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7 Questions on Leadership with Cameron McDonald

Name: Cameron McDonald

Title: Managing Partner

Organisation: Fuel Global Consulting

I'm a leadership trainer, speaker, and coach with over 20 years experience leading people across various organisations. I work with leaders to equip them to drive engagement, performance and sustainable growth by establishing values-driven leadership, strengths-based teams and healthy aligned cultures. I am obsessed with crafting engaging learning experiences that equip leaders and their teams to unshackle themselves to realise their highest level of personhood and performance.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Cameron's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

One of my greatest challenges recently has been to navigate the complexities of the post-covid world that has emerged in my industry. Leadership in times of change and uncertainty has no easy answers. Old ways of leading and responding don't cut it anymore, and therefore a new leadership approach is needed. The biggest challenge is to change some of my previous mindsets and approaches in order to embrace new ways of thinking and behaving in order to more adequately respond to the leadership scenarios I'm facing.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

This is such an interesting question! I'm not sure I could identify a singular moment where I became a leader as such, but I could identify pivotal events throughout my life so far which have shaped me to be the leader I am today.

I could tell you about my soccer coach who encouraged me to aim high and set high standards for my life when I was 12. I could tell you about my school year advisor who encouraged me as a 16 year old that I could make a difference in the world if I put my mind to it. I could tell you about the youth worker who encouraged me in my senior years of high school to dream big and to work hard for the benefit of others.

There are lots of other pivotal moments in my life that helped me discover my passion for leadership, but most of all, I believe my journey of becoming a leader has been most influenced by my Dad who taught me from an early age that serving people and living for a cause greater than yourself is the highest priority and the greatest privilege anyone can have. I have become a leader over the years as I have embraced this way of thinking and chosen to live a life that is congruent with those values.

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

The structure of my work days has changed a lot over the years. Given my current role, each day could be different, but currently, my day could generally look as follows:

5:15 am - Get up, drink some water, and go to the gym.

5:30 am - Gym

6:30 am - Get ready for work

7:15 am - Meditation/silence/solitude and reading

8 am - 12 pm - Deep work on key projects, content etc.

1 pm - 2 pm - Emails/admin

2 - 4 pm - Client Meetings, relationship building, etc.

4 - 5 pm - Complete outstanding tasks & plan the next day.

5 - 6 pm - Connect with my wife when she arrives home from work

6 - 7 pm - prepare and eat dinner

7 - 9 pm - relax, read, watch TV etc.

9 - 9:30 pm - Get ready for bed

9:30 pm - ZZZZZZZZ

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Those who desire to lead others must first learn to lead themselves. Credibility comes on the other side of the crucible.

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?

Only one!?!

My favourite one recently is probably Leadership On the Line by Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky.

This book is a fantastic book which outlines the principles of adaptive leadership in the process of leading in times of uncertainty, turbulence and change. An essential read for leaders in this day and age!

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

You are capable of so much more than you think when you set your mind to a goal and work hard towards it. There are two pains you can experience: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Pick your poison.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

I remember coaching a young student who had taken one of my public speaking classes. Over many years I developed the habit of encouraging the students and helping them to embrace their strengths instead of second guessing them.

I remember this one student had come into my class and I was almost like she was trying to prove to me (and to herself) that she was unable to achieve her goal and that nothing could change her mind. After 10 weeks of classes, It came time for her to speak to her peers in class.

She was so nervous and panicking when it came for her time to be assessed. She ended up delivering her speech and the whole class gave her a standing ovation because they were so impacted by what was said. She contacted me 5 years later and left a message for me saying that she was forever grateful that someone believed in her when she didn't believe in herself.

She told me that she confidently speaks in public as part of her profession now, and was so grateful for the opportunity to become confident in a safe environment. This was one of the most rewarding moments for me as a leadership and communication trainer.

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