Winter, July 2014

The wrap up on Tough Love

With a CV that reads like the who’s who of IT and online media: a stint as CEO at Microsoft Australia and New Zealand, C-Level roles at ninemsn, Apple and IBM; it’s no wonder CPOs were furiously taking notes when Steve Vamos took to the stage at this year’s Asia-Pacific CPO Forum.

A Non-Executive Director at Telstra, Steve’s passion is appropriately about building leadership, culture and management capability attuned to the world we live in – not stuck in the industrial past. 

“Technology has opened up the available channels of knowledge and communication and effectively amplified our potential,” Steve told CPOs. 

“We are now in a position to connect and learn from an unlimited amount of people and sources.”

For those who weren’t lucky enough to make it to Sydney for the Forum this year, here are some of Steve’s pearls of wisdom: 

Harness the knowledge and creativity of your workforce: “There’s a need to act obsessively about the alignment of our people and business – we must pay attention to our stakeholders and the world changing around us.”

Get comfortable with giving ‘Tough Love’: Tough love is the ability to have difficult conversations and to make tough choices/decisions.

“It’s easy to say yes to doing things; it’s much harder to focus and say no to good ideas”. 

Micro-management is stifling: Empowerment within the workplace is key – leaders need to focus on creating an environment where people can do their best work and lead from any level in the organisation.  This means creating clarity of purpose and priorities and behaving consistent with expectations of everyone in the organization.

You need to really care about the people you manage: (One of our favorite Forum takeaways) “You’re a danger to humanity if you’re in management and don’t care about people!”

Self-awareness is underrated:  We need to do better in giving others corrective feedback on their performance. We need to change our mindset and always remember that it’s not simply a case of the company or manager being good and the underperforming employee being bad.

Think differently: The world has changed and with it comes significant implications. We need to think differently or this could spell doom for companies with established practices, as they will be the ones in danger of rejecting change.

“Don’t let your thinking fall out of step with the world around you.”

Request an invitation to the 8th Asia-Pacific CPO Forum in 2015 here.