Interview with 4 Perth leaders

Where do the leaders draw inspiration from?

I was privileged to have met the 4 people in Perth who have done so much for the WA economy and have inspired and helped so many people and are continuing to do so. Meeting them one on one and talking to them about various topics gave me a true sense of the leadership qualities they have within them.

We are all inspired by leaders within our field and sometimes outside of what we do for a living. I was so intrigued by the wide range of responses I received from the 4 leaders. Michael Malone; CEO of iiNet, Rick Hart; Executive Chairman Kitchen Headquarters, John Poulsen; Managing Partner, Squire Sanders Australia, formerly Managing Partner at Minter Ellison and Peter Abetz; WA Liberal MP aka “Man from Southern River”.The questions centred around who they look up to, where does their inspiration come from and leaders they admire the most.

Would you have thought Rick Hart would be inspired by Sam Walton, the US retail giant in the 1990s? Absolutely! But, would you have also thought that the former Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani and Jack Welch, former CEO of GE would inspire Rick Hart?

I probed into it further…as you do and I can see why they are inspiring. Rudi Giuliani gained international attention and also won Rick over for his leadership during the September 11 attacks. As for Jack Welch, according to Wikipedia, during his tenure with GE from 1981 to 2004 the company had gone from a market value of $14 billion to more than $410 billion at the end of 2004, making it the most valuable and largest company in the world.

At the time of his retirement, Welch received a salary of $4 million a year, followed by his controversial retirement plan of $8 million a year, which included GE’s $80,000 per month luxury apartment in Trump Tower (New York City), free food and wine, access to a $300,000 per month B737 corporate jet and in 2006 Welch’s net worth was estimated at $720 million.

John Poulsen and Michael Malone draw inspiration from their family. John Poulsen gets his daily inspiration from people who have energy which is self sustaining in its own way. John gets inspired by his wife, an amazing lady who has done two solo swims to Rottnest, the first being a 22km swim in 11 hrs and the second time clocking 8hrs. So when faced with challenging times John Poulsen thinks how his wife was ploughing away and that is inspirational. John also finds the speeches of Sir Winston Churchill very inspirational.

Michael Malone looks up to his parents and admires their leadership qualities. “My parents have taught me all the fundamentals of business” says Michael. It was great to hear from the internet evangelist about work life balance, business plans, marketing which I will cover in the forthcoming editions. Stay tuned.

Peter Abetz’s response to leadership was also very insightful. Peter draws inspiration from the Bible as he has strong Christian values. Peter hates injustice and a leader that he admires is William Wilberforce, who was a British politician, a philanthropist and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade.

We have 4 different answers from the 4 leaders within corporate business, retail, legal and politics and hope you are all as fascinated as I was when I heard them. I would like to conclude with John Poulsen’s theory on leadership which is so apt. “Leadership is about using the positive energy to influence and inspire others to be the best they can in an ethical way”.

I hope we can all take some positives out of that and be a great leader, influencer and a role model within our own workplace or at home and let’s also aspire to have the lifestyle of John Welch!

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