My favourite work is when I’m working at the edge. It might be speaking to a group about the frontiers of leadership, it might be mentoring an up-and-coming leader who’s finding their own voice, or it might be working with an organisation to redefine what’s possible. It’s all about challenging perceived boundaries and pushing them ever outwards. I tend to work at the intersection where ideas collide, which is actually pretty cool (and sometimes unsettling). Status quo is not my game.
I’m also someone who’s more comfortable crossing boundaries than being defined by them. I was born in the country, but have spent at least half of my life living in cities. I was trained as a Chartered Accountant, which was all about rules, compliance and processes, and now I do organisational and leadership development work, which is all about changing behaviours and mindsets. I seek out the new and the different, just to see what I can learn. For example, as a newly minted (and bored) Chartered Accountant, I took off to Canada to try my hand at commercial salmon fishing. I’ve lived and worked all over the world, and as a result, I’m fascinated by what we can learn from different perspectives others can teach us. In fact, I reckon it’s a critical mindset to cultivate in today’s turbulent world.
I’m a big believer in deliberately crafting a life by design. Years ago, I read Charles Handy’s ‘The Age of Unreason’, which unlocked a fresh way of thinking about life and work that I’ve carried with me ever since. His theories were put to the test in my early thirties, when I had what I’d call an early ‘mid-life crisis’. Surviving that, I decided that life’s too short to go with the prescribed rules for what work and career should be about: the nine-to-five grind. These days I ferociously prioritise and blend my time around the most important things to me, which include adventurous travel, being in the majesty of nature, fascinating work, and rich family experiences.
I reckon I’ve developed this fascination with being at the edge through my upbringing. Some of my fondest childhood memories are about being at the edge of the continent I was raised on, Australia, and more specifically the wild and untamed coast of Western Australia. I was a beach kid from an early age, drawn to the place where the known land meets the unknown ocean. And that still lives with me today. These days, I live right on the beach in Wellington, New Zealand, and one of my biggest passions is surfing and windsurfing on the open sea.
So, I bring this identity to the work I do. It deeply informs how I engage with you and your people. If you want incremental improvement within existing rules, I’m probably not your guy. If you want real transformation, now we’re talking. I expect you to push the boundaries with me. I will ask for your willingness to be curious and courageous with me. I’ll provide a healthy challenge blended with a deep empathy for where you’re at. I reckon that’s the catalyst for growth, change and awesomeness. And my clients tend to agree.
Choosing to be at the edge of things is how leadership is defined, and the future created. And as you have probably experienced, it’s not that comfortable being at the edge. I can help you make your work just that bit easier.
Read this far? Then it sounds like we should talk. Please get in touch for a stimulating chat about the possibilities for you and your organisation.
Digby is a sophisticated consultant who is easy to engage with on OD business needs at a senior level. He’s very astute, listens well and delivers very targeted and effective solutions. And he’s able to quickly identify with you what to focus on to get the best result and then delivers a solution that actually works.
GM HR, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
Digby will challenge your thinking, bring you great ideas and expertise, and totally win over your executive team and/or your participants and get you results. Highly recommended.
Head of Organisational Development, Inland Revenue.
Digby is a fantastic person to have on your team when you need some very solid and edgy thinking in leadership development. Yes, he provides fabulous advice and expertise, but you also get to go on the journey with him and feel like you are contributing to the thinking. Leadership in action!
Head of Organisational Development, Department of Corrections.