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Great Work Interview with GM with Michael Bungay Stanier

posted 7 Jan 2011, 19:05 by Jess Maher   [ updated 10 Jan 2011, 00:17 ]


This was sent to me by Jan Mottram, HR Director of Vodafone Qatar who worked with my Dad, both in Vodafone NZ which Dad talks about in this interview and also worked with him years later again with Vodafone Qatar. From my memory, Jan has always been highly respected and valued by my Dad as as I went to university myself, I actually completed Human Resources as my business aspect of my degree (which I also focused on Information Management & International Business) and when I use to be able to have these conversations about life, business & purpose with my Dad so many times that I had the advantage of being able to do, when I personally was looking for a strong female role model in business who was struggling and succeeding with the things I was experiencing in my life as a woman, my Dad always suggested that Jan was in his opinion someone who had managed to handle these disadvantages I felt I was facing, but more than that, was using them to her advantage. The fact that this was sent to me by Jan without knowledge of these conversations with my Dad, the fact that he speaks so fondly of the Vodafone NZ context in this interview and the fact I experienced this "Bellsouth to VFNZ case" firsthand, even worked for Vodafone NZ in the call center at the time Dad went back to Vodafone Australia, the fact I stayed in NZ to live at that time and still do to this day, the fact that I had convinced my Dad of my business plans and worked with him to discover what I believe to be my own purpose and had heard him express his belief and pride in me striving for these things while he was alive- it all helps to make sure I continue to let and allow myself to do exactually what I and he thought I should and would do, which is exactly what he is talking about in this interview, continue to ask "why?" even when people don't think I should or can't either though, now he's gone, I can't call and hear his voice to remind me. This is an example of the kinds of things I am fortunate enough to have in my life, from my Dad, that continue to help me when I falter or stumble and just for a second sometimes, lose faith in myself at this time... 

Thank you to those whom continue to believe in me and support my vision, even if you don't completely see or believe it. I am now determined to ensure I continue to live my life focusing on the cool people doing cool things around me, which always seem to be aligned or integrated somehow into what I believe. I want to make sure if no one else, I am there to tell them I think they are doing awesome things, that they will have people who don't agree or approve in their lives as I have and we will continue to find along the way, but I think thats why at some point, all this movement, all this change that is stirring in the world right now will come together, I have a few ideas of my own about how and when and why etc but regardless, thats irrelevant right now. Like I say to my gorgeous, future husband, "dont worry about what I'm doing, I know I may seem crazy and insane sometimes and maybe I am- (hello did you not meet my dad?? he was insane!) but indulge me for a second, let me do my thing and you do yours. Cause I think you are an inspiration to me and have achieved amazing things and will continue to, and I need you to keep doing that so when I do work out how we pull it together the impact we can have will be epic. For now, its important to just believe in each other, in ourselves and be true and honest to what we think in our owm hearts is right. And people will think we are crazy or wrong at times, but if they give us the time of day, I will explain it to them and I trust they will understand. If they don't its their loss cause we will make big changes the world needs and we won't do it alone but we need to show the others who are not so brave, or who have been so well trained by our systems and structures in society that they don't realize it and they will not be able to understand. And for that you can't blame them, or listen to them too much - cause we need to keep faith and when it all happens, which we are so damn close to, they may one day see what we were trying to say and understand. And look, if I have got this soo far wrong that I'm wrong, and I'm not ruling it out cause everyone fucks up sometimes, well then in the worst case scenario, the people who we believe in and support will be there, they will respect us for trying and we will respect them for believing in us and letting us try, and if thats all we get and everyone else hates us, which I really really doubt, well then that still will be ok. So stop being so pessimistic and just enjoy the ride- I'll take the front role (then they can all call me crazy first, I don't care they already do anyway) and we'll see how it goes, a- for now, for GM if not for me, trust that the General Order of Destiny (god) committee which I'm pretty sure Dads reaking havoc on at the moment, will make sure we're ok and things are exactually as they should be right now."


My favorite quotes from this interview include these: 

  • "ITS ALL ABOUT ASKING "WHY?" HAVE THE COURAGE TO ASK WHY, WHEN THEY SAY "JUST BECAUSE", KEEP ASKING "WHY?" AND IF THEY CAN'T ANSWER YOU, SEND ME AN EMAIL CAUSE I WANT TO HELP YOU ASK WHY. IF THEY DON"T LISTEN AND YOU THINK ITS FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG, EXERCISE YOUR DEMOCRATIC RIGHT AND JUST LEAVE." 
  • "YOU HAVE TO TAKE A RISK. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT STOPS GREAT WORK HAPPENING IS WHEN YOU BECOME TOO SAFE, TOO CONSERVATIVE OR TOO CONCERNED ABOUT FITTING THE STATUS QUO."
  • "ITS WHAT FEELS RIGHT, IVE NEVER FOUND ANOTHER ANSWER- I MAKE THE BIGGEST DECISIONS ON MY LIFE BASED ON FEELINGS. IT FELT THE RIGHT THING TO DO."


Great Work Interview with Grahame Maher by Michael Bungay Stanier


http://www.greatworkinterviews.com/interviews/grahame-maher/


I’m Australian, and Australians seem to be wanderers.  Maybe it’s because we suffer from a “tyranny of distance” – which means that when we do travel, we don’t just do it for a week or two, we do it for years.  That’s why about 70% of bar staff in the UK are Aussies, with a similar percentage for ski instructors in Europe and Canada.

I’ve done my own share of living in different countries, but I’m put to shame by Grahame Maher, currently CEO of Vodafone Qatar.  In his time with the company he’s lead the Australian, New Zealand, Swedish, Czech and now Qatar organizations.

So he brings to this conversation a unique mix of loyalty to one company, but the perspective of living and working in many countries.  Even better, he is (in his own words) “a small business guy who never wanted to work for a big organization” and a baker by trade.  Intrigued?  You should be.

In this conversation, we look at:

  • The tactics he used to move the Vodafone brand in New Zealand from 2% recognition to 96%
  • The power of mission and values to drive Great Work
  • What happened when an engineer accidentally turned off the network for 600,000 people’s phones
  • How stories can carry the DNA of success (and why the right words matter)
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