HOW TO DRIVE AN ASX 30 COMPANY
Written on the 24 July 2015 by Laura Daquino
VOLATILITY is the new norm and soft skills are the biggest sell as we move into the Asian Century, according to Aurizon CEO Lance Hockridge, who has steered the ASX 30 company through nearly a decade of transformation while maximising shareholder returns.
"This backlash was a real catalyst for change in our organisation, we had just floated on the ASX and it was the largest IPO for more than a decade," he says.
"It was an opportunity for sustained cultural change of the behavioural kind."
"The safety story is at the heart of our transformation and it required intense leadership effort to shift a mindset bred through complacency."
Behavioural change is known to be the hardest to instigate, but AZJ has pulled it off in this respect and shifted the key measure of safety, loss time injury frequency rate, from 12.5 to 0.6 since Hockridge joined the company.
"I believe leadership and culture are the determining aspects of individual and company success in the Asian Century," he says.
"When I joined the workforce the primary focus was on hard skills, like technical and financial skills, and while these skills are in no respect less important today - it is the soft skills of culture and leadership that are the determinants of success these days.
How does Hockridge get those with skills today, an appetite for a fast-paced life and a grasp on the above, into leadership positions tomorrow?
"We have a transitions to operations program where an exceptionally talented staff member is chosen to leave their day job and shadow my movements for six months," he says.