Podcast Transcripts

James Turner, seasoned leader in Financial Services, on Effective Hiring

Colin Hunter 0:07
Hey, folks, and welcome to another episode of the leadership Tales Podcast. Today, I’m joined by a great friend James Turner; James and I met when we were initially when we were doing some work with Barclays and then have carried on the relationship in terms of working with each other through his work with Prudential. But today, you’re going to hear from James Turner, who is head of risk and compliance for Prudential and takes a global role in that. We’re going to hear the story in the tales of how he got there, his background a lot around how certain people have influenced his career. So you’ll get a chance to listen into that, but also just how he’s developed as a leader. And I’ve seen that in my time of working with him. So it’s an interesting insight into the man and his career. So enjoy.

Colin Hunter 1:00
Good morning, folks. And welcome to another episode of the leadership Tales Podcast. I’m delighted today to be joined by James Turner; James and I go back way back over many bits of work for different organizations, but also many had dinner sharing and putting the world to rights, sharing our issues, sharing our leadership stories. And I thought it would be ideal for getting James on today to tell us a bit about his leadership background and his stories. James, welcome,

James Turner 1:25
Colin. Thank you for being really delighted to have this opportunity to share.

Colin Hunter 1:29
Good. James, for those who don’t know you. And I’m sure there’s a whole lot of people listening who do know you and are just waiting to hear the stories coming out of your mouth. But for those who don’t know you, tell us a bit about you and what you do. Yeah.

James Turner 1:41
Okay, so I’m happily married to a wife that I was fortunate enough to meet when I was 16 at school and three children, 25 through to 16. So all the challenges of COVID. Really, I started with a very loving family in Nottingham but a very small view of the world. And that real first culture shock was when my family moved to Trinidad. And I went from a local comprehensive into a boarding school, in fact, where I met my wife and, I would say, when I thought about preparing to speak to you today, it’s a series of shocks and how I’ve reacted to them, that have really had an impact on my career and my life,

Colin Hunter 2:26
Amazing Trinidad, I did not know what I love about doing this, as I found out so many things I didn’t know about the people who I, in theory, know. So what’s your role? Now, James, where are you working? What do you do? If you had to do the elevator pitch about what you are and what you do?

James Turner 2:42
Well, I work for a company that’s very purpose-led in terms of helping people to get the most out of life. I work for Prudential; we’re an insurer. Anyone in the UK will have heard of the kind of man from Peru. Well, really, the man from the Pru today is a very well-educated lady who is finding health and wealth solutions for our customers across Asia and Africa. And my role in the firm is as the Chief Risk and Compliance Officer.

Colin Hunter 3:10
Amazing. And I always say this because, you know, we’ve spent a lot of time in the internal audit the Risk and Compliance world. But for those who don’t know what risk and compliance are? What is it? What’s the role, James?

James Turner 3:23
So really, it’s to help people make decisions with confidence. So in terms of risk, it understands the risks that we want to take versus those that we don’t. So it’s not about removing risks because you learn very early in business; you have to take risks to make money and to be able to deliver to your employees, to your customers, to your shareholders, and even to our regulators. So it’s not about having zero risk. It’s having a very proactive and thoughtful approach to the rest of your tale. In terms of compliance, it’s really about understanding not just what the rules and regulations are that you need to comply with, but what outcomes you’re seeking for customers. And what’s the best way of delivering on those outcomes?

Colin Hunter 4:10
Lovely. Good. So that’s the technical bit over. I want to go back to Trinidad. That blew me away. So let’s go back to Trinidad; maybe just outline your story of being a leader and how that started and how you’ve developed yourself as a leader. Let’s go.

James Turner 4:27
So I mean, back then, I was very young, I was about 13,14, something like that. The real piece there was if you go from very normal life in a small town in Nottinghamshire. Not really having a full view of the world. Let’s just say that it was a relatively insular view of the world to go on airplanes. That was the first time I went on an airplane. That’s when I found out that my real name is Stuart and not James because I got a passport, and that was when I discovered that, although I would be called James turned my whole life that my legal name was Stuart, then going into boarding school was a culture shock. But from that, you know, it was also a great opportunity; I met some great people and made some really good lifelong friends. And that propelled me into going to university. But you look back now and realize just how many decisions were made based on your heart, maybe not based on your mind. And in terms of a leadership journey. It didn’t really start until I started work. And I did a few different jobs; I qualified as a chartered accountant. But then, I was very fortunate to work in Barclays for a great leader called Mark Carawan, who really probably rubbed off some of those early callers but really shaped a lot of my views on leadership. And actually, when I think about the leadership journey, it’s shaped by people like Mark. So I was unfortunate to work for Tidjane Thiam, In Pru for Nick McAndrew for Mike Wells, I’ve worked for a whole series of really great leaders, but also, it’s the things that they teach you and the mistakes and the errors that you make along the way, that real shape who you are as a leader. And it changes so much during that period as your roles and responsibilities expand.

Colin Hunter 6:26
And he described it to me before, when we’re speaking about a series of shocks in your life, and how that’s transmitted through and you know Mark Carawan great leader, I bizarrely we worked with you for ten years, but I only never met him twice, once as he walked on the British Airways flight on the way back from South Africa. Another one was when we first commissioned the audit academies there. But that was a Sort; he had a major influence and everything I thought about and worked on from there. So tell me a bit about Mark. But also tell me a bit about the shocks as well. Yeah.

James Turner 6:57
So Mark was defined by, you know, absolute clarity of purpose, before purpose was kind of the go-to through every corporate, his idea about the speaking truth to power, being really clear on commitments to customers, and how the role of the firm was there to deliver on it in a sustainable way, really shapes a whole group of auditors. And I went in, you know, I was in internal audit for more than a decade. That wasn’t my intention at the beginning. But a lot of it was because of some of the things that he taught me, and the skills and the importance of courage, the importance of being humble when you’ve got it wrong. But at that point, you know, one of the shocks working in Barclays and in banking was the speed of change. And there was a real JFDI culture. And I’ve really embraced that both positively and negatively. And it certainly worked for a long time in my career. But ultimately, it stopped working. I think one of the things I learned a real shot was when things that really helped me be successful started being a hindrance.

Colin Hunter 8:12

James Turner 8:13
And that would be an example of that because I suddenly realized when she reached a level of seniority that delivery was no longer as important as being able to grow emotionally and being able to engage with more authenticity, but

Colin Hunter 8:31

James Turner 8:32
You know, being able to recognize that stuff goes wrong. And the problem with JFDI culture is it stops people from necessarily recognizing it. And speaking up.

Colin Hunter 8:43
Just freaking do it. For those who are wondering where the JFDI culture is, that’s the polite version; I think that’s the Irish version.

James Turner 8:49
Flipping version.

Colin Hunter 8:50
Just flipping do it. But I think it’s interesting because those are the sort of heady days in Barclays as well. So it was a difficult role to play third line defense with caution assurance for the business dotted line, you know, responsibilities, but that care and respect for the customer, Was core to that, particularly in the JFDI culture as well. Yeah.

James Turner 9:14
Well, you’ll recall that Barclays brought in a great leader from the US, a lady called Deanna Oppenheimer. And she was also, you know, really, really interesting one. I remember meeting her for the first time really clearly, you know, it’s like the scars on your back.

Colin Hunter 9:32

James Turner 9:33
She said, Look, James, you’re my head of internal audit. And she was running the UK retail bank. So I’ve got the following problems. So I’m a great believer that when people join, they’re full of energy, and it’s always interesting to see what they can do in their first week. So here’s my list of problems that I’ve got right now. How can you help me solve them in the first week, and then let’s meet on Friday and catch up and see how you did?

Colin Hunter 9:58
See how you sorted it up.

James Turner 10:00
Yeah, and you know, I don’t think I slept for a lot of that week.

Colin Hunter 10:04

James Turner 10:04
But she was also a very compassionate leader, very inclusive leader, and very different from Mark. And so one of the things I loved about her is it wasn’t just one type of person, it was a real variety. And so, you are able to learn from a whole series of great leaders. And I found that really helped me when I went from Barclays to Pru because that was the first time that I was the head of internal audit when I went into Pru. And that was when we worked together again because I realized all the things that I didn’t know. And I knew that I had to start again in terms of working with potential squared to build a team and a truly global team. And I knew that we had issues, but I think taking some of those learnings and barters really helped.

Colin Hunter 10:53
And it’s interesting because the characters in there, and I just remember sitting around with you run that table with Mark, and I think it was 14 people run that leadership table; I can’t remember, maybe including us, sat there. And I looked around, and I look how successful they’ve all been in many different ways and gone off in different directions. But it was sometimes it was a bunfight in a good way. Because there were so many egos and so many different styles of working, it was great to watch from the outside. And then when he got in, it was like, whoa, okay. Yeah, this is interesting. Yeah.

James Turner 11:25
No, I mean, if you think as you say, you know, people like Paul day, who are just taking a position at Standard Chartered, or Mary McNiff, who is, you know, super successful at Citi.

Colin Hunter 11:36

James Turner 11:36
You know, that was a very privileged group to be part of; that is a real testament to mark leadership because he hired that whole team, inspired them, motivated them, and retained them for a long time. I do remember looking back at one point after I left thinking, wow, I was part of something very special.

Colin Hunter 11:56
Yeah, I know. And I know you’re cycling with our Aaron Brewer tomorrow. Who’s part of that team as well? So and has gone in a different direction. I’m interested in one thing from that Barclays days, in terms of the edges rubbed off because we’ve had a number of conversations where people go down one path, and for those listening, maybe an internal audit is the only way I go, whereas you’ve had a varied career. And we talked about, you know, how you’ve wanted to stretch, go into different areas, what did you learn in Barclays that’s helped you do that?

James Turner 12:23
When I left, Barclays was still focused on the internal audit role, and I learned more of that when I was at Pru,

Colin Hunter 12:31

James Turner 12:31
And Pru, the culture was completely different. And that was another shock. I talked about shock. But it was a real shock going from Barclays to Pru because, in Barclays, it felt like it was a decision, every second value at risk. Everything was measured by the dollar by the moment. In Pru, some of the decisions you were taking were for 30 years; there was very much more of a focus right at the beginning about what is a customer outcome. I mean, it was just completely different. And at first, I found it very difficult. But one of the leadership things that I learned is you were guided. So the gentleman I was working for, you know, spent a lot of time kind of guiding me through the organization. I hired a lady from Barclays about ten years later, Hesty (inaudible), and she described it to me as Pru Q. So, like IQ EQ,

Colin Hunter 13:31

James Turner 13:31
So it’s like, you’ve got to learn pru Q, and I hadn’t realized it. But you know, almost a decade earlier, this guy Nick McAndrew had kind of taught me this. And he was the one who said, Look, we’re not hiring you for the head of internal audit; yes, you can clearly do that with your Barclays background. But it’s more the runway, the idea that you can do other things. We talked to teenagers or children or friends. And they come and say, Well, you know, why, what jobs I don’t know what job I want to do or what job I want to do next. And clearly, I’ve got through that initial concern, but I felt a bit like that child, again, in terms of, I don’t know what job I want to do next. And in the end, you know, a bit of luck, a bit of being the right person at the right place at the right time, an opportunity arose to go into the finance team, and I jumped at it, not knowing if I would like it. And I remember I would do something similar in Barclays. Just before I left, I did a couple of years in compliance. And the truth is, I hadn’t enjoyed it. So I didn’t like that experience. So I would go back into audit afterward. But this time, I jumped into the finance role, and I agreed with the CEO. I said to him, Look, if it doesn’t work, let’s just agree, you tell me I’m terrible at it, and I’ll leave.

Colin Hunter 14:51

James Turner 14:52
And if I really hate it, you know, let me out kinda thing.

Colin Hunter 14:56
Yeah. Nice.

James Turner 14:56
And that freedom to try something was great. Whilst it was a shock my first year and my first half year, I was blessed by a great team. I’ve been blessed by many great teams. But that was a great team of individuals who probably nursed me through it; the first one was pretty brutal. And I loved it; I absolutely loved it. And from there, the jump into risk was far easier because you got a much better understanding of what drove the numbers, what products were driving the profitability, what actions were driving the strength of the capital for the company, and therefore the jump into risk made more sense. But along that journey, you kept getting feedback. So whether it was with professional service firms, whether it was with leadership coaches, and one of the things about the Pru is that they encouraged, you know, very robust feedback, probably the best what I love them.

Colin Hunter 15:58
Slap with a wet fish.

James Turner 16:01
That was another shock that really helped me. Because even you know, most recently, during COVID, we’ve had to work really hard to keep the teams together to keep them motivated. And actually, prior to because I worked at UBS for many years, and a lady who was in UBS came and worked for me and helped me as chief of staff and Vicki, and she got me to do things that were completely outside my comfort zone. So podcasts for the team on all the mistakes you’ve made in the last six months, not things that you’re proud of, in the past that you dress a mistake up as a real success and something. But things that are just cringe-worthy, you know, embarrassing,

Colin Hunter 16:46

James Turner16:17
Embarrassing mistakes, just to both to humanize but also to really show that it’s okay.

Colin Hunter 16:56
Yeah. And I love that because if I just being an author of being more wrong, you know, there’s a principle in there then why not? Firstly, if I look at your opportunity to take that role and to take the journey into finance. You weren’t it, though. But you weren’t it from the mistakes and the edges that you’ve knocked off yourself or been knocked off in the past? And what did you learn about yourself, by the time because you were a different leader approved and you weren’t about this, I felt that when I walked in there?

James Turner 17:28
Well, it was really that initial feedback. So obviously, I’ve gone through an assessment center. And I was quite shocked by the feedback after I got the job. So one of the things they told me is that you never spoke about legacy. So when you went through this, it was more about what I would achieve, what I wanted to achieve, and what the team had achieved, but it wasn’t about what you left behind. It wasn’t about the sustainability of the team. And, you know, when it’s really banging on feedback.

Colin Hunter 17:59

James Turner 18:00
And it hits you, and you think, oh my goodness, that is so true, that really hit me. And that was one of a number. I was always curious, but realizing how much I didn’t know made me much more curious in terms of learning and listening to what was really going on both outside as well as inside the organization. And what that meant to me and how I was leading. I think in Barclays, I would learn to be courageous but perhaps not vulnerable.

Colin Hunter 18:32

James Turner 18:33
And so, one of the things that made a big difference was just kind of giving into that vulnerability. It changes you from having a strong personality and an easy way of actually asking more questions, rather than stating opinions, listening harder, and being more open-minded, classic leadership traits. But that was the difference between being a leader in boxes and being a leader in Pru.

Colin Hunter 19:00
Pru Q, I love that. So I want to come back in because you were talking about I interrupted you, sir. Just when you were going in, you were talking about your learning in the Pru Yeah. And you would move into this role in terms of the financial and then the movement, the risk role, and then into to where you are now, what’s in your head about what you want, and what your version of leadership is?

James Turner 19:25
So moving into the finance role was about learning for me; I felt that I would learn more from the team and from the experience than I could teach; that’s what I thought going in because I hadn’t done a mainstream finance role. You know, everyone talks about imposter syndrome. I mean, I remember someone on my team said, you know, they knew someone was coming in, and I overheard a conversation they said, let you know, you’re never going to guess who’s got the job because the person’s never done anything like This before. And honestly, my imposter syndrome just kind of went off the scale. So I went into it thinking it would be more about my Learn; it really was as well. But what I also found was that it was very siloed. And actually, one of the things that I was able to bring, and what was really important in that league in the finance piece, was bringing everybody together in service of not just delivering numbers but delivering insight. And to do that, they had to work together. And it was hugely competitive amongst these various silos. And I would ask people which team they work for. And it was like a trap, right? Because they say, I worked for this team and I and what I was trying to get to them is that they work for the Pru or something like that, or, you know, their work for our customers or something like, you know, who do you work for, and it would be, you know, in 30 seconds, I could always kind of test where we were along that journey.

Colin Hunter 21:03
Yeah. And particularly in a finance role, because you know, we’ve done a lot of finance, business, partnering work. And the ability to think as a business person in finance, as well as important. It’s not just the data is the insights; it’s the statements you get on top of it. I’m interested in just going back to that podcast or sharing all your screw-ups and everything else. And this is not to embarrass you. But you did mention before we came on the air that you’ve got a few stories that people have reminded you about if you had to look back and think right, two or three things that were mistakes or wrong, but actually shaped you what do you think are the two or three things during that time that have shaped you?

James Turner 21:44
So one was my approach to hiring. I didn’t just make this mistake; once I had made it a couple of times before, I learned it had different flavors for the wrong reasons I hired because I really respected the role that person had. So a partner in a big four firm, or I really respected the company. So I hired a really senior guy out of a well-known international investment bank, or I hired someone because they really impressed me, even though other people that interviewed them said no, no, this is that a terrible fit. And I thought I knew best. And so, when I did this internally, I named names. I just don’t think that’s fair still.

Colin Hunter 22:32
No either. No, I am not expecting that unless you can, and then no.

James Turner 22:37
But each of those errors causes problems both in the organization and problem. It wasn’t right for the person; it wasn’t right for the organization. And actually, it was avoidable. So my approach to hiring is completely different. As a result of this kind of recognition, I just had to go through different versions of that mistake. Now I look for leadership; I look for fellowship more than where they’ve worked. What background, you know,
I’m always not interested in that anymore.

Colin Hunter 23:07

James Turner 23:07
I’m interested in what they’ve done. How do they lead? I always ask about the scars on your back. Because typical interview question, what are the scars on your back? Tell me about things when things have gone really badly wrong. What did you learn from them? Because I always think that people fall into two categories, those that are prepared to admit the things that have gone horribly wrong in an interview and what they’ve learned from it, and those that are not.

Colin Hunter 23:33

James Turner 23:34
Or have been so lucky that nothing’s ever gone wrong.

Colin Hunter 23:37

James Turner 23:37
And if you’ve been that lucky,

Colin Hunter 23:39
I don’t believe you.

James Turner 23:41
I don’t want it to change on my watch because you don’t know how you’re going to react when it does.

Colin Hunter 23:45

James Turner 23:45
Or perhaps you haven’t got the self-awareness to recognize the mistakes you’ve made. So that would be one kind of chunk of errors that I’ve made.

Colin Hunter 23:54
Definitely dwell on that for a second because I love that in my mind; I’m with you because I’ve got imposter syndrome and always look at, Oh, he’s worked, or she’s worked for this big company. And they’ve got this degree, and they went to this university. And the more you glamorize, all of those things you forget about the human that’s in front of you. And what we’re doing this year is something called the 500, which is looking at how you increase equity and career choices for individuals in society. And there is this big thing for people a number of people listening and saying, Yeah, that’s fueling a system of privilege. Yeah, by doing that, and I think it’s really good that you picked it up. But it’s very difficult to fall out of that. Because as a leader, you’ve got the risk of making a mistake and saying, Well, you’re rejected, this person had this credibility and background, you’ve taken a risk on this other person. What’s your thinking when you’re in that mode?

James Turner 24:44
Well, I mean, that’s the beauty of being a risk director and, you know, a senior leader in the organization is ultimately responsible for everyone we hire in the teams worldwide, and actually, I just genuinely don’t care about it anymore.

Colin Hunter 24:59

James Turner 24:59
So You know, it’s like the ex-smoker thing; I really am only interested in what’s on has achieved what they think they can achieve that what motivates them? What are their values? What are their ethics? What’s the experience that’s brought them to where they are today? And what are they hoping to achieve? Who are they as leaders? You know, how do they lead? How do they lead when things are going badly?

Colin Hunter 25:24

James Turner 25:25
It’s dead easy when things are going well. But when we’re really tested, when things are going really badly, that’s what I’m interested in. So actually, it’s easier now because whether it’s through blind CVS or there are so many tools that one can use, the whole approach to hiring has completely changed.

Colin Hunter 25:45

James Turner 25:46
I think it’s just radically shifting. And if you don’t shift, you will not get the talent.

Colin Hunter 25:51

James Turner 25:52
I mean, here’s the rub. Actually, I think the power is with the candidate. And I would say to those listening is you are the ones with the power to choose who you want to work for. And it’s my job and my colleague’s job to sell; the organization is a place where you want to work. Because if you don’t, you can go and work a million other places, or you can set up your own business and be hugely successful. I think the old-school approach is bad.

Colin Hunter 26:23
It’s good to hear because a lot of organizations are almost, in some ways, putting, you know, shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic at the moment, just saying, Well, can we get more flexibility? Can we get more I think they’re missing a trick that actually it’s much more about the passion that, as you say, the person coming for the job has the opportunity to shift and shape it. And I think there’s also a huge amount of talent that we miss. I mean, UCAS said they only tap into 25% of the real potential talent that’s out there at the moment. So we got to do something about that. Screw right. Love that. Thank you for that, sir. You said one thing that you screwed up; I’m not going to lie. Anyway, let’s get a second thing you screwed up. Now you were having lunch with somebody who was giving you a story. Is that part of the script that we can do?

James Turner 27:08
Yeah, that was really. I had lunch with an old Barclays colleague. And I said, Look, I’m going into this with Colin; she described me as I said, Well, you better tell me some things I’ve done wrong. And she said, Well, James, you know, you can be very blunt. And she gave me a couple of examples of, you know, I walked into an office and commented about what someone was wearing at seven o’clock in the morning because we would go in early and things that you wouldn’t dream of necessarily doing today. But no, the thing that she reminded me of was, she said, you know, once you’re on your team, you’re always on the team.

Colin Hunter 27:41

James Turner 27:42
And actually, it feeds actually very warming. That wasn’t an estate story. I will give you a different one. When we talk about diversity and inclusion, it tends to be, or it can be quite limited in terms of the categories of diversity and inclusion that we consider. And one of the areas that I’ve certainly struggled with was on in terms of almost like mental diversity, and people who are very introspective and, and not kind of gregarious in their nature that more introverted, and there’s a guy on my team at the moment, who is absolutely brilliant. I mean, brilliant, one of the best people I’ve ever, ever, ever worked with. I so respect him. But when I first met him, I didn’t, And I remember having a conversation with him. And I just did not get where he was coming from. It was as if we were speaking completely different languages. And I thought that I could just fix a problem, he had an issue, and I thought I could just fix the problem. And so I thought the problem was money and roll. So I went out and had a challenging conversation with HR; I got him a contract with more money and a bigger title and something else. And I gave it to him proudly, thinking I’ve resolved your problem.

Colin Hunter 29:04
Here’s my gift to you.

James Turner 29:07
Yeah. Here’s my gift for you. And what he basically said to me is A) You didn’t listen; that’s not my problem. B) I’m not going to sign this contract. I didn’t ask for this contract. I don’t want it, and I don’t want the conditions that go with it. And it really shocked me because I thought I had listened. I thought I would do a good thing. And it was because I wasn’t listening. This guy was actual. Right? And I’m not saying; I deal with you know, I work with 1000s of actors now.

Colin Hunter 29:36
Yeah. And there used to be a time where you could make jokes about activities, but actually, you know, there’s a lot of these people are just fundamentally brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Yeah.

James Turner 29:45
And this guy is fundamentally brilliant, but because I hadn’t listened, I nearly lost him.

Colin Hunter 29:53

James Turner 29:53
It was his resilience to not being heard that he gave me a second chance.

Colin Hunter 30:00

James Turner 30:00
And the second time, I listened properly.

Colin Hunter 30:03

James Turner 30:04
But it was such a close call that it changed how I listened and changed how I dealt with people that had that type of characteristic.

Colin Hunter 30:14
I love that. I always remember sitting at being training with a group, and one guy who just wasn’t didn’t look like he was interested all day, and we got to dinner. And I sat over dinner; I just realized he was an incredibly deep thinker. And he was involved with SAP HANA. So putting the new version of Hana. Yeah, And I sat there and just asked a few questions in the evening. And normally, I wouldn’t have, but I thought, God, the best two hours I’ve had for a long while just on trying to get my head around what his head naturally got itself around. And by the end of it, I felt this big, very small, because I realized that this person’s brain was massive, you know, so much better than mine in terms of thinking through these problems. But I also had a better understanding of some of the people that are potentially in the neurodiverse area, or in a different way, and they get rejected because of behavioral patterns by others, which is totally wrong.

James Turner 31:13
And not to labor a point. But honestly, I can’t describe how differently I consider this guy and his whole team, and you know, etc. It’s just amazing.

Colin Hunter 31:24
I want to come back to the story about being at once you’re on the team; you’re always on the team because there’s still people who I talked to, you know, Mustafa (inaudible) New York still talks, everybody talks positively about the time that they had with you, and they’ll make a couple of jokes about the James ah James. But there’s always something behind that James in there. But there is something about it; it must be nice for you to hear that you’ve made an impression.

James Turner 31:54

Colin Turner 31:54
It worked. And not only you’ve helped them, but they’ve helped you in terms of growth. Yeah,

James Turner 31:59
There are a few things. So one fellowship, this idea of fellowship is really important to me; I’ve been blessed to work for some really great leaders, who I’ve stayed in contact with, and continue to take counsel and advice of. But also, when you pick great teams, or when you’ve worked with great teams, when they leave and how they leave and how you help them to leave and the fun you have with them. When they’re still there is great. And I don’t do Facebook in lots of social media. But when I was on LinkedIn, I happened to be in Singapore at the moment, I looked up my kind of contacts, and I realized that there were a dozen people I knew here that I didn’t know what they weren’t necessarily here six months ago, I’ve reached out to them. And you know, yes, you have to make some effort. But wow, what a diverse community after so many years, and some really great people that you can trust and that can introduce you to or make suggestions or honestly give you really hard feedback. I saw that posting. And is that what you meant, or, I mean, when we spoke just before we came on, you made a comment about something I would write on Strava. Because you know, I’ve also got that kind of love of cycling right now. But this idea of staying in contact, I don’t go to work to make friends. But if people become friends, when we’re at work, like any friends, you want to invest in those friendships. But what I found is that it’s sometimes great to work with someone and then not work with them. And they go and do their own thing. And they work with them again, ten years later, or 15 years later, and they may, or you may work for them 10 or 15 years.

Colin Hunter 33:55

James Turner33:55
And That’s fantastic.

Colin Hunter 33:57
It is. It’s nice. I had that opportunity where I was able to work for somebody who I highly respected, and he came to work for me, and it was such a weird moment. It was a weird moment later on to do that. But I like that. I don’t go to work to make friends. But the respect that people hold you in is so high. It’s nice. It’s a bit like your words about Mark’s caravan as well. Because Mark was tough. I mean, you know, there were standards delivered against, you know, emails early in the morning. You know, it was regular things that he did, but actually, he set up a group of people to go off and have amazing careers on the back end of it. So yeah,

James Turner 34:32
I think there’s a lot written about grit right now.

Colin Hunter 34:36

James Turner 34:37
And Wow. Did we learn that?

Colin Hunter 34:42
Yeah. So if I go back to the lady, you met in Trinidad. Yeah. And she said that I should be interviewing here today. Is that the same lady in Trinidad?

James Turner 34:51
No, So I mislead you.

Colin Hunter 34:53
Oh, okay

James Turner 34:53
That was my wife. Fiona And I met her when I was at school. And when I said like, one of the things they’re going to ask me about is mistakes I’ve made or challenges. Yeah, I mean, you know, sure. I’ve been blessed to be married for 27 years. So we’ve known each other for a long time.

Colin Hunter 35:08

James Turner 35:08
So she’s seen all of my mistakes.

Colin Hunter 35:10
Okay, I’ll get her on the next podcast. And then we’ll see where she says that. No, I don’t think it’s fair to do that; no, Andy Slee had that as well. But it’s, I want to end with just a couple of things. Because the next phase for you is always important. And we’ve been talking about the next phase for a number of years as we met up; what is the next phase for you?

James Turner 35:29
Ultimately, I want to run a business. That’s what I’ve learned; the greater the proximity that I’ve been to being in the business and helping people make decisions and making decisions and more I’ve enjoyed it. And I think there’s still lots more I need to learn. Right? So I don’t feel in any way like the finished article; I still feel like a student in terms of things I need to learn. And there are
some gaps that I need to fill before I would feel confident to make that jump. But that’s ultimately what I would like to do. I don’t think that’s necessarily my next jump. But I think that’s ultimately where I would like to go.

Colin Hunter 36:07
Amazing. So I want to go back to a comment you made about legacy earlier on because we have an expression which we borrowed, which is, you know, we plant trees that will never sit under, yeah. If you had, you know, some seeds that you were planting now that you want to plant for the future. And you’re looking at your kids, and you’re thinking about what could I do to set the world to be a better place and leadership? And what you do, what would they be,

James Turner 36:33
I think courage and courageousness, I think are two a number of values you could pick and an endless list of attributes that you would want to be, whether it’s vulnerable, etc. But for me, it’s courage, courageousness curiosity. So I think if you’re always looking at something new if you’re always open to new ideas, if you’re prepared to recognize that something worked or didn’t work, but that’s okay. You can keep looking. And then be curious. I think that’s great. I think courage, especially, you know, that’s something to grit; it’s linked to resilience. It’s linked to being brave but also vulnerable with that courage. Because I think you got to be really brave to be vulnerable, it’s the hardest bit of courage. Hopefully, it would be that curiosity and courage.

Colin Hunter 37:29
Amazing. James has been a real pleasure to catch up to hear stuff that I never knew about before. And to relive some of the old times as well. It’s been great if people want to get in contact with you or learn more about you. How could they do that?

James Turner 37:43
My email is turner.james@me.com. LinkedIn is the easiest way to get a hold of me, if I’m honest.

Colin Hunter 37:51
Oh, nice and enjoy the cycle around Singapore. Are you doing the whole route around Singapore tomorrow? Are you doing a shorter?

James Turner 37:58
I don’t know where he’s going to take me tomorrow. I went on one of his earlier routes earlier in the week and made the mistake of navigating to the start of the course. So I think I cycled from my hotel to where Aaron lives and then back around the islands. So instead of doing 100 kilometers, I ended up doing 114 nearly killed me.

Colin Hunter 38:16
You’re a fitter man than me at the moment. So it’s lovely to speak to you. And I look forward to catching up soon. Thank you, James Turner.

James Turner 38:22
Thank you very much.

Colin Hunter 38:32
Well, that was an amazing episode. Thank you, James, for joining us. I was struck by a number of things going through that I think one was the conversation about the change the learning ease and about recruitment, the key thing in there in terms of not looking at the CV or the type of organization but truly looking at the human behind there and what they’re bringing in terms of behaviors and values, to what the work is and how they’re going to work as a team. I think the second thing that comes to me is about the legacy that James has about once you’re in his team, you’re always in his team, and that comment from one of his previous people has worked with them to say that you’re always in there, but he’s developed his leadership style over the years to allow people to feel that and be part of that which is great. Such a fascinating conversation. Thank you, James, for joining, and I look forward to welcoming you to another episode of the leadership tales podcast soon