What a great start of 2019. January kicked off with a handful of exciting keynote speeches.

Keynote Speeches

I gave a speech for the senior leaders of Walmart at their Headquarters in Shenzhen.

Often, on an expedition, you hear frightening reports of what might be coming up if you keep going (the below is from an email warning me to rethink my plan to cycle across Papua New Guinea).

In the speech we reflected together on how to embrace challenges (with a Growth Mindset), overcome fear, and stay positive. Our ability to do these things is essential not just on expeditions, but also in the business world, where we also often hear rumours of scary troubles ahead… our world is fast-changing, unpredictable and uncertain, but if we have the right mindset, it is also a world that is full of opportunity and adventure!

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Calculated risk-taking in much of life and work more of an art than a science. We often do not know the level of potential risk, potential consequence or potential reward.

In some industries, such as power or telecomms, this is a matter of personal safety, not just business.

I was delighted to be invited to give a speech to HKBN on the theme of “staying safe on expeditions.” A few key takeaways – which apply to expeditions, to the workplace – and actually to all risk taking (even business risk taking):

  1. “The most dramatic dangers are not necessarily the most high risk ones.”
  2. “It is very easy to become complacent and careless… but this is when accidents happen.”
  3. “Just because we survived last time, this does not make us any more likely to survive next time.”
  4. “We do not just stay safe for our own sake, but for others. Think about the people in your life for whom you need to stay safe.”
  5. True courage is prepared to say “no, stop, wait” when we see something too risky.

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At two of the keynote speeches I have given, (Thermo Fisher Scientific‘s EMEA conference in Dublin, and Globe Telecom‘s leadership conference in China, it was awesome to learn that both companies have a compelling “WHY” at the heart of their business.

ThermoFisher are leaders in the field of (among other things) life-changing medical technology. I was moved to learn of how their products are leading the way with more effective treatment for childhood disease. Now that is a “WHY” worth working for.

Globe are the Philippines number one telecoms company – but beyond business, also have an amazing vision for doing good for their country. You can feel it is a deep part of their mission. A couple of years ago at the same event, Globe had Simon Sinek share with them about the importance of having “why” at the centre of their work, and it was amazing to see how they have taken that idea on board.

Both personally, and at our workplaces, we gain so much focus, resilience and creativity, when we know our “why”. Certainly, in the midst of many tough expeditions, it has been knowing my “why” that has helped me keep going.

  • Do you know your why?
  • For yourself?
  • For your business?

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Great fun to give a speech for H.B. Fuller’s regional conference. On an expedition, you face a lot of problems and setbacks which often seem at first glance to be insurmountable.

But if, instead of fixating on the problem, we ask ourselves the simple question: “what can I control right now?” our brains will very often present us with a solution and so we can keep moving forwards. It’s amazing!

Why not try this next time you face a problem at work. Ask yourself: “What can I control right now?”

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Great fun to give a speech for St James Place Hong Kong team. This was my first speech of 2019, and launching into a new year, I was reminding us all (myself included!) of some core lessons learned from my adventures, which can apply to whatever we do, and which can really make a difference to how the year turns out:

  1. Embrace challenge & enjoy how the challenge makes us grow (with a growth mindset).
  2. Live courageously – harness our fears through understanding them.
  3. Remember we can’t make it on your own – build great networks, and intentionally and bravely seek out wise people to learn from.

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