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Creating Sustainable Business and the Journey of Doing Good: Chris Hanley OAM

In this exclusive interview from our event 'How to Lead a Winning Team in 2018', Azal Khan talks to Chris Hanley OAM, Director of First National Byron Bay, about his ethos 'Good Works', attracting the right team, work/life balance and being a learning-leader.


Azal Khan: Hi. I’m Azal Khan from Elite Agent Magazine. I’m here today at our event, How To Lead A Winning Team in 2018. I’m joined by Chris Hanley, Director of First National Byron Bay. He’s an Order of Australia Recipient, and Byron Bay Citizen of the Year. To the real estate industry though, he’s a humble and generous leader, and mentor to the mentors. Welcome, Chris.

I’ll kick off by asking, your ethos could be described as good works. Why is this the case, and do you think successful business also share this ethos?

Chris Hanley: I don’t think they all share it. I think there’s two models in business. I think there’s the good people model, then the other model, which is – call it a hybrid – which a type of business, maybe with a bunch of good people, but maybe with some people whose values are different.

It’s also not a matter of one being right and one being wrong. It’s just a choice you make as a leader, to build an organisation full of good people. Now, good people work harder, and work better together. Good people are more productive and they share, and they look after each other. There’s a lot of evidence as to why that model works best.

Azal Khan: I guess leading on from that, Chris, it’s very clear to the people who know you that your passion is people. What tips would you give to an aspiring leader, who wants to start on their journey of doing good?

Chris Hanley: Be curious. Everyone’s got a story. Go looking for the quiet people, the introverts, the shy people. My view is that the quiet people usually have much better stories, because they usually spend a lot of time watching what’s going on, which makes them really observant and wise. You’ve got to be really good at asking questions. You gotta be really good at listening. They’re the two primary things, I think.

Azal Khan: In this modern life, Chris, people are always seeking the illusive work/life balance. You say there’s no such thing. What have we got wrong?

Chris Hanley: That’s a good question. I failed work/life balance as I said, when I spoke earlier. For me, I think what we’re doing wrong is, we’re not defining what that looks like. Some people like going fast. Some people like moving swiftly and some people like change, and managing change. You gotta define what that work/life balance actually means.

If it means spending time with your family, if it means turning off the devices, if it means giving some periods each week, where you’re not attached to an instrument, but you’re out in the ocean, or walking somewhere in a bush, but I believe in that. You need to define what it mean to you. Start there. Start with a definition.

Azal Khan: Chris, can you flesh out the concept that you spoke about, about being a multiplier, or a diminisher?

Chris Hanley: Many bosses are diminishers. They don’t mean to be. People go to work for them, and they don’t grow. People don’t learn anything. Now, learning leaders is a great term. The boss that we should all go and work with, are people called, learning leaders.

If you’re not a learning leader, and someone joins you, they’re gonna diminish. You’re gonna diminish your staff. In other words, they’re not gonna grow.

If, on the other hand, you’re a learning leader, and you’re always learning and reading and I still am after all my years here, then people join you, and you’re a multiplier. You know, I’ve had lots, and lots of people join me over all of the years. I remember one guy started with me years ago. He was a sign writer. He’d only ever earned a modest salary. I watched him over the years, grow and grow and grow and grow.

That’s what’s being a multiplier is, as a boss. When people come to you, sometimes from a modest background, and then they’re able, not only to multiply their income, but to change their life.

Azal Khan: As always, Chris, thank you for your time, and for your insights. Much appreciated.

Chris Hanley: Lovely to talk to you.

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