Colin McLeod is a professional company director and a visiting Associate Professor in the Faculty of Business & Economics/Melbourne Business School at the University of Melbourne. Colin was previously General Manager - Marketing, Communications and Public Affairs at the Australian Football League, having joined the AFL from the position of Executive Director, Marketing and Brand Management at Goldman Sachs JBWere, following several years as Group Marketing Manager for Telstra's Mobiles division.
He joined Telstra after an academic career including appointments at the University of Melbourne, the Melbourne Business School and the Haas School of Business at the University of California - Berkeley and he has also been a Senior Associate of the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge.
Colin holds a BA, an MBA and a PhD, with the Commercialisation of Innovation as the topic of his doctoral thesis. His academic research in marketing, innovation, customer co creation and public health has been published in leading international journals.
Colin has also been involved in a number of successful start-ups. One company grew its revenue at 50% a year for nine consecutive years before the business was sold, and several businesses have received awards for business management and innovation, including the Telstra/Australian Government Small Business of the Year, the Telstra Innovation Challenge and the Advance Australia Innovation Summit.
Colin's current directorships include companies involved in new media, financial services, tertiary education and luxury tourism. Colin also serves as a member of the Executive Committee which has raised almost $200 million to construct the Olivia Newton John Cancer & Wellness Centre at the Austin Hospital, a member of the AFL Research Board and the Advisory Council of the Harvard Business Review.
Client Comments for Colin McLeod
- The Nine news team really enjoys working with Colin. He is a real professional, always articulate and well prepared and he makes every effort to help our team out when he can. We have asked Colin to provide comments on a wide variety of stories, and he always seems to find the right way to communicate with our news audience.
Hugh Nailon, News Director, Channel Nine News
- Colin has managed to have three successful careers when most people would be happy with any one of them. He has held positions at some of the world's great universities, held senior executive roles with some of Australia's highest profile companies and been a successful entrepreneur. The feedback and ratings that Colin gets from his audiences are absolutely outstanding. Colin has an extraordinary ability to connect with his audience and many business executives tell me that they leave Colin's presentations with ideas that they can go back and implement in their business straight away, but also report that they are still using what they have learned years later.
Professor Simon Bell, Melbourne Business School
- Colin would be the first person to tell you that he doesn't have all the answers. But what he does have is a real gift for helping people think about their business in new ways, and helping them find the answers. He inspires them to come up with new and better ways to tackle the challenges and opportunities in their business. We have been working closely worth Colin for the last four years and they have been four of the five most profitable years in the history of a 25 year old company.
Ken Matthews, Founding Partner and CEO, Matthews Steer Chartered Accountants
- Commercialising Innovation
- Start Ups and Entrepreneurialism
- Sport and Business
- Issues Management
- Customer Loyalty and Customer Service
Topic SynopsesCommercialising Innovation
One of the increasingly popular term in innovation these days, is 'idea assassins' - people and processes who stamp out new ideas, almost as soon as they emerge. The problem is that most idea assassins are not even aware that they are doing it, but many good ideas are killed off before they even get off the ground.
On the other hand, many bad ideas attract very large investments of money, time and effort that are never going to pay off. So how do companies find better ways to identify more ideas and then sort out the good ones from the ideas that will never pay off?
It is also important to note that the best ideas aren't always the ideas that have the best commercial payoff. What are the things that separate commercially successful innovations from the rest?
Start Ups and Entrepreneurialism
Most business don't fail to start, they fail to grow. In fact, most of the evidence points to failure in years three to five, rather than in years one or two. However, the seeds for failure are planted in the first couple of years.
So why do so many start-ups fail and what can they do to in the early years, to thrive, not just survive? Most of the evidence suggests that failure is a self-inflicted wound, and that most businesses rise or fall on the entrepreneurial capability of the founders, rather than the economy, or competitors. So how do new business owners learn to evolve from being a founder to an entrepreneur?
Sport and Business
There are lots of similarities between sport and business - the importance of leadership and team work, the challenge of managing talent, managing brands and the central role of strategy are all areas where sport and business overlap.
But there are also some major differences. For example, consider the way a draft works - the best prospects go to the worst performing teams. Imagine if we told the best university graduates that they have to go to the worst companies in each industry.
So increasingly, sport is a business, but in order to understand the similarities between sport and business, we also need to understand the differences, and what both sport and business can learn from them.
In an era of smartphones and tablets, everyone is a journalist and everyone has the ability to publish tweets, blogs, texts, emails and videos - and inevitably, stories generated by the public feed into the news cycle as they are picked up by the mainstream media outlets. So organisations now have to face the inevitable - it is not if you will have public issues to deal with, it is when.
Reputation is a major asset of any business and many recent examples of poorly managed issues show that a poor strategy or poor execution can be costly, long term and effectively wipe out reputations that have taken years to build. Being ready for issues when they arise is becoming an increasingly important area of focus, and in many cases, shareholders and Boards are vitally interested in a company’s strategy for reputation management.
Customer Loyalty and Customer Service
After decades of companies talking about the importance of customer service, we still find customers saying 'if customer service is so important, why am I on hold?'
The fact is that good service pays off and can lead to long term relationships that are profitable for companies and customers alike, but good service is so rare that some companies are able to profitably and successfully differentiate themselves from their competitors on the basis of their customer service alone - including an emerging generation of online companies.
One of the starting points for designing a customer strategy is to understand why service is important to customers, and why it continues to be such an important source of differentiation for many successful companies - and critically, what customers mean by good service.
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