcus Cauchi: And what was really interesting was, uh, in fact, in both of their cases, their attitude towards learning, not training, but learning, they were absolutely open to learning. They are open to being coached. They have multiple coaches. Learning is central to their culture and the culture that they develop and not knowing the answer is fine, but having the humility to invite help and take it is a key differentiator.
Marcus Cauchi: And I can think of now that I'm talking about it, I can think of another half a dozen, uh, who are exactly the same. So whilst they need to have confidence and when they're selling the vision, absolutely. They don't need to be the finished article. And they don't need to, they, they don't need to be able to do the work.
Marcus Cauchi: That's why they hire great people. You know, Steve Jobs made the point, you know, about hiring people better than yourself. Now he was a pretty big brain. And I'm sure if you read Walter Isaacson's biography of him working with him could be a bit of a stretch, of course but he managed to generate some amazing accomplishments precisely because he got the best outta people.
Marcus Cauchi: And one of my favorite questions as a leader and a manager is, "Is this your best work?" It's a beautiful question. It's simple, but it's very difficult for someone to hide when it's not their best work. And then they start to take ownership of it because I think one of the things great leaders do is they establish incredibly high standards.
Marcus Cauchi: And they recruit people who buy into those high standards and they hold each other to account,. Your thoughts?
Balance between confidence and vulnerability
Andrea Petrone: Yeah. A hundred percent. And I mean, the, the example that you gave, just to clarify the example are fantastic, because you, you mentioned about vulnerability. You know, lifetime learner, this is what the leaders are.
Andrea Petrone: So this, these are lifetime learner because they want to challenge themselves. They think that it's never enough. And then I'm gonna tell you something going back. Cause there is some, a caveat actually on having that approach to some extent, because it sounds like you have that sense of urgency. You never feel accomplished.
Andrea Petrone: So from a personal perspective, it might be a little bit risky situation, not feeling that you are always waiting for something, but we can come back to this a little bit later. But just, just to clarify, confidence for me doesn't mean necessarily vulnerability. So you can have a high level of confidence, but still be valuable people and say openly that you are not, you are not enough.
Andrea Petrone: You need help. You need to get more support by others. Yeah. You still need to show to your people that you have the confidence you have the confidence enough actually to drive into a different situation. That's what the leaders are doing. So combining and balancing confidence, vulnerability, I think is, is a key because you don't want to as well look fully confident as an individual because people are not going to follow you.
Andrea Petrone: So there is an end of doubt balance. So back to your point, I think that question is fantastic. That that question is truly fantastic because there is an meant, as a said of ownership and the ownership is, is something that you keep it for yourself, or you give in ownership of your great results, your performance, actually, to your people, the best leaders.
Andrea Petrone: They don't never, they never feel that they are owner actually, of the great results of the people. Sports is the great example, Marc. Cause if you know all the football fans say that when you, when you hear that, the coaches say when they win it, oh, that's thanks to the team. You know, the team have done don't don't say don't thanks me.
Andrea Petrone: Because you know, I've just put everything together in reality. Know that's not right, right? However, that's what they ownership the real, in this, sorry, real leadership is, is about, is giving ownership of success to your team. Sometimes you see leaders say, I did this. I built this. I led my organization from where they were to seven figures, eight figures, whatever.
Andrea Petrone: And that is a very push sign of leadership because you are essentially discounting the value of your team having, you know, really help you to achieve what you achieve. So ownership, I think is a big thing. Is a good way to actually measure the type of leader is in front of you, the level of ownership they take.
What advice would you give to a new CEO or a founder in terms of building the right team?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. So this send raises the next question around leadership and recruitment in terms of building the, uh, the team around you as a leader, what advice would you give to let's say a new CEO or a founder in terms of building the right team?
Andrea Petrone: Great question. And the starting point is having full clarity of what, the skills that you really need. It sounds abuse, but it's not. Because there are so many bias. That's why I think you said could be racist because there are so many bias in the recruitment process. So people unfortunately recruit for the drunk reason they recruit because they want to have people like them, as you mentioned before, and that's the biggest mistake you can, you can ever make is actually, you need to get people that, you know, their complimentary what you actually, what you know, what you don't have.
Andrea Petrone: And that is really the main thing. The second thing is really as highlighting super well, what the results what your people to achieve? Not necessarily what you need right now. Because if you are leading organization to somewhere else, as you're supposed to do, most likely you need a different set of skillset in your organization. Because if you are actually planning your framing, the skills that you need right now, you may be blindsided actually, because the, the, the real skills is something that you need in the future.
Andrea Petrone: And I think, uh, unfortunately I see many organization makers, they are really short view about their future. They think about what they need right now, because maybe they need to profit or revenues because they're terrible situation. And they, oh, you know, well, I need a sales manager, or I need someone I can do a better marketing, or maybe I need an engineer that does this thing when the reality is, if you don't have a clarity, what you really, what you want to bring the organization.
Andrea Petrone: So then it's gonna be difficult. And there's all kind of skills that you need in the future. There is a lot of conversation right now. I'm sure that you, you have seen this in terms of what are the, what is the future of work? So what are the skill that we probably need in 2030? That is a typical conversation going on on YouTube, but not the social media platform.
Andrea Petrone: No one knows, right? No one knows what's gonna happen 2030 given the older that we have right now. But clearly, if you don't have an idea where you want to bring your organization in the future, whatever, how you're gonna make is gonna be broke. That's my idea of that.
41% of employees around the developed world are considering a career change this year
Marcus Cauchi: That future planning and perspective is really key.
Marcus Cauchi: I worked with a company that probably half a decade or a decade ago, and what they would do is future planning with Navys and Military. And what was really interesting was, um, being able to see that far into the future on the basis of who you are recruiting today. And we are seeing that there's a huge problem coming up.
Marcus Cauchi: There was a report in Forbes that I read, uh, earlier today that 41% of employees around the, the developed world are considering a career change this year.
Andrea Petrone: There you go.
Marcus Cauchi: Now let that sink in for a minute if you're a leader. Because if you were to lose 41% of your staff today, maybe it wouldn't make a whole leap of difference, but for many of you, it probably would, and it would screw up your vision and the execution of that vision.
Marcus Cauchi: But with this organization, they were looking at, for example, Navys, if you don't have enough nuclear scientists today in 15 years time, when they can be running a submarine, you're not gonna have people to be able to run the submarine. So you're gonna have this billion dollar piece of kit just sat on dockside simply because you don't have the staff.
Marcus Cauchi: And you've got to really think ahead. So I think what vi-, uh, leaders are, are they're visionary. And they're able to think ahead in terms of the business that we're going to become, or the organization we're gonna become in three years, five years, time and plan for that. What are the roles and positions that we're going to need to fulfill our obligations to our customers in five years time in three years time in two years, time, year, six months, three months? For that to be possible, what are the budgets that we have to have available?
Marcus Cauchi: So for us to be able to afford to hire those people, what do we have to sell? How many customers do we need? They need to also identify the trigger point when we start recruiting. Because if you recruit reactively, you are only ever going to have the compromise candidate that was available at the time.
Marcus Cauchi: So. They need to have that big picture and they need to surround themselves with the right kind of people to challenge their thinking. And this is where I think, uh, the whole topic of diversity is really important. Diversity is not just about gender or age and ethnic background. It's about socioeconomics, it's about disciplines.
Marcus Cauchi: And I think it's really important and certainly from my conversations with Tom Schodorf, they would have standup fights behind closed doors, but they would have standup fights, but then they would agree a course of action and everybody would then back it. But ultimately it was his decision. If the team couldn't reach a conclusion and then he would have to live by that decision.
Marcus Cauchi: And that's takes a lot of courage when you're, you know, you're seeing a business that's growing 200% per annum compound. That's a scary place to be because now what you've gotta be able to do is manage the expectations of people who joined the business. And six months later, it's totally different. And six months later, again, it's totally different.
Marcus Cauchi: So being able to handle that level of pace and change is really key for great leaders.
Organizations are changing super fast
Andrea Petrone: Yes, my, and you read earlier, there is an element that for me, is important on a recruitment process for any organization, regardless where you're going is very high level flexibility of people, for exactly the same reason that you just mentioned.
Andrea Petrone: Cause organization theyre changing in a super fast pace. It's not their full necessarily. It's not just because they having new CEOs that changing, you know, their, their vision every single time. It might be for that reason. But most of the time, just because the market dynamics are forcing them. To keep changing the strategy, which is not good of course.
Andrea Petrone: But what I can say is flexibility adapt is that really skill for the future for any organization. So you really want to stop thinking about adding people that very rigid approach in a way. So that's one, one thing I would like to share. And the other thing that for me is super important is, and that is interesting challenge.
Andrea Petrone: I'm really interested to hear what you think on this Marcus, the average 10 of the CEOs right now, it's about three, five years. Probably even probably little less than that. Maybe, you know, let's say two, three to play safe. And for this reason they, most of them, they tend to, again, to play safe. What that means is they're not taking calculated breweries for organization, not making big changes.
Andrea Petrone: They're not driving super interesting strategies. Why? Because maybe, you know, if the tenure is so low, one of the question that the estimate said, I'm not saying right, I'm just strong, but that's point what happens is. Should I really do that. Should I ask, you know, should I, should I make all these changes?
Andrea Petrone: One, if I know that I'm gonna leave the company actually sooner than I than I think, and that's gonna be risky for organization.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, I think there is a really interesting parallel in politics. Most prime ministers and most presidents are thinking by the end of their second year about reelection. And I think there is a real plus only having one term.
Marcus Cauchi: And if you've only got two to five years, if that's the only time you have, that's the time to be decisive, to really engage for impact, to be proactive and adaptive and to take risk. And I would love to see our politicians and our leaders only having one term for that reason. because I think if they weren't worrying about reelection and they only had one shot at it, then they would do much better work.
Marcus Cauchi: CEOs see it, that they only have a short tenure and they're more worried about their next job than they are about this one. It's like me playing golf. If I'm, uh, worrying about my last shot or my next shot, this shot will be shit. So I have to think about where I am and where the ball lands. That's where I have to play from.
Leaders need to be able to accept and understand the opposing perspective without necessarily agreeing with it
Marcus Cauchi: So I have to accept what is and change what I can, which is my behavior. And I think in leadership, we've also have to adopt that mentality, which is where are we at the moment? What resources do we have available to us and what choices can we make and then try to make the best choice, the best decisions.
Marcus Cauchi: With the resources and people that we have at the moment. But we also have to have that long term view, which is how can I steer as straighter course as possible to get there whilst also recognizing that my plan is likely to be out of date, the moment I press print and publish it. The Buddhist monks have a lovely exercise where for 10 minutes they argue for the existence of God and someone argues against it.
Marcus Cauchi: And then they swap roles and right. I think leaders need to be able to accept and understand and opposing perspective without necessarily agreeing with it, but invite it in order that it can challenge and smooth off the edges of their own thinking. And this comes back to the team. I think having a team made up of a balance of.
Marcus Cauchi: Different skills, different disciplines, different personality types, and bringing them all together, empowering them to take risks, to offer up ideas without being shot down. Then reaching a conclusion either through consensus or through reason debate allows leaders to come up with much better outcomes.
Marcus Cauchi: And I think there's one other thing that's missing, which is that most strategy is far too complex, far too complicated, rather than complex in my experience. Great strategy is simple and it's about picking three to eight big bets over the next three years. Built on understanding real insight into your customer and the journey that they go through.
Marcus Cauchi: If you build a business from there and you build your strategy from there. With, let's say five major bets that you are working on over the next three years and clear milestones and clear definable deliverable milestones at the six month point that you hit because you've got the right people leading those work streams. As opposed to, because of their job title, they're the best person for the job.
Marcus Cauchi: And often that's someone, who's an operator, not someone with a, uh, the big job title. And if you hit that six month milestone, then the rest of the organization views the strategy as credible. And then you start getting everybody else on board.
Andrea Petrone: Hundred percent Marcus. And it's funny that you mentioned that that's really strategic planning in, in a very effective way.
Andrea Petrone: Cause I do a lot of work with CEOs action, strategic planning, and my approach is that exactly as you described, cause I've seen, I'm sure that you did it. You did too strategy plans for five, six years. That's completely ridiculous. As you mentioned two, even probably two years time in two years time, the strategy will, will probably change anyway because the market is so dynamic for the uncertainty we mention.
Andrea Petrone: So there's no point to do, you know, all this incredible strategy plan for five years and you guess what? They ended up on the shelf anyway, because no one is using anyway. There they're not at practical. As you do is in my work. For example, what we do, leaders identify only three or five maximum key strategic priorities.
Andrea Petrone: That's it. But once we did a lot of exercise, but essentially answer to three question is about the clients first. About the competition first and then about the market. So you are the three, the three, sorry. And the product, which is even for product service. These are the three things that you really need to ask yourself.
Andrea Petrone: What are the clients are looking for in the future? What is your competitor are looking in the future? So you can actually be that in advance, by preparation and third, what is gonna be your product service in the future? And these are, you know, out of then strategic brainstorming, et cetera. You need to end up with a very small number of key strategic priorities, because these are the things that you're gonna implement it.
Andrea Petrone: Cause one of the major things that we also we need to remember is one of the major problem in the society by the business world is a very lack of execution. A lot of great strategies, but there is no execution there. Implementation is one of the, the big problems here. So it's even pointless actually been five or 10 different strategic initiative because you know, you're not going to implement it any.
Andrea Petrone: So why even doing that taking three or four, but the one are gonna make a difference for your business?
Marcus Cauchi: Well, this is really where I think there is a distinct lack of awareness about the vagueness of management and leadership language. Accountability is touted around by so many people, but actually it's really vague.
Marcus Cauchi: What are you going to be responsible for? And there's a difference between accountability and responsibility. Are you reliable? Do you say you, uh, do you do what you say you're gonna do when you say you're gonna do it to the standard you committed to? Are you effective? Are you getting the results that we intended?
Clarity in communication
Marcus Cauchi: So you talk about communication earlier. It's really key. That you have to be clear, specific, certain in your communication. Cuz ambiguity is the mother of all fuckups. If you want confusion, disappointment, mismatched expectations, be unclear, be vague. So at the risk of speaking ill of the dead, if you listen to Boris Johnson, the total lack of any clarity means that he's surrounded by a bunch of people who will end up doing what they think they should do, cuz I'm sure that I'm gonna give them the benefit of the doubt that I'm not a fan that you know, they're doing their best, but they don't have any clarity or direction.
Marcus Cauchi: And, uh, again, this is really where leaders need to be the standard bearer. They need to be the totem around which the rest of us rally. And I think that's a huge, uh, shortfall or deficiency in many leaders because they are indecisive, they're ambiguous. They are not committed to a particular course of action.
Marcus Cauchi: They're not willing to take responsibility. So then they create this culture of blame, excuse, making upward delegation. They become a bottleneck and organization gets paralyzed. And this is why I think the single biggest force in many organizations, particularly larger ones. Because as they were getting large, they were dynamic and forthright and they had clarity.
Marcus Cauchi: But then inertia sets in and inertia is effectively just a slow, painful death. And you look at all the companies who were on the Fortune 500 or the Ftse 350, 20, 30 years ago. There's only a fraction of them there now. And I think it's inertia that drives that. And I'd be really curious to see, I mean, one of the missions of the companies that I'm working with is that our clients will dominate the Ftse 350 and the Fortune 500. It's not about us. It's about helping our clients get there and then stay there. And that's a really exciting vision. Because I mean, I just get a thrill up my spine with the thought of it.
Many organizations are led by people who think that they can bribe performance out of their staff. Why is that so wrong?
Marcus Cauchi: Help me understand this then. So many organizations are led by people who think that they can bribe performance out of their staff. Why is that so wrong?
Andrea Petrone: That's actually when the neurosciences speaks it. Cause we work with scientist, and I'm glad to mention that the best part of my work actually building intrinsic motivation and actually explained organization that building motivation, would- they works to some extent.
Andrea Petrone: And it has been assumption that, you know, pay more money to people is the only way, the best way actually to get the most of your people. And that is just wrong. But before we knew it from a personal experience or from statistics, now we know it well from a neurosciences standpoint. So what the neurosciences actually realized there is that there is a limit until the intrinsic motivation can really work.
Andrea Petrone: And the US actually, they, they identify the threshold. I think it's something like seventy five thousand dollars. So that is a threshold. So until that part, because then, you know, we can talk about, you know, Maslows Pyramid of Needs because that is what's all about. So people that want to be saved first, and then when they're saved, then go to the next level of needs. Right?
Andrea Petrone: Now, think about bribing people and giving more money, more benefits to get the most out of them in motivation is just wrong. Motivation is something that we beat as a person. Is a self-motivation. So the key for leaders is not really focused on monetary reward, but building other rewards that can have the self motivation to be build.
Andrea Petrone: Is is a very different paradigm. It it's a paradigm shift.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Andrea Petrone: But very few organization think about that. They thinking, oh, I'm not getting great performance. Probably either these under the nor right people for me, or I need to give them more money. I need to give more benefit, etcetera. Now, when the neurosciences say this in need to be more passionate, more giving them vision, giving the purpose, giving the grade and building their persistence and giving their also master their skills.
Andrea Petrone: And most importantly Marcus is autonomy. Back to the point that we say about micromanaging, right? Autonomy is a number one, maybe two most important factors actually to build intrinsic motivational on people.
Marcus Cauchi: I I've, I've been blessed, um, because throughout my career borrowing a couple of crappy jobs at the beginning, I've loved everything that I've ever done.
Marcus Cauchi: So work has become play, but the last 15,16 years when I realized where my strengths lie and restructured all of my work around that now being self-employed, that's a lot easier for me to do. However, my advice to managers who wish to be great and leaders who wish to be great is find the work that encourages the individuals soul to sing and have them do more of it and have them do.
Marcus Cauchi: Cuz I believe our job is to hire fabulous people and let's be honest, not everyone is fabulous in all, uh, walks of life. But there are many fabulous people out there. Once you've hired fabulous people, then get the best out of them. Give them trust, give them the coaching and the support that they need. Uh, provide them with the resources for them to learn, provide them with the tools.
Marcus Cauchi: And equipment and everything they need to do their best work every day. Give them masses of encouragement and encourage them to fail and learn from that failure. Encourage them to collaborate and hire people who are not brittle hire. People are always asking who is the best person for this, uh, role, willing to let go.
Best leaders are the ones who are constantly questioning their traditions
Marcus Cauchi: So again, I think I fundamentally believe that ego at its in, in its worst qualities is, uh, among the most divisive and dangerous qualities, any, uh, anyone can possess, but particularly a leader. Because they create the conditions for drama, which means that people will be defensive. They will make excuses, bias, prejudice, noise will creep in.
Marcus Cauchi: And I think the best leaders that I know of are the ones who are constantly questioning their traditions. They're constantly reviewing their processes, their policies. And you touched on something earlier on which I meant to pick up on, but, uh, I've now remembered, which is leaders need to be very careful what they say, what they do, what they approve of, because it's very easy for other people to read that as direction.
Marcus Cauchi: And then it suddenly becomes policy. And the unintended consequence of a leader stating maybe a passing opinion is often extremely dangerous.
Andrea Petrone: Marcus here's I always say the first thing a leader role was remember is they are watched and listened all over the time. So they have to be the message. They are the message every single day, every single hour with every single gesture they take. From an email sent to a way they say hello to the people, to the way they conduct meeting. And just to the way they work around now, it's not anymore. Fortunately, it's not a big deal because it's COVID, but at some point they need to walk again in the corridors and that's, that's very important.
Andrea Petrone: Be the message be consistent with yourself and what you say, because otherwise you're gonna fail in dramatically actually, because consistency from a, for a leader is everything. And I think I would like to say, just to add it to your fantastic list that you share. One thing that for me is also that very important, especially for a new generation is the fact that if you don't give them the purpose,
Andrea Petrone: it's not going to work in the future markets. Cuz the new generation are looking for purpose. So my age, your age maybe was different, but now it's not working anymore.
Marcus Cauchi: Even that I have to challenge because when you, uh, when old fossils like me come along and uh, they find a purpose, you drive so much more.
Goal setting should be about creating big, hairy, assed, audacious, challenging, impossible goals
Marcus Cauchi: I left my old business in October, 2020, and I had purpose before, but I was released from, uh, certain constraints in terms of territory and the things that I could do. And so I have four really huge goals and that's something else. I think goal setting should be about creating big, hairy, assed, audacious, challenging, impossible goals.
Marcus Cauchi: So my first goal is to take eight companies in the 10 to 50 million range to a billion dollars revenue. Make them profitable, build them on strong fundamentals without taking investment or going into debt and turn them into destination employers. So eight companies over eight years, I want to transform the way marketing is done and get it away from this data monkey stuff that just doesn't work.
Marcus Cauchi: I mean, you look at the 4.8 quadrillion adverts are inflicted on you and I, every year that get one click or none. Uh, you look at the ineffectiveness of email marketing. You look at the ineffectiveness of telemarketing. So I wanna break the back of that and drive effectiveness and efficiency and relevance into that.
Marcus Cauchi: I wanna break the back of the investment community. I think most investors are nothing better than speculators and gamblers and shysters. And the minute they come into a company, most of them taint and poison. The culture and they move them away from being obsessed about the customer, to being obsessed about new logo, acquisition growth and an exit.
Marcus Cauchi: And that short term thinking creates short-term results and long term unintended consequences. Whereas long-term thinking long-term behavior and deliver short term results, medium term results and long-term results. And that's all about being collaborative. And I think our future success will be determined by our ability to collaborate internally with the customer, with our partners and with our competitors.
Marcus Cauchi: And then the fourth is to turn sales into a force for good. It's a genuinely noble profession when executed well, it's a horrifying taint on humanity when it isn't then the fifth one, which is make our clients the dominant force in the global market. Um, helping them to grow. But to do so ethically with the customer at the heart being destination employers, where people are pewing up to join them. And where the brightest minds want to work because they have genuine purpose and the it's fit for purpose.
Marcus Cauchi: Now, those five things mean that Monday cannot come around fast enough and Friday happens too fast every single week.
Andrea Petrone: Love it. I love it. Just love it. What you just shared. That's really purpose. And then it's great because actually you, you break down the purpose into specific, specific goal. And I think one thing that you mentioned, Marcus, I love it is the fact that you mentioned my impossible goals.
Andrea Petrone: I always say that's actually something that, looking back to my, when I was li younger. I think at that time when I was my 20, my early thirties, maybe I was playing safe as well. When it comes to setting goals, I was probably thinking about good goals, but not too big goals. Cause I thought, well, that is gonna be difficult for me.
Andrea Petrone: And that wasn't limiting belief that I created myself. Now for me as change completely. That's what I do as well, fine. It's actually the first thing to do once you have a great purpose is affecting big goals. You know, goals that you, they have to be big because if they're big, they're gonna force you actually a lot of inspiration, motivation, energy, passion, great resilience, actually, to get to, to the goal you have to reach big goals.
Andrea Petrone: Organization is what sometimes pay to say.
Marcus Cauchi: And the other thing it does I've noticed is it attracts other people.
Andrea Petrone: Yes.
Sales: A force for good
Marcus Cauchi: None of that is possible with me on my own. You know, we're building a global community called Sales: A force for good. The companies that I'm working with are all driving towards, um, those objectives of serving the customer.
Marcus Cauchi: Uh, we're becoming so customer obsessed and hyper collaborative, and we're constantly challenging ourselves. And the idea is starting to really flow. What I'm looking for at the moment is, uh, an investment fund that buys into that vision and is willing to take the risk because I'm convinced on the basis that I've worked with hundreds of companies over the years.
Marcus Cauchi: And I've yet to find one where I cannot find 400% growth within the first couple of hours. It's there, it's latent within the business and they're struggling with 10 or 12%. So I wanna work with a fund that will let us play with their entire portfolio and help them raise the bar so that 50, 70, 80% of them reach IPO trade sale or exit, and everybody wins. The investors, walk out with a massive cash pile.
Marcus Cauchi: The fund managers walk out being the heroes of the marketplace and all those companies provide employment, sustainable employment. It's just beautiful, but what's really fascinating is the number of people who buying into the vision with me. And I'm so excited about it, I'm very grateful for it as well. Cuz I'm learning so much from them.
You have a golden ticket and you can go back and advise the idiot Andrea aged 23. What one bit of advice would you give him?
Marcus Cauchi: Look, uh, Andrea, sadly, we've come to the top of the hour. Tell me this. You have a golden ticket and you can go back and advise the idiot Andrea aged 23. What one bit of advice would you give him?
Andrea Petrone: Well, what I think the thing I just said probably, you know, two minutes ago is really dream big, dream big and think about big cause we can all make it.
Andrea Petrone: So that's one thing. The second thing I think is believe more in your shots. Cause you know, we nowadays I've seen so many people losing that confidence on themselves and the situation is not healthy, honestly, you know, we have to face it truth. But we need to believe in ourself and stop really having these terrible, bad thoughts in our mind.
Andrea Petrone: Cause there becomes unfortunately belief. So in the limiting belief that it become perception becomes then become habit. Unfortunately. So there is all this vi- vicious cycle that has to be broken. So my suggest is really that is believe more yourself because we can do it with the right sport, with the right skills, etcetera.
Specialist Vs Generalist
Andrea Petrone: And finally, from a moral, let's say technical technical perspective. One my experience, I probably, I would like to share with the, with the audience is learn to become more generalist because when I was younger,
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Andrea Petrone: I thought that this especially was probably the key to be the career, to, to be the journey, to become a leader.
Andrea Petrone: And I'm so glad in my 30s I stopped the idea of being specialist and become more generalist. So, you know, I changed roles. I became a director of sales and marketing for many years and I never worked in chase, you know, in the early my career. But. I tested myself. I try many different things, different industry, different roles.
Andrea Petrone: And honestly, right now, I can't say how good was that for, for my career, for my development. And I, I, I believe the specialism is not a future. Generalism is the future to be a, be, to be a great leader.
Marcus Cauchi: I agree. I think in fact, uh, David Epstein's book Range is a fabulous book.
Andrea Petrone: Yes.
Marcus Cauchi: But as a business, I think you need to hyper specialize, but as a leader, you need to generalize and you need to build a diverse team of experts in different fields.
Marcus Cauchi: But as a leader, if you wanna lead, I've worked in 500 different market segments over the last 20 years. And I'm able to draw on the experience I had with a matchmaking firm, which basically head hunting. Uh, we took them from an average order value of 1200 pounds to 36,000 pounds in four weeks. We cut their sales cycle down from three months to two weeks. And drawing on that experience, applying that in recruitment, applying what I've learned in recruitment in IT, the stuff I've learned in IT in Defense and so on.
Marcus Cauchi: And with that breadth of experience, you can connect the dots. It's a, a skill called ideation, but it's a particularly powerful and useful resource for leaders. Because if you can join the dots, then you can also ask the question who. Who knows how to do this? Where else have they done this and who is the person best place to help us? Uh, and take advice from different industries.
Marcus Cauchi: Don't just stick with people from your own industry and in recruitment. Pal of mine Patrick Lundquist was running a project to revitalize, uh, transport in Sweden. And he hired a team of 10 people none of whom had ever worked in transport. Every one of them was a user of transport
Andrea Petrone: Mmm-hmm.
Marcus Cauchi: And they told him he was mad, but he actually managed to achieve overachieve against all the goals and objectives.
What books would you recommend people, uh, read in order to improve their leadership capacity or to build their apprenticeship in the leadership?
Marcus Cauchi: What books would you recommend people, uh, read in order to improve their leadership capacity or to build their apprenticeship in the leadership?
Andrea Petrone: Yeah. I'm so glad you asked this question. Cause I read I'm on a mission actually to read one book a week and that so far I've been on schedule, which is challenging when, you know, in your daily little work.
Andrea Petrone: But yes. So for me, I think the number one book actually is a book that I know. I don't only suggest, uh, when I work with people at the individual level. I essentially asked them to buy before actually we start working together. So it's really the Atomic Habit from James Clear and that's, it has been a best selling books, but because he has been able to, to practically define how to build very high performing habits or how to break bad habit.
Andrea Petrone: And honestly, habit is everything Marcus. Cause, you know, having the great habit, it's the best way to be your performance as a, as a leader, as an individual, not just as a leader. So habit is important. The Atomic Habit is number one, probably number two is actually Art of Impossible by Steven Kotler. And that is a book I recommend to everyone because it's amazing to reach sustainable peak performance, in business, in life, in sport.
Andrea Petrone: Cause I work in high performance and he embraced neuro. He is a neuroscientist. So I'm a neuroscience coach too. So for me, neuroscience. Yes the future, but also is the present how applied science in developing leaders. So these are the number two, and then I, all the Patrick Lencioni books are just -
Marcus Cauchi: Absolutely. Anything by Patrick Lencioni is a must read.
Andrea Petrone: Exactly.
Marcus Cauchi: And Steven Kotler also wrote, uh, wrote a fabulous book called The Rise of Superman.
Andrea Petrone: Superman. Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: Which is fantastic. Excellent.
How can people get a hold of you, Andrea?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. So how can people get a hold of you, Andrea? Yeah, many ways.
Andrea Petrone: So I think the easiest is certainly my website. So andreapetrone.com. So that's where there is, you know, a little bit more about me, what I do, my, my services to organizations and to individuals, and then certain LinkedIn, LinkedIn, I'm very active.
Andrea Petrone: We met Marcus at LinkedIn. LinkedIn is what I spend most of my time, commenting with others and engage with post. And then of course I'm, you can find me on Twitter that that's also my, my good platform. Then Clubhouse, but I dunno many if many people are using Clubhouse, but I'm, I'm quite active on Clubhouse, but these are the, let's say the main thing of course email if they want to in andreapatrone.com
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Andrea Petrone. Thank you.
Andrea Petrone: Thank you so much Marcus it's been great.
Marcus Cauchi: So this is Marcus Cauchi signing off once again from The Inquisitor Podcast. If you found this insightful, useful, challenging, then please like, comment, share, and subscribe. And please share it with somebody who is a leader or an aspiring leader who would benefit from the ideas contained in this conversation.
Marcus Cauchi: In the meantime, stay safe and happy selling. And if you wanna get a hold of me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message me on LinkedIn. Stay safe. Bye-bye.