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Building Bridges And High Performance

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Building bridges or burning bridges? What do you experience in your organisation?

Recently I had an MD on the phone in desperation.

I am running a $350million company and I can’t talk to my Production Director. It’s a dysfunctional relationship. We are about to embark on a $30 million expansion of production. I’m at a loss. Your name was referred to me.

How Dysfunctional Relationships Destroy Performance

This scenario is unfortunately a common occurrence. All too often, the fact is that key senior people and leaders have dysfunctional relationships.

Imagine what this does to aligning goals that impact your bottom line? There’s no alignment – only WAR!

So, why does the problem arise so often?

And most importantly, what do you do about it?

As a matter of fact, the problem starts with an exhibition of poor “EQ” or “Emotional Intelligence”. As you know, emotional intelligence is the intelligent use of emotions. “EQ” makes building bridges possible, but its absence leads to ‘lack of trust’. Yet as we know, trust is the glue that binds together a diverse group of people into a high performing, functional team.

The foundations of Trust are represented in one simple formula. From it, you can easily see the problem and what to do about it:

TRUST = (Competency x Reliability x Intimacy) / SELF

Thus, the more you focus on yourself (“SELF”), your own gain, your win and your ego, the less trust can grow in the relationship.

Conversely, the more you focus on the needs of others, the more likely it is that TRUST will develop, and both parties can find a WIN-WIN solution.

By the way, TRUST also flourishes when people deal with competent, reliable people. And “Intimacy” is more about the “CARE factor”. Now, let me ask you to think of actual situations and consider:

  • How much do you really care about the other person?
  • How much do you make an effort to understand their feelings, their situation?
  • To what extent do you take people “on the journey”?

How You Can Make Building Bridges Possible

To solve the MD’s crisis, Bridgeworks took the executives, including their executive leadership team, away for 3 days to a magnificent conference centre in the rainforest.

First we had gathered high quality data on how these leaders saw each other. From those insights, we pitched several challenges at the group. Because they did not feel exactly like their everyday business situation, these activities made it easy for everyone to participate. And they highlighted their dysfunctional behaviours and the resulting impact on the bottom line of the team challenge.

Looking In The Mirror

Indeed, for most people, such a powerful look in the leadership mirror demonstrates the lost opportunities to business due to poor behaviour (poor EQ).

Simultaneously, looking in the mirror highlights the massive opportunities when completely different people collaborate and respect each other’s differences.

Is Trust important to you? If so, what next?

Because team diversity is a fact of life, it makes good business sense to help teams work better together and build trust.

If you are interested in improving your ability to work with diversity and your ability to help your team improve trust, consider enrolling on our March LeadershipNOW program at Cape Liptrap on the wild Victorian coast. Open to leaders from diverse backgrounds, it is an ideal opportunity to see the power of the leadership mirror and of the bridge building process.

Places are limited.

Check the program here
And express your interest! CONTACT US

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Productive Leadership Or Not? Your Choice

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Good, productive leadership is hard to find.

Over the past month I have worked for businesses exhibiting completely different leadership styles – from poor to excellent.

There are key learnings from each scenario. For easy reference, allow me to label them as follows:

  1. “Mr Nice Guy”” leadership
  2. “The Iron Fist” leadership and
  3. “Leading with Humility”


Mr Nice Guy Leadership

“Mr Nice Guy” was very pleasant to deal with. In fact he was nice to everyone.

However, where was the discipline when people fell out of line; when standards were breached? What were the standards anyway? Who was keeping people accountable to those standards?

The result: high levels of team disengagement, bullying and silos between departments.

This business was like a ship that is moving, not sure what direction it was heading on any given day. In fact, we are not sure where the rudder is!! Going in circles was commonplace for this organisation.


Iron Fist Leadership

“Iron Fist leadership” is the opposite. In this business I am working with, there’s one person in charge and we all know who that is. Just don’t step out of line or suggest an idea that is better than his!

His leadership reminds me of a great book “The Flight of the Buffalo” by James Belasco & Ralph Stayer.

Kill the Alpha male bull and the herd are totally lost having been dependent on this type of dictatorial leader for such a long time.

The result: the ‘death’ of passion and engagement.


Leading with Humility

The final client I have worked with impressed me with his humility.

This was a family business, with the leader having a powerful passion for doing the best for his business. He often spoke about the pride in his workers. For him, his 250+ staff were all “family”.

“Like family, we have our differences, but somehow we are able to have open, honest discussions without getting offended and defensive. It encourages new ideas and innovation.”

Unlike our buffalo above, this leader was more about leading the geese, flying on the lift and encouragement of other geese.

Leaders who have enough humility to look in the leadership mirror tend to take employees with them on the journey to excellence and highly performing teams.

When working with their leadership, I was impressed by their gratitude and passion they showed for learning more about and growing their EQ (Emotional Intelligence). Impressive when most of them were engineers and technical people!

They were definitely a “Professional Team” rather than simply a “Team of Professionals”

Richard Branson learnt some lessons early in life about the power of “looking in the mirror”

“When I was a kid, I had a tendency to criticise. But when I did, my mum would whisk me off to the bathroom to stand in front of a mirror, ten minutes, never less, to think about how criticism is a poor reflection on the one who criticises.” – Richard Branson


Is Your Leadership As Productive As It Could Be?

Are you seeking highly effective feedback about your leadership?

Not just from your staff but from peer leaders, and in a very constructive context, free from the constraints of your everyday work.

Put your leadership style to the test!

Join a small group of professional people in leadership roles who want to explore alternative ways of optimising team effectiveness by the way they lead under pressure.

The intensive workshop is designed for its specific participants around a highly practical process. This  means you will be exposed to real scenarios (most outdoors) that will set strong directions for powerful leadership back in your workplace.

Watch some participants comments

LeadershipNOW is set in the spectacular Cape Liptrap on the East Coast a couple of hours from Melbourne. This unique location is ideal for a total leadership experience  combining outdoor activity and indoors work in a small group 

Places are limited, but still available on our March program in 2019.

Express your interest or book early.

Not available in March? Join the wait-list now.

Call Wayne on 0402 300999 or by email here.

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The Challenge Of Having To Rebuild Unity And Trust

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Most business leaders face the challenge of managing tough transitions at some stage. Like having to rebuild unity and trust within their organisation. The Canberra dramas that played out under the media spotlight are a reminder of the risk that any organisation faces.
We can all draw lessons from the recent political events and their aftermath.

Key Learnings From Recent Political Events

ScoMo has his work cut out for himself!
The two key ingredients that boost a team’s impact in any organisation are Unity and Trust. These are the 2 mountains that ScoMo needs to climb. His end goal is winning an election. A goal that requires him to make the government and the party functional again, and credible with the Australian voters. He does not have much time to press the restart button and rebuild unity and trust. Survival is at stake!

Symptoms Of Lack of Unity and Trust

Many leaders face tough internal contexts for one reason or another. Even healthy businesses can suddenly have to recover from some significant disruptive event, like a merger, acquisition or a restructure … And still win a raging battle in the market place.

If we look into the mirror and observe our organisation as an unbiased outsider would, what do we see?

  • Do you see passionate people doing everything possible to make the business number 1 and to achieve your vision?
  • Is it happening fast and smoothly?

OR is the picture less rosy?

  • Are you sensing passive resistance to your plans?
  • Do you get apparent approval but no real commitment to making things happen?
  • Are communication silos breaking down your efforts at building effectiveness?
  • Does your team environment look like a WAR ZONE with factions, and manoeuvring behind closed door?

Be Aware Of The Risks

An early diagnostic can prevent long term or irreparable damage. Consider these six possible consequences of not acting promptly to rebuild unity and trust:

  1. Does that internal conflict affect customer satisfaction with your product or service?
  2. Does it undermine your credibility with your ideal customers and/or your business partners?
  3. How much advantage are you giving away to your competitors who watch your team disintegrate from business strength
    to weakness?
  4. Are you missing out on profitable business?
  5. How much energy is your team wasting on fighting itself instead of your competition?
  6. Are you losing good, invaluable, people out of their frustration with the lack of unity?
  7. Are you losing their trust in your ability as a leader? In your organisation’s ability to thrive, and help them thrive?
  8. Are you wasting your own energy putting out spot fires all the time? Worse, are you fighting an increasingly out of control fire about to destroy you and your dreams?

Rebuild Unity And Trust NOW

Brand harmony, consistency and unity is essential to the success of any brand. It only happens when the team behind the brand acts as one and as smoothly as a well-oiled machine. It is a critical characteristic of any high performing team, wherever it operates, in government or business.

When the unity and trust break, it is impossible to achieve goals. Additionally the organisation, and its people find themselves spiralling backwards very fast.

Rebuilding can be a long and winding road! The power in the hands of any leader, whether it be in politics, a corporation, SME or the local football club, is the ability to build unity: A common sense of purpose and direction.

How good are you at engaging and uniting your people?
You maybe their manager, but would they vote for you as their leader?

When was the last time you looked in the leadership mirror anyway?

Turn-Around With Real Life Feedback

Recently I ran into a long term client of mine and he often reflects on how he once was an arrogant, ego driven boss. When the Bridgeworks feedback confirmed that, he was left with a choice; continue to work long hours making up for the “incompetence of others”? Or start engaging those around him, valuing their contribution, uniting them as a team and rebuilding trust lost from his lack of self awareness.

Fortunately he took the latter option and now is bearing the fruit of coaching and mentoring others.

Time To Act And Rebuild

You are a leader, so you are keen to lead your business out of crisis mode and to optimise results. So TALK TO US about first reviewing your leadership effectiveness with our Interpersonal Flexibility measures.

My clients say that it is a great start to building a winning team.

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10 Truths About Leadership

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Leadership can be so complex. Occasionally I come across people who are able to distil leadership back to the raw truth.


Authors and prolific leadership educators, Barry Posner and James Kouzes, spent 30 years pouring over their research data from over a million respondents to discover what has been consistently true about leadership over the years.

These truths are accessible to all of us…. as long as we are willing to take action and take responsibility.

The 10 truths about leadership:


1.  You believe in yourself. It all starts with the fundamental belief that you can make a difference and you will have a positive impact on others.


2. You have credibility. Your people have to believe in you, too. If people don’t believe in you, they won’t willingly follow you.


3. Your values drive commitment. Your people want to know what you stand for and believe in, and that your values align with theirs.


4. You have vision. Focusing on the future and having a long-term perspective sets leaders apart. You imagine and articulate exciting possibilities for your followers.


5. You know you can’t do it alone. Being surrounded with support and talent, and engaging the team in pursuing the cause sets you apart. While that sounds obvious enough, the difference in the research is that great leaders are obsessed with what is best for others, not what is best for themselves.


6. You give trust before you get trust. If you have to rely on a team, trust is the social glue that holds the team together. And the level of trust your people have in you will determine the amount of influence you have. The key? Earn their trust before they’ll be willing to trust you.


7. You welcome challenges. Great accomplishments don’t happen when you keep things the same. Change involves challenge, and challenge tests you. Great leaders step up to the challenge, and come face-to-face with their level of commitment. A great challenge will reveal your grittiness and mindset about change.


8. You either lead by example or you don’t lead at all. Leaders have to keep their promises and become role models for the values and actions they espouse. You can’t ask others to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself. And, you admit mistakes and learn from them.


9. You are a great learner. You have to believe that you can become a better leader tomorrow than you are today. This takes constant improvement, practice, feedback, good coaching, and a willingness on your part to ask for support.


10. You are motivated by love. You love your employees, customers, and the mission you are serving. Since leadership is an affair of the heart, the best leaders have been shown to be motivated by the love that energizes them to give much to others. You just won’t work hard enough to become great if you aren’t doing what you love

Content courtesy James Kouses & Barry Posner

“The Truth About Leadership”

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How do you remain relevant? Important advice from a Futurist.

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At times I feel inadequate around my 4yo granddaughter. Especially when I pull my iPhone out. She just glides her way around the phone finding stuff I didn’t know existed!

OK, I just turned 60. Does that mean that I am like a rusty old sedan that has come to the end of the road?

Thank goodness to heroes like Craig Rispin of the Future Trends group. When I heard about his background as a futurist, consulting to BHP Billiton, Canon, IBM and Toyota – he had my attention.

His research is about studying future trends and translating this into constructive advice for us in business. Personally, I would rather be on the wave of change rather than chasing it. How about you?

Craig has generously accepted my offer to speak at the Leadership Breakfast at Crown on Friday, July 13th.

If you want to know what the future has in store for you, your business, your industry.

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Leadership – It’s not about techniques.

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Wayne, it’s just about being nice.
Wayne, it’s just about being reliable.
Wayne, it’s just about being straightforward.

This is advice I have received from well-meaning senior executives. Techniques to win people over. Strategies to better engage your team.


How about it’s just about being authentic? Being the real you. In my view, leadership is about being real, being clear about why you are in leadership and bringing a real sense of purpose to those you influence.

I am passionate about these leadership conversations.

Why not contribute to the leadership conversation and join us at Cape Liptrap?

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Kokoda – 4 Powerful Lessons in Leadership

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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?

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Bookings Open – Leadership NOW August 2018

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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)


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“We Want Brownie”

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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.

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Know first. Be first. Profit first.

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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


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