Council Profile: Geoff Cosgriff
1 December 2010 By Leadership
Geoff Cosgriff (WCLP ’90) is the Director of Infocos P/L and is actively engaged as an Executive Coach, Mentor and Business Strategy advisor for a wide range of clients. He is also a member of Leadership Victoria’s Council and spoke to Jamie Cooke about his experience.
How did you come to be on LV’s Council?
I did the original Williamson Community Leadership Program in 1990. I thought it was just such a wonderful experience that when I was approached by the council I jumped at it. I thought it was just a great opportunity to give back.
What do you value most about your role on Council?
The opportunity to give something back to the organisation and to be able to contribute my experience on aspects of governance, strategy and future growth.
What makes a good leader?
Integrity, strategic vision and the ability to listen and empower a team.
Can you describe two key moments in your life that have shaped you as a leader?
WCLP was a major influence. While I was doing the program I was in the formative stage of establishing an IT company that grew to about 550 employees.
Through WCLP I was fortunate enough to be exposed to some very high profile people and got a much deeper understanding of the issues they were trying to address and the leadership skills they were applying. I was able to fast track those learnings into my own experience with the company. It was very valuable.
Some of the people I have worked with have also shaped me as a leader. I learnt a lot from the former MD of Melbourne Water, Kingsley Culley, during a major transformation program. He is very focused on strategy and helping people stick to that strategy.
Leadership is usually attributed to heads of business and government leaders, can you tell us about an ‘every day’ leader whom you admire?
One of the most inspirational people I’ve come across is Jim Stynes. What he does in terms of leading his own organisation, Reach, transforming the Melbourne Football Club even while he’s tackling his own health issues, is amazing. He’s still very actively helping the community and giving his time and it’s really, quite inspirational.
My daughters are also great examples of ‘everyday leaders’.
One is in Central America running a range of health care programs. She’s a qualified occupational therapist but she’s able to help the local community in a number of ways – running fitness classes for some of the women, providing guidance on how to improve quality of life and teaching English to some of the underprivileged kids.
My other daughter is a qualified nurse and paramedic in Melbourne. She shows an immense amount of leadership by saving lives everyday.
Tell us about the leadership roles you occupy outside of LV?
I spend most days working as a mentor and coach for CEO’s of a number of organisations in business sectors such as education, technology, manufacturing, communications, energy and professional services. Working with talented people who are trying to lead their business to the next level of growth keeps me really engaged.
I also work on some public company boards, Transurban and UXC, and Chair the Advisory Board for the Better Regulatory Service for the Building and Construction Program through the Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development.
How has your leadership style evolved? What lessons have you learnt?
As I’ve become older and wiser I now consider the bigger picture and look at all the stakeholder areas, rather than quickly analysing an issue and looking for a solution. I’m much more strategic in developing the enablers to achieve longer term outcomes.
What’s the best piece of advice you could offer any leader?
Listen actively, empower your people and lead with integrity.