Mike Cook — Managing Partner - Financial Services Sector Canada at IBM

After my trip to THINK I travelled to Toronto to visit my good friend. During this trip I learnt I must clearly be insane to want to spend my time in the freezing cold of Toronto's winter when the sun was shining in my hometown of Perth. Amongst ice fishing 1, snowboarding and staying indoors I had the pleasure of meeting up with Mike Cook for this podcast. Mike was so easy to talk to that what was meant to be a short session went a good 30 minutes over. Mike shared his amazing story, where from flunking his first degree he was able to reinvent himself and become hugely successful. Mike has some great advice for anyone who is trying to better themselves, those around them and their careers. Enjoy the podcast!

Contents

🎧 Listen In

💡 Key Messages

🎧 Listen In

Here is the podcast.

💡 Key Messages

Here are my key takeaways from the podcast.

  • Find your sense of home - Whilst this wasn't something that Mike said explicitly, I think there was a lot of hidden value in his story. Mike - who grew up in Scotland - spoke about how he screwed up at university and lacked focus. After passing his degree, Mike decided to head back to his birth home in Canada. This was the turning point of Mike's life. After feeling like he found where he belong, Mike's ambition and focus really kicked in and he went on to ace his MBA studies and never looked back
  • Luck Is what happens when preparation meets opportunity - This quote, by Roman philosopher Seneca, has been around for a long time for one important reason. It's a good one. Mike questioned me, "opportunities are going to be there. Will you be ready to take them?". By being well prepared, Mike was able to ride the waves of opportunity which have helped lead to his successful career. Put the work in, even if the benefits are not immediately realised. This is a concept that can apply to all aspects of our lives, not just our careers
  • Seek out mentors - Mike sought out many mentors throughout his career. He believes that mentorship should always be something that is sought out and should be organic, do not wait to have it assigned to you. It is very humbling to admit that you can always be better, which then becomes very rewarding as you learn from those around you. Mike said that sometimes he might have just needed his mentor there to help push him into opportunities and reassure him that he is ready
  • Don't have 5 year plans - I strongly agree with this one. I despise the question "where do you see yourself in 5 years?". Mike explains that when we try to forecast unrealistically, we really set ourselves up for disappointment as we might become too rigid in what we define as success. Make it simple. Keep busy, do well and continually grow
  • Understand people - At some point in your careers and definitely your lives, we need to understand how people work. When it comes to leading a team, you have to understand individual motivation and how to build and run a team. Mike says it comes down to Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose 2
  • Read The Undoing Project - An account on how two phycologists - Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky - changed the way we think and see the world. Behavourial economics is super interesting and I love Daniel Kahneman. If you get a chance, Thinking Fast and Slow is awesome too