Peter Fisk, author of Gamechangers, is short but never snappy in a quick fire interview.
What book are you currently reading?
I’m reading Neuroscience of Leadership by Dr Tara Swart, which explains how your brain is more “plastic” (flexible) than you think, and how by some simple brain exercises you can adapt your thinking to different business situations, and also sustain your full capacity until at least your sixties … Lots of water, exercise, and sex, are all parts of her prescription!
Do you describe yourself as a thinker?
“Thinking” and “doing” are the yin and yang of a successful business.
Some people are thinkers and doers, whilst others who are thinkers or doers need to connect with each other.
The best way to develop new thinking is by doing, learning from the practical insights of making things happen in a practical way.
The best way to develop new doing is by thinking, standing back and looking for smarter, better ways to make things happen.
I try to be a thinker and doer.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
Leonardo da Vinci – the sculptor who became an artist, and then scientist and engineer. The best ideas come by making new connections – business learning from nature or sport, one sector learning from another.
So who is the modern-day Leonardo da Vinci? Steve Jobs was, with the ability to combine design and technology, to imagine the uncreated and non essential.
In today’s world it could be Jack Ma, or Elon Musk, or Zaha Hadid. The inspiration comes from people who do amazing things, the thinking from making sense of what they do.
What does success look like?
Success look like a better world. Which means making real, practical differences to real people’s lives, in small and big ways.
Revenues, profits and shareholder value just show that you are doing this in a way that people want, are prepared to pay for, and creates the money to invest in a better future.
What is your next goal?
To build the world’s community of “game changers” – people from every country and sector inspiring each other to be more disruptive, more innovative, and more audacious.
When did you last say ‘Eureka!’!?
Every time I get out of the bath!! Just like Archimedes, right? But seriously, it’s about having time to think, having stimulus to stretch yourself, and having confidence to creatively define your best ideas in new and interesting ways.
Why is the Thinkers50 important to you?
Thinkers50 celebrates the best ideas for business. Imitation is easy, and just leads to commoditisation and falling prices. Improvement is essential, an allows you to stand still. You need to have bigger ideas to move forwards. We live in an ideas economy – where the best business strategies, the most inspiring brands, the most engaged consumers are built on strong and distinctive ideas.
What is your competitive advantage?
Advantage is not measured by how different you are from your competitor, but by how much more you can do for your customer – its about relevance and enablement.
I seek to help my customers to do amazing things – not just slightly better than others – but things they never thought possible, or were able to do.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Passionate. Practical. Peter.
How do you keep your thinking fresh?
By staying real. By working with the world’s most interesting companies, to help them solve real challenges. Every business person can read the new books – about millennial power, new business models, social media, being sustainable, and being a great leader – but it is about applying these concepts in real, connected and practical ways.
How do you divide your time?
50% business (thinking, writing, speaking, training, advising). 50% personal (socialising, parenting, meeting, exercising, relaxing) … so 8 hours of each, each day … I think that’s healthy!
How much time do you spend travelling?
I take around 120 flights per year (which is probably not healthy!) … visit around 40 countries, work for 80 companies, and talk to around 2 million people (that’s really exciting!)
What is the secret of a great presentation?
Leaving people thinking, inspired, and wanting to learn and do more!
It takes the right theme, practical content, lots of engagement, and fun.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Find your own footsteps … “Don’t spend your time living somebody else’s life”!