Welcome to episode #156 of Explode Your Expert Biz Show, brought to you by http://gtex.org.uk/,
I am your host, Simone Vincenzi, The Experts Strategist, and this is the podcast for experts who want to become the ultimate authority in their niche while making an impact in the world.
Today I have the pleasure to Interview Chris Roebuck
Chris Roebuck is a British economist and Visiting Professor of Transformational Leadership at Cass Business School in London. He has held senior roles at UBS, HSBC, KPMG and London Underground and has advised major global organisations at Board Level on leadership and improving performance. As Global Head of Leadership at UBS, his work helped the bank to win Best Company for Leaders in Europe 2005 and several Excellence Awards, next to boosting performance and profits.
Chris has been featured regularly on BBC News, CNN, CNBC, The New York Times, Forbes and many.
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– Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome, welcome, welcome, thank you for watching. If you are watching the replay, make sure that you type #replay so that I know you are watching. Today, I’m here with one and the one and only Chris Roebuck, which is an expert, a global expert on leadership and the author of Lead to Succeed. Incredible, incredible book you’re going to be talking about that soon. So Chris, a quick question about leadership, you have been, for how long have you been teaching leadership right now?
– I’ve been teaching leadership for a long time. But it’s not only teaching leadership, it’s actually being a leader. So over my career, I’ve been a leader in the military, in the business world, and in the public sector. So what I find fascinating about where I’ve been is that it doesn’t matter where you are, if you want to make yourself successful your team successful, and your organisation successful, there are certain things that make it happen.
– And what, how, what got you passionate, what made you passionate about leadership? You could’ve done it in any field?
– You could’ve done any job in the world.
– Why did you choose leadership?
– Well strangely, I started off being an accountant, and then moved on to.
– What, what, accountant, leadership?
– What’s in there?
– No, no exactly, so I started training to be an accountant, and had a moment of madness and went to join the Army. So that’s where I started understanding what leadership was really about.
– So you restarted, you got bored about numbers, and you said let me do something more active. ‘Cause you don’t find many accountants that would join the Army, that’s a big stereotype.
– But I think the interesting thing is that there’s a structure to both. But the leadership thing was a journey where I discovered and it started in the Army, really finding out that if you get a group of people that genuinely want to work together to achieve stuff, actually they always achieve significantly more than they ever believed possible, and that’s the real power of leadership. And in our organisations now, there are thousands, tens of thousands, if not millions of people who have even more potential to give, but because their leaders aren’t able to give their best, they can’t give their best.
– I see, and I believe that leadership is so important in every aspect. I mean leadership is one of the skills which is applied whether you’re in business, you are not in business, you have a family, you care about your community. Let me say hi also to some of the people that joined. We have Jeted, hello Ellen, thank you for joining. Silvy, thank you. Hey Joffrey. Hey Luchia, Cioa Sambir. Thank you for joining here on the live, if you have any questions around leadership, please comment it below and then leave us a comment, so we can answer then your questions around leadership. The question that I have for you Chris, is about leadership misconceptions. And I think that in any topic or in any field or in any industry, there are some assumptions or some informations that we take for granted they are right, and actually it might not be they’re right.
– So what are some of these myths that you hear saying about leadership?
– The classic one for leadership is that it’s complicated and we don’t know how to do it, and therefore we have to go to business schools and do it. But I’m telling everybody who’s watching this that if you’ve had a job for more than two or three years, if you’ve had more than two or three bosses, you already know the answer to what great leadership is about. Because if they’ve had a boss, if you’ve had a boss that is actually a boss that’s inspired you, a boss that you’ve given 110% for, that boss made you give super performance. And that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about leadership models, it’s not about complication, it’s about what made you give super performance. And the weird thing is that I go around the world and I talk to people from all sorts of sexes, transport, construction, law firms, etc. in China, in India, in the Middle East, in the states, in the UK. And the funny thing is that what makes people deliver super performance is the same no matter where you go. It’s those really simple things that that best boss would’ve be giving you. Asking for your ideas showing they care about you. Just helping you develop your career, understanding you might make the odd genuine mistake, and things like just letting you get on with doing the job without interfering. And in all of those places, I ask that question, what did that best boss you ever had do, and over nine years, the answer has been always the same. And it is those simple things that that best boss you’ve had did for you. So if you want to be a great leader, just go and do those things. So the assumption that the issue is complicated, wrong. The assumption that you can’t do it because you don’t know the secret information, wrong. And what is really great about it is the assumption that it varies from job to job, sector to sector, wrong.
– Because there are so many things wrong, right?
– Yeah, so many things wrong.
– There are so many things wrong what are, so you mentioned some of the right, of the right things to do. You mentioned about thinking about the great boss that you had, and the fact that they were inspiring you to find that they’re asking you for ideas, that they were keeping you involved, they were communicating, they were understanding you. But, it looks easy to talk about it, but if someone is running an organisation or a company and there are a lot of challenges. Now, you are in a leadership position and you have problems that you’re dealing with on a daily basis, you imagine more people. It’s very stressful.
– It’s very stressful, and I think that what I found even running GTeX, I need to consciously remind myself in those situation of doing this small things, but they actually are big thing, but it looks small at a time because, alright, I don’t got time for that. I’ve got this crisis I need to solve. So, what advice would you give to these kind of leaders where, they’re dealing with problems all the time consistently, and for them, it’s easy to forget to do the small things.
– The most simple thing to do is to essentially remember that those little things that make a real difference actually don’t take long. So and I think about it, if you’re a boss, right, what annoys most people and probably annoys you who are watching this is bosses who interfere and don’t let you get on with it, right? So if you’re a boss, don’t interfere because what that means is, you’re not gonna have to take up your time interfering and annoying the other person.
– So you have more time.
– So you have more time. See this is, this is why it’s so simple. Example, the other example, asking people for ideas. Let’s be fair. Do you have any ideas, now that didn’t take long, did it? So all of this stuff about, this is really complicated, this really takes time, it’s not, it’s common sense, and it resonates with all of us. I think to sort of encapsulate it, for anybody watching this to be a good leader, you need to think about three key things. First of all, what I call firm foundation. And what that means is, has your organisation given you the basic skills around things like time management, prioritisation, delegation, and giving feedback? Now everybody says, why is that important? That’s important, very, very simply because, if you’ve been given a task by your boss, to manage that task right and keep it under control, you need those skills. If you don’t have those skills, you’re not gonna be in control of the task. And every time something goes slightly wrong, you’re gonna back, task, task, focus on the task, focus on the task. And everything thinks, oh, that’s important. I should focus on the task. But, if you focus on the task alone and forget the people, what do the people think? How many times have you said to your boss, I’ve got something important I’d like to talk to you about, can we have a chat? And the bosses say, no, I’m sorry, I’m too busy, can we do it tomorrow? And you go, okay, we’ll do it tomorrow. Then tomorrow, you go after the boss and you say, you know that thing I wanted to talk to you about, can we do that now? No, sorry, too busy. Do you ask a third time? No, you don’t. What is your opinion of your boss, not good. So, taking it in that sense, it’s that firm foundation gives you the time to focus on people as well as the task because the task is under control. Then, when you focus on the people, that gives you ability to get the best from them by doing those simple things, letting them get on with it, developing their career, asking for ideas, understanding they make mistakes, and all of those really powerful things that do make a difference. Example, showing you care. Example, saying how does what you do fit into the big picture? And people say, does it matter? Yes it does matter because the research shows that if you as a boss explain to your people how what they do fits into the big picture, versus a boss who can’t be bothered, that can get you 30% extra effort from your people. Then when you’re getting the best from your people, then the question is, section three, focus that onto what delivers success. Because we can all be working enthusiastically not doing the right stuff. As we know. So therefore, you need to focus that onto what delivers success. So if you’re further down the organisation, you have to say, does what I do align to the strategic objectives of the organisation? And that will be somewhere in your organisation strategy or plan. Is that important? I mean, the research would suggest that up to 25% of what’s happening in lower levels of organisations doesn’t actually contribute to what the organisation should be doing. It’s stuff, it’s stuff we don’t need to do.
– Why do we do it then?
– We do it because we’ve always done it and nobody tells us to stop doing it, so we just keep doing it. And what has to happen is, you just have to ask the question, look, I have these X things to do, which of these directly aligns to what we have to do as an organisation? What contributes to the service we give to our customers? And if it doesn’t, just stop doing it.
– Don’t do it. I want to say hi to Ildico, Monica, who else joined, Robert, Robert Stern, we have Nick Nicholson, Belinda, Deborah Mendins, Timothy, great to see you. Thank you very much for joining guys, I really appreciate it. If you have a questions, just make sure you pull up your questions in the comment below, because I have also one more question. Now I want to move away a bit from leadership, and I want to talk about what you’ve been able to do as a keynote speaker. Because in the speaking industry, becoming the keynote, and a paid keynote and doing it full-time for a number of years, one of the most difficult thing you can do in this industry, ’cause we all know that it’s very difficult to get paid speaking engagements. And there are way too many speakers for the number of the events that there are out there. And in particular, on a topic which is leadership, where to be honest you have a lot of other competitors, you have a lot of other speakers that they say, they claim to be the number-one leadership speaker in the world. So what was, and what is your secret? How do you differentiate, how were you able to get so much press, coverage, being on television all the time, and being consistent and relevant?
– The answer is, talking common sense. Because.
– Tell me more, I like that because you make everything look simple, alright tell me more.
– Because look, fundamentally, everybody out there knows that for some reason in organisations when we go into the organisation, we often take our brain out., and we spend time trying to make simple stuff complicated, okay? I try and reverse that. I try and make stuff that everybody else over there has made complicated back to being simple. And my view is that as a speaker, in the final analysis, you have to present stuff that A, resonates with people both emotionally and rationally so that there is a plan. So, this means something to me, it makes rational sense, and it’s also something that they can go and do something with. They have to be able to leave that room saying, actually not only have I remembered an interesting fact, but I can now go and make a difference. I can now go and do something I couldn’t do when I went into this room. And that’s just based on to some degree, you as a speaker doing good research, finding out what does make a difference in the real world, and then presenting that in a way that people understand. And it’s that simple, that’s why I call it common sense. You’ve gone out, it’s stuff that works from the real world, and you’ve expressed it in a simple way so people can use it. And actually, you talk about TV and you talk about articles and all the rest of it, but that’s fundamentally the same point. It’s fundamentally taking what people perceive as being complicated and making it simple so that the person who’s listening can really understand it and go away either with something they can do or if it’s a TV interview, a deeper understanding of something that they understood less about before.
– And it’s so powerful, making things simple as you said, is so powerful, because as a speaker, as communicators and trainers, this is what we need to do, is to take complex topics and then put them out in a way where people understand it and it’s easy for them to understand, it is easy for them to do something with it, to implement it, and it’s not just talking about a bunch of abstract theories. We had a very good conversation with a good friend, which is Professor Chris Imafidon, which is an advisor to the royal family. And he used to teach and still teaches MBAs all over the world. And it made a really good point. A lot of people in the academic board, they just love to make things so complicated, and with no practical application in the real world. And that’s why there are a lot of MBA students that spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on MBA and then they do nothing with it and it becomes very difficult, and I think that yes, it’s about the topic, but also it needs to be about the teacher. This, how do you get someone excited or to do something with a topic? Well, make it simple but also the way someone teaches a topic, that makes a huge difference in a way that the student perceives and applies the topic.
– Yeah, and you’ve got to work on the principle that there has to be a rational element and an emotional moment. The rational element is what makes sense, the rational element is the evidence, but there has to be an emotional element to it as well. In terms of the rational element, that has to be reasonably hard data. So if you’re saying to a group of people, I think that you should do this, or I think that this would change your lives or benefit you in some way, you have to have a figure. You can’t just say it’s going to.
– It might.
– It might. There has to be some form thinking.
– Give it a go and then in something.
– Yeah, precisely.
– What happened?
– So obviously, what’s going on up here is the conscious stuff and the subconscious stuff, and the emotional stuff and the rational stuff. And actually, the emotional elements of what’s going on up here are significantly more powerful than we think. And therefore, if you can harness that, or you can take a completely rational approach, which is okay, I’m here as a speaker, and I’m now gonna change your cost-benefit analysis. You think doing this produces this benefit, I’m gonna show, and it’s difficult, I’m gonna show you, it’s easy, and it produces this benefit. So the rational brain says ooh, that’s a good deal. But also, if you add on top of that, and actually you’re gonna feel so much better inside when that happens, then that adds the emotional power to it. In the end, it’s about the rational, but it’s also about building belief. Building belief in your audience that they can go and be better than they were when they arrived in that room.
– Yes, and therefore then they will take action, and they will also apply what they’ve done, or they will buy your product or your service. There are so many benefits from it.
– I wanted to say hi to Florina, Vin Chansel, oh Vin Chansel was watching from Italy, and Vin Chansel is actually one of my really good friend from Italy, we grew up together.
– And he set out to be an entrepreneur himself, and he’s building houses, what I remember, is building houses with using recyclable materials.
– That’s cool.
– And so it’s all about creating new buildings without any waste of resources. That’s what Vin Chansel does, Aslam, thank you very much for joining us, and Rebecca as well, hi, thank you for joining. And I have one last question for you
– Yeah, sure.
– before we wrap up. You wrote this great book, which is called Lead to Succeed, which is a book that I highly recommend. Guys, if you want a copy, make sure that you contact Chris directly, and then he will send you a copy. If you are lucky, you might also even get an autograph like that, but you need to be really lucky for that to happen. What is the biggest, the thing that you are the most proud of that you’ve written in this book?
– I think it’s that list. That after nine years of going around the world asking leaders what their best boss in their career did, and discovering a list of 12, 13 different things. And that that list of those simple day-to-day actions, some of which I’ve set out already, is the key to success as a leader in any job, in any culture, in any sector, in any place in the world, that is what I think is amazing. Because if anybody does those things, they will get the best from their people, and that will make them successful, the people successful, and the organisation successful. And out of the entire book, that list of what every single person in the world says their best boss did, and you as individuals will have experienced from your best boss, that is the most powerful secret that I speak about and that is in the book. And it’s proven to deliver success. And for those of you that are financially-based people, think about this. Not only does it produce individual success, but if applied in an organisation, it will deliver 60%, sorry, 30% effort from about 60% of people, which can put 10% on bottom line at no cost. There you go.
– Sign me up. Sign me up.
– There you go.
– So you need to a copy guys, I highly-recommend Lead to Succeed, Chris Roebuck. And you can see that there is his name, Chris’ name tagged at the top of the description, of the description of this Facebook Live or wherever you are watching this broadcasting. And, connecting with him directly and request a copy of the book, so then he can then personally as well, if you’re lucky, if you’re lucky, in my personal design, in my personal design. Chris, thank you very much.
– My pleasure, my pleasure.
– And, how can people get in touch with you if someone wants to reach out to you personally, what’s the best way?
– Easiest thing is Google me, website www.ChrisRoebuck.co, email me, firstname.lastname@example.org. No problem. You can go onto the website and there’s a button to press to get the book, and I will make sure one is sent to you directly.
– Fantastic, Chris, thank you very much.
– My pleasure.
– Guys, thank you very much for watching. And I wish you a fantastic, fantastic, fantastic rest of the week, and I’ll catch you for the next episode, ciao.