• 952
  • 13

Recently we’ve been having some late nights at the office (thanks to our supreme estimating skills) and been arriving home at a late hour. The byproduct of this has been the dismissal of afternoon runs watching the sun come down, and the introduction of midnight ninja jog sessions. As I was finishing up one particular session this week, I saw a silhouette under the light post next to my house. It was my neighbour, whom I’ve lived next to for two years with an aggregate conversation tally of maybe 20 minutes.

Out of the darkness and in my black skins and hoody ninja apparel, I cautioned a “G’day mate” to let him know I was friend- not foe. As he recognised me he walked over for a chat. He was seemingly social for this odd hour and his opening line was a quip juxtaposing his slight tipsiness, the result of some work drinks, and me sweating it out in the name of fitness.

He and his wife have been eying off our house (that we’re renting) for some time. It’s the only rental property on a street resided by tycoons. I assume everyone living on our street have been itching to have this property bought to purge the area of renting scum that mow their front-yards quarterly. But he was all smiling assassin tonight.
**editors note, this is fake vitriol. I can’t defend the eyesore that is our front yard. 

He asked what I did and I gave him the quick speil on being a small business owner and he nodded enthusiastically. It turns out he is the CEO of a very large public mining company. My ears pricked up when he revealed that he had grown it from 6 employees to 200 in just over 4 years.

I’ve always been confident on the tools with my work, but felt my managerial skills were perhaps lacking. This being the case, I’m usually opportunistic around natural leaders and managerial types. I began probing my neighbour for some of the gems he had picked up along the journey.

In between steering a company, handling the media coverage on the mining boom, serenading shareholders and voicing opinions on the carbon taxes, he maintained that his number one role was managing people. And that this hadn’t changed from day dot. I was curious in particular about attracting talent, and keeping employees happy. We spoke for nearly an hour; my heart-rate and his blood alcohol level dropping in sync. He finished by saying something that evoked an almost epiphanic moment and I’ll never forget it.

“Some people just need to be told that they’re loved”

I imagine that this gem isn’t just scoped to business.

  • stevehopkins

    Brilliant story – thanks for telling it :)