steve hooker
steve hooker
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Steve Hooker: Clearer vision + hyper-focus = incredible results!

About the episode
Resimax CEO Steve Hooker leads his team of high performers like he's coaching a squad of elite athletes. As a former Olympic gold medalist, he knows how to get the best out of people: by painting a vision so clear you can almost see, hear and smell success as if you're right there. With incredible clarity that inspires hyper-focus and perseverance, it's about making every second count. Steve has a winning formula for success, enabling his team to rise to the top of their game.
"Focus comes from clear vision, so if you've got a clear vision of what the endpoint looks like – and by that I literally mean in your head you can see it – you can imagine yourself there. You know what it looks like smells like, what it sounds like."
— Renato
"This is how you actually put together outstanding teams."
— Alex
Guest on this episode:
Steve Hooker is the CEO of Resimax, one of Australia's most successful property development groups. He is also a former Australian Olympic gold medallist and world champion pole vaulter, and was previously the Captain of the Australian Olympic Athletics Team. Drawing from his experiences as a high performance athlete, Steve leads his team with a unique blend of laser clarity and hyper-focus.
TRANSCRIPT
Voice over:
Hi listeners. You've jumped into the Engage.Coach.Grow Podcast. This podcast is dedicated to all of you self-improvers who want to be phenomenal leaders. This podcast will fire your passion for all things high performance. On each show, we host the very best leaders in Australia, the 1%ers that do things a little bit differently to the rest of us, that gets them remarkable results.

Voice over:
Find out what's in their high performance DNA and how you can tap into yours with the High Performance Leadership app. You'll get access to the very habits, practices, and frameworks that have made the top leaders the very best in Australia. It's leadership coaching for you, from the best. Download it now and get coached from the most inspiring, highly successful leaders at the top of their game. Go to trampolineplatform.com/hpl. That URL is trampolineplatform.com/hpl. Okay, let's jump right into the conversation.

Steve Hooker:
I used to do an event where I would fail two out of three jumps, and still be able to keep going along. That's what I learned, and after every one, every time you had an attempt, you would dissect it. "Okay, what was good? What was bad? What am I going to focus on to improve on the next one?" And then you forget about it and you go and work on the elements that you've chosen.

Alex Tullio:
That speaking was Steve Hooker and yes, the name probably does sound familiar, because Steve was a gold medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in pole vault. Now of course, Steve is the CEO of Resimax Group, and one of the founders and directors of Trampoline. His life now is very focused on building high performing teams and taking elements from yes, his sporting career, but with a really clear theme around the importance of team, the role of individual in team, and I think you'll also pick up on some themes around the importance of clarity, having a really powerful vision, and of course self-awareness.

Steve Hooker:

Like, a vividly remember a conversation with my accounting teacher in year 11, and he said, "You're never doing your work at home." I said, "Well, if you're going to expect that from me, I'm
going to let you down, because I'm doing this other stuff." I had this negotiation with him where I sort of said, "I want to do well in this and I want to get a good mark, but I do not have the
capacity to go beyond that." As soon as we had that discussion, we had a great relationship and I contributed hard in class, and he worked really well with me in class, and he expected nothing
from me outside of that.

Steve Hooker:
He could see that I had this other plan for my life and getting the highest ATAR was not my goal. I had this other thing that I was doing, that I wanted to excel at, and you can only excel at one
thing, really, I think. If you try and spread yourself too thin, it all falls apart. He ultimately came up to him, eight years after I graduated high school, when I went back to my school after
winning a gold medal at the Olympic Games, and he came up and he said, "I'll never forget that discussion I had with you. I've never had a student with such a clear idea of what they wanted
to do and how they should go about doing it, as that discussion." He said, "You clearly had it figured out."

Alex Tullio:
This gives us such an early glimpse into Steve Hooker in year 11. I always laugh when I hear this bit because I think, "Wow, that is such maturity displayed by a teenager with such a clear plan and goal for his life." I think relating it back to how you be a high performance leader and build that high performance culture, the thing that really strikes me here is that sure, he was super clear on his vision, but I think even the step before that, in that conversation with his year 11 accounting teacher, was his ability to set expectations.

Alex Tullio:
So, he is really clear then about, "This is what you can expect from me and if you expect more, you'll be disappointed, so let's," as he says, kind of have a negotiation around what is workable on both sides. As a result, he had a great working relationship with that teacher, he set expectations there, and then had plenty of time to actually focus on his other sports related goals. I think this is something that leaders and teams can really take a lot from, because so often today, I still don't
see this clarity of vision and these honest conversations around setting expectations and having that negotiation around what a great result will be. I think leaders everywhere can take a lot
from this glimpse into the early Steve.

Voice over:
This is the Engage.Coach.Grow Podcast.

Alex Tullio:
You're really privileged to hear now a bit of the early glimpse into the early life of Steve and I think the thing here to listen for is his focus on being a really great contributor in everything he does, his absolute focus, and I think also this theme of working really hard for what you want to achieve.

Steve Hooker:
My life in high school was I would wake up, go to school, I would contribute and learn in class. After class, I would run to my locker, get my bag, sprint across the school oval to try and catch
the 3:27 bus that took me to Box Hill Athletics Track, where I would then train for two or three hours after school. Then, my dad would pick me up from training, and I'd go and clean the Camberwell Woolworths bakery for three hours, so I could earn some money, so I could eventually buy a car for myself, and then I'd go home and go to bed and repeat.

Alex Tullio
The things that I pick up here, relating back to high performance leadership, there's a couple of main things I think for me. One is that he says a couple of times, "I did what I had to do to
progress." He's very clear not on getting out of work, but actually what's the requirement and not actually expending any more energy than what he needed to do? He related to that, he talks a lot about knowing your limits and in another comment he talks about if you spread yourself too thin, it ultimately all falls apart.

Steve Hooker:
I managed everything else the same way. University, just got there and did what I needed to do to keep progressing through it. That ultimately got me through to whilst I was still training, I did an internship, I was doing a property degree at RMIT, and I did an internship at Stockland, big listed property developer, so that's where it all came together for me.

Steve Hooker:
I really loved it, I loved working in property, really passionate about property development. At the same time, was working about 30 hours a week there, I was training 25 hours on the side, and also completing some of my subjects at uni and all that sort of stuff, so that was like the super busy part of my life.

Alex Tullio:
There is one line here that I reckon stands out for me over everything, and it is, "I wanted no regrets." You'll now hear Steve, where he really makes his decision to say, "You know what? I put my career on hold and I was giving it 100% commitment around a sporting career because I wanted no regrets."

Steve Hooker:
Yeah, and then two years out from the 2008 Olympics, I just decided to put the career on hold and focus full time on that, because I wanted no regrets. Got to have the privilege of being a full time professional athlete for seven years. It's something I never thought I would do. It was something I passionately did because it was a hobby and just something I enjoyed and loved seeing how far I could make it go.

Alex Tullio:
In a way, Steve's come full circle, hasn't he? Because he started out early, set expectations with his year 11 accounting teacher, made that decision to actually focus on his sport, discovered a love of property development during some internships in his early years, put the career on hold to really have no regrets around his potential Olympic career, and then of course, had that next moment after three Olympic Games, when you'll hear him talk a bit more later about that pivot point when he started to have a family, and his decision to come back into corporate life.

Alex Tullio:
Of course, now, he's fulfilling that love of property development as the CEO of Resimax Group and bringing all these learnings from his sporting career, and that absolute clarity of vision and focus, and how to build really high performing teams to bear fruit with his current role.

Steve Hooker:
I found my way back around into property after I retired, after my third Olympics in London.

Voice over:
The point of this show is to facilitate a bold, new conversation between the top leaders of Australia and you, the listener, wherever you are in your leadership career. It's about learning
what those defining moments of change are, overcoming tough challenges, and unlocking the 1% differences that make you a truly great leader. Keep listening as we reveal their toughest challenges, but if you want to know how to overcome the seemingly impossible and get the truth about what it really takes to succeed, download the High Performance Leadership app. Download it now and get coached from the most inspiring, highly successful leaders at the top of their game. Go to trampolineplatform.com/hpl. That URL is trampolineplatform.com/hpl.

Steve Hooker:
There was a time when I reckon I was doing too much. Because I reckon the right amount of training I was doing when I was working. That kind of 25 hour week, because I didn't have enough time to do more. So, that was when I first moved to Perth. I moved to Western Australia in 2006. The first year I moved over there, I was working and training, and that was a good amount of training for me. I got really good really quick.

Steve Hooker:
At the start of 2007, I left my job and was training full time, and you tend to fill the day up. It's kind of human nature. We started implementing a morning session as a part of what we do. Get up, and go and do 45 minutes of exercises, and stretches and all this kind of stuff. Then, you'd have a ... That was before breakfast, then you'd go and do a morning training session, a couple of hours, it was either running, weights, or a vault session.

Steve Hooker:
Then often you'd have an afternoon session, so if you'd done weights in the morning, you'd run in the afternoon, or vice versa. You could end up having three sessions in a day. It's too much. Not necessary. For me, that was an example of going too far, and then in my final phase of my career, I trained less. We trained at the right times physiologically, so we never trained too early. We woke up, let our bodies wake up, trained at about 10:00 a.m.

Steve Hooker:
Did a longer, high quality session, and then had recovery for the rest of the day, so it was a better balance. And my body was much better for that routine.

Alex Tullio:
"There came a point in time when I knew I was doing too much." I think that speaks a lot to self-awareness and actually knowing yourself, and in the context of leadership for me, this is all about
this self-leadership piece, right? If you're actually exhausted and really down on energy and actually trying to do too much, then you cannot be a great leader for your team and for your business.

Steve Hooker:
If I have more than a day's work, I keep my day balanced. I'll come in and I'll do my regular hours in the office, which are not crazy. 8:00 until 5:30 or 6:00 or something. They're not crazy days. But then I'll go home, see the kids, rest, recover, and then if I've got another couple of hours, I'll do it after that. I'll only do it if it's going to set up the next day. If it's not accretive to the next day I'll leave it and I'll push it out.

Steve Hooker:
Because I know within myself, if I haven't got the right balance, then my performance drops off. A lot of people will think I've got all of these tasks that need to be completed, whereas not all of
them need to be completed. Some of them absolutely have to and are a priority to get completed, but others can wait, or disappear, and the world won't know the difference.

Alex Tullio:
I know I used to always think when I heard people say work/life balance, I'm like, "That's the unicorn." But as I worked more and more with high performers, I mean you're hearing an Olympian here talk about the fact that he keeps his day very purposely balanced. He's very tuned into what works and doesn't work for him. He knows the rhythm where he works best, and he's very
clear that he says, "I know if I'm doing too much. My performance drops off."

Alex Tullio:
The thing for me as well, again for everyone listening, we all have such busy lives and it's really hard to pull away from that, but just think about where you're getting the balance, how you actually could get those 1%ers around performance, and what's the stuff that you could potentially stop doing, that no one would even realise didn't happen?

Steve Hooker:
Yeah, that's the most important bit. Because that makes my job easy. If I'm focusing on that, then everything else takes care of itself. We've had a journey through that. I mean, Resimax Group is essentially a big family business now. It's come very much from that family business background. Not a lot of systems or structure. The leader of the business driving the ship. As you grow, you've got to find a way to keep what is good from that, and implement some elements that help manage the growth.

Steve Hooker:
As a group, we've gone through a couple of iterations of how we should work together as a team, and it's always about testing what works, testing what gets the best out of people and what
doesn't. Initially, there was a need within our journey of real clarity about roles and jobs you can do within those roles. But you can go too far with that, and I think we did upfront, where all of a sudden you isolate people and they might not be working on what's working for the business. They might be working on something that is not totally aligned to where the strategy is going.

Steve Hooker:
They either feel alienated, left out, or feel like they're not pulling their weight, whilst the areas that they're under the pump are beyond capacity. I find too much clarity or rigidity around individual's roles actually stifles your ability to have people adapt. So, the focus over the last six months has been on having absolute clarity around three and six month priorities, plus having your vision, your light on the hill, out 5 years, 10 years.

Steve Hooker:
But real clarity around three and six month objectives, and creating more flexible teams that can be deployed to work towards the three and six month goals. That's all well and good to say, but people can also get lost in that.

Alex Tullio:
You will rarely hear me say there's such a thing as too much clarity, but I love how Steve really catches this, in that if you get too rigid, so if your need to be so black and white, and for me clarity, especially in leadership, it's not about black and white. Because nothing is black and white. We all know that when you're leading others, you're leading humans. So, it's that fine balance, isn't it? Of being a high performing leader, of having that clarity, Steve talks about clarity around the right things.

Alex Tullio:
Super clear vision, super clear objectives, super clear context as to the why, but then being able to actually have that flexibility around what works best for a flexible team. Obviously this does
come so much to environment and the role of the leader, and I think the other piece here is it's so important I think to keep reminding ourselves that you don't have all the answers as a
leader. The minute that you're really open to constantly testing and learning, and really measuring what's working and not working for your team, and the environment, it is liberating because it actually takes that weight off your back about being rigid, about having to do things one way, and you get way better results.

Steve Hooker:
I was always in a team environment. Even though I did an individual sport, it was a team. I had many people around me that would, and we were all working towards the same result, which was all of us winning a gold medal. Be that from an Institute of Sport level, a technical coach, a strength and
conditioning coach, a doctor, a physio, or my teammates that I trained with, my training partners. We were all working towards the same thing.

Steve Hooker:
It's slightly different where in that environment, I was the key player. Now, it's almost more like I'm the coach and there's a bunch of key players that I'm working with. That's the only change. It's just a bit of a change in the seat that I have at the table.

Alex Tullio:
Yeah, he had a certain role in his sporting career but now that he's a leader of others, he sees himself more as the coach, rather than say the key player. Really think about what is the
role that you play as a leader of a team, what does your team need from you? And I think the other thing as well there, which I love, is that he says it's always about team effort. Even in such
an individual sport as seemingly as pole vaulting, he says, "We were all working to the same vision. We were all working for that gold medal." I think we can really just benefit so much thinking
about that in the workplace environment with our teams.

Steve Hooker:
Humans are 99% the same, but it's the 1% differences where all the magic happens, and seeing people that can identify that, amend their communication style, be that language, body language, to get the best out of that 1% difference that we have between us all. That's where it all takes place, where the interesting bits take place.

Alex Tullio:
I love this, because we hear so much about diversity and inclusiveness, which are massively important things and not the subject of today's podcast, but I think we can all take something
from this comment of Steve's around the fact that we're 99% the same, and it's the 1% that makes us different, where that magic happens. I sometimes wonder, especially in big corporate
environments, we lose the 1% magic from our teams because we're so focused on everyone going the same way and being the same.

Alex Tullio:
Let's face it, when you're actually catering to the 1% that makes us all different, yeah, it takes more work and it takes a lot of intuition, and a lot of self-awareness as a leader, and connection to your team.

Steve Hooker:
It's a tough question, because everyone's going to have their own unique take on leadership. I think it's always got to be defined by the individual. You can't pretend to be someone else if you're a leader, because that will get discovered pretty quickly. Authenticity, it's a word that gets thrown around a lot at the moment, but in terms of leadership it's very important.

Steve Hooker:

I think you can learn a lot from other people's leadership styles, but you've got to find your own personal way of implementing those learnings.

Speaker 3:
You get to a point where you have the confidence of a leader in yourself, where you actually can be vulnerable, where you're transparent, where you're very comfortable not being the
smartest person in the room. I think this really picks up on this theme of what Steve's talking about. You can't be anyone else as a leader. You've got to be yourself and you can definitely role
model, and you can take great tips and you can learn, but if you think of, maybe think of someone who you consider to be a really compelling and inspirational leader that you think, "You
know what? I would follow them again."

Speaker 3:
What is it about them? I bet you any money there's something in there that makes you trust them and know that they're a real person, and that they've got your best interests. I think that is
such a key part of what makes a really compelling high performance leader.

Steve Hooker:
For me, everything's an opportunity. So, even being in an environment like that, I am the kind of creep that will try and change the behaviour of those that are working with me. I'm like, "This isn't working, so can we change how we're going to do this so that it's going to work better?" Even if I'm in the subordinated position. Even my relationships with coaches and stuff like that, I would say, "This isn't going to work for me. Let's find a way to try and change this."

Alex Tullio:
Having that inner I guess honesty and self-awareness about what will and won't work for you, if there were more honest conversations and forget whether the relationship's subordinate and boss, or teammate or peer, it would be so more conducive to a high performance environment if actually people had a conversation that was honest around what did and didn't work, and let's find a better way together.

Steve Hooker:
I think the reason why it works okay, and we're always working on it, it's not perfect by any means and it never will be, is because we've got, there's very little, there's always some but
there's very little back channel conversations in our business. It's mainly discussions to your face.

Steve Hooker:
That comes all the way to me. Over the last six months, I've had seven discussions with people where they've said, "It's not working. I feel like I'm floundering, I've got no direction, I don't know where I sit in this. How can I do that?" Then we come up with a plan around how you change that. Or, someone says, "I feel like that person is struggling to find their feet." We then as a
group, can find a way to make that work within the team.

Steve Hooker:
It's just transparency and creating an environment where people want to have that discussion, and not where it gets to breaking point through back channel discussions or it's just being an open
book, being available, sitting with the team, seeing how they're working every day. Not being detached from it.

Alex Tullio:
This sounds to me like some sort of leadership utopia, because imagine if you had no as Steve calls it, back channel conversations. None of that background noise that could be distracting and can be very damaging as we all know, to a workplace culture. I think a really great, love a practical hack or tip, and I think the great one here which I'm reflecting on is, "Okay, so what would it take? What does it take as a leader to instil such a level of confidence and trust in your team that instead of the back channel chat, they come to you and go, 'You know what? I'm struggling here.'" And know that there's no fear of reprisal, that it will be a problem solving conversation with the full support of the boss.

Alex Tullio:
I think we can all take so much away from this, and for me, it really comes back down to, "What's the role that you're playing as a leader? What's your role in the team?" You know what? If you can go halfway to creating the environment of such trust and transparency and openness, and as Steve says, availability, then really the results take care of themselves.

Steve Hooker:
Remember having more discussions about it, seeing how things are progressing, and reiterating and saying different ways and showing in different ways, the endpoint that we're trying to get
to. And also when appropriate, adjusting the endpoint and acknowledging that that wasn't the right thing, and let's repaint that somewhere else. It's a constant thing. That then comes down to Cam, you asked what my day structure was like, how do you structure a day a week, a month, a year of your team and what does that look like? How do you have those checkpoints so that people know if it's becoming fuzzy and they're feeling like there's a disconnect between what they're doing today, or a goal that they're working on and the ultimate vision of the business? There's an opportunity for them to check back in and just ask, and it's encouraged that they ask. It's not assumed that they know.

Alex Tullio:
What checkpoints do you have set up in your team operating rhythm, where team members can check in and you can check in with them, around whether the vision's getting fuzzy? At Steve talks about, sometimes yes, I mean you always need to have a really clear endpoint, but sometimes you actually need to adjust that. I think a lot of us doggedly set a goal and just put our blinkers on and then run hard at it, no matter what else is happening around us. I think that's a really great tip for leaders, is again, think about your role. It's not about doing everything, it's about setting up this environment for success and a big point here is making sure you've got the rhythm and the trust in your team, where you can all check in with, "Is the vision right? Is it clear? Are we veering from the path? Is there something else that we need to consider?" And keep looking at it as a constant
evolution.

Steve Hooker:
We've had almost no staff turnover. We've not said, "You're the wrong fit, you're the wrong person." It's how can we work differently to make what is different about you work with how
we're going to work? We've got lots of different personalities and a lot of personalities who have said to me, "I never felt like I fitted in in another business." We celebrate that, I think, within our team. We celebrate, we love how different we all are, we love the different backgrounds that people are from, and we enjoy talking about it, having a laugh about it, and it's the how that's important, not the who.

Cam Upshall:

Okay, interesting.

Steve Hooker:
And that's coaching. My coach had to deal with, if there was one person who had enough talent he then had to work with the personality to make that work. That's where the flexibility comes
in. You've got to be flexible and allow people to be their best in the given environment, and as you put more layers of people in there, that gets more complex. You've got to find a way that's
going to work to an extent for everyone, where everyone can find certainty and safety in that environment.

Alex Tullio:
I've never really heard anyone frame this the same way Steve does, around the focus on the how, and not the who. Normally we talk about the importance of getting the right person and the
right fit, and that was certainly my first reaction, but if you actually listen to this, it is incredibly powerful and I think again, it's really speaking to this real theme of diversity and putting in
the hard work if you're really committed to having a diverse team and what that means. It means different personalities, it means different working rhythms, it means talented people that might not fit the norm.

Alex Tullio:
Basically I think the tip here is if you really focus on actually the how, and instead of someone not fitting in, you discard them because, "Oh, well you don't fit the culture," how can you actually work with them to extract the best performance from them, and give them that certainty that they're looking for so they can really shine? Now, that is a powerful work environment.

Steve Hooker:
It can't be about, "That's my job" or, "That's your job" and, "That's my success or your success." It's got to be the team element, that willingness to put the team before the individual, that's the most important thing. Because then you can maximise the combined skillset of the group, and you can make up for the combined shortcomings of the group.

Alex Tullio:
This emphasis on team again, and I think we often forget this, mainly I think as leaders, because we're putting pressure on, so much pressure on ourselves to kind of, "I'm the boss and this is
my role in the team." What you hear Steve talk about here is the fact that it's a team effort. It's about how do we actually do this together, what's the role that you need to play as a leader to make that happen? And leaving no one behind.

Alex Tullio:
I love this theme of his that goes right through his sporting career and now is so evident in his role as the CEO of a really big property development group.

Steve Hooker:
It's just frameworks, I think. It's simple. It's just, "Okay, well how" ... The framework for any task is going to be different, but it's teaching them a framework by which they can then reinforce
themselves whether something is working or not. It might be how you structure the week with your team so that you have plenty of opportunities for them to ask you questions and for you to ask them questions and track progress. The important thing is to understand that the job is not to do the thing, but to facilitate the thing. That's the bit, right?

Alex Tullio:
Yep.

Steve Hooker:
As soon as you find yourself thinking, "It would be easier for me to do this," you're not being a leader. You're absolutely right in your feedback, Cam. The hardest thing to do is not do the thing.

Alex Tullio:
The thing. So, I love this. The key message here is that your role as a leader is not to do the thing, it is to facilitate the thing. I want you to really think about where in your crazy, busy lives,
when you are trying to do everything, could you actually sit back and go, "You know what? My role is actually to facilitate, not to do." It's a really hard learning, I think especially as a leader of
others, because you feel compelled to do. But that's actually not where you're adding the most value to your team, to your business, and where you ultimately burn yourself out.

Alex Tullio:
I think that's a bit of, that's definitely worth a pause to reflect on how are you facilitating the thing and not doing the thing?

Steve Hooker:
I had seven years away from doing property. I had a really good grounding, like five or six years of working in a great company, learning lots and getting my head really around how the business works. I had seven years away from that, and then I came back to it, and pretty quick after that was in a leadership role. I knew at every meeting that I went to, I knew less than everyone else that was in the room about the specific technicalities.

Steve Hooker:
So pretty quickly, I realised my role was to be the dumb guy in the room and just ask questions. When you ask enough questions and challenge enough on that front, then all of the information then presents itself not just to me but to the group, and everyone then is looking at the same puzzle that is sitting in front of them. Then my job was simply to facilitate the group, thinking about the solution to that puzzle that was sitting in front of everyone, so long as all the information was there.

Steve Hooker:
That's the best thing you can learn, and so I continued to learn through that process, but I also learned that I didn't need to know anything. All I needed to know was how to get the
information out of other people and in a way from them so that everyone could understand what they were saying, and then the group comes up with the solution. There's no ego or vulnerability
or anything involved in that. It's literally just understanding a role to play which is merely facilitating, basically. Getting the best out of everyone else.

Steve Hooker:
The best thing for me was no longer being the expert, and getting the knowledge from experts. I was lucky enough to do that in my sport. I wasn't the best at strength and conditioning or anything like that, but I had experts around me that were really good at that, and then I worked with them to absorb as much of their information as possible, and put all of those pieces down and come up with our program of how I was going to then here. To achieve this one specific goal that we were trying to achieve, which was use a bit of fiberglass to jump as high as possible.

Alex Tullio:
I think we've all experienced, haven't we, coming back from a break or coming into a new situation where you don't feel like you know all the answers? Steve certainly relates this back, if
you remember early in his career when he made that decision to have that career break and focus on being a professional full time athlete. Here he's talking about coming back after that
break of seven years and going, "Gosh, there's all these technical things around property that I just haven't been involved in for a long stretch of time."

Alex Tullio:
I love his perspective, again it's this theme of playing the role of the facilitator and asking lots of questions. Now, he says it's being happy to be the dumb guy in the room and ask the questions, and we can all learn so much from that. Think about how you can let go of trying to feel like you have to be the expert, like you have to have all the answers, and what would actually happen if you set the tone as the leader with your team, actually just asking lots of questions?

Alex Tullio:
Because as Steve's saying, the trick here is to elicit as much information as possible, and what you end up with them as a team, is you've got all the pieces of the puzzle on the table, as he says, and then you can collectively problem solve instead of kind of guessing and trying to pull information because you're not asking enough questions.

Steve Hooker:
So thrilling little things is something that I think came from our managing director, Ozzie. It's part of how he approaches all of his relationships and all of his customer experiences across his many businesses that he's involved with. We put a name around that. That was just what he did, but we put a name around that which is thrilling little things, and it's tiny things that require
very little effort but can have a big impact to the person that is on the receiving end.

Steve Hooker:
Ozzie has the Adelphi Hotel which is multiple times been awarded the best boutique hotel in Melbourne. When you turn up there, the receptionists know your name. When you get into
your room, there's a personalised message from their team on the mirror, written in lipstick. They're little things that require only a minute or two of effort and just a bit of forward planning
that make an ordinary experience extraordinary, and the sort of thing that you want to tell other people about.

Steve Hooker:
I always will see our staff members being courteous to each other and doing little things for each other to make them laugh, or to make their life easier or whatever it might be, just because they've got the opportunity to do it and they take that opportunity.

Alex Tullio:
What's one thing that is a thrilling little thing that you could actually do for a teammate, a peer, or someone that you know at work that takes very little effort, bit of forward planning, that will really make a big difference to them?

Steve Hooker:
It's a long story to go through what a good coach is, and thejourney we took to get to that. But essentially with what we wanted to achieve, it couldn't just be an individual result that you got. It had to be repeatable results over a long period of time, across a broad base of people. For that to be possible, there's got to be an element of framework involved in what you do.

Steve Hooker:
We acknowledged that, you also then have to acknowledge what we've been discussing all day here, which is that we're 99% the same and 1% different and how do you take into account that
1% difference for everyone? You've got to incorporate that level of flexibility into your framework.

Alex Tullio:
There's that word flexibility again. I think this is really, it's that balance, isn't it? Of what we've talked throughout this podcast, of having that real clarity, having that theme of self-awareness
about yourself and others, but also then having that confidence to have some flexibility in the framework. In this context, when you're working with your team and actually getting that 1% gold
out of them, that's where that flexibility comes in. Don't lose sight of that, and don't get so rigid and so blinkered, and focused on a goal where you actually lose that 1% magic because your framework or your process isn't flexible at all.

Steve Hooker:
Well, I mean so transitioning from my life in sport to my life back in business, I spent, took me four years to end up at Resimax and I had four different jobs that lasted 12 months over that period of time. I was using those questions, those challenges to myself, to see if I was in the right place and I was heading in the right direction. Obviously, I'd gone from being someone who defined myself as an Olympic champion pole vaulter and then on one day I switched that off, andI've all of a sudden got to figure out that I'm someone else.

Steve Hooker:
So knowing who I was as a person was very challenging through that period of time. Knowing what I wanted, I also became a dad at exactly the same time. There's a whole bunch of different
stuff that was taking place there and my wife had done the same thing. She had gone from being an athlete to a mum, and we both went from being very, in selfish pursuits to more selfless pursuits.

Steve Hooker:
Every three or six months we would check in with each other and ask ourselves these questions, and if the situation we were in, the house we were living in, the work that I was doing, the
way that we structured our life around our kids, if that wasn't working we tried to find a way to fix it. That resulted in me realising on three separate occasions that the job that I was in was not the right job for me.

Steve Hooker:
After giving it a good go and putting everything I had into it, and making a change, and deciding on what direction that change would go, and trying to pursue the right person, environment, company, opportunity, that would help take the next step. I got it wrong a couple of times and learned through that process, and continued to have these discussions and found myself in what I
honestly say is my dream job and I can't imagine, I've been in it now for two and a half years and I see myself working with these people and with this team forever.

Steve Hooker:
I can't see myself wanting to do anything else as my main occupation, as my main thing that I do with most of my week. That only comes from honest conversations and having a framework under which to have conversations. Yeah, it's helped me navigate what is a really tough thing. We spoke about ego and that's what I've had to let go of ego, is letting go of this other life that I have, and I've done that, 100%. I look at footage of when I was a pole vaulter and it's a different person that I'm looking at than the person I am today.

Steve Hooker:
It's been an awesome process to go through. I relate way more now to the people that I share my office with than Olympians that I'm going to watch in Tokyo in a year's time.

Cam Upshall:
So for those listening at home, let's nail down on the three questions they should ask themselves.

Steve Hooker:
Yeah, so define you as a person.

Cam Upshall:
Who are you?

Steve Hooker:
Yeah. Understand your goals, where you're trying to get to. You've got to be really clear about that and what's driving you forward. And then identify any roadblocks. Like, what is there that you need to change to facilitate the you that you are and want to be, achieving the goals that you want to achieve?

Cam Upshall:
And if you're in a position where they aren't aligned with either your relationships or your career or the direction that you're heading, you know that a change needs to occur in some way, shape or form.

Steve Hooker:
Means discussions have to be had, yeah.

Cam Upshall:
Yeah, okay.

Steve Hooker:
That's right. The answers might be where you are now. But you just haven't had the right discussions with the people that are where you are now, and that would be my recommendation as a first step, and if that doesn't resolve things, then you have to start looking for a new environment that's going to allow you to be who you want to be, and get to where you want to get to.

Alex Tullio:
Well, I hope you enjoyed listening to that as much as I enjoyed the process with Steve. I think for a lot of people, you could automatically go, "Well you know what? Steve Hooker, he's an
Olympian, right? He's a gold medalist, he's not like the rest of us." But I think the really powerful message here is that he is like everyone else, and he is taking some really clear principles and elements of what made him great in sport, to what's now making him great in his professional career as the CEO of Resimax Group in this next iteration of his professional career.

Alex Tullio:
So, I think put aside the gold medalist and actually let's unpack what makes Steve a high performer? The themes that have really stood out for me during this whole conversation is this real
theme of self-awareness. He talks about this in a number of different ways, around clarity of where he wants to go, clarity around what's driving him. He's talked about how to really know
how to get the best out of yourself, how to get that balance in your life, and I think there's also a very strong theme here around honest conversations. So, having a framework to have honest conversations when things aren't working or aren't aligned or don't feel right, and having those often, and really checking in with yourself.

Alex Tullio:
The other piece here that he talks a lot about is that he sees that he's always been part of a team. Regardless of his sporting days or now, we've heard so much from him around being really
clear about how you contribute, the role that you play, and having a very clear team goal that is shared, getting the best out of people. I think there's a lot of lessons for all of us, and the thing as well I think to leave you with maybe, which I think is incredibly insightful from him, is that he says you know, "I look back now and the person that I see winning that gold medal at the Olympics feels like a different person. Now I far more strongly relate to the people that I work with in my day-to-day role as the CEO of Resimax than I do with other Olympians because I've evolved and I've let go of the ego, and I'm becoming the next version of myself."

Alex Tullio:
I just think that's really cool, so I think that's a good place to end. But just remember if you're hearing about high performers, especially athletes that we really put on this pedestal and think
we could never achieve what they've achieved, I think this is the power of this conversation, is that it's all in us. If we focus with clarity on a vision, we're self-aware, we do the work and we have honest conversations, any of us can be the equivalent of a gold medalist in our field.

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