Name: Clinton Woodhouse
Title: Managing Director
Oranisation: Risk for Purpose Pty Ltd
I am a proud father, a rugby fan, a financial markets enthusiast and now a new business owner. After 25 years working across various roles in the finance industry, I’ve recently decided to establish a risk management consultancy (www.riskforpurpose.com) at a time when many industries are turning their focus to risk. My career experience to date was founded in the Australian credit market, having worked as an institutional credit portfolio manager, credit strategist, credit trader, and more recently Head of Credit. Before founding 'Risk for Purpose', I transitioned across to operational risk, leading risk transformation initiatives as Head of Enterprise-wide Risk for Queensland Treasury Corporation.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Clinton's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Leading through times of change and uncertainty is a challenge. Very few people find comfort in uncertainty. Good leaders provide as much transparency and honesty as possible through uncertain times. They step-up, communicate, display empathy and professionalism. But there's no denying that leading through change and uncertain times is a challenge.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My leadership journey started outside the office. For the last ten years I've been raising my three beautiful children full time as a single Dad while holding down a full-time job. The first few years were really tough. My employer at the time displayed true support and afforded me the latitude to juggle a heavy load. When things got easier, I was given the opportunity to lead a small team. But the team was broken. The previous manager delegated menial tasks and provided no room for growth. This afforded me the opportunity to provide the team autonomy and back their ability to step-up. We bonded quickly as a team, and my leadership journey within a corporate environment was off and running.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Now that I'm running a small risk management business, my workdays are either dedicated to client work - building best-in-class enterprise risk frameworks - or a mix of business admin and business development. Every day is different!
The change from a corporate environment to running a small business couldn't be more extreme. It's a cliche to say that when you run your own business you're always "on", but it's true. All of my time is now spent invested in the things that truly matter to me - the business and my family.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
In one word 'accessibility'.
Risk for Purpose was engaged 6 months ago to build a risk framework for an Australian carbon abatement and renewable energy company. When I walked in the door on day one, I was really encouraged to see how accessible the executive management was.
The ability to be seen, to interact, to engage and to be 'accessible' goes a long way to creating a real team environment. Without this, organizations risk creating an "us and them" feel, which often stifles growth and hampers your leadership objectives.
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?
LEBRON, by Jeff Benedict.
I was gifted this book just a couple of weeks ago as a Christmas present. I'm currently two thirds of the way through the book. Disclaimer: I've never had a huge appreciation for basketball...I'm more of a rugby/cricket guy. But reading this book I've been impressed by how LeBron has surrounded himself with people at the top of their respective fields – Barack Obama, Michael Jordan, Jay-Z, Warren Buffet, etc. He’s used his celebrity to connect with these people, not just so he can leverage their connections, but so he can learn from them.
I've taken inspiration from this, and I'm going to try to connect with more people I can learn from. But that connection always has to be a two-way street.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Don't feel like you have to be the person with all the answers. Lean into others. Lean into your team. Give them autonomy and watch them shine!
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Not so much of a story, but more of an observation.
The best leaders are captains "on" the team. They aren't the owner or the team coach. They rally the team and pass the ball. Every goal scored is a team goal, not the leader's goal.
Good leaders provide their colleagues autonomy and encourage personal, and career growth, even if that growth ultimately leads to people moving on from the organization.