Founder of CXO Advisors, Graeme Keddie is an IT professional with over 20 years’ experience. He has held regional, national and global IT Managerial roles in Australia, Asia and Europe. As a specialist in infrastructure projects, organisational transformation, outsourcing and vendor management, Graeme is uniquely placed to assist organisations negotiate the spectrum of business driven IT challenges.
Graeme says the most successful leaders are orators or storytellers, are empathic and look to gain insight and that they like to be challenged, working to continuously improve in all areas of their organisation.
Passionate about supporting the Hunter region in becoming a thriving business center, Graeme believes that driving innovation and ingenuity across many sectors at a national and international level is key to that success. He is an active member of several local business and community groups including the Newcastle Business Club, the Hunter Business Chamber and the Newcastle Club.
- What path led to your current role?
There are two major influences on my decision to work with multiple companies and create the service offerings of CXO Advisors. On the one hand, after many years in corporate life with many great roles across multiple countries and cultures, it was the variety that really drove me to learn, improve and succeed. Today I find that working in multiple environments (small to multinational enterprises) gives me this same variety and allows me to more effective for my clients.
The other major influence is my family! Much of my international tenure was spent flying across the globe which meant that I spent very little with the family, so when my wife and I decided to return home to Australia, I wanted to work in an environment which afforded me both exciting work challenges and flexibility in my schedule.
- What do you believe has shaped your leadership style?
Content knowledge, customer/client focus and understanding yourself are the three key areas that have shaped my leadership style.
Starting my IT career as an analyst programmer really showed me early on that exploiting technology for its ‘business value’ ‚Äì rather than simply for ‘technology’s sake’ ‚Äì is what brings the business to the table and allows the IT leader to speak to the business in their terms.
Putting the customer first, not always my clients but their customers, means that my focus and that of the teams I work with, tend to be delivery focussed and not internally focussed, which is not the norm in the IT space, especially within internal IT environments. The focus is more on outcomes than roadblocks.
Finally, understanding your own strengths and opportunities is one of the most fundamental tools in leadership. It allows you to work to your strengths and either develop or shore up your opportunities, depending on the role and situation.
- In your consulting work, what are the key features of successful leaders that you have witnessed?
The most successful leaders I have worked with have three key abilities, which are:
1. They are orators, storytellers that paint the picture which the organisation understands and which feels natural to follow.
2. They are empathic, they listen to their clients and team and gain insight into opportunities for the organisation and;
3. They like to be challenged, working to continuously improve in all areas of their organisation whether it be in OH&S or Technical Field Services, there is no time for lip service just real actions for real outcomes.
- What tricks do you have to manage your priorities and your time?
Priorities require attention so I tend to go on a communications blackouts in short bursts (imagine no phone for 45 minutes), but for me it works. I tend to learn more from my clients when face to face so from a time management perspective I tend to allocate more time learning. Emails, contract reviews, proposals etc., can be done anywhere, isn’t that what weekends are for?! Aligning my clients’ requirements in planning both my time and priorities is key for me to being the most effective for clients and myself. My personal time, although flexible, is very important so I allocate time for it in my calendar just as I would any other activity.
- What local businessperson do you find inspiring?
Anyone who is having a go for themselves and the community as a whole. I have met too many inspiring people in the Hunter region (to mention just one), who are not only striving in their own business activities, but are giving time and resources to either create or enhance their industries or communities.
Being from a technology background, of particular interest to me is the evolving industry around Smart Cities and the opportunities we have here in the Hunter to be a centre to technology and design. Locally, the work of both Hunter DiGiT and The Lunaticks Society to support and advocate in this space in Newcastle is great.