Our business was 17 years old when I first met Zac and it was pretty successful. We’d won multiple awards and were in growth mode. It’s a family business and my dad and I are both very hands on but, as most business owners know, it’s a lonely job. I was looking for someone I could bounce ideas off and who could guide me from a personal perspective. I was looking for someone who I respected the opinion of, and who would hold me a little bit accountable.
I did an OPM (Owners Presidents Managers) course at the Harvard Business School 2015-17 and they talked about the importance of coaching and self-development and taking the time to step back from the business to work on yourself. That was something I recognised that I needed to do — develop myself.
I’d heard of Zac: he’d been a judge at the Westpac awards and when I was judging the awards a few years later, I saw his name involved with many of the top entrants. I appreciated that he had both coaching and business experience – I think it’s imperative to have someone who has walked that walk.
In the three years I’ve been working with Zac, we’ve made great progress on our four business. It’s gone from being very hands-on and time-intensive to being businesses that have great culture, good people, good systems and processes, and a defined strategy. Zac really helped me through that transition. We’ve still got work to do, but we’re definitely more hands off as owners.
From a revenue perspective (if we ignore Covid), we’ve been on a 15% year-on-year growth under Zac’s watch, growing from 2 companies to 4, and to 250 staff.
At one point, I was seriously mulling over a serious decision that would have changed the trajectory of our businesses. Zac absolutely helped my thought train by gently asking me questions that made me consider things from another angle. As a result, I didn’t push go on that decision, and it’s proved to be the right choice.
That’s part of his value, really. I say I pay him a fortune to ask me questions that I know the answer to! But it’s that old adage: the problem is the question; if you figure out the question you answer the problem.
Zac’s been particularly helpful in helping with the development of our management team and business team. He’s really good at the people stuff. He’s given me great advice around identifying good people, how to motivate them and then given me the confidence to hold them accountable.
I think I particularly enjoy how Zac challenges me. He keeps me focused on what’s really important, which is a big one for me. He also holds me accountable, but in a subtle way: “Why is that happening, how are we talking about this again?” It’s always done in a positive way that opens my eyes to what I need to work on and address in the business.
Zac is a great guy to begin with – a really decent human being, which important if you want to build that trust with someone. He’s highly experienced, knowledgeable, highly resourceful, and great at challenging you. Working with Zac is highly valuable. I highly, highly recommend. 10/10. In fact, I should see him more regularly…