Learn how one Technical Wizard found the skills he needed to lead a high-profile technology implementation in a financial institution, leading to a career path in Senior Management
Gregor McInnes – “The journey has been phenomenal. Basically, the difference has given me the ability to lead and to be seen as a strategic leader. It’s night and day.”
This is a case study / testimonial of a recent graduate of R. Michael Anderson’s 90-day Transformational Leadership Course.
Hear how Gregor:
• Moved from Technical Expert to Strategic Leader
• Earned the Respect and Admiration of his Peers and Senior Management
• Built and is Leading a highly complex project with Stellar Results
• How Less Stress at the Office is making his Health & Family Life Better
• Is setting his Career up for Board and Senior Management Positions
(full transcript below video)
Gregor, why did you join the course?
The opportunity to work with you came along at exactly the right time for me as I got chosen to lead a project modernizing a bank by bringing new capabilities and setting them up for the future. It’s got a huge bank-wide remit, it’s not just one single line of business in the bank.
I had to put together and lead a large team working with very new technologies in the complexity of a bank with very high visibility from senior management. There was a lot of trepidation in that uncertainty, a lot of areas that I wasn’t quite sure how to really tackle and nail down.
This was pushing myself out of my comfort zone and taking me into aspirational positions of leadership that I sought out but knew that I probably wasn’t as well-equipped with as I should be.
I thought I was head and shoulders above my peers…although it turned out that I wasn’t quite as well rounded in those aspects as I thought I should be.
The results I achieved by working with you and your course have been phenomenal, I have to say. And the effects to myself, my team, and my career potential is very tangible. The feedback from senior management and execs has been very, very positive around the things I’m now implementing.
What did you learn in the course that helped you?
I was inadvertently trying to be the smartest person in the room and always exert my technical dominance on anyone that’s in the room.
That’s my place of comfort, so I would always fall back to it, rather than being able to adopt the strategic position of talking to the stakeholders and the senior management to tell them where we were going and what that actually meant to them and the business,.
Instead I would tell them all the fantastic technical things we’re going to do. Which is, of course, not the kind of stuff that they really want to hear.
Whilst I thought I was really good at engaging with stakeholders, it turned out I was just really good at telling them what I thought they wanted to hear, rather than what they needed to hear.
I was able to identify that and change my path to being able to step out of that position and look down over the maze, rather than being in it. I can now see the strategy, see the lay of the land, and how you can navigate that and being able to communicate that to the stakeholders. That’s been a game-changing position.
What’s the feedback been on your leadership so far?
We’ve had to put the team together quite rapidly – in just a month or so.
I’ve had really positive feedback from senior stakeholders and people external to our team, about how well the team’s gelled, how it’s come together, how everyone’s working together, and how we’re just getting things done.
Which is even more amazing considering we’ve had to put the whole team together quite rapidly – in just a month or so.
That’s in no small amount due to the skills and the strategies that you’ve helped us build on in this course. Coming from the position where I was before we started the course, I wouldn’t have been able to get to this position without having those tools and strategies.
What are some of the tools that support you and your team?
What I really needed to learn was the mindset and strategies in getting above the maze, getting to that strategic position, away from the technical minutiae. Being able to delegate around the team, and being able to empower the team to perform so I don’t need to micro manage them so they can all be capable in their own right, of doing stuff.
I’ve implemented the leadership model where I’m there to empower and provide them with what they need to get things done rather than sitting, looking over their shoulder and telling them exactly how I want things to be accomplished.
I’m able to motivate and inspire the team, being able to find out the triggers and the switches for each of the team members and using those to motivate them. You have to tune it to each of the individuals. There’s no blanket approach to that so having all these extra ways of doing that, having a big arsenal of things to try is a much better place to be.
I’ve built that respect and loyalty on both sides. That works both ways in a team. People that respect me, I’ve got to respect them for what they bring to the table as well. Just all these little building blocks, that all build up to just make a really cohesive leadership structure.
They trust me, because I’m giving them strategic vision, and they know why and how they need to accomplish things. And me being able to trust them enough to let them do what they do best – deliver the outcomes.
There’s been a lot of interest from peers, from colleagues at the same level, over how the team’s working. How we’re delivering outcomes, and how we’re getting stuff done.
They’ve seen a change in the aspects and the way I deliver things. They’ve seen me rise to that challenge. We’re working in a high paced environment that’s got a lot of visibility across the bank, it’s good to know that it’s been received well, and we’re headed in the right direction.
And how do you feel as a leader now?
I’m very confident now to call myself a leader. Previously I was suffering from a pretty heavy dose of imposter syndrome.
I now know the theory behind what I’m delivering, so there’s a position of strength there.
Just the ability to be able to granularly check how I’m doing and what I’m doing with some of the aspects that we learned in the course, the accountability, and the constant checking, because it’s a process, right?
We need to constantly check and you have to remember as well, we’re dealing with human beings who have their own free will and their own ability to change in themselves, so the aspects of that team are going to change over time, people will come and go, individuals change their mindset. That constant check-in just to make sure that everything’s still working and everything’s still firing, in the best ability it possibly can.
You’re taking on a lot of responsibility. How’s your stress levels through this whole thing, comparatively, if you wouldn’t have gone through the course?
Because we’ve been through that journey, because we’ve seen all the different aspects of leadership, and we’ve talked about how to deal with a lot of this kind of stuff, there’s day to day stress but there’s no underlying stress, if that makes sense. It’s not building up, it’s not getting that bad.
There’s a lot of stress involved in what I’m now delivering, but now I know how to manage it. It’s the buzz of getting things done, it’s the deadlines and the deliveries that need to be made.
There’s a lot of people to look after on the team, but I guarantee you if we had this conversation before we started the course, and everything had hit, I’d be a drowning man looking for the lifebelt (life preserver) as opposed to coming from a position of strength, compared to the drowning guy in the lifebelt. I feel like I’m in the yacht.
I’ve got a strong foundation underneath me, I’m floating’ along. There’s some waves coming’ up, we can see them, but we can totally figure out how to get over that.
How did the course change your life outside of work?
My life’s a lot different outside of work – I can see the changes in my mindset, health and well-being.
The mindset shift into the strategic place has lifted the non-work parts of my life out of the minutia as well. We’ve joined the gym and now have that as a central part of our routine. Health results are very tangible.
Dealing with 3 kids is always a challenge but I now have a different viewpoint, that above the maze view I was talking about. It helps to see the bigger picture.
There are a lot of challenges in my industry at the moment, a lot of uncertainty around what the future engagement model might be, but the leadership course has given me the tools I need to position myself for success, to operate above my peers and make sure I can succeed in the future.
The amount of stress that has removed from my life is phenomenal and can’t be underestimated. Work doesn’t carry over into family life anymore and now I have a more balanced home life.
How do you feel the course has prepared you for the rest of your career?
The challenges are still out there, there’s still a lot of this stuff that are way out of my comfort zone. But the difference now is I know how to deal with that and how to approach those things.
Now that I have this toolset, there’s a whole suite of things that I’ve now got available to me that I can apply to lots of different situations and figure out what the right strategy is.
What’s the old saying? If all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail? I can now deal with nuts and screws.
Being a non-exec director on a board and senior management is something that you’ve had your eyes on. Do feel more prepared to both get considered for and perform in those roles?
That part of the course really set me straight on a few aspects of that kind of engagement that were puzzling me. I’d been looking to get on to some kind of strategic board level positions using my technology background and my strategic capabilities in that space to help businesses out.
I took a position as a trustee on a charity up here in Scotland, and I’m getting a lot out of that engagement, as well.
Now I understand the strategy rather than the minutiae has been really paramount to help them with that. I’m helping guide them in the right strategic approach.
That’s been an interesting part of this journey as well. Just engaging in that process and seeing different aspects that are different from my day to day.
I’ve spent a long time in my career building up and selling myself and my technical ability. And if I want to be strategic, I need to get over that. That is not to say that that is no longer any use to me, but I need to know how to temper that and how to position that as a strategic outcome.
What’s next for you in your career?
Senior management has highlighted the fact that I put this team together, that we’re delivering, they’re very impressed with my approach, the way I’m doing things.
I’ve already been earmarked for leadership in a talent pool for future projects, and they’re talking about more strategic senior positions and opportunities for me.
These things are all moving in the absolute right direction, in the way that I had hoped, it would all pan out so the outcomes are really positive, yes.
What would you tell someone considering the course?
Get off the fence. It’s one of the best strategic decisions you’ll ever make.
The journey has been phenomenal. Basically, the difference has given me the ability to lead and to be seen as a strategic leader. It’s night and day.
Had I tried to do what I’ve done with the team before I knew all this stuff, the stress levels would be off the chart and I’d be sitting here with my head in my hand wondering how I was going to get out of this hole.
Now, I’m sitting here talking about good stress and having a high performing team… All of these things are fantastic, and the opportunities are opening up for me, because I can now prove empirically that I can do this stuff, that I know how to lead, and it’s been the best.
I’ve also met amazing men and women on the course through the networking and community and the other activities.
So get off the fence, sign up, come and join the Michael fun bus.“
Interested in learning how you can achieve the same confidence, strategic leadership, and team inspiring gains that Gregor has?
Book a call with one of my professional Leadership Mentors here: https://tiny.cc/mentorcall
There’s no charge for the call, and you’ll be working with someone who will walk through where you’re at as a leader, get clarity on where you want to go in your career, and come out with a step-by-step gameplan to getting there.
If you’re dedicated and driven to keep growing both in your job and yourself, booking a call with my team is the single strongest thing you can do. Click the link now and get started: https://tiny.cc/mentorcall