076 – Team Guru Live with Tim Crossley
A conversation in collaboration with Women in Resources and Mining Queensland
Recently I was invited to host an event hosted by Women in Mining and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ). I interviewed Tim Crossley who has a long career with some of the biggest companies in Australia, including BHP Billiton. We discussed how he made the transition from technical doer to technical leader through the various levels of senior management. We discussed his strengths and weaknesses in the c-suite. And Tim was very open and honest about the price he paid in his personal life to achieve his professional goals.
Learn how to navigate the politics
Tim says the higher you climb in a an organisation the greater the political challenges. People are jockeying for position in any workplace but the elbows are especially sharp in the c-suite. Tim says his great strength was managing down. He was always the first one to go chat with the workforce on the ground. It was managing up that he found difficult and wasn’t always terribly successful at it.
You pay a price for success
Tim rose through the corporate ranks extremely quickly but there was a cost. He says that he was basically an absent father for twenty years. Having a work-life balance is not really possible in the senior ranks. It’s incredibly demanding to be at the top.
Gina Rinehart got to the top for a reason
Tim worked for two years for Hancock Prospecting, the company controlled by magnate Gina Rinehart. Tim was careful not to comment on some of the more controversial elements of her personality. Instead, he notes that she was one of the most detail oriented people he’s ever met. She was also totally committed to the idea that Asia was the place to be. Picking up iron ore assets when prices were low seemed insane at the time but ultimately made her a multi-billionaire.
Mining isn’t a boys club anymore
Tim entered the mining industry in the late 90’s when it was still totally dominated by men. Since then there has been a massive influx of women into the industry. That’s a change that has been hugely beneficial to the industry. Tim says attention to detail and discipline are traits that are really important in the mining industry.