I recently attended the CEO Institute’s annual summit at the home of cricket, the MCG. It was my first time at one of these summits’ and had heard mixed reviews about them over the years. But I’m sure glad I went. As after a series of different speakers, who were all very engaging and interesting in their own right, Daniel Flynn, 25 years old, took the stage. Here was his opening line – “I thought I would grow a beard for today’s session just so that I looked a bit older…” As the nervous laughter rippled through the room of CEO’s with an average age of close to 60, Daniel launched into his story.
Young, energetic, charismatic and thoroughly engaging, Daniel had the entire room in the palm of his hands. So who is Daniel Flynn and why am I writing about him? Daniel he is co-founder and Managing Director of the Thankyou brand of Water, Food and Body Care. From the ‘Thankyou’ website:
Daniel founded Thankyou Water at the ripe old age of 19 and now four years on, he continues to drive the vision to see Thankyou become a household name, with millions of lives changed as a result. An ‘ideas man’ through and through, Daniel is a big advocate for living out your dreams. You’ll hear him often say, “Impossibility is only someone’s opinion, not a fact”. If you ask him how the organisation is going, you probably won’t get much more out of him than “it’s just the beginning”.
Want to get a firsthand understanding of the story behind Thankyou… watch Daniel in action at the TEDxBrisbane.
Whilst Daniel’s story is awesome, please watch the clip, it’s 20 minutes long and worth every minute, I was more taken by his level of energy and enthusiasm for the organisation that he leads and I started wondering what it would be like working for this inspirational leader. Now apart from 40 minutes on the stage in front of me and this 20 minutes clip I have no idea what working for Daniel would be like, but my guess is that he would be strong on what James Adonis refers to as the 6 languages of inspiration;
HOPE: Inspirational leaders don’t accept the status quo. They adopt a bold vision – no matter how ambitious – and pursue it with everything they’ve got.
REALISM: It’s more inspirational to admit you have flaws and to declare your prior failures, than to act as though you are (and always have been) perfect.
ENTHUSIAM: Inspirational leaders are enthusiastic and optimistic about the future, they smile more than they frown, and they work with passion.
BELIEF: Inspirational leaders have that kind of belief in themselves and their employees. They’re convinced of success.
WHY: Inspirational leaders understand this truism. They know that explaining ‘why’ to employees is more important than stating the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. When employees understand the purpose behind what they do – and when they themselves have purpose – everything changes.
CONNECTION: Inspirational leaders value that kind of meaningful connection with their employees. They see their employees not as resources but as people. And they don’t just have conversations; they build relationships.
I had a sense that Daniel’s leadership style would cover these 6 languages each and every day. My guess he would be terrific to work with, thoroughly exhausting, but terrific nonetheless! How would your leadership style compare to Daniel’s, can you identify with some of the 6 languages or do you need to do some work on them? It might be worth taking a ‘time out’ and head down to Coles or Woolies to grab some Thankyou products and decide which of your languages needs the most attention; I think we can all learn something from Daniel’s leadership style… if only they could sell that in a bottle we would truly be Thankful!