Philosophy No.3 - What I have learnt about Leadership from a Bulldog

Think about the leaders that you admire and respect for a moment. Think about their lives and what draws you to follow them. Is it their strength, honesty, integrity, how much money they made or the perceptive decisions that seemed wrong at the time but turned out right. What is it that creates the elusive aura of a great leader? Perhaps it is a combination of those things. In my humble opinion none of those traits are as descriptive as one key thing that makes some people remembered as leaders - taking a stand. 

I am a business guy so I follow business leaders; Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Dr John Demartini, Walt Disney and David Deida have all influenced me in the last few years.  Do they always make the 'right' decision or have total integrity and honesty, no. Do they make money and create good products, sure but that's not it either.  After all they are just people, they fail, make mistakes, show cracks in their character and do the 'wrong' things sometimes like all of us. But what they all have in common is they stood for something that was more than themselves. They took a position and defended it.

Jobs was against the bland PC generation and wanted to inspire creativity and beauty; Branson was against big corporate greed and about making business fun; Demartini is against traditional views of right and wrong and about dissolving these emotions to love and gratitude; Disney was against being an adult all the time and for remembering the joys of childhood and finally Deida is against men being soft or shallow and for men more manly, strong emotionally and physically.

The consequences for those leaders was potential ridicule and financial loss if their audience didn't agree with them. But one leader stands out to me outside of this circle for his stand that cost millions of lives - Winston Churchill. Imagine if your decisions brought widows to families and children to hide in terror of the night. I struggle to think of how someone would make important decisions that costs lives, with unclear information in the midst of his own city being bombed each night. 

If you don't know who Churchill was let me summarise. He was high up in British politics and military during the first and second world war. He was in charge during the disastrous Gallipoli campaign in WWI, for which he was removed from office.  He returned to government and military but made some critical economic errors and again was demoted.  With all these failures a lesser man might have quit. However, his best was yet to come. At the outbreak of WWII he became Prime Minister and stood alone against Hitler and Nazi Germany in the difficult days before the allies joined him to win the war. He was an inspirational man and steadfastly refused to give in and this strength of will carried his people over the line to fight the war. Without him the world would be a very different place. 

It is said that challenge brings out the best in people.  Where in your life have you been a leader like this? Where do you take a stand, hold an opinion different to others because you believe it to be right and just?  Perhaps you think you haven't been tested or maybe you tell yourself it doesn't matter. I disagree, as these little choices do matter and build your character which is the foundation of a great leader. Leaders come in all shapes, sizes and functions. Perhaps you are leading your children's development. Leading a team of people at work or influencing behaviour around you.  We all have choices each day to what influence we are having on the world. I encourage you to take a stand, even if it is a small one, to create positive change for those in your world. People might not always agree with you, but they will respect you for your leadership. 


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Andrew Ford

Social Star, Level 4, Suite 402, 517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Australia

Marketing expert Andrew Ford, the founder of Social Star, has discovered the secret of ‘Powerful Branding’. With a fire for unleashing people’s inner brand and developing business models to generate profit from an individual’s passions, Andrew leverages ground-breaking digital and social media marketing techniques to create digital strategies for clients to attract maximum opportunities. Having established a strong name for himself in the field, Andrew blends traditional business techniques with now-necessary tools for entrepreneurs to achieve scale, quality, and influence in their niche. Andrew’s comprehensive business background and qualifications consist of a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) (RMIT 2003), a Graduate Certificate in Management (MBA Executive Program, University of Sydney 2005), and a Masters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Swinburne University 2011). Continually on the cutting edge of his own education, Andrew has tested his marketing theories in forums such as the BCG Business Strategy Competition, which he won in 2005 against all Victorian MBA schools, and the Venture Cup Business Plan Competition (Swinburne University 2003), which he won in the Masters category. With experience working at Hewlett-Packard, Sensis (Telstra) and IBM, Andrew also has mentored dozens of junior staffs to help them achieve their professional goals. Meeting and influencing high-profile public figures helped Andrew to realise just how many professionals require more understanding and control of their public brands or appearance, and need help with the skills to use the many amazing free tools at their disposal to generate success. At Social Star, Andrew consults with clients to uncover their personal brand – both where it is today and where it can be tomorrow – and refine and define how that should be displayed in social media in order to attract their perfect target audience. Andrew mentors his clients to rapidly grow their business’ audiences, resulting in larger potential client bases and higher revenue. Applying formulas that integrate over twenty years of Andrew’s business experience and fifteen years of formal business education, Social Star specialises in building clarity and velocity for clients’ brands using the ‘Understand, Build and Leverage’ methodology. ‘Having a Personal Business enables people to have an authentic, congruent connection with their valued clients and partners, using their brand as the bridge,’ says Andrew. ‘I’m highly driven to work with the new breed of entrepreneurs and small business owners – people who have a passion for making the world a better place. Traditional business models are stepping aside as people follow their innermost dreams and my role is to see them operate within their values while creating wealth. Some people think you have to sacrifice what you love to be successful in your business, yet it is actually the opposite. Follow your passion and success will come.’ Lecturing at Swinburne University from 2009 to 2011 on brand dynamics and digital marketing, presenting at numerous conferences, and consulting to hundreds of clients, Andrew has seen his philosophy work that if you follow your unique path, based on your skills, experience, values and goals, you will automatically attract the opportunities you desire and achieve the success you deserve. Living his mantra, Andrew has created a successful business and attracts high-profile clients including musicians, athletes, authors, models, entrepreneurs, professionals and small business owners, helping them find their ‘why’ in their business and fulfilment in their lives. Business for Andrew is more than work, it’s personal. Running a personal business means that he is able to fulfil all of his values rather than separating his life from work. It supports his two boys while providing social opportunities, educational development, fitness opportunities, spiritual fulfilment and many valuable friendships. Social Star has now become the vehicle for Andrew to crystallise his mission in the world, to help people love what they do, supporting his ‘why’, that if more people loved what they did, the world would be a better place.