On a cultural note, we have cultivated a warm corporate atmosphere in Australia. Business talk also blends with personal connection and people appreciate the power of the conversation. Our global clients welcome our friendly yet professional Australian style and we’ve really encouraged that warmth and human approach in all of our global work.
What is the best piece of advice you can offer to aspiring leaders?
My best advice to aspiring leaders is the advice I give myself and my team: think more about other people than you do about yourself. Lead by being human, encouraging the best human in behaviour in your organisation. Align your brand and the organisation you represent with your own standards and values.
Recognise that business is personal, and people need people, so integrate people with technology and be proud of supporting the healthiest human system within your organisation. (Reference to John Flint, previous HSBC Leader who is known to this day as the leader who prioritised people).
I’d love to highlight the approach we are taking with Transition Hub to support transition into the future of work, preparing leaders for the future with inclusive and holistic professional development accelerators. www.transitionhub.com
From balletic beginnings
Louise Watts began her working life as a classical ballerina in an Australian Ballet Company. Growing up in a country town in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, her main focus was on ballet classes, performing in Eisteddfods (competitive festivals of music and poetry in Australia), and preparing for examinations, which required a high standard of ballet, knowledge of French terms and nerves of steel. Academically, Watts had also performed well and would have gone into law, had she not chosen the stage.
After an eight-year career in professional ballet, she then went to university as a mature student, achieved a BA Communication from UTS Sydney and, by then, was running her own professional development business called Image & Attitude. This smooth transition was facilitated by the confidence she had acquired from working as a performer and seeing the value of presence and impact within the corporate arena. Louise coined the phrase, “executive presence”, and it’s the platform on which she has built business ever since.
When Louise graduated from university, she was about to deliver her first child, Campbell, who is now 25 years old and about to go to his first Olympics as an Australian rower in Tokyo. She followed this up with a daughter, Giorgia, who she describes as a dynamic young woman and a leader of the future. What was important to her then and still is to this day, is the ability to integrate life, work and family into one, with the flexibility to prioritise any one aspect when need be. Louise’s team is all female, and she has found that they possess a natural tendency to get the job done, inject creativity and flexibility into their solutions, act as role models for women and men in business and cover for each other when family comes first.
When asked who or what has most inspired her to date, Louise explained that a great deal of her inspiration comes from the young people she sees who are making sense of the world we are moving into. Louise thinks that organisations need to trust the insight and energy of young minds and learn from them as much as guide them. She proposes a system whereby young leaders shadow senior executive teams and integrate generational knowledge. Transition is taking place before our very eyes and we are going to need to work together to make the future of work inclusive, dynamic and appropriate for generations to come.
At HPC Global and Transition Hub they have an amazing young woman on their team, Holly Bartter, who is integral to the business. Louise first met Holly when she began tutoring her children in senior English at school. Since then, Holly has gone on to develop her skills across media, tech, start-ups and client engagement. Louise explains that Transition Hub and HPC Global today would not be what they are without her.
She has also been inspired by the resilience and flexibility that she sees across the world, as people navigate this pandemic. People didn’t see it coming, but, says Louise, we knew something needed to change for people and the way they were working, evidenced by burnout, anxiety and lack of confidence across many cultures. ‘Our expectation was that automation and AI would require people to reskill, promote their human qualities and find joy in collaboration. Little did we know that would be fast tracked, due to COVID-19’. Louise describes herself as inclined to think we will come through this more mindful, thoughtful and empathetic than ever before.