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7 Questions with Nathan Kinch
7 Questions with Nathan Kinch
Name: Nathan Kinch
Current title: CEO
Current organisation: Greater Than X
Nathan is a 3x entrepreneur, speaker and writer, impact focused startup investor, wanna be athlete and plant-based home chef. He's spent most of his career designing organisations for the qualities of trustworthiness. He's led work for federal governments, major corporations, fast growing startups and research and policy institutes around the globe. He lives on the sunny Gold Coast (Australia) with his life partner, 2 year old daughter, two four legged friends and a vibrant fruit and veggie garden.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
There's a long laundry list. In my experience, the single greatest challenge has been the experience of growing commercially without compromising our very explicit ethical principles. This is literally our business, so we have to lead by example. Sometimes this means more work or even turning down a lot of money...
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My life story in a few sentences... I was a competitive athlete growing up. That's all I wanted to do. Eventually I was pretty badly injured. I couldn't continue. I came home without a clue. What might my life hold? I tried, tested and learned. Eventually I engaged in a variety of entrepreneurial pursuits. This has enabled me to design my job, a job that helps me live and breathe my purpose, values and principles. A job that adds to the meaning of my life and helps me have a demonstrable positive impact. This, as with everything in my life, remains a work in progress.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Haha. Well, there's some variability. I work across multiple time zones. I can be online as early as 6 and end as late as 9. My days are structured around distinct priorities, with dedicated time for training, play with the daughter, cooking and tiring out our furry friends. What matters most is that I engage in the highest value activities on a daily basis. This requires trust in the process, as it's not always easy day to day to see the progress you are making. I always have a very distinct wind down process that works well for me. Rather fortunately this enables me to truly clock off, when I choose to do so. But, this wasn't always the case. I've done a lot of work and learned how to make this work for me.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Be kind. Be compassionate. Demonstrate empathy. And, even when you don't feel like it, be courageous. Say what you do and do what you say. These are guiding qualities or virtues for me. By behaviorally exhibiting these qualities, I deepen my relationships, I deliver more value and meaning to the people I spend time with, and, putting it simply, I just feel better about the person I am.
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?
Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg. Behavior Design is a big part of my work. The model (B=MAP) and method (tiny habits) that BJ has developed over years of work leading Stanford's Behavior Design Lab is easier to understand than most 'theories of change' and does what it needs to, breaks things down so they can actually get done. This has been super useful in terms of how we design workflows, the way we think about what we have to do and even the way we measure progress. Think big, start tiny. Let compounding do its thing :)
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
Actively engage with the people around you. Get to know them. Give them a safe environment to contribute, learn and grow. Be the change you seek. We're all just specks floating around on a big blue planet. We're in this together. the more human we are, the greater our capacity to support initiatives that have a positive impact.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
In March 2020, the economic realities of COVID-19 hit like a brick wall. We had to make some very hard decisions quickly in an attempt to survive. We confronted this reality head on. We practiced radical transparency. We did everything we could to help the people (our friends) who were directly impacted. We ended up - all things considered - navigating a terrible situation and perhaps being better positioned and more resilient than ever before. More on the details here: https://medium.com/greater-than-experience-design/surviving-covid-19-a-startup-story-6094d21f5986