Name: Graham Christie
Organisation: The Goldenacre (Consultancy)
I am an accomplished global executive with expertise in high-growth ventures within dynamic corporate environments across APAC/EU, and as an entrepreneur. I have co-founded and led internationally renowned media and digital businesses, driving significant growth and success. Additionally, I am a co-author of 'Changing The Game: The Playbook for Leading Business Transformation', an acclaimed and comprehensive book published internationally by Wiley.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Graham's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Juggling priorities, biases, inertia etc. Organisations large and small, thrive or wither on their ability to balance these proactively and effectively. It's the most important and consistent challenge I have had to meet.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I left corporate life with the sound belief I would not reach 'the top' in that type of environment. I wanted to sink my teeth into business ownership and something with more risk and reward attached to it. I trained my sights on starting, establishing and help building a new leading business. And did so with an amazing group of people across a growing regional footprint. From that came experience, influence and visibility, plus a good deal of fulfilment, that in turn, surfaced new opportunities to lead, enable and support.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I'm a morning person, so I get up just after dawn normally, and have some energetic exercise. Work usually starts by 9.30, and I like to compartmentalise types of tasks in 90 minute segments. The order can change but work that requires critical thinking I find I need to conclude around lunchtime. Engaging with people I find is a good way to round out the day, which does not extend normally to late afternoon. I did mention I'm a morning person...
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
It takes real courage to buck the trend or oppose the prevailing point of view within any organisation. Most people won't. This has always been the case, but has been exacerbated by ever-growing conservative thinking driven by market disruption, and other factors. The issue is that, more than ever, organisations need their leaders to think in a less orthodox fashion, be bolder, and take managed risks. If this is made unwelcome or worse stifled, the malaise can prove fatal. The evidence is all around us.
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?
Eric Reis' 'The Start Up Way', a follow up to his 'Lean Start Up' book is excellent and has been a go-to for me. I am a supporter of igniting the minds and imagination of teams so they can step outside of the norms their organisation wraps around them. Both of Eric's books have provided me with some tools to structure better Customer thinking, and ways to innovate.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Know what you are very good at. Continually double down on your superpowers by exercising them, upskilling and investing in them, and promoting them.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
The best future leaders reveal themselves, but you have to provide the environment and the mandate for them to emerge, and importantly take responsibility, if in doing so, they take a wrong turn...or worse... I've adopted that attitude for the last 20 years, and seen amazing individuals careers flourish. They needed to have the drive, but they needed support.