On Leadership

“In trying to be a good leader, I focus on three things:
1. What I am – and that includes my values, beliefs and character.
2. What I know – such as jobs, tasks and human nature. And it’s important here to also remember what I don’t know.
3. What I do – such as implementing, motivating and providing direction.”

On Leadership

“If you expect somebody else to do something, then you should be able to do it yourself. You need to be a good role model for your team. It is not good enough for them to hear from you what they are expected to do; they must also see it from you.”

On Leadership

“It is your team – not you – who determines whether you are successful. If your team does not trust you, or lacks confidence in you, then they will be uninspired and likely to not follow you.

To be successful, you have to convince your team, not yourself or your board, that you are worthy of being followed … If there is something wrong with your team the first place you need to look is yourself. People will duplicate what they see. They will emulate you.”

On Culture

“A culture has to be set out and explained. It’s no use being in my head. It needs to be public and it needs a program to hold it together. You can’t just let a culture grow organically. It can’t just happen. You’ve got to make it happen and you have to carry it on every single day and the way that you do that is through your leaders.”

On Culture

“When I walk around this building and I hear the words ‘because we have always done it that way’, it drives me insane. What that tells me is that we are not thinking about what we are doing, we are just doing it because someone has told us to do it. We are not challenging the status quo; not even wondering whether there is a better way to do things.’’

On Motivation

“If you aren’t passionate about working here, then don’t. If someone is miserable then they are going to make their team miserable and that means they’ll make our customers miserable.

Life’s too short, and it’s just not worth it. I say go and find something that you love, that you have a passion for, and something that you really, really want to do. I want people to really, really want to be here.”

On Culture

“There are two reasons why people don’t do things: one is skill and the other is will. Skilling an employee is my job, and the organisation’s job. We have to be able to teach someone how to do something. That’s very different to will – and there’s not a thing I will ever be able to do about someone’s will. Our average entry age is 22. That means for 22 years, someone has been indoctrinated. I’m not going to change much there in three years, so I need to find out, before employing them, whether they are prepared to learn.”

On Customers

“Customers want service. Irrespective of age, they go shopping looking for both value and service. The modern day customer is more educated too, particularly in the telco and technology areas, and that means they will do a whole lot of research before they even make a purchase. It also means that they know when someone is not being honest with them – and, trust me, they can spot someone giving them a bit of bullshit a mile away.’’

On Taking Advice

“Experts bring a perspective or a knowledge you don’t have, and it’s common sense that, after a point, the business can only grow with their help. It took me a while to learn that, and I wish it hadn’t. And once they are part of your team, you need to use them and not jump in, at the first opportunity, and take over if they stumble. That doesn’t help you and it doesn’t help them. If you’ve got an expert, you need to take their advice.”

On Strategy

“Having a strategy is important – but the execution of it actually rates higher. You can have the best strategy in the world, but if you don’t execute it, it’s worthless.’’

On Communication

“My advice is that if you think you’ve communicated something well, go and communicate it again. You cannot over-communicate. People need to know why they are doing something, what the strategy is behind it, what their role in it is, and what happens if they don’t do it.’ I really struggle with the notion that some business leaders hide so much from their teams. You are all in it, and someone down the chain can hamper progress if they don’t understand the mission, and its goals.’’

On Work-Life Balance

“It’s about trying to create that work-family balance. And it is hard in retail, it’s a seven-day trading organisation that we have here. There are days when they are working weekends, so we try to give a little back. Successful organisations care about their employees and keep them being productive in the business. It isn’t about running a commune either. You don’t say, ‘oh they have been here 25 years, let’s just leave them alone’.”

On Work-Life Balance

“I sometimes wonder what the culture would be like if I didn’t have children. Children mellow you and it’s made me appreciate just what women go through. I have been lucky, because I got to design my own little crèche in my office whereas not every female gets that opportunity and yeah, I had a son that became a 7am drop off and a 6pm pick up on most days. And does that make me feel guilty? Yes it does! Women can’t help but feel guilty. So when anyone comes in here, and says ‘My child fell over at school’, my instant reaction is, ‘What are you doing here? Go to them’. Because they will always remember you weren’t there. I won’t remember that you weren’t here.”

On Negotiation

“Play the ball not the man. And be respectful, because people are just doing their jobs. Their job is to do the best thing for their company and your job is to do the best thing for your business. You forget, when you are younger, that there often is a war to win as well as a few battles along the way. Don’t burn your bridges because, trust me, you will need to go back over them and I think that is relevant whether it is in your business or in your personal life.”

On Negotiation

“First of all, you need to know your drop dead position. What will you give away and at what point do you say ‘I’m done’? Secondly, you need to ensure some flexibility in your position. Thirdly, you have to make sure you leave those negotiations with the respect of each other and the ability to continue working with each other.’’

On Measuring Performance

“What gets measured, monitored and rewarded gets done. Everybody in this business gets measured and monitored like you wouldn’t believe. When I have interviews with people, I say look we polarise people, you either love working for us or you hate it. There is nowhere to hide in this business. I can call up a store in Western Australia and I can see what a sales consultant is doing. I can see how many customers they have served, what their average transaction was and what they sold them.’’