Gordon Cairns, former Lion Nathan boss and new chairman of David Jones, has a reputation as a ruthlessly efficient executive.
A Buddhist monk prays at Borobudur temple during celebrations for Vesak Day on May 25, 2013
in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia
The Australian has a new video profile on the business leader, produced by Ruth Ostrow. In it, Cairns discusses his spirituality, and why he turned Buddhist teachings and meditation.
He decided to seek the advice of several experts in these fields, as well as a psychology professor as a coach, to overcome his self-described personality flaws:
“I got some clear feedback from people who worked for me that they wouldn’t tolerate my behaviour any more and the things that they disliked were that I was very competitive, autocratic, didn’t care about people very much, and I was a perfectionist.
“All of those things are driven by one fundamental fear – fear of failure. When you discover the root cause and how your behaviour impacts on others, you have an ‘ah-ha!’ or ‘oh shit’ moment. I was fortunate because I was given some feedback at an appropriate juncture and I was prepared to do something about it.
“The fundamental thing is change – and I was given lots of help to change.”