By Tim Fitzgerald
For Robert Murray, success in life, no mater what your goals, depends on being true to your values.
Murray, with more than 20 years as a senior business executive, knows if you’ve compromised what you hold true, failure is just around the corner.
And it’s this message he’s stressing with his second book, Unlocked.
“This book is about practical leadership, which is taking everything they taught you in school and putting it into practical application, as well as using that to connect emotionally with people at the same time,” said Murray, a Maple Ridge resident.
“In business school, just like medical school, they teach you all the technical things you need to know. But they don’t really teach you how to connect emotionally, and it’s the people that actually get things done.”
He said his new book is a follow-up to his first book, It’s Already Inside, where he draws on his two-plus decades of experience as a senior business executive, using anecdotes and lessons to help others find their inner leader.
Those values became abundantly clear for Murray when a misunderstanding with a pair of scissors and an over zealous Hong Kong police officer nearly cost him his freedom. Eight excruciating hours later, he was free, but the incident left him re-examining what he holds true in his heart. He shares that story in Chapter 32 of his book.
“I realized how critical the value of freedom was to me and it dawned on me why, at some moments in my life, I felt so incredibly smothered when I was being micro-managed or constrained by ridiculous bureaucracy,” he writes.
But the thought of losing his freedom and being taken away from the important people in his life brought everything back into focus.
“Above all, you have to be true to your personal values or your career and life are headed in the wrong direction. It’s a recipe for disaster.”
He said every organization is driven by the bottom line. While they may say it’s other things, whether it’s to enhance the customer experience, at the end of the day, it’s all about turning a profit, he explains.
“But when a younger leader will put their own personal values aside or at risk to try and impress somebody who’s either higher up, that’s when things fall apart. That’s when they feel the most stressed out. That’s when they dread going into work — it’s a Monday and they can’t wait for Friday. You see these people start to get sick.”
Murray said he speaks from experience. He draws on his own mistakes in hopes of shedding light on how to avoid the pitfalls in business and life.”
“It’s something that took me a long time to learn. I worked for a lot of CEOs and became a CEO, but when I was on my way up, I compromised my values from time to time and I was miserable,” he said.
It wasn’t until he removed himself form the situation before he realized what was causing his unhappiness.
“When someone challenges you to do something outside of your integrity – when you’re in that scenario, it’s a no-win situation – for the company or yourself.”
He said Unlocked is a way to share stories from his life and career and put it in a format that people can learn and grow from. He said mistakes are inevitable, but what people do with them shapes their future.
“A lot of people, especially when they are starting out, don’t take that opportunity to learn from their mistakes. They spend time beating themselves up or pointing fingers at other people instead of taking the responsibility for it.”
For Murray, he said everyday is a chance to improve, and hopes his book can help the next generation of leaders make the right choices.
• Murray will be a speaker at the TEDxBCIT speaker series on Jan. 24, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the BCIT Aerospace Campus, located at 3800 Cessna Dr. in Richmond.
Unlocked is available locally at Black Bond Books at the Haney Place Mall.