John McFarlane

“In my days as a business leader, I had the fortune to lead the transformation of a number of companies, including importantly as CEO and Chairman. In my mind, one of the most successful was the Breakout program at ANZ in Australia, where we not only transformed the external reality and performance of the firm, but also the internal direction, energy and momentum of our people.

Many companies today require transformational change in order to grow, to produce sustainable returns and make a lasting contribution to society.  The journey starts with the vision and commitment of its leadership, but requires the commitment and capability to change, to transform, from everyone, and that requires teaching and facilitation.

The journey is both a personal and an interpersonal one.  It begins with one’s own truth – what we aspire to be on the outside must first be real inside.  There is then a building of personal capability, a mastery over oneself.  Equipped with this we can take the initiative into working with others for the success of the whole.

A key aspect was the appointment – normally self-selected – of Breakout Champions who led the day to day work with thousands of our people and who were trained in transformational skills by Gita Bellin and then in turn trained others and brought out the best in them.

The program was multifaceted and extended from vision and values, flexibility and freedom with responsibility, and enlisted the benefits of traditional communication and sharing, but its freedom stimulated creativity in multiple forms through music, art, dance, photography and poetry. The difficulty in all of this is keeping such momentum alive, which requires sustained ownership and belief, and continued innovation and renewal. It isn’t just about the ‘soft stuff’, it needs a business edge also, to ensure the right external outcomes.  The energy released and its impact was magical, purposeful and of course, memorable.”

John McFarlane