Toll MD shares future leadership strategy

Speaking at ‘Developing the Millennial Generation: The Future of Leadership’, a breakfast event held in Melbourne this week, Michael Byrne, Managing Director of transportation and logistics company Toll Group, called for Australia’s senior leaders to rethink the way they approach millennials, training and future planning.
“We break up people into components and say they’re millennials, X Generation, that ethnicity, that religion,” said Byrne. “What I have learnt is – apart from a few outliers at the extremes – everyone is the same, and everyone wants the same things. We want a little bit better life than our parents, we want a little bit better life for our children, we want to eat a little bit better food, we want to drink a little bit better, we want a nice and safer life.”
Byrne noted that over the next decade, businesses will need to embrace and educate their young, “more technologically savvy” workers, as they will soon be at the helm.
“Millennials will make up 75 per cent of the global workforce by 2025 – eight years away,” he said. “If you’re not designing your workplace, product or service around that thinking, you’re failing your business.”
Addressing the senior industry leaders gathered in the room, Byrne advised them to stop focusing solely on priorities for tomorrow, next week and next month, and instead to consider the trajectory of the business over the coming years, and who will support its growth.
“In the next decade, the decisions will start to be made by millennials,” he said. “We need to get with the program and think about that and how we shape our businesses. They are going to have the money, they are going to have the votes, they are going to shape our communities.”
Byrne added that many businesses at present are failing to realise the importance of investing in education. “Education is really one of the most important things we do as leaders,” he said. “We need to be investing in our young people – you can’t afford not to educate, train and develop.
“Education and safety are the two budgets you never cut – in fact, every year you double down because otherwise the pace of the economy, the world economy and GDP will defeat you,” he said. “You can’t hold back the tide.”

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