Jim Carroll on discovering the amplified self

How can a scene from the ballet Swan Lake explain the importance of purpose?

How did Muhammad Ali manage to answer two of life’s biggest questions in his poem, known for being the shortest poem ever written?

And what really is wisdom?

Today I’m speaking with the legend that is Jim Carroll, and we will be talking about discovering the amplified self.

And why that is so important.

Jim is a long-serving brand and communication strategist, and we met when we both worked at the London-based communications agency BBH, where he worked as a planner for 24 years, for a long time ran the strategy function, and was UK Chairman from 2004 to 2015.

We talk about his time at BBH and the many incredible learnings he picked up.

We get an insight into his performance appraisal – and key learnings for all of us.

Then he tells us a story about a man he knew once, that didn’t blink.

There are loads of stories here. And Jim leaves us with some big questions that we should ask ourselves.

This is a must-listen. And I promise you, you’ll leave this wanting more.

And I’m thrilled to say that is possible. You can get your weekly dose of Jim through his blog, Jim Carroll’s blog, which I highly recommend. https://www.jimcarrollsblog.com.

So throw on those running shoes, or grab that favorite beverage, and here is Jim.

And please don’t forget to let us know what you think of this episode, leave a review, and subscribe.

00:00:02:04 – 00:00:27:03
Philippa White
Welcome to the show, where we unearth new ways of looking at ever evolving light around the world. Seen from a number of different industries, cultures and backgrounds. But there’s one thing that unites everyone I speak to. They all want to do their part to make the world better in their own unique ways. It’s a uniting passion. Whether they’re from the commercial world, third sector or public sector from the Global North or the global south.

00:00:27:15 – 00:00:58:12
Philippa White
My name is Philippa White and welcome to TIE Unearthed. Hello and welcome to episode 48 of TIE Unearthed. I’m a great believer that to profoundly change the world, we need to connect with our emerging self. Where we were is different to where we are going and everyone has the power to take us to the future. The key is unlocking that potential, which is why I’m so excited to talk with Jim Carroll.

00:00:59:00 – 00:01:26:13
Philippa White
Today we’ll be talking about the power of discovering the amplified self. Jim is a long serving brand and communications strategist. I met Jim when we both worked at the London based communications agency BBH, where he worked as a planner for 24 years and for a long time ran the strategy function. He was also UK chairman from 2004 to 2015 and it was then that we worked closely together.

00:01:26:13 – 00:01:52:09
Philippa White
As he became my main point of contact when BBH became a client of Ty’s. Jim has received a lifetime achievement award from the Account Planning Group, and he now independently consults clients around brand strategy. He’s also now a mentor and advisor for Ty, and I feel extremely lucky to receive his pearls of wisdom. Today, we’ll be talking about the importance of finding your purpose and what that looks like.

00:01:52:22 – 00:02:12:21
Philippa White
Jim tells stories about the power of diversity and what modern leadership is for a modern world. This one is one of my favorite episodes. There’s so much here, and it’s hard not to get incredibly inspired by Jim. So sit back and relax or throw in those running shoes. And here’s Jim.

00:02:14:13 – 00:02:18:13
Philippa White
Hello, Jim. It’s so wonderful to have you with us today. Thank you for joining us.

00:02:18:22 – 00:02:21:07
Jim Carroll
It’s a delight to be talking to you for the exam.

00:02:21:08 – 00:02:24:02
Philippa White
Tell us, where are you sitting right now? Where are you?

00:02:24:23 – 00:02:30:02
Jim Carroll
I am in Islington, in London, in my home. Lots of books in the background.

00:02:30:03 – 00:02:42:22
Philippa White
I can see there are one, two, three, four, five. Yeah, there’s about six shelves of a whole wall of books, which just gives you a little bit of an insight into into Jim. So, yes, tell us a little bit about it.

00:02:43:01 – 00:03:05:20
Jim Carroll
I was born in Essex, Romford in Essex, which is a suburb of London. I still see myself as a suburban person, and I think I was part of a big Catholic family. Probably at school I was a bit of a nerd, but I was a nerd who liked soul music. So I think there may be all of us have contrasting elements to our character.

00:03:05:20 – 00:03:28:06
Jim Carroll
And I think with me it’s the serious and the frivolous that go hand in hand. I wanted to say a sort of story of my youth that somehow had some impact on me as I grew older and when I was quite young, I called my hair and my mother was very concerned that I was developing a bald patch.

00:03:28:06 – 00:03:59:24
Jim Carroll
And so she took me to the barbers in Hornchurch next to the bus carriage and insisted that I had a few cups which is a sort of like a US army, kind of fairly close shave thing. And I wasn’t entirely enthusiastic about this. There wasn’t any choice, but it was all to deter me from curling my hair. And of course, I went in school and this was the early seventies, and I went into my school and everyone had long lustrous locks and I had this very sort of tight cut.

00:04:00:05 – 00:04:27:17
Jim Carroll
And I wanted to have long lasting locks and I yearned to be belong. But I couldn’t. And in some ways, I think my life has been a long series of incidents like that where I’ve learned to belong. And yet I couldn’t. I felt somehow an outsider. Now, the illness, the reason I’ll use that as an illustration is I subsequently became a strategist, the planner in advertising.

00:04:27:20 – 00:04:50:19
Jim Carroll
And I ended up thinking that being an outsider who wants to belong is a good definition of what planners on the outside. It gives us an objectivity. So we look at the world from the distance, but the yearning to belong gives us an empathy as we want to feel what others feel. So that’s it. I grew up in Essex.

00:04:50:19 – 00:05:06:03
Jim Carroll
I went to study classics at Oxford University. That’s in Greek Ancient history. And yet, when I looked for a job, I wanted something that gave me this combination of the serious and the frivolous. And that’s what took me to emphasize.

00:05:06:07 – 00:05:10:24
Philippa White
Where did you work first? Obviously we met at BBH, but were you at BBH ever since the beginning?

00:05:11:01 – 00:05:38:16
Jim Carroll
No. I tried to get into advertising immediately after college, but couldn’t, and I was directed towards marketing search. I worked for a company called Qualitative Market Research, the Strategic Research Group. I did focus groups up and down the country into baked beans, boilers and and anything that you could go, as mentioned. And it was a great brand, actually, because it’s all about listening to ordinary people, hearing how they feel about the world and about the sector and about the brand.

00:05:38:24 – 00:05:39:12
Jim Carroll
So yeah.

00:05:39:13 – 00:05:40:16
Philippa White
And then after that, you.

00:05:41:17 – 00:05:56:11
Jim Carroll
Know, then I worked for a small agency and Adele will not bring that ducted me in the, in the very different culture of advertising. And then from there, in 1990 I joined BBA and I was there for the next 25 years.

00:05:56:13 – 00:06:32:04
Philippa White
Yeah, absolutely. So perhaps you can tell us about your time m.p.h. and some learnings that you can share with our listeners just for our listeners. I mentioned this in the introduction, but I met Jim at BBH and he has been so involved with TIE as an advisor. But even before that, as a client, we worked very, very closely while TIE was working with BBH when when Jim was there and I have had numerous conversations with Jim over the years and the stories and just seeing you stand up on the stage.

00:06:32:04 – 00:06:35:19
Philippa White
When I was working at BBH and you telling your stories, it’s just phenomenal.

00:06:36:03 – 00:07:05:01
Jim Carroll
BBH was an exceptional agency and I was very fortunate to work there. We both were against and I think it was different because it was serious about its business. And I think there was a culture in the world community of what you might call seat of the pants development of ideas and creativity. Whereas BBH had a sort of seriousness about it, it was obsessed with excellence and integrity.

00:07:05:01 – 00:07:28:13
Jim Carroll
Maybe at a time that people didn’t use that word, those words. It was led by three inspiring founders, but very different personalities. And I think its strength was in that difference. It was characterized by a kind of restlessness. It was never sort of had a paranoia about complacency. It was always worried about what if it all goes wrong.

00:07:29:01 – 00:08:04:14
Jim Carroll
Nigel Bogle, one of the founders, used to say, We’re three phonecalls away from disaster and and I always want to like that. It said, we will not rest on our laurels. You know, we got three phone calls from our biggest clients then that the game could be up. It was an agency that was serious about culture and values, and I think it had a series of principles that it drove into the business so that everyone that work there, however diverse they were as individuals, they bought into a philosophy and we would sort all roads lead to the work.

00:08:04:17 – 00:08:30:13
Jim Carroll
Whenever you’ve got a difficult decision, work out what’s best for the work. And that will resolve the conundrum we were taught when the world zig zag, which was a slogan, so to speak, and the black sheep. The black sheep, it was all about being the black sheep. They’d be different. Be different. We’re selling different. Subsequently, he coined the phrase, We believe in the power of difference to make a difference.

00:08:30:13 – 00:08:56:05
Jim Carroll
And so it talked about how, if difference is our end product, then shouldn’t we be using that to make a difference beyond our clients into the communities that we serve? John Bartle used to talk about the opposite of creativity is cynicism, and I’ve always found that a healthy watch out because intelligent people tend to be the most cynical and always try to run at the future.

00:08:56:11 – 00:09:26:07
Jim Carroll
They always believe we must embrace progress. John Agassi The crazy director, used to say, look, do interesting things and interesting things happen to you. And that’s a very refreshing way to think about change and innovation and difference is things happen when you do interesting things. Tell it something I’ve prepared here, which is one new year. Nigel stood in front of the company and said, This is the objective for this year.

00:09:26:15 – 00:09:55:15
Jim Carroll
And he held up. He put up a chart and there’s the chart and it just said, We will be better than everyone else and we will be more different. That was an example of the the clarity and quality focus that the agency had. Well, John’s philosophy is grateful is so often when we address change, we think we need to be super rational because change is important.

00:09:55:17 – 00:10:19:07
Jim Carroll
Change is big. Change is difficult. So we sit there and we get a pen and paper and we do the sort of serious pros and cons and analysis and etc.. But I think John always wants you to understand the big decisions should be about the head and the heart. Yes, we need to open ourselves up when we’re making big decisions to what our gut is saying, what our heart is saying, what our feelings are telling us to do.

00:10:19:11 – 00:10:35:19
Jim Carroll
And don’t just be serious, disciplined and rational people. And I think the interesting things doctrine is all about opening things up to how you feel about your work and about life, rather than just what the pros and cons suggest to you.

00:10:36:09 – 00:11:02:01
Philippa White
And I just even good at the good in nice. Just thinking of the BBA, you know how many companies then? I mean, now maybe there’s a few more. But even still to get hired at BBH, when they were interviewing you, they want to make sure that you are good and you’re nice. And I just think that that was so before its time when I mean, I got a job at BBH in 2003.

00:11:02:01 – 00:11:13:06
Philippa White
I think, you know, that purpose. There were a lot of the, you know, the ways that businesses are now realizing that they need to think now. I feel like BBH was there a long time ago.

00:11:13:09 – 00:11:38:07
Jim Carroll
Yes, it’s the old men. The great management theorist piece said Culture Eats Strategy for breakfast. Yeah, I think BBH was serious about culture. The nice element of good and nice was if someone’s not nice, the good that they were kind of cancer in the culture. They’re eating away at the everyday tissue of the business. So you need nice people as well as good people.

00:11:38:14 – 00:11:44:05
Jim Carroll
And I think the reductive logic of that is very typical of BBH to reduce it to those two.

00:11:44:18 – 00:12:04:05
Philippa White
Yeah, I’d love to just talk about purpose. We mentioned it just now, but I heard you quote Oscar Wilde Be yourself, everyone else is taken. And I love that. I love that for so many reasons. And I just wonder if you can talk to us about why is finding your purpose so important?

00:12:04:11 – 00:12:32:20
Jim Carroll
Yeah. And you know, there’s a health warning around the word purpose because people can get incredibly sort of sanctimonious around the whole issue. But fundamentally, we all need to be clear about purpose because this is really just about why. Why am I doing this? Why am I coming into work? And I guess when you’re younger, the answer to why can be as simple as I’ve got to pay the rent, I’ve got to pay the mortgage, I’ve got to feed the family, and that’s completely legitimate.

00:12:32:22 – 00:12:53:19
Jim Carroll
But I think sometimes you want to go deeper with the why and it may be my why is because I just love what we manufacture. I love what we make. I love the service that we do. I love my colleagues. But sometimes it goes deeper still. It goes into the impact that your world, that your work can have on the world.

00:12:53:19 – 00:13:26:16
Jim Carroll
And I think the reason purpose seems such a current thing is that in a period of change, in periods of turbulence like we’re going through now, the needs, the desire to have a fixed point, to have a new star is greater than ever. If you watch ballet, you’ll know that in there’s a famous sequence in Act Three at Swan Lake where the black swan does 30 to 40 turns and she spins on the spot just like a human gyroscope.

00:13:26:16 – 00:13:50:05
Jim Carroll
And it’s actually for the common person looking at that often the question that suggests itself is why doesn’t the ballerina fall down? Because the spinning 32 times on the spot rapid motion. And why doesn’t the ballerina get dizzy? And if you talk to a ballet dancer, so they’ll say, well, we do thing called spotting where we fix on a point in the auditorium.

00:13:50:08 – 00:14:15:17
Jim Carroll
And as we turn, as long as we can, we keep our eye fixed on that point. And then at the very last moment, we whip the head round and look again at that spot. And that’s how you stop being dizzy by having your eye on a fixed point. And I’ve always found that quite helpful because we all live in through times of transformational change and in many ways we celebrate that change.

00:14:15:22 – 00:14:34:01
Jim Carroll
But it is challenging to the individual and to the company to be living through change and you need clarity why we are here, what are we doing this for? What am I doing this for? In order to navigate that change with any confidence about us, to.

00:14:34:21 – 00:14:55:12
Philippa White
Well, one. Yeah. And I mean, it’s interesting because just to the end of what you’ve said, obviously we’re talking about why companies need to be very clear on their purpose. So that people obviously know why they want to work there and why, you know, what is that North Star? What is that that point? But you did tell me a story recently, actually, which really resonated with me.

00:14:55:13 – 00:14:59:04
Philippa White
I remember you talking about your performance appraisal.

00:14:59:13 – 00:15:19:23
Jim Carroll
You know, we had a good appraisal system, 360 degree. You know, they asked people above and below in either side of you how you were doing, how you’d done in the year. And every year I would put in to see my boss, the excellent Nick Campbell, and he would go through my appraisal and it would be some good stuff.

00:15:19:23 – 00:15:41:20
Jim Carroll
You’ve done really well on this, this and this. And he was some things to work on. And I mean, I don’t know if other people are like this, but I tended to skim over the positives because really fascinated by, okay, so what am I going to work on? He said this and then and you know, for me it might be I wasn’t as good on demonstrating campaign effectiveness.

00:15:41:21 – 00:16:08:15
Jim Carroll
Maybe I wasn’t as good on my graphics, maybe my relationship skills in meetings were constrained and I’d walk out of that meeting and I’d go, Right, I’m going to I’m going to really work hard on those three things. And I’m going to spend the rest of this year focusing on my effectiveness, my relationship skills, my hard graphics, and I would work hard and I’ll do that.

00:16:08:15 – 00:16:33:04
Jim Carroll
Then a year later, I’d go in and see Nick Campbell and he’d say, Is this? And even some things you need to work on your effectiveness, your relationship skills. And I had the same appraisal for, I don’t know, 50 years ago. It was just like a carbon copy at some points in the middle of my career, I thought, You know what?

00:16:33:08 – 00:17:07:14
Jim Carroll
I’m just going to stop trying to eliminate the negatives or address the negatives. I’m going to accentuate the positive, and I spend more time thinking about what I was good at and amplifying those strengths rather than addressing my shortcomings. And I learned that in a successful, well constructed business, you can be surrounded by people that do the things you can’t do, and your value to the business is to excel at one or two things.

00:17:07:17 – 00:17:30:06
Jim Carroll
And I think that for me that was part of that was sort of Damascene conversion. I really had to do understand focus on the positives and really get now that’s easier said than done because some of us don’t know what we’re greater and it takes a certain amount of self-reflection to work out what is the thing that I can uniquely do?

00:17:30:20 – 00:18:00:06
Jim Carroll
What is the area where I most add value? I once did this exercise. I was asked by the company CEO Ben Fennell to come up with a points of view about leadership. And I thought, well, I don’t know if I have a point of view about leadership, so I think I’ll look like a good strategist. I’ll do a little bit of research and I reviewed I work with many great leaders inside an agency, so I reviewed all the interesting and compelling leaders that I’ve worked with, and I’ll do a little analysis.

00:18:00:06 – 00:18:29:18
Jim Carroll
And I came up with, well, one leader was extremely visionary, articulate, painting a picture of the future. Another leader was competitive driven, incremental improvement. Another was the great motivator. She just made people feel brilliant. Whenever you were in the room with another was a kind of puppet master. She managed the connections with client and agency so that everything happened in the right way.

00:18:29:18 – 00:18:55:11
Jim Carroll
Another was the great pragmatists, the great problem solver. And I went through a whole load of these leaders and what I found was they each had quite different skills. Now you could respond to this analysis by saying, okay, the key to great leadership is to have vision, to be competitive, to be motivational, to have relationship skills, to be a great problem solver, etc., etc..

00:18:55:14 – 00:19:22:21
Jim Carroll
But none of the individuals that I so admired had all of those skills. What they had was one of those skills to the nth degree. And more than that, what they had established was that it was something about them that made them good at that thing. They were, in current parlance, completely authentic, but they’d found a larger stage and allowed a voice with with which to articulate what they were good at.

00:19:22:23 – 00:19:29:07
Jim Carroll
And so when I went back to Ben, I said that I think leadership is about the answer. Find self.

00:19:29:12 – 00:19:30:07
Philippa White
Yeah, beautiful.

00:19:30:13 – 00:19:52:24
Jim Carroll
Is about isolating your strengths and turning those strengths up to 11. And that’s not easy, but it is comprehensive and many people go the wrong way from leadership. They try to be the leader that they most admire. They try to be all of the leaders that they have ever been the great. They will always fail if that’s your objective.

00:19:53:02 – 00:20:09:00
Jim Carroll
And that’s where the Oscar Wilde. Yeah. Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. The key to great leadership is understanding what you bring and amplifying that and bringing it to bear in a bigger, older way.

00:20:09:02 – 00:20:36:23
Philippa White
It’s fascinating because that actually goes really nicely into leadership. And you talk about me and we, but also modern leadership for a modern world. And it reminds me a bit of an article that I was asked to write about command and control style leadership and why or how has the pandemic moved us even further away from that? And I just wonder, perhaps you can touch on on that.

00:20:37:03 – 00:21:20:05
Jim Carroll
Well, I think we are living with the legacy of the industrial age, even though we are living in the technology age. And I think a leadership style developed in the industrial age, which was very top down to a middle and monolithic concern and didactic and all those things. And maybe that was the right leadership style for factories and for producing many, many things that are similar over and over again as we live in a more fluid, more technological world, more interconnected world, increasingly the kind of leadership style you want is different.

00:21:20:10 – 00:21:25:24
Jim Carroll
And I would argue the best modern leaders are. They’re not mechanics, they’re gardeners.

00:21:25:24 – 00:21:27:08
Philippa White
Yeah, lovely.

00:21:27:09 – 00:21:51:24
Jim Carroll
And mechanics. Look at the company. Look at the business like a circuit diagram. And they twiddle the knobs and they move the cogs around and they’ve got flowcharts and they’ve got organizational things and they are, if you like, international business machine. And if you think of a Gartner Agha Gardner celebrates the diverse beauty of the plants and the flowers.

00:21:52:00 – 00:22:26:10
Jim Carroll
It nurtures the garden encourages, recognizes strengths and weaknesses in very different crops. And also it recognizes that it’s not about the gardener, it’s ultimately about the girl. I just feel that in a much more fluid, changing, interdependent world, we need gardeners, not mechanics. And the ME we think, derives from the Muhammad Ali incident in the seventies when he was invited to do that to see Harvard students.

00:22:26:10 – 00:22:55:08
Jim Carroll
He was doing the address. And it was quite known, Ali, as well as being a preeminent boxer for writing little poems. And one of the graduates in the audience shouted, Give us a poem, Muhammad, give us a poem. And he paused for a moment, he reflected. And then he looked out on the audience and said, Me, we. And this poem is the shortest poem in the English land.

00:22:55:08 – 00:23:19:23
Jim Carroll
And but it also, I think, is also quite profound because it says to me the two biggest questions in life are who am I and who are we? And how do these things relate to each other? And I think that in your career, in your life, in your workplace, the answers to these questions change over time and working out who you are, but also who we are.

00:23:19:23 – 00:23:46:23
Jim Carroll
I mean, sometimes I spend maybe will spend too much time talking about who am I, but who are we, what are our values, what is our cohorts, our we different to the previous generation? What do we stand for? Where are we going to make a stand and generations change? What your generation will bring to the party is going to be difference moment and answering not just the first question, who am I but also who are we?

00:23:46:23 – 00:23:51:05
Jim Carroll
I think is critical, important to success and happiness.

00:23:51:06 – 00:24:30:20
Philippa White
Yeah. And I think, you know, this brings me with TIE. We talked about the importance of competencies. We should always have been empathetic and flexible and culturally intelligent and embrace diversity, be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. It always should have been like that. But it’s more important now, I would say, than ever living in such a volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous world and the importance of taking people out of their comfort zones and being forced to deal with situations that really kind of challenge them, but forced them to have to think on the fly and work with people who are very different to them is obviously really important.

00:24:30:20 – 00:24:46:10
Philippa White
And it’s just interesting hearing you talk because Jim has a blog. It’s called Jim Carol’s Blog. It’s absolutely fantastic that all included in the blurb. But you wrote recently about the importance of doubt. And I just wonder if you can touch a little bit on that.

00:24:46:14 – 00:25:05:16
Jim Carroll
Yes, I knew a man once who didn’t blink and he was a client of mine. We sort of sit in meetings together and we’d be talking about the issue in hand. But I found myself obsessing about this guy not blinking, and I stared at him through the meeting and he just wasn’t blinking. He was sort of almost like an android or something.

00:25:05:16 – 00:25:32:21
Jim Carroll
I thought, Well, what is thinking? What does it mean? What does his absence mean? I mean, I don’t know if this is true, but I developed the point of view. The blinking is an expression of thoughts, the doubts, the reflection, and the Achilles heel of this very intelligent man was he had absolute certainty that he was right. Now, in some instances, maybe more often than not, he was right.

00:25:32:21 – 00:25:59:18
Jim Carroll
But he never doubted it. He never doubted that he was right. Now, I don’t think that’s healthy. And I think there’s a risk in all of us that we start off perhaps lacking confidence when we’re young. And as we gain experience and expertize, we develop fixed points of view perspectives, we become more confident. And our outlook, if you like, calcified.

00:26:00:02 – 00:26:34:22
Jim Carroll
I don’t know if you’ve seen the brilliant Henry Fonda movie 12 Angry Men is about the jury system. And often when they analyze that film, they talk about it’s actually a reflection on that brilliant legal phrase. Reasonable doubt. What is reasonable doubt that the flip of reasonable, reasonable doubt is unreasonable certainty or certainty is unreasonable. And I think all of us in our careers, as we progress, we need to find ways of challenging our calcifying convictions, if you like.

00:26:34:22 – 00:26:59:06
Jim Carroll
We need to upset the apple cart. We need to have discomfort introduced. You know, I was like there was a Nick Cave quote that says, I am not interested in that, which I fully understand. And that means as an artist is chasing things that are new to him, that are not fixed and solid and robust and sound. They’re things that are great.

00:26:59:12 – 00:27:19:02
Jim Carroll
I think we need that in our lives. We need, particularly as we get older. There’s a brilliant sketch by the Spanish artist Goya that he paints it nice at the end of his life. The sketch is a sketch of a really old man with a long beard and a lot of people assessing this sketch. So I think that’s the way of painting himself.

00:27:19:02 – 00:27:42:03
Jim Carroll
It’s right at the end of his life and he’s had a hard life. He witnessed the barbarity of the peninsula war. He’d gone death. He’d sort of had to move to France, leaving his beloved homeland, etc., etc.. And he draws this little sketch of an old man with a beard looking quite fragile, and at the top he’s just letting down a friend, still learning, I think properly.

00:27:42:04 – 00:28:02:01
Jim Carroll
So perhaps that’s wisdom, and that’s hard, because as you get older, as you get expert, you think you’ve learned what needs to be done. And and I think what Tony is brilliant for is to shaking us out of that. And that’s what I’ve always admired about what you do for the show, is that however good you are, you are going to be challenged.

00:28:02:02 – 00:28:24:22
Jim Carroll
You are going to be looking at something that you’ve not experienced before. You’re going to be questioned about some of your own convictions. We all are pretty good at running trains along railway tracks and so many in many respects, that’s what jobs are. You just run the train along the track because you know that track is going to the destination that it always says, well, sometimes we need to learn how to lay railway.

00:28:25:04 – 00:28:34:17
Jim Carroll
And that is hard. And that’s what true leaders can do, and that’s where you need to test yourself is I know I can run a train on a train, but can I put a new way down?

00:28:35:03 – 00:29:07:13
Philippa White
Oh, that’s really beautiful. Yeah, that’s really great. And that is we just actually finished a fantastic, accelerated project with a group of phenomenal people. We had a chief strategy officer Torben from Hamburg. We had the global head of digital for Oatly mean Sarah and she’s in Amsterdam. We had the co CEO of the biggest media agency in Australia, Laura, and she’s based in Sydney.

00:29:07:13 – 00:29:38:22
Philippa White
And then we had Stuart, who was Sean sorry, who is Brisbane and he is the head of marketing and operations for Suncor. So we had this incredible super senior running the show in their various departments or companies and they were faced with this challenge. The Maas Fund is this fund that looks after the Mesoamerican reef system and it covers for I think it’s Guatemala, Honduras, Belize and Mexico, perhaps anyway, four countries.

00:29:38:22 – 00:30:04:15
Philippa White
And Maria, you know, she’s the executive director of this organization, 16 years, you know, marine biologist working constantly talking to the World Bank and the UN and getting funds and sort of just incredibly, you know, just a high level stuff and just incredibly knowledgeable. And I pulled, you know, I put this team together with Maria and, you know, Maria is extraordinary, but she’s not a communicator as it doesn’t understand that much about communication.

00:30:04:15 – 00:30:19:20
Philippa White
She’s all about policy. And 100 page documents to the World Bank to get funding. But when it comes to communicating sort of an idea or what something could look like, I mean, she would say, I struggle this team of people and I sort of take off meeting and.

00:30:20:03 – 00:30:21:18
Philippa White
She’s explaining sort of what.

00:30:21:18 – 00:30:39:24
Philippa White
She wants, but it’s not totally clear. And to be honest, she knows roughly what needs to happen, kind of, but not really. And it’s an idea, but we think it could happen, can work. And you’ve got this team of people having to get their heads around something that doesn’t even exist that they need to try to create terms that they’ve never had to understand before.

00:30:39:24 – 00:30:59:24
Philippa White
And they’ve got six weeks ago. It was just extraordinary to see this team because, you know, we had some intense meetings. Torben, who’s the chief strategy officer, he was like, maybe it’s a bit weird that I’m saying this. I don’t know. But I think we need to talk to some locals. I think like I’m pretty sure we need to talk to some locals about this.

00:31:00:01 – 00:31:24:17
Philippa White
So it was like, Yeah, yeah. Okay, that’s certainly a good idea that obviously that turns out to be part of the answer. Right. And just having to navigate a team of individuals, it was just it was phenomenal. And we had a wrap up meeting just on Friday of last week. And again, the team to say, you know, it’s just it is so important for us to meet locals, to step out of that our silos.

00:31:24:17 – 00:31:47:10
Philippa White
But I think also just that routine of life and also just for us ourselves to just do things differently because they as people who are running companies, know Laura who’s running her agency. She you know, she says, I need to figure out different ways of doing things, different ways of working with the people, working with our employees. I need to find out different ways of approaching challenges, how we can use our knowledge and our skills to be able to make change.

00:31:47:10 – 00:32:04:17
Philippa White
What does that even look like in today’s world? You know, what are the big issues that we’re dealing with? So it was just it’s so exciting because every time I finish a project, I know what my my North Star is. You know, it is about doing, you know, doing interesting things and interesting things will happen to you, but it’s just absolutely fantastic to then see that play out.

00:32:04:18 – 00:32:06:03
Philippa White
So yeah, thank you for saying.

00:32:06:03 – 00:32:30:24
Jim Carroll
I think change is interesting because we spend so much time talking about changing categories and changing business and disrupting sectors and things like that. But maybe we don’t ask, well, how do I change my own life? How to I change and disrupt my own habits and convictions and having a little bit of change in your life and career is as important as having change in society.

00:32:30:24 – 00:32:32:23
Jim Carroll
And I couldn’t agree more.

00:32:33:03 – 00:32:37:11
Philippa White
Jim, is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you’d like to tell our listeners?

00:32:37:16 – 00:33:03:16
Jim Carroll
When I was a kid, I mean, I was into soul music, but I also like funk music and my age. And there was a famous illustration in a in a punk magazine, one of the fanzines. It was just a very simple graphic. They taught what was three chords A, B and G set the finger and G and the graphic said, This is a chords A, this is another E, this is a third G now form a band.

00:33:04:01 – 00:33:29:16
Jim Carroll
And that’s perfectly what punk music was all about. Punk came along in the midst of the seventies when music had been glorifying expertize and study and learning the guitar, you know, to the nth degree. And we worshiped all these great magicians of music, etc., etc.. And punk said, Stop worshiping these other people, you can do it yourself. It was three chords.

00:33:29:16 – 00:33:57:16
Jim Carroll
That’s all you need form a band and the instincts, if you feel you want to do something, if you admire someone else that is doing something, you can just do it. You can do it. You just need a G to form a band. And there’s the great choreographer, Balanchine. He once said, We’ll see you waiting for. What are you saving yourself for now is all there is and that that encouragement.

00:33:58:02 – 00:34:10:00
Jim Carroll
There’s nothing else to wait for. Now is all that we live in. I think it is is inspiring. We all need I mean, I need it more than most just queuing up to say, if you want to do it, do it and do it now.

00:34:10:04 – 00:34:30:03
Philippa White
And you can do it. I think that’s the other thing. Imposter syndrome is such a crazy thing when I listen to some extraordinary people who have extraordinary will and desire, but they have that feeling of, yeah, but you know, I don’t think I could or I don’t think I’m up for that yet. Yes, you can. And I think that’s a big part of what we’re trying to do with TIE as well.

00:34:30:03 – 00:34:48:20
Philippa White
I think everything is said is just wonderful. You know, everyone has it within them now is what we’ve got and everyone can and actually just form a band, form other like minded souls to go to help. You don’t want to do it on your own. You know. Jim, thank you so much for joining us. It’s always such a pleasure.

00:34:48:20 – 00:34:52:23
Philippa White
I adore your mind. If I could listen to you forever. Thank you.

00:34:52:23 – 00:34:54:14
Jim Carroll
Thank you very much.

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