26 Jul Podcast – Join Up Dots UK
During the show we discussed weighty subjects with Boo such as:
We discuss the outlook that Australians have developed and how they take a huge element of the British outlook,
Why the only book that Boo has ever read is “How to start your first business for dummies”.
Action is where the real learning comes from.
Why it is so important to find a small untapped market and become the big fish in that market before expanding.
Why it is so important to enter into conversations with your market to truly find what they want from business. Talk, talk, talk.
Here’s the transcript!
Audio Transcription Of Christian “Boo” Boucousis’ Interview on Join Up Dots
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:23]
Yes, hello there. Good morning, everybody. Good morning and welcome to Join Up Dots. Thank you so much for being here. And as always sharing me your ears and your body parts whatever you want to share. Well, today’s guest on the show is a gentleman who is the owner of afterburner Australia is a part of a global training organisation that has delivered programmes globally to over 2.5 million people and 3500 organisations across the world. Now every one of them delivered to make those people become more successful. Now before he’s moved on into the business world with afterburner he was a fighter pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force for 10 years and diagnosed with a serious medical condition. He was told he could no longer fly fighter aircraft, and so he had a choice to make. He could mope around staring longingly at the Mavericks of the world height fighting and shouting, I feel the need the need for speed, but he didn’t. Instead using the skills and knowledge he acquired in the Air Force. He co founded a successful humanitarian support company in the Middle East growing it over 1500 staff now before selling that business to move back to Australia to focus on developing affordable building methods, which was the genesis of what he’s doing now mode, an innovative property development group that is currently developing Australia’s tallest prefabricated Hotel in Perth. Now his storey is a real world example of how fighter pilots use the skills developed during their military career to succeed in business, no nonsense, no shortcuts, just a simple methodology that cuts through the noise and inefficiencies that exist in our day to day lives, principally, as a result of lack of understanding around our human performance limitations. Now from the New York Giants winning the Super Bowl, to the methods used by Apple and Google fighter pilot methods are gradually penetrating all corners of business and early adopters, especially in the digital world and reaping the benefits of it simple and highly effective approach. So did he ever dwell on what could have been? Why me? Why me? Or did he see it as an amazing opportunity for personal growth? And where does he see the biggest limitations that people put on themselves in both business and life? Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show, to start joining up with the one and only Mr. Christian Boucousis. Because it’s good morning,
Christian. How are you sir?
Christian Boo Boucousis [2:53]
I, David really well, really well, thank you so much for having me on. Join Up Dots that I very excited.
David Ralph [3:00]
is great to have you here. So So do we call you Christian? Or do we call you boo?
Christian Boo Boucousis [3:05]
Are you most welcome to call me Christian. But that’s kind of only my parents do that these days. Everyone, whether they’re in the Air Force, or in business now just tends to call me call me Boo, easy to remember.
David Ralph [3:17]
But makes you jump all the time? I imagine.
Christian Boo Boucousis [3:20]
Well, it depends. Yes, particularly if I sneak up on people at night, but I tend not to do that anymore. It makes people very uncomfortable.
David Ralph [3:27]
Yeah, I don’t do that. It’s known as stalking. It’s known as grooming and it’s not good. It’s just not good to do. So let’s let’s jump right back. We’re obviously in Join Up Dots. We’re going to jump back and forth. But I’m really interested in the I feel the need the need for speed. Do people actually say that? Is that just a one off in a film? Or is that permeating the heirs around the world?
Christian Boo Boucousis [3:52]
I think a lot of people say that, but certainly not fighter pilots. In the real world. We tend not to high five, we tend to be fairly introverted folk, were quite seriously minded. It’s a very, very professional environment. But since participating in afterburner, working with lots of sales teams and corporates, they more than willing and excited to crank out a little bit of a native of Spain, particularly in a lot of organisations where things sort of grind to a halt. It is used as a bit of a catch cry and rally call around big conferences, but I don’t know what it’s like over in the UK. But over here, yeah, we tend to not see people who are fighting in the streets, looking for that particular night.
David Ralph [4:37]
Now in the UK, we don’t High Five at all. In the UK, we just mope. We just walk around and we just wonder why life is crap. We have a real sort of negative way of looking. I went over to America many times I’ve been to Australia many times as well. There’s a more well, America is very positive, very motivational. Australia is very much go with the phone. Where do you find yourself sitting because you’re in a motivational business. But you’re an Australian, and most of those I’ve seen have been very laid back and calm.
Christian Boo Boucousis [5:11]
Very interesting question. I actually spent four years flying with the Royal Air Force I lived in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. So I did manage to immerse myself in the British flag fighter aircraft, I think that we spend a lot of time in the Air Force flying with Americans and Australia has a lot of American equipment. But I think what Australia probably has the benefit is a long, long way away from anywhere. And we just kind of live in our own little world. But we almost take a little bit of British culture and probably more British culture and in our approach to things but when it’s sunny all the time, and you’re at the beach, and everyone’s wearing bikinis and board shorts, you tend to be happier, I’m sure you would be in the UK as well. And, and but a little bit doll back from the, from the high five in up our motivational speaking world of America. So so we use the same content, we have the same approach. But we we sort of dial it back a little bit in in Australia to connect with our Australian culture.
David Ralph [6:17]
So the Australians have kind of got it right, Ben, they’ve got our sort of anchoring to reality, and they’ve got the next go for the for the Big Gold, the American side.
Christian Boo Boucousis [6:29]
Yeah, I think we’re in that, in that in that middle area. You know, we’re very lucky being born in Australia and being in Australia, it really is an incredible country, and we’re spoiled with everything. It’s a financially very stable. Everyone that despite what you read in the paper, everyone can afford to, to live somewhere, we’ve got millions of miles of, of kilometres at while millions is a big coal, but thousands of kilometres of beautiful beaches. So you know, we’ve got a lot to be thankful and happy for here, which is I guess why we, we we see lots and lots of tourists coming from the UK and in the US. But I think culturally though, in business, we’ve got a lot to learn. I think we’re very much a remote outpost for a lot of business. And everything that we do in Australia is very much focused on resources, whether that’s agricultural, or mineral resources. I think where we are at a disadvantage from the UK, and from the us is that we don’t have a lot of Australian owned businesses outside of that. Whereas my my work when I work with companies overseas, you have a lot more diversity within those economies. Now let’s
David Ralph [7:43]
talk about that positive economic base that you’ve got in Australia. Because certainly, I think in the United Kingdom, at the moment, there seems to be a protection of what we’ve got. And I speak to so many people that will plead poverty you’ve got I’ve got nothing at all. But then they’re quite happy to buy a brand new car and go off on holidays and vacations instead of what I would want them to do to actually self develop themselves. with yourself. You came from the fighter pilot world and you moved into business now that seems in the introduction, like a seamless journey. But of course, there had to be a huge amount of self development that you went through. Did you hire a business coach? Did you learn from your your mistakes and your failures? How did you move from one to the other.
Christian Boo Boucousis [8:37]
wearing a pair of bunny rabbit slippers was the way that I made the transition. I wasn’t expecting.
David Ralph [8:43]
I’ll be honest, that was one of them. I wasn’t expecting.
Christian Boo Boucousis [8:47]
It was my my original business partner, my best friend to this day, Tom and I were in a little town called or village called dish with in Yorkshire. And we were a having a few drinks. Just a social occasion. His wife was a navigator in this my Squadron. And he had just returned from Iraq he was in an army captain in the Parachute Regiment. And I was flat left tenant in the in the Royal Air Force. And we were having a quite a big night found ourselves in the broom closet both wearing a pair of fluffy slippers. Mine with bunny rabbit ears. And in that broom cupboard with a bottle of whiskey, we both short canes and undertook that within the next two years, we were going to start a business we’re going to go into business together. And it was going to be somewhere in the Middle East. And I moved back to Australia for 18 months, Tom stayed in the UK. And that’s what we did about 18 months later, Tom logged in to Afghanistan first managed to find a contract, I flew over met the owners of that business. And the first contract we landed was a $2.8 million security contract, we we grew from it. So when people say to you, you need a business plan, you need a business coach, you need a degree you need to go to business school, I mean, a huge, huge. My advice is that’s not the case, what you need is is is to decide the one thing that you’re going to do, and stick with it for a number of years. And you’ll figure it out better than any business school better than any other business owner, you will figure out your own journey and discover what works in your business and that and I’ve applied that now in, in in the HR and humanitarian sector in the Middle East, in property development from small two bedroom, portable dwellings up to a 17 storey high rise hotel, across into publishing and, and now into strategic consulting and business coaching. So I guess, through my own experience, re inventing yourself, whilst it might seem a little bit challenging at first, once you get a think a certain way. And once you approach things a certain way, it actually comes together for you in a way that’s very exciting and not as risky or as or as dangerous as most people would have you think.
David Ralph [11:16]
Okay, so I want you to jump in there because there was so many questions. And I do agree with you totally, you know, there is a lot of reluctance to actually take action, or I sticking your nose in a book or a podcast. Good for me. But everybody else, get out there and do it. Now with that security firm that you first did. So did you not know anything about that? Did you just go and sell the premise of what you could offer? And then afterwards, it was a little bit like Jesus Christ, we’ve got to really learn this, or did you have a background in it, but you could actually sort of transition quite seamlessly.
Christian Boo Boucousis [11:51]
No background whatsoever. No idea. I read a book, I did read one book, or thought Well, I better read a book about business. And it was it was called How to stop your first business for dummies or something. It was a I in a local news agent was quite a thick book. And I’m not very academic, I didn’t even managed to get through high school without doing year 12 twice, the final year of high school twice. And and unfortunately for me, I could only get about four pages in there. But but that little breakout box, it was a really interesting statement. It said, if you’re going into business, and you don’t know what you’re doing, you must go somewhere where supply is not going to meet demand. And Tom and I thought well, the only place for two young 30 year old men with a military background to do something must be in a post war, recovery top of environments. And we just we just went there. And I think the problem with Look, it’s great to have Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to read books, it’s great. It’s great to find knowledge. But I think one of the one of the challenges we we one of the mistakes we make in life is we read books to find that objective. Rather than find that objective, then read the books that give you the information to achieve it.
David Ralph [13:03]
So you are big on being a big fish in a small pool, finding a market that is untapped. And being going in there and being being the leaders even if at the beginning. They didn’t even know they wanted what you were offering.
Christian Boo Boucousis [13:18]
Absolutely. And and for me, that’s the key key element of any business. You you go up to people and you say, what do you do? And how’s it going? Where would you be if it was a perfect world? What if I could bring something to you that would solve that problem that you’ve got? Would that be something it would be worth paying for? How much do you think it would be worth? Let me come back in a weekend. And if I can do that, would you like to do a deal. And inevitably, in that’s what you do, and you don’t get a deal all the time. But two times out of 10. That’s all you need. People will say, Well, you’ve really solved the problem. I think one of the problems in business today is people say I have this thing, I need everyone to buy this thing, I’m going to tell everyone to buy this thing. And that’s the last thing anyone wants to do. If they want to buy what you put in front of them, they want to buy what they need.
David Ralph [14:10]
Now I do quite a bit of coaching. Now. It’s kind of fallen in front of me, and I’m enjoying it very much. And one of the things I always say to people is you know, you start local, you look in your local environment, and then you spread out because local is an untapped environment and you know it better than anyone. And in business, most people locally aren’t very good. And so you deal with that, and then you move out accordingly. Would you say that is a wise strategy? Or am I going the wrong way on that Christian?
Christian Boo Boucousis [14:42]
No, I think I think it’s a very wise strategy. But and I also think that one of the issues we all suffer from, I’m doing a bit of research into an r1 not doing research, but I’m finding people who have done research into this optimism bias where Iran, they started with business, and I believe it’s going to be a multimillion dollar business in three weeks. And I think what you say is really sound advice. Because if what you do works in a local environment, and it’s much faster to build relationships in a local environment, and people still won’t spend money until they have trust. If it works locally, then you can scale it globally. Yeah, and I think people are always on the hunt for that, for that big deal that big digital play. And and another analogy I use is every startup business is like a rock band, you’ve got a knock on doors, sell your demo type, hit the road, do all of the gigs in the pubs and then when you actually get your first contract, you’ve got to work even harder, tour the world do every everything possible to keep up that momentum. And the only time you really rest is, is when you’ve sold your business or you’re at such a size, you’ve appointed a whole new management team. It’s, it’s it’s always on the go.
David Ralph [15:58]
He’s interesting with that rock band analogy because we all understand it, we all understand, but there’s no such thing as an overnight success. And no matter what documentary you look at, these people have been slogging around those bars and clubs. I was watching one the other night on an Australian bed in excess used to love in access. And I remember when they became suddenly big people was jumping on the bandwagon. Like I’d listen to him forever. And it annoyed me because I had listened to him forever. And then everybody else. But that storey was just tiny little bars were not one person turned up and made two people turned up and it was just Lux. Lux look. But over time, that initial concept gets stronger, doesn’t it? And I always say to people, you’re glad at the beginning, but nobody finds you because you’re not very good. It’s your opportunity to strengthen those foundations and find out from those conversations. So you do have with people what they actually want and what they actually need. Don’t just sit there in a closet, it I think you’re the world’s genius, get out there and start talking to people.
Christian Boo Boucousis [17:06]
Absolutely, em, and I think people are uncomfortable with it. They don’t know how to start a conversation and what what I love about the methodology that after banner developed and its application, day to day, is it gives people who aren’t very good at having a conversation, a framework to have a conversation. And it’s amazing working with big sales organisations or even just small entrepreneurial with companies. When you when you when you say that we call it this debriefing methodology, which is what’s the objective? What’s your current resolve? What’s the reason there’s a gap, and what are you going to do about it tomorrow. And that works internally, inside a team inside an organisation, it also means you get a lot more done because you create you foster an environment, which is very open. But when you actually apply the same logic to a customer, you’re doing something very important. And that’s what I think now is emerging as the biggest breakthrough area, in any any organisation in life in business. And that’s the ability to create clarity, we used to have a lot of clarity, because people who had information, were very isolated and information was power. And you knew what you had to do because your boss had all the information, whereas now everyone has information. And the problem with everyone having information is everyone has an opinion, the six ways to do the same thing. And and we are unable to create the context. So we’re not we’re not, we’re not able to say, Well, I need this information, because this is what I’m trying to do. And you end up with companies setting these grandiose strategies, and telling everyone, we’re a very agile company, I want you all to work within a basic framework, but make your own ideas. And then when everyone ends up doing is running around doing their own thing, it doesn’t work, you actually have to spend a lot of time creating clarity, finding one thing that the that everyone has to do. And then you go down a level and you say, Well, what one thing everyone at the next level has to do to achieve the one thing above them. And then you get down another level. And they’ve got to find one thing, that if they do it in a change the one thing above them and all of a sudden, one thing can go from the one thing the company has to do in an organisation of 190,000 people, just the one thing that 190,000 people have to do. So you can see the creation of one point of clarity, cascades down to 190 points of clarity. If you do this will
David Ralph [19:35]
win. Let’s play some words. Now we’re going to delve back into that because clarity is something that I think so many people struggle with is Oprah,
Oprah Winfrey [19:43]
the way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself, what is the next right move, not think about, Oh, I got all of this stuff. What is the next right move. And then from that space, make the next right move the next right move, and not to be overwhelmed by it. Because you know, your life is bigger than that one moment, you know, you’re not defined by what somebody says, is a failure for you. Because failure is just there to point you in a different direction.
David Ralph [20:14]
Now let’s take that calamity to the entrepreneur. He’s in his bedroom, he’s in his study, and he’s building a business. And at the very beginning, it is very much about trying to do what you can to get some cash in. And at that time, desperate decisions are made. And more often than not those desperate decisions push you further back. Now one of the things I did Christian in Join Up Dots. At the beginning, I was exactly like that. I was trying everything, and I almost exhausted myself. And so about two and a half years ago, I spent a month going through every file every half created platform, and looking at it thinking is that required, get rid of it, and clearing the decks. And afterwards, it wasn’t only a mentor restart, I could see what needed to be done. Is that something that people should be very aware of as well when they are starting bootstrapping a business, but they keep things neat and tidy. So they’ve got back clarity in their business?
Christian Boo Boucousis [21:16]
I think I think there’s an element of that. And I think what we’re what I take away from that point is, if you’re doing new things, you’ve got to stop doing things. You can’t just keep doing more. Because if you keep doing more, you need more resources. And every time you grow, the cost base grows and you end up chasing your tail, every decision they something else they should also be decision which is what are we going to stop incredibly disorganised. And I’m probably ADHD in my inability to maintain focus. So for me, though, because I understand what my human performance limitations are, inherently, I know when it’s happening, and I know when I have to stop and start focusing again. So if it for the entrepreneur, and for people that make panic decisions, what my advice to them is, what’s one thing you need to do today, appreciate this 50 things and the day briefing methodology. What it creates for people is a sequence of questions to ask that creates clarity and, and prioritisation, because that’s the other thing we, you know, you’d have to do one one thing every day. And that’s fairly high level concept design. And as Oprah said, obviously, very insightful lady hugely successful, is just do one thing. And the next thing, some people just struggle with that one thing and human nature, everything about human nature, and the way we behave is to have a herd and group mentality to stick together as a village to create an environment where we can nurture, childbirth and the species and, and that’s wonderful, in a sense from a survival perspective, but if you want to be one of the one or 2% is you have to be able to, to break break through those common human performance limitations, we have to move away from being reactive. Humans are designed to be reactive, we’re designed to be distracted, we’re designed to sit down be lazy, conserve energy. Because when a human was invented, getting food was a dangerous thing to do. So the less amount of time we spent out collecting food hunting, the more likely were to survive, the more likely we were to survive, we were going to reproduce we reproduce, we propagate. So it was we doing some interesting study about the the the winners effects, and then the byproduct of that, which is the loser effect. And humans becomes like comfortable with losing, that losing in itself feels like winning, because I lost, I didn’t take a risk, nothing went wrong. So that’s a good day. And and what I like about a fighter pilots have to be trying to do this because we we are trained to go out and, and be hunters and to, to operate a very complex piece of equipment and incredibly high risk environment. With incredibly high consequence, it’s the most dangerous environment on the planet. And even is even more so than Army and Navy, where there’s obviously a lot of danger in combat. But an a fighter jet is also quite dangerous just to hop in and just fly just to be just to be busy.
David Ralph [24:29]
And then so how will in that concept about how did you know that you’re not just going to black out? And did I get you to a point of easy I hope to do this before they put the training in? Or do you actually out and I know that you’re not one of these blackout people.
Christian Boo Boucousis [24:46]
It’s a graduated process a process. So we do a screening pre screening programme before you join the Air Force and you fly for 20 hours you do aerobatics, and there’s an aircraft has, I guess two stages of Jay, you can pull a certain amount of Jay without any assistance, what’s called the JC and they’ll test you at that limit in screening. And then when you hop in the aircraft, you’ll get a j suit. And you’ll be taught a j straining manoeuvre, energy straining manoeuvres and from there, you will develop a tolerance. So some people, some people are unable to and they subsequently don’t get selected for pilot for fast chance they’ll go and fly another aircraft type. But it’s the beauty of the of the beauty of the fighter pilot training programme. It’s just 300 missions from start to finish, or approximately 300 missions. And every mission, they just keep putting a slightly out of your depth every single time and you’re never comfortable. And you go from your first mission, which is how to start the engine how to go up, down left and right. That’s it, you don’t even have to land it to your final mission where there’s four aircraft in a with a number of adversaries, you’ve got live weapons on board, you’re fighting through a simulated enemy, dropping nearly two tonne, or 4000 pounds of weapons on a small target and finding your way back again, with senior Top Gun equivalent flying instructors and you land and and you finish that mission and all of a sudden you have a fighter pilot. And and for me in business. And in life. No one gets that no one ever gets trained. In that day by day, gradually push yourself but push yourself in a way where you’re going to win every day. And that becomes a habit you just get used to winning. It’s just you. And you and winning. And success is not how much effort you put in, it’s the target you sit in the first place. So if you if you go to you, if you say the Air Force, doesn’t it? Well, you’re joining day one, and in three weeks is going to be a fighter pilot unrealistic. But if you look at him will say, Well, I’m going to double my business in three years, doubling a business that’s been in business for 45 years, and doing it in three years, it’s just completely unrealistic. People say I want to lose 20 kilos, and put no time frame on it, I want to run a marathon, I want to lose weight, we throw these huge goals out there. But because we don’t win every day, because we only allow ourselves to win once, maybe it’s very, very hard to stay motivated. And then what the businesses do, they bring in motivational speakers, they bring external motivation to the table to push people along, rather than to allow them to develop self motivation. By having small wins every day. And small wins every day is exactly the same as a big win. A win is a win. And they sit up I agree
David Ralph [27:51]
with what you’re saying. But as the difficulty is spotting those small wins, they seem so small, that people just turn a blind eye to
Christian Boo Boucousis [28:00]
don’t turn a blind eye because I don’t have a target. They, they they have a quarterly target and they spend 90 days getting there. And everything. Everything between the start and the finish is just work. And I think what is what companies Miss Miss in, they missed the point is give people the opportunity to set a personal target every day, a real number that maps to the team’s number and that maps to the organization’s number two often a company or put out at strategy. And it’ll be it’ll be full of EBITDA, it’ll be full of growth metrics and and Harvard Harvard Business School bank words that most of the people that do the day to day work, don’t understand. And they disengage the strategy straightaway off autopilot is one of the only professions where the CEOs, the people that create the strategy, and have to think in terms of multiple countries, multiple domains, huge areas. Men actually do it. It’s one of the few jobs where strategy and execution coexist in most organisations, strategy is developed by people that haven’t executed anything for 20 years, and, or a board even worse, or Board of academics. And then they expect people who execute day to day to deliver on these esoteric concepts. And McKinsey did a research paper into this in 2016. And, and they discovered only about 13% of companies achieve this strategy. And in a year, which is an incredibly large number. And for poor on autopilot, it’s expected the average successful execution right on strategies 98%. That’s that is the benchmark. And that’s what we do every day. But we’re trying to do that.
David Ralph [29:51]
I think nice. Absolutely true, though, because I was in corporate land for many, many years. And we used to sit in board meetings, and they had their projected target, expect 2020. And I used to say, you’re guessing you’re guessing you’ve never been right. Once I’ve been here for 10 years. And I used to get slammed because I was being negative, or I lacked optimism, but I’m the most optimistic person ever, but there was no reality to it. And that’s the thing that used to sort of drive me into the ground boom, which ultimately made me leave, I knew that no matter where you could shine, the light wasn’t going to land on where it should.
Christian Boo Boucousis [30:29]
Completely. And it’s the it’s the difference between walking toward the laser point and touching the wall or moving towards a spotlight against the wall. It is ambiguity is everywhere, in business, and it’s everywhere in life. I mean, I’m lucky because for five years now I’ve been coaching companies and you you refine your skills as well. And I can sit in the meeting now within 10 seconds, understand whether or not this organisation is in this team is going to execute. And it’s very, very simple. It’s a simple question, which is, What are you all doing in this room? What’s the objective? And what are you doing? But what do you have to do to achieve it? What do you have to do to achieve it? And no one can answer that. I’ve worked with companies that it’s taken them six months, for the 100 senior leaders to actually know what they job is. But they’re not even sure what they know, their job title is, but they don’t know what the actual job is.
Yeah, a lot of money. Ladies on on three 400,000 a year. That’s a big budget. Yeah, but
David Ralph [31:34]
I I totally buy into what you’re saying, you know, I seen it so many times. And you actually sit there. You know, I was hearing a storey the other day where a company that I used to work in, got bought out by an American company and American company came in and said, you know, what, what does that person do over there? And they went? I don’t know, he just eats I don’t know, he’s been here a year. So at right get rid of him. And they went through it. You couldn’t justify your position you was out. And it was absolute cut for us. You know, but but right to do as well.
Christian Boo Boucousis [32:08]
Yeah, there’s ways of doing it. I think sometimes people go, we’re not a father, Scott, or we don’t need to be that way. And I and I agree, like you don’t need to be be at that level. But people really do appreciate clarity when people in a team, but they lock it when collectively they agree that this is the most important thing to do in the next three months. And when they all participate in that outcome. It’s It’s fantastic. But the problem is they get stressed, they get us they get a three year strategy, they start executing it. But the senior leadership change keeps changing, the strategy becomes completely reactive. And what ends up happening is we call it the wheelbarrow effect, where you’ve got a gardener, one gardener, who’s the CEO and 1000 Wilburys in the backyard and every single wheelbarrow has to be made by the CEO. And it’s a very inefficient way of gardening. You don’t want that you want to you want to thousand gardeners, not 1000 wheelbarrows. And I think that’s the, the, the in and and the other problem, I guess, and I call it one up one down is the leaders inability to talk at a level that works one level above them, and then one level below them. And then yeah, for the leader below them to talk one level up on one level below that they’re unable to define objectives in a way that makes sense. And I think it’s a major shortcoming in the schooling system. I think it’s a huge shortcoming in a universities, I get to work with universities doing these presentations. The week we’ve given a lot of information, they’ve say, clarity, we call it clarity, situational awareness in the Air Force. And, and what we do in what we do day to day is we do a lot of education, we do a lot of information, but we never really work on the context. And situational awareness and clarity is, is the context to go and find information. It’s it’s a proactive way to source to research. And and I guess the way we talk about it is it’s the it’s the right information at the right time to empower decision, and the decision equals an action. And then that action is going to give you more information and the cycle repeats itself.
David Ralph [34:16]
Now one of the things that we see over time as well in business and in human life is you can’t see your own faults, you can’t see the things that you should be doing until somebody else comes along and points it out. You obviously here, boo, and you’re you’re talking very passionately about being able to go into companies and do these things, where’s your own blind spots, who helps you with your blind spots?
Christian Boo Boucousis [34:40]
We work within this framework. So there’s there’s two concepts that I bring from the Air Force, our three really debriefing. And we do that in an open forum, which is everyone in the team gets a site and everyone talks everyone, we’re all aligned to the one objective and everyone gets to side with we’ll have a tracking relative to that. He’s my role. And if I’m if I’m not, my style of leadership is I set the objective. And then I say to the team, now we know we have a going, what can I do to help you, you you you are responsible for delivering a portion of your of the plan, ah, Bob done my bit, I’ve done the plan, I’ve set the objective. Now I can fulfil a supporting role. And and that’s something that ladies never feel comfortable with is, is actually taking a subservient leadership role at what we call servant leadership. That that’s important. So that keeps it in a chicken balance. Because what I’m saying is, even though I’ve set the objective of getting out of the white and letting everyone get on with it, the second thing is, is a red team, which is once What if I build a plan and the team’s busy working day to day, I’ve got the headspace. So I’ll collaborate go away, build the plan on their behalf, come back. But when I come back and deliver the plan, I want them to shoot holes in it, and to, to test it and be critical of it. And and that’s also, I mean, I’m hugely I usually suffer from optimism bias. And I’m very overconfident in in everything and my abilities that but that’s my programming, I can’t do anything about that. What I can do is put in place checks and balances. So I keep keep that in check. And and then the third step in the process is the concept of a wingman, which is, every time I’m doing anything, I think if I got hit by bus tomorrow, if I got shut down, as my wingman got enough information to stay in the fight, to keep going. And I’ve every business I’ve had, I’ve always had a business partner. And there’s always someone who knows implicitly what I need to do, and I know implicitly what they need to do. So if you think about that, there’s there’s three levels of redundancy into my own decision making at right there.
David Ralph [36:51]
Have you ever known anyone to be hit by a bus? I was reflecting, as you said that I thought I’ve never used the phrase myself, but I’ve never seen anyone hit by boss of you.
Christian Boo Boucousis [37:02]
Tragically, yes, lot. Yes. A founder and CEO of a company over here was hit by bus and kill.
David Ralph [37:09]
You’re the first person ever, it’s always bad and slipping on a banana skin. Now, when when you are obviously so positive, and you bring your best work back, and they shoot holes in it, and I can totally understand why you do it. That’s got to be a difficult day in the office, because we’re protective about them where we don’t like it to be attacked. How to overcome that.
Christian Boo Boucousis [37:32]
Again, it’s training because I’ve learned that in the autopilot world, when pilots didn’t do that they had accidents, and that will kill the Red Cross was lost. So when it happens to me, I think of it like, Oh, thank goodness, someone’s picked that out. Well, that’s fantastic. Now I’ve got an even better plan, I’m actually just increase the chance of success because of that conversation. And I guess for me, like, I file a lot. Oh, absolutely. But But for me, a file is just a temporary thing, and we learn from it. But it but in the context of, of, of life, you know, I feel successful, and I don’t use money as a as a benchmark there. I feel fulfilled, I get up out of bed every day, I get to have conversations with people like you, David, I live a fulfilling life, I get lots of wonderful engagement. I’ve got great kids, I’ve got a wonderful partner. I fly aeroplanes, by get up on stage, I make meaningful change inside companies. I own one of the world’s biggest aviation publishing businesses, I’ve got a hotel in Perth, a built a building using grown up Lego, I’ve got to live in the Middle East managed to help schools and clinics get built. So you know, at the end of the day, I’ve learned that all the things that you think are bad for you, and you don’t enjoy the secret to success. If you can take criticism, then you can bring it into your day to day life. And, and and make any any form of criticism for me is, thank goodness, or receive that bit of criticism, because that’s just made me better.
David Ralph [39:02]
Now, a lot of people, of course, haven’t got that team. They’re they’re doing it on their own. How can they get shots? How can I had the holes put into it? What would you suggest for them?
Christian Boo Boucousis [39:15]
It’s a great question. I finding the team so that that’s really important. And when you use this methodology, when you think and act like a fighter pilot, you’ll very quickly change three people. But the people that stick to you are the right ones. They’re also the people who have an ability self for self criticism. And I think the bottom line is, if you’re doing it by yourself, you shouldn’t be you’ve got to find someone and whether that’s a parent, that whether it’s a good friend from school, I mean, it’s very rare that we’re an absolute Island and there’s not a single human being that that we don’t unless you’re a psychopath, I guess. But but there was we don’t have some form of, of friendship. Just run it past someone and tell them a want you to shoot holes in this, I want you to be brutal as possible. And and and take it on the chin. So the answer to the question is, if you don’t have someone, get off your off and find them as soon as you can.
David Ralph [40:15]
And I suppose the brilliance of that is that you are actually asking for them to attack it and find the holes, because we’ve all seen those those anchors in our lives when we’ve got dreams, and we want to start something and people will shoot it down, even though we haven’t asked them to shoot it down. And things never get off the ground. So the beauty of it is you’re actually saying, This is what I want, you go you go for it.
Christian Boo Boucousis [40:40]
And this this the right team is the Red Red Team isn’t the isn’t the negative Nelly team in that in the company, you always you always have them. The beauty of the beauty of a of a team of nice size is it makes you makes you work and you need to influence people. And that’s the other thing we’re not very good at. We got I’ve got a great idea. This is what I’m going to do. Everyone says no, what a bunch of ideas. But it doesn’t work like that part of success. And winning is to say, I’ve got a great idea, I need to have it tested, then I need to convince everyone. And I’ll just give you a really simple example. Like even today, I was talking to someone and they love the programme. And they’re like, oh, I’ve got to convince five of the board members about it three of you good to be bad. You know, sorry about that. You don’t have to apologise. But I would expect that they would you would need to check with people. And I would expect that there’s five different opinions. But let me go in I’ll talk to them that you don’t need to convince them on my behalf. Would it be easier if I went and spoke to them, and therefore I can understand their five separate objectives for your business? And if the programme can make those five objectives, then surely they’ll be more inclined to engage us on this on this programme? Do you think that’s a good idea? And is that would you do that? Oh, that would be fantastic. So it’s all the things that we get annoyed by it’s like a salesperson he doesn’t like when they get told know, it’s going to happen. And, and to not be in denial of all these things that we don’t like to happen to accept. That’s part of them, and and to embrace it when it happens and move to the next step. That’s very empowering. It’s also how you create clarity. When someone says no to you, you haven’t created clarity, that they’re not convinced. So that’s why you ask them questions, find out the context, from their perspective, give them the information, they’ve got the context, you’ve given them the information, they’ve got situational awareness, they can make a decision, and the decision will inevitably be the decision you want. Perfect stuff.
David Ralph [42:37]
Well, talking about the next step, let’s listen to the words of Steve Jobs who said these words back in 2005. It’s worth hearing again, here is Steve,
Steve Jobs [42:46]
of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking back cords. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
Christian Boo Boucousis [43:21]
Yeah, I think it’s very insightful what he says. And if he said to me when I was 30, and I was medically discharged from the Air Force and having to look at a new life. If he said to me, if if you said to me, when you’re 45 and 15 years from now, you’re going to have lived all over the world, you’re going to build a hotel, and then you’re going to earn the magazine that you used to read as a six year old child that got you motivated to be a fighter pilot. If you’d said that to me, I would have just thought you’re crazy. Why cuz it would have made absolutely no sense. So so the journey is, when it’s, you’ve got to have this purpose, right. And for me, I’ve always had this cocoon and purpose around aviation. So I’ve always been always gravitated towards that. And then if you have got an execution framework in, and by that I mean, if you’re the kind of person that can get shit done, then what happens is, people talk about you and and you get put in front of people, and then all of a sudden, the dots start to join up for you. Not because you had this grandiose vision, because you are the person that just doesn’t give up. You just keep grinding through there. Yeah, I think in the big scheme of things state Steve Jobs, just just like computers, and one of the personal computing device, we didn’t set out to build iPads and iPhones. But that’s the journey and you’ve got to surrender to the journey. But there’s no way in the journey of getting out of the little bit, which is work your ass off. And every day, grind it out, debrief, learn something, apply the lesson and keep innovating, keep moving forward. Everyone thinks and I have these. Yeah, all these companies set up innovation hubs. And it’s, it’s like you set up an innovation hub. And all of a sudden, someone’s just going to invent the iPhone in 30 years, it’s, we have this mentality where just the same the same way as we buy lottery tickets every day. In life, we do it in business, we sit there with these billion dollar businesses, and we go, let’s just have put someone 10 people in a room and make really wacky ideas out. And maybe one of them will stick and respectful company wants one of the biggest companies in Australia. And they said to me and said, boo, we probably come up with 300 ideas a year. And if we get one of them signed off, it’s a good year. And I think that’s the innovation doesn’t come from brainstorming. innovation comes from hard work and figuring things out and solving real problems.
David Ralph [45:52]
In many ways, listening to you You’re very positive, but you seem slightly jaded by the business world. Does it? Does it sort of get you down sometimes where you people are holding themselves back and they’re not doing what they should be doing to really make that success? It sounds like there’s something niggling away with you?
Christian Boo Boucousis [46:13]
Not at all, absolutely no. And I love the people I work with. And and the great thing is in a lot of these businesses, the people are wonderful, but they just don’t know. So I’m definitely not jaded what I’ve, what I’ve learned is people get people do get jaded in nice environments. But what I what I do in the programmes is explained to them I say this is this is just the human norm. We just were just the Neanderthals in the cave here. We’re not, we’re not optimising optimising our human performance here, I’m very comfortable with with the way that businesses go about things. By I, and I’m very positive about the way anyone does anything in a business, I’m positive about the the alpha male, alpha female with the massive ego, like I’m very happy with what they do, they’re not as successful as they can be. And a big element of success in, in business, particularly in the corporate world is, is that dog of determination, and the bulldozer mentality and, and that works in the absence of anything else. But there’s definitely a better way to do things. And so I definitely I definitely don’t get frustrated, with a very small percentage of organisations have the foresight to utilise what we do. But what I what I and if they, if everyone did embrace it, I wouldn’t get that wonderful feeling at the end of a 90 day programme or working with a football team that starts to win a lot more games and actually all wins the grand final, you don’t get that warm, fuzzy feeling, which is look at that. But never ever thought they could be this good. And look how good they are. And I don’t even know it. And look how happy they are. They’re well beings improve their their fitness has improved. As human beings they’ve improved. And they haven’t even noticed because they’ve just slightly adapted the way they go about business die in that the base level human being, which is a wonderful person, there’s nothing wrong with being with being good at what you do and operating at a at a base level of not being aware of all of these traits that we if we become aware we can modify. So no, absolutely not jaded, just very aware of, of where organisations can make a few small tweaks that costs very, very little money and achieve a drastic improvement in performance.
David Ralph [48:31]
Good. Good, because I was worried about you. And after that second question, and I, I almost left out and gave you a man hug. But you’re right, you’re not going to get
Christian Boo Boucousis [48:41]
now probably probably more to do that with 10 o’clock at night, man and being up since three o’clock in the morning. So but not Jaden. Absolutely brilliant stuff.
David Ralph [48:48]
Well, this is the part of the show that we’ve been leading up to. And this is the part that we called a sermon on the mic, when we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could speak to the young Bo, what advice you gave him? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the theme. And when it Cheer up, this is a sermon on the mic.
Christian Boo Boucousis [49:32]
I think in life, you’re going to be challenged with a lot of things and and people are probably going to look at you and think that you’re a little bit left of centre. And the way that you focus and commit to things is maybe a little bit odd. And also, you’re probably going to apply yourself and put yourself out there and try different things. And a lot of that stuff is going to be challenging, and you’re going to be anxious, and you’re going to be constantly trying to to prove yourself in the world and all of that stuff kind all that is positive motivation. But at the end of the day, no matter what you do, no matter no matter how hard you work, you just can never ever, ever give up. No matter how hard it feels no matter whether or not your you ever you have suffered a devastating failure, whether your your initiative, or what you’re trying to do is completely failed. If you just apply yourself, always maintain a focus and find something you’re passionate about, it will come together, that the way that you perform on an average day is about 20% of what your full capability is. And when you get tested. When you find yourself at that point in life where every single thing is lost, you will lift your body will lift your mind will lift you will unlock all of this extra capability, you’ll do the work of five people, you’re you’re able to do all of these incredible things. But that will only come with hindsight and they will come if you put yourself in a position to be able to operate at that level. So if there’s one bit of advice I would give you is, is whatever you believe in, invest in it. If you think it’s it’s going to go badly or does go badly. Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems, as long as you never ever, ever give up.
David Ralph [51:26]
Profound stuff for everyone, not just a little Christian. So question for everyone who’s been listening today, what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you sir?
Christian Boo Boucousis [51:38]
There’s a number of ways through our website after banner.com W, LinkedIn Christian bu, which is just beat up below. But cruises. If you just look at LinkedIn for bu, you’ll find me and as an email, very accessible Love, love talking with anyone. And everyone.
David Ralph [51:59]
Oh, thank you so much, so much for spending time with us today, joining up those dots. And please come back again when you’ve got more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is always the best way to build our futures move. Thank you so much.
Christian Boo Boucousis [52:15]
Thank you very much, David very kind of you very grateful for opportunity. had a lovely chat, take it
David Ralph [52:20]
Mr. boo, Boucousis. Wow, I thought he had so much good advice, fear. And one of the things that I really took from it was be, don’t go for the home run, don’t go for the big thing. Just do something, do something nice and organised every single day, and you will see progress. And I think we all do that of setting these huge, audacious goals. And I certainly did it in Join Up Dots. I remember the very first year that I said, You know, I was I was going to make six figures by the end of the year. And I didn’t make six pennies by the end of the year, you know, it was really hard. But in the second year was just as hard. Virginia got more clarity, and Ben is sort of moved on. I think what people say which is right is set a target and then double it. And that’s probably the amount of time it will take. But just do one thing or two, three, nice organise things every day. Don’t set up huge goals, because it gets all murky. And you just get a bit miserable and down. Keep it happy. Keep it clean, keep the clarity, and then move on to where you want to be. Until next time, thank you for listening to this episode of Join Up Dots. And I will be back as I always am. I’m always here for you. And I will be back again on Wednesday. So Look after yourselves. And I’ll see you again. Cheers. Bye bye.