Being from England and only living here for 10 years I’m not that well educated on Australian history so when I heard the news that Gough Whitlam had passed away I realised I didn’t really know anything about him or his achievements or the legacy he leaves.

Getty Images: Brendon Thorne

Getty Images: Brendon Thorne

Today I learned a lot just by listening to two parts of the Eulogy from his funeral, the first from Indigenous Leader  Noel Pearson and the other from Actress Cate Blanchett.  I got a real sense of a leader who had a really clear vision, who was determined to risk his personal success in order to create real change, someone who believed in equality and who led by love and not fear.


Gough’s legacy is made clear in the speeches.  Who he was, was someone with Vision, Belief, Courage, Compassion, Respect, Trust, Integrity and he was prepared to take Action.  These are the qualities that make a great leader.  Being prepared to bring a vision into reality even when, especially when, it’s unpopular with some.  Being able to execute that vision no matter what, is what makes the difference. That and how you go about it. Leading is not railroading, the vision has to have support, every great leader has a great team.

This got me thinking and asking who is a really great leader of our times right now ?  How many of our leaders are so trapped in the fear of losing, of being wrong, of being vulnerable enough to take risks?

What would happen if we had a Gough Whitlam leading our country now?  How different would it be with the 24hr media scrutiny, with access to the smallest shifts in opinion?  With so much focus on winning or losing? Beating the opposition? How much reform has there been since his time?  Did what happened to his government influence the way the political game is now played?  Is anyone brave enough and visionary enough to reform our biggest issues today?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, I’ll leave that to you to think about.

Not only in politics is this question to be asked either.

What is that costing us in business? Profits, Productivity, Engagement, Wellbeing? All of this and more.

Even when it feels like you are constantly moving away from crisis or poor results how do you re-engage and re-inspire your team?

Are you leading from a place of love or fear?  How clear is your vision? What legacy do you want to leave as a leader?  What happens when you walk away?

Leaving a legacy isn’t only about passing away it’s about moving on and what you leave in your wake.

You will leave a legacy, make it the one you choose instead of an accidental one!

Leave your thoughts, lets talk.

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