In this latest episode of our Best of Series, you’ll hear from Todd Hunter, Group CEO of Turners Automotive, on asking great questions, humility and how pressure is a privilege.
We interviewed Todd back in August 2017 and he is the brother of Daniel Hunter, another chief we have featured recently on the Best of Series – episode 202.
Todd has had broad career experience, from being a Financial Accountant with Ernst & Young, to a Marketing Manager with Microsoft New Zealand, to Corporate & Government Sector Manager at New Zealand Post.
He spent 7 years at Turners before assuming the role of CEO.
Today, you’re going to hear Todd talk about:
- Having the courage of your convictions and dealing with hostile people;
- Asking great questions versus having every answer;
- Why humility is such an important quality for a CEO to have; and
- How the pressure of a leadership position is a privilege.
Connecting with Todd Hunter
You can connect with Todd via LinkedIn.
Books and resources
- Podcast – Desert Island Discs
- Shoe Dog – by Phil Knight
- Todd's nominated charity is SDAA – Students Against Dangerous Driving
“Everyone should spend some time in sales; every role has an element of sales to it. At some stage you need to influence or convince someone to do something, or buy into a vision, a project, or an idea.”
General discussion points
- When assessing an opportunity or role always ask yourself what can I learn from the people that I will be around?
- When you’re faced with someone hostile – You listen more than you talk, you put yourself in their shoes, you try and understand where they’re coming from.
- When you disagree with the direction of a business you have three options – you can win the person over, you can go around them or you can leave.
- You have to have a place or person you can go to reaffirm your confidence
- You have to have self-awareness e.g. what if I look at myself from above? How am I being perceived? What do I look and sound like?
- Make the most of every opportunity you’re given
- You will be presented with a number of opportunities in life and some of them will scare you to hell but if you don’t a crack you’ll never know
On asking the right questions
- You think people want you to have the answers, but you actually don’t need to have them. All you need to have is the right questions.
- Questions like:
- What is the evidence?
- What are the scenarios?
- What happens if that happens?
- Where are the risks?
- What do you think?
- Here is what I think, are we both comfortable with this?
On time management
- I use a risk and opportunity filter for prioritising work – what has the biggest risk, what has the biggest opportunity
- 1:1 meetings with your team are vital for developing your team and catching them doing the right things and if they are drifting off track
- The most important thing for senior managers to focus on everyday is – what do I do on day-to-day basis that will deliver the company result?
On getting a seat at the executive table
- Humility is such an important quality for a CEO to have
- Three things that I value the most in people – influencing skills, resilience and communication. Can they influence in a positive way and get people buying into a vision or project or idea? How do they react when things aren’t going well? How they assess complex things and make them simple? Can they adjust their message and communication style for the audience they are addressing?
- To make a leap to C-Level you need a sponsor from the board
- You have to create an opportunity to build relationships with the board
- Ask the CEO, how do I get more exposure with the board, what can I do, have ideas for where you can contribute?
Final message of wisdom and hope for future leaders
- Make the most of every opportunity you are given. It’s something that was instilled in me as part of our family, and I instill into my kids.
- There will be times that you are scared shitless about what you’re being asked to do – but pressure is a privilege – and someone believes you can do this.