ET-059: A conversation with Mr. Mark Hodgson
ET-059: A conversation with Mr. Mark Hodgson
and your host Wayne Brown on August 08, 2023
and your host Wayne Brown on August 08, 2023
Episode notes: A conversation with Mr. Mark Hodgson
Hello and welcome to the ET Project. I’m your host, Wayne Brown, and as usual, we’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world whom we’re affectionately referring to as Team ET.
And today I’m pleased to say that although I’ve enjoyed my prolonged six weeks’ stay in the United States, it’s nice to be moving to a new country. And this week we’re in Sydney, Australia, visiting Mr. Mark Hodgson, a transformational leadership expert.
Mark is an executive coach and author, advisor, and keynote speaker. He helps motivate professionals to unlock their inner talents and create the successful and meaningful lives we all crave. Mark has inspired large teams in commercial and not-for-profit businesses and is a natural disruptor. He works with executives, entrepreneurs, and business owners to build their personal brand and influence and is an expert in leading change.
Here is an extract from our conversation as we start to get into it…
“…I talked about this idea, we had five years of change in five months and I think we really did. Even perhaps more interesting because now as that recedes into the rear-view mirror is where we are, where we are now, where the world is now. Lots of change, lots of I suppose we’re seeing some adverse things that COVID hangover economically around the globe and how organizations, governments are responding to that now we’re seeing those sort of colder economic winds blowing through. And it’s challenging. We were just talking about it before we came on air. I don’t think it’s ever been a more challenging time to be a leader…”
Today’s Guest: MR. MARK HODGSON
As Mark says – With so much career competition today, it’s important that you show up at your very best, and this is where he can help you. Mark comes from a corporate background holding senior roles in the UK, Australasia, Central Europe, and Russia. Today, he’s a leading thinker in transformation and what it takes to thrive in complex times.
When you check out his website, you’ll see that he speaks about personal brand, marketing yourself, and focusing on becoming that “second half hero,” all of which we discuss at length. As Mark puts it, he helps frustrated mid-career, mid-life executives create the best chapter of their working lives, by helping them find their second-half hero. And there are three frequent outcomes as they set up their process to achieve that goal.
Rejuvenation – a new sense of purpose and energy within corporate
Reinvention – A portfolio career as a consultant, thought leader, or contractor
Redirection – A career flip, e.g. becoming a farmer, tree surgeon, musician, etc.
Final words from Mark:
MH: There’s a lot of confusion. There’s a lot of angst both professionally and with the AI thing and just with the world as it is. And I think the Second Half Hero idea and the thinking that it contains could be helpful to quite a few people.
WB: There’s a study out maybe a couple of years ago now, saying that there’s an expectation that the freelance world is going to explode. So, I think there are a lot of people on that Second Half journey soon, if not already.
MH: I can’t see how the AI for the masses in ChatGPT and other things like that, I can’t see how that doesn’t end with a whole lot of existing jobs being automated. I just can’t understand how that would work, because some of the things it can do, I’m going, “Gee, that’s amazing.”
And then there are people in certain roles doing relatively manual or repetitive tasks, writing reports and say, “Well, AI can do that.” And then once it does that, why would we need to employ a human being to do it? And the answer is you won’t. That’s gonna be really interesting to see how that plays out. So yeah, I think more people are gonna be working for themselves….
0:00:00.0 Wayne Brown: Hello, I’m your host, Wayne Brown, and welcome to the
ET project. We’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world, whom we’re affectionately referring to as team ET. And today I’m pleased to say that although I’ve enjoyed my prolonged six weeks stay in the United States, it’s nice to be moving to a new country. And this week we’re in Sydney, Australia, visiting Mr. Mark Hodgson, a transformational leadership expert. And before I start introducing Mark and his background, you’ll hear in the episode that Mark and I have a little fun at the beginning speaking about the pending Ashes series between Australia and England. Of course, Mark, being from the UK and myself from Australia, this is a very topical series for both of us and for the uninitiated, this is a five test cricket tournament that dates back to 1882. When Mark and I recorded this episode, we were at the very start of that series, and now some weeks later with the podcast release, the series has just concluded, ending in a draw.
0:01:05.4 WB: All right. Enough on sport, let’s come back to the focus on our executive talent. Mark is an executive coach and author, advisor, and keynote speaker. He helps motivate professionals to unlock their inner talents and create the successful and meaningful lives we all crave. Mark has inspired large teams in commercial and not-for-profit businesses and is a natural disruptor. He works with executives, entrepreneurs and business owners to build their personal brand and influence and is an expert in leading change.
0:01:37.2 WB: With so much career competition today, it’s important that you show up at your very best, and this is where Mark can help you. He comes from a corporate background holding senior roles in the UK, Australasia, Central Europe, and Russia. Today, he’s a leading thinker in transformation and what it takes to thrive in complex times. When you check out his website, you’ll see that he speaks about personal brand, about marketing yourself and focusing on becoming that second half hero, all of which we discuss at length. So team ET, I invite you to join us today with this conversation, my guest, Mr. Mark Hodgson. And the episode titled, Developing Your Personal Brand and Becoming that Second Half Hero.
0:02:22.6 Speaker 2: Welcome to the ET project, a podcast for those executive talents determined to release their true potential and create an impact. Join our veteran coach and mentor Wayne Brown as we unpack an exciting future together.
0:02:39.0 WB: All right. Welcome team ET. Great to have you back for yet another week. And as I always say, we have a fantastic guest lined up. Mark Hodgson, great to have you on the ET project. We’re gonna have a lot of fun short just based on the banter that we had before I hit record. We’re gonna be talking a lot about the transition, if you like, between the second half of your career or your life, if you like. And as we move in our case from the corporate world to looking at business ourselves, we’ll be talking a lot around that. But I can’t miss the opportunity Mark to just to have a little bit of a dig and address the elephant in the room.
0:03:22.6 WB: For those that didn’t pick up or haven’t picked up yet, Mark is in Australia, sitting in Sydney, but you may pick up from his accent that he’s not born and bred in Australia. He comes from the mothership in the UK. And therefore, even though when this podcast is released, it’s going to be past tense. I can’t avoid addressing the elephant in the room, which is the Ashes series of cricket that’s going on at the moment. I know we have a big Indian listener base. Of course, Australia has just knocked off the Indian team in the world test, right. So it’s looking reasonably optimistic for test number one. That’s in day five right as we speak. How are you feeling?
0:04:12.4 Mr. Mark Hodgson: Hi Wayne. Hi everyone. Really a real pleasure to on the podcast. Yeah, it’s fascinating. I say it will be interesting to see how time treats this podcast. We’re speaking on the just before the start of the fifth day of the first test and I think Australia, they need 175 runs to win or something like that.
0:04:34.3 WB: Yeah.
0:04:34.3 MH: And they’re three down, and it’s a day five wickets. And I’m not a massive cricket tragic, but it’s certainly been an electrifying contest.
0:04:43.3 MH: The English, as I say, I’m a native pom as they call them here in Australia. We’ve done what we do best. We went in trouble, and if you remember up until a couple of years ago, the English cricket team were all over the place. So we went… We employed some foreigners, specifically some New Zealanders. So we’ve got a New Zealand coach and also a lot of people, a lot of my mates here argue that we’ve got a New Zealand player and our captain, Stokes. So either way it’s looking very exciting. And they play this new brand of thing called Bazball.
0:05:18.3 WB: Bazball.
0:05:18.4 MH: Which is like attack and back attack. It’s like you score 100, we’ll score 150, which is a very… I was gonna say it’s a very un-English approach. We tend to be very conservative and it’s been electrifying. So yeah, it’s exciting. It’s exciting so and you’ll agree the fact, whoever wins, hopefully it’s the Poms, but if it’s not, that’s okay. It’s been a great contest, which is really what you want. And both sides are playing to win, not to draw or drag it out so yeah, exciting.
0:05:45.4 WB: It is exciting. I had the honor of playing or organizing and playing a match in India. You can probably imagine for an Australian playing against either the English or the Indians is really the pinnacle of what you wanna do as you’re a quicker player. And I had that honor and it was fantastic. It was just a social corporate event, but we got thoroughly flogged by the way [laughter]
0:06:14.2 MH: You got tommed. Good for you. Good for you.
0:06:16.5 WB: Yeah. Apart from Cricket, what’s got you excited about life or the world at the moment?
0:06:23.5 MH: Great question. Yeah, what was it? Confucius wished on us, and may you live in interesting times, I think he said. And we certainly do. I think you and I are similar vintage Wayne. I’m 58 and I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say as a 35 something year corporate professional in one way, shape or form, I can’t remember anything as amazing and different, challenging, transformative, I suppose, transformational as the last three years from COVID and obviously the COVID piece itself, where the world changed.
0:07:04.6 MH: I talked about this idea, we had five years of change in five months and I think we really did. Even perhaps more interesting because now as that recedes into the rear-view mirror is where we are, where we are now, where the world is now. Lots of change, lots of I suppose we’re seeing some adverse things that COVID hangover economically around the globe and how organizations, governments are responding to that now we’re seeing those sort of colder economic winds blowing through. And it’s challenging. We were just talking about before we came on air. I don’t think it’s ever been a more challenging time to be a leader.
0:07:41.9 MH: But the flip of that, and I’m an internal optimist, I also think there’s probably never been more opportunity ’cause in a sense we’ve all come out of the pandemic years and that’s been a great leveler. And I think whoever you were, whatever you achieved, whatever plaudits or things, you… Successes you had or didn’t have Pre-COVID now we all get really to restart and go again because I think a lot of the skills and attributes, qualities that would help us to be successful in where are we now? 2019, 2020? Sometimes I think they’re not necessarily the same ones we need now. We need to be a lot more versatile. I think we need to be braver. I think things like communication and originality, creativity, energy, if you like, are much more important than they were sort of last year plus a bit thinking that incrementalism.
0:08:32.2 MH: I think that’s more challenge. So yeah, for those of us who are in the game of growing people and helping people to fulfill their total potential, I think it’s exciting times. Not easy, not without risk for sure, but I think for those who are ready to have a crack, I think these are really times full of opportunity.
0:08:50.0 WB: I’m with you in that regard. Life and business is always a challenge but it’s how you approach it. And as you said, if you have the right mindset, if you have that willingness and that attitude, then there’s the opportunities there that probably may not have existed Pre-COVID. There’ll probably be a lot of naysayers to that comment.
0:09:09.6 WB: I can imagine. There’ll be some really struggling. We’re going to jump into a conversation for a term that you’ve coined, which is your Second Half Hero. We’re gonna talk about that in more detail in a minute. I’m wondering what was life like for you before you entered this second half of your journey? What were you doing, how did you start your career and what led you to this point?
0:09:36.4 MH: So yeah, born in the UK, I started working in media and advertising. So I sold TV airtime back in the day in London.
0:09:46.1 WB: Wow.
0:09:46.7 MH: Which was really exciting, quite glamorous. I really like that industry and that took me… Spent about five years doing that in the UK. And then my then girlfriend, now wife, she got a job in Budapest in Hungary. Then she found me a job in media and so I went over there and this is just after, this is the mid ’90s, just after the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War. The wall came down. So Hungary and other post Soviet, former Soviet countries were emerging from communism, soft communism at that point and it was just an amazing place to be. So we spent five years there.
0:10:25.4 MH: I ran a media business in outdoor advertising, had massive experience of living and working in really interesting times, coming probably the most fascinating times I can remember. And then during that we also came to Australia on holiday. Fell in love with Australia, fell in love with the sun. I love water sports and the UK, beautiful as it is, is not the best place for water sports ’cause of the climate and that borders here. So I sort of continued my career in media and advertising. Came to Australia as over time became more and more interested in I guess the leadership and change aspects of running businesses, growing businesses.
0:11:03.8 MH: At the same time I got a little bit disenfranchised with the media business, advertising business, I suppose it’s a young person’s business. As you grow older I think there’s a tendency to outgrow it a little bit.
0:11:16.0 WB: Yeah.
0:11:17.1 MH: I became more fascinated in change in leadership. My last corporate role, I decided to leave advertising and my last corporate role, I ended up working for a large not for profit leading a corporate transformation and we turned a million dollar loss into a $4,000,000 profit in three years. And I just loved that. And we did that the right way.
0:11:34.8 MH: That wasn’t through stripping lots of costs out of the business. That was really by leading people. And I love the definition, the role of a leader is to bring out the greatness in others and I like to think that that’s what I did there, just removed blocks and enabled people to thrive and really do their jobs to their full potential. And the bottom line that sorted itself out. At the end of that experience, which is about 12 years ago now, the CEO basically he said, thanks for fixing that up Mark, now we’re making you and your team redundant. Which was wrong on a lot of levels. I mean from an ego, it was hurtful from an ego perspective, but more importantly what it actually said to me was the organization lacked ambition. They just aspired to mediocrity rather than greatness so rather than say, hey, look at the amazing job that division has done it we transformed it. And not just me, my team.
0:12:22.4 MH: Rather than saying, hey, how can we take some of what’s going on there and move that to some of the other parts of the organization? They basically said, hey, thanks for fixing up the red ink over there, now you can leave. Which really brings me to, I guess, the guts of what I’m about. I was probably seen as a bit of a corporate maverick, bit impatient for change, probably ruffled a few feathers, scared a few horses on the way through. And on the other side of that redundancy, which is the first time I’d ever been made redundant, I was so shocked. [laughter]
0:12:51.6 MH: But on the other side, I decided to set out on my own, and so that’s what I’m doing for the last 12 years. And I’ve been coaching execs and teams around leadership, especially thought leadership and change. That kind of brings me to where I’m today. I’ve been doing that for, well, over a decade and love it. But coming back to your question, one of the things that I love about doing, what I get to do and what you get to do, Wayne, is to carry on that idea of bringing out the greatness in others really helping people to remove roadblocks and thrive. So I love doing that and I get to do that without boundaries from corporates or CEOs, something like that, which is cool, just…
0:13:28.1 WB: You can wake up every morning and look forward to what’s ahead rather than think about the challenges that you might have to overcome through other people.
0:13:35.5 MH: Absolutely. Absolutely.
0:13:36.5 WB: Yeah, fantastic. You mentioned that you’ve worked in a number of different countries and obviously that means you’ve worked with different cultures. What’s some of the greatest gifts that came out of that exposure?
0:13:48.1 MH: Yeah it’s interesting. I worked in… Probably the one that I remember working in central Europe in Hungary specifically and everything was translated. So you had to go to the meeting where you were… Yeah, everything was translated. My staff all spoke English and I learned to speak a little bit Hungarian in the end, but certainly not enough to do business. This was a post-communist era and we were meant to be the bright thinkers from the west who had came in to educate the poor undereducated Eastern Europeans and so forth. But it became very clear, very quickly that massive intelligence, really high standards of education. I suppose the cultural truth is everyone wanted to grow. Everyone wanted to learn.
0:14:29.9 MH: There was a real appetite for change and growth and success in one sense, but not just in a money sort of make a ton of money sense but in that sense of growth and professional success. I’ve seen that across the world. I actually did a few stints. I worked in Moscow for around nine months, on and off there doing, going back in media and advertising. And what was interesting there not withstanding well, so given what’s happened now with Ukraine and so forth, I worked with some amazing people in Moscow, just the same as Australians or Brits or Americans or anyone else I’ve ever worked with. There’s great people everywhere. And I think if there’s a conclusion from my particular experiences that, most people in most cultures they wanna do their best. They wanna learn, they want to grow, they want to be successful for themselves. They wanna be successful for their families. If you’re able to help people to do that, I think that’s kind of a universal truth, certainly in the countries I’ve worked in. There’s obviously other countries that may not be true culturally, but certainly in inverted commas “The West” or the “Emerging West” or “Emerging first world countries”, that’s certainly been my experience. So it’s a lovely thing to observe.
0:15:43.3 MH: Final thought on that. One of the things I really love is when working with some of the talent in some of the more emerging countries, so I’ve got several people who work with me, for example, in the Philippines. And their attitude and their can do-ness and their positivity is amazing. And it’s a bit of a tonic ’cause sometimes you get a bit of a jaded attitude from some Australians or from Brits or others who kind of, “Oh, do I have to go to work”. And all this whole, ‘I’ll work from home conversation, which I’m sure you’ve done to death. And sometimes that positivity of people are just grateful to have a great job, love learning, love doing stuff come with amazing attitude. That can be really refreshing, so I think that shouldn’t be lost on us either.
0:16:24.7 WB: I’ve had the luxury of working in many countries around the world, and almost identical observation is what you just explained so I have a belief that at our core, we share some similar values regardless of which country we’re in. It’s often unfortunate when I hear particularly let’s say, leading western countries that have this mindset that everyone else is maybe not quite as good, but as you said, when you actually get there, there’s some brilliant people everywhere in the world.
0:16:58.4 MH: Yeah. And off new place, a higher value on education and study and yeah, really just so smart, so driven, so accomplished, and doing extraordinary things.
0:17:11.4 WB: Yeah, absolutely. Let’s jump into this term. I like this term, but I need you to explain it further. Second Half Hero, what’s it all about?
0:17:22.0 MH: I guess it’s… In that piece I’ve just described about my personal transformational reinvention from a corporate leader to set out my own shingle and build my own consultancy business, that is more than going from getting a salary to sending invoices and working for yourself. It’s actually much bigger than that. And I think there’s some aspects around that and I know a lot of the work I do and end up doing and kind of drawn to, I’m drawn to it and people are drawn to me because I think a lot of us are looking for that second chapter of our lives. Maybe corporate roles are great. They’re fine, there’s nothing wrong with corporate roles. And corporate roles might be the right thing for a lot of people, but also, for whatever reason and especially at certain ages, I think certain sort of seasons of our life, a lot of professionals actually work at either they’ve done their run of corporate, they’ve done 20 years, they’ve done as much as they can do or they’re a bit frustrated or they’re bored or stuck or they kind of feel they’re being passed over or they kind of feel maybe you know what, “I did this for a certain period of time and it’s one chapter on Ridgedale did it, but now I kind of hanker for something else.”
0:18:32.0 MH: For example, I came out of media and advertising and what I do now, yes, there’s some overlap in terms of some of the… I do a lot of communications and thought leadership. I have an understanding, a technical understanding of some things, but really they’re quite completely different. Media sale is about making money. Oh, not only making money really with a nice picture around it, but essentially that’s what it’s about. It’s a sales role. And what I do now is much more creative and much more about nurturing and growing other people. So that for me, is that pivot. And it’s helping people to take that pivot to uncover that second half. Now you may have multiple second halfs so it’s not as linear as first half, second half. But I like the idea of the Second Half and that reinvention transformation. And the Hero Piece comes really because the…
0:19:21.3 MH: If it’s just a sort of a natural evolution, then that’s probably not gonna be that heroic. Nothing wrong with that. But if you’re actually really looking to change direction and where… And there’s not an obvious path from where you are to where you want to get to and that’s feels like a real pivot, then that’s where the hero piece comes in. And it draws on the hero’s journey which many of you would… Many listeners would be aware of. I haven’t got time to do the whole thing, but fundamentally, the hero’s journey basically says, every one of us has an heroic adventure inside of us. We probably aspire and hank of certain things in our world and sometimes we move towards them, but oftentimes we don’t. We have to park those great visions, ambitions because of circumstance or being pragmatic or earning a living. And sometimes these things aren’t… We kinda where our… The direction our life is taking isn’t really going to towards that heroic best self. So we need to go on our own hero’s journey, and that really means usually taking on a bit of courage, a bit of bravery, and to use the vernacular of Hero’s Journey book, we need to cross the threshold. And crossing the threshold is really going into the unknown, going on an adventure, taking action, taking steps, and then a whole lot of things happen on the other side of that.
0:20:39.3 MH: And you’ll see that… And every movie you’ve ever seen is really based on the hero’s journey. Every day sort of suburban scene. And then something happens, there’s a plane crash, the aliens invade. Something happens, and then our heroes go off on some crazy unexpected adventure. And really, the hero thing from Second Half here is really encouraging people to go on your own hero’s journey. Get out of your comfort zone. If there’s something you aspire to, have a crack at it, take some risks. Don’t die wondering. I use this term, life’s too short to play it small. I had a very good friend, Simon Jordan, who died about 18 months ago, 52 from a heart attack. He was the most out there, outward bounds, enthusiastic, project starting charitable kind of crazy guy doing stuff. And he lived life very much to the full. He was plucked untimely very much from the world. And you kind of, I think when you see people like that, he lived life to the full and too many of us I think sort of we go that Groundhog Day thing or we fear the change or we want something, but we’re not prepared to go after it.
0:21:47.4 MH: And I really encourage people and through that hold I hold every Second Half Hero to embrace that change, take on the risk, cross the threshold and go on that adventure. And that adventure usually means moving away from your comfort zone and the status quo. There will be risk associated with it probably but when you start, there’s a lovely quote that says, “boldness kinda attracts its own rewards.” When you take a step, when you start moving, you almost always find stuff. Stuff starts to happen. People come into your world, resources, partnerships, opportunity, adventure. All you can guarantee is if you sit at your desk all your life and wait for the world to come and land on your desk and amazing things to happen, the chances of that are pretty much zero. You are guaranteed to fail if that’s your strategy. Go out there, have a crack, cross the threshold, go on an adventure and at least you’ve had a chance of… You have a chance of making what you want happen. So that’s Second Half Hero in a very sort of butchered kind of short version of it. [laughter] Hope that makes sense.
0:22:48.6 WB: It’s fantastic. We run a campaign, a new campaign every month and two or three months back now we did a challenge, a three day challenge, I think, on storytelling and A Hero’s Journey of course is one of the storytelling methods. So yeah, makes a lot of sense for our listeners. As a segue from that, you also talk about then what’s required as you transition. You say that, “To succeed in today’s world, you really need to stand out.” Being good at what you do is no longer enough. You have to be able to showcase and demonstrate how you bring value, particularly through your personal brand. So the question that always comes up when we make those statements is, yes, that’s great, but how? How do we create our brand? How do we really make such a difference and stand out when it’s such a crowded world?
0:23:42.7 MH: I do a lot of work in this area of personal branding and thought leadership. A lot of people find it very daunting and scary and therefore they never start and they think, “oh, I’m not smart enough.” Or, “I’ll run out of stuff to say, or I’ll be… If I try to put my head up in my marketplace, a hundred people will jump on me and say, who are you to say that? What do you know? I know more than you.” There’s a whole lot of sort of self-talk, usually uninformed self-talk that’s going on in our heads that we’ve gotta just kinda put to one side, because what… The reality is, people overthink this massively. They really overthink this. And like most things professionally and in life, the essence of doing this well is to be… Is simplicity. The essence of it is just to show up as who you really are, which is about being authentic, but it’s also about being you.
0:24:33.0 MH: And everyone thinks, “I’ve gotta create content, that I’ve gotta be a massive thought leader. I’ve gotta be really smart. I’ve gotta be groundbreaking. I’ve gotta be kinda splitting the atom. Every time I post something, it’s gotta be amazing.” And that’s completely not true. It’s the what wrong way to think about it. I think the better way to think about it is to… Is that you just have a conversation with your… With other people in your marketplace or your world, and tell them what’s going on in your world, what you’re thinking about it, how you’re experiencing it and maybe some thoughts and suggestions about how you are navigating it or maybe how you can help other people navigate it. So it’s much more low key than I think, we think it is. And the tone that we should adopt is the one of conversation, not proclamation. So because… So I do a lot of posts on LinkedIn. I’ve got… I don’t know 8,000 people following me. So I do a post, typically a thousand, 1500, couple of thousand people will like or look or do something with it. And we can make the mistake or one can make a mistake of thinking, therefore that you are talking to a keynote speaker, which I also… You’re talking to 2000 people in an auditorium, but you’re not.
0:25:40.1 MH: What you’re actually doing is talking one-to-one with people. It’s a one-to-one communication. It happens to be 2000 one-to-one communications, or five one-to-one communication. It doesn’t matter. But the point if you think of it that way, it’s a personal conversation. So when you write or create content or do little videos and the videos are great by the way, in the world of AI, that’s just splurging out a whole lot of kind of mere kind of content that’s sort of templated and it’s good but it kinda dilutes everything else. But the videos are great but… So all we need to… It’s is think about if you were having a cup of coffee with someone and what you might chat about.
0:26:15.2 MH: That’s the tone, that’s the level. So it’s peer-to-peer across the table with t-shirts or shirt sleeves rolled up over a cup of coffee. It’s not a presentation to an important client. That’s the wrong way to think about it. You know a model I talk about that may help people get into this, and by the way, this is quite a big thing. There’s a lot we can talk about, but maybe one key way to help people to get into this, I’ve got a model that explains this. And fundamentally there are, in terms of building our influence, building our thought leadership, there’s three things we need to bring to life. The first is our expertise. That’s about what we know. The second is our experience, it’s where we’ve been. And when we bring our expertise and our experience together, when we bring those two things to life, what we do is connect, we communicate that we are a credible subject matter expert. And if you think about it, most people’s LinkedIn profiles or your resume when you’re interviewing it is a combination of your expertise, your qualifications and so forth. And your experience, how you’ve applied them, where you’ve been, where you’ve worked, where you’ve lived, that kind of stuff, expertise and experience. And that’s cool. So, but, so it’s good to be a credible subject matter expert, but it’s not enough and the last that’s the thing we need to do, and this is what really helps you to stand out, is to bring the third element into this, which is your essence.
0:27:36.2 MH: So expertise, experience and the third element, which is essence. When we bring our essence into conjunction with our experience… Expertise and our experience, then not only do we come across as a credible subject matter expert, we also come across with conviction and also authenticity. So our essence, that’s about our personality, our traits, what we like, what we don’t like, what we’re finding, feeling, experiencing. It’s that personal, the human side of us. That’s the special sauce, if you like. When you sprinkle that across your expertise and your experience, it brings it to life and it brings it to life in a way that only you can bring it to life. That’s the uniqueness ’cause there’s only one you. So it’s your lens, your take, your experience of the world viewed through the lens of obviously a professional conversation about expertise and experience.
0:28:29.2 MH: And that, that’s the authenticity, that’s the conviction, that’s the belief, that’s what, when you create content in that mode, “Hey guys, here’s what I’m thinking. Here’s what I’m experiencing, I saw this, here’s what I’m thinking, I’ve got some ideas about that.”
0:28:43.5 WB: Yeah.
0:28:43.6 MH: “What do you think?” But it’s… That’s the kind of tone, that’s the conversation. And only you can do that through your lens. And only I can do that through my lens. And that’s how we get that unique content that is valuable as opposed, so it’s not about, I’m the only expert who knows X, Y, Z. It’s… Given I know this and I’ve done that, got this expertise and experience, but this is what I’m feeling or thinking or knowing right now. And these are some observations and maybe here’s some ideas that might be useful for you.
0:29:12.0 WB: Absolutely. So the three Es. You’ve recently brought out a book, Time to Shine. In the book you talk about the ideas economy. Can you expand a little bit on that? I mean, what does it mean? Ideas economy?
0:29:28.6 MH: The Ideas economy is, it’s a continuation of what we’re just talking about. It’s where, we’re in an age now where creativity and adaptability, where if you think in an organizational context, people aren’t looking for information and there’s an abundance of information. They’re not looking for more data most of them, we’re just drowning in all that stuff. What we need is people who can use their thinking and ideas and creativity to make sense of all this noise and confusion and ambiguity that’s been caused by COVID and now the aftermath of COVID. We need people who can think through that, make sense of that and bring those ideas and energy because things can be copied and replicated so fast now that the competitive advantage for us and our teams and our organizations is really the way we could organize and think and innovate much more than it is, and we’ve got a thing and it’s got a patent and no one else is gonna copy this for 10 years.
0:30:28.0 MH: That’s very… That’s even, as I say that seems like a very old school way of making money. And we’ve gotta be much more creative and I think that it’s… Coming back to that expertise, experience, essence piece. It’s about blending, isn’t it? Our kind of harder skills of study and expertise and technical skills but also with that more creative and human side to create ideas then communicating and connecting those ideas in a way that solves problems and therefore we can commercialize to make money.
0:31:01.3 WB: And then you also talk about Do, Be and Build. So I guess that’s then leading on to the influence part?
0:31:09.2 MH: Yeah, I mean, one of the things I talk about a lot is the… For us to be successful, to build stuff. I think a lot of people what, they shortcut the preparation work. We started talking about the cricket and to play games at a very high level or even competitively enjoyably, we’ve got to do the… You’ve got to do the pre-work. You’ve got to get fit, you’ve got to go build a technical knowledge. You’ve got… You can’t just expect to just wander into the middle of The Oval, not on the Oval, the middle of Edgbaston today and face some of the finest fast bowlers in the world and have a bit of a crack. You’re gonna make a fool of yourself. You know, you’ve gotta do the work.
0:31:48.3 MH: So the do piece is those, skills, I call it self work, do fitness, get up early, get up every day at the same time. Things like meditation and stretching and exercise and reading and journaling and gratitude stuff. Those sort of foundational core things are the things that get your mind and body ready. So that’s the Do. So that’s the Do. Do those things. Next you need to Be. You need to Be positive. You need to Be curious. When you do the first things and Be the second thing, then that is when you’re able to Build things, Build success, build profitable businesses, build your brand for example. That’s… So do, be build. That’s how that works. I work with a lot of successful executives at multiple levels and entrepreneurs and business founders, but you know what, they still work bloody hard. They are all getting up early. They’re doing those morning rituals, so I think people sometimes overlook the hard work. You’ve gotta work hard to be successful. And that mindset piece is really important.
0:32:58.0 WB: You also talk about humanity being your greatest asset. So I’m curious, what does that mean exactly?
0:33:06.1 MH: It’s the human side. It’s the essence piece. Our attributes, our hopes, our fears, our creativity, our passions, our faults. What AI cannot do is be human. We’ve gotta engage our humanity to come up with solutions. And as leaders, we’ve gotta connect with our people. Our people are humans. We’ve gotta communicate, appeal, lead, attract, create confidence for and with our staff. And that all pulls very heavily on our humanity. And that’s our point of difference. That’s our point of so… Yeah when we do that well, it’s extremely powerful.
0:33:46.9 WB: What are you working on at the moment? . Any new projects? , Any new books?
0:33:51.8 MH: Yes. So right now I’m working on a few things. So actually tomorrow I’m running a master class, which is all about helping professionals to transition to a post corporate career they love and which touched on some things we’ve spoken about today. For a long time now, I’ve been kicking around Second Half Hero and it’s interesting even talking to you about it. So I wanna write a really powerful sort of 10,000 word book, expanding on this Second Half Hero idea, because it’s super, super powerful. Taking risks, pushing yourself. And I love the idea that fundamentally, we need to do everything we can to fully confront our total potential, fully confront our total potential.
0:34:42.7 MH: That’s a big big big… It’s a big sentence. Fully confront our total potential. And I think the Second Half Hero piece is a very important part of that. So I’m thinking, yeah, working and thinking on all of that ’cause I think the time is right. There’s a lot of confusion. There’s a lot of angst both professionally and with the AI thing and just with the world as it is. And I think the Second Half Hero idea and the thinking that it contains could be helpful to quite a few people.
0:35:09.6 WB: There’s a study out maybe a couple of years ago now, saying that there’s an expectation that the freelance world is going to explode. So I think there’s a lot of people on that Second Half journey in the near future, if not already.
0:35:24.2 MH: I can’t see how the AI for the masses in ChatGPT and other things like that, I can’t see how that doesn’t end with a whole lot of existing jobs being automated. I just can’t understand how that would work, because some of the things it can do, I’m going, “Gee, that’s amazing.” And then there are people in certain roles doing relatively manual or repetitive tasks, writing reports and say, “Well, AI can do that.” And then once it does that, why would we need to employ a human being to do it? And the answer is you won’t. That’s gonna be really interesting to see how that plays out. So yeah, I think more people are gonna be working for themselves.
0:36:02.3 WB: Mark, where can people connect with you?
0:36:06.3 MH: You can get in contact with me. Email’s email@example.com. We’ll put that in the show notes. I’ll also send through to Wayne. There’ll be a whole load of free resources. I’d love to give anyone who’s interested and a listener a free e-version of my book, Time to Shine, which we’ve touched on. Interesting A ’cause it’s my mom’s favorite book. That’s one interesting thing about it. But the other thing interesting, it’s actually a compilation of about 100 blogs that I’ve been writing over 5, 6, 7 years now. And it’s interesting because it covers… I’ve basically taken a compilation of those, put them together and create a lot of short 2, 3 minute reads along very similar to what we’ve spoken about, but it also shows the importance of how you can build content and then repurpose it.
0:36:57.0 MH: So I didn’t disappear for 6 months to inverted commas, ‘ Write my book.’ ‘Cause that’s a really poor use of your time. If you like what you’ve heard today with our conversation, you’ll love this book. There’s also, if you’re interested in the brand piece, there’s a free diagnostic that you can use, I’ve prepared that will give you a personal brand report, gives you a score on where you are with your brand currently and some ideas on how to start. And there’ll be a few other things as well. So yeah, I’ll put… I’ll send that across to Wayne. If you look in the show notes, there’ll be some results and I hope they’re really helpful to your notes.
0:37:29.6 WB: Hopefully our listeners have taken away a bundle of notes today. And go to the sites, go to the book, look at what Mark’s doing you, there’s so much there that we can all learn from. Great to connect with you, Mark. And thanks for being on the ET project.
0:37:47.3 MH: Brilliant. Been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for inviting me. And yeah, I’ll speak to you again hopefully soon.
0:37:54.4 Speaker 2: Thank you for joining us on the ET project, a show for executive talent development. Until next time, check out our site for free videos, eBooks, webinars and blogs at coaching4companies.com.