Recently one of Australia's (and the worlds) most experienced resources industry executives Don Argus, announced his retirement as chairman of BHP Billiton.
Recently one of Australia’s (and the worlds) most experienced resources industry executives Don Argus, announced his retirement as chairman of BHP Billiton. In its March 2010, 10th anniversary special edition the Australian Financial Review’s “AFR Boss” magazine quoted from a speech given by Don Argus, to a Leadership Victoria dinner in November 2009.
The following are excerpts from the article.
Leading people can be hard work, full of tensions, trades-off’s, celebrations and disappointments. The most successful leaders that I’ve observed have a profound understanding of themselves, of the motivations of people around them and of the external challenges being faced by their enterprise.
However let me be a little proactive – for those with CEO aspirations or to be a leader of people, intellect and skill alone will not deliver your goal. In my 50 odd years in the business world, I have noticed that the people who were able to expand their enterprises were those who understood human nature and how to tap the best in people – they understood that the bottom line is ultimately the result of human endeavour.
Something else has surprised me over those 50 years; that corporate leaders who did understand the human side of their business, and who were most effective motivating and mobilising their people, were mostly operating by instinct.
Just like entrepreneurs they were operating from the profound intuition that profits follow principles.
The article continues to quote many real stories from Don’s long career as a business leader and ends with a terrific summary.
The skill to make things happen comes directly from blending two sides of the leaders personality; the tough, competitive side that demands winning performance and the love to win; and the softer, compassionate side that is caring and understanding of others.