Home  B.Log

Kokoda – 4 Powerful Lessons in Leadership

I have just survived walking the tough Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea with my son Zac.

In amongst the mud, jungle, rain and constantly wet feet – there were some magic Leadership learning experiences.

Why were the lessons in walking Kokoda powerful?

Here’s 4 powerful leadership lessons based on 4 values that clearly articulate the ANZAC spirit in warfare.

Each value a powerful and relevant lesson even in today’s society.

1. Courage – Having the guts to think differently. Even the untrained Aussies that faced the highly trained Japanese essentially stopped the raiders onslaught due to their courage and ability to fight against the odds. Today’s business needs the same courage. Courage to think differently. Courage to take risks. Courage to take people into unknown territory.

2. Endurance – Being there for the long haul. The 39th Battalion were outnumbered at times 6 to 1. They could have given up earlier in the battle but they passionately believed that hanging in there to get the job done was the only way. It took them nearly 9 months – but they stuck to the task of defeating the Japanese. In business, there is strength to be gained if we have an attitude of overcoming. As a leader, do we remind our people the reason why we appreciate their contribution and loyalty. 

3. Sacrifice – It was the heroes of Kokoda, like Sam Templeton or Bruce Kingsbury that inspired the often tired and despondent soldiers. Those that put their own lives on the line. How powerful would that be if workers in your business could turn their behaviours from self-serving into other-serving. In fact, the real function of a leader is ‘to serve others’

4. Mateship – Without mateship so many more Aussies would have died at Kokoda. There was a fearless mateship that ensured soldiers were always looking after each other. This in fact is the common factor in high performing teams – those in which collaboration becomes the glue that powers teams to success. Mateship is also about being honest with each other – no BS!

Imagine if you could instil these 4 basic but powerful values into your workplace.

Values can be a very powerful way to build strong fibre in any team. It starts with a discussion.

I challenge you as a leader to start a discussion with your team about business values. What do they mean to your team? What are the acceptable or unacceptable behaviours?

Bookings Open – Leadership NOW August 2018

Experience Popular Leadership NOW program

Cape Liptrap on 29-31 August 2018

This 3-day experiential program brings the leadership talk to real life. It gives you the opportunity to experience, observe and reflect upon what works and what does not work for you. The leadership mirror does not lie!

Leadership NOW combines outdoor and indoor team experiences with “classroom” activities and feedback.

Be prepared to be challenged to work better as a leader as as a team member, be open to new perspectives. It is all about engaging better to be more effective, particularly when needing smart solutions to difficult situations, facing crisis situations, or dealing with “prickly” customers or peers or other stakeholders.

See/download the brochure here Leadership NOW Cape Liptrap August 2018


We welcome groups!

The open format of Leadership NOW works well for small teams. A Workshop bringing together leaders from other organisations, without any of the pressure and “baggage” of your current organisation, can be very liberating and effective.

It can also give you a first-hand experience of the power of the program before giving a group the opportunity to engage better through this program.

If your team is large and/or needs to work on specific challenges during an intensive leadership and teamwork experience, talk to us about a customised program built on the same principles as the open Leadership NOW program

Our Participants Feedback Tells The Story

Program participants tell us that he program delivers benefits at different levels. That of course reflects their own context and where they are at along their own leadership journey

I feel so much more equipped today than I did 3 days ago. I feel confident that I can go forward and do what I need to do” (Richard)

(The program) has been like a concentrated, accelerated experience of situations which otherwise you would come across in a business way but here it happens in a safe way” (Françoise)

We are just going to be better off for it, our people will be better off for it and our businesses will be better off for it and I know it will be measurable. (Heiner)


“We Want Brownie”

What drives your leadership? Character or compliance?

Rohan Brown loved his teaching and students. Know as “Brownie” to his students, he was an outstanding teacher and mentor at Trinity Grammar.

He was sacked.

His ‘crime’ – trimming a student’s hair without parental permission.

As Leaders we are often caught up in the great debate: “Should we driven by compliance or what our ‘gut’ says?

Brown breached a Code of Conduct. He was sacked.

This incident begs the question:
“How much should our leadership and decision making be driven by complying with the rules versus our character?”

The dilemma is that both can be right, however I believe one is a ‘management’ decision, the other ‘leadership’.

It’s such debates that we often visit on our Leadership NOW program.

“Brownie” seemed to be of good character and certainly of good standing in the school community. In fact looking at the protests, was well loved and respected.

We love a good debate, why not join us 23-25 May at Cape Liptrap!

By the way, “Brownie” was officially reinstated as of today.

Kokoda – Continuing to inspire a nation

Leeches, mud, hot & sweaty climbing in a relentless jungle. Care to join me?

Then, why am I doing it (I’m heading off tomorrow there with my son)?

Kokoda is rich with lessons in leadership.

Kokoda was the first time Australia had fought on its own soil (Papua New Guinea was a territory of Australia in WW2 – 1942). Against a far greater number of jungle trained Japanese, the cards were stacked again them.

These Aussie diggers displayed the power of values through their actions:

Sacrifice and

Stan Bisset was one of those diggers. He was a local to Black Rock near where I live. Him and his brother Harold were very close. You could say ‘joined at the hip’.

Through the miserable conditions of the New Guinea jungle with Japanese attacking at any time of the day and night, both showed courage at many times in defending their fellow mates. Their attitude always lifted the troops – often having them laughing at their gags.

Sadly Harold was shot and died in Stan’s arms. War can be horrible in its brutality, but it never ceases to amaze me how character is built through hardship.

Imagine your business where in tough times, staff were so engaged, they constantly were on the lookout for solutions to pull business through tough times.

Values driven leaders and business are a cut above the rest. They become highly productive and engaged workplaces.

The ‘bottom line’ tends to look after itself.

Measuring the current state of leadership & culture

To ensure Bridgeworks is up with the most current leadership and issue concerning culture, Bridgeworks recently created a survey of clients using the 6 questions below.

The results so far (measuring over 150 leaders) has been insightful.

Although the survey is not yet completed:

  1. Having a clear vision that is shared with staff?

  2. Regular 360 feedback given to your leaders?

  3. Active engagement of staff?  

  4. Focus on building & developing leaders?  

  5. Building a learning & innovative culture?  

  6. Building a workplace that is enjoyable to work in?

The poorest scoring question (marked /10) was questions 2. There seems to be a lack of regular 360 feedback given to leaders. The highest scoring question to date is “Having a clear vision that is shared with staff” although with some organisations this scored poorly.

Bridgeworks places a heavy influence on the need for leaders to regularly ‘look in the mirror’ and have a clear knowledge that they are connecting effectively within their business.

  • Are you building trust with your people?

  • Are you creating the work environment that is fully engaging your people?

  • Are you a leader, boss or ba@#$%ard?

And as the great Poet, Robbie Burns once said “Oh the gift that God would give us, to see ourselves as others see us”

Know first. Be first. Profit first.

Great leadership is being able to be predictive of future trends and patterns. The reason Bridgeworks has invited Craig Rispin from Future Trends Group to present at our next Leadership Breakfast on Friday 8th June at Crown in Melbourne

Craig Rispin is a Business Futurist, creative thinker and innovation expert.


His extensive expertise is in emerging and evolving business, people and technology trends and developments and how companies can make best use and profit from them.

As a futurist with more than twenty years’ experience, Craig assists many of the best and innovative companies where the future has been created in IT, electronics, internet and media industries amongst others.


Craig advises on the business, people and technology trends that are affecting and changing your business; he is able to articulate how your business and industry will be impacted so that you are able to plan to gain a strategic advantage and benefit in all parts of your business; people and profit.

As a celebrated speaker Craig has presented to audiences all over the world from 15 to 3000. He has addressed CEO’s, management and staff of prominent companies such as BHP Billiton, Canon, Colonial First State, IBM, Kimberly-Clark, Mallesons, NRMA, Sportscraft, Symantec, Toyota, the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and countless other businesses and associations


Cape Liptrap & Leadership NOW August 29-31

Recently Bridgeworks worked with entrepreneurs at a new venue in Cape Liptrap, Victoria. Due to the program’s great success, Bridgeworks Leadership NOW program will be run there again in August.

See the brochure LeadershipNOW Cape Liptrap



This wild part of the Victorian coastline has its own ocean beach and the venue is ‘off the grid’ generating its own power. It is a great location for a leadership experience combining indoor and outdoor activities.


Here are comments from some of the participants:

“The key learning for me was understanding myself as a leader by getting feedback from my team and realizing the way I see myself is quite different to the way my team sees me. This helps me tremendously to be able to understand what is really going on and therefore apply myself in a more powerful way and to get more out of myself and out of my team. You can’t do it all yourself”

“I think people undervalue the power of the relationship.” (Alan)

“The Bridgeworks program has been exceptional to me – I’ve never done anything like this in my life before.

“I think it is the most constructive thing I have ever done. The fact I have learned so much about myself and people in general. It may sound ridiculous but I feel so much more equipped today than I did 3 days ago. I feel confident that I can go forward and do what I need to do. I am quite amazed.” (Richard)

“My experience has been that where we as a the team or one of the team leader has made the commitment to make the investment to bring the team together and learn together about where our strengths and preferred orientations the results have been significantly better compared to where there has been no investment.” (Alan)

“(The program) has been like a concentrated, accelerated experience of situations which otherwise you would come across in a business way but here in a safe way but it has brought to the fore quickly lots of questions and behaviours and things that I know about myself.

It brings learning forward very fast.” (Francoise)

“Being here to learn to but also all the experience both from your program but also from the background and responses of each the people in the room is formidable. Each one of us takes back new learning on top of what we have brought here already. We are just going to be better off for it, our people will be better off for it and our businesses will be better off for it and I know it will be measurable.

Such a great journey into self-discovery.” (Heiner)

How To Make Optimism Your Leadership Weapon

Crown Melbourne, Friday 23rd March with author Victor Perton

7.15am-9am – River Room, Crown Palladium

Bill Gates was recently invited to edit an Issue of Time Magazine. He chose the topic “Optimism”.

Bill rates optimism as a critical factor in successful leadership. Are you optimistic in your leadership?Do you know how to instil this into those you influence?

“You could argue that our failure to focus on what’s getting better suggests that the media generally is missing an enormous story” Gates quoted.

Which day do you cover malaria deaths being cut in half? Which day do you cover workplace accidents down by a factor of 50 over the 50-year period?” It’s society doing what it’s supposed to do. People’s standards change.

Victor Perton shares Bill Gates’ passion of leading with Optimism. Victor is the author of “The Optimists Voice” – research captured from interviewing influential leaders in Australia and overseas.

He will present “How to make optimism your leadership weapon” over breakfast on March 23 at Crown in Melbourne.

Bring your team or valued clients. It will be a stimulating and fun morning.


You have managers. What you need are leaders.

Instructing at Outward Bound Australia & Minnesota many years ago was a highlight of my career.

The programs emphasized that leadership is about taking action rather than just being a good orator.

Bridgeworks’ Leadership NOW came out of that need to build people’s self-awareness in a practical, no-nonsense environment. It now has become a powerful tool to build leadership capacity and connection with people.

There are many who are competent at managing processes but struggle with being a leader who engages and allows the best to come out of others. Is that you?

What you may have are managers. What you need are leaders.

Do you want to have a bigger, positive impact on those around you?

Give us a call to discuss how Leadership NOW may be the best for your leadership growth.

Why We Get Back To Nature

You can see the stress oozing away. The frowns seem to dissolve too.

Considering that 50% of Bridgeworks’ programs are outdoors, nature needs to take a fair chunk of responsibility for the significant changes people experience on these journeys.

However, there could be science behind it.

We know that Nature has healing and restorative powers, but how does the healing actually happen?

First of all, nature provides a great stress relief by enabling you to remove yourself – both physically and mentally – from the things that cause you stress in the first place: office, family, relationships, etc.

And while being outdoors won’t make problems go away, it will help you relax and see the bigger picture. Being away from your everyday environment gives you a different perspective on things. Just looking at a problem from a different angle, helps you find a solution or at least an opportunity to come up with a different approach.

Nature is a great healer and absorber of negativity. To tap into its healing power all we need to do is tune-in and reconnect with where we once belonged.

Page 1 of 812345...>>>