Cadence Catch-up with Lewis #9

Welcome to the ninth edition of Cadence Catch-Up, and the first for 2023!

We live in incredibly fascinating times. As this year warms up we are seeing no correction to the pace of change around us; nor the severity of the debates occurring in full sight. The former we should take as standard issue. The latter is what concerns me more, and where strong leadership is continually required. We are debating important issues like future energy sources, constitutional change and potential financial reform – all of which require considered thought and response. Yet it seems almost accepted now that if what is proposed doesn’t suit someone, straight off the bat, they reject it. With force and fury. Where is the respectful debate, the revelation of the full facts that support various options, and most importantly, the calm but firm voices holding it all together?

This month I take a detailed look at one of the most notable voices of our time: Bono from U2. What started out as a casual Christmas read of his latest book Surrender turned into a 2,000 word piece on leadership! It revealed to me what a multi-talented, effective leader he is – not only of his band, but also as an influencer for positive change, and a visionary for the future. I think they call that “Level 5 leadership”. I also look at the recent swathe of corporate layoffs, particularly among the very largest tech organisations and investment banks, and examine the process by which they execute layoffs as a signal to the culture residing in these places, and why it leaves those remaining behind fearful for the future. And inspired by another holiday read, Simon Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last, I examine the naturally present chemicals in our brains that continually reward our good behaviours.

I hope you enjoy Cadence Catch-Up #9.


Our need to adapt to constant change and upgrade our skills, take measured risks and have belief in the underlying abilities that got us to where we are, form the base themes I am carrying with me in 2023 (and probably beyond too). They are so well exemplified in the many stories Bono tells in Surrender. I really encourage younger readers who may only know of Bono through the ill-fated global download of an album in 2014 to look deeper than that. He has never been scared to go to the places others have felt off limits – because he believes in the cause. I’d love to hear what you think.


Most of us have been laid off at some point in our careers, or we know a person that has. It’s never a great time. On the positive side, it can open doors or give people the push they’ve probably needed to find greener pastures. But when it’s a blindside, and executed with such little empathy as to extend to an email and a time bell to leave the building, one wonders exactly what the company making the layoff could be thinking.

Judging by the response this post received during February, especially from people in the US, if companies need to go down the layoff route, several should be grading themselves “could do better”.


I love it when you stumble upon learnings that are so simple to implement AND they can materially improve people’s lives. I found that understanding the different ways Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin give us a reliable, natural rush when we complete certain activities can help us structure our lives so these chemicals get the chance to shine DAILY. Simon Sinek devotes time to the details behind the science in his book Leaders Eat Last, which is highly recommended.


Over the holiday season I was alerted to Adam Grant’s podcast series Re:Thinking. There are two episodes I’d really like to call out. Firstly, Grant’s interview with actress and producer Reese Witherspoon from last October is essential listening. Despite her incredible success, Witherspoon appears very grounded and has the listener at “Hi, Adam”. I loved her story about the Imposter Syndrome she felt during the filming of Walk The Line. Didn’t she win an Oscar for that? Well, before all that happened, she dealt with months of IS. There are so many great leadership lessons in this podcast. Check it out.

The other one I really enjoyed was the discussion with Brene Brown on “What Vulnerability Isn’t”. Brown needs no introduction, but I found some of her messages totally engaging. Especially things like how we are raised as children to be brave but not vulnerable; the armour we put on as kids to survive growing up doesn’t serve us in mid-life; and how she finds firemen, surgeons and footballers more comfortable discussing their vulnerabilities than people in suits. So much to unpack – take a listen.


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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