Mental Health First Aid

#46 Meeting and learning from Nelson Mandela – Bruce Watson, CEO WorkCover QLD (s03ep2)

Mar 3, 2023

Bruce Watson, CEO of WorkCover QLD, has always been inspired by the life of Nelson Mandela. He admired his unwavering belief in a better South Africa, fierce focus and determination - coupled with huge empathy and humility - he has been a powerful guide in Bruce’s life. One of his life’s highlights was meeting him in person whilst on a mission to help improve the safety in South African mines. Not surprisingly he describes the lasting impressions from that meeting. For Bruce, care has been a driving force his whole life. Losing his Dad at the age of 17 taught Bruce the value in making the best of everyday, and making a positive difference, and care is an integral part of that. It became his life's purpose and his work purpose.
"I see my role as the conductor of the's about keeping the organisation in harmony as much as possible and ready for the next unknown."
- Bruce Watson


  • How meeting his inspiration, Nelson Mandela whilst on a mission to help improve the safety in South African mines, has left a lasting impression for Bruce.
  • How losing his Dad at 17 has taught Bruce the value in making the best of everyday and care is an integral part of that.
  • The interesting journey through Bruce’s work life and how embracing every opportunity that comes his way has led him to see his roles as a way to work with others to achieve outcomes and goals.
  • How building a strong team around him that has a genuine friendship and understanding of one another and also that employees are the secret sauce of success.
  •  The importance of educating organisations on how to provide mentally healthy workplaces, especially now that we are in a hybrid world that is here to stay.


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Transcript from the interview

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Graeme Cowan, Bruce Watson

Graeme Cowan 0:03 

It’s a real pleasure to welcome Bruce Watson to The Caring CEO. Welcome, Bruce.

Bruce Watson 0:16 

Thanks very much great opportunity to have a discussion.

Graeme Cowan 0:21 

Bruce, what does care in the workplace mean to you?

Bruce Watson 0:27 

Graeme, care is something that’s that has been a huge part of my life, I guess. Starting when I was a teenager, the point where my father got terminally ill, and I guess the, the focus on care started then when I was– lost my dad when I was 17. And I was the third youngest of four boys. At that point, I started to, I guess, be the de facto leader in the family. And I would normally think might go to the first born. Never mind. But look, that’s where the sort of care really started to impress itself on me. And from that point on, I have been an absolute advocate of care, extreme care in leadership roles and opportunities to shape and make a difference in organizations. I’m a big believer that care, if you care for your employees, that care, radiates out and multiplies 10, 20 fold to customers and community, and I think every leader has an absolute responsibility to ensure that that leadership is– it maintains a strong component of care. 

Graeme Cowan 2:09 

I’m a former headhunter, and I’m always intrigued by careers and evolving careers, and I saw that your very first job was as an apprentice electrician in a coal mine. And you’re now CEO of WorkCover in Queensland. What quality do you think you had that led to that evolution?

Bruce Watson 2:36 

That’s a good question, Graeme, I, I feel that I’ve always going back to you know, losing my dad when I was young, it taught me to really make the best of every day and you know, to make a difference, and a positive difference. And I’ve built that into my, my life’s purpose. And I share that into my works purpose as well. The I think it’s the– I just think it’s the fact that you know, let’s make sure that we are spending our valuable privileged time to one do the right thing and to ensure that we are working very closely with our, with our stakeholders and customers that first and foremost our employees. And to me, it’s the care factor is built on a genuine connection with employees I absolutely believe in that, in having a you know, a genuine relationship that you know, when things maybe don’t go so well that you’ve got a very strong base to build upon, but it’s a respecting, understanding base that’s built on. Tolerance and I mean, the work here just keeps coming back. That’s our tagline for WorkCover. We cover, We care. And to me with employees, I always say you know, build that genuine level of relationship and understanding and of each other. I’ve often– people talk about work life balance. I’m very much a believer of work life integration. Because it’s not one or the other or percentage of each. It’s very much about we bring out outside of work life to work life. Let’s understand that share, let’s help each other, support each other. This world can deal some nasty blow sometimes, and you never know what’s around the corner. Let’s, let’s get in and support each other. And that way, I am a huge, huge believer in that employees are the secret sauce of success.

Graeme Cowan 5:28 

Yeah, I love that. I love that term work life integration. I very much agree with that because when people use the term work life balance, that implies that life is good work is bad. And for many people, I’m lucky to be one of those. And I think you are as well, where work gives us tremendous reward. And, you know, it’s part of our– it’s part of our being, it’s our contribution. And I love that integration side of things. I read in an article about you, your purpose was making a positive difference to people’s lives every day. And please correct me if the article is, is wrong, but when did that– when did you first write that not peculated? And how has it evolved for you?

Bruce Watson 6:18 

Very interesting. I was working in the mines and the reason I went into the mines was my apprenticeship. The company, the apprenticeship company was not traveling too well. So, I was recommended to go and get a job in the mines and finish my apprenticeship, which I did. But being in the mines, there was a lot of injuries and fatalities. So, you know, what, what sort of a difference could I make? Based on– Well, I’d say my father go through and I thought, well, I need to get involved. So, I got involved. And at the same time, my wife bought a small business, a news agency, small but long hours. And, you know, when we were putting up some, you know, some lottery advertising, it was about, you know, make every day a winner. And, you know, the people thought that banner up along the front. And that’s something that sat with me for a little while, but not too long, because I thought it’s actually not about winning. And the more that I got involved, there’s leadership, and the more I took on more responsibility, it was, it was very much about how do I make a positive difference in this world, one person at a time, start with myself, and it’s not about winning. It’s about that even today, I see my role as the, as the conductor of the orchestra, I can make all the music I’ve got a lot of good people who can manage for me, it’s about keeping that the organization in harmony as much as possible and ready for the next unknown.

Graeme Cowan 8:24 

Yeah, and obviously, an executive team that people report to you is the core of the organization. How do you– what’s the foundation that you found is really critical to a caring and high performing team.

Bruce Watson 8:41 

I think having clarity of purpose and envision is most important, I think on the individual side, I can’t ever walk away from the powerfulness of great self-awareness. And to me, great self-awareness is a huge, is a great base for you know, for building good leaders and ongoing I’ve recently completed my goodness knows how many number 360 and some great nuggets within that, you know of suggestions and advice to help me we’re learning every single day. So, I think that the openness you know, self-awareness and the openness to continuous learning and growth. That inquiring mindset is, is just so powerful, and I guess rounded off, you know, we’ve got this wonderful thing called time which we I’m sure can all learn how to use it better. One of the things that I also find is the absolute need to be able to put aside and systemised time for reflection, time for, you know, I guess for planning as well. And I give enormous thanks to my business coach, Anthony Howard who, when I first met Anthony, we’re having a discussion before I, I joined with him on this journey. Anthony said to me, so what’s the CEO do? And I start well, you know, design, you know, strategy with a board and implement some monitors and he said, can I have a look at your diary? And he looked at my diary, and he said now Bruce, could you explain the strategy in your diary, please? And I said, Anthony, you’re hired. Can I say from that point on, I went to move to with great support and assistance to you know, blocking out periods of time to, to being– I’m traditionally a very open, open person that, you know, there needs to be boundaries on that. It needs to be my time, there needs to be thinking time. And I ended up reducing durations of meetings, and I practice it now. My whole executive team. Friday afternoons, no one annoys anyone else. We’re at work, don’t worry. And it’s not that we’re not on the golf course or anything. But it’s reflection and focus time and see normally, enormously powerful.

Graeme Cowan 11:57 

What do you do in that afternoon? What sort of questions do you ask yourself to review the week?

Bruce Watson 12:06 

I am a big believer in leveraging strengths. So the first thing I do is I focus on what’s going well, and not just to celebrate what’s going well, it’s very important to celebrate. But why did it go well? Always looking for that deeper meaning. And then to then to be able to and Monday morning is our executive meetings every Monday. So, you know, we share our reflections at our executive meeting as a check in. And it’s the other the other part for me, then it’s just saying, okay, well, what did I complete? And again, why what, or when I say I put in I or what wasn’t completed, that was expected. But then it’s also a period of time for me to what have I learned during the week? What, what do I want to build into next week that I want to focus on? Is that something new? Is it something new? Has been changed in the Bible economics that I just need to be across? Is there a is there a change in legislation, you know, Barlaam, government political circles. And so it’s sort of, I guess, it’s high level, but it’s also the case to keep it as strategic as possible, that it’s, you know, I’m just really checking in on myself. With time, and, you know, I guess hearing as well, because it’s, it can be a very lonely role, the, the CEO, and it’s, it’s an, you know, it’s a role that can take a lot out of you, and you need to be able to look after yourself. And take that time to reflect. And I always say, I have a little note right next to me here, Be kind not only to others, but kind to yourself. And, you know, you can’t look after others if you’re not looking after yourself. So, it’s taken me a while to, to practice that more. So, to learn the practice, and more.

Graeme Cowan 14:24 

We’re singing from the same hymn sheet I talk about, you know, three things we need to think about self-care, crew care, which is your team and red zone care. Red zone care, is looking out for those who could be having a bit of a tough time and how do you identify that how do you have the IUI conversation? How do you best support them sort of things. So that Trifecta I think is, you know, is really coming to full focus.

Bruce Watson 14:52 

Absolutely and we’re definitely seeing that, you know, with the rise of mental injury claims across the country, across the world, some would say there hasn’t necessarily been a rise in, in the number of instances, it’s just that with the reduction of the stigma attached to it, that people are more prepared to come forward. And that’s good, because its important people get help early. And that that’s, you know, that impacts on our people that are dealing with those claims a lot. And so, we are very focused on caring for our people and supporting our people and to make sure that they can not only take care of themselves, but then look after others.

Graeme Cowan 15:38 

Yeah. You mentioned about, you know, your continual learning and evolving and that you had just been through a 360 review, in terms of the upside and positive, were there any surprises there for you, that, that you weren’t aware of, or you didn’t realize how significant that was.

Bruce Watson 16:03 

I’ve been pretty consistent over the years, I think it probably wasn’t necessarily in the scoring, as such as probably more in the, in, in the supportive comments, you know, the three some real nuggets of gold there. And I guess, people know me as a very much a humanistic, caring leader. However, I’ve, I’ve tried very hard to ensure that I’m well rounded on the, on the technical side, of, of business of which have always had a good understanding and handle of, but to me, I was pleased with the comments that were recognizing that shift. It’s in times of crisis, like COVID, I guess, whereas I’ve been a leader that is, is happy, very happy to ensure that my executive, get all the credit. And, you know, they can tend to, to be the guidance of the strategy and delivery of the strategy and not the overall as a conductor. But you know, in times of crisis, the need to step in, especially on communications and ensure that there’s that one consistent message, which I did, and people were thankful for that and that was recognized. So I guess probably more of the, you know, the areas we’ve all got opportunities and I enjoy feedback. I appreciate feedback and I always strive for better every day I’m person that as I say every one of my inductions I say to people I’m not a fan of the word best. Because best will mean different to everybody. One thing I do know that we know and can align on is the word better. And I inspire people to do better every day. And I try myself I role model that.

Graeme Cowan 18:26 

What do you do for your self-care and being kind for yourself? How do you keep fuel in your tank?

Bruce Watson 18:32 

Oh, that’s a tough question, Graeme. Look, I– It’s to me, it’s the afternoons I’ll take, take my chocolate poodle for a walk. That’s good. And– but I live a bit of a distance away from the city now. So that can be late, but still to try and get out and have a small bit of exercise. I absolutely enjoy family time. And you know, connecting with friends. But otherwise, you know, I– something entirely different. I have an interest in a few hopefully fast racehorses. And that that’s something totally different, which I switch off on Saturdays and enjoy. But, yeah, besides that, no, we love to travel. Haven’t had too much of that planning. So, a lot of the fun and we’re just planning to go away later this year for the first time and rescheduled from 2020 due to COVID.

Graeme Cowan

It’s been a bit of a long wait for many of us, hasn’t it?

Bruce Watson

Yes, yes.

Graeme Cowan 19:51 

How did you first get interested in horse racing?

Bruce Watson 19:59 

I have a lot– I think I progressed from the from the poor man’s racehorse, the greyhounds. So, I think when I was working in the mines, there was a couple of people that that had the greyhounds. I guess when I was younger too, I was I was quite competitive. I was a sprinter and young and wonderful boys always outdoing each other and then to, yeah, so it raised a few, a few greyhounds and started breeding and learnt a lot about that. But then yeah, just to progressed, progressed up to mind you, I only have small shares in toenails as I say. But the interests there is not the guy. I think a horse is an absolutely beautiful animal that can teach us a lot. And of course, there’s– I haven’t done it yet. But I’m really intrigued to introduce the equine side to leadership development. Because very powerful, they are so perceptive. And they you know; it can really teach us teach us a lot. And I’ve read a lot about it, but I haven’t actually involved yet, but the horse itself is what I, intrigued me. And then the racing is a look a little bit of fun. And it’s an interest which I gladly switch off from other things, which is hard to do.

Graeme Cowan 21:33 

A former colleague of mine is now involved with equine therapy, and you know, people got post-traumatic stress or troubles in the background, just get amazing benefit through their connection with a horse. It’s quite extraordinary.

Bruce Watson 21:50 

I think it’s very similar to the, to the, to the therapy dogs and things like that. Just a larger version of it. Yeah, very, very powerful, very worthwhile.

Graeme Cowan 22:03 

You talked before about, you know, your enjoyment of being overseas and traveling and that sort of thing. And I read that you happen to be in Nepal with your family, when those really terrible earthquakes hit. What was that like?

Bruce Watson 22:21 

Wow, absolutely. As a leader who tries to prepare oneself and others for the next unknown, nothing could have prepared us for that. The we’d literally walked all day uphill, and absolutely exhausted, and we’re doing a trek, and then this earthquake hit and we were upstairs in a building that just literally crumbled and fell away, because they very lightly made. And we all just– we didn’t go down the stairs, we just jumped from one floor to another, to get out onto some, onto some plain area of ground. It was awful. And you know, my children, teenagers, but I can tell you that they were very everyone was traumatized. And I think the hardest part was that we had to stay on the mountain for three or four days. And there was 67, earthquakes or tremors over six, I think that continued to shake the place consistently. So I know I didn’t sleep for all those days. And it was very hard, trying to just even, you know, to keep the family together, let alone support others and you know, give, give support to others. My, you know, as they do over there, they won’t let you do it unless you do the trick unless you have a porter and a guide and a couple of porters. So family of five, were very hurt very quickly that one of our porters had to have members of his family killed and the house, the house absolutely gone. By the time that we had got down the mountain, all of our port at their guide and to porters, their properties and families had all been impacted. And we actually came back to Australia and immediately did fundraising and we’ve raised enough funds to reach for those three families to rebuild their homes. And just as a way of giving back was sort of we haven’t been back since it’s unfinished business. Our purpose of going over there was very interesting. I had been doing a lot of fundraising over the years for a group called the Adara Foundation. And I– It’s all about stopping trafficking of women in Nepal and educating young women. And so I was asked to go over there to select the next group of young women to be put through and funded through schooling and right through to university, which was a great privilege. But that, sadly didn’t happen. But sorry, I didn’t get to go. I’m very pleased to say that the schooling, and education has continued. And I’ve continued to support the Adara Foundation, which is, does amazing work on the smell of an oily rag. As a lot of foundations,

Graeme Cowan

Yeah, very much. And really great, great work. You’ve had some interesting roles, Bruce is here once a national secretary for the CFMEU, you’re CEO of mind, and wealth and wellbeing on the board of the personal injury Foundation, when you joined WorkCover, what were the things that you decided were really important to focus on?

Bruce Watson

It has been an interesting journey, I never would have thought that or planned to be where I am today. But I’ve always embraced every opportunity, as it’s come my way. I think if I had the sort of reflecting on that, at each one of those opportunities, you know, I learned a lot and I was always one to, to, you know, to back myself and a sense of the ability, the ability to work with others. It’s not about me, it’s never been about me, about working with others to, you know, to achieve the strategic outcomes or goals. And working with the union was very important to me, because that was very much about safety and improving safety and working conditions. As I say, there was a lot of fatalities around me. And that was the driving force. It also enabled me to travel to South Africa, and to meet Nelson Mandela and to have some amazing, amazing experiences, as we helped others in other countries to improve their mining safety standards as well. But when I back to your question, when I, I got to, to work cover the key drivers, for me, there were, it was a, it was a transactionally sound business. The parts that I wanted to really focus on was the customer, customer management, customer experience. And I include internal customers with that. And external customers, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s to get it right internally, it’s multiplying, many times externally. But also on the improvement of technology, and technology, just to make it to make it easier and easier to work with then provide much more information so that people help organizations to the to do a better job of maintaining safe workplaces. And, you know, where are the end of the line, sadly, so it’s, you know, it’s really whatever we can do at the front end. I’m a big, huge advocate of it. And to that end, I’m also on the Workplace Health and Safety Board of Queensland, which is a huge privilege to be able to, to, again, make a positive difference.

Graeme Cowan

I want to talk more about WorkCover. And your priorities there. But I can’t go past you meeting, Nelson Mandela. And I saw in your background as well, he’s been a big influence to you. How, what was he like to meet in person?

Bruce Watson

I only had a few minutes with him. Aa few minutes. The impact was like it was a few weeks. The humility that he was just so humble and just so appreciative that I and others have taken time to come to his country and to actually to be part of the cause of not only unifying South Africa but also in the sense of improving working conditions and safety for miners. And my time with him we talked about Robben Island. We talked about how, how, you know, we will be raised about how we’ve done a lot of fundraising to help end apartheid I didn’t, I didn’t realize but the area that I came from in Wollongong was the only organization in the world that had a continuing weekly donation towards the end of apartheid, where every other place gave one off donations. And he was extremely thankful for that. But that I mean, the hair on my neck still comes up when I talk about this, because it was just such a beautiful but amazing and powerful experience as he, as he spent nearly all the time giving thanks and giving thanks to us. He didn’t, you know, he answered questions when I asked about, you know, what was the hardest thing for him and his time on Robben Island? And it said, the environment. You know, he said, and I said, but no trouble in keeping the focus on the prize? And he said, no, not at all. made me stronger. But to have, you know, I think he is so humble and such a beautiful person. And I’ll never forget the face focus of his eyes. I can it just, it’s etched in my brain. And in my mind, and, you know, I often reflect back to those few minutes that I had with, with Mandela, you know, in a very privileged way in, in, especially if I’m feeling a bit, it’s a bit tough, I think, well, how lucky are we, you know, what have other people gone through? And what have they been able to achieve? So it’s, it’s a journey. It’s not, it’s not about today, it’s, it’s the journey, make, you know, I make a site, I try to make a positive difference every day, but it’s very much about the journey. And keeping focus,

Graeme Cowan 32:02 

it is amazing is that I think he spent like 27 years on Robben Island not to come out bitter or angry. It was extraordinary, I think.

Bruce Watson 32:15 

Yes, absolutely.

Graeme Cowan 32:20 

Wouldn’t you go back now to mental health and mental health claims, which is obviously a big part for every WokCover WorkSafe around Australia. Now, there’s been, you know, studies by the Future Forum, which covered about 10 countries and said that 40% of workers now have a, I have a feeling of being burnt out. It’s higher than that for women. Women, I think is it’s like about 48%. Recent research by Atlassian and PwC said that mental health is the number one societal issue that employees now care about. But in terms of its importance for the new world of work, Microsoft study said that, for successful hybrid work, there needs to be three things a positive culture, mental health and purpose. So in a very, very short period of time that the profile of mental health in the workplace has increased dramatically, and for good reason. And I think it has risen onto the executive gender, in more ways than one. Have you seen with your interaction with employers, which focusing presses well and are pleased with the progress?

Bruce Watson 33:47 

You’re so right in what you’re saying, Graeme, there, and it’s definitely a major focus area for us at WorkCover. And if I, if I can just start by talking about the hybrid workplace, you know, I must say, I think the whilst it’s most people very much, very quick to embrace it. A lot of people are finding out that whilst it’s nice to be at home, it’s that lack of connection. You know, we’re social animals, and that catches up. And I do think that that’s, we believe that that’s a real sleeper that’s going to come and come and bite organizations into the future. One of– to be very honest. There’s a long way to go in educating organizations on how to keep the well, well. And we’ve been working on this for many years. Queensland’s just put in place a very good psychosocial code of conduct, which is, which is a great start about setting state standards and expectations, but there’s a long journey to educate people, employers and employees of, of what’s important here. And what’s required. There’s very few organizations that I would say that we are seeing that is doing a good job in this space. We didn’t have the impacts of COVID, that New South Wales and Victoria did, we still had enough impacts. And sadly, the impacts whilst they weren’t necessarily COVID virus as the cause, occupational violence and things like that was, is very much on the increase. And, of course, if you’re experiencing that, at home with no support around you, that can be enormously impactful. So we’re actually finding that a lot of people, we work on a hybrid ratio arrangement, we’re finding that people are coming back into the office, we’re encouraging it strongly. We’re probably running about 64%in the office. And in the office, we have professional support for people, for our employees, and we’re trying to naturally, it’s important for us to lead by example. But it’s hard, there are people that just for them, the whole world has changed and will never go back to working in the office. And it’s interesting, I like everyone find it useful to work in a quiet place, like at home, every now and then if I do it, if I do it once a week, that would be the maximum. It’s also very important to be connected. And it’s that support that we get from each other in the, in the socialized workplace that helps us, you know, to one to understand or check in, as you say, are you okay, checking every day with each other? Not virtually, personally. Yeah, personally, and it’s, you know, there’s so much that’s missed on in this virtual world, a sense of connection. And I think that connection and responsiveness have both dropped substantially. As we’ve gone to this, this hybrid world, I don’t think it’s going to change. I don’t think, I think the hybrid world is here to stay. It’s just a bit at what levels?

Graeme Cowan 37:41 

Yeah, yeah. And I fully agree that you can’t replace the face-to-face interaction catching up with people. But I think one of the things we really have to work on is how we build connection, when we are working remotely when we aren’t together, and how do we, you know, get to know each other better, get to know how is best to work with me how it’s best to work with you. You know, there’s some of the learnings I think we have to make for this to ultimately be successful, because there are lots of upsides about hybrid, you know, you can have some really focused time at home, as you say. But there has to be that sort of face to face reaction, some organizations and, you know, Atlassian is one of them, for example, it says you don’t ever have to come back to the office, they’ve decided to go that path, and it will be interesting to see if they stay that way. I also know that PwC in the US said that, you know, you only have to come to office one day, a month, if you want to. So, there are all these experiments going on. And ultimately, we’ll learn you know, what’s going to work and there won’t be one size fits all, you know, I think there’ll be working out what’s right for the organization, the team and the individual to you know, to be able to progress.

Bruce Watson 39:04 

I think that’s spot on, Graeme, you know even in our organization we have some roles that clearly can’t be done remote and that doesn’t happen we’ve got other roles that could definitely like an Atlassian in the tech space that work remotely they tend to work in– were by themselves consistently. The key I think we’re finding is it’s the touch points or the credit, the critical things come together you know with them for team meetings come together for celebrations come together, come together for planning and brainstorming. You know, come together for you know, we have mandatory one-on-ones, face-to-face. Um, but around that, you know, the task side of things can be done anywhere. That’s right, anywhere, anytime they’ve been doing that for years. It’s, it’s more about, you know how best to collaborate and connect on the creative, which is, of course, what we’re all trying to do build a better organization, day by day.

Graeme Cowan 40:27 

On the world France and looking at different countries Jacinta Ardern has earned a reputation as being a kind and caring leader. Just recently, she announced that she needed a set down because she didn’t have any fuel left in the tank. How does a caring leader like her and also yourself, just make sure you can catch yourself early so that it doesn’t mean you have to make a sudden massive adjustment like that?

Bruce Watson 41:05 

Well, thankfully, I’m not in that area of politics that is relentless and demanding and quite unforgiving in the sense of the time and passed on people’s lives and I absolutely admire Jacinta for what she’s done and given to the people in New Zealand and but also in the sense of the decision that she made. I think it’s really important I think I sort of– Our printer just started maintaining, I’ll just go back on that one. It’s just canceling. Jacinta has done a fantastic job of supporting the people of New Zealand and also at the same time of juggling family matters family issues, and I can still going– one and the other find the off button. Shutting down so-

Graeme Cowan 42:25 

So maybe if you would mind just getting back there. brutes talking about you know about what she’s done.

Bruce Watson 42:34 

I think– I think it’s very admirable as to the decision that Jacinta’s made to step down after a, what you might say is a short period of time in politics, but politics is, it can take so much out of out of one. It’s unforgiving and relentless and I guess sometimes a lot of time ruthless, but which takes a lot of time and energy to be on top of. So I think she’s done a fantastic job in New Zealand. And I really admire her for the decision she’s taken. Being young, I think she’s got so much going on her age, which is not necessarily anything of any concern these days as far as age, but she’s got a lot– of a lot of life ahead of her. When it comes to myself, I think the test that I put on myself is I’m always family first, every day of the week, myself included. And I’m a person that really, I guess I judge my ability to continue based on levels of energy. So if I, if I find and I’ve given a commitment to my direct reports and board that if I get to a point where one I’m not enjoying, I don’t feel that I have the energy to continue, that I will step aside and that’s not based on, on getting to a point of burnout, I won’t. I’m very self-aware. In that sense. I look after myself as much as a CEO I can. So in the sense of just organizing my time around things and say the strategy, my diary to ensure that I’ve got some downtime to reflect and refresh. Got some time to have that walk of an evening, which is just really, really important. Switching off on the weekends. It’s just critical to be able to, you know, to keep that high level of energy continuing.

Graeme Cowan 44:47 

Yeah, wonderful. It’s been an absolute privilege to catch up today, Bruce, I really enjoyed our chat covering a wide range of topics. I always finish with knowing what you know now, I mean, yeah, um, you know, being in a number of roles and senior roles, what advice would you give your 17 year old self? You know, first day as an apprentice electrician in a coal mine. What advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now?

Bruce Watson 45:23 

It would definitely be along the lines of use the two ears and one mouth in that proportion. Really focus on listening and asking deeper questions. And not to and make those inquiries in order to give yourself the best opportunity to make the best calls in life.

Graeme Cowan 45:55 

Yeah, I love the, you know, the two ears one mouth thing. It’s easy to forget sometimes. But, you know, being able to ask those questions is by one of the people that I’ve also interviewed. I’ve just lost it anyway; he wrote a book called everybody matters. His name is Bob Chapman. And he said, which I really loved. He said, you show you care by listening, not by talking. And, you know, empathetic listening, where you get to uncover root causes and all that sort of thing. And I thought that was a wonderful term. And it looks like you’ve really discovered the huge upside and listening as well. And thanks so much for being part of The Caring CEO

Bruce Watson 46:45 

Thank you, Graeme.

Graeme Cowan 46:47

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