Leadership AND Courage: Conversation with Lisa Gray

Sometimes you hear a great speaker and what they say spins around in your head…  Lisa Gray has that effect.  Lisa leads 10,000 staff delivering personal banking services and consumer products for National Australia Bank.

When I interviewed Lisa so much of what she said inspired me that it was hard for me to choose what to share with you here.

For true transformational change to occur, courage and naivety are needed.
You need courage because you don’t actually know where it’s going it to end, nor the road to get there. By definition, true transformational change cannot be mapped out – it has to emerge and grow.
At the same time if you knew how difficult it was going to be, you might not have embarked on the change in the first place.   This is the sense of naivety.

‘Decision making’ is a flawed concept.
Lisa prefers to think about ‘making choices’. And it’s not about semantics.
‘Making decisions’ implies a right or wrong. People continue gather data and worry about making a decision111206 eNewsPic_Lisa Gray in case it’s the wrong decision.  When they ultimately make the decision find it hard to change.
‘Making choices’ is about making the best choice you can base on the data you have.  If you get more data, you can make another choice. There’s no right or wrong – some choices are just more preferable at a point in time. Anyone can make a choice, as long as they have context.  Knowing you can modify choices gives you courage.

Lisa’s three tips for leading courageously:
1)  Have a clear and enduring sense of purpose about what you are really here to do. This gives the context to anchor the choices you make, giving you courage.
2) Do not wait until you got it all neatly mapped out. You never will and it will be too late! Things change along the way. Trust your intuition.
3) Create a movement of people who embrace similar beliefs and aspirations, and who understand what you are trying to do. That helps to get roughly the right decisions made throughout the business. It also creates a sense of connection which reinforces your courage.

What could you do today to bring courage into your leadership and your organisation?