Episode Focus: In this episode, we feature an interview with Gary Nelson, a Canadian project manager currently living in New Zealand. We discuss various aspects of leadership such as motivational quotes, the most important leadership attributes that a leader can possess, people that have mentored him, what advice he would give to his younger self, and more. Plus we get a chance to discuss his project books for both adults and children. If managing projects are a part of your leadership journey, you’ll really love this interview.
Hi there! Welcome to the Voices of Canadian Leadership podcast.
- Episode Focus: In this episode, we feature an interview with Gary Nelson, a Canadian project manager currently living in New Zealand. We discuss various aspects of leadership such as motivational quotes, the most important leadership attributes that a leader can possess, people that have mentored him, what advice he would give to his younger self, and more. Plus we get a chance to discuss his project books for both adults and children. If managing projects are a part of your leadership journey, you’ll really love this interview.
- The interview is almost 40 minutes in length, so there won’t be much time for article reviews in this episode – I’ve included one about leadership theories. You can always go to the website to see the latest posts. Better yet, sign up for the newsletter and you’ll get then automatically every week!
- We will now look at the main topic of the show – “An Interview with Gary Nelson”.
VOCL Main Interview
Guest Bio (Margaret Narration): Gary Nelson, PMP has worked on and managed Telecom and Information Systems projects since 1989. His international experience includes projects in New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the US and Canada. Gary is the author of three project management books, and is currently the Northern Branch Chair for the MI New Zealand Chapter.
I’m really excited to have you as a guest today – I love listening to your podcast and the great way that you can tell a story. As such, tell us a little about yourself, who you are and your journey on how you got to where you are today?
- Developed leadership in scouting and different work opportunities
- Met wife in New Zealand in 1991, now lives in New Zealand with their three kids.
What is a leadership-related quote that motives or inspires you?
- Non illegitimis carborundum (don’t let the bastards wear you down) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegitimi_non_carborundum
- Do what’s right, not what’s popular, and have the conviction to follow through (variation on a quote from Albert Einstein’s “What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.” – http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/67533-what-is-right-is-not-always-popular-and-what-is
Why does that quote motivate you and how do you use that quote in your work and everyday life?
- Getting things done despite of other things – taking care of the customer, going the extra mile (longer-term view is better than short-term view)
- Sticking to your moral compass and being consistent in your behaviour
If you were to mentor a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give knowing what you know today?
- Was shy therefore take more risks (put yourself out there and meet more people)
Who have been the influential leaders in your life and why?
- Lino Bosa – first manager – showed me how to do things right (great role model), “was never my boss”, stood up for his team
- Doug Lucas – senior scout leader – I was a 19-20 year old scout leader (Rover) for 2-3 years, then Doug shaped it so that I would become the main leader (helped by 3 more senior leaders) and develop my leadership skills with their assistance.
- Scouting leadership storyis captured at the following locations:
If you could pick any Canadian to be your mentor, who would it be and why?
- David Suzuki – loved watching him growing up – seemed to have it all together. Would like to mentored on putting himself out there, plus the science lessons would have been fascinating!
What do you think are the three most important attributes that a leader can possess?
- Tough choice – caring, consistency, vision or passion
If you could pick only one, which would it be?
- Easy choice – caring
Where do you turn to for leadership knowledge? Books? Seminars? Something else?
- Conferences, leadership books (audiobooks preferred) especially by John C. Maxwell, leadership magazines
Imaging you are the host of VOCL – who’s a Canadian leader that you would like to interview and why?
- Rick Hansen – motivational adventurer along the lines of Terry Fox and Steve Fonyo – great and humble speaker, great model for leadership.
Anything else about leadership that you would like to bring up?
- Leadership is something all of has to learn – “charisma helps but it isn’t leadership”
- Gazza’s Guide for Practical Project Management – has been used successfully at the College level as a resource for Project Management courses
- The Ultimate Tree House Project: Project Kids Adventure #1
- The Scariest Haunted House Project Ever!: Project Kids Adventure #2
Gazza’s Corner Podcast
- My favourite episodes
- Is your Project Team like a Light Switch…or a Candle?
- Leadership: Working With Volunteers
Gazza’s Corner Blog
Project Kids Adventures (geared towards children 8-12)
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Twitter @gazzaconsulting
- Through one of my websites, the blog or podcast.
VOCL Resources and Articles
This week – a quick article on leadership theories.
“The Trouble with Leadership Theories” by Doug Sunheim at Bloomberg
The author makes the case that leadership theories can offer much insight, but they are not a substitute for real leadership. Instead of using terms from various leadership books, use your own words in defining your leadership and your vision. In this article, the author provides his own one-pager on his concept of leadership – I like it because it is simple and personal. You will have to go to the article to read his six “bullets”, but I will offer my favourite quote:
“When something important is on the line, people don’t follow five-tiered triangles, four-box matrices, or three concentric circles. They follow real people.”
(Original article has been deleted)
VOCL Closing Thoughts / Future Episodes / Call to Action
Takeaways and introspection
- Have you taken enough risks in your life? A quote from Stephen Hunt touches on this point – “If you’re not living on the edge you’re taking up too much space.”