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No Pressure! - 06 May 2016

Before Rob Fyfe, CEO, Icebreaker, delivered his arresting presentation to the latest meeting of The Admirals’ Breakfast Club, we discussed the importance of communication and interpersonal skills in company leadership.  Something that many, including myself, would take for granted.  Rob’s subsequent presentation put paid to most businesses’ definition of both communication and leadership.

I had encouraged Rob to address the Club from his unique perspective of having led a large organisation like Air New Zealand with thousands of employees and, currently, Icebreaker with hundreds, to identify the best of both worlds. 

Well, Rob not only provided a level of clarity that clearly demonstrated true leadership insights and behaviour, but firmly put the spotlight on communication and, specifically, storytelling as a way of not only modelling desired behaviours, but also creating a powerful culture of excellence.

Rob’s approach to management and leadership is dramatically different from the typical New Zealand model which is typically hierarchal and directional.

By being highly visible and interactive with as many staff as possible, Rob has developed the connections within the companies to hear about the good things happening with them, and then publicise them as ‘stories’.  One after the other reinforcing excellent behaviour and a customer centric approach.  These stories then build upon each other to create a culture which employees are encouraged to model on an ongoing basis.  All of which is, as we all know, more powerful than any number of policy manuals or instructive emails!

As I looked around the room at our illustrious audience, I surmised that 95% of the room was made up of subject matter experts and organisational masters/mistresses all delivering a largely traditional model of company leadership.

For me, Rob Fyfe made it very clear that Creative Communication is the current, unrecognised skill that separate competent leaders from the extraordinary leaders that are needed to dramatically grow New Zealand’s commercial success.

John Dawson, Founder, The Admirals' Breakfast Club

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