Rows of chairs

John Newton – Scotch College

Peer-to-peer group provides lessons in leadership

‘The value of The Executive Connection is being able to take yourself out of school or your business for a day to have discussions with stimulating, like-minded leaders and clarify your thinking.’

As a secondary educator, I’ve always valued the insights from my peers in the commercial world and have often leveraged these in order to help run my schools.

Since joining TEC in 2015, my leadership has undoubtedly evolved, from strategic concepts and planning, through to effective and successful execution.

TEC has armed me with three leadership skills that were not previously strengths

‘TEC members are there because they want to learn, grow and be successful, which is the utmost peer inspiration to not stand still.’

Firstly, to know my numbers better which everyone at TEC does – as a French and Russian teacher these don’t come naturally to me. Secondly, how to develop your senior team more effectively. And thirdly, to consistently examine how we manage up to our boards. Board and management unity, particularly at a time of crisis such as the one that we’re in right now, is critical.

There is tough love in the group, as well as regard and mutual respect. It generates the right level of challenge, understanding and accountability for what we need to be strong, successful business leaders.

Personalities are strong in the group which makes for great challenge and moments of amazing humour. The consistent energy and meaningful dynamics are well nurtured by the Chair, Dr. Adrian Geering. As he believes, the power of the group is the most important thing because members learn more through the group – it’s more caught than taught.

The fellowship of the group

‘The exposure to diverse industries, personalities, and ways of doing business has taught me to be more thorough, analytical and insightful, which equates to not only the stability of my organisation, but its success.’

It’s refreshing to discover that within your network, you’re not the only one facing a particular issue and you can lean on your peers for guidance and advice. On the flip side, it’s humbling to be able to offer my own insights to other leaders and help resolve their challenges. This is the fellowship of the group.

Recently, it has been immensely comforting to have the support of the group and hear other leaders facing similar challenges during COVID-19. While it’s unchartered territory for all of us, it’s constructive and valuable to share and reflect on what we’re going through, so that we can move forward in the most successful way possible.

What TEC’s peer and individual mentoring offers is a methodology and discipline in how to approach a certain problem, with examples and case studies who are living and breathing in front of you.

About John

Dr. John H. Newton is the Principal of Scotch College Adelaide, a position he has held since January 2015. Originally from England, John moved to Adelaide from Taunton in the south west of the United Kingdom. John is a graduate of Merton College Oxford with a degree in French and Russian. His Ph.D. is in organisational culture.

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