Why every leader needs a Gary Duckworth

For Hugh Cameron, chairman of PHD UK his secret work weapon, or secret source as he puts it, is his coach, Gary Duckworth.

There are so many everyday work weapons I have convinced myself make the critical difference. The Rotring pencil that travels with me, the Braun calculator my phone has made redundant and which is forever in my bag.  

But it’s the season of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The epic battles between light and dark are around us again. It’s timely to confess my secret weapon is a higher force, deeper and more resourceful. 

The secret, more of a source than a weapon, is Gary Duckworth. Gary is a coach. He mentioned to me one day at Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters, the agency he founded, that he was planning a new career and I became his guinea pig customer. I am lucky he has coached me since. 

I cannot claim to have any Jedi qualities other than the quest to stay as far as possible on the light side. Gary is Obi Wan and Yoda combined.

We talk irregularly for up to two hours, on FaceTime. Gary lives in Sydney though like a modern Yoda you have to seek him out, one day I think he was in Penge, South London. Quite swamp-like. Wherever he is a warm glow surrounds him. He has a beard that seems to grow longer every year in proportion with his wisdom and perspective.

In an era when logic and magic, machines and humans are bandied about, Gary has something nothing can equal. An astonishing brain that combines high IQ and EQ in finely tuned harmony. It gives him piercing insight and helps me frame many problems.

In a world when we can get trapped in the marginal details he elevates opportunities to a new level. He recognises that there a big force that needs to be tapped into to create different possibilities.

Like a good coach, he gives it to you straight. But with energising purpose and a playful, mischievous humour. Although the sessions are infrequent he seeds ideas and techniques I can tap into most days.

In the battle against some of the dark extracting forces that circulate the business world Gary is a source of light and hope.

Find him may you. 

Hugh Cameron is chairman of PHD UK


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