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Letting others learn to lead boosts your business


9 April 2008

Long-term leadership – how letting others learn to lead can boost your business

When Lisa McInnes-Smith decided to scale back her burgeoning sports psychology business in favour of helping teenagers achieve to their full potential, she had no idea it would mark the start of a career that has spawned seven best-selling books, put Lisa onstage with a host of celebrities including two US presidents, and seen her become the only person from outside North America to be inducted into the International Speaker Hall of Fame.

In New Zealand in association with The Knowledge Gym to present a series of ‘Knowledge Workouts’, Lisa says her decision to focus less on her personal success and more on helping others has produced some surprising results.

“I grew up in a very success-oriented environment: my mother was a successful businesswoman, my father a brilliant sportsman, and my brothers were both professional tennis players. That focus on achieving personal success was very much a part of who we all were,” says Lisa.

Having graduated with a degree in sports psychology, Lisa worked with a number of Australia’s top athletes before deciding on a change of direction.

“The work I was doing was focused on setting goals and resolving obstacles to achieving peak performance in athletes. I started to think about how that could be applied to others – in particular, to adolescents.”

That train of thought led to a book, Why Wasn’t I Told, that sold 20,000 copies in six months, became a best seller, and led to hundreds of speaking engagements at secondary schools.

Before long, parents and others who had seen and heard Lisa were asking her to share her philosophies with their business groups and work colleagues, and she had a new career on her hands.

“My motivation was to help young people, rather than to build a business. I never dreamt it would accelerate the way it did,” she says.

To date, Lisa has spoken in 20 different countries to more than one million adults. Lisa’s current focus is leadership, and she says one key to successful leadership is stability.

“Stability is a measurement of success over the long term. Top leaders tend to have stability in the rest of their lives, whereas those who neglect their family and other relationships through their single-minded pursuit of success in the corporate world quite often wind up blowing the lot.”

“Good leaders know where they’re going, and they lead a life people want to follow.”

For more information on The Knowledge Gym’s programme of Knowledge Workouts and their other initiatives to stretch your business know-how, or to register for Lisa’s presentation, visit


Christchurch 22 April – La Vida Conference Centre
Auckland 23 April – Sky City – Auckland Rooms 3,4, and foyer
Wellington 24 April – Michael Fowler Centre – Renouf Foyer

All events run from 0830hrs until 1200hrs.


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