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Although TIE officially became a company in 2006 (and has since become TIE Leadership), it started long before that...
I graduated from a business degree in 2001. But, in the year 2000, something happened that shaped my life forever.
We were sitting in the classroom, and the professor got everyone’s attention by loudly asking: “What’s the main goal of business?” We all then had to chant: “TO MAKE MONEY!”
This didn’t feel right. Surely the objective of business was more than just the bottom line.
Then in 2004, my uncle passed away, and I was at his funeral in South Africa. He was a huge inspiration to me throughout my life because of his humanity and how he had centred his life around it completely. It was also his endless fascination with perspective and possibility. He pushed through boundaries, crossed divides in a separated apartheid South Africa, and lived his life with purpose and passion.
As I looked around the room at his funeral, and listened to the stories from everyone Neil touched throughout his life, I reflected on mine, working in advertising in London. We lived in a middle-class soho bubble. Yet, we were being asked to think bigger, advise clients, and effectively lead teams.
I knew that the leaders that inspired me had ideas beyond their own world, gave nuanced and textured advice to clients, and were thoughtful and relatable as people.
But for leaders like that to be possible they needed to step across divides, be pushed in new ways, have the opportunity to see things from different perspectives and meet people who were unlike them.
If being an inspirational and impactful leader required these types of opportunities and mindsets, how were we ever to develop the human leaders our companies needed to be more successful?
I returned from South Africa in 2004, and shortly afterwards, that was the beginning of my journey to help leaders tap into the power of their humanity. And since 2006, I’ve been developing more self-aware, thoughtful and purposeful leaders that are going on to create more competitive and impactful businesses.