Taking Leadership to the Next Level – YPO Australia

September 7, 2017

Presentation Summary

At a recent workshop for YPO Australia, Kevin Roberts spoke about leadership, Lovemarks and purpose. He shared 10 shots (from his book 64 Shots) on how to be a brilliant business leader.

Taking Leadership to the Next Level!


Imperatives are to:

  • Lead and inspire–energizing your teams
  • Communicate & connect–sharing your story
  • Grow at speed–thriving amidst chaos
  • Thrive through Kaizen, transformation & disruption
  • Win through creativity, innovation and relentless executional excellence.


64 Shots. A shot is a fast swing, creative idea, potent injection, immediate action, explosive charge, a sudden impact that improves people’s lives.

For this session I’ve condensed 10 shots on how to be a brilliant business leader.

#1: VUCA

We live in a VUCA world. Volatile. Uncertain. Complex. Ambiguous.

  • Trump: minus the business advisory councils.

The Lowy Institute’s Michael Fullilove is right: “We must… stop America from going full Trump.”

  • Europe’s got Brexit; you got China and America: (thankfully we’ve got a Kiwi in the White House and a Kiwi just appointed UK’s lead trade negotiator)
  • What are Australia’s Biggest Challenges (apart from beating the ABs)?

Australia… budget deficit, inequality, high cost/high risk energy, an unfettered tax office, accommodation cost & supply, pornography, the high dollar, China dependence, AI job displacement, crappy warplanes, gay marriage dinosaurs, dual citizenship…25% of Aussies take sickies for sleep deprivation!

Global challenges facing business include:

  • Economic and political fallout from Brexit
  • Populist leaders & extremist political parties in democracies
  • Unstable geopolitics and worsening regulatory and tax policies
  • Technology disruption & adoption
  • Threat of cyberattacks
  • Economic and financial volatility
  • Protectionism reducing trade / cross-border flows
  • Donald Trump impact on American economy.

I love the YPO gang. Entrepreneurs are the dreamers, the crazies, the pirates, the radical optimists, and as Colin Powell said: “perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”

Your job is to create a SUPERVUCA world, and it comes down to a mixology of leadership.

Vibrant. Unreal. Crazy. Astounding.

Political leadership has failed; business must step up.


 Attitude is the X factor.

After 50 years in corporates I’ve been waiting for round 2… becoming an entrepreneur.

MFB, CriqHQ, Beattie, Unfiltered, Booths RAP

And it seems to me young companies / start-ups face 6 challenges:

  • Ideas MFB – Start with answer and work back
  • Simple processes. Blue Ocean. RASCI, Flow
  • Execution – turn ideas into products for needs (In his study of start-ups, Jim Stengel rates obsessiveness about the product and platform as the #1 job for startup leaders)
  • Funding (Unfiltered / CriqHQ)
  • Timing (it matters, can account for 42% of difference between success and failure)
  • Leadership… the defining difference… Survey: 82% of successful company founders attributed their success to strength of the management team (not the idea, business plan, or money).
 #2: Leaders Must  Lead

Leaders do three things:

  • Leaders inspire others
  • Leaders make things happen
  • Leaders create other leaders.

Character traits of an Inspirational Leader:

  • Ways: Core values (integrity, humility, self-reflexivity), caring, candid, clear, consistent.
  • Plays: Command of facts, creative, courageous, confident, committed.

Leaders inspire winning behaviours:

  • Independent – Interdependent
  • Me, my, I – We, our, us
  • Point the Finger – Shine the spotlight
  • Fearlead – Cheerlead
  • Waste time – value time
  • Pass the buck – pass the ball
  • Cause stress – spread calm
  • Procrastinate – Instigate
  • Castigate – Collaborate
  • Instruct – Inspire
  • Sap energy – Zap energy
  • Create uncertainty – Foster fun

 #3: Fire with Purpose

Your people are your business, and people run on purpose.

Eagles won’t fly in formation… but they will fly higher.

MLK RAP It all starts with a dream. Dreams are about reaching for the stars, not counting them.

A shared dream creates belief, belonging, direction and the appetite for relentless pursuit – propelling the team on a winning path.

 Running a large organization requires synchronous purpose-driving components.

It requires emotional architecture.

Purpose components:

Character: attributes climb towards Spirit statement.

Spirit: organizational DNA, its life force, the vital emotional energizing principle, defining character…

 S&S: Nothing is Impossible; One Team, One Dream


Inspirational Dream: Reason to exist, derived from legacy, immeasurable, based on Beliefs, what you stand for.




All Blacks and England rugby dreams


Purpose starts with a One Word Equity


 New Zealand’s OWE is “EDGE”.

We took the language from “God Defend New Zealand” to “Winning the World from the Edge.”

 EXERCISE ONE – 10 Minutes

  • What is Australia’s One Word Equity? 
  • What is Australia’s Purpose?

Focus: Fundamental principle of thought and action. What has to be done now, in the next 100 days, next 12 months. Focus aligns everyday actions to deliver the GIC.

Team NZ: Make the boat go faster.

 GIC: The most demanding and rewarding dream-based achievement that can be imagined within 5 years. Measurable, stimulating, stretchy, exciting.

All Blacks: to win back-to-back-to-back World Cups

Moving from a large organization to small organization, here is the purpose of a retail entrepreneur…

What about purpose at the individual level?


Personal purpose must align organization purpose.

Use 4 questions:

  • What’s my O.W.E?
  • When am I at my best?
  • What will I never do?
  • What’s my 5 year dream?

If there are significant disconnects between personal and organizational purpose, people need to:

  • Consider changing their role in the organization, or
  • Reconsider their Personal Purpose, or
  • Change the organization (hard!), or
  • Leave

 Purpose starts at birth.

#4. Create a Lovemark

Purpose is the start of the performance journey. Before we travel that winning path, I want to show you the destination, a space beyond brands.

Being bigger than a brand demands red hot emotion. Emotion creates premiums – across volume, share, margin, reputation. Emotion is how you beat the big Amazon machine .

Emotion generates premium returns and Loyalty Beyond Reason.

Reason leads to conclusions; emotion leads to action.


Where do you sit?

  • Low Respect. Low Love.
  • High Love. Low Respect.
  • High Respect. Low Love
  • High Love and High Respect. Lovemarks – authentic, joyful, real.

People today can choose to block, ignore, scorn, embrace or, applaud brands – and most brands look and feel the same.

Brands are commoditized. Lovemarks are alive – a priceless feeling that people will make sacrifices for.

Brand managers no longer own “their brand.” Brands are owned by the people who love them.

Brands are built on “respect”; Lovemarks are “respected and loved.”

Brands create loyalty for a reason; Lovemarks create loyalty beyond reason.

Brands were irreplaceable; Lovemarks are irresistible.

Brands add mystery, sensuality and intimacy. These are the properties of Love.

Are your customers loyal beyond reason?

EXERCISE TWO  – 10 minutes

  • Rate the below on respect – from 1 (revile) to reliable (5) to respect 10 (revere); and on love from loathed (1) to liked (5) to loved (10):
    • Australia
    • New Zealand
    • USA under Obama
    • USA under Trump
    • Australian Cricket Team
    • Malcolm Turnbull
    • Bill Shorten
    • Qantas
    • Telstra
    • Google
    • Amazon
    • Gay marriage

#5: Build a Winning Culture

Back to the journey… Leaders build a winning culture on 4 pillars in pursuit of an Inspirational Dream:

  • Responsibility: Give people responsibility before they are ready.

Hire talent with cultural fit to go faster. Personal and organisational purpose must align.

Talent retention: Great people stay in great places where they can do great work.

  • Learning: A framework of learning, play in positon, and FF LF FF. SNAKE RAP

  • Recognition: P&G RAP – play like a team and feel like a family, caring and demanding.
  • Joy: Ditch Command & Control. Treasure and reward Collaborate, Connect & Create.

What do Millennials want from you? Work / life balance [RAP: Challenge this notion of balance; Work/Life Integration], flexibility, security and enough dough to save for a house! Aussie makes it hard!!!

#6: Invent Your Own Language

Revolution starts with language.

  • Chief Excitement Officer
  • Chief Magic Officer

Language is how you bring everyone together, wherever they are, all the time.

Change the language, and you can change everything.

All you need to do is to change a word. FremantleMedia turned the idea of the Vatican on its head with the insertion of a single word: The Young Pope.

The language that made Apple insanely great:

  • Stay Hungry. Stay foolish.
  • Think Different.
  • Click. Boom. Amazing!

 Some language of the All Blacks

  • No opposition is more intimidating than the Legacy
  • Bleed for the jersey
  • Sweep the sheds
  • No dickheads

Master the art of short-form storytelling. A great purpose statement:

  • Based in strong, resonant values, using a common language
  • Credible, relevant, has ethos (authority and understanding of the subject)
  • Visual, visceral; seizes hearts & heads, pathos (must be felt)
  • Flexible, saleable, understandable – campfire to boardroom
  • Useful – able to turn vision into action, transferor of meaning.


  • BMW: “The Ultimate Driving Machine” – slogan has defined the brand and experience for 46 years
  • Nike: “Just Do It” defined a generation
  • Sol Kerzner Resorts: “Blow them away”

More importantly, make story-sharing part of your operating system.

  • 79% of Australians are on social media, up 10% on last year; 99% of millennials are.
  • Video is the #1 content format for story sharing

Story-sharers are where the influence is. The entire purpose of communicating today is to have people share your stories: by their actions and behaviors in the workplace, by being ambassadors and evangelists, through their social networking.

The role of the CMO is not to target audiences but to create movements, to be Chief Magic Officer.

Here are some short form “meaning of life” narratives. 5 seconds each.

#7: Unleash your Edge

Australia’s international competitiveness is an issue.

The future is in soft power, ideas, ambition and pace.

Jason Pelligrino, MD of Google Australia and NZ: “What scares me for the future of Australia is 46% of small businesses that we surveyed don’t think that digital is relevant to their business. That fundamentally has to change.”

Time to slingshot the great Aussie X factor. The facts show that Australia’s continuous exporters consistently outperform both non-exporters and intermittent exporters. Digging up your backyard is a holding pattern. Ideas change the pattern.

  • Ideas change the world.
  • Ideas are an unlimited resource.
  • Ideas have magical power.
  • Ideas are today’s currency, and the cultures with the most ideas are the best placed to win.

Start at home, find your edge, and execute.

On the edge you have Peripheral Vision – the ability to be farsighted and deep-seated with a system-wide view.

As finance people know, the action is always on the margin.

Stephen Jay Gould’s theory of evolutionary biology called Punctuated Equilibrium tells us change comes from the edge of the species.

Better worlds are created from the edge, not the center. Edge places, edge shakers and thinkers.

The Edge is premium territory where creativity flourishes. Edge is shorthand for disruption. It’s any place or space where “it can’t be done” gets booted out of the room.

The Edge is often on the coasts, but edges are everywhere – from Silicon Valley to Ayres Rock.

New Zealand launched an “export or die” mentality with a dream to become the world’s edge, moving from a resource–based to ideas-based economy.

An existential heads-up to Aussie’s top entrepreneurs – get your nation going on this!!

Aussie could conquer the world with the creativity that courses in Australia’s soil and blood. This is the land that invented the combine harvester, the black box flight recorder, the electric drill, Kiwi Shoe Polish refrigeration, the electronic pacemaker, the bionic ear, Internet Wi-Fi the and – save us all – the beach fashion crime of the century, Speedo swimwear!

Time to create Australia’s future…

#8. Develop Mental Toughness

Grant Fox told me the key to winning test matches was to have “fire in the belly, ice in the mind.”

Bob Seelert put on my armor at Saatchi & Saatchi. He said: every morning, “strap on a waterproof back and a bulletproof vest.”

Next-level leaders have a psychological edge under pressure. Like the ABs, they always find a way to win.

Fundamental prerequisites: clear goal; clear direction; unshakeable; resolute; measurable; tangible; real; shared language and attitude.

Mental Toughness Cs & Ps:

  • Confidence
  • Concentration
  • Composure
  • Control
  • Completion
  • Practice
  • Precision
  • Problem Solving
  • Positive 

Physical training is tablestakes. Train to win. Practice under pressure, build technique and build up intensity.

Red Head – H.O.T – Heated, Overwhelmed, Tense in pressure situations. Off task, panicked, ineffective.

Blue Head – on task under pressure, maintain clarity and accuracy, optimal state, at your best. Control your attention, therefore thoughts, you can manage emotion and enhance performance.

The BFI + The Last Detail.

#9: Run the Four As

Leaders lay out Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements:

  • Be Impeccable With Your Word
  • Don’t Take Anything Personally
  • Don’t Make Assumptions
  • Always Do Your Best.

 #10. Win with the 5Qs

The only equation I’ve ever written sums up our session.

IQ + EQ + TQ + BQ, all powered by CQ.

5 next-level leadership takeaways from today:

  • Lead Australia, and your business, with purpose
  • Inspire your teams with RLRJ towards that dream
  • Be a Creative leader, and test lots of small ideas
  • Get emotion and story-sharing front and center
  • Prioritize irresistibility, and create a Lovemark.

And remember, none of us is as good as all of us.

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