Pete Jeans, SMO Sydney

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Pete Jeans is a strategic project leader – amongst many other things! With a wide expanse of world travel and a career that’s spanned many industries, Pete is a recent transplant to Port Macquarie, and he sees a wealth of opportunity locally. In simple terms, whether as a mentor, advisor, strategist or team leader, Pete aims to help businesses succeed …

Hi Pete. Describe your childhood … What are some of the towns/countries you’ve lived in?

I was born in a small town. We moved regularly throughout Dad’s defence career – Hong Kong, Melbourne, South of London. Travelling as a child helps you make friends quickly.

Finally, Sydney offered the family an opportunity to put down roots. After high school and uni, my business career took off.

I luckily learnt effective commercial and team leadership from some great leaders – male and female.

It meant long days … cabs, planes and meeting rooms. But, I always rang the kids  every day at their bedtimes, wherever I was in the world.

How do you feel travelling extensively has helped shape you into the person you are today?

Growing up in different cultures delivers perspective as an adult. I’m more open to all groups and nationalities, belief structures and cultures.

I always make a point of listening and considering others’ advice – particularly in new offshore and Australian regions. It’s also the approach I take as a mentor, when guiding others in their career roles and pathways.

I reckon clear direction, focus and best-practice are mandatory. Dive in deep; but know how deep it is first. Making a mistake is fine – but not the same mistake twice.

You initially studied PR and communications at CSU Mitchell. In what way did these studies provide a stepping stone for your future achievements?

Studying at Australia’s prestige communications school imposed a bunch of responsibilities to strive to build a reputation like other successful grads.

It taught me the basics. Keep on asking “why?”, and eventually you’ll get to the truth.

It was a great lesson for my commercial life. I went on to post-grad studies in commerce and applied that training with already-embedded values of persistence, and inquisitiveness – often very useful in achieving your goals year by year.

It appears your career path has been a case of choosing multiple directions – teaching, public speaking, business strategist and leader. What are the various industries you’ve been involved with over the years?

I’ve been fortunate to work across about 30 different b2b and b2b2c industry sectors: seafood, tertiary education, construction products, steel, retailing, packaging, imaging, housing, government, plus many more.

Their strategic imperatives aren’t dissimilar. Better market intelligence, better solutions to customer and stakeholder needs, and better implementation are the platforms that make a real difference.

Critically, our connected digital world is throwing up an increasing need to be disruptive in new approaches to growth. Finding innovative ways to engage markets previously thought not to be viable is now the main game. And, it’s not difficult to do.

Good advisory, planning and mentoring are assets absolutely key to surviving the tsunami of change that’s coming over the horizon for organisations in the profit and not-for-profit spaces.

What skills/knowledge do you feel your working background have provided you?

A diverse industry background means I get up the operational learning curve quicker than many.

This is a significant advantage in my role as a mentor, advisor, business growth leader, change ambassador and now post-grad educator for the AIM MBA Business School. I work hard to achieve trust and embed that reliance for clients. Inside the business working with the teams on the business makes much better sense than arm’s-length consultancy.

My philosophy is that to survive, you have to grow. To grow, you have to compete. And to compete effectively, you have to be prepared to be better and different  ahead of the pack.

How important have mentors been in your life? 

Incredibly influential. I’ve had a few mentors – all extremely bright and wise. They’ve opened my eyes to options and pathways perhaps not immediately obvious. They’ve connected me into circles that have proved valuable for my future. That’s what I try to deliver for people I mentor myself.

You’ve moved to Port Macquarie recently from Sydney. What led to the move – and what opportunities do you see locally?

Sydney’s future costs and business logistics for the next few years are just unacceptable. For example, daily traffic delays, freeway tolls and parking are unjustifiably high.

Port Macquarie won my interest to base here over other regional areas on costs, capital city access and NBN rollout. People I talked to in evaluating Port Macquarie as a business-base were positive, supportive and enthusiastic. My gut said, “Go there”. My head told me the same. The numbers stacked up.

Look outward and forward and be the best. Regional business and community leaders whom I’ve met so far, I think share a similar vision. They’re an impressive group. I’m looking forward to meeting many more.

What are your current business interests/services offered? 

At SMO (http://www.smosydney.com.au) there’s a wide range of things I do – mentoring, strategy, change management leadership, professional marketing advisory. But I guess if you strip the jargon away, I fix up businesses. I’m a strategic project leader.

Sometimes organisations have challenges around growth, or lack of certainty around future costs, or have question marks on best-practice processes to get ready for industry or organisational change. Whatever organisations want, I’ll deliver it for their leaders, as long as it’s legal and ethical.

What’s next for Pete Jeans … A book is in the pipeline? 

Yep. Pearls of Wardom, for emerging leaders … Tips and techniques for their career development. Drafted and ready for a publisher – go to http://www.petejeans.com to learn more about it, if you like. See the tab re “Books”.

I’d be interested in a couple of local board appointments. And, my Rotary Sunrise Club membership in Port Macquarie is important. I hope to contribute a little going forward to the wider community.

And, of course, I get to read stories to my little granddaughters as they grow and make my world a better place. It’s all good!
Thanks Pete.

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