July 6, 2020
This is it - the 100th episode and the end of season 1 of the WarriorU Podcast.
This week on the WarriorU Podcast Bram talks to Commando, Dean Parkinson. Dean joined the Army as a 17-year-old back in the late 1980’s. He started his career in the 3rd Battalion where he found his passion in parachuting. His career was cut short in 1991 when he was seriously injured in an aircraft crash which killed two people and left nine others seriously injured. After the accident Dean struggled with depression and set about recovering and building himself a new life outside the Army, but the whole time he felt himself drawn back to the establishment. In 2007 Dean re-enlisted and attempted the Commando Selection and Training Course. Not even two years later he would be a forward scout in the green belt of Afghanistan in a patrol lead by none other than Corporal Cameron Baird VC. It’s safe to say that Dean had unfinished business with the Army, and the Army had unfinished business with Dean who would be involved in some of the most historical moments of the 2nd Commando Regiment. Strap yourself in for this one as it’s so good!
June 27, 2020
During this episode of The WarriorU podcast, host Bram Connolly speaks with Mark Wales, former Special Operations Officer and associate at McKinsey & Company, and his wife Samantha Gash, professional endurance athlete, social entrepreneur and motivational speaker. They discuss leading teams remotely, Mark’s time in Special Operations, how to lead in uncertainty, and techniques for self-support and health. They also talk about strategic vulnerability.
- Mark talks about why products for his business are manufactured in the United States instead of Australia.
- Sam talks about some of the large runs/expeditions and extreme races she has done recently.
- Sam talks about how she is interested in helping children access quality education and how she supports this cause through her running.
- Is it the issues getting you through the run or is running itself the drive?
- Samantha believes that connection to our cause brings out our potential.
- Motivation or consistency, which one is more important to be successful?
- Sam and Mark talk about their reasons for going on Survivor.
- What are your thoughts on leading teams remotely, especially recently?
- Are you surprised how little some companies invest in leadership?
- Samantha also sees an issue with the lack of skill-set diversity within leadership teams.
- Mark found that, in war, there was a deep level of human connection in the teams.
- Mark talks about some mental health techniques he learned after leaving the military.
- Mark talks about the damage that constant stress can have on your entire body.
- With your business, do you do more planning together or away from each other?
- Is a high performing culture the result of the leaders or is there some other factor?
- Samantha talks about mistakes she has made in her expeditions.
- Samantha and Mark talk about their experience with Eco-Challenge.
- Before Covid-19, many businesses had never considered what it would look like if all work had to be done remotely.
- Do you still both train every day?
- Samantha talks about how she feels different now that she has had a child, but still just as strong if not stronger.
- What do you both have coming up for the rest of 2020?
- Mark is working on prototypes for new products for his business that he hopes to have ready in the next year.
3 Key Points:
- Trust is a key element of leading a remote team.
- Showing a more vulnerable side of yourself can help bring out the best in other people.
- People are stronger in a team than they are individually.
- “I think we need to find what we’re going to be wired and connected to in order to bring that potential out in us.” -Samantha Gash
- “Humans who are leaders are emotional by default. That’s probably the primary sense of being. Our emotions drive us.” -Samantha Gash
- “You get the right team together and individually you surpass what your own limits are.” -Samantha Gash
June 15, 2020
David Marshall – Why Leadership Matters.
This week on the WarriorU Podcast Bram talks to David Marshall the CEO of Defence Bank.
David grew up on a farming property in New Zealand. He studied at Lincoln College (Canterbury University), London Business School and the Wharton Business School.
He commenced his role as the Chief Executive Officer of Defence Bank in February 2018 after spending more than 30 years in the financial services sector in New Zealand and Australia. He has worked for such institutions as Suncorp, Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank.
David’s leadership journey was forged some years prior to this current appointment. In his career he has had to navigate significant customer-driven transformations across the financial services industry. These changes were as a result of the events of September 11 and the Global Financial Crisis, and these experiences were deeply profound for David and shaped his own leadership style.
Bram and David delve into these experiences and his thoughts on leadership in the financial sector. In particular, David describes how conversation skills are the most vital tool for a leader. He outlines how a leader must always be consistent and as a leader how moderating your own temperament is crucial if you are to be effective.
- What changes have you seen in the financial system over the past 30 years?
- David sees people increasing their sense of community.
- David explains the importance of basing your decisions on facts when in a leadership position.
- When do you reach out to people who are joining Defence to help them with investing?
- David believes that there is still a large need for personal interaction within banking.
- David is not interested in getting into an “arms race” with big banks.
- If you could reach out to our listeners who are Defence or ex-Defence about your point of difference, what would you say?
- Does Defence Bank still support local communities or sporting clubs?
- What have you learned about leadership in your long career in the financial sector?
- Leadership requires courage, consistency, and confidence.
- People need to be absolutely clear about what their role is and what is expected.
- How has the emergence or equality played into your leadership journey?
- As a CEO, how do you have conversations about unconscious biases with your leaders so the culture is one of acceptance?
- Even though you don’t like to use the word “resilience,” how do you measure if someone is resilient or not?
- David believes that, more often than not, lack of resilience is related to things that happen outside of work.
- David speaks about the importance of seeing both the details and the big picture as a leader.
- Take the view that you are always ready to learn something from who you work for and who works for you.
- David explains the “articulate minority syndrome.”
- David believes that banks will start hiring more people with proven experience.
- Bram mentions how the ideals of leadership are often the same across sectors.
- Great leaders ask questions and aren’t scared to admit they don’t know something.
3 Key Points:
- Despite the increases in technology with banking, people still need human interaction.
- Leadership requires conversations, human interactions, and managing ambiguity.
- Operate on the basis that you’re never surprised by anything.
- “You have to have conversations with people. Some of those conversations require courage and some of those conversations don’t require as much courage.” -David Marshall
- “Eight or nine times out of ten, it’s not as bad as it seems.” -David Marshall
- “Being gifted is a curse, more often than not.” -David Marshall
- “In leadership, you can’t take anything for granted and you can’t assume anything or be surprised by anything.” -David Marshall
- “The other big thing in leadership is ‘don’t play favorites.’” -David Marshall
May 24, 2020
This week on the WarriorU Podcast Bram reads the first chapter of his upcoming leadership book, The Commando Way. The Foreword is written by legendary Aussie Rules coach Paul Roos with follow on comments from Major General Mike Hindmarsh and General Stanley McChrystal and with praise from previously serving officers and soldiers alike. This chapter is all about giving yourself no other option and describes those first weeks of the Army as they play out at Kapooka: The home of the soldier.
May 17, 2020
This week on the WarriorU Podcast Bram Connolly talks to comedian, radio host, media consultant and all around not a bad bloke Merrick Watts. There wouldn’t be too many Australians out there who haven’t heard of Merrick. He was under constant radio contract for over twenty years, prolific on TV comedy shows, frequented comedy festivals all over Australia and was selfless in visiting Australian troops in the Middle East.
When not the hardest worker in any room, Merrick is a wine connoisseur, a military history buff and makes an amazing potato gnocchi, as well as being a great dad and a husband.
This episode is the greatest and best podcast episode – TRIBUTE.
Merrick unlocks two decades of radio industry experience to help refine Bram’s podcast and add value to the audience. They discuss the modern parameters for entertainment that has changed the way people can reach their tribes.
There’s something in this episode for everyone; from, fast movers providing an enemy with a show of force down Afghan Valleys, the legitimate social media lessons being shown by Brown Cardigan, being owned on the mats by a previous American College wrestling champion, as being choked out by Paul Cale in the Sergeants Mess of 2nd Commando Regiment.
This one is so good.
May 11, 2020
This week on the WarriorU Podcast Bram Connolly talks to Australian criminal and human rights lawyer, retired British Army officer, author, professional speaker and hostage survivor Rabia Siddique.
In 2005 Rabia was sent on a mission to Basra in order to negotiate the release of two British Special Forces Soldiers. Not long after her arrival, the compound was stormed by an angry mob who had been mobilised by Iranian backed insurgents. Another military officer and a further group of four SAS soldiers were subsequently detained in the chaos. 8 hours later they would all be freed by British forces, but not before Rabia had been subjected to the most harrowing treatment at the hands of the local police.
This would seem to be the life test that would define Rabia; however, the true test would come almost 18 months later when Rabia, who had exhausted all other options to have her role in the rescue of the soldiers acknowledged, took her case for discrimination against the UK Ministry of Defence to the highest court in the UK – which she won.
Rabia shares her story of resilience and in particular the lessons that she learnt from being held hostage that could then be applied for when the real fight would begin.
May 6, 2020
This mid-week special of the WarriorU Podcast is around humility. Bram Connolly outlines how humility helps a leader to create safe environments for diversity of thought.
May 2, 2020
This week on the WarriorU Podcast Bram Connolly talks to LTCOL Dave Grossman about his best selling books and the research behind them. "On Killing and On Combat" provide combat forces and first responders with a window into the psychology of combat, stress and the bodies natural responses. The pair discuss how soldiers are trained to kill and how some of this training has spilled over into the general population. They discuss strategies to help mitigate the stress impacts of violence on soldiers and first responders and they discuss the effects of technology on children; in particular how they're bullied through social media platforms.
Remember; as always - "you're your most important mission."
April 15, 2020
This week Bram Connolly talks to actor, ironman triathlete and all-round good bloke Daniel Macpherson. Fresh from starring as Sergeant Samuel Wyatt in the acclaimed international HBO/SKY action series Strike Back, Dan describes the stress of living far away from home, out of a suitcase, and fully immersed in demanding roles months at a time. If you’ve ever served in the Defence Force this would not sound that unfamiliar to you. In fact, the similarities don’t stop there; Dan gives us an understanding of how actors become exhausted in their trade.
Dan describes how triathlon was a source of strength and grounding. When all the other events in his life would be uncertain, he had the weekly grind of run, swim or bike training to fall back on. Then, in the middle of the marathon of the Roth Ironman, he had the realisation that he had to finally choose between giving himself completely to the sport he loves or to the career he wanted. We then get an amazing insight from one of Australia’s most highly regarded leading actors. “Nail everything that’s in your control, because by controlling the controllable and managing the variables you have the best chance of success.”
With this as the backdrop, we discuss intelligence, hard work and commitment and the relationship between these and the distinct benefits of rounding out all three. We talk about leadership in the world of television and the arts and Dan shares the discovery that an actor’s expectations of themselves and others can often suppress the magic of creativity. I think you’ll agree with me that this one is so good.
Image - thanks to Cinemax/Sky
Intro Music - thanks to Sam James @imsamjames
March 23, 2020
This week on the WarriorU Podcast I talk to Australian actor Joel Jackson. The underlying theme of the podcast is “Growth vs Success” in what is a very public industry. If ever there is a podcast that embodies David Epstein’s theory that “generalists” thrive in a “specialist’s” world, then this is it.
Joel is known for his roles; Peter Allen in Peter Allen; Not the Boy Next Door and Charles Bean in Deadline Gallipoli. Joel and I discuss his upbringing in North Western Australia, including how he dealt with bullying in that remote location, and how he realised how culturally limited his understanding was when he finally arrived in Sydney to attend NIDA.
In 2014 Joel won the role of Charles Bean in Foxtel's Deadline Gallipoli alongside Sam Worthington. In 2015 the show aired to rave reviews from the critics and public alike, recognised with 8 AACTA nominations in 2015, including Best Actor for Joel's role as Charles Bean. Also at the beginning of 2015 Joel filmed Channel 7's miniseries biopic of the famed entertainer, Peter Allen in Peter Allen; Not the Boy Next Door playing the title role. The show was recognised as one of the best TV dramas of the year garnering 10 AACTA nominations in total, including Best Actor for Joel's depiction of Peter Allen.
My favourite part of the podcast (other than me singing to Joel) was his tips for how to be resilient in the face of no!
Joel is grounded, gifted and authentic. This one is so good!