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Gregor Thain, Intercontinental Hotel Group

One of the interesting things I get to tackle in my job is working with smart people who are trying to increase the leadership capacity within their companies. One of those people is Gregor Thain, a man I first met when he worked as a leadership driver within GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and who is now VP of global leadership development at the Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG).

I thought it would be interesting to hear about some of the challenges he’s faced in making leadership capacity stick, and to learn some of the strategies and insights he brought to those challenges. So I invited him to join me today for a conversation.

In this interview, Gregor and I discuss:

  • Why a varied background is an asset to developing strong leadership skills
  • Why companies in any industry should make a priority of leadership development
  • The importance of changing how people are rewarded and promoted at work
  • How to connect the impact of leadership training and the commercial outcome of an organization

(Scroll down for more in-depth podcast notes.)

Listen to my interview with Gregor Thain.

0:03:23: After briefing Michael on his career to date, Gregor and Michael discuss the fact that a varied background brings valuable perspective, which is particularly helpful for people in leadership roles. They go on to talk about how companies should prioritize leadership development, rather than focusing primarily on their output or service lines.

0:07:57: Gregor outlines some strategies for engaging companies in leadership development, pointing out that it’s important that they demonstrate willingness to highlight the changes they’re making.

0:09:38: Gregor and Michael talk about changing the way people are rewarded and promoted, and emphasize the need to bring about an environmental shift in order to influence a change in behaviour.

0:11:08: Gregor discusses some of the differences in facilitating leadership development at GSK vs. IHG, and notes the importance of making a connection between commercial benefit and leadership development.

0:15:13: Michael asks Gregor to cite some examples about the links he’s made between the impact of development and the commercial outcome of the companies he’s worked with. Gregor mentions that “guest love” is a good indication of how well a hotel is led and run.

0:19:19: Michael and Gregor wrap up by touching on the changing role of a leadership developer.

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