104 – The secret to becoming a great leader with Cindy Hook

Every now and then I invite someone on the show that has an inspiring personal story to tell. Cindy Hook certainly fits that bill.  She is the chief executive for Deloitte Asia Pacific. Cindy leads 45 thousand professionals across 17 countries.

Last week I headed to Deloitte’s offices here in Brisbane to conduct this interview. While I was there I saw Cindy moving around the building, talking with some other senior people in the firm. I hadn’t met her yet, but I knew it was her. There was absolutely no doubt about who was in charge of that organization.

Cindy is personal. Clever. A powerful communicator and best of all, she’s acutely aware of the journey she’s been on to get to where she is. She understands the lessons she’s learned along the way. She’s clear about the big career decisions she had to make. And she’s open about her mistakes and completely in tune with the gravity of the position she holds.

Lessons Learned

Leadership starts small

Before she ran a huge division of a major organisation Cindy started at Deloitte as a CPA, managing small teams.  As she progressed she learned that great leaders do a lot of the same things, no matter what level they’re at. They provide a vision and they give people a purpose.  It doesn’t matter if you’re leading a project team or leading an organization.

Take a risk

Put yourself out of your comfort zone. That’s what Cindy did when she moved to her first big client as a manager in an industry in which she’d never worked.  To succeed she learned to depend on the people in her team. Slowing down, reflecting and listening to different opinions proved to be the key to her success.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

You don’t have to be the perfect boss.  Or the perfect parent. You’ll never reach perfection. What you need to strive for is to be the best you can for the people around you.  Measure yourself against that standard. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.





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