Power Question – What is the most important thing you learned in 2019?

February 12, 2020

We asked a cross-section of business executives to answer our monthly Power Question and received some thought-provoking replies – as well as sage advice we could all follow. Here are the responses to the question:

“What is the most important thing you learned in 2019?”


Bob Manning, Mayor of Cairns Regional Council, Queensland:

“What grabbed me the most was my visit to the Arctic as part of ClimateForce 2041. I came back from that a different person. It was absolutely life changing. It was 24-hour daylight, and I was sitting up on the deck in the middle of the night thinking about what’s going on in the world. When it came to me – what if we pass the tipping point? What if tomorrow the whole thing starts to crumble. This beautiful world and all these people will disappear. And no one in the universe will ever know that we existed. When you get that in your head… I went back to bed and realised – we better get serious here. I’d never thought of anything in that sort of context before. It was a sobering experience.”


Steve Davies, CEO of Australian Pipelines & Gas Association (APGA):

“The most important thing I learned in 2019 was how important it is to take the time to listen to people you disagree with. That doesn’t mean you will necessarily agree with them, but taking the time to listen and try to understand their position. And really try to change your position to account for that. It’s been a process I’ve been doing under 2019 and it’s changing the way we do some things at the Association.”


Justin Brown, Managing Director of Element 25 Limited:

“The biggest thing that came home for me was that the world has woken up to climate change and has made a decision to transition to low carbon, ethical supply of extractive resources, which miners have produced over many, many decades but not necessarily as cleanly as they should. If you’re not clean, green and ethical in the future, you won’t have a business. You have to adapt or die, I think.”

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