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  • Hassan Younes

How High Powered Executives Combat Complacency

Complacency and stagnation are a slow death sentence for businesses. Learn how to keep your business moving in the right direction from these top business leaders.



Complacency works like cancer in a business. Once it takes root, it can kill a business if not eradicated in time.


Worse, complacent behaviours are insidious things that infect work culture in small ways. It can include anything from disengagement to taking shortcuts that can cost a company in the long run.


But some of Australia’s most successful executives have found the cure. They’ve managed to grow their businesses because they’re constantly battling against complacency.

What if you had productivity advice from one of the richest women in the world, Gina Rinehart?


What nuggets of wisdom can mega-developer Harry Triguboff offer?


What lessons in productivity helped to propel Anthony Pratt to the level of success that he enjoys today?


When you look at the most successful business leaders of the world, you’ll realise that they have one thing in common: hard work.


But how do you keep that momentum going throughout your business?


Find out how some of Australia’s most successful business leaders combat complacency and remain productive. Learn important tips to keep the cancer of complacency out of your business and boost productivity.


The List


Once someone hits a certain level of success, it’s easy to get too comfortable and disengage from work. Take a look at how some of the most successful people in the world combat complacency to help remain productive:




Gina Rinehart – Always Be Enthusiastic to Get Extra Work


Gina Rinehart is the executive chairman of Hancock Prospecting. She’s the daughter of the high-profile iron explorer Lang Hancock. When her father passed away, Rinehart inherited his bankrupted estate.


But a bankrupted estate didn’t stop Rinehart, who turned it into a multimillion-dollar business.


Today, her net worth is around $15.5 billion with the bulk of her fortune coming from the Roy Hill mining project.


So, what does this mining magnate have to say about combating complacency?


At a recent event on the Gold Coast, she told News Corp:


Put in a bit more, always be enthusiastic to get extra work, work later, take less lunch breaks, get it done and do it responsibly.


There’s no such thing as extraneous hard work in Gina Rinehart’s book.


If you keep working and doing it right, it can help fight feelings of complacency. Even if you need to sacrifice your lunch breaks to do it.


Harry Triguboff – Know What You Want to Achieve


Harry Triguboff isn’t a stranger to a little hard work. It’s his work ethic and vision that helped him build his fortune, one housing development at a time.


He’s one of the first Australian developers who saw that apartment living was the way of the future, rather than the prevailing single-family homes. So, that’s exactly what he built in Sydney.


Triguboff earned the moniker “High Rise Harry” for the many apartments his company, Meriton, built over the decades. Today, his net worth sits at $10.2 billion, but any continued market drive in Sydney may change that number.


Triguboff built his fortune and became the second richest person in Australia because he had a vision. And he stuck by it even when everybody around him didn’t understand it.

He credited this as the secret to his success:


I tried all my life to make housing affordable. The more affordable the house, the more money I make. I deal in volume. To sell volume, it must be affordable. So that’s my whole life, is to make it affordable.”


Fighting complacency in business is a challenge, but it gets easier if you’re following a vision. When you have a vision or goal, you have something to work towards and you don’t have the time to sit back on your laurels.


Anthony Pratt – Never Fear Risk


Anthony Pratt doesn’t shy away from risks.


Pratt knew he wanted to run his own business and through hard work, he ascended to the top of not one but two companies. Pratt joined Visy as the joint General Manager in the mid-80s.


He also joined his father on-board Pratt Industries in the late 80s and took on the position of CEO and Chairman when he passed away.


Pratt went on to grow both companies phenomenally where both Visy and Pratt Industries are double the size that they were before. And nowadays, his net worth is $11.3 billion.


So, what can this member of the Billionaires Club teach you about complacency?


Risk is a good thing. He’s a big believer in taking them:


Ultimately, innovation depends on the people with advanced skills who have the ideas, and on the business risk-takers willing to back them.


When you’re innovating, you’re moving forward. With that forward momentum, things like complacency and disengagement have no room to take root.




Frank Lowy – Find Another Ladder


Success in life is like a ladder. Step by step you walk up the ladder. The problem comes when you come to the top of the ladder and say ‘I’m successful now’. There’s no such thing, you have to find another ladder. Success is a journey and the journey finishes when you finish.

Frank Lowry understands hardship and loss. He grew up in wartime Hungary and survived the Holocaust. Despite his history, he resolved to make the most out of his life.


So, that’s exactly what he did…


He opened his first shopping centre in 1959 in Sydney, Australia. This was the beginning of one of the world’s largest mall empires and where he amassed much of his fortune.

Although Lowry sold his Westfield Corp in 2018, he still runs the family investment house with locations all over the world. He’s come a long way from humble beginnings with a net worth of $5.6 billion.


When it comes to complacency, Lowry never allowed it to take root because he was always looking for the next ladder to climb. If you keep moving forward, you don’t have time for complacency to take root.


Mike Cannon-Brookes – A Great Product Isn’t Enough


Having a great product or service isn’t enough to carry your business through troubled times. You also need alignment to make everything work.


Mike Cannon-Brookes knows about great products. He is a co-founder of Atlassian, a collaboration software firm that boasts clients like Tesla, NASA, and SpaceX. And the company doesn’t have a sales team!


Nowadays, his net worth is around $12 billion and growing as Atlassian adds to its software family.


A couple of years ago, Atlassian acquired the global productivity app Trello. When asked why, Cannon-Brookes said:


Where [Trello] want to go in the future is very aligned with where we want to go.

It wasn’t about simply having a great product. Atlassian wanted to partner with Trello because they shared a vision.


Cannon-Brookes also goes on to say that alignment must be clear before any two companies work together:


There will always be disagreements, that’s natural [but] are you trying to change the world in the same way?


Complacency often happens when people lose their desire to lead and perform. When you have an aligned vision, though, everybody works towards the same goal. And they’re willing to invest in themselves and others to achieve it.


Scott Farquhar – Work on Your Passion


If you want to be the best in the world, you need complete and utter dedication and passion.


When Scott Farquhar founded Atlassian with Mike Cannon-Brookes, they didn’t set out to build a multi billion company. But that’s exactly what happened.

Thirteen years after creating Atlassian, Farquhar has a net worth of $11.9 billion mostly from his stakes in Atlassian. Not bad for a company founded right after college and funded with credit cards.


So, what’s the secret of productivity?


For Farquhar, it’s all about passion.


It’s what helps to make teams more productive. Atlassian furthered the commitment to the company’s passion by using the ticker “TEAM” as a symbol for teamwork.


The Secret to Combating Complacency


Businesses are at risk of complacency when they rest on their previous success and don’t have the drive to go to the next level.


The billionaires on this list, though, never let themselves rest. They had the drive and the passion to reach their vision and inspired their team to do the same.


And when they reached one goal?


They created another and kept innovating. The important part of each message is that these business leaders never stood still.


As Frank Lowry said, there’s no such thing as “successful now.”


Finding another ladder and continuing the climb can help increase productivity and keep complacency at bay. Even if you must forego the occasional lunch break to take that next step.

Find out how to unlock your business’ potential and passion.


Contact Hassan Younes for more information about his speaking services.