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Leadership Engagement – Brian Hartzer

By June 15, 2021Podcasts

In this episode of the ‘Making It Count’ podcast, we sit down with experienced financial services professional and the former CEO of Westpac, Brian Hartzer.

He is a veteran of New York-based banking strategy firm, First Manhattan Consulting Group, and has held senior roles at ANZ and the Royal Bank of Scotland. His experience in this field is unrivalled and has recently shared his wisdom on the topic of leadership in his book called ‘The Leadership Star – A Practical Guide to Building Engagement.’

Employee engagement is something all leaders strive for. Only 15% of employees are actively engaged worldwide. Brian explains that for someone to be engaged they need to be emotionally committed to the organisation. ‘It’s helping people see that what they’re doing isn’t just a job that they show up to and get paid for. You want to create an environment where people think – this is meaningful, worthy of my time and brings a satisfaction that goes beyond just getting paid.’

In his book, Brian covers 5 key steps to building engagement within your team. The first is care. Caring about people as individual human beings and the outcome. Secondly to provide context –why an organisation exists and why their input is important to the organisation. Third is clarity around the role, goals and expected behaviours. Forth is clearing the way – removing the barriers which may get in the way of your employee’s success. And finally, celebrate – recognising achievement and re-enforcing their achievements outside of monetary bonus’. If you organise yourself as a leader around these 5 C’s Brian says ‘you almost inevitably see a significant increase in engagement and, in my experience, that is necessary to achieve great performance as well.’

Leadership can be relatively simple in its structure. ‘I was able to use this structure to embed certain activities into my schedule over the course of a year, which made an enormous difference in my effectiveness’ says Brian. One of Brian’s chapters is engagement in times of crisis. ‘Laying the groundwork is really important’ explains Brian. When we are in crisis people’s psychology shifts from fulfilment to security. ‘As a leader, you need to remember this and address people’s worries and be conscious of what matters in the moment. Be empathetic and give them something to do that is within their control’ says Brian.

Brian says, ‘The way you get wise is to go through pain’ and goes on to share how his personal experiences have given him resilience. When speaking about his time at Westpac Brian says, ‘I knew that when I became a CEO, there were times that I would be tested and given choices where I could do what was best for me, or right for the organisation.’ Making the choice to do best by the company meant Brian was able to leave without regrets. ‘I cannot imagine how horrible it would feel to live with the regret of having compromised my values.’

So, what is next for Brian? Well, he is consulting, investing in some start-ups, but is most excited about his work with the Australian Museum where they are making a difference as they aim to learn from the past and help the Australian community build a better future.

So, sit back and enjoy this episode as Brian Hartzer Makes It Count.


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Get a copy of ‘The Leadership Star’ – A Practical Guide to Building Engagement by: Brian Hartzer