The Ed Eppley Experience
The Ed Eppley Experience

Episode 8 · 1 year ago

Best CEO Developer of Talent Ever

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ed spends time with Alan Crookes the CEO who taught Ed what it means to invest in people. As the CEO of BMW Financial Services for the Austral-Asia region, Alan oversaw the greatest and fastest growth in revenue, profit and market share for this global auto brand. This would have never been possible without a bench of managerial and leadership talent that he could confidently place. Listen and learn from the best!

Welcome to the Ed Etle ExperienceTwenty minutes that simplifies the complex job of managing and meetingpeople and Inspires you to take action on what you probably already know tofeel and sustain a smart and healthy business. Here's your host head Efe tointroduce this week's guest and business leader welcome to the Edepili experience. Thispodcast is designed to simplify the complex job of managing and leadingpeople, and our goal on this podcast is everyone is to share with you at leastone proven business practice that will help you build a more sustainable andprofitable and purpose driven company. I just got done telling our guest thatthis is fulfilling a bucket list for years truly today, because, as resultof him joining me, I get to talk to somebody. Who's been very instrument onmy development. My growth, as well as been a wonderful friend and a greatclient. Well so welcome Mr Allan Crooks, formerly of BMW financial services, butstill living down under near Melbourne, Australia. So Alan welcome thanks itand Grad to join you and, as you mention, we have a long historytogether and a lot of successes over the period of time. So it's good totalk to you. Well, thank you. I laugh and people will I'm going to try togive them some context about our relationship. The first time I metAllan was in South Africa, at least to my recollection, alland. It was at thatgame preserved north of Giannesburg, and we had about twenty five or thirtymanagers who we were. You were kind enough to entrust me to teach them someprofessional management and, as I recall, Alan sat in the back of theroom audience he set back there and, as is his style, he didn't say very muchof anything for the first day, and until we got you know he kicked it off,but other than that he really didn't say anything til the end of the day. Hewanted to know who stood out in terms of their talent to me and ask me for my my feedback on people and then he kindof repeated that day to and day three and finally, we started talking, butthis guy doesn't say much so for me to give him a chance to have themicrophone histreally going to be fun to see if he see if you answered morethan one word answers Allan. So do you remember that event in Nouth Africacertainly do, because that was one of the first events we had in the regionin Ladeship or development, and we happene to been into Africa Alreadya asa CEO team and the same time you'rerunning that training. For these I think it was called Nli. That's right,yeah new leader Inteto, that's right, and so we had managers that wererelatively new in their role and we wanted to run this training anddevelopmest. I was the first one and I was certainly there because I wasinterested in them as people, but, more importantly, looking for potential, andprobably where that originated from is that I had a leader when I firststarted before Bamw who took me through a Dal Kanneggi course was a Fordan weekcourse and the end of the course you had this ceremony where you gotpresented, and it was the night after after hours. I think o ran from seventil nine of a night O. I it part time folin weeks, but this CEO actually turned up for that closingevent and that impressed me because he hadhis own family had seven children. Would you believe, but he took the timeto turn up and show interesting how I developed out of it. So that probablystuck in my mind, so that probably where I learnet the process of being involved showinginterest that was more particularly. I was looking for the for the talent, andthese were young managers. I knew the region was going to grow. So where werewe going to get talent and the the main...

...area we're going to get them from iswithin that we had to try and and develop, and that's what you did andwas very successful. If I look back of who the participants in that originalNli, I think, there's probably eight to ten of them have gone on it to becomeour the CEOS in their own ride within bnplu or outside BMW or leading bigteams. Yeah. It had an impact in that respect. So was more about interestedin who they were where they came from, and the fact that thatthese were potentials it justoccurred to me. You've always obsessed about you, know talent and findingtalent and developing talent. You've been fixated on that since I first metyou- and I didn't appreciate you telling me that story about the bossthat you had that came to your Dale Carne, go graduation ceremony andyou're right, the showing genuine interest in your people by attendingsomething like that really sends a signal, because most of these folksrecognize how precious is your time and for you to invest that in them. Whenyou didn't have to is really special, I think just ing back the significantthing about that aid was that he had his own family, seven children so yeah.Why would yot take the time to go and after ours after work and come to thisevent, but that stood aters as an impressive exercise from his behalf, sothat stood with me in many respects about investing in the people, genuine,genuine care? How many people do you think we put through Anali in theAustralasia region from two thousand and five until two thousand and fifteenoutte side? They be at least a couple hundred over that period of time and,as I say, many of them have gone on to greates success, and I know personallythat this one of a couple of people attended had a big impact, one guy inparticular said to me that this really showed him. What ladyship was about andhe's a co now he had a signimigant impact. He remembers it because alsofrom your perspective, one of the things that stood out for him was itwas a challenging event. Other words, you challenge themday challenge backthe group binteracted very well and that impressed him that that ability tolearn to challenge, but also the cahesiness of the group, theMulticultura Group. We had participants from each of the markets. So at thattime we had six countries, so we had people from Japan. We had people fromKorea, South Africa, Australia and and New Zealand and a number of those aregone on to be very successful in their own rigts. I ways was important to holthat, but give them that foundation, training of admit some vulnerabilityhere to the audience. The first session we did was in Bangkock the year beforeand our friend, Marcus Helfridh was the gentleman who sponsored that. Yes, yes,I don't know if I ever told you this story, but Marcus was sitting to theside, auditing and watching what was going on and we had the classroom setup on a square rectangle and we had people there from. I believe and welljust say it. We had obviously Thailand we had Malansia, we had Korea, we hadJapan, we had the galts from South Africa shirlene and Ersla. Probably,and so there were roughly t o thousantad twenty five people in theroom and Marcus at the end of the day, I said what did you think and he saidwell. I was a little concerned at H, beginning because everybody was sittingby country and I never even thought about asking people to mix up or movearound, and I didn't really think about the cultural differences between thecountries. I just started running the NLI ans. I would normally run itexactly and I never thought about presenting what we presented in any waydifferently because of the cultural diversity that we had represented inthe room and nobody from North America. So that leads me to the question aboutthat was ignorant on my part, but I'm wondering, as you've been so involvedwith so many different cultures in your career as many as anybody that I knowdo you do anything different as a...

...leader because of cultural differences,no Wen, I say know, there are definitely cultural differences in eachof the Asian countries and you should be aware of those, but in terms of theleadyship and the management of those companies, particularly the leadership,is, is not different, but that I go back. Where did that? Learning camefrom because that came from the fact that the Austraan business we fromdayone had a multicultural organozlation Ja that happened thatAustrala we had a multicultural organization. We had diversity inculture, we had diversity in mile and female. So that's what we grew up withso t was a bit of a natural thing that happened, but coming back to yourquestion on bledeship and bleeding in those markets, no 's, it very seem likeyou want a leader that leads the people and Generin care of the people. I wrotedown a couple of words that I think of when I think of you Allan, and one wasa gentleman I'm going to come back to that. If I forget at the end of ourtime together, I would ask you to say hey what did you want to say aboutgentlemen? So I want to talk about that visionary, you are definitely avisioner. You see things that either are visible, that others don't see oryou seeee something that's not even visible to potentially to others, butyou can see the future of what it could be in Createa Aurgency to go towards Tim. Do you think that's innate, or do you think you develop that capacity tosee the future of what things could or should be? I think it's a learned skillover time. I read a lot I studied alight in terms of studying differentorganization and different successes. As you know, I study very closely astraine world rules, football which isdifferent than what what you're familiar with in the US, but thattaught me about teams that talk me about coaching. That taught me Aboudvision and what was possible, but, as I say, I was lucky in many respects inBMW that I had some great experiences. I belonged to a group which was processR engineering group, which meant that we met as a group. There was, I thinkthere was eighd of us in the group from different countries that we met everytwo months for two weeks and where in a different market, so they opened myeyes as to what was working. What wasn't working but also, then I had theopportunity to do some great courses through BMW, which open my mind to whatpossible what was potentially available. We ended up as part of that process, FoEngineering Group visiting Michael Hemmer, who was a Guruo processoengineering at MIB. I then attendo some great courses and one of the greatestcourses I attended was in Boston and was run by Hammer, but he had a guestlist, including Jack, Welsh and the leisship course was leading in to toBillin Times. So I was going there reallyy to listen to Welsh, because Iread a lot about Welsh S. great got and he was well recognized that the time isone of the best leaders. But disappointingly he didn't impress mewhen he presented and the most anat part of that exercise was. He wasinterviewed by Michael Hemmer, but the Stanoud guy in that event was a guycalled Don sodiquiz. Don Soclis was a CFO for Walmart and I didn't know a lot about Walmart,but Dong Sodequiz had no notes, no powerpoint. He just walke the stage andHEU told stories about Walmar yeah that led me to then I picked up the book onWalman. I still got it and I still got it mark all these pages and it's calledtha the Walmart decade. Our new generation of leaders turn Sam Walton'slegacy into the world's number one company, so that inspireing another waywill heis a huge organization, but look at what one leader did to develop aculture and inspire the people so that...

...rein for some of my learnings. He was avisionary as well. Oh Yeah, yeah. So to come back to you question, I think Ilearned it over time to have a vision and the vision was important in anumber of markets to inspire the people where we going give them give rode map.Thank you, Elen you're, listening to the ED efpleexperience, email and now with your questions for today's guest to podcastat the Epli Groupcom in his book. Let's be clear: six disciplines of focusedmanagement, prose author D, ephle breaks down key practices ofprofessional management, how to implement them and why it matterspurchase your copy on Amazoncom today, Developng Yu competitive edge for thefuture, while building a sustainable and shriving disess another one of your traits is loyalty.I have never been around anybody. WHO's been more loyal to people once they'reon your team. You are just so completely loyal to that person in thebelief that they are going to be successful and you're going to dowhatever you have to to help them be successful, and you- and I even had aconversation if you were O, have a flaw or a fault- it's probably sometimesbeing loyal to some people that you probably shouldn't have been longerthan you should have. I guess there's a way to say, as that learned or is thatis that part o your DNA? No, I think I think that was learned as well fromexperience. I had very good bosses in the past I use at Termo leaders thatgot a lot of loyalty when I first joined it. BMW There was a great CEOthat showed a lot of law or to to hes. PP was tough. He was very tough, but heshowed a lot of lowld. He gave you a lot of experiences. I stuffed up a fewtimes, but he was still very loyal. So in that respect I learned from him buteaguly. I think your point is right. On the other side, I probably didn't movequick enough when I gave people tha chance, but then I needed to movequicker, looking back to make changes when they weren't performing or wherethe job was too big or the job outgrum right it ma it wasn't initially it justout Oom, later yeah yeah, which I think y. You know this term well the paid hisprinciple you promote them beyond their capability Yep. You should give themthe chance to your form, but if it becomes too big, then make them move toget them out, and that's probably in a higdsight where I didn't move quickenough on some occasions, I'm being cautious with our time, but I've got somany questions I want to ask, and one that strikes me is thinking about Chinaand you're, opening up that market and the complexity of it and joint venturesand all that kind of stuff. How that was a really really once in a lifetimekind of opportunity to do that in a market of that size. What stands out toyou about that whole journey of China and opening up that market? Well, Ithink, as you said, the complexity of it. It was navigating through the rulesand regulations that took as five years to get a license, but it was a realtest of I use the word. Patience and persistence. Yeah patient to you say,stay in the journey to get this license persistent to want to get it. Onceagain, I was lucky that that I put in a great leader from the start, who youknow very well ye extremely talented Xiv League, but he had to go throughsome really tough times and those were we extrarny tough times, and I didn'tsee them in any other market, but he learne grew and I had to coach in adifferent way. There Hem is a leader, but he innovated I ina way that no one else would have yeah.

I agree with you and we start thebusiness wouldnt. You believe that we suddenly had these UAT Wat. They callquotas put on Thas. In other words, the marker was growing too big. So this wasthe regulalater trying to slow the growth.So we were one of the last teams into themarket. So when five years to get a licene, then suddenly you're ready togo and you were stricted in your lending yeah yeah. Well, I remember itstaffed up for two or three times the volume of growth hat he was allowed togo after it was like what do we do with all these people all dressed up, noplace to go yeah, but he indovated, because we've been developed what hecalled a colending model to to shift some of ther business into anotherlender, which was innovation, Realy innovation. So you had to innovate. Youhad to but eually what what he did was inspire the people, the we aited somenew concepts, lunch and learn, which was educating the people in environment.He Yo once a week to get them to understand. Thei business. I mean thatmarket now is the biggest market for financial services in the world. So Igrew from- and I think this year this year will be ten years since weestablished China. But I love that experience but had great great joy init scene a success but Egy Russia, an India yeah or I had the reck market. SoI didn't have Brazil, but it was different former challenge but excitingto see those markets succeeds yeah and Asonce in a lifetime. It will neverhappen yeah to happen. Three was SA, not the brick but the reck Russia,Indian China, was amazing experience. I I didn't realize at the time I justknew it was daunting and you know I had no responsibility for anything otherthan helping you develop a people, but I knew it was daunting. What was beingasked of all those people in terms of figuring out? You know developingprocesses and systems that could work in those markets because they are sounique and so different and and each one very, very complex. One of the things that the audience mayor may not know is I'm a big fan of behavior finance and behavioraleconomics, and, as a result of that, I got exposed to an assessment calledPerth leadership and Dr Ted Prince is the author of that assessment, a suiteof assessments that helps you identify behaviors that you possess and ind cognitive,viuses or filters that you have in your mind that that really affect what youdo and how you see, risk an opportunity and then understand how that affectsthe financial results of the business and Alan you very early on and bracethat. So, when I talke to you about it, it was not. If we should do, it is justhow passed and what you know what would be the goal, and so we started doingthat and I'm curious today what you took away from that whole experience,you're a bit of a Unicorn in how you're hard wired versus how you behave, andso I'm just interested about where you are today and you're thinking aboutbehavior find it, I think, was a fantastic concept and and we we hadsome challenging discussions about doing that because obviously requiredinvestment yep. I remember the discussion. We had a co get togetherand was in Bankock and I put to the group. Should we do this? It's going totake an investment of a number of dollars and was a haded discussion. Butin the end we agreed to do it, and that was pleasing because was investmentinto the potential again identifying the potential of the people, but alsoidentifying what was possible and we had some great experiences and- and ifyou remember, we had some young talent that we are Oni, that we would not haveidentified otherwise yeah and we had some great outcomes from doing that. Sothat was the highlight to me to see...

...this concept read about it in theory, put it intopractice and then see the outcome and the the staggering outcom was some ofthe successes we had in our biggest market wit, just China, yeah and ainnovation in another way, yeahand for for our audience, there's a disproportionate few peoplewho have the capacity to think and behave in a way that produces highgross margin, ideas or products or services, and so what we embarked onwith Alan and his CEOS was testing a very large group of people, severalhundreds, as I recall, for for their capacity to innovate and then alsogiving them permission to innovate in an organization. All largeorganizations tend to weed out highly innovative people because they're hard to manage and andthey generally will take a path of least resistance. If I'm a highlyinnovative individual, I'm probably not going to put up with all the rules andregulations, and so I'm going to go find somewhere else where I can act onmy ideas. So it was really interesting how Dr Prince worked with you to figureout a way to give them permission to do this innovation without it raising toomany red flags too early exactly. But the highlight to me, as Isay, was then identifying this talent that we wouldn't have otherwiseidentified and Givehim, given them thei freedom to try things and, and some ofthose things definitely worked, which we would't have otherwise had theopportunity to see. Let's move off of that, and since we'vekind of hit that pretty hard, I'm curious about you've had theopportunity. In fact, I think, since you're tirement from from BMW, you've fend ahuge amount of time, coaching even more than you already did. Is there onething that you think is just proportionally important for somebodywho's an executive or Manageralyr? If they're, if you were going to say, Idon't care what you do, but if you don't do anything else, you better dothis, or maybe in the negative, you better not do this. I is there onething that you feel like is really crutical for executives to besuccessful in today's world. I thin, I think, it's all about the Papel Eders,as you expect get your team right and when I say team rihe ideally get adiverse team, diverse team of experience, diverse team of talent anddefinitely have a very strong balance of females in that allow them to dotheir job get out of their way, but but also challenge and challenge them toimprove Adand, don't be, don't be afraid to challenge him me if they areunderperforming or they can do better so but equally as we discussed, if, ifI're not working out move them. So I take that decision, quick and because we all procrastinate aboutthat, what we distcos, but but deferitely, we do. We do Wewe. Neveryou never generally hear executives say I move too quickly on that in here.Always it's always too long, but it's it. The ame ride get the diversity inthe team, but but coach them act, ars a cont rather than you have all theanswers talk to me about when you consciouslystarted to work on the diversity, especially in terms of mal and female,on your teams. was that always there or was there a moment in time where theswitch flip frene and you said, I'm going to really work with and trying toidentify the female talent that we have? Well. I mentioned that that we were. Wewere fortunate that we had diversity in culture. We had a diversity in femalesin te Strat, so I came in someays natural. We had some great managersthat were leading some big teams. Female managers and theyd stand atlearning from the female managers. They exituted much better than the mouse onemore, don't sy that again they executed,...

...but they also Moldy Tas, because a lotof these were laes with children with Famili, so they had to balance, but butthat that came through as a standout. So when I took over the region, I waslucky that add the opportunity to put in a co into Russia as a female. I wehad a change in South Africa and then Wer put in a female in South Africa. Ithen had two exceptionally talented AAs. They told me also that they caver someof myblind spots, but they also did some things that were in preseive, sothey were female young, talented, ladies, that now have gone on to bevery successful R managers in their own right with families with children andso that that's where it came from give them the opportunity, let them get more involved, but we needed weneeded that diversity. That's that was e critical point. I think. Did you runinto much pushback from headquarters about your choices? unusing women insome of these critical positions? Not really because the lady that was headof Jr, you mentioned Marcus earlir Hes boss was a very successful Lidy in BMW,very successful. She was one of the first female senior exectives in BMW, so shewas head of R for financial services, so she fully supported naturallydevelopment of the female talent, and he supported me personally in many waysin making sure that happened, but no not not particularly was was a badidentifying that the right person the right time, but it was female,definitely got very strong suppored from from her, but also from the coatthe time George Bell and then then triply trigly yeah theyre, both verystrong supporters of female development. I think that's great well. It certainlywas a lesson for me and, as you said, the capacity that execute we can neverhave too much of that, and so, if we can find an individual who can more likely be able to get thingsexecuted, we certainly want tem on our team and if you got back to thatoriginal training in South Apica, one of those, ladies out of ther, ended uptcoi in one of the markets and Andand the lady, that's Ner. The running theregion that I used to Rani is a female who used to work. For us. Came out ofAustralia, so Yep Yep, geve them the opportunity and see and let them go andthey'll prove you that ththey'll deliver hallen. I need to wrap upbecause of our time constraint. I don't think this will be our only time.Having this conversation, no, I think we're going to have you back for somemore more targeted discussion. I wanted to pay you the the honor, though ofgiving you a chance to share some of your thoughts, because you had such abig impact on me. I want to. I want to come back to myword gentleman, a gentleman the ladies and gentlemen. I heard this definition.I forget it was an English writer who it was, but he said a gentleman issomeone who has few vices, but will let you have yours if I've ever met somebody who is agentleman of that type? It's Mr Allen, Crook! So Alan thank you for being withus today. I want to remind our audience that if you want to find out more aboutprofessional management, leadership just go to my website. The EPLI Group-that's Epple, Wy the epli group, all on wordcom. My Book, let's be clears there,along with our assessment that you can take to find out which areas,professional management or organizational health may be more of anopportunity for you than the other, and we will welcome you back to our nextpodcast, which will be on next week. So with that Alan andhy final comments, wecan wrap up and get you back to your...

...gardening or whatever its Thursday, soyou're, not gardening. Today, that was yesterday, no no actually at meetingsome people to do some coaching sessions, but but thanks for having mehonor and and thanks also for what you did over the years to help us succeed.I in many of these markets, you're training, your leadeship you'recoaching of many of these successful managers that we developd wasinstrumental in our success as well, and it was great to have you as a partof our journey of success in the Asa Pacific Regon. Thank you. Ellen you're,a good friend Youre, a great leader, give our love to sue and well lookforward to seeing you and our audience very very soon. Thanks. Everyone have agreat day thanks a chees cheers. Thank you for listening to the Ed Eppliexperience for more information on building a more sustainable, smarterand healthier business visit www, the eply groupcom for resources tips andadds latest blocks. That's tee. EPLE Eppley growtcom plus take a freeassessment at the EPLI GROUPCOM assessment to find out how you measureup as a highly skilled and accomplished manager, and we're to focus onimproving your skills.

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