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Episode 9, Chris Blows, CFO, Ricoh Australia

  • Posted 24 Mar 2021
  • Richard Holmes
  • Podcast

Chris is a CA qualified and CFO at Ricoh Australia. 

He possesses over a decade of broad commercial experience across FMCG, IT  and Service based industries. 

With a professional career commencing in audit, Chris has held a number of commercial roles at Woolworths, Qantas, TAFE NSW and Fuji Xerox.

He has a passion for major brands in the inherent mechanics of commerciality, within organizations marked as high performing innovative market leaders.

Transcript Please note that this has been transcribed by AI/Bots so there may be typos and the occasional strange things happening. Richard Holmes 0:03 Welcome to the numbers people podcast in partnership with HPR consulting a leading Sydney executive finance recruitment firm. I'm your host Richard Holmes. In episode nine, we welcome Chris blows. Chris is a CA qualified CFO at Rico, Australia. He possesses over a decade of broad commercial experience across FMCG it and service-based industries. With a professional career commencing in audit, Chris has held a number of commercial roles at Woolworths. Qantas, TAFE. And Fuji Xerox is a passion for major brands in the inherent mechanics of commerciality, within organizations marked as high performing innovative market leaders. 0:47 like Chris, Chris Blows 0:49 and I'm, well, I'm well into November and very much looking forward to the festive season and the summertime coming up. sigh and terrific Richard Holmes 1:00 Good stuff. Good. Good to have you on the show. I've known Christopher for a number of years. And originally Chris started screenings Big Four and moved through their commercial route. He's currently the CFO of Rico. Chris, do you want to tell us more about your story? Chris Blows 1:14 Yeah. Well, probably My story begins sort of 20 odd years ago, and coming out of university and accepted into the graduate program at KPMG at the time, which was fantastic, and to be perfectly honest, study 100%. And I What, what it actually was coming out of any of what I was signing up for, but I had a really great five years, sort of there and foundational and starting with all people in exactly the same boat as yourself, progressing through terrific culture, terrific attitude to work, which really has proved a foundation for familiars of sort of move through my career made the very difficult decision to head off from there and when of work for a couple of really great brands worse, and also Qantas in commercial management style roles, very different. But my first real taste of commercial was in that retail sector with Woolies coming out of that did a bit of consulting for a while, then moved back to sort of more commercial with Qantas and Fuji Xerox was my first introduction at that time back into the print industry. First time ever, I actually did two stints at Fuji I did five years and then went to Qantas for a year and then came back Qanta was in very turbulent times when I joined um, funny story about that on my last day there with all the redundancies etc, that were going on. One of the other commercial managers actually showed the share price from when I joined corners to when I left corners in graphical form. So that was quite a humbling message in your farewell card at that time, but learnt a lot there and got the opportunity to go back to Fuji Xerox for another few years. And that was great love, print, love. The last con is the thrill of the chase interaction with sales and marketing. Mary Kay then left there and actually went over to TAFE, New South Wales to establish a business development functioning government, which was a challenge that was pretty keen to explore and use through my network to get there and spent just showing to us there before joining Rico most recently, and I've been at Rico now for nearly two years rich, and it's been quite a fast to his sound with lots of changes. And yeah, and they're culminating in being the CFO. And like all things with my timing thing right at the point where a global pandemic hits, which was, which is a fantastic time to step into a CFO role. It's been a very interesting intro. Richard Holmes 4:12 CBAnd how are you finding your first CFO role? Chris Blows 4:15 Mate, I'm finding it incredibly challenging. It's been a really, I was probably put into the safe our role a little bit sooner than I thought. What joined Rico was sort of a bit of a three-year plan for the existing CFO who has worked for a number of times got I got a terrific opportunity elsewhere. And I created a gap for me so being able to move there with and work directly for the managing director at the time. terrific opportunity and certainly not in the playbook but sort of got in started ripping in working out how I wanted to operate and want to go, mom and then A few months after that, a pandemic hit, which was, which was quite shocking to our industry, as you can imagine. I mean, globally, the economy's just been hammered. But for our industry, in particular, you know, people sent home from work all of a sudden now, the lifeblood of revenues and things we just disappeared overnight. Then after a couple of months of finding our way through all of that, we had a change of managing director. So the storm continued, so to speak, and it was just getting comfortable with my role and myself, and then another load of challenges coming in, but hopefully each day have embraced it with a degree of enthusiasm and drive and desire to get this company where I believe it can be on the way through, and hopefully I've kept all the Maurya attributes implied during it, sign. Richard Holmes 5:56 That's, that's the thing where you, Chris, you're optimistic positive guy, I think it's, it's a great leadership trait. So you've worked for these amazing companies, very iconic companies as well. When you look back at your career, Chris, what's the one thing you'd wish you'd known at this time? Chris Blows 6:15 That I've thought a lot about these kinds of questions in the past which and and and one thing I will say is, there will be days in your career and days in all of these roles, and it doesn't matter whether it was in my first two months at KPMG, or, or last week, you can be absolutely in a grind, stall die. You know, and really difficult. And it feels like the world's caving in on you. But I can honestly say, it's never as bad as what it looks like, at that point in time. And if you approach it again, with a week or a month later, you sort of look back and you go, wasn't actually that bad. And if you look at your series of decisions that you might have made or efforts that you'd put in, maybe there was a better way to do it. And a lot of its self-inflicted deadlines, the deadlines, and we need to make them but there will be lots of slog days, how you get through it fast, accurately, it's a means to an end. On those kinds of days, they're not career-defining. And it's never as bad as what it looks would be my overall summation of those kinds of things. Richard Holmes 7:23 It's, it's true as well. And as we go through our query, when we reflect at the start with our curry, you did your stress at that time you think this is rubbish? Yeah, it's got to push your girl to get up again. And then she said, You just said then a couple of weeks after you like it wasn't that bad? Yeah, it's amazing. So what advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue a career like yours? What was the catalyst for moving? Moving on from KPMG? Chris Blows 7:48 Yeah, I think, I think recognizing the if that's not human, you play for life. You know, obviously, you know, the pointy end of the hierarchy gets thinner and thinner and thinner and Big Four, but never lose sight of the fact that you had the opportunities and what was given to you, I think the work ethic and the ability to progress projects or client engagements, solve problems, identify issues, how we move from there. They're all learning experiences, those points and times, and they'll actually form the foundation for your career moving forward. As you get, I guess, further into it. Most of the career moves I've made haven't necessarily been planned, they've been an opportunity that came up that you explore, I guess, the way to look at that is you can never you listen to your way into trouble across any of those if it's someone approaching you with an opportunity, someone thinking about a different industry or a passion, you can literally never listen to your way into trouble on any of those. And I think, you know, stay relevant, stay consistent, be up to date with all your studies, but always focus on the bigger picture as to what next and where doesn't have to be defined step by step by year by month. There's not a program, you know, that's in place. That's milestone-driven. That's is That actually sounds alright. And I might give that a lash or that's not for me at that particular point in time. Once you've got the foundation in place, but work hard at the foundation certainly wasn't the most upmost quality auditor that ever existed. I wanted to be part of a business and doing those kinds of things. But the foundation was absolutely critical. And it's given me more opportunity, I think, that brand and that basis than I could ever give credit for at the time when I walked into it. So very, very fortunate from that perspective. Richard Holmes 9:48 employee compensation is referred to had Chris you've, you've obviously been influenced and got some great relationships and you followed your last boss a couple of times, who has influenced you the most Is it one person? Or is it the question of people, Chris Blows 10:04 it's multiple, I'd say, um, you know, first and foremost, probably my, my family in particular, my, my father was heavily involved in business and different jobs and encouraged me to go into accounting. When I was at uni, I actually wasn't necessarily that keen on it, I wanted to do sort of marketing and sales and those kinds of things. And he always felt and sort of recommended to get an understanding of numbers as to the heartbeat of an organization, and then you could branch out into whatever you wanted from there. Um, from that, it probably took me, you know, I would say the different managers I had at KPMG. So that certainly taught me how to be a professional and how how to, I guess, adapt into this, this style of work and what that actually meant. And then from that, you know, very fortunate to meet a particular manager who I've actually worked for three times. Now, we worked very hard, early on, at forming a strong relationship, a strong personal relationship that, you know, based on honesty, integrity, we have to work really, really hard at that, to the extent that you found a groove. And, and that's created the opportunity for me moving forward and definitely, and my family, um, but also having that, that that relationship, I guess we'd somebody that you this, just completely implicit trust. And that's been a really important defining moment. For our guests how I've worked and developed over the years. So lots of different, I guess you'd say, lots of different influences. Even today, um, you know, some of my times probably influences over my different points, which sounds a bit weird, maybe to a few people, but the style and different ways of operating. As you mature. As a leader. I think you fall on people in your teams who might be slightly different to you. And that gives you a different perspective and a different way of doing things. So I think they're in influence as well. Richard Holmes 12:11 It's not time, but that is a really good, interesting point, Chris, because as a leader, you can't just write up a lead and Oh, I know what I'm doing. It's constant learning, isn't it? Yeah. And learning from your team, you can't know everything, and they might bring something to you where you like, that's what's interesting. CB Chris Blows 12:28 Yeah, yeah. Big time. And I think you learn to lead from all different aspects of your environment, some weather is brought back into the sport. Yeah, hey, how you played the game, how you compete, how you draw, have you time mites forward to when you're actually running, you know, large, large groups of people. You know, your presence and your ability to listen to what you say what they're saying, adapt to that. But even acknowledge that 20 don't need to have 100% of the answers. That's, that's not what it's about. It's about doing the right thing at the right time, based on a range of influences into you. And I think your team, absolutely the heartbeat of what that looks like each and every day, it's very important that I pick up from that and wanted to listen, and sometimes a file, absolutely. Um, but going back, going back a couple of weeks later, with a, you know, what, you were actually should have done it your way or should have done that, you know, that that kind of way, um, I think shows humility, and that's what amazed what, uh, what most people seem to respond to and Walker with, with a leadership style when you get it wrong iron and moving from there. Richard Holmes 13:49 I mean, you hear it quite a lot, you've got to fail to succeed. But in the final space, you don't get want to fail. If you fail, it's never a good thing. Is it? But in terms of the hurdles you've personally faced in your career, what have they been in? How have you overcome them? Ah, Chris Blows 14:09 I don't think I've ever had, I guess I'm very fortunate to reach out to I don't think I've ever had what you consider an epic failure, which is probably why I'm on a sort of in the role that I am, it's never been a completely epic failure. But I can tell you, there would absolutely be a myriad of little ones that have contributed to my learning and shaping. Right back, you know, right back even into Woolworths just making mistakes around forecasting. And what that meant on in particular fresh produce and therefore pricing pays for Woolworths it felt like the world was just caving in on me here, I've mucked it up. And what something as simple as that was, which was literally a hidden number in a spreadsheet that I didn't pick out. So it was buried in there. And it, unfortunately, They resulted in the loss of a lot of chickens around the country based on a pricing strategy. Um, but what I did with that was I actually went that night, the minute I found the mistake, and I actually went into the, to the head of fresh fruit at the time, and knocked on his door, and I said, I just want to hold on, and just apologize. I should have picked this number up now excuses. I couldn't say it. You know, my mistake, 100%? How can I work with you to fix it? And he actually said, well, you can come back tomorrow, cuz this conversation just saved your job. And it was the fact of being yourself and just owning a mistake. And it taught me very early on everything with numbers, in particular, is fixable accounting, we can fix it with a journal, we can move some things, we can change some other things to make it all work, you know when we're not performing open heart surgery at that point in time. But, you know, fixing a mistake, owning it, fixing a mistake, the first bit to fixing or owning your failure is actually sitting there and owning it and really saying, Hey, that was my whoops, not gonna happen again. You don't do the same thing again and a week later. But how do you learn from that, and the fact that I can still talk about that best part of 15 years old, tells you that that one just absolutely resonated with me. And that's how I've, I've tried to run every one of my teams, you know, from then on, you know, so lots of little failures along the way, and you pick up? Richard Holmes 16:35 Oh, that's just a great example, Chris, and lightly touched on before, it's never as bad as it seemed, and you taking the ownership? Again? Well, I think when we're in our 20s It's such a big deal, isn't it? Do you think you're gonna lose your job when the world's collapsing? Yeah, but it's, it's gonna Yeah, only mistakes and move forward. It's, it's never as bad. And so in terms of your, your role now, as CFO what are you most curious about in terms of your current role? Chris Blows 17:02 Ah, there's just so many different things that that, that I'm actually really curious about it as COVID, I guess, and the pandemics Come on, you know, we're fascinated as, as a community, you know, with automation, and digitalization, and all these things that we've got to do, we've got to do it yesterday. And it's really important. One of the big things I guess I'm really curious about is how I guess the level of narrative still holds within finance. So the ability to actually tell the story, and I've read on LinkedIn on the weekends and some terrific commentary from a from another CFO through the outperformer. Guys, I'm just reading that, that commercial documents, the one thing that says, if I believe that we should be absolutely focused on and I guess I'm very much in the same camp, I think, you know, we rely on data and automation to fix all of our problems. And we lose the storytelling of Finance. I think we're really losing our seat at the table. I'm on that. So for me, the biggest curiosity is how the story and the narrative continue to build around, whether it be business recovery or even business decline for those industries that are still in decline. What does that look like? What's the impact of our water economy? What's also in my particular industry? What's people's attitude to work with? And what does that look like? And how is it how are we going to stay relevant around that? And so let's combining factors but for the finance community, and I guess, the CFO, how do you continue during this phase of desire from automation and, and all the other things that go with that, to continue to control the narrative through your commercial skills. And I think that that's a really tough part that, you know, moves and shapes each day for me Actually, the moment to be honest, and it's bear being open, open to start with listening to different perspectives, different viewpoints. And then mapping what that actually looks like from a finance perspective is really key. I think more than anything else. So I really enjoyed reading some of that stuff. Richard Holmes 19:19 And that leads nicely Chris so in terms of your own learning and development, your personal learning development, how do you continue to learn in order to stay on top of things because you're obviously busy with your own job? CB Chris Blows 19:31 Yeah, yeah. Look, I certainly try to take time each day. To learn in different ways. I guess I'm most times over you know, in the morning, first thing, I'll have a cup of coffee I like to read and want to read all about what's happening in business in general. Um, well then want to engage with we, you know, a couple of my staff before nine o'clock and, you know, always try to have that casual conversation around already. So I saw this on LinkedIn, you know, you might be interested in this podcast or this, this article, and actually take the time to go on reading and do that. So I think that that's pretty key, you know, one of my staff have just given me a couple of books on, well being and those kinds of things. He's quite a spiritual kind of guy. And it's my first foray into that as I start, and I said, Well, that's my Christmas holiday rating. You know, I say, so lining up future readings, I guess. But I'm really interested in commentary stall, stall learning so so perspective, different viewpoints, enabling me to sort of getting all different ways of looking at things and, and trying to make a decision often, or how to relate that learning into it into my business or my team. At that point in time, but I'll make a conscious effort. I'm not someone who can sit there for 12 hours reading, and studying and doing those kinds of things. I've never been like that, um, but small snippets, and he will do it daily, I feel, you know, abreast of the situation and, you know, and also making sure I'm getting a couple of different perspectives from different readings from other people, you know, send me that, or what apps that or what, anything like that, sir great app the other day, which is cost sad, I'm meeting you're sitting in, based on estimated, so I can sit there and show them on time this meeting has so far I cost us and we're not getting anywhere. Right? So it's different tools in the toolkit and different ways of doing things. So, yeah, that's kind of my, my learning and study, big time, the moment Richard Holmes 21:46 What's it? What's the biggest challenge you have with you, with your specific role right now and how are you going to going to overcome that Chris Blows 21:54 might be my biggest challenge is I guess, as a business, you know, we'd probably this is a tough one, I'm probably the business is at a different level, and then necessarily where the finance community is at. So it's almost double prong acceptance of what's happened with pandemic and the impact on results, he's really key from a business perspective. Um, and that's the biggest challenge getting the business to to to understand them, this is a really unique opportunity in our lives, to get back to basics as to what actually makes our businesses make us tick and allows us to work and operate is something that I say is my biggest challenge to get across what is necessary, versus what is nice to have, and how that that functional pay starts to come together and married together, um, is joining all the different conversations we've got are in budgeting time for next year, you know, the pandemic's that taught us one thing that there's no playbook, there's no textbook, we can pull out and say, This is what you do is to how to make these kinds of things work. And we need to, you know, you sort of combine that with owning your mistakes, you know, my group, in particular, we've gotten back to, you know, accurate forecasting, let's ensure accurately, let's ensure we can see what's happening to the best of our ability, not going to be 100%. Wrong. But making sure that we know that and set that roadmap is the biggest challenge because that creates that awareness piece for the rest of the business to then buy into and go, okay, right, I want to strip this back. Let's try to do this and really focus on what value looks like it's, I've seen it as a great opportunity to be honest with the rich and everybody is to actually strip back the complexities of where we've been on it as both the finance industry and even within my organization strip it right back to the basics of, you know, why do we exist? How are we doing that Herrick customers, what's finances role within that? And what value do we add? As we continue to move forward, and I think it's been a great refresh. I'm, you know, really forced to reef hit the refresh button and go, alright, cool. This is what we got. And now, what does that actually mean? First of all, so it's I think it's just been a unique opportunity that we'll never see again. Richard Holmes 24:29 That's, it's a really good, good way to look at it as well, isn't it when you reflect, take that step back. reassess, because we never really do that. We will we do, but not as much as what we had to do this year. Chris Blows 24:40 Yeah, I think we've just been afforded the time you know, it's, it's right back into the even the core reach of how do we work? You know, do I need to be at the office at 715 in the morning, do I need to go home like can I work from home on that day, can't you know, can I have a meeting in a T-shirt on All of those kinds of things. So we've actually really had to challenge ourselves on what might be foundational at one point that we've learned to work and adapt. And now it's about, you know, I think it's just a great opportunity to, you know, we're ticking along. Now what is the next phase look like? Richard Holmes 25:19 interesting one, Chris, we have heard from a lot of finance leaders, the productivity from their teams has gone up, gone through the roof. Yeah, working from home, which is really interesting. And with your point, before the cost of meetings, I think we're doing things on zoom and Google meet and things like that. It's a 30-minute meeting, and it is a 30-minute meeting. Yes. Yeah, yeah. It's, it's good. And I think you've got, you've got a you've got an hour as well. Oh, look, I've got another meeting. I've got to go. And yeah, there's no, there's no talk. But again, your collaboration is a bit lost. But it's interesting. It's case by case, isn't it? But it's Yeah, and we can't do it. Chris Blows 25:58 Yeah, we can. And, you know, it was obviously imposed on us, you know, very quickly, I mean, we, we were sent home from the office two weeks before year-end, arm, we've, we've just done our first year, in working from home, we've just done you know, audit, you know, working from home, with our external auditors, obviously, auditing us. Um, so it's, it's forced us into, you know, this, this completely different way of, of operating and going about things. You know, we're not 100% there yet, we're where we could absolutely sit there and do it. And, and, you know, in the type of industry that I currently work in, I actually want people in the office. So based on where we generate our revenues and profits from so it is a bit of a clash from that perspective, but it's learning how we coexist. And I think for the finance community, it's been a, it's been a really good thing because I can tell you, I'm always driving home and move sent home from work on on the 16th of March, driving home town head, how am I going to do a year, my first-year end as a CFO? I had a financial controller start that. And I made the sensible decision to not worry about it that day, and worry about it tomorrow. and work it out, because there'll be plenty of solutions. And we had it inside. And we got through it. And, you know, that's all I can ask for. Richard Holmes 27:32 In your career, Chris, you've seen a lot, you've seen the evolution of finance from what it was like, back in the early days, you KPMG in terms of the future of finance, what does it look? What's it look like for you? Chris Blows 27:46 I think it I think it's, it's the ability, you know, and I mentioned the words before, I think rich caught quite a bit, which is it's about the story, it's about the narrative of the organization, whether it be looking forward to where that evolution is, or being able to explain the history arm as well as an equal part of that, and that that narrative around it, I say it is such an important seat at the table, I guess, in the the the overriding executive landscape that, you know, we are the ones we are the custodians of ultimately, what every business gets measured off. And that's the ability to my money. You know, and we can have a million different KPIs and a million different ways of getting to that outcome. But the one common goal is, and how do we make more money than we did last year because that's what we're all really striving to do, to the success of our businesses. So I think finance, the future of it is very much around those, those roles, and those people with the commercial acumen skills to understand the drivers of their business, the drivers of the marketplace, and being able to explain and articulate that to the wider community who might be non-finance professionals, the absolute skills that we'll see finance continue to exist Well, well into the future, as a function and something I've certainly always been passionate about, um, you know, and getting involved in the business and understanding the challenge, understand the drive, understand what that actually means from a financial context and being able to relay and replay that to different engagement points throughout the business. It's just absolutely critical. And for me, it's the foundations there. And now what that evolution looks like is sort of the next phase over time, plenty of room for people. Richard Holmes 29:45 I mean, that's definitely the future isn't it, but the business partner in the communication, collaboration, skills that we're all going to need. And in knowing you Chris, you've got a very transparent and honest style T of I've known have known that and heard that over the years? Is that is that just a personality thing? Or is that been taught? Over the years? from the people? Chris Blows 30:09 Yeah, look, I think I think it's a combination of things. Definitely, for me, it's an inherent personality trait, um, I wear my heart on my sleeve, which has gotten me into trouble plenty of times, as well, um, from being that way. Um, but I never like to, to, I guess I never approached any, any kind of discussion or anything, where I left people wondering where I stood on it. And that's just me being honest and transparent. Um, I feel better. If I'm trying to wave the series of absolute rubbish, I actually don't really enjoy doing that. I wouldn't say I've always been someone who told them a management line necessarily, I would much rather be direct with people call it for what it is, and then use that as that point to signal a change or to signal a different way to go about things. So I pride myself on my honesty, I don't think anyone will ever take honesty or integrity away from me necessarily. I'm around it, and, you know, it seems to work can be unpopular at times, and can be confronting for others at times. And, you know, I guess early on in my career was something that I had to really learn is to that there's a way to give your opinion and, and, and to be honest about what you think, um, you know, how you taper that, you know, is a skill that you learn over time, but, but it's certainly I've never been somebody who sits necessarily quietly in the corner, if I'm sitting down there to contribute, and I'm there to, to absolutely give them my viewpoint. You know, I'm either gonna be right or wrong. And that's okay. Um, but, you know, I think I think being honest and transparent is absolutely made from, you know, from right back to when I was very young. Richard Holmes 32:04 That just makes sense, doesn't it? Just that you can ethics and integrity? It's 100 100? What, yep. What does culture mean to you? If you could explain culture? Yeah, so it sounds like a loaded question that 32:19 it is. Chris Blows 32:22 I mean, there's just so many different ways you could go with answering this culture, for me is Chris Blows 32:33 an organization or an individual handle adversity is is is how I would describe what culture actually represents, um, you know, it's, it's culture, for me is the lifeblood of anything, you know, we've all heard the saying, you know, culture eats strategy for breakfast. And, and I'm quite genuine, I believe it does. But it's how you handle adversity arm, as a very poor as an individual, or as an organization, that puts culture, it's such the heartbeat of it, you know, if you're positive and optimistic, if you're somebody who's driven off, you know, success, or KPIs or measures or whatever that looks like, and you're positively contributing to that, that positively contributes to the culture as a way to get through adversity when it's not working. And I think you always need to be able to have a really clear health check of your culture or really clean understanding of what that looks like. And to know that when those times are difficult to come, you've got this, this, this wonderful building block or foundation of a culture that absolutely sits there that you can rely on, your system might fail, your process might fail, Mary might have left the organization and there might be a huge knowledge gap that you're going to get through that kind of challenge. Um, if your culture stinks, you're going to be in a world of trouble. And it will just fester and continue to go that way. So I think it's really important and more so important to have regular health checks on that culture as to what that actually looks like, 34:16 for me. Richard Holmes 34:17 absolutely critical. That's a good point. Because cuz culture just changes. It's all about the people in the comments. And yeah, yeah, it's an interesting point about the health check. So knowing what you know, now, Chris, what advice would you give to younger self? Chris Blows 34:35 What advice would I give them? Slow down. I think don't move jobs for money would be another one. And I think at different times, there's always a propensity to focus on you know, what you can't necessarily control. And, you know, I think to the younger self Focus on what you do, how you can contribute, positively contribute, um, you know, focus on what you control. And, and, you know, just concentrate each day, I think on on a positive contribution and might be something very, very simple. Or it might be something for somebody else it might be, might he look dreadful? Would you like me to take you for a cup of coffee and we can have a young to be able to do that, as you know, when you're younger and just be aware of what's going on? Or Angie, I think he's really, really important. The whole heap of things in that but slow down, observe orangie and positively contribute would be I guess, the main advice I'd give myself. Richard Holmes 35:47 Sounds so simple, doesn't it? It's? Yeah, Chris Blows 35:51 it really does. Yeah, it's, it is, and I think it does come with age and maturity. You know, when I first started my career, I was somebody who was, you know, on high profile, highly competitive, rich, and you know, this and, and the will to win would often in my early stage, override the desired outcome. As long as I was always winning, everything was okay. I'm still working on that to this day. You know, around it, it's inherent personality, to how to do that and picky about all and sure that you, you just and that's why I guess, it's always easy to sort of sit there and say, pick your battle. And you know, don't win the battle, win the war, and all those kind of things. But you know, more so in the last couple of years, I've moved more to somebody who just says, How do you positively contribute? And that's, you know if you can do that, and that's something you can do each day, depending on what's going on, around you. Um, I think you can absolutely make a positive contribution to someone. Oh, Richard Holmes 37:02 it's a great way, it's a great way to look at it every day, everyone can do that. It's a great mindset to go every day at work to think like that, isn't it? I think we all just get consumed with what's at hand. But that's, that's great. Yeah. When when you feel overwhelmed, I mean, you don't come across like the kind of guy who does get stressed and overwhelmed, but what do you do to relax and kind of calm yourself. Chris Blows 37:27 Um, a couple of things that I do is I actually try to walk away from the situation that's actually causing me stress. So, um, I don't want to be in a heated discussion or a passionate, you know, sort of viewpoints actually want to put time between he's one thing I absolutely do, I'm gonna get myself a cup of coffee. Often. I'll we'll go and, and sit in a room. And at work, we're very blessed. So we've got a lot of different places we can go to, um, just compose myself. And I usually try to write a couple of bullet points of things I actually wanted to do, or say, or, or, you know, screen, different points. But then try to find, I guess, the way that I'm going to tackle that next, you know, do I need to put that on the agenda for a meeting in a couple of weeks? Can all kind of wait for that period of time? You know, do I actually know the answer here? And objectively step away from the situation? And go, do I actually know what the right thing to do? Because if it's not, I'm going to do a straw poll. I'm about to go and talk to three of my trusted closest people. So what would you do? Rather than escalate? You know, what the situation is? There is plenty of days that you do feel overwhelmed, people will look to you for decisions, people will look to you to make timelines, people will look to you to absolutely drive out, you know, an outcome at that point in time. I think, probably what I've learned more in the last, you know, sort of six months of doing this is being able to ask for time is okay, guys, I understand the situation. I actually don't know the answer. But I'll tell you what, I'm going to come back, you know, whether it be tomorrow or this afternoon, and we're going to work on this and we're going to have a proper way to do it. It's if your team sees you throwing your toys out of the court or panicking or anything like that, it's gonna breed panic in them or panic in your stakeholders around where we actually sit. So So for me, it's about just taking time breathing, throw it, um, you know, and making sure that you know that the next part of that conversation you have is constructive. And it's still something I'm trying to work on, which to be perfectly honest because it doesn't always end up like that. Um, but, you know, I think it's the ability to recognize at different points that you are actually overwhelmed or you are Actually in a position that I don't know the answer, or what's the right arm, your ability to have that has been something that that that was really important to me over the last couple of years that I've sort of started to develop. And then now how what do I do with that is still a work in progress? And I'm sure my team can attest to that when I hear this. Richard Holmes 40:23 That's good. It's constant learning, though, isn't it? No, we only know what you're going through. Right? When times are like that, you just got to adapt. You got to you got to react. And unless you said, Look, I mean, just simply asking for the time, we'll get back to you. It's slowly touching me, it's never as bad as it seems we've just got to put a bit of a process to it take our time. Chris Blows 40:42 Exactly. Exactly. And I mean, understanding what you did and one cent, you know, we're in a deadline-driven, rock-driven roll. So all of that's not negotiable. Say, how do you build around that? What are you trying to do? How is this problem, but also, I think as you move into those leadership roles, I think the real thing is to understand that that particular issue that's been surface to you may not be your biggest priority of that day. But it could be wanting a team's biggest priorities in a world and it's how do you juggle that attention and being present for them. And in doing that, with your own timeline, and pressure that, you know, is on the other side, and I think that is something that we should all be continually evolving? I don't think anyone I've ever seen is perfect to that. And, you know, good being aware of it, I think the first step, and then how do we actually, you know, make that because that's a positive contribution, you know, that person really needed to talk to you, because they really stressed about it and their issue. And if they can resolve that, then they can go home, and they can take their kids to soccer training, or they can, you know, and dealing with a clear conscience, that might not be my biggest priority that day. But I've got to take that five minutes to let them leave the office in it, you know, you know, in a positive mindset that they feel resolved. You know, that could be as simple as my one and only positive contribution that day. But you can do that and be aware, then I think it's a great outcome. Richard Holmes 42:09 Not everybody 100% agrees. And to close out, Chris, what makes you happy? You're a happy optimistic positive guy. But what makes you happy, not just in work, but outside of work? Chris Blows 42:22 Outside of work? Usually, when the mainly say goes, when that makes me pretty happy. I'm used to it. Yeah, it was a tough year. It was very tough. But, um, I have a couple of, you know, my family, you know, it's a very cliched answer ish, but my family makes me very happy. Um, um, you know, I love spending time with my boys. I've got two boys who are 10, and eight, and they just grow up so fast. They're unique, they've got their own little personalities. They're strong-willed, obviously, like their mother. And, you know, we, we just love hanging out and doing all kinds of different stuff, I love going to their games, or whatever sport they're playing. I think attending your kid’s sport is the best entertainment that you can possibly get on a weekend. And I'm there at every single guy that will possibly be. And also enjoy creating, you know, a little bit of time. Just to catch up with my mates, um, guys, that different industry, different ways of working on I've got, you know, mates, whether they be professional tradies or all kinds of different guys. And being able to create that time once every few months, go out and you have a beer, I think is incredibly important for a little bit of, you know, the mental health side of things. And that corner reality. So always try to make time and we generally have an absolute laugh and a great time while we're doughnut sharing, you know, tiles and things like that. And I think that genuinely makes me happy. So family and friends might just the simple call be perfectly under $10 is what makes me happy. 44:17 Beyond the $10 There 44:18 we go. Richard Holmes 44:21 Well, hey, Chris, I think you've been a great guest. very insightful, as always, and I really appreciate you coming on to the numerous people podcast and look. Appreciate your time. Have a great day and we'll catch up soon. Chris Blows 44:35 Hey. Thanks for having me. We'll look forward to seeing you, Richard Holmes 44:39 Chris. Thanks.
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