In this straightforward episode, Damian Andrews, Director and CEO of DamianAndrews.com, shares his competent approach on how to fix highly stressed and distressed companies and businesses.
You will discover:
– How to simplify life and achieve greater success
– The value of living a life in service to others
– How to avoid employment disputes BEFORE they happen
Hello Hello everyone and welcome welcome to the secrets of the high demand coach podcast and I am here with yet another high demand coach and that is Damian Andrews. He’s the Director and CEO of damienandrews.com. And as a corporate recovery specialist, he has excelled at bringing calm and order to highly stressed and distressed companies and businesses. Damien’s distilled and refined these often overlooked but fundamental leadership, negotiation and innovation principles that he uses to help his clients succeed. Damien, I’m so excited about this conversation. I’m so glad to have you here. So welcome to the show. And I was just wondering, could we start off via tell us a little bit about what you’re doing before you were doing coaching and consulting? And ultimately, why did you make the leap?
Thanks, Scott. It’s really a pleasure to be on the show and honored to be here, and a great pleasure to share with your listeners as well. But if we’re going to jump in the Wayback Machine, those remember the the Doc Brown, DeLorean, the TD 88 miles an hour and go back in time. Yeah, I was at school. Like most people, I didn’t like school, like most people, I wanted to leave, my dad said I wasn’t allowed to leave unless I had a job. About two weeks later, the army recruitment people come around said, beautiful, I’m outta here, I’m going to go and join the army. After a couple of weeks running around the bush, Australia has only one bush, we don’t have a forest, we have a bush, a couple of weeks are running around the bush, I realized that wasn’t really what I wanted to do. And after basic training, there’s a you get allocated different areas with different cores in there. And I was mature enough to recognize that it wasn’t gonna get one of the good jobs and the people and it was only very limited amount of the good jobs and anyone else went to infantry. And I was looking at, and there’s one job that no one was applying for. And I was 18 at the time, what’s an 18 year old man, oh, boy, when I was probably a boy, were interested in women. And so I looked at it and the one job that no one was going for was that of a shift position, I think in women like guys that can cook. And that was my motivation. And my second motivation was to get me out of infantry. And then distant third was I maybe could use that as a career. Anyway, I’ve joined and gone to the school of cooks, learn to be a chef, they did a lot of our cooking that kind of stuff because you had to cook for officers, you have to look after them. They have different needs. And then they asked that ask the guy that was on a course with me, did you want to go to Perth? And he said, No, he just come from Perth. And I said, Yeah, I’ll go to Perth. No problem. I said, Well, if you pass a psychological exam, you can go, I went, Yeah, whatever. didn’t really think about where I was going. When did the tears passed it drive across the nether loss. I’ve driven from Melbourne, in Australia to Western Australia to Perth, which is the equivalent of New York to to California to Los Angeles. And I get there and I’m posted to the SHS Special Forces where I ended up so I’m the head has a cork in Special Forces jumping out of airplanes and all that kind of thing. So that was a lot of fun. But then I realized that’s not where I wanted to be. I left the army, I did some work out in the mines in northwestern Australia a bit, came back to Melbourne and realized my dad was probably a little bit more intelligent on this education thing. And it’s important. So I went back to where I went to university as a mature age students studied accounting, law, commerce, wouldn’t recommend any of those for excitement. But I would recommend them for fundamentals. If you whatever you’re going to do in life, you need to understand the numbers, you need to understand the contracts you’re getting to because they’re just an instruction manual, you wouldn’t play a sports game without understanding the rules. And then from there, I worked in corporate recovery for a number of years, I wanted to work there. And it was a good space, I kind of thought of myself as a bit like Richard Gere, I was breaking up companies. And so I had more hair back then, you know, I don’t have much now. But I had a lot back then. Maybe I’m always good looking. But either way, that’s how I thought about myself. And then we and I started doing some work opportunities came to do some work for myself, and it was a monetary decision, I could be an employee get paid. Or I could do the same kind of work that I was doing anyway, and get paid three, four times the amount. So I made that decision. And then so I went out and started doing assisting companies, mostly larger companies, nationals, international companies, helping them solve disputes, improve efficiencies, that kind of thing. And then, because I think when I was growing up, I had some really good values instilled on me from my parents about giving back helping others. That’s what started to come, although it was monetary decision to go out. It was really underlying it was really about helping people. And I would be I’d be on a big construction site, for example, and I’d be talking to the people on the site about life things and I had one guy come up to me after I’d had a bit of a chat with people and he was always crying, big, big guy tattoos that kind of he was almost crying. And he, you know, told me is him his wife is having problems with marriage and I gave him a little bit of advice. We had a bit of a chat about it. No, but bumped into him about two months later. And he said, they were like, you know, they’re like teenagers like rabbits always sneaking off sending the kids somewhere so that they could go and have some fun together. And that’s what it really became about for me. And, and, and now I’ve you know, because I where I work is with large corporates who have big budgets, they have a lot of money. And they can afford the type of IP that I’ve developed, I’ve developed some really good IP to make life easy, whether it’s money, relationships, all those kinds of things. And it’s instilled within the big companies. But again, it’s at a cost. So because I really want to give back and really want to help other people, I’ve adapted that IP to be more affordable. And we’ve actually got a release coming. I’m not sure when this is going to go live. But in April, there’s an update to the website coming where we’ll have those technologies available to people at a more affordable price, and then what big corporates are willing to pay?
Excellent, excellent. So you go from being a chef to being a Special Forces operative to working is going back to school working in big corporate and and now you’ve landed on your feet. You’ve been doing this for a while, what would you say some of the most important work that you do for your clients today?
Yeah, that’s great question. And thanks for asking that, Scott. Because it really is when you look at what’s really important. For me, it’s always been about helping others. I remember after I left the army in Perth, I didn’t have a job. And I was just fluffing around. I had $20 note in my pocket, I had no money in my bank account and no job. And I was walking through the Perth mall and an Aboriginal man come up to me and asked me Do you have any change. And I honestly I didn’t. All I had was a $20 note and I thought about it. I pulled it pulled it out of my pocket, and I handed it to him. That was my last $20. And he looked he turned it over a few times, I think he’s checking to see whether it was real. But then his eyes lit up and he started dancing, and he’s dancing around in front of me. And he went out, he jumped up on top of a bean and was dancing on his bed and went around. And I think it was his girlfriend or wife, there’s dancing in front of her showing him this note. And I just stood there watching that for forever or felt like forever. And I just felt amazing. Doing that it didn’t didn’t even occur to me while I’m watching this, that that was my last $20. And then ironically, the next day, I got a phone call in the morning about a job and I went to the interview, and I’m not sure it was because I felt good about me. But I prefer I know, I performed well in the interview, and I got the job straightaway. And they needed someone to start straightaway. So that kind of took care of itself. So when I look at what’s really important for me, it’s always been about helping others. And that’s what we’re, as you’re recording this this weekend, we’ve got a program. It’s not my program, there’s a lady runs a program called financial Superwoman, which helps women victims of family violence, recover financially teaches and financial knowledge. And that operates in Brisbane and the Gold Coast in Australia. And I’m actually bringing it down here. So I spent my own money to bring this down here to start this up in Victoria as well. And we’ve got that workshop running this this weekend. So that’s what I like to do is encourage people because for me, I have another friend that I’ve met, he’s in Texas, and he used to be a heavy drug user. And now he’s reformed from that, and he spends a lot of time helping people. It’s it’s the high I get from helping other people doesn’t compare to the high that I had, doing drugs. And, and that’s to me is what’s really important is encouraging people to go, hey, it’s think beyond yourself. Helping other people is actually in your own interest, because it makes you feel great.
Yeah. Yeah, that’s fantastic. So shifting candidates to the corporate front. And let’s start with some of the larger organizations that you’re working with. And then just, you know, it’s timely, we’ll talk about how you’re adapting this down to smaller organizations. But tell me a little bit about how you go in and help these large organizations, what are they trying to accomplish? What and what’s getting in the way?
A good point, I think a lot of times what they’re trying to accomplish when I get involved in some sort of dispute, because for some reason, I seem to be good at resolving disputes. I ended up being the mediator between one of the biggest organizations, the union organizations in Australia, and one of the biggest corporates by accident, walked into the meeting. And they had the Union on one side or sit down the table in the in the corporates all on the other side. I was actually with the corporates, I was just helping out and I wasn’t even meant to be at that meeting. And they just said, I’ll come along for a look. And there was no seats left except the one at the head of the table. So I sat there, and they’re all just looking at staring at each other. And so I turned to Mr. Union, and I said, you know, to the Bata union. So Kim, my understanding your problem is this and then we went backwards and forwards and over two days, we actually resolve the situation which was interesting because the head of the corporate turned to me afterwards and said, I’m glad you were there. Because if you weren’t, I was going to tell them to eff off. And so we’ve resulted in everyone worked out a good deal for everybody. So it’s, it’s, I think the egos get in the way a little bit, a lot of the times things can be solved, quite simply, and, and, and for me, and that’s the technologies that I’ve learned that life is actually very easy. Life is very simple. There’s, there’s a set of principles if we follow those principles, life is straightforward. Example is, and people say, No, that’s not true. The principles are true, whether you believe them or not. If you go up to the 22nd floor of a building, go on the balcony, then step off, it doesn’t matter. If you don’t believe in gravity, you will go down. And this is the same in life. There’s a number of principles. And if you follow those principles, things are pretty simple. But a lot of times we ignore them step off and make our life more difficult. And it’s getting people past that to realize, hey, just to step back, take a breath, have a think about this and do something sensible. I had a big corporate big dispute, had a plan laid out it was gonna take some time to resolve this dispute is $25 million dollar dispute. And he had a plan. And I explained it to the people and I showed this is what happens this if a mediation fact was very simple as in the contract, mediation fails, next step is caught. And we all know how expensive court can get. And I started, here’s a plan, we we take control this, we take control the mediation, we work through it, there’s issues that they need to work through, it can’t be done in a short period of time, it’s going to take 12 to 18 months. Let’s do that. And then big law firm comes in, says Nana, now let’s do one day mediation, I said to that liner, and they’ve gone yeah, yeah, we see it, we see it. And so they’ve just followed big law firm, had the one day mediation, it failed next step was caught. Well, this this happened nearly three years ago, they’re still in court, it hasn’t resolved and spent, my client has spent over $12 million in legal fees alone, they still have to pay it, they will have to pay the other side. That’s a regardless, it’s, and this is what that the challenge that I face is getting people to, to actually stop and think, Hey, I’m actually the one causing this, I just need to step back, follow some simple principles, and my life will be easy.
Yeah, it’s a fascinating thing, because it’s one of those areas of business and life in general that, you know, one starts a business to get really good at disputing things. Like, no one’s has a 5 year plan
You don’t go into marriage looking to get divorced.
to survive three lawsuits, you know, like, that’s not on anyone’s strategic agenda, until they’re already in it, they’re already doing it. And as you know, that’s often times you’re not too late, because you know, someone like you can come in and build bridges where they’ve been burned. But what is it that, you know, let’s take a business owner, they’re leading a small business, you know, maybe less than 50 employees. And, you know, they’re running and gunning, they don’t have time for, you know, reading every word of every contract. Yeah, they don’t have time for, you know, employee handbooks and agreements, and this and that, and all the other, what would be kind of the best piece of advice you could give someone like that, in that mode.
When you’re in that space, that can be a little bit difficult, because you’re in that space, you’ve got 50 employees, and you’ve got to manage that. And to put that in context, as well, a lot of people that go into business, whether it’s your one person bands, or looking for something bigger, I would say the majority of them that I know of going for one of the key reasons they go in there is for freedom. And how often does that happen? Usually, because there’s a lot there. And I talk about that my son’s karate sensei is a friend of mine. He’s a seventh round black belt. And we talked about it about things being harder, easy. And I said, Well, you’re a seventh down black belt. If I asked you to do grading at A, the yellow belt level, which is the first level in karate, how hard would that be for you? And he goes will be really easy. And I said hard or easy is not relative to your to what, sorry, had an easy is relative to the top to your level of skill to doing the task. And so that’s what I look at from that perspective. A lot of times when person if you’re in that space where you’ve got business of 50 I’d be looking at okay, what are the key systems a lot of times we try and solve every problem and that’s not going to happen. Another will an associate of mine I’ll say associate we’re not good friends, but know each other quite well. He has a very large business turning over $100 million, or about 120 That was turning over 80 and he got really really sick because he was driving really hard pushing really hard. And he got really sick he couldn’t literally could not go in the office he had he was away from the from the business for eight months, eight or nine months and where he was literally bedridden videos getting reports and and things like that and what he actually found when he got out of the business and couldn’t go there, but he was giving guidance. This is the objectives. I want that and letting people do their work, do the things that they like doing. The business went from $80 million to $100 million in the time that he was sick. And that is eight mil eight to nine months. That’s a big increase as he got out of the way and allowed people to do that the important things that because he’d hired really, really, really good pic. Now he’s different philosophy is different. He’s um, he last time I spoke with him, he had just spent three months riding his motorbike around Mongolia, just getting reports and updates and the business has gone from, you know, up to $120 million now. And he says, you know, when I’m in the, when I’m going to the office, I literally go there, put my feet up on the desk for an hour, walk around, chat to a few people and then leave, I said, I just get out of their way. And I have another friend him he’s, he has a smaller business, it’s turning over a little bit over $3 million. He has three employees. And he spends he spends about two days a week in the business because it’s a little bit smaller enjoys doing that. And then he’s off playing golf the rest of that time. And he’s making enough money out of that business to live the lifestyle that he wants him he’s got his house paid off, and all that kind of stuff. So and I think he from last time, he told me somewhere between 250 and 300,000. He makes that’s his gives him a lifestyle that he really enjoys. So it depends on really what you want to achieve. I mean, everyone is different, we want different things. But again, if you come back and focus on and that’s one of the things I do, certainly with my continuous improvement program, within exceptional effort, there’s a continuous process improvement module. And we bring people and we bring the employees in and say, Okay, what are your biggest problems? Tell us your top two, we go through, we sought them out and go, what’s the priority? Let’s focus on that, because you can’t focus on everything. And the byproduct of that I didn’t realize when I was doing this. And there’s a whole raft of things that we do along that continuous improvement program. But the byproduct of that, ironically, was it people stopped complaining, because the staff, they felt that they were being heard, they’re getting face time, these are the important three important things from from for your staff is they need face time, whether it’s whether it is in person, or you just speak to him on the phone or whatever, that they need that connection or some way of, of getting their voice out there, which links to their need to be heard, which is the other point. And they want to learn. Most people who fit that category, if you give them that they will perform really well. So as a business owner, we are having that stress, focus on what are your key problems and get them from your staff, a lot of the times the staff are in there doing the work, they know where their problems are, you just need to get it out of them. All of a sudden you solve a couple of those problems, you give them the freedom to do what they love to do, which is you know, they want people want to give back they want to help they feel good about it produces dopamine in your body. When you do that. It’s just a chemical reaction that will happen. That’s one of those principles. And if you focus on that all of a sudden is busy you are talking about suddenly becomes a lot simpler. And then you can go off and play golf or whatever it is that you do to stress yourself out because I think obviously stress will support you to play golf.
Oh, my goodness, that’s hilarious. All right. So I’d love to ask this question. I asked it of all my guests. And it is this. What’s that? What is the biggest secret that you wish wasn’t a secret at all? What’s that one thing that you wish everybody listening today knew?
Yeah, the one thing that I learned? That’s a great question. Scott, it really is. Because I learned is very late in life. And I’m older than a look, I’m actually 50. So I’m I say I’m only a third of the way through my life. I think with modern medicine and the way things are improving, I’m gonna make 150 Well, that’s my goal. Literally, it is my goal. And the one thing I learned very late in life was no amount of skill fixes a poor partner choice. And that applies in personal and business. And I think because I was always taught to try and make things work, try and sort things out. But you’re better off focusing on people that you align with. It’s okay for people to have differences of opinion. That’s the that’s, that’s part of how we grow. We learn from differences of opinion, and we want that. But if you’re aligning yourself with people, if you’re in a relationship, yeah, and you’re starting to date someone, and there’s a little bit and you got differences of opinion that are really grating, it’s not going to get better. The best Do you ever know someone is or the best person has ever is, is when you first meet them after that it goes downhill, you learn that they fart and do all these other things. It’s like just like everybody else. And it’s the same in business as well. So I’ve what I’ve learned is there’s people we’re just gonna have differences, opinion, different philosophies, and that’s okay. But I if by aligning myself with people that actually align with me, my life becomes a lot more harmonious, there’s less chance of dispute, we’re going to be able to resolve things. And it’s not that the other part when I say no amount of skill fixes a poor partner choice, that self you’re choosing to be with someone that’s, that’s too dissimilar from what it takes for you to have a harmonious relationship. So if you can, if you can do that in your life, it really transforms that said, from my perspective, my life is really quite amazing. because I’m just very careful about, you know, someone’s got, you know, I know that is potentially going to be conflict there. It’s like, you know, appreciate your opinion, but I’m going in this direction.
That’s so good. It’s so good. It’s, it’s fascinating because it is one of those things, it’s all, you know, roses and sunshine at the beginning. Yeah, you know, I know a guy, you know, and, and we get into this stuff. And I mean, just tying all of this together, you know, those people that you partner with the The deeper the partnership, the the greater the chances of a dispute on the back end of that, right, if you’re not careful with making sure aligned on the front end. So fantastic, fantastic advice. I’d like to do one more thing, and then we’ll find out how folks can get in touch with you hear more about what you do and in contact us. So before we get there, what would you say take off your, your coach, consultant hat, right, put on your CEO hat with the rest of us jump into the ring and talk to us a little bit about what what what’s the next stage of growth look like for you and your business? And what challenges do you think you’ll have to overcome to get there?
Yeah, thank you for asking that. I really appreciate it. Scott. And I actually have a number of CEO hats couple of weeks ago, I was appointed CEO of a radio station. So that’s one of the things that I do in my time. As I say, if you wants something done, ask a busy person. And I’ve taken on another CEO role, not just CEO of another organization as well. But what does it look like in the future? Yeah, that’s I mean, I, there’s so many exciting things that I’ve got coming up. And so we’ve got a launch of the technologies, the IP that we’ve developed to help make people’s life easy. And because it, it should be easy. And it is easy if you just follow these simple things, and also create the habit. And that’s what my focus has been on about going in the future is making creating the habits of doing well. Because most of what we do, we do operate from habits. And that’s the struggle that we have is overcoming these habits in the past, and we just need to break that to my future is really focused on overcoming that. And this year, actually, I made only one resolution I didn’t add when news came, I didn’t have any because I’d already had my goals and intentions all set out. It was clear, I knew my mission statement, I have a personal mission statement. I knew all that. What am I going to say? And I felt pretty good about how I was developing myself as well. And then through a conversation, someone said, we talked about listening, and that’s where it all I’ve really made my this and my future, about really listening not just to verbally what they’re saying, but all to the little cues, those kinds of things. So it’s about listening, connect, connecting with people. And I’ve got a number of things I’m working on, as mentioned about the family violence areas space that I’m working in, there’s a project and cat got coming up called being a man or be a man sorry. And it’s about you know, because it appears from what men have lost their way of what what does it mean to be a man and the foundation that I have shared care is H Ayar dot care, which is also the web address. We’ve rewritten and reintroduced the Knights code, not not as a male thing, but as a gender neutral. This is what the modern knights code looks. This is a higher set of principles that we hold ourselves to. So just because a contract says you could or just because something says you call or just because some some gorgeous woman comes up and says, Hey, babe, let’s go over here doesn’t mean you do that. It’s one of the highest set of principles I’m going to hold myself to. So part of that mission is sharing that out. And another thing I’m working with a wonderful one called hoodia master deck, she’s Afghani and one of the leading humanitarian rights activists we’re working on, on on helping develop that region as well, the Afghan region because it’s such a deep culture, there is a part of what I, my future is about helping share that, hey, I’ve traveled to 44 countries in the world. And what I’ve learned is that wherever you go, a smile is a smile. People want to enjoy their life, they want great things for their kids, they want to hang out with their friends and have fun. Everyone wants to do that universally on the globe. And when we actually put that aside, one of my business partners is from Iran, um, him and his wife, they’re Iranian. And you know, if I was to focus on what I was taught as a kid that Iranians are terrorists and block planes, we wouldn’t have this relationship video I look at and go look, we both love value family, those kinds of things. And then I’m learning so much about the Persian culture, but from learning from that, it actually makes me stronger. It makes gives me more resources to draw from it. So that’s, that’s what my future looks like. He’s sharing that with the world that hey, let’s look at what we’ve got. foundationally were the same. So and how can we learn from each other’s strengths to make ourselves stronger as well and work more harmoniously together?
So good, so good. All right. So I know some folks are listening to this. And, you know, hopefully, they’re not, you know, in the midst of a dispute, but they’re like, I don’t want to be in the midst of a dispute I need Damians help, how can folks find out more about you and what you do?
Well, fundamentally, I mean, if we follow what I do at a core, you avoid disputes to start with. So that’s, you know, even if you’re not into dispute, following the principles and what we teach, it really helps to have this easy, harmonious life with people around you. But to reach me, you Google Damien Andrews will put it into any search engine, I’m all over the front page. I think, last I look, every time I’ve looked recently, I’ve been all over the front page every link and I haven’t looked beyond that I’m sure on the second page, too, if you if you want to whoever goes to the second page of Google anyway, so either that or damienandrews.com or you can check out my the my foundations podcast The Shair.Care, which means strong healthy and inspiring relationships, the shair.care podcast, there’s lots of really really wonderful people I have on guest has some wonderful interviews where it just get some really deep they get it’s funny how people come back and like yourself. Now you open up in me things that I haven’t shared with other people. And same with with my podcasts, people really open up it’s a great forum for those discussions. So you have search Damien Andrews, go to damienandrews.com. I will check out shair.care, the shair.care website, which has a whole bunch of resources on as
Well remarkable, both in the business sense and just what you’re doing for your community around you and the world in general. Damien, thank you so much. Thank you for being here on the show, and everyone listening. It was just our pleasure to have you I hope that this was as exciting and fulfilling and helpful for you as it was for me, and I cannot wait to see you next time. Take care.
Contact Damian Andrews
Damian Andrews is the Director and CEO of DamianAndrews.com. As a Corporate Recovery Specialist, Damian excelled at bringing calm and order to highly stressed and distressed companies and businesses.Damian distilled and refined often overlooked fundamental leadership, negotiation and innovation principles. The business sectors Damian has operated in includes manufacturing, property holdings, IT, retail, professional services, large retail fitouts, apartments, commercial, civil, infrastructure, road, rail and renewable energy.
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