Q&A with Steve Shale
1. What’s your favourite way to answer the question ‘what do you do?’
I recently had the feedback that “you changed my life” – I can’t better that.
2. What is your approach to finding a work-life balance?
I am learning at 53 not to say “yes” to everything and to check that deadlines work for me too. It’s a choice thing for me. I may get caught up in a piece of work and find myself engrossed late into the evening - if that’s down to choice and I don’t impact on anyone else then that’s ok. For true recreation and time with my family, I switch off completely which also allows me to recharge my batteries.
3. Describe in three words what makes a good leader
Open, vulnerable and passionate
4. If you could remote-work from any country in the world, where would it be?
If I could work remotely, I would love to travel around the world and explore cultures and approaches that I haven’t yet experienced. I would start in India as I’d love to experience the noise and sheer mayhem of city life there.
5. Which culture, philosophy, or way of life - that is different to yours - do you most admire?
There are many that I admire for different reasons. One close neighbour the French springs to mind. Without getting too political, they appear to have a great approach to the EU, they agree to everything and then do what suits them.
6. Who was your favourite teacher, role model or mentor when growing-up?
Mrs Clarke my maths teacher. She was nearing retirement, was strict and expected a lot from us. What I really admired was that she remained so passionate about her subject and wanted everyone to learn and share her passion.
7. What, or who, was your biggest inspiration when choosing your career route?
Fate! I was lucky enough to land 2 jobs in one day when I was 16. I accepted the one that offered the chance to recruit and train people. I have had the opportunity to explore other avenues, especially in my early career, but I was always drawn back to the roles that involved developing others.
8. Which area of your consulting work do you find the most interesting, and why?
I love helping people to develop, to explore new things, to challenge their thinking and inspire them to do things differently. I think much of our work provides this opportunity, however, I have noticed some of the biggest shifts in thinking when working with emerging or aspiring leaders. When you can work with a group over a period of time and experience a little of their journey it’s both the most interesting and rewarding time.
9. What are the top 3 personal skills that leaders need to possess, or develop, to lead their organisation into the future?
I think it remains:
Retaining a growth mindset in self and others and absolute belief in potential
Being open and vulnerable to help create a work environment where everyone can truly flourish
Bravery to stand up and be counted for what really matters and not just chase the numbers
10. If you could go back in time and give your 16-year-old self advice, what would it be?
I can’t remember when I was 16!
Seriously – there is so much!
Do believe in your ability (despite what others may say) and chase that dream
Value other people’s opinions – especially those who differ to you – be curious and enjoy the conflict
Buy a house now – you might think I’m mad – but you’ll thank me in the future!
Oh and do go to Uni – you’ll love the experience
11. If you were stranded on a desert island and were only allowed three items, what would they be and why?
A paper and pen so that I could write that award-winning book I’ve always been meaning to get around to. And a bottle of red to celebrate with once it was written!
12. What’s the number one thing you want to accomplish during your time on Earth?
Making a positive impact on those who I come into contact with – but most of all, bringing up my 2 boys – so that they can continue on this life with confidence and in happiness.