NO IFs..., BUTs OR MAYBEs...

(Apology, Rudyard Kipling)

When all around you are losing theirs, keep your head.

Royal Commission notwithstanding, the relevance and currency of those words extend beyond Australian bankers, insurance agents, financial planners and mortgage brokers.

Every person, brand, company, product, service, application and concept is being subjected to scrutiny, audit and review. Transparency and accountability lead the agenda of most aspects of business.

Personal, corporate, individual and collective worth are being questioned, and rightly so. It should have been for ever thus. Many customers, it seems, have been short-changed.


At times like these it is important to accept responsibility. Resist taking the blame in isolation, particularly when all seem to doubt you. Whether it’s internal or external to a company, it is important that leadership is apparent, consistent, articulated, supported, applauded, endorsed and celebrated. That attribute appears to be in short-supply at present. “Sitting on the fence” and “spinning wheels” do not reflect leadership. “Follow me” is a style which is back in vogue, and is re-emerging.

The “road ahead” will have many twists, turns and peaks to conquer. Milestones should be checked off, quantified and maintained.

Allowances will need to be made for “doubting Thomas’s”, of which there will be many. Self-belief will be, is, and always has been a virtue. Self-monitoring provides reassurance.

The immediate challenges for nations, regions, sectors and professions will be formidable. Remedial actions will be draining. Therefore, it is imperative that one overcomes tiredness. Ultimate success and progress will have their own rewards.


At no time should lies be contemplated, or tolerated.

It is unconscionable, to charge for services which have not been sought, have been paid for but never utilised. Issuing or maintaining life insurance policies for the dead is simply beyond this world.

Be true to yourself. To do otherwise is to cheat yourself.

The evidence during, and the consequences since the conduct, conclusion and release of the report from the Australian Banking Royal Commission is sufficient to identify the extent, toxic nature and adverse manifestations of lies, many of which were ingrained in corporate cultures.

Those will not die, and the perpetrators will have to live with them and themselves.

There are no shades of grey in lies. It’s a matter of black and white.


In moments of anxiety, panic and concern a “cool head” is a magnet that facilitates cohesion, integration and focus. For some two decades home builders, property developers and real estate agents were too involved in reaping the fruits and benefits of continuing “boom” times.

Returns from an investment in taking the time to contemplate and to ponder the question, “what if”? were not recognised, nor respected. The consequences are typically immediate, sustainable and profound.

“Buts” and “Maybes” need to be considered in context. They are seldom barriers or impediments. Rather, they demand justification, and that is reasonable and ultimately reassuring. There are lessons aplenty awaiting those in the broader retail sector.

Imagine the scope possible for the Brexit negotiations between Britain and the European Union, and within Westminster. Accountability and justification apply to all.

Funding, construction and the administration of a wall on the border between the United States of America and Mexico may well be another issue.

In that instance key questions relate to the aim itself. Some things are not negotiable, as evidenced in the attitudes of the US President and the Democrats in Congress. What is the aim? Raw political power. The proposed wall is simply a means to that aim.


With the effluxion of time, good times will return.

In those periods, as now, it is important to not look or present “too good”. Talking too much will have little or no audience.

Don’t stop dreaming. However, dreams and their content must never become the aim.

And yes, think. Share those thoughts. Develop, refine, reinforce and extend them. But avoid the temptation to make them the final objective.

Innovate, create and simplify. Each is an essential attribute of disruption.

Don’t leave it to others to ask, “IF?”


Volatility, toxicity and dysfunction are each components of the prevailing marketplace and, seemingly, the cultures of many entities throughout the world, across Australia, within communities and among peers, clients and associates.

At a time when all around you are losing their heads, a measure of stability, consistency and integrity is greatly valued.

A measure of balance will enable the “ship” to be steadied, a new course to be set and broad horizons challenged and conquered.

IF (only). Thank you Rudyard Kipling.


Barry Urquhart

Conference Keynote Speaker

Marketing Focus

M:  041 983 5555


L:  (08) 9257 1777