ChangeMaker Series: Part 1 – Mayor Tom Tate

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Mayor Tom Tate on how he learned to shave on the other fella's face

Part 1 of the ChangeMaker Interview Series - Empower Change



"Listening, taking ideas to the people and consulting: in a democratic society those are key to good leadership.”


Tom Tate: Mayor of the Gold Coast, successful business man, a true ChangeMaker and overall great leader. We had the honour of asking him a few questions about what drives him and what tips he has for people wanting to be more successful and better leaders.

Mayor Tom Tate is a business man at heart. From the moment he finished his Engineering degree he was excited to go out and start his own business. As a young man Tom worked for a construction company where he was involved in risky projects such as Tendering. It was his dad who stopped him from starting his own business too early and advised him to stay with the company for a few more years.


Dad said: "Learn to shave on the other fella’s face. If you make a few cuts here and there. It doesn't hurt so much. So when you are ready, you start shaving your own.”


Have-A-Go-Tate, as Tom is proud of his nickname, states that once you have the confidence to start, 'Have a go'.  "The worst thing is wondering what could have happened if you had given it a crack. You don’t want to think back 20 years from now and wonder what could have happened if you had tried. The fear of missing the boat is a lot scarier than taking the leap of faith and giving it a go."

Top 5 tips to being successful

For those who want to start a company or are already in business and want to be more successful, Mayor Tom Tate shares the top 5 things he learned in life:

  1. Ask yourself: What is  your passion and what could you do that relate to this?
  2. Make sure that every member on your team is brighter than you.
  3. Give your team members ownership – let them run with the ideas they come up with. Be a supporter, not the boss.
  4. Never show the bank that you need money. Treat them like subcontractors and get about 3-4 quotes from different banks to compare.
  5. You don’t need big budgets, do clever marketing – Ambush marketing. When you see one company run a massive campaign, make use of it to lift your own product. "A little cheeky ambush marketing doesn't hurt."


"Successful change is when your vision comes to fruition."


What should a great leader do?

"The best leaders I find listen and listen well. The second part is communication. What I mean by that is that you take everyone on the journey with you."

"Some people don't want change, they are comfortable in their comfort. In my opinion: Change is for the better. Evolving. People that don't want change as they 'got what they want' - I view them as selfish. If you don't continue to change, you become stagnate."  


Keen to find out more on what non-sexy tool Tom uses on a daily basis to keep himself and his team motivated and effectively keeps his team engaged 24/7? Curious to hear what Tom's Top 3 greatest learnings in business are, and find out what Tom was asked by the Crown Prince of Dubai, which he recalls as 'The most interesting question someone has ever asked him'?


Click here to view/listen to the entire inspiring interview with Mayor Tom Tate or click on the video below. 

Listen to the Podcast below when you have a little over 30min spare whilst driving or exercising.

What did  you think about our first ChangeMaker Interview Series? We are keen to hear your feedback on our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn!

Stay tuned for our next ChangeMaker Interview with Andrew Federowsky, founder of Bartercard Australia.

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