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#36 Simplicity Wins – Derick Borean, CEO, Altius Group (s02ep12)

Jul 8, 2022

Derick Borean, co-founded Altius Group 21 years ago, providing rehabilitation services to injured workers. They are a leading integrated HR, and workplace rehabilitation and health organisation with a clear purpose of elevating the physical and psychological well-being of individuals and organisations. Graeme and Derick have collaborated on a number of times since they first met at a conference a number of years ago. Derick immediately impressed Graeme and they have since become good friends. Derick is a true champion of a culture of care and high performance, and he offers many valuable tips in this episode.
"Caring is like an unwavering fairness that pervades. It's something that needs to be consistent, to be reliable."
- Derick Borean


  • The importance of work for our health and wellbeing
  • The key elements for a successful merger
  • Building trust and psychological safety in a team


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Transcript from the interview

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Graeme Cowan, Derick Borean

Graeme Cowan 0:04 

It’s a real pleasure to welcome Derek Borean to The Caring Co. Welcome, Derek.

Derick Borean 0:09 

Thanks for having me, Graeme.

Graeme Cowan 0:12 

It’s great to catch up, Derek, because we’ve known each other for quite a while. And I guess I’ve seen each other’s journey along the way. But one question I really want to ask you and get your perspective on is, what does care in the workplace mean to you?

Derick Borean 0:29 

That’s a great question. I mean, firstly, care means for me a deep empathy and, and relationship with my team. And that’s with, with everyone in the organization, I think that becomes more challenging as the organization grows but having a connection and relationship with the team that where they appreciate the intent, and the purpose of the organization, and the empathy that I can extend, and we can extend as leaders throughout the organization to each other, and to our team, with respect to the work that we do. I think that’s, that’s really important. I think also, caring is like an, it’s like an unwavering fairness that pervades. It’s something that needs to be, to be constant, to be consistent, to be reliable. And so that sort of integrity in our approach of how we work with each other, and how we deal with each other, and how we communicate, you know, challenging situations, great situations, good wins, the opportunities missed. Those things are really important to, I think establishing a caring organization, and of course, all the other things that sit around supporting team members, and where they might be, personally and professionally, I think, are really important as well, so that the sort of mechanisms, the processes and the support networks that we have around individuals, and around the business, I think it’s really important, as well. So, you know, there’s no, there’s probably no one answer to what care looks like. But ultimately, I think it’s, it’s a, it’s a real concept of conveying and demonstrating and creating safety in the work environment for people to, to bring their best selves and to be their best, both professionally, but also, you know, take that back and be big right, personally as well.

Graeme Cowan 2:42 

Yeah, that’s a really good, you know, comprehensive answer. Full purpose of our listeners, can you just explain what Altius starts?

Derick Borean 2:53 

Sure. Well, Altius is, has a very clear purpose in elevating the well-being of individuals and organizations that we work with. And so, we do that by providing a suite of services that cover everything from sort of injury prevention and safety in the workplace, but physical and psychological safety, right through to support in the event of a critical incident, or an injury or an illness, and a short term or long-term disability. So, we really, you know, we’re really about elevating well-being of people in organizations. 

Graeme Cowan 3:35 

Yeah. And, as I understand it, you sort of started primarily with the rehabilitation side of things, and these are people that have been injured in work, and, you know, you’re there to coach and guide and encourage them to come back. And, you don’t know, from my experience of being on claim a long time ago, middle there, and it wasn’t for workers comp, it was for income protection insurance. I didn’t have anything like that. And I know how hard that is, we basically get managed by letters, received letters to go here or go there with now overarching sign of that, and I would suspect that, you know, providing care to those injured workers would be a foundation for recovery. Right? 

Derick Borean 4:23 

Most definitely. I mean, I think you know, unfortunately, so compensable schemes, whether they be income protection or workers compensation or motor accidents type schemes, they do make people sicker. They’re intended to is to restore their health and their well-being and their function, but by function of their, the processes required to go through a claims process to prove your incapacity, to prove your own will, to be entitled to benefits the schemes themselves. make people more unwell. And so, the comparative recovery of someone within a compensable scheme versus outside of it is different, as I’ve always been fascinated by, by that I’ve always been fascinated by what makes people what makes people tick, what their challenges are, what prevents them from recovering, what enables them to recover, what keeps them healthy, beyond, beyond any involvement from a health professional, those things are really fascinating to me. And I think that that sort of fascination has always driven the interest in being exceptionally good at supporting people have been injured, supporting people with long- and short-term disabilities, whether they be physical or psychological. So, the great thing about that is there’s a really strong commercial outcome for employers and for insurers and getting that right. And I think historically, that’s been quite poorly understood. And I think even today, in today’s context, there’s still a lot of leaders, a lot of organizations that don’t really comprehend the link between, you know, a healthy individual and a great high performing workplace. And so those are, those are really foundational things that interests me, because there’s, there’s good outcomes for all the parties involved. 

Graeme Cowan 6:24 

Yeah, it’s a real win, win, win, isn’t it? It’s, and, you know, the other element, of course, and you would know, this 100% is that work can be really good for us, work can help with recovery. And, you know, people think the dream is to, you know, take a lot of time off to recover. My experience was that doesn’t work very well. And I’m sure you’d have found that just so many times as well. 

Derick Borean 6:47 

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think it’s, it’s interesting that you again, that sort of thought about having time off or being or being left alone, those sorts of things still pervade they’re still a part of a bit of a psyche, I think that gets established when someone’s when someone’s hurt or injured. But we really know very strongly how incredibly important work is for our health and well-being. We know, it’s important to our self-esteem, to our ability to feel productive and engaged to our social connection, to our sense of self-worth, so that the financial benefits of being independent, so those things work brings all of that and, you know, I guess anchored in all of our, our thinking and anchored in the way we operate is this belief, this knowledge is scientific knowledge that work is good for us. You know, it just is and so whilst there is, you know, no doubt when, when someone’s hurt or injured, there is the sort of sense of, if I have time off, I’ll be okay. But, you know, that’s, that’s certainly contrary to what we know is true through, through science and empirical research. And, and again, you know, creating that link, creating that understanding, educating our clients and educating our, our corporate clients and our insurers on how important those things are, and how important work is in the lives of individuals is a very powerful tool for us.

Graeme Cowan 8:29 

Yeah, yeah. And you started or Co-Founded Altius 21 years ago, and you now have, you know, 700 people in 6 different locations. Can you just give us a bit of an overview about what happened in those 21 years? 

Derick Borean 8:47 

Do you want the short version or? 

Graeme Cowan 8:50 

Make it the short version, I guess. 

Derick Borean 8:51 

The short version? Well, what happened was, I think that they, it was clear that there was an opportunity to do things better than, and what was present at that time. So, 21 years ago, the things we’re talking about today won’t talk to, talk about the approach in bringing a skill set into enabling, you know, people to get back to work quickly and effectively and working really closely and understanding them as individuals. It wasn’t, it wasn’t a common approach. There was as your experience highlighted earlier, and approach it managing through, through letters or in a very sort of impersonal way. And clearly when we’re talking about individuals we’re talking about. You have very personal circumstances that is, that are completely unique to each individual. And so, I guess it was rehab services back in 21 years ago and then developing Altius was, was, yeah, a journey of you knows from my parents living room. Today 21 years ago overnight successes. So, through that there’s, there’s been countless challenges. But what’s always held true is the fact that bringing the experience of different skill sets. So, my background is occupational therapy, there are things that I can solve professionally for it for a client who’s had an injury. But there are many things I can’t solve. And my skill set doesn’t, doesn’t enable me to do that. So, working with professionals, health professionals and clinicians with different skill sets and bringing that together in an integrated way. So that the client benefits from that and recovers more rapidly, more effectively and more sustainably. Is has been, I guess, the driving force around continuing to build Altius into what it is today and what it will continue to be into the future. And that is something that’s very personally tailored for an individual to enable them to recover most quickly to the benefit of everyone who’s involved with it so, yeah, the journey has been, the journey has been a mess. While I think I’ve realized in recent years that I do have grit. Grits interesting, because I’ve been studying it quite extensively over the years and have actually built in the sort of modifiable factors of how we can develop grit into the programs that we, that we apply to our clients. And so, in sort of learning about that, and teaching that I’ve come to understand that, fortunately, for reasons that nature and nurture, I’ve got fairly high levels of grit, which is very helpful in any sort of startup and growth of an organization, because it’s, it’s challenging.

Graeme Cowan 12:16 

And along the way, you’ve made some acquisitions, right, I think one of the big ones was people sense. Have you had many others, and why did you choose to acquire an organization like people since?

Derick Borean 12:28 

It’s a great question, I think we have had some, we’ve had done a number of acquisitions on our journey. And it was to build the skill set that that we needed for Altius to be multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary, and to be able to offer what I believe would be a value to organizations into the future today and into the future. And it’s fair to say that, you know, in 2007, when the first acquisition was made, which was to build out physical treatment capabilities, or exercise treatment, which you touched on, it’s so important for, for mental health recovery, but it’s also clearly key for physical recovery, that the market really didn’t understand integrated health, as they probably do today. And so, you know, acquisitions have been made and partnerships have been formed, so that we’re able to offer true depth of expertise in the physical treatment of people, the rehabilitation of people into first and foremost, but the physical treatment and the psychological treatment of individuals, as well as build out the sort of safety and prevention pieces as part of our offering. Because they all are interconnected. And clearly, if we can work with organizations to prevent people becoming unwell, to keep people healthy, then it’s, it’s a benefit to the organization and to the individuals. And ultimately, that’s, again, another really positive win-win scenario. But acquisitions have been important for us because they’ve enabled us to grow geographies, which can be challenging, particularly with so many different types of legislation that exist across different states and territories. It’s a complex environment to operate within. And so, a depth of knowledge and depth of understanding of local environments has been very important. A connection to our regional locations and regional communities has been very important. So I’m deeply passionate about, you know, services being provided across the country and to communities, you know, having opportunities that, you know, someone in the city does as well so, so acquisitions help us with, with that as well, where people have deep connections with their own communities and communities that– So there’s a number of reasons, I think for, for us partnering with businesses and bringing them into the Altius fold. And that’s enabled us to, I guess, realize the vision for Altius and to equally spread our influence, which I think is incredibly positive for, for people and for organizations and for communities. 

Graeme Cowan 15:31 

Yeah. What are the key elements that you found to be critical for a successful merger?

Derick Borean 15:40 

Yeah, good. Good question. I think, again, coming back to the foundational elements that we touched on, at the start at around what a what a caring, sort of environment or care in the workplace is, there’s got to be a sort of consistency or a similarity in that, in that thinking process, which aligns to values and when people talk about values and cultures being aligned. And I think that’s incredibly important, the ones that have gone really smoothly have been ones where that is evident from day one. And the one, and the partnerships that have been more challenging are the ones where we have to work through these expectations and work through and create alignment with these expectations on things, behavioral things, simple things that, you know, we basically create expectations around how the organization works together. So—So, I think foundationally, you know, we can talk about values and, and culture, but really, we talked about behaviors that demonstrate or are consistent with our expectations of how we want to work together, I think that is crucial. Trust, trust is crucial. So, you know, I think, as an, as a group, as an environment, Altius extends trust, it’s the first thing we do is to extend trust to those we work with. And, and to expect that, that that trust is built over time. And I think, you know, again, we’ve had lots of examples where that may not be the typical experience. So, you know, people can approach with different levels of skepticism, or, or, or a lack of trust. And so, for me, the key to success is building, is building trust. And that’s, that’s a two-way thing. So, it’s an automated thing that I think as a leader, I extend to anyone I work with, and prospective and new, new partnerships are very much part of that. And then, then it becomes a two way, a two-way street where there’s an expectation that that will, that will be respected and grown over time as well. So, and time is important, you know, time to do those things time to build those relationships are really crucial. So, there’s, there’s, unfortunately, there’s no real shortcuts to that. Because also people, you know, people move at different speeds. And, and so there’s, there’s, there’s a lot of things that you can do from a process to try and encourage that. And ultimately, you know, time is actually really important and perhaps underestimated in terms of what’s key to success, I think, partnerships.

Graeme Cowan 18:44 

What are the tangible things that your people can do to build that trust?

Derick Borean 18:50 

Now, I think firstly, been consistent, so understanding intentions, so intentions, I think are really important, because we can all deal with things going awry, when intention is very sound and well understood. By being consistent, I think, is important. And that’s, that’s, for me, that’s a really foundational element of trust, so deep, deeply respecting. And having empathy for each other, I think is fundamental. And if we’re consistent around how we communicate and how we work with each other, then again, it’s a really nice foundation there and then having yeah, being anchored to values, core values, or sort of demonstrated behaviors that reflect the values of an organization. I think is really important to building trust.

Graeme Cowan 19:57 

Yeah. And I know you have very big on values. And I guess as you’ve grown to now being 700 people, it’s been really important to reinforce that. How do you, as a leader of an organization that size, you know, just demonstrate that, I know that your values stand for pride, professional integrity, resolve innovation, distinction, excellence, what are the things you do to reinforce that, that’s, that’s really important and how we do things?

Derick Borean 20:34 

There’s the, there’s the process driven things, there’s the things that, you know, position descriptions, and appraisals and discussions about performance, talk about and aligned to those values, they’re constantly referenced, I think is that’s, that’s, that’s part of it. I think, also, connecting behaviors to our values is really helpful. So, where we see things in the way which in which we engage our customers, or our clients with the outcomes that we achieve with them, we try and link them back to our values and demonstrate how values are created that outcome together with obviously, the skill set of the individual and the organization, but there’s also a lot of intangibles, intangible ways that those values come to life. And, you know, I think it’s, it’s being vulnerable as a leader is really important. So, we don’t always get it right. We don’t always profess to get it right, it’s okay to get things wrong. And, and it’s okay to own up to that. And to learn from that, I think they’re, they’re important fundamental. So, I think for me, when I participate in our monthly induction of new team members, or I give the team an update, or a broadcast, or I think it’s important for people to just see a human that, that’s, that’s leading and, and moving forward in a consistent approach that that’s aligned to the values that the organization has. So, there’s two parts, I think there’s sort of technical, process driven piece that helps reinforce that. And there’s also, you know, the stories we tell, and how we engage with our with our team, I think, you know, for us, Altius has been pretty poor storytelling, we haven’t been able to do, do justice to the work that we do in the stories that we tell because we would, you know, there’s 1000s of lives, that we, that we improve every single year. And I’m not sure that we’ve done a great job in telling that story very well. So, by no means, am I an expert.

Graeme Cowan 23:08 

What, what do you do for self-care for keeping yourself in good shape? 

Derick Borean 23:16 

Well, for me personally, nature is a, is an important part of staying balanced. And so, stripping, stripping back technology, stripping back access and, and even people and just being immersed in nature. So, I love spending time in the ocean, I surf regularly, I love swimming in the ocean, I love the mountains, I don’t get to do that very often. But I’m, you know, again, it just does feel very connected to myself, I’m very grounded when I’m in the mountains. And so that’s, that’s helpful to stay, to stay healthy and to stay well. And then I think it’s just, you know, who we associate with as well. So, you know, fortunate to have, you know, great family and friends and relationships that help nourish me and help keep me, keep me well and that goes for, for my personal life, but also my professional life as well. So, we work with and the clients that we get to work with and the team that we work with, it’s all really important. Yeah, we’ve got to have, we’ve got to have, we’ve got to have enjoyment as we go through our journey. And I think that’s, you know, life is short. And we, you know, we’re constantly reminded of that we, you know, public figures, you know, with untimely passings and privately sure we all, we all have, you know, shocks that come to us around people passing without unexpectedly so, you know, I think being very, very conscious of death is a great way to live the good life and live a fulfilled life. And that’s probably less about it’s less about happiness because I think happiness is pretty transient either Martin Seligman, I think titled his book ‘Authentic Happiness’ and then went on to write a book called ‘Flourish’ because happiness wasn’t all that attainable all that often so, you know, those elements for me are important. And I know for you I think even nature has been a big part of your life as well.

Graeme Cowan 25:48 

Yeah, very much so. In fact, we’re claiming to do a trip over to my river in WA and do the Cape-to-Cape Hawk at the end of the year and for the last two December’s that of course, it just got getting canceled and all that sort of stuff. But yeah, we’re looking forward to that and also very fortunate to live there near a national park myself and you know, just regularly have doses of, of nature. It’s been a real restore from the along with exercise, of course. Lots, lots in common there. And which you mentioned before we started how you just had a lovely setting holiday to the Maldives. What was, what was really good about that?

Derick Borean 26:35 

Well, firstly, traveling internationally was a novelty. And I would do that for a while, and that was, that was a pleasure. I think like most things when you have them taken away, appreciate them a little bit more than the Maldivian sort of culture is really interesting. I thought it’s a really interesting melting pot of cultures, which that was fascinating. Just the country itself. I mean, the fact that it’s, you know, these, these multitudes of atolls through in the middle of the ocean is quite fascinating. And look, the waves were great. The water was warm, but the weather it’s, it’s pretty hard not to enjoy that sort of stuff.

Graeme Cowan 27:19 

Yeah, the photos I’ve seen just shows very, very clear water, do you find that they’re–

Derick Borean 27:24 

Incredibly clear, yes. Didn’t get a chance to, to dive or snorkel with manta rays. But they’ve manta rays and whale sharks there. Which is really indicative of incredibly clear water? And, yeah, it’s an amazing place. 

Graeme Cowan 27:41 

I remember you once saying, about you have quite a standard Monday, you plan your Monday a certain way. Can you share how you do that?

Derick Borean 27:54 

Yes, I can. I mean, I have. I have basically, you know, slots where I catch up with each of my, my team, my direct team and, and talk about the week past and the week ahead. And, and I feel I mean, there’s times where I’ve learned that over time that I feel most fulfilled, and I feel most connected to my team when I’m having regular conversations with them. And so that is one-way things obviously can get, can get overwhelming things can, you can, you can end up very quickly not having time to do those things. And so, the conversations will be personal and professional with each of them on a, on a weekly basis. And I think that sets off the opportunity for the week, it sets up, you know what the priorities are for the week? And it enables us to get familiar with where we’re going for the week ahead. It works well, yeah. It works well.

Graeme Cowan 29:06 

How many people report to you, and how long do you meet with each of them for?

Derick Borean 29:12 

I have a– Good question. I have about eight direct reports. And, and I met with them for half an hour each. Yeah.

Graeme Cowan 29:25 

And what do you hope the outcome of that is those 30-minute meetings?

Derick Borean 29:33 

Yeah, I mean, there’s, I think an expectation of, of staying connected of engagement with each other and with the work that we’re doing and the work that we’re pursuing. Prioritization or even a reprioritization or a reordering of priorities. As things change, range. So quickly. And opportunities evolve very quickly things in the sort of macro environment influence us. And we have, you know, heavy, heavy, heavy regulation that can be influenced out and influencing us from time to time as well. So. So, being able to move with agility or with high levels of flexibility is definitely an outcome of having that regular, that regular opportunity to engage. The challenge is then, you know, how we come together as a team, and how everyone gets alignment on those things. That’s a, that’s another piece of the puzzle. I think that’s really important. And that’s constantly being, I guess, reevaluated. So, because things, as I say, continue to change and evolve, and, and with a growing business, nothing is static.

Graeme Cowan 31:04 

How do you approach it? If someone that reports, you has disappointed you in some ways haven’t met the expectations that you had for them?

Derick Borean 31:14 

I’ve just honestly, I think, you know, I can strongly, strongly reconcile intent. I think, first and foremost, if, if intent is sound, then it will be across the across my team. Absolutely. And, and so then it’s like what’s, you know, being quite honest about what’s resulted in us falling short on the individual falling short of expectation. And, and on occasion, you know, those conversations have been, you know, really enlightening for me, you know, the reasons for that are ones that have been in a blind spot for me. So, I certainly try not to prejudge the outcome of those conversations, because I can, I can learn from those conversations. But equally, I mean, in the circumstances, where things have a pattern, or there’s something that is perpetuating and repeating, and that’s when it becomes, again, just an honest conversation around why expectations, you know, haven’t been met and what we can do going forward. You know, inevitably over, over 21 years, not everything is smooth sailing. And so I’d certainly think that any, any times when people have left the organization, whether it be, you know, them reporting to me, or reporting to leaders within the organization, I’d like to think that they have a very clear and it’s been, you know, unwavering fairness, which I think I’ve touched on my first point, it’s been unwavering we fear and it may not be ideal, or the sort of result might not bite me that we part ways. But if it’s been an unwaveringly fair process, and then that’s, that’s important. And yeah, that’s an inevitability I think in particularly in a growing large business.

Graeme Cowan 33:26 

I really love that term unwaveringly fear, it does really say something about your culture, if that’s your intent, that’s what you’re striving for. That’s, you know, maximize the chance of a positive outcome doesn’t really does. 

Derick Borean 33:41 

I think so. Yeah. Yeah.

Graeme Cowan 33:43 

I remember you also saying, once that you really liked the concept of situational leadership, and is it something you still really believe in? And why do you like it so much?

Derick Borean 33:56 

I love it, we still absolutely believe in it. It’s an important part of how we, how we work, and lead and I love it, because it respects people’s professional journeys, and matches his style and leadership style, to their stage, to a stage of their professional journey. And so, I think that’s important and there is no sort of one way to lead. And so, you know, it’s a bit I think, to be a great leader, you have to be flexible in your approach and, and situational leadership is, is quite simple. It’s easily understood, and it’s quite easily applied. And so, for that reason, you know, in a world of complexity and I love simplicity. I love simple things and, and situational leadership in that Blanchard model has been one that, you know, has been part of our organization for a long time, and I think people can connect with it quite, quite readily.

Graeme Cowan 34:02 

We were just talking before the show. And I was just saying, how are we care program has really taken off? This is a simple scalable training program. But the framework of it is, as you may recall, was ‘I care’. And I remember meeting with you, in a cafe in Chatswood, with IKEA scribbled across the top. And, you know, when I showed it to you, exploit you and explained it to you, you really liked it, and thought it had something and thought it summarized, you know, some very, very good elements of recovery. And so, I don’t know how long ago that was maybe seven or eight years ago, but it’s, it’s really starting to leverage some results, which is so rewarding, you know, we shared a case study recently of SPC, you know, the food manufacturing group in Shepperton. And, you know, they’ve, they’ve, they’ve made, it’s voluntary, but they’ve had close to 75 people choose to do the course. And 92% of them, say they feel more confident they help someone in distress. And what was also really, really rewarding was that a number of them had printed off the help sheets about you know, how to prepare for mental health discussion, how to find a mental health sobered up, and then they took them home, because they thought it was just as relevant in their personal life as it was for their work life. And you would have experienced that so much. In the work you do this, just, it just blends so much does it work in life? It really does.  

Derick Borean 36:51 

And I think you know that example, in all those examples, you know, it takes, it takes a leader of that organization to give you access to that, to that community of people, that team that that business, and to be brave enough to do that. And so, I’m, you know, firmly of the belief that, you know, to truly influence we need to influence leaders, because, because that’s where we can really get some benefit across the country, across communities and internationally is if leaders truly understand that the benefit of caring approach, really, and that’s why this podcast is fantastic. I think it’s a great way to shine a light on those opportunities.

Graeme Cowan 37:34 

Yeah, and that is exactly why we did started, Derick, was to show that this isn’t theory, you know, there’s people that do strive for both care and high performance. And, you know, it’s not an either or, you know–

Derick Borean 37:49 

They’re not exclusive.

Graeme Cowan 37:52 

And I think the best results is when there is just this unique overlap. And as you highlighted, having great relationships at work is just as important as having great relationships at home. And, you know, it can spread each way. And we have identified as you’ve just said, then the number one predictor of a successful program is having a leader that believes, and a leader that talks about a leader that models that behavior, you know, if leaders’ model, well-being it just flows on so much across the organization, if they live a happy life and a really fulfilling life, it’s, yeah.

Derick Borean 38:32 

Yeah, it’s great. I mean, we’re very lucky we do work to influence people’s well-being and within the organization, we can use, everything we do with our clients, we can use internally for our team, elevate the well-being of our own team. So, I often think of, you know, we have, we have a mirror, really, we mirror, what we do internally with what we do with our clients externally. And, you know, clearly most of our clients are in much more vulnerable situations than then ourselves. But, you know, obviously, we’re fortunate because we understand, we understand well-being we understand that the multitude, multitude of dimensions to well-being we understand that people access well-being in through different pathways. And, and so that’s really helpful because we can, we can do that. People understand that internally. And so, when we were given those opportunities, it tends to fulfill really nicely.

Graeme Cowan 39:39 

If you had, you know, someone within our tears that was suddenly promoted to being a manager hadn’t been a manager before, but they came to you and said, you know, I really want to create a team that does, that does champion care and high performance? What advice would you give to them?

Derick Borean 39:59 

I’d say go for it. I’d say, you know, having clarity on, on how that that would, you know, happen in practice, I think it’s important. Again, I think there’s this connection between intent and then actions, behaviors, processes, systems, tools, those things should connect. And so having, having that manager or that that aspiration, be connected to practical things that help realize that I think is really important, because most of us most leaders, most managers, most people want very similar things. The difference is usually in, in execution, or in understanding how those things are brought to life. You know, how do we, how do we feel better? How do we create a high performing team? How do we lead with care and create high performance? And so, it’s, it’s as much in probably the advice would be as much in the house as in the desire, the aspiration? So that’s, that’s where the rubber hits the road.

Graeme Cowan 41:18 

Yeah, if you had a simple message, and you said your, like, simple message you’d like to share with the world and could share with the world, what would it be?

Derick Borean 41:28 

I think the simple message would be to get up, to understand that, you know, life’s challenges and failures are not a reason to stop. You know, there are reasons to keep going. And, and that there is fulfillment on the other side of adversity, and there’s growth on the other side of adversity.

Graeme Cowan 42:10 

Yeah, yeah. And that’s such a good philosophy, you know, the get up is a Japanese saying that says, fall down seven times stand up eight or something. And, you know, it is because we often learn the most don’t, we in, we do fall down, we have more insight. Generally, people do learn much more about the things that don’t go well is when they do go well. So, there’s, there’s pluses, pluses on both sides, that’s for sure.

Derick Borean 42:39 

Yeah, I think so. I think there’s, you know, there’s, there’s value in the struggle. So often people think God is a struggle, and, you know, and it’s a struggle without, without benefit or without, without importance, or, or without value, but there is enormous value in the struggle, and I’ve always probably relied on that.

Graeme Cowan 43:10 

Journey, the amazing journey. It’s been absolutely fantastic. Catching up today, Derick, if you could go back to your 20-year-old self, and knowing what you know, now, if you go back to your 20-year-old self, what advice would you give yourself?

Derick Borean 43:33 

I would say be more vulnerable. Yeah, I think, I think there’s a real opportunity that the growth that comes from that, and the opportunities that come from being more vulnerable, are much greater than the risks. And so probably, yeah, probably spent a period of time thinking the opposite was true. So certainly, in my early 20s, that would have been the case. A different character.

Graeme Cowan 44:16 

Yeah, we learn and grow. You know that vulnerability underpins team psychological safety, doesn’t it? You know, we don’t pretend to know everything. We can be honest with each other; we learn from each other. And hopefully that means us making the best decision, you know, because we tap into those people that do have the best knowledge for making the decisions. Yeah, that’s, that’s great. It’s been absolute pleasure catching up today, Derick, thank you so much. And yeah, may your success continue.

Derick Borean 44:45 

Thank you, Graeme. And yours.

Graeme Cowan 44:50 

Excellent. Really good.


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