Both men sought to improve themselves through knowledge. Ray Avery spoke of his numerous years in an orphanage and how he spent countless hours in a library reading the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Ian Taylor humorously recalled how he chose a law degree over a medical degree because of the shorter duration and also how he runs a globally-renowned tech company with very little tech experience or ability. Both men got smart because they dared to answer the toughest questions through a mix of grit, exploration and a never-say-die attitude. Neither individual is content with their current cache of knowledge. They both want to, both need to learn and know more.
Both men are leaders of great teams. They are the quintessential smartest guys in the room as they have the ability to form, motivate and maintain groups of individuals towards a common cause, individuals that may differ considerably in terms of expertise, personal priorities and leadership beliefs. I lead Aorere Digital in my current employment yet have limited technical expertise. What I do have, like these two men is the ability to create teams that deliver big projects on time, accurately and within budget. I realise now that I don't be the "techie." This isn't my role or where I best serve or where I lead best. As Sir Ray and Ian both articulated many times, you need to have a great united team but one that is diverse yet adaptable in terms of skill-sets and aptitudes.
lastly these men, prioritise individual well-being and empowerment for collegial strength and growth. After both presented, they were more than happy to converse with me one-on-one and in doing so, not only gained a huge fan but also made feel like the most important person in the room. The two individuals emphasised that great people make great companies and organisations and not the other way around, and that if you take care of the holistic well-being of each and every stakeholder, the relevant entity and individuals will thrive over survive as will our common future.
The great thing about spending time in both Sir Ray Avery and Ian Taylor's is that they appear ordinary people who have done and achieved superlatively while remaining very grounded, accessible and still thirsting for adventure and discovery. Both men are great role models for us all and do much to make us, like the smartest in the room.