Cadence Catch-up with Lewis #13

Welcome to the lucky thirteenth edition of Cadence Catch-Up.

This month I share my thoughts on two corporate culture failures that are still playing out – Qantas and PwC. Both were once highly respected organisations that have seen significant value eroded, largely due to uncontrolled power wielded by a few near the top of the house. Never has the phrase “the fish rots from the head” been more true. I really do feel for the many good people in both organisations, and what their working days must now look like.

My third insert this month references an HBR article by Herminia Ibarra, who looks to debunk some of the myths connected to networking. The takeaway message for me is that we all network in some way, whether we realise it or not. And introverts are among some of the most effective networkers around, because they deliberately concentrate on building deeper relationships.


Nobody really envies the role new Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson has stepped into. Since this article was put out there Chairman has finally “read the room” and announced he will depart in 2024. But there is so much ground to make up. Australians want to see their national carrier succeed, and return to its glory days when travelling with Qantas was a great experience. At a time when the airline is generating record profits, its reputation has never been worse. Read here why regaining trust in the airline, both from a customer and employee perspective, must be Hudson’s main focus.


Predictably, the Switkowski report into PwC’s culture has basically said a few bad apples got a bit greedy, profit-makers reigned supreme, and it was imperative to keep the CEO happy – only good news could fly upstairs. There are a few guard-rails being introduced from the report that attempt to address the cultural issues with process. They are Band-Aid measures in reality. It will come down to the value set of the new leadership team that will really make the difference at PwC; the behaviours they will accept, how true “value creation” is measured, and whether bad news does actually make its way to the executive suite.



Recently I discovered a podcast series titled Performance Intelligence with Andrew May. May is a leadership coach, author and speaker with a background in physical fitness and mental strength. The series features in-depth interviews with prominent sports people like Wayne Pearce, Phil Waugh, Simon Katich and George Gregan. There are a host of others, with TV presenters, ex-military officers and sports psychologists. May’s enthusiasm and passion is infectious. You will be watching everything you eat after listening to his interview with Paul Taylor!

While not a rugby fan, having listened to the Waugh interview I now have a much better appreciation of the many challenges he faces as CEO of Rugby Australia, not least managing renegade coach Eddie Jones. Now that is one situation I will be watching closely.


Cadence Leadership Advisory is a leadership development business specialising in coaching people, team leadership and development, strategy review and organisational culture.

Its Founder, Lewis Williams, has over 25 years of leadership experience gained through senior roles at NAB, HSBC and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. A Graduate of AGSM@UNSW, a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), and an Approved Advisor with Advisory Board Centre, he instigated and drove development of the 2021 paper “Organisational Culture: Beyond the Intangible” with other alumni of the AICD. He is also an accredited CultureTalk practitioner, a training and development platform that activates the framework of personality archetypes for the growth of leaders, teams, brands and cultures.

FOUNDER: Lewis Williams


MOBILE: 61 (0) 477 371 665

LINKEDIN: cadenceleadershipadvisory/

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