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Jonno White

7 Questions with Peter Brook
7 Questions with Peter Brook

Name: Peter Brook

Current title: Qld State Director

Current organization: Power to Change

Studied Electrical Engineering (UNSW) but then returned to uni seven years later to study Social Science-Counselling (Southern Cross). Served with Power to Change for 35 years, the last 21 in national and state-level leadership.

7 Questions with Peter Brook

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?

Firstly, managing myself: setting appropriate boundaries between my ministry and my family/personal life; (still) learning to say no appropriately. Secondly, dealing with personal conflict.

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

At a PTC leadership retreat in 1995, we went around the circle and asked who planned to be there long-term. Only two of the 20 leaders/couples said yes--my wife and I were one them. Three years later one of these two became the National Director; two years after that he asked me to serve as his Deputy. So to some degree it was a case of 'last man (person) standing'. But to another it reflected the long-term commitment that the two couples had to the vision and mission of the organisation.

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

Wake up at 4.30 to go to the gym 4xs a week. Start work at 7am on the train. Take a break at 8am for breakfast and reflective time. Work till 5 pm (the last hour on the train). Approximately 2 nights a week will be between 1-2 hours at home after dinner. Work at home 1 day a week (but with Covid, now doing 2 days a week at home)

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

From 4 Disciplines of Execution the critical importance of results. Most importantly, it gave me a tool to help me and my people to go after, see, and evaluate the results.

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?

Apart from 4 Disciplines above, 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. Since I lead in a multi-layered organisation, the concept of 'first team' was a watershed in my leadership.

6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?

Give others opportunities to (truly) lead! Mine their skills and passions, agree on the vision and mission (the results) and then trust them to lead in their areas of skill and/or passion.

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

When I took over the leadership of Qld in 2012, I immediately identified a number of culture changes that needed to happen. I worked on them consistently for many years and saw much fruit. But after 7 years, my leadership team blew up. It took a full year to recover. One of them left (badly) but the rest stuck around for the (very painful) process of reconciliation and rebuilding. Last week we celebrated one year of the 'new' team working very well together. My reflection is that in 2012 I needed to be directive in changing some ingrained cultures. However, seven years on, I had raised up quality leaders, but not changed my leadership style. Which led to the frustration and mistrust from my leaders. Once I understood that, I was able to release them to truly lead and we've had a very successful 12 months.