Brekkie with Alan Joyce

Dene Gambotto

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I have an extra spring in my step after joining the Ireland Funds of Australia intimate breakfast today…It wasn’t just the room of enthusiastic Irish or the coffee…it was the inspirational (and very practical) leadership tips Alan Joyce Qantas’ CEO shared.

Here’s my 5 tips from his talk today…

  1. Think big and be brave enough to think differently. Challenge the status quo. He quoted Henry Ford “If I had asked customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” This style allowed him to do things differently to the industry - and the numbers show it’s paid off with the airline reporting a record full-year profit of $1.53 billion up 57 % on the previous year and the best result in its 95-year history.
  2. Don’t get bogged down in data and information. Joyce suggested leaders to fly at 35,000 ft – and when you notice something that makes you uncomfortable drop down to 5,000 ft to investigate, before making a quick decision and returning to 35,000 ft. Recruit the best and empower them.
  3. Remain humble; be a person who’s brave enough to not have all the answers. Remain curious and interested. 
  4. Diversity matters Surround yourself with a diverse team to get the very best thinking. Develop an inclusive culture where people want to contribute. He believes that this diversity was key to getting Qantas through the turbulent times. We recruit for areas of Qantas and absolute feel this “inclusive” approach even as a business partner.
  5. Above all be yourself – be authentic and genuine.  This builds trust and respect. 


Earlier this year Joyce was named the boss most Australians want to work for – and having spent a short time with him today I can see why. I leave with a new #ceocrush