It’s taken Robert Murray a lifetime to study leadership, but only a year to put the words down on paper.
By quietly observing the world around him and the people who populate it, he’s been sketching a formula that’s allowed him to take charge.
“Leadership is all about getting people to dance to music that hasn’t been heard yet,” he says.
“It’s about getting people to do things they normally wouldn’t do on their own.”
A passionate storyteller and mentor, Murray draws on more than 20 years of experience as a senior business executive in 12 countries for anecdotes and lessons to help others find their inner leader. His path to success, though, has been unique.
An electrician by trade, Murray, proudly admits he does not have a university degree.
The 17 different projects he’s guided from concept to fruition have given him an insight into leadership and life he couldn’t get in a classroom.
He climbed the corporate ladder by drawing inspiration from people around him, by innovating and crafting his own tools. Now, he shares his formula for success with others by teaching workshops. He’s also gathered the lessons in a book titled It’s Already Inside that’s garnered rave reviews from readers, who include Don Wright, the CEO of the B.C. Institute of Technology, and Don Bell, who founded WestJet.
In 36 chapters, Murray shows readers how they can apply his advice to their situations. He ask them to digest the message and ends every chapter with a set of questions meant to provoke further thought.
“Every human being on the planet is born not knowing the word no. Not knowing they can’t do things,” says Murray.
“Through exposure to our parents, our relatives, friends, teachers, coaches, we turn out this 20-something individual who goes out into the world, completely lacking the confidence that he had as a child.”
Murray shares stories from his own life to steer others towards their own epiphanies.
“I was a really lucky guy to have met Terry Fox in Grade 8 at Mary Hill Junior Secondary School,” says Murray, who has lived in Maple Ridge with his family since 1988.
“The guy was amazing and this was way before he got cancer. There was nothing that got him down. He just kept looking for the sunshine in everything. When you are around a guy like that, it rubs off on you.”
He thinks of Fox every time he’s ready to throw in the towel.
A true leader’s attitude, Murray says, is unshakable. It’s contagious.
When true leaders hear the word “problem,” they think “solution”.
When they see or feel frustration, they immediately turn their thinking around to “opportunity.”
Murray has learned from good leaders and bad ones.
“Some of the worse leaders I’ve worked with had the best education in the world,” says Murray.
He also truly believes there’s a leader inside everyone.
“It’s part of our DNA,” he says. “It just has to be nurtured out of you. In business or whether it’s in the community coaching a hockey team, it’s taking people to a point where they achieve things that they would never have done on their own.”
• Chairman of The GrowthPoint Group, a collection of the finest business minds to be found;
• Advisory board member for ElementFour, a company that has developed technology to produce pure drinking water out of atmospheric air;
• Board director for Russell Breweries, a Canadian Craft Beer producer;
• Associate professor at the UBC’s Sauder School of Business and the BCIT School of Business;
• Executive advisor and strategic facilitator to many companies. He has experience in marketing, sales, operations, business development and management.
Robert Murray is signing copies of his book It’s Already Inside at Black Bond Books in Maple Ridge on Tuesday, July 24 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.