Lessons for life ǀ Gail Kelly, former CEO of Westpac

Gail Kelly“Help one woman out of poverty and she’ll bring four with her”

Gail Kelly has “retired”. Not content with raising the level of women employees to 43% at every level, the Former CEO of Westpac, Australia. Forbes had her as 8th most powerful woman in the world in 2010.

An ambassador for CARE Australia, she was recently in Vanuatu after the recent cyclone. With Clare Newton-Howes, they were installing a new water supply. Gail champions CARE because its focus on women in emerging market economies is dear to her heart.   People matter to her. “Help one woman out of poverty and she’ll bring four with her. It’s a good investment.”

As a banker, she knows about that. Her lecture at LSE last year was about her views on leadership.

Choose to be positive

You should choose, even in difficult times, to look for the learning, the insights, the opportunities, the next steps. I can choose how I walk into my home. I can choose to be warm, embracing and welcoming.

Do what you love, love what you do

If you love what you do, you’ll do more of it; doing more of it, you’ll gather more confidence, more energy and get better at it. That builds more confidence and energy and you love it more. And you grow in your capability and skills.

Right people in right roles

“Are the right people in the right roles?” The single most important factor for leadership success and for organizational success. Not just promoting women, she likes to keep on older employees. They have the experience, but also they know where the bodies are buried.

The vision

Look out if you get in the lift with Gail Kelly at Westpac! She is likely to ask you about the bank’s vision. It is important to be able to communicate in a crystal clear way the vision and purpose of the organization. This is how banks lost their way. They went for shareholder value, being successful in financial terms. At Westpac, our vision is to be one of the most respected companies in the world: helping our people, our customers, our communities to prosper and grow. The communication of this is key.

Generosity of spirit

You believe in the power of an individual to make a difference and at heart you treat individuals with deep respect and want to see others flourish.

The people who do not practice generosity of spirit are selfish. People who do not practice generosity of spirit are binary: black or white, right or wrong; they are quick to judge, intolerant, they shoot messengers, they take credit for work that others do.

Live a whole life

I very often come across people who are at the pinnacle of their career, they are immensely successful, they are the best they can be in their job or their profession and yet they are deeply unhappy.

Because of what they have lost along the way: a relationship, a partnership, they may not be connected to their children, maybe they’ve lost their health, maybe they’ve got no friends. They have no interests, they’ve lost sight of who they are, their spirituality, their inner person.

You may not be aiming to be a CEO of a large bank. You may be about to start your own business, or you may be an employees of a large company. Is there something here for you? Do you need to do an audit on your life?

©2015 ionthecity.com

About the author

City Eye became interested in Overlooked and Overshadowed women, both in contemporary times and through out history. The former would include the women passed over for the Nobel in favour of their male colleagues. The later would be the wives of famous men, such as Mrs. Mandela. Her study of women written out of history, led her to interviews with interesting and inspirational women, (and some men). Extracts will be published in the articles. In no way is this men versus women, as to who is better. Simply that an overly macho, military, testosterone fueled environment, mainly men, needs the balancing attributes, often, though not exclusively, assigned to women: caring, conciliation, communication. Find out more: City Eye Blog ©christina ionthecity.wordpress.com

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