with greg layton

The Inner Chief is for leaders, professionals and small business owners who want to accelerate their career and growth. Our guest chiefs and gurus share powerful stories and strategies so you can have more purpose, influence and impact in your career.

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In this Best of Series episode of The Inner Chief podcast, we feature Group CEO of Nuix, Jonathan Rubinsztein, on bringing values to life, compressing time, and the 3 key principles of motivation.

At the time of our conversation in 2018, Jonathan was the CEO & Managing Director of Infomedia, an ASX-Listed global provider of SaaS solutions to the parts and service sector in the automotive industry.

Jonathan is now the Group CEO of Nuix, another ASX-Listed Company, and a leading provider of investigative analytics and intelligence software.

Prior to his time at Infomedia, Jonathan was the CEO and founding shareholder at UXC Red Rock Consulting, the largest Oracle Consulting business in ANZ with 8 offices and 600 staff.

Jonathan was previously on the boards of both Missionvale Australia and Humanitix, and has been a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney Business School and a regular participant at TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conferences.

In this episode we talk about:

✅  Bringing values to life in a meaningful, practical way rather than just words on a wall

✅  How to get things done faster and why he treats everything in life as a project

✅  Three key principles of motivation – purpose, mastery and autonomy, and

✅  Learning from a range of different people, industries and fields.

Deal hope,


Connecting with Jonathan Rubinsztein

You can reach Jonathan on LinkedIn.

Books and resources

Similar Episodes on values

“Often the people you speak to are in the same industry and that creates an echo chamber. If you don’t have communication with people outside your industry, you're going to be someone else's lunch or dinner in this crazy world of disruption.”


On early career lessons

  • I learned a lot about business whilst doing an academic degree and studying accounting, which was very theoretical. I was working at the same time and running a P&L and I understood a balance sheet and I understood exactly what cash flow meant and so to me I cut my teeth in what was a very tough world. Textiles was not an easy world.
  • I learned to think a lot about business and become a street fighter, so to speak, as a kid. Cash was king and I think cash still is king in this world. Understanding that the reality of business was around cash didn't come to me in the big corporate world; one can almost alienate yourself from the reality of business. Instead, I got very close to understanding how the money was made, and the reality of fighting for it and there was a lot of unethical behaviour. I was a young kid and people were stealing from me and there was a crazy world and I realised how to stand up for myself and how to manage people in that type of environment.
  • I came from a very interesting social dynamic in South Africa and I came out as an energetic, ambitious, arrogant young punk. And I think I've learned to understand myself and I'm trying to get a better perspective on looking at myself, the reflection of myself and understanding how that impacts other people. One of my strengths is that I'm very upfront. There is no bullshit. What you see is what you get. However, I think that the context of that is important that some people don't get that as easily and I think that being able to be aware of that behaviour and therefore modify that appropriately, such that you can get other people's involvement and understanding I think is important for me.
  • I've learned that and how to look at myself and understand the good and the bad and the improvement areas and how I impact other people. That has been a great learning for me more recently actually.

On compressing time

  • How do I speed up the journey? And so to me, I am always trying to compress time to make decisions, to get outcomes. I'm a very outcome-focused person.
  • To me, life is finite. So in every sphere of my life I try to compress time. I try to get the most out of things. And I think that if you take an adoption process, I try to look at the end goal, what are we trying to achieve and work backwards.
  • To me, everything is a project, it has a start and an end. So if we look at the business and how we try and look at a project, the question is how can we do it faster and how can we get the same results?

On using his network for feedback and learning

  • We have a forum that is my personal board where I get other people to give me a reflection on myself and I don't always like what I hear and see but it does help me. I learn from lots of other people. I am on a number of charity boards that I do support and I've learned a lot from those people.
  • I also attend TED every year, that's a global TED convergence and I meet a bunch of people. I'm curious who they are and I learn by reflecting often off them, off different processes and I thrive on that insight. I think that certainly helped me a lot.
  • YPO is a not-for-profit organisation typically for CEOs working on their personal, professional and business side of their lives. I think there are lots of organisations, there's another one called EO, which is Entrepreneurs Organisation. There are CEO Institutes around the world and there are business manager institutes.
  • To me, different people have different ways of learning about themselves, and learning about the world and learning about the industry they're in and getting insight. For me, YPO has been a great organisation for me to actually have a bunch of people that provides a forum to think through issues or opportunities that you have and also are like-minded people who are sharing similar issues and opportunities at a similar part of their career.
  • I think that having a group, getting a partner, a mentor, a friend, that you can trust that has no agenda. And sometimes your partner might have an agenda, whether your personal partner or business partner, but having that has been extremely valuable to me.
  • Often the people you speak to are in the same industry as you and that creates an echo chamber. So in the crazy world of disruption that we are living in, where one has to compress time otherwise from my perspective, you either are going to be killed, you're going to be someone else's lunch or dinner or in this world of disruption, one of the ways to get a broader, different view is actually to have communications with people outside of the industry. If you're thinking about what a bank looks like in the next 10 years, my view is you don't ask a banker, you ask someone in technology. And therefore to get that reflection on different industries, you might ask someone in retail and therefore my view is one of the advantages is having cross functional insight around different industries and being curious about where the convergence is, and how might the customer journey be similar in a different industry. That also gives insight around some of the disruption that might happen.

On what drives motivation within your people

  • There are three underlying factors to success and I think if one is motivated, one can get unstuck and drive outcomes that excite you.
  • So if someone is stuck, I question one's motivation. There are three underlying aspects to motivation: autonomy, mastery and purpose (referenced from Daniel Pink’s book “Drive”). And so if you're stuck, then I would suggest that often one of those three areas are areas that you're struggling with. So are you aligned to the purpose of the organisation you're working in or the business unit? Does that not resonate? Do you not have the autonomy to make decisions if you want? And if you don't have those two you can never get mastery because that will never happen.
  • To me, motivation and passion comes and goes. If I'm not passionate about something, I can never deliver. I have worked out what those three things are that absolutely align to my passion and motivation; therefore, if I can unbundle what about my role or the industry I'm working in that I’m not passionate about, I can work out why I’m not motivated about that. So maybe I can create a purpose that aligns to that. Maybe I can create that autonomy. If I can't, then I've got to move or work out how to do it because I'll never be motivated. I'll never be passionate, and I'll never be successful then.

On what drives him every day

  • I worry about the broader political situation. I worry about the refugee situation. We're living in a world where my father was a refugee out of the Second World War. He left Poland, went to Belgium, then to the Belgian Congo. I think to myself, “Are we treating the refugees in a way that I'm proud of?” Absolutely not.
  • What I do know is I would like to leave this world in a better place than I came into it. And so my purpose is that the older I've got, it's become much less selfish and much more community-based. It's much more around my family and the environment I live in, and so I think that if you look at those layers of an onion, it’s myself, my wife and then my kids.
  • I think that I've been fortunate enough to be able to think about how I create a world and how I can contribute to a world that is better.

On permeating culture into an organisation

  • I joined this business and we've significantly changed the culture. There's both an art and science to culture, and I think that we've tried to think through both sides of those. So programmatically, there are some hygiene factors, some things that are right and wrong, some things that one can do, and we've tried to do those and we've got clarity around what is good and bad behaviour.
  • We've got clarity around where we are going, what we want to do, and what our purpose is. Those things are easy to do but not necessarily easy to embed. They're easy to define.
  • We've got our four core values on our wall: accelerating performance, driving innovation and service, navigating global steering local, and having fun in the fast lane.
  • Now those are easy to say but they are more difficult to embed into everything we do.
  • Integrity is not optional. To me, that's not a core value. If you don't act with integrity, you cannot work in the organisation. So why would that be a core value? That is just not optional.
  • These are things that we will define our behaviour by. So if you say honesty is a core value, I go, “Are you kidding me? Do you want people working in your organisation that are dishonest? That doesn't make sense.” However we talk about what it means to accelerate performance, or what innovation is, or what a meritocratic organisation means and how we embed these in every workflow in our performance appraisals in our conversations, and how we reward these behaviours.
  • Having fun and enjoying life is a key part of being motivated and passionate and so when one is at work and having fun, I think one's performance and efficiency output increases dramatically, one's more motivated and guess what? Your customers, your family, and everyone feels it's tangible. So to me, having fun is not optional.
  • You've got to celebrate those wins and enjoy that journey. The journey of life is  inextricably linked to the journey of work. We spend more than half of our waking hours working and I think that if I can't have fun, then I can't be passionate and I cannot drive outcomes and I can't be efficient and I might as well be doing something else.
  • The success of a global business is how do we leverage a global organisation and the value that we have both from different cultural aspects of our staff, while still maintaining the flavour and the uniqueness of some of those great things  and leverage the efficiencies of the global organisation.
  • There are lots of dotted lines, there's lot of autonomy, there's lots of leaders in those regions and so we have a strong regional lead in each of those areas and they have that autonomy. And yet, certain things are Infomedia global standards, but they accept and shape those locally.

On prioritisation and balance in life

  • I spend a lot of time understanding what's important to me and then focusing on those things.
  • I spend a lot of time working on how to make sure that I get quality time with my family, how to outsource those things that are not important to me and how I make sure that those things that are important to me, so that I spend that quality time doing those things.
  • Holidays with me and my family are critical. I see my kids growing up, I get incredibly excited and passionate about spending those times with my kids. But obviously I make sure that we get that time and we spend that time and to me that is not optional.
  • But similarly, I work hard and I work appropriately hard during the week and if I need to, during the weekend, and that is just part of the balance that I get and the flexibility that I get.
  • One of the books I read was Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. To me, being able to understand what those big rocks are and making sure you focus on those, really does resonate with me.
  • And getting that time to be able to zoom up above the day-to-day grind gives me a perspective that if I find I'm in meetings all day, I literally have no ability to think about what is important to prioritise those things. So I need space, I need the ability to zoom up, speak to people, get insight and try and get a bit of flex time. It's difficult often but I find that being able to walk around and just speak to people, I get the best ideas and I get the best insight around what is actually working. I’m just reflecting on how things went and not making decisions. So getting that time to actually be a bit passive if you want, and let your creative right brain juices flow versus just constantly making decisions.

Final message of wisdom and hope for future leaders 

  • The one thing that has held really true to myself is to be honest to yourself, and follow what you love. You're often better at what you love so you do those things because you love them so you're better at those things.
  • And then doing those in an authentic way, being agile, being empathetic, that's how you drive your leadership skills, by understanding what motivates you and what you love and are passionate about and that drives a life where you do have fun. There's a virtuous circle in all of those things.

Deal hope,