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INTERVIEW Playing to win

I don’t know whether I’m in a position to give tips for success, but there are a few things I have found helpful through my career.


Choose to work with people and organisations who share similar values as you. I’ve always found much more can be achieved when we’re all facing in the same direction and our aspirations are aligned. If you’re at cross-purposes with others, the energy you need will quickly fade.


‘Follow your passions and not your wallet.’ Of course, earning an income is important but you need to be passionate about what you do to succeed. I recall an HR man- ager once telling me I was crazy to give up a permanent lecturing role to join a three-year project on computer-based learning. If I had taken his advice, I would have missed a huge opportunity that changed the direction of my career for the better.

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Take a couple of minutes at the end of each day to reflect on what’s happened during the day, what you’ve learnt, and what you’ll do differently tomorrow. Reflection is one of the most pow- erful learning tools we all have.


effective or appropriate for modern organisations, particularly ones where value is created via the heads, rather than the hands, of the workforce. I based my work at Reuters, and

later Tomson Reuters, on 70:20:10 principles, extending the focus on development beyond classes and courses and out into the workplace where most learning already happens. Over the past 14 years, the 70:20:10 approach has taken on a life of its own and many or- ganisations have found it a useful way to incorporate workplace and social learn- ing into their thinking and practices.

Describe your best learning and development experience

I feel my entire career has been a continuous learning experience. Some people who know me may say “that’s because he’s a slow learner”, but experience and challenging conversa- tions have truly been my best teachers.

10 | December 2016 | I read as many books and articles

on learning and performance as I can to keep up with new ideas and reflections on our unfolding profession. I’m a secondhand bookseller’s nightmare. Every book I read rapidly becomes dog-eared and scribbled in. I find the interaction between page and hand as well as page and eye helps me in my sense-making and learning.

What's next in your career?

I’m at an age where quite a few of my friends have moved into retirement. I have no intention of following that path while I continue to find my work stimulating and enjoyable, and while I feel I can make a small difference in the profession I’ve chosen. I would prefer to see fewer airport lounges, but I often say that I’ll know when I’m retired when I find I’m still doing the things I enjoy but no one is paying me to do them!

Extend your professional network whenever you can. Make sure it’s diverse and balanced and provides you with energy rather than sapping it away. Research shows that people who have better networks are better performers. We learn from others (the ‘20’ in the 70:20:10 framework).


Seek out new experiences that stretch. Getting into your ‘discomfort zone’ as often as possible is a sure-fire way to help develop critical and creative thinking abilities, and help you solve challenges in other areas of your work.


Make time whenever possible to catch up on new ideas and practices in your field. Keep an open mind. Challenge what you read/see/hear before accepting it.


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