In Episode #17 of One More Question, Ross sits down with Conor Neill, President of Vistage Spain, a Senior Lecturer at IESE Business School, and a sought-after Keynote Speaker on Leadership Communication.
As an entrepreneur, Conor has founded 5 companies and built the third largest fleet of private jets in Spain. But it wasn’t always smooth sailing — in 2009, Conor stared some of his biggest fears in the face — not having money to pay bills and going through a divorce, among others. Through his experience and lecturing and speaking on leadership, Conor brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this episode of the podcast.
Ross and Conor chat about how COVID-19 is affecting the world and what this means for companies and leadership — from reframing the way we look at being stuck at home to how leaders and companies can plan and decide to react in the current climate.
Highlights from the conversation:
Viktor Frankl says we don’t find purpose. Ultimately we decide purpose.
It’s not important to have a purpose written down in a book and hung on a wall. What’s important is whether other people looking at your life, looking at how you spend your time, what would they say your values are?
How do we make our values not operational values, but lived values. Lived values means I’m willing to pay a price for the values that I choose to have.
If you play yourself forward to the end of this, how do you think people will look back and how would they describe your company’s values and your values as the leader of the company?
These are not painless decisions, you will let some people down, but that is the role of leadership.
What is really tough right now is letting go of the things that we thought we were going to be doing today, letting go of the future that we thought we were going to have tomorrow, in a week in a month. Letting go of that and accepting there’s a different reality.
Leadership is never an automatic natural reaction to the world. Leadership is always an intentional decision to not just react to the world, but take in the stimulus that comes to me and decide what’s the behaviour that I want to give back.
The ones that react intentionally and think about what they doing and the consequences, and make those hard decisions in the right way, ultimately are the companies that will come out the other side in a much stronger position.
It’s not a devastating thing for a business to not have the revenue to pay its bills. What is devastating is when you lose the relationships of trust, when you break your word, when you lose your reputation because saving the business became more important than being a good human being.
Before 2008 my greatest fears were losing business, not having money to pay bills, having zero in my current account, not having my family together. By mid 2009, I’d lived all of those and I was still alive.
There’s no one day or one action that can totally derail your life and head you down towards failure.
Purpose is not lived in one great monumental action. It’s lived day by day in little tiny actions.