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Former CEO

Mike Smith

Pioneering a Life
Join Mike as he takes you on his journey building business around the world as he grows personally and professionally.
Lesson 1

How to Pioneer Your Life

Welcome to Mike Smith’s Masterclass! You’ll hear some vital lessons Mike has learned over the last four decades. And with a deep focus on expansion, empathy and handling challenges, Mike’s powerful wisdom and insights will equip you to handle just about anything.
Lesson 2

What's Your Theme?

Hear Mike’s first chapter of his life and career, and how his parents, schooling, HSBC, and arrival in Hong Kong turned leadership into such a strong theme for him. Plus, Mike’s initial feelings about leading – was it all positive?
Lesson 3

Two Powerful Ways to Earn Respect

Hong Kong had Mike guiding a team for the first time ever. New to that level position, how could he earn genuine respect from his people? Luckily, Mike quickly identified two powerful ways to earn respect – and keep it.
Lesson 4

Critical Contingency Plans: Do You Have One?

Mike’s next role in the Solomon Islands was a stark contrast to Hong Kong, with rapid lessons learned. Hear about crucial skills in negotiation and the immense benefits of having a contingency plan, regardless of company size.
Lesson 5

The Number One Most Important Cultural Lesson

Mike’s next position was in a country that differed greatly from what he was accustomed to. What were the biggest contrasts he experienced in his new home? How was he able to be such a welcomed and respected guest in a foreign land?
Lesson 6

Thinking as a Long-term Leader

Japanese business culture has strong differences from the Western corporate style. Mike found a wealth of inspiration from Tokyo, particularly in prioritising the innovative thinking typical of the landscape in Japan.
Lesson 7

Can You Identify Risk vs Reward?

Mike took on further responsibility for HSBC when he helped manage their move into the Australian market. Business was booming, and risks were being taken by all kinds of players. Reflect with Mike on the dangers of recklessness, handling a recession, and how to shoot for rewards without endangering the future of your company.
Lesson 8

Managing Cultural Impacts and Changing Variables

After some time abroad, Mike was moved to work in London and Europe. This presented a fresh set of challenges and lessons, like managing and respecting cultural factors, and how to effectively manage rapidly changing variables.
Lesson 9

The Powerful Combination of Communication and Action

In Malaysia, Mike faced several cultural conditions and rumours that hindered his progress. This encouraged learning about facing problems through a powerful combination of communication and action.
Lesson 10

Hard Lessons on Crisis Management

Argentina was the most dangerous experience in Mike’s journey. Political turmoil and civil unrest were rife, and he was in several highly volatile situations. The most volatile? Getting shot in the leg and nearly killed (yet returned to work the very next day!).
Lesson 11

The Healing Influence of Empathy and Family

After the dangers of Argentina, Mike returned to his family to experience significant shifts in his values and priorities. The brush with death had broadened his understanding of supporting others in times of crisis, and provided new perspectives on the importance of family.
Lesson 12

Circling Back to Hong Kong Once More

After decompressing in London, Mike returned to Hong Kong as CEO of HSBC. This was a huge honour. But how could Mike drive the company’s increased presence in China? His pioneering spirit was key to success, as well as his imaginative approach to expectations.
Lesson 13

The End of an Era: Leaving HSBC

After 30 years at HSBC, that pioneering spirit inspired Mike to take on a new challenge and accept an offer with ANZ Banking Group. This opportunity highlights why on-the-ground experience is so important to professionals of any level, and any career point.
Lesson 14

Final Thoughts on Self-reflection and Empathy

Mike’s class ends with the importance of retrospection and self-reflection. Mike shares the increased sensitivity and empathy which was central to his growth and divulges his thoughts about the one biggest responsibility as a leader.
14 lessons
1 hour 21 minutes
We are advisors and strategists that are focussed on people, and their ongoing development and growth. We are all about building trust and focussing on long term success. We work with you, we embed our people with yours and share our skills every step of the way.
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