First thoughts on Leadership


This is the first posting from the Innovation of Risk focused on Leadership.

Over the past few weeks I have wanted some “space” to lay down my thoughts on leadership, and also to place thoughts from other bloggers who are discussing this topic.

Leadership is something that no one person has the “perfect” model.  Each of us has the potential to be a leader of some kind.  The question is what type of leader you want to be and whether you actually want to be a leader.

For me, being a leader is the most valuable component of what I do.  Why?

The main reason is that leadership for me is about providing the “space” for people to be the best they can be and as a leader, to provide the right support, guidance and advice for them.  Leadership is not about being seen as “doing” everything, for me, the best leader’s are those that actually stand back and allow the team to present their ideas and make them happen.  However, leader’s also need to know when it is the right time to make that decision that is required to ensure the team operates successfully.

Over the last few years the three pillars I have made the foundations of my leadership style are “transparency, accountability and innovation”.

Transparency includes transparency with the team, with each other and with those we work with.  Being transparent allows people to understand more about where you are coming from and where you are heading.  It also removes the feeling of mistrust that can be within non-performing teams.

The second part is accountability.  We hold ourselves accountable for what we commit to achieve but we also hold ourselves accountable for helping others achieve.  Sacrifice is part of being accountable, sacrificing the lesser important tasks that are within the team, to help others achieve is the ultimate form of accountability.

And finally, innovation.  Innovation is about driving continuous change through every activity and challenging what we do.  This has to involve completely reviewing and assessing everything you do and looking for better alternatives.  It does not mean you will always change things, but the usage of continuous innovation allows you to at least consider new things, both internal and external, in everything you do.

Over recent weeks I have been asking everyone I meet to consider one thing, and this is:

“Taking away the why it cannot be done, what is the one idea you would implement to deliver better business outcomes?”

The next ask is that you never let that idea go, in addition, don’t just hold the idea as it is, let it grow in you and in others.  Talk about it, investigate it, play with it, let it evolve and even consider taking it into a revolution stage.  And don’t just keep one idea, bring in others over time.  And finally, never give up with the idea if you feel passionate enough about it.

A few years ago I was passionate about collaboration, and for those that have seen the “Dancing Guy” YouTube video I felt like the “lone nut”, however I never let the idea go.  Instead I let it grow and then I took every opportunity to embrace the new technologies as they appeared as part of any pilot programme I could be on.  Now, a few years later, although people may not credit the original thinking I had, the concepts are being embraced and things are changing.  Just writing that brings a smile to my face right now.


So, never give up your idea.  Be passionate, be accountable, be transparent and most of all be innovative.



Scott North has extensive experience in enterprise risk management, internal audit, operational risk and compliance, risk strategy, scenario planning, technology risk, technology business analysis, systems design, financial accounting, and management accounting. Scott is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Chartered Accountants with a Masters Degree from the University of Melbourne in Business and Information Technology. Scott is also a Fellow of the University of Melbourne.