Speaker 0 00:00:03 Welcome to the culture of things with Brendan Rodgers. This is a podcast where we talk culture leadership and teamwork and plus business.
Speaker 1 00:00:22 Hello everybody. I'm Brendan Rogers, the host of the culture things podcast. And this is episode 15 today. I'm talking with Adam crouch. Adam is the new South Wales liberal state government member for Terrigal. He's also the government whip parliamentary secretary for the central coast and deputy chair for the standing committee of parliamentary privilege and ethics crouchy as he is affectionately known is an unbelievably hardworking leader in the central coast community. I doubt there's a street. He hasn't walked a house. He hasn't visited or a community group that he hasn't engaged with at some point in time across his electorate in the broader central coast. I definitely haven't asked Adam to come on and talk politics, but I do want to focus our conversation today on leadership in public office. Crouchy welcome to the culture of things podcast. Wow. That was an amazing introduction. Brendan. I've got to say that I was embraced.
Speaker 1 00:01:16 I'd vote. Oh, sorry. I can't talk about politics. I sat, I could vote for me after that sort of intro. That was great. Thank you very much. And look, it's a pleasure to be here. Thank you for taking up the time. A question that I know my listeners will want to ask, because I get this, I get asked this sometimes is, you know, you're fixing known as crouchy when you grouchy. Oh, look, I've got to say I'm very rarely in my grouchy. I got to say and look at the crouchy thing came from the premiere. So she's always called me. Crouchy from day one. It sort of stuck and um, and she does it publicly as well. So it's not just private, so it will be out and she just automatically calls me crouchy and uh, to the point where sometimes I'm not sure everyone knows my first name's actually Adam, but, um, now it's, it's stuck and look, I'm playing.
Speaker 1 00:01:57 I'm proud that people realize I'm just a normal person. I put my pants on one leg at a time, like everybody else. Um, yeah. And he's fine. And it's great to be out with people when you're out in the community and people feel relaxed enough to say, how's it going? You what's happening. Um, it makes people feel more comfortable, I suppose, that I'm just a normal human bang, uh, big and it's the premiers fault. So yeah, Gladys calls me crap all the time. She's done it. She's actually done it in question time in parliament, which was a bit confronting because everyone's sort of looking at her, Hey, cranky, how's it going? You know, but again, it's all about keeping it real and that's what politics, I think, I think politicians need to have that reality check and say, keep it real. And my evidence of that today is the, uh, it's a Friday morning, the 26th of June, just to date stamp this.
Speaker 1 00:02:42 And you've commonly worn a Liverpool football club scar for me because we've taken the championship today. The first time in 30 years, I was going to say, 30 years is an amazing, amazing lead up to a win. So the least I could do was Don this the only time I'd ever wear red. Let me tell as a, as a liberal person is for some it's for a friend. So look very happy to Don the red scarf for you and happy to take the photo and would under the, all those poor suffering Liverpool fans, who've had 30 years in the making for this, but I'm sure they're all celebrating.
Speaker 2 00:03:13 We've had to eat a Walnut, but thank you. I appreciate it. But let's get into our interview topic. What I just want you to explain, cause I'm sure there's a lot of listeners listeners out there. And to be honest, me included, you know, when you talk about your role as a member, what does that involve? But also I want you to talk about your role as a parliamentary secretary of the central coast, because there they are leadership roles. What are those roles about?
Speaker 1 00:03:35 It's an interesting job. I mean, as we were talking a little earlier, before we came on air, I don't think people plan to get into politics. It's something that they make a decision about. They're passionate about. Um, they want to speak for others. And I think as I was growing up, I always was never afraid to take a step forward. Whether it be in the sport, I was a swimmer. So I was a captain of my swimming tables and, and student representative roles. And so I think from an early age, some people want to help others. It certainly isn't about power or money or influence it's about what you can do to actually help people, whether it be at a local level, as a member on a broader level, as the parliamentary secretary, the parliamentary secretary, his position effectively means that the premier has said to me, I want you to keep it on all things central coast for me.
Speaker 1 00:04:20 Um, there are four seats on the central coast, obviously Gosford, Wyong the entrance and Terrigal, of course. And so my job is to oversee that the government projects and the government's policies and the government's initiatives, they're all being delivered, um, right across the central coast. So it's a big job. So in addition to my, my job has being a member of a Terrigal, which is the greatest privilege you can ever have is to represent others. And so it's two prongs. I've got to make sure that my constituents and my people are getting delivered, what we've promised to them and on a broader level, all the other areas across the coast and you know, the government, it's a big job because we've made some massive commitments across the central coast, you know, billion, over a billion dollars with a road, the, the delivery of our hospitals, uh, my wife's a nurse and a, you know, just see the delivery of, of great health care on the central coast is so important because the region's growing.
Speaker 1 00:05:17 It's growing very quickly. It's one of the fastest growing regions in new South Wales. In addition to that, we've projected about another 90,000 people living here in the next 20 years. So all of this infrastructure has got to be delivered, whether it be schools, roads, hospitals, additional place, additional nurses, additional doctors, additional teachers, all that stuff has to be planned for in advance. And it's my job to make sure that all those things are being ticked off. So I, I obviously talked to the premier regularly, very regularly. Actually, most people don't realize she's very hands on, which is a good leadership quality. She's not, she wouldn't ask somebody to do something. She wouldn't do herself. And I had the same opinion, I suppose, that I wouldn't ask anybody to do something for me unless I was prepared to step up and do it, or I've already done it once before.
Speaker 1 00:06:00 But it's about being accessible. People realizing they can talk to you about whatever their issues might be. You can't solve every problem. It's like business. I mean, politics and being a parliamentarian. It is a business and the business is people and looking after them and delivering the pro the products, which are things, roads, hospitals, et cetera. So it's a, it's a really interesting job. It can be frustrating because you want to solve everyone's problems, but you can't always do it. But what you can do is hopefully steer them in the right direction to get the best possible outcome for what they're trying to achieve and stay focused. It's is a, it's a job like no other. And, uh, uh, by way of background, I was elected in 2015 and, um, I will still never, ever forget that Saturday when I was elected. It is you is probably the most humbling moment of my entire life to know that the majority of people of the 55,000 advisers said, we want you to be a voice.
Speaker 1 00:06:55 And I think every like any good person, once you need to know where your limits are, you need to know when you've done the job you wanted to do. Um, you need to be able to be confident that you are doing the right thing. You don't get it right all the time, but you've got to be confident to take the step forward and saying, I'm going to fight for this. I'll never forget walking back from Terrigal public school. And I was walking. I actually had my father in love with me at the time who had dumped on a polling both for the day. And we were walking back and I stopped. And there's a point at Terrigal where there's some public seating. It looks back across on broad foresters. And it's probably one of my spectacular views. And I just, you sit there and you take it in and you realize that as far as you look, there are people there.
Speaker 1 00:07:34 And they're saying it, that's the guy who want to be a voice. And it's a, it's a great level. And it's also really humbling. And, um, obviously we're, we repeated the exercise in 2019 and I was reelected on an increased margin, which is always reassuring. Cause that means that the majority of people will say hi yet crouch. He's actually doing a good job. We like him and we wanted to keep doing it. So it's, it's been an incredible ride. Um, it, wasn't something I'd, I'd always had a passion for politics and leadership and helping others. And I think it's a combination of all of those things,
Speaker 2 00:08:06 Drivers around getting into politics. And I asked that I really want to get an idea of your mindset around that because there's so many people they would say, are you crazy?
Speaker 1 00:08:17 Yeah, look, my mum was the first one he said, are you nuts? Um, I remember ringing her when I decided to put my hand up for pre selection of a Terrigal. And, uh, I had a very, very, very solid job working in the printing industry. And I'd been in there for 23 years, but it was, it was time. I mean, you know, you can earn a lot of money, but not have any job satisfaction. You know, here you get the most amazing level of job satisfaction. It is. It's nothing like it. And I'd always been sort of politically driven a lot. I'm a child of the art. I was born in the seventies. So I grew up through, through the eighties. And, you know, that was a time when we had political leaders who were not afraid to make a decision and stick by it.
Speaker 1 00:08:58 It may have been tough calls. You know, I talk about leaders, you know, whether it be, you know, Reagan, Thatcher, you know, Bob Hawk, um, you know, it doesn't matter which side of politics you're from, but there were conviction politicians. They'd say, you know, this is what's best for the majority of people and we're going to go with it, whether it be deregulating the dollar or, you know, with Margaret Thatcher, you know, standing up to their mining unions. Um, and I've got a silent self-confessed fair to Margaret Thatcher. And, um, I suppose again, my tragic following of politics that dates back to primary school. And I remember we had to do a project on the person we most admired. I grew up in Adelaide. So most of the kids I went to school with, you know, it was the, was David Hawks or the chapel brothers and, you know, Don Bradman and yeah, mine was Margaret Thatcher.
Speaker 1 00:09:42 And I, um, I write, I wrote to Margaret Thatcher when I was doing this project and got a letter back from number 10. Um, I'm pretty sure that 1984 was a leap year because it came because of the date of the letter that came back. And I still got the letter to this day, but there were people who weren't afraid to take on a challenge and, and speak up whether that was a tough call or not. And so I think that was the start of it. I said to watch people like that, and then you see the bit of that erosion around leadership, political leadership, and people making the populous decision rather than the tough right decision. And, you know, I'm very privileged. I was elected into government, which again is a huge privilege to do so you can, you can influence the outcomes for so many people when you're in government.
Speaker 1 00:10:25 And, you know, I was lucky. I, I, you know, Mike Baird was the premiere followed by Gladys Berejiklian. So I had two exemplary premiers who were not afraid to step outside the comfort zone to make decisions, to get things done. Um, and so, yeah, so long story short, it was a, it was a buildup over time. Um, I grew up, I grew up with a family full of teachers, so that, that in itself was interesting because traditionally teachers don't tend to be on the liberal side of politics, but it also made for really, really entertaining family dinners. You know, when you've got a grandfather who is a diehard labor teacher, and you've got me whose greatest heroes, Margaret Thatcher, he just thought that was appalling. And I noticed that you've got a copy of my maiden speech ceremony and it's in there. And to say that our family discussions were fiery, he was an understatement.
Speaker 1 00:11:13 And I remember the first time that I bought my, my now wife to, to meet my family and we had a family dinner and she just thought we were about to get into a punch up. But that's, that's the thing it's all about having that respectful, fiery, passionate discussion about something and, you know, and dogmatically defending your point of view on it. And people are too scared to do that. These days are too scared about offending somebody. And I think that I think it's more offensive to not speak up and not take the fight, not point put your point of view. You know, you're never going to please everybody. There's always going to be somebody that's going to be outraged by something. And that's the hardest part with the rise of social media. We've seen this sort of confected outrage. And I, I do, I call it the convicted outright squad.
Speaker 1 00:11:56 We see all around the country, all around the world. And I think people need to get back to basics sometimes. And you can have a really good animated arguments slash discussion without walking away being offended. And I think people need to toughen up a little bit occasionally. And so I was brought up in that environment. I said, mum's teacher mom's, sister's a teacher, both my grandparents were teachers. And so it was, it was a good, you know, those sorts of things play down habit as much as they shouldn't be more. And, um, so yeah, I was really lucky. And the other thing is I have parents, I'm an only child. I had parents that never held me back. You know, mum and dad said, you can be whatever you want to be in life if you put your mind to it. So I was really lucky.
Speaker 1 00:12:36 I had great parents, mom and dad are awesome. You know, they live still live in South Australia. I remember when I said, when I rang them to going to run it, I mean, dad was just delighted. He was just so chuffed and mom was terrified and she just went, why are you giving up a great job for this? And you know, you know, people think so lowly of politicians. And I just said, yeah, but you can't sit on the outside and complain about the outcome. If you're not prepared to have a go at it and say, you, you have a crack and I'm going to sit in my second term. Now we've delivered so much staff. And I'm so proud of that. And to be that voice, to be that person to defend what I think is right. And, you know, the public are pretty clearly and they can smell a fake and they can smell someone.
Speaker 1 00:13:17 That's just saying what they want to hear. And I think that's been the other key to this is, you know, don't try and con people just be genuine. I came from a sales background and just politics is a bit like sales to some degree. I mean, you're the product you're selling the government wares, but never promise something you can't deliver because it's your integrity, your name at the end of it. And I'm so proud of the fact that over the last, almost five years now, I've never promised something I couldn't deliver. I've never committed to something I couldn't do. And that's where I think a lot of other parliamentarians and I prefer the word parliamentarian to politician. I've got to say, I mean, it's such an honor to walk into a chamber. I think people need to realize that it's an honor and a privilege to walk into, whether it be a federal parliamentarian or a state parliamentarian or a local government member. It's an honor. And it's not something you should take lightly or be disrespectful of because people will judge you because of that.
Speaker 2 00:14:14 Let's go back to some of these qualities you talked about in leaders and you know, that that real conviction, you know, their beliefs came through Margaret Thatcher, you've talked about yet. You did mention that in your maiden speech, you brought that letter in your office as well. So you'll have to say, even from my perspective, I was writing the sport then. So I would've thought you were a bit strange at that age as well. What is, if you think about Fetcher, you mentioned Reagan Bob Hawk as well on a different side of politics, again, a fantastic prime minister for Australia. What are those things, those values or those traits in those leaders that really do it for you? Look,
Speaker 1 00:14:47 I kind of think, I think it's the honesty and the toughness of saying, yep, I know this isn't going to be the most popular decision, but it's the right decision. And we saw that globally during the eighties, you know, it was a pretty scary time in the world. So for people like Reagan and Thatcher and Hawk and others to stand up and go, no, no, no. We've got to follow these things through. We've got to not Squibb the tough decisions. And I said, I was lucky enough to see leaders like that and say, you know, you turn on the TV at night. And the other thing is there was no social media. So I've had the privilege of meeting John Howard many, many times and same thing. Here's a guy, you know, port Arthur was great case in point, you know, here's a man that said to a country we're going to take away your automatic weapons.
Speaker 1 00:15:32 Now that was probably one of the gutsiest things in your head, Tim Fisher, who, again, I've also met, you know, the late Tim Fisher, an amazing leader. You know, they're the two of them stood and said to this nation, we are going to take this away because it's not necessary. And it's putting people in harm's way. And as it turns out, it was one of the best decisions his country's ever had. All of this was playing out in front of me as a younger person. I mean, obviously a little bit older when, when Howard became prime minister, you look at John Howard and here's a guy who'd been kicked that many times politically, but he kept at it. He kept at it and he kept at him. You can bump into John Howard. He's always approachable, always amenable, always happy to have a chat, even though they're under huge pressure.
Speaker 1 00:16:13 And Nope, let us is the same. I mean, you know, Corona's been a really good example of strong leadership and here's a lady trying to protect 8 million people. And yet she still has time to Tim send me a text message to check on something locally. That's what a good leader does. A good leader tries to do the best they can for everybody. And as she said before, you know, it was a scary time for everybody. I know she's had plenty of sleepless nights. I mean, later Easter, I mean, Easter was terrifying because it takes 10 days before we know the outcome of what, tell him with an invite with the virus. So you make a decision and you, you were going to find out in 10 days, whether it was good or bad or horrific. And, um, and we're seeing some that playing out of Victoria at the moment. So, you know, it is a tough call being in leadership because I said, there's always somebody out there. That's not going to like what you're doing. And you've got to be prepared to wear it on the chin, except it, and move on to the next thing. And, but also hopefully learn from it. Some, some of the criticisms obviously unwarranted, um, some of it's absolutely warranted.
Speaker 3 00:17:13 Let's talk about that actually. Cause I'd like to just get your thoughts around politics today. And as every day goes by, it's almost like the community just loses that little bit more faith and trust in politics and politicians. And you know, you do have to respect the roles, but what is it about politics and politicians today that you think where the disengagement is coming from the community,
Speaker 1 00:17:39 Social media, I think plays a huge part in them. I mean, there's no filter on it and it's, it can be so corrosive. And so divisive part of being the government whip. So my job is to look after all of our MPS and I went, met all of our new MPS to, to educate them and help them through it. And one of the things I've said to them is social media can be your greatest asset. It could also be your worst weapon to be used against you. You've got to use it judiciously responsibly, and we've seen cases on a daily basis where that doesn't happen. And I think that is something that people need to be very mindful of. You know, with the greatest respect, social media is not democratic good examples. I see social media as you shop from. So, and this is what I've said.
Speaker 1 00:18:23 You know, this is not, this isn't a free for all. This is not a place for everyone to sling off at somebody else. And it needs to be treated respectfully by those who are using it. And those who are actually reading it and consuming it. So we have a pretty, pretty tough position on this. You know, if you're going to hop onto one of my social media pages and look, to be honest, I'm on to I'm on Facebook and Instagram and that is eat. We use it as a tool to put out a message. We are not going to engage in, in debate on it because it's just not, it's not the respectful and right way to do it. If someone wants to have a chat with me, that's something we're doing. They can come and see me or talk to me on the phone and actually have a real cop, a real conversation about it.
Speaker 1 00:18:58 Not some diatribe at 2:00 AM because you've had a couple of drinks and you want to unload and attack other people. It's pretty gutless. I've got to say, and you can hide behind fake names. We've seen it here on the central coast. You get the, I said the convicted outrage squad, we know who runs these pages is politically motivated. A lot of cases and pretty pathetic. I've got to say, and it tends to be all your respect and it shouldn't be too political, but it tends to be a weapon of the left. Again, we see that conflicted our region, but people are sort of either getting smarter at it now. And we've seen that. But again, we've seen it playing out more where people disengage now because they're sick of saying the constant writing of others. And so in Sola, basically we put messages in on the Facebook page saying, this is what we're doing.
Speaker 1 00:19:41 This is what we're delivering for people's information. Or we always steer them towards something like it might be a small business grad, or it might be what's happening with a road. And we want people to have their say. So we use as a tool to tell people what's going on, but it's not a platform for debate. You look at the revolving door of prime ministers that never happened until we had social media. And so this is where it says social media can be a great platform to be of assistance. But I think it's corroded away because it's not just a 24 hour news cycle. It's limitless because people are piling on with using social media as a, as a weapon. And we spoke about weaponizing it and it's not good. It's not healthy because it's cyber bullying. I mean, it's interesting, you know, we talk about cyber bullying.
Speaker 1 00:20:24 If you ever want to see it playing for fours, looking at an MPS Facebook page, or, you know, if you were to do that on a normal person's page, there'd be public outrage. And the, but when I got elected, Joel used to struggle with what people would say, because it's usually at it with all due respect. It's out of ignorance and ill information. And most parliamentarians work, phenomenal hours ones. And they do it because I love the job and she would get upset because she knows how much time we were putting into what we do. I need to have someone say, Oh, you only ever seen when this is happening and lots of stuff. So, and it was really tough for the partner to actually come to terms with the fact that you have no private life anymore, but B everyone's critiquing you on everything, unless they physically seen you at that thing.
Speaker 1 00:21:09 You've never been anywhere. Um, so I think it's a, it's a way to have a cheap shot, but it's really hard for the partners of parliamentarians because they often see it playing out and all they want to do is champion and defend. But the downside of that is a minute you engage with that sort of person. They've had a victory and they keep going. So what I would say to me and that, but that's the same in business too. I mean, look, social media can be a fantastic asset, just like mainstream media, if it's used well and use the right reason. So, and again, that's where you've got to be paid to say, no, no, I'm not going to jump. It's your shopfront. Would you allow someone to stand at your shop front and yell abuse at your customers? The answer is no. So why would you allow people to do it in your social media?
Speaker 1 00:21:48 So we be take a pretty strong stance on that. If someone wants to go off their dials, I see a lighter, you know, that's not what it's about. So I think that's been that I think that's caused part of the problem because people feel like they can literally say anything and not be held accountable for it anymore. And some of those things are just so appallingly bear and they see parliamentarians, either taking some sort of righteous, fewer staff. And I think that's where people have got to get back to basics. You know, you mentioned in the intro about, you know, it's an adore, I haven't knocked and stuff like that. And I'm proud of the fact that I've drawn up thousands of homes in my electorate, because when you're knocking on someone's door and they're open and they look at you straight in the face, and I suddenly realize who you are.
Speaker 1 00:22:31 I think most people have never met them. They were in PE let alone actually had a face to face conversation with them. I mean, the reality is I'm no different to you. Um, I want to know what the people I represent, think of what I'm doing. Is there something more I can be doing? It's about genuinely engaging with people and you know, and you shouldn't be afraid if you're doing a good job. It's nothing to be afraid of. And yeah, sure. There are, people are going to hate what you do. They'll just hate you because you're not there side of politics. That's their right. You know, that's, that's the joys of living in a democracy, you know, and we can have an election and no one fires a gun. And, you know, we had that banner at polling booths again sometimes is a bit on the weird side. And that's where I think people need to get back to. We live in a democracy. It's an amazing system. It's not perfect, but it certainly is better than plenty of others. And I think people need to realize that the majority of people who decide to want to run for parliament do have that burning desire down to help other people it's. And I think that's been lost. That's what I was saying before. That really has sort of been diluted because of all I said, I think social media has played a huge partner.
Speaker 3 00:23:35 I want to go back to the point around saga bullying. And, and from my understanding, that's a key part of the issues around mental health related issues nowadays. So as a leader, again, yourself and, and your government colleagues, the opposition, colleagues, all those people that you're interacting with, how do you guys deal with this stuff? Because there is lots of stuff that people can say on social media, and that's got to have some impact on you because you're just a normal person doing a normal job, but certainly people have these massive, I would say, unrealistic expectations around politicians. How do you deal with it?
Speaker 1 00:24:08 Well, I've got to say when people start to, when they go into attack mode on, on me or some of my colleagues, I suppose, look, you don't read it. I'm too busy delivering what the government promised and looking after the people in my electric, I honestly don't read it. And people, people will say, Oh, did you see what X said about you? I mean, no, I don't read it. I've got better things. Honestly, I've got better things to do with my time than read some cranky post that was posted by 2:00 AM, that someone's had their 47th beef for the evening and decide to have a random, and I just not interested. It delivers nothing. It's not productive. And you know, I have a finite amount of time that I have, you know, four year period to deliver what I have to do. That's my job.
Speaker 1 00:24:47 So to be truthful, I don't read it. And my best advice to my Mike that I've given to my colleagues and friends just ignore it. Cause it's it's, it doesn't help anything. So why bother wasting time? Why by the wasting precious time where you can be doing things that you enjoy reading that. And that's not just in a context of me being a parliamentarian, I would say to anybody, I think the tough part for, for young people these days is that social media is part of their fabric. You know, and you and I were going to school, you'd go to the bus, stop. You catch up with your friends. And it was one on one interaction like we're having right now. Now they sit at the bus stop and they're on their phones. And the other thing is, you know, look, I think everybody, at some point has been picked on at school and look, you know, I'm not particularly tall.
Speaker 1 00:25:31 I got to say, look, I probably copped my fair share of bullying at school. But the difference was that it was usually you and one other person or maybe a third person. It was, it was pretty confined in any, it could be dealt with swiftly one way on the album. Now it's instantaneously shared with hundreds, if not thousands of people. So it's a much broader issue because, and again, where you and I will have this conversation, a school kid right now would be texting his five mates simultaneously doing it. And that's the difference. I mean, they're very skilled. Let me tell you the kids these days are so good at multitasking. I'm amazed. I mean, I couldn't do it. I mean, I can only do one. I can only read one email at a time. I'm very good at doing that one email at a time, but I do want an email at a time.
Speaker 1 00:26:11 So I can't, I don't pretend to be able to multitask, but what we've got to realize is that's their world. And so we've got to work out how we make that world safer for them. And look, I've seen some appalling things on social media written about young people. And to me again, we just switch off again. Now I'm not reading that. I'm not, you know, it's like when people complain about what's on TV, well guess what changed the channel? That's how we look at it. But a younger person is their whole world and they have trouble disseminating about how to distance themselves from it. And I think that's something we as a government and we as a society have to be very mindful of and we have to do everything we can to protect our young people from that sort of undue pressure. I mean, you know, they they're kids, they should be able to be having fun, not worrying about the 300 people that have read something on social media about what they did at school that day.
Speaker 1 00:27:03 So again, I would say to any parent out there who's got a young person, you know, you've really got, don't just hand them a phone or an iPad to keep them amused. You've got to be proactively engaged and keep an eye on what they're doing and be involved in. As much as that, it's hard to say that when you've got teenagers, but you've got to try and insert yourself into it, you know, watch what's going on because, um, mental health issues are so insidious and so sneaky and a young person going down that park and see no alternative. And we've got to make sure that we say, yeah, there's plenty of alternatives and there's better places you can be in. Um, but we've got to make sure they understand and, and, and parents have to take a role in that, that, again, as a leadership role, as a parent, you've got to step up to the plate. We're all busy, but you've got to say my son or daughter's safety is a priority. If they're in and you've got to look for those times that they're disengaging and they're struggling and be very mindful of that because it's, you know, when we were at school, you went and picked up the encyclopedia to do a project. Now they jump online and they've got access. They've got literally unlimited access to the globe, which was unheard of
Speaker 3 00:28:07 Wait, we wait, I want to talk about clarity and focus because again, as a leader, in a member of parliament, so leadership role in public office, there's so much going on all the time. How do you get that clarity and focus around the important issues that you need to support the community with?
Speaker 1 00:28:28 It is tough because everything's coming at you at once. So again, I think that's one of the reasons I do this job well, is that we joke about the only began to read one email at a time, but that's about setting priorities and setting an organization. So we have a very structured office. I treat it like a business. You know, we have KPIs. You have to have order in amongst the chaos because if you die and it just descends into the same chaos. So we have very distinct job roles in my office. I have an amazing team of three people who, by the way, have very different age background backgrounds. You know, I've, I've got three different generations in my office who all look at things differently. I always asked for their, you know, their input into things. I think that's important to, you know, you can't do this alone because you're not necessarily right.
Speaker 1 00:29:18 I think anybody that walks in and says, well, on the MP, I'm always right, is going to come across Cropper at some point because you're only human. And it's so important that you listen to the people around you. We have a staff meeting usually once a week, we go through all the priorities of what we're going to do. Um, whether it be social media and mainstream media, community engagement, you've got to have some structure to that because if you died, you, we wouldn't be able to deliver the outcomes. So bring a, I bring a business perspective, I suppose, to eight I'm businesslike profession. And I've met many of my colleagues who have doing the same thing now, and they're very successful at it. That's about bringing that structure and order and priorities. And look, sometimes you have to pivot. This is one of those jobs where you can have the whole day planned out.
Speaker 1 00:30:00 And one comment from a minister at a briefing somewhere and the whole day it has to change instantaneously. And so you have to be prepared to move really quickly if necessary to go on a different tax. So, and again, I've got a great team. They're very good at what they do. And the same time you've got to be flexible enough to be able to move really quickly, to deal with whatever that issue might be. And that could be a natural disaster. It could be fixing a pothole. You never know. And that's the, that's the weird part about this world that we were talking about before every single day in this job is different and you try and bring structure to it as best you can. But again, that's about listening to the people around you. I think the other thing about parliamentarians where they've let themselves down is when they failed to start to listen to by the community and the people around them.
Speaker 1 00:30:49 You know, my best advice comes from my staff and are just phenomenal. Three people that work so hard and is so passionate about what they do. And they're said with all the different skill sets, they're able to bring different things to the table. So me as an MP, you need to be able to listen to them. It's the same as any other job, you know, your staff, your greatest asset, no matter what job it is you do. So I would say that that really is the key to it. We've had some pretty scary times of things that have happened both inside our control and outside our control. It's it's firstly, you've got to remain calm, no matter how bad something gets you are the public face of whatever that issue is. And you've got to say sake, stay calm, stay focused, and be professional. Now the last thing anyone wants is to have a leader that says something crazy at a time when people need comfort and I've seen that happen.
Speaker 1 00:31:40 I've seen it happen right here in new South Wales. And you just think that is not what people need to hear at the moment you go home and you're, you sort of pull a day apart when you go, Oh, maybe I could have done that differently. I could've done that differently, but you don't dwell on it. You need to learn from it. You hope you don't make the same mistake too many times. And look, I've seen many parliamentarians. It's a bit that, that old joke about, you know, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. Politics has a bit like that. You've got to learn from your experiences and also watch what others do. Look, I, I'm not a verse for, you know, if you can take something that someone else has done and rework it to help your people, why wouldn't you?
Speaker 1 00:32:19 And that's just common sense. You know, if you can find a way to deliver a great outcome, even more efficiently, good result. So yeah, look, it's, it's, it's a tough job because I said it's every day, every, you know, you can change within an hour, um, depending on what's happening around around the state or internationally. And, uh, I think Coronas brought everyone back to a bit of a level playing field too. I don't think it was something that came out of the blue now with expecting and the whole country has had to really adjust. And I've seen it here on the coast. I've seen how businesses have pivoted so quickly to ensure their survival. I think it's given everyone a bit of a reality check about what really matters and it's the same with any family that goes through a crisis. Know when you do that, it suddenly starts bringing the real things into focus.
Speaker 1 00:33:04 And then I would have say, it's public knowledge. My wife got diagnosed with breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer seven years ago. And that stuff gives you real focus and real clarity because you know, you come home, you think you have a bad day. And then you look at the person that has incurable cancer is something in my day, isn't that bad. And that's that stuff that, that keeps it real jewels. Amazing. I mean, I'm so lucky to have someone like her in my life, because again, she gives me focus and that reality check and, you know, cause occasionally you come back, you know, blowing your own trumpet and you go, there's a buddy moment. And, and that's really good. And I said, I'm no different. Any other person,
Speaker 2 00:33:42 Humility is a key virtue in as far as I'm concerned in leadership. And I think it's pretty well known. It's probably one of those virtues that is, seems to come across as least available in politicians. What do you do to keep your feet on the ground and to maintain some level of humility?
Speaker 1 00:34:01 That's a really, really good question. It's it's the more and more responsibility you take on the less and less people are inclined to actually give you that reality check. And you see that in politics, you know, the more responsibility you have, there are less people around you checking you, I suppose, checking out the door, you know, you, yes, minister, you're wonderful minister. You know, you can't do any wrong minister. And I think that the really good parliamentarians realize that they, they are in the rarefied air and they've got to keep it real and it can be something real. I do it regularly. I mean, you know, it's just about going out for a walk detoxing from the day, realizing that you can make mistakes. I'm like everybody else, you are not above the law. You are not above being called out on something. And I think one of the things that's been best for me is I always treat people the same way I expect to be treated.
Speaker 1 00:34:52 That really is the number one rule. You know, I would never speak to some of the way people are speaking to me. I look back and think I would never spoken to you like that. So don't do it. And it works both ways. I can honestly say that I vary in the five years I've been an MP. I think I've only ever lost my temper probably two times. And I regret that the minute you do that, no, that's a good example. It's like we never have a fight at home or whatever else. The minute you start yelling at somebody you've lost the argument, you've lost the moral high ground on whatever it is you're discussing. And that's where you've got to stop, walk away, calm down and come back to it later on, we joke about the bear pit in new South Wales, parliament. And I think that's part of the erosion of the process too.
Speaker 1 00:35:34 People go in there thinking they've got to live up to the reputation of this cut and thrust throat, cutting bear pit exercise. And that's not what it's about. It's about going in there and working for the better outcome. And I've seen it over and over again where people yelling carry on. And it happened recently with, with somebody up here on the central coast and you know, they lost their temper and said stuff that was on parliamentary and that's not on, you know, people expect better of you than that. You know, anybody can swear and sling off. It is easy. Try and have a respectful, responsible discussion about something that you both vehemently disagree on. That's how I work. And it has to be like marriage. You know, staying married is hard work. You know, anybody can get a divorce by the way. You know, you can walk out, boom, I'm outta here.
Speaker 1 00:36:14 But yeah, trust ain't married for 22 years. That's about that whole give and take and respecting the other person's decision, even if you don't agree about it. So, and I see that regularly IO, I've sat in the speaker's chair in parliament and you see people walking in and just literally want to pick a fight and I've had no problems in saying, well, keep walking and go out the other doors, my point, you being in here and that's from our own side. And that's what you see people like Gladys, you know, I've never seen her lose her temper because she realizes that the minute she does that, she's losing the argument. And you know, you see these firebrand politicians screaming, carrying on people that I respect that I think that's so, so it's, it's sitting there and having that respectful discussion with somebody that vehemently disagrees with it.
Speaker 1 00:36:55 That's how I work. But that's the true quality of a good leader. And again, keeping it real. I mean, it can be little things. I mean, my mom's great at keeping me real. She had no hesitation. We were going to local radio station up here, who I used. I go in and say regularly, have a chat with the guys. And you know, mum used to listen to them every morning when I was going in and um, and still does. And she sent a photo of me as a same seven year old Nipper in my budgie smugglers. Now, if you want to keeping real moment, that's it. And then the premiere was up with me doing a radio interview with them and out came the photo. And I said, there's your mum reaching out from a different state, helping you to keep it real. You know?
Speaker 1 00:37:33 So I think you've gotta be able enjoy the job. Yes, you've got to be serious. You can't take yourself too seriously because if he did, you would get swept up in the hype that is being a politician. And it's not about that. That's what I'd say to anybody who wants to do it. If anybody wants to put themselves in this weird world of politics and let me take it as strange, you need to not take yourself too seriously, be, be prepared to couple, all sorts of weird abuse and just let it go. Let it wash over you like any tough job when you've got 55,000 people, all of them don't agree. So you've gotta be able to work through those sorts of things. And it's different to being in a, in a normal corporate world where everybody's, you know, the board and everyone else is working together to deliver the same outcome here. It's like half the people don't want the other outcomes. So it's always confrontational. It's about, Hey, you deescalate the confrontation to deliver their best outcomes. And walk away, have time with friends. Um, our friends are really important to us. I got to say, and they respect the too. So look, if we go with friends, you know, it doesn't get posted on social media. It's this quiet time to reflect and just enjoy your friendship with people and have a bit of a laugh and, and, you know, have a few glasses of wine and just chillax.
Speaker 3 00:38:47 You didn't use the word teamwork, but you mentioned working together. Yeah. If we think about teamwork, teamwork ultimately is a group of people working towards a common goal. Does teamwork really have a place in politics? Can they be a real team?
Speaker 1 00:39:02 I always find it a bit cliche to say team. I think again, even inside a political body, you've got different forces who have different opinions and it can be over any issue. So, you know, having party room meetings can be pretty interesting because you've got very different perspectives, even in the one side. So I think teamwork's around where, because usually if you're in a team, everybody in the teams all running for the same goal, empowerment in politics, it's not necessarily the case. And you see it play out all the time again in the media, you know, there'll be a leak from a party room about somebody saying X, Y, and Z. So I think teamwork's around description. It's all about working collaborative later, try and get the best outcome. And it's an even in political parties is not always the concurrence of everybody working together to the same result.
Speaker 1 00:39:51 You know? So it's a bit more complicated. I wish it were more team orientated because again, that means that everybody's effectively working to the same goal. Politics is much, much tougher than that. And it's a lot more negotiation involved. And again, that's the skill set to being in a sit down with somebody within your same group who vehemently disagrees with you. And you've got to come up with a, um, a happy medium and the we've had some pretty tough ones. I mean, whether it be greyhounds, abortion, you name it. I mean, we've had some really tough stuff and you may not necessarily agree with the person sitting next to you, but you've got to respect their position on it and their opinions on it. I think that's really vital for parliamentarians again, to be prepared, to listen, to not necessarily agree, but listen to the other opinion and take it on board and respect that person's position when you lose the respect for your colleagues. What's a publicly, I think of you.
Speaker 3 00:40:42 I know there's lots of traits that leaders need to have, but in politics particularly, and the role that you do, if you had to pick one key trait that is so important to have, if you want to be a good politician or go into politics, what would you say that is?
Speaker 1 00:40:58 It's tough because there's two that I think would sort of link in together. One, the ability to listen to everybody and to empathy, you've got to be able to empathize with people in this job. And I almost think empathy is almost more important than the ability to listen being. You've got to be, if you don't listen to people, you're not representing them, but at the same time, you've got to be empathy. And you've also be empathetic to so many different perspectives on, on every issue. Um, so the two of them sort of go together. They're probably the two key issues, because if you can do that, people will respect you. If you don't do that, people don't respect you in this job. People have to be able to respect the person that's leading them. I want to wrap it up. So what is that bit of advice or that key learning for you over this time?
Speaker 1 00:41:40 And particularly around the leadership space, it's been an incredibly steep learning curve. As I said, going from a corporate world into a political world, they're two totally different things. Absolutely totally different. But at the same time, you can take the knowledge that you've learned through a corporate world. And you can mold that into being good parliamentarian. Not a day goes by road. I feel absolutely blessed to have this job. As I said, I get up every day, even on my worst day at work, it's still rewarding. And this is, this is why it's such a privilege. And I think this is why a lot of parliamentarians do it for so long. They've also got to realize when everybody nobody's going to use by day. So that's important too. I think people need to keep it real. They need to realize when it's time to hand the Baton over.
Speaker 1 00:42:22 Um, because then it comes under the next group to bring their ideas and their passion and their enthusiasm to whatever it might be. It's an incredible job. The leadership look like I'm lucky. I said, I've got a good leader. I mean, I've got a great leader and she's one of the best I've ever seen. I love it. Send me what's the whip's job and the web jobs. Interesting. It's a bit like being the head prefect, I suppose. It's not quite as ruthless as Frank Underwood, Francis Urquhart. Um, so I don't run around having people knocked out, but, um, but again, it's so effectively I play the role as being the premiers conscience, the Premier's disciplinarian, but it's really easy to do that when you've got someone you respect. And again, I've got to say, and Gladys Berejiklian. I found a lady that I had the most amazing respect for it because she she's the real deal.
Speaker 1 00:43:05 You know, she's so passionate about it. And she could be earning millions of dollars, more doing something other than what she's doing, but she's made a decision that what she wants to do. And I admire her and here's a lady that when she started primary school, couldn't speak English. So she's a really good case in point that if you focus on what you want to do and what you want to achieve, the sky's the limit. And we live in the most amazing nation in the world where a girl who's come from background where she couldn't speak English has become the leader of the most popular state in the nation. So this is what I would say. It's like, it's, it's a combination, a lot of things. And I'm so proud of to be able to work so closely with her when you get to spend time with people like that, you try and take away and learn from them as well.
Speaker 1 00:43:48 I mean, you never stop learning through life, but when you're lucky enough to have people like that around you, you can take some of that in. And, um, and she's outstanding. And I would say this about government. You know, when you go into government, it's a tough gig. You need to know that when you go into it. And that's what I would say to anybody that anybody wants to do this sort of role. You need to know it's going to be the toughest job if they're going to do in life, but also probably the most right warning. And again, I'd just say, look, you look at good leaders around you. And as I've said, early on this, when we started, you know, I was lucky enough to grow up in the eighties. We had some really strong leaders and I think that's rubbed off on me to some degree.
Speaker 1 00:44:25 I have a good relationship with my parliamentary colleagues, I'm firm, but fair. I think that's a good description for it. I'm firm, but fair. And I wouldn't ask any of my parliamentary colleagues to do something. Cause when just by background is when they're in parliament for three days, they're mine. So it's my job to make sure they do what they need to do when they need to do it. And we tell them what to do. So it's quite a, it's quite a strong role in running. So I run effectively the people movement for the government for the three days we're in there. So it's, it's a tough gig because you've got some very strong personalities in there. So you do it, you do it well, you be firm, but fair about it. People respect you for that. And again, I would never speak to someone or treat someone other than them, why I would expect to be treated.
Speaker 1 00:45:07 And I think the premise is the same, anybody in that building. I mean, so you've got different sides of politics, but I'd say that 98% of them are there for exactly the same reasons that I'm there. And sometimes the frustration boils over on both sides. But I think generally everyone's made sacrifices, both privately and publicly to do those sorts of things, but they do have the right reasons. I'm not going to ask you how can people get hold of you? Cause they just need to Google Adam crouch and the number comes up your office and stuff. But what I just want to say is the energy that you have in your role, I've seen that firsthand. I don't know where it comes from, but you're just always on. You're always happy. You're always smiling. And to me, that just says exactly what you said. You'd love your job and that just comes through in everything you do.
Speaker 1 00:45:50 So it's been a privilege and honor to learn a bit more about what's going on in that head of yours and that face around leadership and teamwork. I hope I've been able to answer all those questions, but I'm always happy to come back. If you want to do more. You mentioned before, I'm always smiling. I'm in this because I'm doing a job I love. And I think that's, that's the other thing. You only get one shot in life. You don't get a do over, you know, go through how many years you've got on this planet and then say, Oh geez, I hated that. I want to do something different. You're going to get one shot at. So one thing I would say to everybody is never be afraid to go after what you want to do, because you said you only get one crack side, do something in love.
Speaker 1 00:46:22 And I mean, I've been so lucky. I mean, I literally have got the job. I always affectively dreamed of doing. And he, and even on my worst day, I still feel fantastic. I go home and this is what I say to my team. You can't fix every problem every day. But if you go home knowing you've done everything you possibly can that day to help, whatever it is you're doing, you've done a good job. And that's what it's had. Anybody doesn't matter what you're doing. Crouchy thanks for being a guest on the cultural things podcast, mate, really appreciate it. It's a pleasure, Brett. As I said in the introduction, this episode was not about politics. I wanted to bring to you a leadership perspective from someone in public office. Why was this important to me? Because parliamentarians are people just like you or I, they are doing a job just like you or I, and mostly they have a passion for helping people. It is true that the actions of parliamentarians on all sides of politics, don't always support this passion, but
Speaker 3 00:47:30 How much does social media play in demonizing them and their roles? For me, COVID-19 has shown that parliamentarians on both sides of politics at local state and federal levels can work together when they have to, for the common good of the community and show good leadership. I hope we can see more of this in the future. These were my three key takeaways from my conversation with crouchie. My first key takeaway leadership is about helping others create. She mentioned how politics is the business of people in his role. His key focus is on helping people by delivering on the commitments and improvements to help the community. True leaders, put other people's interests ahead of their own. My second key takeaway leaders focus on what matters most. They are clear on the priorities and don't allow themselves to get distracted. He mentioned the weekly team meeting structure.
Speaker 3 00:48:39 So he and his team know what they need to do. And where they're up to cratch. You also referred to the perils of social media and the distraction. It can be. He doesn't allow himself to get caught up in those social media stashes. If he does, it means he and his team are taking precious time away from delivering for the community. My third key takeaway leaders stay grounded. Parliamentarians can get caught up in the role and struggle with humility. This is dangerous grant to apply on and will lead to me decisions rather than the right decisions for the community. They make mistakes like anybody else. And they're definitely not above the law. It's also important to treat people how you want to be treated in crashes words, keep it real. Otherwise your mum may pull out an old picture of you in your budgie smugglers. So in summary, my three key takeaways were leadership is about helping others leaders focus on what matters most leaders stay grounded. If you have any questions or feedback about this episode, please feel free to send me a [email protected]
Thank you for listening. Stay safe until next time.
Speaker 0 00:50:12 Thank you for listening to the cultural things podcast with Brendan Rogers, please visit Brendan rogers.com to access the show notes. If you love the cultural things podcast, please subscribe, rate and give her a review on Apple podcasts and remember healthy culture is your competitive advantage.