The influential leader — leading calmly through the storm

When your organisation begins its journey of resilience and recovery from a crisis, the success of strategy rests on effective leadership. I’m thrilled to chair the session on The influential leader — leading calmly through the storm at Governance Institute's virtual National Conference in December. I’ll be joined by Philipp Kristian Diekhöner, Trust Futurist and Innovation Strategist (Singapore) as we unpack:

  • why trust is the key to authentic leadership
  • how crisis brings the importance of people to the fore — it's about them, not you
  • sharing leadership during a crisis
  • disruptive leadership during disruption — how to lead when everything remains uncertain.

Governing during a pandemic

I recently addressed the topic of governing during the pandemic with the Governance Institute's CEO, Megan Motto. Here’s a little about my experience at ANZ. And I encourage you to join us at the National Conference to gain a variety of perspectives on leadership, trust and disruption.

Significant steps to manage the impact of COVID-19

This was a complex and significant piece of work, and ANZ took a four-pronged approach to managing through the pandemic:

  1. Protect — ANZ’s customers and its people, and importantly the company itself.
  2. Adapt — to changing practices and behaviours brought about by the pandemic, both in terms of customers and ANZ’s people
  3. Engage — with all of its stakeholders: shareholders, customers, staff, regulators government etc
  4. Prepare — for the inevitable end of the pandemic and to take opportunities as they arise, looking at the long-term success of the organisation

Keeping the workforce engaged

Reflecting on my immediate team, we have a video stand up meeting mid-morning every Monday. This is intentionally later in the morning so people can tend to their personal obligations such as home-schooling preparations. It has quickly become a really important and I looked forward to this time of the week for myself and others in the team.

Thinking more broadly for ANZ, our CEO continues to deliver a weekly all-staff webcast. As an organisation, we’ve increased levels of communication and we share tips and strategies to help people to cope during these uncertain times, focusing on increasing the capability of our people leaders in looking after both their teams and themselves. 

What’s keeping me awake at night

From a personal perspective, it’s my family. I’m originally from the UK and moved here in 2005. My parents were due to visit in March, and it got cancelled due to the pandemic. So, I do think and worry about when I’ll be able to see them again.  I also have three young daughters, and I worry about the social impact upon them and the longer-term impacts of the pandemic (although I have to say I have loved the increased time I have been able to have with them!).  

On the work front, I worry about missing something. When you’re not having daily ad hoc office conversations, there’s a chance you might miss joining one of the dots. Being a company secretary and often the nexus between the Board and management, you see a broad array of information across the organisation.  I’ve always felt it’s an important part of the job to take a whole-of-organisation approach to the work I do, and joining the dots is a key part of that. 

The path out of the pandemic

Looking at the 32 jurisdictions we operate in, the pathway depends on the country and state that you’re in. Our focus is the support we provide our customers, and what that looks like in the long term.

In my role, it’s also looking at how I support both the executive team and the board. How do we govern ourselves in this new world?  How do I adapt my thinking and actions to help them make effective and efficient decisions and best help them prepare for a different future?  


Hear more from Simon on leading through a crisis at Governance Institute National Conference

Our VIRTUAL National Conference 2020 gives you unparalleled access to:

  • the leading global stars in governance and risk management
  • a new breadth of insights
  • 18 virtual sessions — beamed to you live and on-demand
  • a new interactive platform to network and engage.

The early bird discount ends on 16 October!

Find out more

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