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Thank you to the 1,400 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading

7 Questions with Pete Madsen

helps you in your leadership.



Jonno White

7 Questions with Pete Madsen

Name: Pete Madsen

Current title: Partner

Current organisation: Ignition Source

Until recently, Pete Madsen was the Advisory Partner at Bentleys SA, having established this practice in 2018 to complement the service offerings of the Firm, now celebrating its 40 year anniversary. Pete’s practice was a finalist for Business Advisory Firm of the Year at this year’s Australian Accounting Awards.
Pete gained his experience from a diverse range of industries including, but not limited to:
• Defence and Engineering (Inaugural Head of Project Management and then inaugural Director, Project Management and Business Improvement on the Australian Executive Board)
• Professional Services (Project Services Director, PwC)
• IT (Head Project Management Instructor, Lead Solution Centre Team Manager and Asia-Pacific Transition Manager)
• Civil Construction (General Manager, Corporate Services) He is a graduate member and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is a former Board Director and Secretary of the Defence Teaming Centre, Vice President of the MS Society SA/NT and Deputy Chair of Kudos services. Pete is also a past President of the Board of scosa (Spastic Centres of SA) and previous Board Director of Netball SA.

7 Questions with Pete Madsen


1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?

Alignment of people such that the "definition of success" is the same for all, rather than individuals focusing on what's best for them, rather than best for organisation.

2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I basically focused on undertaking the job at hand to the best of my ability and, in so doing, freely assisted people while taking accountability. Consequently, opportunities arose and I never shied away from accepting these.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I always go to the gym starting somewhere between 5.30am and 6 am. I then briefly check overnight emails or anything urgent, then have breakfast with my wife. May work day usually starts about 8am and each day varies, but that week has been planned in detail at the end of the following week.
I normally finish work formally between 6 and 7pm but do keep my phone and emails on, for clients. The dog is then walked, my wife and I prepare and have dinner together, then I spend only an hour or so of relaxation as I am in bed asleep by 9.30am - sleep and rest are essential for me

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

Face to face first - many problems, issues, decisions and directions are best resolved being in the same room. COVID-19 taught us that Zoom has a place but nothing replaces face-to-face.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

No one book but multitudes of books. Books to me are like role models; there is no one role model, or book, that singularly makes an impact.
And on role models, I take the best aspects from many people to form a "virtual role model" - I learnt early on that relying on an individual role model will let you down because people are fallible.

6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?

Plan carefully, with a flexible mindset knowing that the best plans are invariably modified on the journey. The plan will have foundational elements, together with quick wins to demonstrate progress and, importantly, gain advocates. Identifying and developing advocates are essential to building leadership capability - you cannot do this on your own, and advocates enlist other advocates building a bow wave of momentum.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?

A peer once said to me " get up early, take a good long look in the mirror and laugh at what you see" - this reminds me constantly to not take myself too seriously.

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