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The Inner Chief

Sep 14, 2017

In this episode you’ll hear from Trevor Matthews former MD/CEO of Legal & General Australia, ManuLife, Friends Provident PLC, Aviva UK and Standard Life UK. He is currently a non-executive director of AMP, Tokio Marine, FNZ and BUPA. He is also Chair of the State Industry Regulatory Authority and 1stAvailable Ltd.

Key Points:

Trevor tells the story of his remarkable career from actuary to CEO and President of some of the world’s biggest insurance companies. He outlines that a leaders is a dealer in hope, you have to build a track record and importantly you need to be respectful about the past, realistic about the present and optimistic about the future.

Trevor’s top messages include:

  1. Travel was great in that it gave me a global perspective
  2. It’s the execution of the strategy that makes the difference on a sustainable basis
  3. Compete aggressively on the outside and collaborate superbly on the inside
  4. You've got to line your people up shoulder to shoulder and get them out in the market aggressively going for business
  5. The more you know about more parts of the organisation the more chance you have of getting collaboration happening and that is when the magic happens. That’s when companies really move ahead I believe, when you have superb collaboration on the inside.
  6. You've got to have a lofty purpose in whatever you're doing
  7. Look for ways to move ideas from one geography to another
  8. To get up a level - learn the other parts of the business, ask for more work, show good teamwork, and never lose sight of the end customer
  9. Don't take it too seriously
  10. Don’t get too hung up if things don’t happen as rapidly as you thought
  11. I didn't understand the CEO role until I became the CEO there were so many more stakeholders than I thought
  12. People always say you hire too fast and fire too slow
  13. If you’re so busy that don’t have time to work on bigger projects then getting good people around you is the secret. It releases you to work more across the business.
  14. When hiring for my executive team I look for people that know their business, expertise, somebody that will fit into the team, like me but not like me, people of the same mind that are willing to share
  15. Every time you add a new person you have a new team
  16. If you have a star that is causing trouble remember that no one is indispensible
  17. I've had a lot of success promoting people that others say is not quite ready and watching them blossom and grow
  18. One of the most important secrets is stamina and resilience. That is the only way you will succeed in the long run.
  19. Getting external advice is incredibly valuable
  20. Be respectful about the past, realistic about the present and optimistic about the future
  21. You have to work hard to develop a track record
  22. If you haven't got a track record you should be working on getting one. And you don't have to do it alone.
  23. Build confidence by doing things one step at a time. Tackle things in bite sized pieces. Don't look for the big massive solution.
  24. It's normal to be overawed to start with, I was nervous in my first executive meetings
  25. What should every leader should ask themselves everyday - What can I learn today? How can I do it better?
  26. A final message of wisdom for the next generation is from a Napoleon quote - A leader is a dealer in hope.

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