QUT Business Leaders’ Forum | Richard Goyder AO Snapshot Video

QUT Business Leaders’ Forum | Richard Goyder AO Snapshot Video


Having stepped down from Wesfarmers in
2017, and taken on some high powered board appointments, including the
chairmanship of Woodside and Qantas, Richard Goyder is now described as one
of Australia’s most influential company directors. He’s here to talk about his
leadership journey through an extremely successful lifetime. Would you please
welcome Richard Goyder. Well thans Kerry very much for that warm
introduction. So a bit about me and then I’m gonna go into some of the lessons of
my leadership journey. So I’m a farm boy from a little town called Tambla up in
the great southern of Western Australia. I was lucky enough to go to boarding
school in Perth. My parents made significant sacrifices to enable that to
happen. Importantly in 1978 before after I left school, and before I went to
university, I was a Rotary exchange student in the United
States and that was life-changing for me. I’m passionate about making our
community, whether that’s business, whether that’s where we live, whether that’s
the state we live in or the country or indeed the world. And we might touch on
the G20 a bit later Kerry but I’m passionate about trying to make it a
better place. and I think that business and I was just
saying this to Margaret, I think that business has a really important role to
play in that and is a big part of the answer. So whether that’s climate change,
diversity, indigenous recognition and welfare, I think business is a big part
of the answer. Although to be fair, we’ve been a part of the problem as well. We
had a very clear objective in Wesfarmers, which was to create value for
all our stakeholders and that’s something I want to be really clear
about. You can’t create jobs, you can’t do any of the things. You can’t invest new
capital, you can’t take risks unless you make returns to your shareholders. You
get that right, and you can employ people, you can pay taxes, you can do the good
things like the Bunning’s sausage sizzle, like the medical research investments,
that you make. And of course you can only do that when you satisfy your customers.
Reputation matters. The one thing that matters to me is the reputation of the
organisation I’m involved in and it does matter. And it’s all our
stakeholders. And that’s why not just making money means a lot. And I said earlier I grew up in Tambla. I saw the worst of Australia and its relationship
with Aboriginal Australians in my time as a young kid in Tambla and I was part
of that community. So as CEO of Wesfarmers, one of the
things I learned was actually not only did I have a microphone, I had some
levers. And one of the things we determined to do was employ more
Indigenous Australians. When I left I think we employed 5,000 Indigenous
Australians. They’re the sort of things you can do that make a big difference
to a community. How you decide a position like that which is kind of
morally and socially based, and measure that against your
responsibilities of running a shareholder driven corporation? The
answer is not easy. But I think values matter in an
organisation. The trouble in those in that situation is you’re Richard Goyder
at Wesfarmers, you’re not Richard Goyder. How do you personally feel about
what racism is? I don’t think we’ll ever understand what they think. I think we can we can try and understand it and think we can do something about it. Can I
acknowledge your refreshing capacity to to volunteer failure. It’s an incredibly
important aspect isn’t it? To actually not fear acknowledging that you
buggered something up. I sometimes sat back and thought, gee how did I
get this job, because of all my failures? But I think if you learn and organisations, you can’t fear failure. And you actually have to accept that failure
happens and mistakes happen otherwise we’re not going to be innovative and
creative. But I learned some of my biggest lessons from my
failures. Terrific conversation, thank you very much.

Danny Hutson

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