Why Inclusion Matters To This CEO
Leading a team is never about the glory of being in charge but the strength of the togetherness. Humble origins can prepare and propel the most ordinary appearing people for extraordinary destinies. It doesn’t matter where you come from – everyone can be a leader.
I’m going through my normal rituals gearing up for my first Zoom call of another action-packed week, on what was a bright Monday morning. Rob made it even brighter. As the CEO of a large vibrant national hospitality business, the pandemic had proved to be, one of the toughest challenges in his career. His leadership was put to the ultimate test – thankfully he and his team aced it.
As they started to plan about coming out of the pandemic, Rob had engaged with me to talk about one thing – Inclusion. When he spoke about the business and his colleagues, you could sense and feel his pride. They had been resilient and tenacious at a time when they had no certainty.
Despite this doubt and uncertainty, Rob gave them hope. Many of his more junior colleagues are university students. Whether it was 3pm or 3am he was responding to their queries and concerns, because he cared about them, and needed to provide all the ‘certainty’ that he was able to.
He created regular ‘All Hands’ sessions to ensure everyone had their voice heard and to enable him to communicate directly to them in an open and transparent manner. Rob could empathise. His career started out in his native Australia, where he was the “pot washer” and the “toilet cleaner”, which he said with real pride and accomplishment.
He called it “Hard, tiring and repetitive work that requires you to get your hands dirty”. Doing these jobs built his empathetic and humble attitude. For Rob, having been at the entry level of this industry, he wanted those people, in his business, to feel like they are a part of something special. That they are rewarded, recognised and most of all – included.
Our 30 minute Zoom call flew by. We both left energised and enthused about how we might work together to progress such an important initiative.
Inclusive Leadership is not a rehearsal.