Steve on Leadership #1

Back in 1993, on of Australia’s unsung heroes and leaders, Gordon Jackson, created the New Leaders Forum. The program was called the Johnson & Johnson Forum for New Leaders, and I was privileged to be both one of the original participants, and organisers, of the forum, working under the leadership and vision of Gordon.

Gordon is a great man, and deserves recognition for his vision and leadership in convincing initially Johnson & Johnson Pacific, and later the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, to embrace his vision of a better Australia and the world.

As the Forum convenor, Gordon said to the inaugural New Leaders Forum, “We have to produce a vision and put Australia back where it’s supposed to be. So let’s do it – together.”

Gordon’s words have inspired me for more than 15 years – to strive for a better, fairer Australia, and to aim for greatness. Gordon and Johnson & Johnson inspired me to put on the mantle of leadership; to drink from the (sometimes) poisonous chalice of leadership at a time when society seems to be celebrating the cult of mediocrity as a virtue.

As Nick Farr-Jones A.M. said at the inaugural Forum (and I’m definitely not a rugby fan!), “ be successful you must couple the dream with something. That something is commitment. Losers make promises, winners make commitments.”

Commitment, by friends, is what sorts the “sheep from the goats”. It’s kind of like the acid test for leadership. As Nick said, losers make promises, winners make commitments.

Leadership is what we desperately need in this new Millennium...not empty rhetoric and promises, but authentic vision, values and inspiration. We all owe Gordon Jackson and Johnson & Johnson an enormous debt in providing countless young people with the spark to have the courage and power to believe in themselves...and in a better for this great country.
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