Luke O’Mahoney building employee experience and culture that allows people to be the best version of themselves

Luke O'Mahoney

Value through Vulnerability (boosted by HumansFirst) Host Garry Turner

VtV Coalition

Garry Turner  0:00  

Welcome to Value through Vulnerability, putting the human back into humanity, it’s really great to be joined by co host Mike Vacanti, who is founder of the HumansFirst movement. And we’re both really, really happy today to welcome a good friend of mine, Luke O’Mahoney on to the podcast, who is People and Operations Manager at The Fuel Store, and has been on an incredible development journey himself over the last number of years. So welcome to the podcast.

Luke O’Mahoney  0:23  

Thank you delighted to be here.

Garry Turner  0:25  

Oh, no, we’re really excited to dive in with you. So what I’d love you to do, if you wouldn’t mind just for those that are kindly joining us today. Just give a little bit of an overview of a couple of minutes in terms of sort of where you are right now and maybe walk backwards, sort of like what’s the journey been? What’s the arc, to use your language,that you’re in through the last few years?

Luke O’Mahoney  0:45  

Yeah. So again, thank you for having me. And we’ve met at a point of that arc, Garry, where I was just starting to dip my toe into a completely new world for me, which has actually led me to get to the point where we’re probably having this conversation. So it’s nice to be having that conversation with you, Garry, because it has come full circle. But essentially, I like most I went to university or like many I went to university and came out, not really sure what I wanted to do with myself, taking a business management degree and taking it out into the real world and applying it, I  ended up getting into a sales role within recruitment. So within the recruitment agency I had in my early 20s, it’s fair to say I hadn’t yet reached the level of progressive thought that I got to now, quite strong willed and in some cases close minded I’d say quite argumentative. 

You can cause yourself a lot of problems and damage a lot of relationships, which I did, with people that house was quite close to. So I’ve been the last few years on quite a fun, challenging, dramatic journey to where I am now. So from a work perspective that’s gone right from working with a recruitment agency on the sales side, through to working with Hudson RPO, a big company really enjoyed working with the guys over there.And that’s where I started to get an exposure to the senior HR community. Through going out and engaging with the likes of Perry Timms who again, mutual interconnection and friend of ours, Garry, who started really opening my eyes, this human affairs approach that I’d been really longing for, I suppose, because in my previous roles and being very much encouraged to focus on numbers and outputs that were that were more tangible and less related to human experience, I suppose. And my longing has been to get into an environment where I could help the impact and drive change within people.

And it’s been tough to get to that point. So, a series of interactions with you guys, a series of fortunate twists and turns led me to being set up with the right mindset and skill set to a certain degree to jump into the role that I’m currently in now with Fuel Store, which is which has been an operations manager. And it has my first sort of hands on experience of getting into a business and being completely responsible for the development of all of the people that sit within it. And it’s been a fantastic sort of 16, 18 month journey so far getting in, learning a lot about myself and learning a lot about the industry and people that sit within it and taking what was a very fledgling organization with really great success when you when you look at the numbers, great potential, but they just needed staring in some some, some real nurturing around the importance of taking that people first approach. 

I spent a good amount of the last 12, 16 months in trying to generate and create the culture of ownership and identity built around immersiveness and accountability, openness and vulnerability too, a huge, huge advocate for that message and kind of live and die by the sword and constantly putting my hand up. Moving senior management in the exam within the general business to make sure that people know that I make mistakes a lot, I don’t mind saying constantly doing the I wish that I’d done slightly differently got it really important to put your hand up and lead by example and say it’s okay to make mistakes as long as we can look at them and go, okay, brilliant. We know what we did there. Let’s build on that and move forward. So yeah, it’s been a really fascinating journey of the last few years. I’m an individual contributor focused on numbers to completely change my mindsets, skillset and focus into a world where now I’m completely focused on the development of all those sort of, they might care if you like, full cycle.

Garry Turner  5:42  

It’s amazing, Luke, thanks so much for sharing and I just, so many places for us to go with this, Mike, which is really exciting. And I think I’d like to start with two things for me. One is as a fellow sales guy right now in my international job. It’s really interesting and hopefully for those listening this is interesting that quite often we do get that identity tied to a particular role. And when you start to look up and look around you, oh, I’m part of a wider system. And it’s not just about me being a sales guy and hitting numbers, I’m actually impacting all these other people’s lives, like so I’m now trying to step into a role or into a bigger version of Garry, which is actually people and sales. And I can tell you, Luke, the world’s not ready for it. Like, the structures that are out there, like conversations I’ve been having very recently are. Yeah, but we don’t have that role yet. But probably means we need it then.

Luke OMahoney s

Luke O’Mahoney  6:39  

A strange paradox. And it’s been a big shift to obviously start with one movement with the likes of Simon Sinek pushing that idea. So you’ve got the general like loose buy in to the idea that we need to appeal to emotion and two people’s core values. But then we translate that into a pure sales role for some reason, there’s a disconnect between the marketing side of that, and the very human side of that. I think that’s what I struggled with in a sales role is that I had that appetite and desire to deliver impact. 

And if I apply that to my well, specifically, my sales roles recruitment. So ultimately what you’re doing is selling people to people, which when you say it out loud, is horrific. But that’s the reality of it. I’m happy to say that the industry has made strides significantly, to try and move away from that, but there is still a culture of sales and what’s important is getting that number on the wall. Not necessarily, are we making sure that the person we’re speaking to has got our full care and attention? Are we putting them in a position where we’re setting them up for success in whatever that future role is? More often than not, I found that I was pressured into making decisions that I wasn’t enjoying.

There’s definitely a disconnect there.

Mike Vacanti  8:05  

Yeah, I mean, your story at the beginning Luke, take us through that journey, that arc. We could pull pieces out of that and turn it into a program. Right. And it was just it’s, it’s it’s classic stuff and I think that brings up such a great point is, is when did it occur to you that there was something more,  that you know how, how this works, you know the strategy, you know how to execute, but you just had this feeling that something was missing. Can you share that lightbulb moment a little bit?

Luke O’Mahoney  8:45  

Yeah, I think it was more of a buildup of frustration than a lightbulb moment in particular, but there was a breaking point if you like which was it. A week and a half where I really want to get out of bed, exhausted because I’ve been fighting against the need and the desire to be successful and please my superiors in my role and deliver what I was expected to deliver versus this is really against what had become at that point or was becoming my core value, which was trying to optimize human optimization in the true forms and getting the most out of myself getting the best out of people I interact with. So that was when, I am going to muddle my dates, that was somewhere probably circa late 2018. Where that happened, and that’s when I started to explore what was possible beyond that, and really start thinking about what that meant for me. 

And from that point on, it was a series of some calculated and some fortunate opportunities and encounters, that essentially just opened up my world to what was possible. And there was there was a lightbulb moment to getting into this role that I am currently in now, which was good to get name which is tremendously kind and generous with his time, but he’s the is the HR Director Head of People at the NBA currently, I do I forget his name apologies if you know him but he gave a talk at the HR Director Summit actually in Boston, which would have been last year or the year before. And the way the passion of the guy like the sheer energy of him and the joy that he was expressing, talking about how he was involved in developing people, and how the focus for him was very much on building an experience and environment that facilitates people to be the best version of themselves, focused on individual passions and put that in to what you’re doing.

And he asked a series of questions that really got me to make the jump, which was around if you’re, if you’re not in a job that’s making you happy, or if you feel like you’re in an environment that is not feeding your passions, whether that’s directly or at least allowing you to, to get towards a step where you’re moving towards, to embrace your passions. Are you in the right role for you and I left that trip, I was there as a sales representative essentially for the company I was with. I don’t think they expected me to go there. And then coming back to hand in my notice, but that’s really what happened. Because I knew at that point, it was time to change. So that’s that was the lightbulb moment probably that had been building for some time. So tremendously thankful. When I’m really kicking myself that I can’t remember his name, I did get a chance to see him again at the HRD summit in Birmingham. Before a year, I think about going out, go and speak to and say, Look, thank you. That’s all you gave. I heard I listened. And I’m now doing something that I really love. So, thank you. So I’m glad I got that chance to say thank you. Yeah, pretty nice.

Garry Turner  12:17  

I just love your humility. It’s really powerful, I love  the depth of your gratitude for those steps in that journey. And it’s one of the things I really, really appreciate about you. And it’s, it’s really something that we can forget about. And I forget about sometimes that all of these little steps that we take on our personal development journey, whatever that means. It’s always been someone involved, either sort of directly or indirectly, but I quite often forget and sometimes I just sit there and go, actually, there’s like, 30 people like that for the last six months that I’ve met, they’ve all impacted my life somehow. And I just want to say like, like, thank you for like sharing So, so passionately, how much those connections have meant to you as you’re going along. I think it’s really powerful.

Luke O’Mahoney  13:00  

I can’t express the gratitude enough to be honest because, you know, I’ve listed a few people. people like yourself, Garry, Laura Plaxton, another mutual friend of ours, who’s helped me tremendously along the way, Kirstin Furber who was the former director of BBC. She’s been great. I met her by chance. And she’s been operating as a sort of mentor to me from time to time. And there’s been so many people yeah, it’s hard to list them all to thank them for that. Not least my wife. She definitely deserves a mention. Because she’s always there pushing me to do what she knows I’m passionate about and if I’m ever on the fence, I should I do this, should I not? You always ask the right questions, and manage to get me to make the right decision. So certainly can’t argue about an honorable mention.

Mike Vacanti  14:01  

There’s so many words that you use so naturally, in the descriptions that I think are so powerful, and I think often are missing or phrases, and one of them that jumped out right at the beginning, you said it much more eloquently. And we can go back and find that ease. But you had talked about learning and, and, and right away connected with leading, and it was so core and innate and true to to that belief that that you operate with now, is that learning is leading and to bring that you also just said that, you know 2018 you had that moment, and here we are 2020 so 16, 18 months, right, is a very rapid transformation and you took action on that. And the learning curve through that time. I think it’s just, it’s brilliant just to take a pause and frame that for a second, it’s a very rapid journey. And that leading is learning is maybe one of the biggest missed truths. In all that people development journey.

Luke O’Mahoney  15:26  

I completely agree and I’ve learned a lot. And that is fair to say about myself about how to interact with people. It’s funny that you picked up on that humility, Garry, it’s so so not something that I’ve always had. I think if you went back and asked some people from my past to describe me, you wouldn’t necessarily get that description or description of the person that you’ve come to know going. So yeah, it is interesting and learning is central to everything that I do. I’m forever, it forever got a podcast or a book on the go? 

I’m always trying to find out what’s, you know, trying to expand my understanding of the world, basically, to reference and have a podcast it’s it’s a massively popular podcast these days with the Joe Rogan podcast interview, have you spent any time listening to the Joe Rogan podcast but a very different type of individual, but he has some fascinating people on there. And what really resonates with me about the way Joe Rogan approaches conversation is that he’s not alone. And so there’s never a situation where he’s going into that with a preconceived idea of what that conversation is going to be. And just really listening to him have these really developmental progressive, interesting conversations, often with people that have completely the complete antithesis, worldview that he has, but he’s not trying to bring those people in other conversations but genuinely listening to them and trying to hear, trying to understand and trying to make sure that he’s got the full picture before he solidifies his point of view. 

Luke OMahoney

So it’s been an interesting few years, but I’ve had to really consciously work in my ability to listen. I still don’t always get it right. Again, you can probably ask my wife that one too. I still don’t get it right all the time. Being conscious and mindful that a conversation is that, it’s a two way interaction and it’s not you dictating, I think when you move into a position of leadership, that’s a really clear distinction that needs to be cognitively acknowledged, really consciously acknowledged. Because if you leave, if you look at the classic leadership management debates, you know, if you’re just dictating and not not leading you’re just giving instruction. And what I really enjoy is seeing those around me develop. 

And I can acknowledge aspects of people that I can see in a previous version of myself like, okay, there’s something here, I can ask these questions, I can provoke these thoughts, which I know are going to then potentially down a path that’s going to enable that person to grow. And that’s what leadership is and should be, I think it’s looking at those around you whether or not you’re in a formal position of leadership, which is looking at people around you and saying, okay, what part can I play in their development, if that’s just a friend, that’s just someone that you meet in person, you know, you’ve got a role to play interaction is going to be significant in one way or another. I think being cognitive of that is really important.

Mike Vacanti  18:53  

In fact, some with another one because it just sparked, you know, in that journey and it is rapid, right? And now you’re in that people operations role and you have that passion for elevating others and letting them find that moment that you did where they decide to focus on this growth path. What are the barriers that you see people have as you bring this idea they’re kind of looking just one you know, Luke, that you know, I know the strategy, I know my tasks and and my objectives for the day.  Why are you telling me to bring all this other stuff yet? What are the barriers that you find?

Luke O’Mahoney  19:37  

The barriers are classic about change anyway, people tend to have a little bit of resistance to change. So if you’re trying to get someone to think a little bit differently, then that is a barrier. Because ultimately, there is going to be a bit of resistance in the reference Kirsten again. I had a conversation with her when I not long started in the role that I’m in, and I was having a bit of a problem because I was trying to bring so much change  mindset into an organization that hadn’t previously gone not through lack of wanting it as such, but just through lack of understanding that it was possible. But there was still a resistance. And there’s a bit of uncomfortability that I introduced. And I spoke to Kirsten and she said, Well, look, you have to meet people where they’re at. But there’s no point trying to take them down a route that they’re not ready for. So no matter who it is that you’re talking to about what you’re trying to achieve, you have to consider who your audience are, and you have to meet them where they are. 

So I think that is a big lesson that I continue to take with me if I’m finding that I’m trying to encourage that change.  I’m trying to facilitate that growth and there’s a bit of resistance and use more often than not is because I’m not doing my role well enough to meet that person where they’re at, and maybe it’s a case of taking a few more steps backwards, to realign our, our purpose is to make sure that they understand the reason behind what I’m what I’m asking them to do or what I’m trying to show them. So that’s been massive. I think in addition to that, there’s something that I struggle with, and I think a lot of people struggle with, and that’s that imposter syndrome. And it’s taking that step into an environment that is correct and familiar and uncomfortable, and trying to do the best that you can within it, and hoping that you are doing the job that you’ve been brought in to do and I think that is and we can talk a little bit more about my own personal experience of that everyone after this, but that is also a barrier to helping change, because some quite often people think well, I don’t think I can do that or at I don’t believe that I’m the right person for that. And so outside of the realms of what I thought I was capable of, I don’t believe that I can do it. And so that that, again, is another barrier to change.

Garry Turner  22:14  

I just love how you spoke earlier on about how you’re trying to develop your team and help them grow. And you come up with the word transparency. I just want people to hopefully savor for a moment how transparent Luke’s being right now, like, this is a wonderful human being who’s not only doing great work, but he’s working for an organization right now. And you are role modeling, transparency. And I think for me, that’s the ultimate leadership over leadership, if we call it in with Mike’s book, but you know, fundamentally, I think that ability to be congruent, like to say we need to be transparent as an organization as a team or as individually one thing to actually be it literally as you’re being on this in this conversation. I think he’s mightily impressed. If I just want to just to acknowledge you for that, because I think that congruence is not always easy.

Luke O’Mahoney  23:06  

And I appreciate the acknowledgement. And it’s something that like I say, didn’t come naturally, I had to practice to become comfortable with uncomfortability. Just yeah, except for exactly that reason to show people is okay. And being uncomfortable is part of growth, like there is no way to grow in anything without putting your position. Put yourself in a position of discomfort. Because if you’re constantly comfortable with your environment, then you’re not exposing yourself to stimulus to facilitate change. It’s the reality. So if I can, if I can put myself out there, show people that I am far from perfect. And on a daily basis, I say and do things that I perhaps shouldn’t do or could have done better, are more than happy. I’m an open book and see my flaws.

Garry Turner  24:00  

Can I just ask as well, I’d love to, I don’t want to, I want to acknowledge you and come back to the imposter syndrome. Like you’ve really put that outside to talk about, like, like to go there shortly. But I’d love to just talk a little bit about the last 20 weeks, if you don’t mind. Because like for the point of view of heading up people and operations teams, you’ve got this passion to help them develop. Oh, there you go. Have a pandemic on top of your day job. So I’m really, really, really interested how that impacted your belief system or your ability to stay, like I still care about thriving people. We’re now in this relative crisis situation, how did you navigate what was it about? What did you learn about you going through the last few weeks.

Luke O’Mahoney  24:42  

The last 20 weeks for me have been very interesting and challenging from a personal perspective and a work perspective. As you know, I actually had my first son right at the start of lockdown, so two weeks into lockdown and my son, my son arrived so he’s now five months old, it’s quite hard to believe in and of itself. So I had to battle two things that are Garry, to adjust your point one, I’d become something new in my past life, I was now that carer, to do this wonderful little life. So that required some significant change in focus from me. And then parallel to that exactly right. Oh, my goodness, we’ve got a pandemic, we’ve got a very likely shutdown on the office. We’re not set up as a business at that point to operate remotely. So we need to go into going to stations and wrap this. And on top of that, we also need to make sure that we’re cognizant that this is going to be a challenging time for ourselves. And for those people that are in our care that work for us. And we need to really think carefully about novel situations. Yeah, it was tricky, to say the least well out of my depth on many occasions. From a response to a pandemic perspective, I think there’s people that have been in the industry and in the working world a lot longer than me. That also found themselves prepared. 

So it was a steep learning curve. But I’m really, really proud about what we did and how we acted as a small management team. Because we’ve within the two weeks, we had hardware and software required to set people up to work from home. We delivered training, we created  policy. We trained and retrained team members and ourselves on how to manage remote workers, which was really difficult, but we did it. We did unfortunately have to make a few furloughs, but thankfully, we haven’t lost any staff. We’ve really been fortunate in that way. And actually the plan is to start returning from where they were just again, the next exciting challenge. But that put me well outside my comfort zone to bring it back to where we’re talking about. And then of course on top of that, it was learning to be dad at home. Which again, Christ. It’s probably one of the most difficult things you can do, isn’t it? Because you’re responsible not just for the development of people but you’re responsible for a life now, and I’m sorry if we didn’t answer your question that you want to rephrase that.

Garry Turner  27:29  

No, it’s brilliant. And I do understand we just got a puppy. Like it’s my equivalent and seriously it’s it’s a I empathize massively, but what I like to try and do is just try and pick out specific instance like for you, what what’s been what’s been a key learning for you sort of Luke, what specifically maybe like actionable for those listening going? Right. in a difficult situation. You can still grow. I’m wondering, where do you feel you grew over the last 20 weeks? Is there anything you can point towards?

Luke O’Mahoney  27:57  

Yeah, it’s a tricky one, I am so busy doing it, I don’t have time to reflect on being perfect. It might take six months to get through this and then log back in and say what did we learn there? But resilience I mean, it’s so crucial. I’ve spent a good amount of time developing resilience inside and outside of work. Just to add to my challenges is probably a slight boast here, I guess. But it adds to my challenge over the last 20 weeks. I’m also training for a half Ironman event, which is a week on Sunday. So I’ve always been so I’m used to it. I’m used to being in discomfort, because I’m having to get up at 4:00, 4:30 in the morning to get two hours training before so do what you can in the mornings out with the baby before they’re getting into work. And I think resilience is something that you have to learn and again, technology, I think. We look back on this time. The biggest thing that’s going to stand out is how resilient we were as individuals, how resilient we were as a business, and actually, come out and stronger. Our weekly trading numbers now or exceeding what they weren’t pre lockdown. Because we’ve just, we’ve just reacted really well. And we’ve been resilient, we’ve been focused, we’ve not got panicked, we’ve not lost our heads. I mean, our business is four and a half years old. There’s unfortunately a lot of businesses of a similar age that haven’t survived this this time. And yet, we’ve come out of it stronger, so I think what will be really fun to do, when the time’s right is to look back and say, Well, why was that? Why were we I think one of the things is resilience, because we’ve all shown that

Mike Vacanti  29:52  

Yeah, I love that. I mean, resilience certainly right when like this science every route is amazing. Yeah. And it goes back and there’s and there’s depth and there’s science that can be applied. It’s a great learning journey because we realize that it’s both mental and physical. But also that learning piece that you bring in and that humility that you, that you exemplify, right? We don’t know how to do this. So we’re going to do our best to address the situation and get to the best outcome because we care. And the trust piece there is that you cared about each of those people. And you cared about the company and in turn, they likely cared about the outcome and the company and the other people like you that were trying to do their best to bring down and put them in the best situation. And I just believe that is so missed, Luke. And certainly that becomes the resilience journey but it becomes the learning journey, it becomes the journey of believing in the mission and the purpose. And you also said it requires us to go meet people where they are. How are you feeling during this? Well, here I am moved right. I’m sleep deprived. I’ve got a brand new baby. I’m working at home that’s noisy in and of itself. And I’m trying to do all these things that I’m new to the role and everything’s changing.

Luke O’Mahoney  31:35  

And yeah,

Mike Vacanti  31:37  

I mean, that’s an explosive situation and I think the grace with which you address each of those, those pieces, those conditions, and never hearing you once tend towards victim. I never heard you once tend towards we can’t solve it. It’s that we’re going to make the next best decision, we’re going to do the next right thing with a focus on people. And the business, I just notice is powerful, really

Luke O’Mahoney  32:14  

Exactly that. I think we, we can be tremendously proud as a management team sworn as we are for doing that. And taking that mindset and I’m also really proud of the conversations I’ve heard over managers with their teams remotely. So we, as a management team, we have been dipping in and out of the office for the last few weeks. So I’ve been able to overhear some of the conversations and so if they have a manager they’re having with their teams over over over teams. So the Microsoft Teams that for one of the managers in particular have only one of number of occasions. outwardly ask his people howis your mental health? How we how you feeling? And like a little sort of warm feeling inside when I when I hear him say that. Yes, brilliant. Those are the questions we should be asking. Those are the questions that allow people to be vulnerable, that build trust, that give insight, and allow us to properly care and support for those people whilst they’re actually out there on the front line working from home, which is new to them as well. So their experiencing their own challenge, some certain times for everyone, you know, and they’re the people that struggled, people have really struggled. And I’m really proud to be part of a business where our management team are opening that conversation, how are you? How are your mental health?

Unknown Speaker  33:39  

What can we do for you? And that’s been brilliant too. 

Garry Turner  33:44  

It’s really powerful. Mike and I’ve had some conversations quite recently Luke, where to ask that question is so important, but to deal with the response that might be I’m not actually okay, Luke,  like, where do we go now? What I’m sensing is because It seems to me like you coming in and setting up this focus. It’s almost like pandemic-proofed, you can be really intrigued if you reflect on where the business was before you came in to set up the structure you now have. How would you just like the hypothetical, like the thought experiment? How would the Fuel Store have dealt with the pandemic?

Pre this this newer approach compared to where they are, which is the thought experiment? I just wonder what your gut will tell you?

Luke O’Mahoney  34:28  

Yeah. Well, I mean, yeah, if we’re sticking to humility, I like to just push that one aside, but I genuinely think the work that’s been done over the last 12 and 18 months, without the knowledge of what was over the horizon, has set us up to face this challenge. And I think had we not had such a focus on developing culture and developing trust, developing a genuine interest and engagement in our people over that time. I think, yeah, hypothetically, you could, you could say that perhaps you wouldn’t fare as well. I don’t know that for sure none of us do. But certainly the business that was when I arrived, and the business that is today are two different things albeit with the same. They had the core values there, they just weren’t being championed.

And so that’s the difference. It’s against. I came in, I didn’t, I didn’t suddenly reinvent the wheel. I came in and looked around and saw some amazing people, I saw some amazing values. And I saw a tremendous passion and drive for something greater than the individuals that made it up. But nobody was talking about it. And really, that’s all I did was vocalize it and give people the chance to acknowledge it and point on it. So I think the people that we have within the business individually would have been capable and potentially resilient enough, but would there have been enough of a collective? You know we’re all in this together? And we can get through this.

And we all bought into not just our jobs at the moment we’re born into the Fuel Store, making sure that the Fuel Store comes out of it stronger. The honest answer is I’m not sure that that would have been there. So I think the work that we’ve done over the last 2 years have been really important in helping us get through this, even though we didn’t know.

Garry Turner  36:26  

We wanted to ask that and just those that are listening, like, is not trying to be a leading question. It’s really important that we understand the power of getting every voice into the system is something I’m a really big champion of Luke, as you know, is and you just spoke to it brilliantly. Everybody’s got great people. But how many of those great people are actually heard and seen on a daily basis? Like the ones that are actually doing the job often have the best information, what to do next, or how to improve and I think what you’re speaking to for me is just that inclusion supports resilience. Like I’ve not always thought of it that way. But that’s what’s coming up for me as we talk.

Luke O’Mahoney  37:10  

Yeah, I would agree with you. One Hundred percent and certainly don’t want to make it sound like we’ve got everything right because we’ve got loads of work to do still. And there are still people that don’t yet have a voice or they feel comfortable raising voice here, but I want them all to at some point. That’s what we’re working towards, if we keep championing that idea, I think the questions you’ve asked Gary around reflecting on this period, I think will be really important to do as a business not as a management team. That’s bring everyone into that conversation and reflect on what we’ve done as a business and what we have achieved and the resilience we show and get that to come from everyone within the business. So you’ve given me a little idea they’re going to set that session up when the time’s right?

Garry Turner  37:56  

Good. The invoices in the post. No worries.

Luke O’Mahoney  38:02  

To bring that point to properly, something that you could put it away as tangible one of the one of the phrases that I deliberately put into our, our new culture document or our little Fueler Bible as it is, individually we’re passionate, collectively we’re powerful. And that phrase is one I try to refer to as often as possible. Because we hire passionate people. That’s what we try and do. And so that’s great, and that gets us so far within being to put those people together under a shared goal, to create a powerful force that helps us drive the business and individually we’re passionate and collectively we’re powerful is a real rubber stamp on that part of the conversation.

Mike Vacanti  41:00  

I’m so thankful that you’re out there showing the way, how it can happen to make it happen in an organization and Luke, you know as you are expressing, you know, going through, bringing to the surface Garry talks about the inclusion of all the voices which is so core, so critical. But being able to put the lens on of this is, this is what’s happening under the surface is how you’re feeling about it, the doubts you’re having the, the ambitions that aren’t coming through because we haven’t asked the questions and allowed it so, like, allowing all the good stuff to bubble up, and even the challenges to bubble up so they can be dealt with. Yeah, and I think you exemplify that so well is when we, when we let those cracks happen, the real stuff comes up and now we’re dealing with possibilities is another word you used earlier. Yeah. 

And I love that, you know, and I know that at the beginning we you know you mentioned the imposter syndrome again and want to, you know, extend this into another session or anything but there’s something really brilliant about that in, in all the examples, you’ve given is when it’s a learning environment. And when it’s a listening environment because you’re always looking at how to be better, instead of being right. It’s, it must learn and become better. Well, you’re always looking at the unknown. And so there is going to be some, am I sure of that. Am I really the right person am I, you know it’s it’s kind of it’s natural to grow. If somebody really thought no this is absolutely the path I’ve seen it before we’re going to get to the end. I’ve seen CEOs come into companies and destroy them because they were so resolute about knowing the end point that they just crushed everything along the journey and didn’t get to the end.

Luke O’Mahoney  43:14  

Yeah, I mean there’s countless examples of that isn’t that it’s, it’s just not cool. And it’s certainly not leadership when that happens. And I say we’ve still got a lot of work to do. We’re still trying. But yeah from, from a personal perspective, constantly daily weekly on, I’m forced to be in situations and making decisions that are constantly thinking, am I even, should I even be making this decision.  I’m just Luke here and am I the right person to be doing this but ultimately, I am that person. I have to make that decision.

And so getting yourself to back yourself, really, again it’s another point I think Garry when we spoke last. I think we had a conversation to that effect. Sometimes you just gotta go. I can. And I will. And you know what if I don’t, that’s fine too. But I’m going to give it a good try and I’m going to reflect on it, and if it doesn’t go the way I’d hoped, that’s okay too. I’m not gonna beat myself up over it because I put myself out there and I try. And I think that’s kind of where I’ve got to at this point is that I still struggle with the idea that i’m, we’re, if we look at our management structure, we’ve got a management team of four, plus, our Managing Director, and the role that I play tends to be quite significant in a lot of the operational decisions that we make and a lot of the decisions we make as the business on how and what we do and when we do it. I’m quite influential in that sense. 

And, yeah, constantly it’s like, well, why, why am I the person that gets to gets to be this voice. But you have to put that voice in the back of your head, and go, oh, I am, and I will. I’m going to. And that is so powerful I think for anyone that’s listening to take away that having that self-doubt I’m not like those and I shouldn’t be. Oh, you know what you are there. So you are the right person. So pat yourself on the back. Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go the way you planned, reflect on it, learn from it, and come back stronger. I know that’s easier said than done. And it’s not something that you can just flick a switch and there you go. I’m a different person now, and I’ve taken that approach. It’s something that you have to actively engage and you have to think about, and you have to reflect on. And you have to make choices, some of them difficult. And I think if you, if you do that consistently enough. Eventually that consistency has momentum. And before you know it you’re just doing without second guessing, it starts to slip away from getting towards that point I’m still. I’m still struggling with it but I’m getting there. But I’m aware of what I’m trying to achieve.

Mike Vacanti  46:14  

Oh well, I know that, you know, we have friends Garry and I am and I’ve been in conversations with some of the most high achieving people that you can imagine you look and say, boy, they would never have any doubt. And they struggle with that imposter syndrome and. And what we’ll really come to learn as those that are high achieving and are always kind of pushing that the levels are most susceptible to that. And I love that you give permission to having doubt that’s not a barrier. And certainly, I love that you express it. It’s also not a weakness. It’s actually the strength to be pushing limits. And of course there’s going to be unknown, and the strength is being able to step through it because you have achieved, to get into this position, because you made decisions about how that aligns to you first of all. So you know that you’re on this path, this trajectory. And you feel the responsibility for others, and I think that those that achieved the most are probably what I’ve learned are most susceptible to that feeling. And it’s a strength. It’s not a weakness. Some just won’t acknowledge it. That’s a weakness.

Luke O’Mahoney  47:42  

And I think, to that point, I think the reason that I’ve been able to acknowledge it in myself is hearing other people that I know and respect talk about themselves and then that causes you then to give yourself permission to use that phrase again to honestly reflect, and to make a decision that it’s fine, because like you say if you all, you could go all the answers then what’s the point almost, you know, where’s the challenge? What are you doing, you’re not growing, you’ve got all the answers. If one day I turn around and we speak again and I say, I figured it all out, and I probably plateaued and probably stopped because, you know, there’s no more, no more room to grow. If I’m in that mindset. So a growth mindset is key. 

The Lean Startup

I think it’s I forget the author again but the lean startup is a great book for anyone listening that addresses that approach. Try to remember the author’s name. I think his surname was Ries, I forget, but the Lean Startup event and wants to Google it, but that talks specifically to that idea of growth mindset, versus fixed mindset. And if you’ve got a growth mindset. then nothing’s really an issue, because you’re open to new ideas, you’re open to new ways of doing. And again to link back to my reference to Joe Rogan earlier. If you’re having conversations where you’re genuinely acknowledging that you’ve got a chance to learn, rather than to educate then you’re never going to find yourself in that position for too long because you will find the answer that you’re looking for. So, that was, that was unusually philosophical but…

Garry Turner  49:30  

I think it is a beautiful way to wrap up. I think it’s a wonderful, wonderful statement to make and I think what I’d really like kind listeners to take away like this, some of the words that really impacted me from our chat today vulnerability, accountability, transparency, humility, growth mindset, like it’s literally like if you want to be human leader and navigate change effectively with change as business as usual, which is what it is, Luke is role modeling and sharing with you, I feel a great example of what good looks like in the now of work, not the future of work, and now of work like the robots are coming, and they will take the job, if you carry on looking like a robot. So stop being a robot be human and connect with Luke, and like just just learn, learn from him with this amazing human because like I genuinely, Luke, I thank you for coming on that these the conversations, Mike I want to be having, like you’re heading up people in the business, you’re doing the hard work, you’re vulnerable you’re humble. And it just gives me so much hope, going forward, mate, so thank you for joining us today. 

Mike Vacanti  50:41  

Role modeling is, you know, that’s what stood out for me and, and I thank you for being so gracious and open about that journey because I learned from you. You’re in the trenches doing it. And there’s great lessons to take away. So thank you for for leading, and educating and bringing us on that journey with you, I wish you well,

Luke O’Mahoney  51:08  

I appreciate it and thank you for giving me the chance to talk to you guys and share some of those things. I’ll keep working on it. I’ll keep learning, keep being. Hopefully powerful things will happen.

Garry Turner  51:22  

Shortly we’ll look Look how can people get hold of you what’s the best, what’s the best ways if they want to follow up or connect with you,

Luke O’Mahoney  51:26  

Yeah sure so LinkedIn. I’m sure it’ll be in the show notes, you can get the spelling from there but LinkedIn, great way to contact me. I’m not as active as they used to be but I’m looking to change that. I am on Instagram, Twitter. If you search my name, you’ll find them. Yeah, open door, opens to all connections, requests collaborations, I’m open.

Garry Turner  51:55  

Thanks so much. It’s great to see you again, my friend. Thank you. Cheers. Thanks, Mike.

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Garry Turner

With over 20 years of international sales, business development and relationship-building experience combined with a deep understanding of people, team and culture dynamics, Garry Turner serves individuals, teams and leaders as a strategic advisor and interpersonal catalyst.

Mike Vacanti

Mike’s mission is simply to help as many people as he can discover their potential, embrace a growth mindset and achieve at inspired levels individually, as a brilliant team and for the betterment of their company and community.