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7 Questions on Leadership with David Whyte

Name: David Whyte

Title: Chair

Organisation: Lifetime Group Holdings Ltd

Experienced professional director serving on a number of licensed financial services Boards. Previous experience in UK, Australia, NZ at senior management/Board level.

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

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


Jonno White

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

Adjusting to the welter of legislative and regulatory changes in the last 30 years across the industry and across jurisdictions. Change has now become BAU but is nevertheless still challenging.

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

Hard work and commitment to making a difference. The pathway from retail adviser (UK) to product provider management (NZ) to corporate leadership (NZ and Australia) required focus and discipline. Carried this over to recent career development in Governance.

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

At the desk by 8.30am - working from home, close the office door - break at 10am, 12.30pm, 3pm, finish 4.30 - R & R thereafter. If only that could be the shape of every day! Client needs often intervene to change the schedule but ideally that would be a good working day.

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

That people are the only asset an organisation has in reality. Machines, buildings, computers are useless without people - and financial services is all about people. If you have no empathy for the stakeholders touched by your company's existence and its social license, you're not a leader.

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?

"Organising Genius" by the late, great Warren Bennis. How to capture the creative imagination of people and lead them to produce extraordinary results. Bennis on leadership is a must read for anyone aspiring to understand the concept.

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

Listen to your people, and do not be afraid to trust.

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

Converting my Chief Actuary to Distribution and watching the journey develop and emerge to assume leadership of a most signficant financial services organisation.

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