Five minutes with Terry Coyne

By August 6, 2019 Uncategorised

In times of change it is good to take stock and reflect on the journey that has been, while also looking to the future. 

Centre for Leadership Advantage is in the process of great change. In the last year alone we have nearly doubled in size, moved offices and had our first CLA baby (big congratulations to Dr. Marcele De Sanctis). 

Nobody quite knows the CLA journey like our Co-Founder and Director, Terry Coyne. Amidst the hectic schedules, I took the time to sit down and speak with Terry about his experience in starting CLA and his goals/expectations for 2019. 


Over the last three years, what has been your greatest learning opportunity in building CLA?

As CLA recently celebrated its third birthday some pause for thought may be of worth. 

For me the greatest learning opportunity was associated with learning about new ways of thinking about Leadership. 

Leaders today are required to acquire new skills and ways of doing old things, at what a senior government leader that I had the pleasure of meeting described as being at “warp speed“. 

The pace and requirement for change is faster than it has ever been and at CLA, we find that we need to be more innovative and inventive so that the leaders that we support are better enabled to deal with warp speed thinking and decision making. 

Paradoxically it will be new ways of slow/quick thinking such as mindfulness that will best support Leadership thinking as we approach 2020.   


What is your definition of success? What do you define as the hallmarks of a successful business?

A successful business or organisation needs to be worthy of being successful. Success alone is not a sole indicator of why an organisation deserves to become an iconic one. 

For CLA to be financially successful is important but the service we offer needs to provide a unique and high cost of entry value for our clients. This advantage needs to be of a type and character that can become part of their own DNA, or more simply put, their culture. 

There are many Leadership fads and quick fixes, as has always been the case. But less frequently, significant paradigm shifts have allowed real leadership advantage to occur. 

In the 1980’s it came with Japanese quality thinking and lean production constructs. Today our agile thinking models pay homage to this paradigm shift. 

In the 2000’s the focus shifted from quality alone to real development focused leadership where tools such as high impact feedback gained traction. Feedback that could not only be heard but was able to be acted upon. 

Today understanding the leader mindset is one of the new frontiers.


You co-founded Coyne Didsbury in 1989 with Dr. Gavin Didsbury, which was then acquired by global consulting firm Personnel Decisions International (PDI) in 2002. You remained in CEO and Executive Consultant roles with PDI until it was acquired by Korn Ferry in 2013. Just a few years on, how did you know you were ready to start a new business – how did you know it was the right time to jump?

I knew I was ready to embark on a new leadership experience when the “right people” presented. CLA exists to fulfill a very specific purpose, being of enabling leaders to transition from being good managers to being great leaders. I knew that CLA was going to be in a perfect position to do this when the quality of our small team of just three years indicated that they were ready to take this step along with Dr. Marcele De Sanctis and myself.


What are your goals for 2019 – what are you working towards?

This year we are all working to continue to improve the way we bring new research and theory of the behavioural sciences to assist the development of leaders. 

I am excited and energised  by innovation, thought leadership and working with the CLA team on our most recent Leader Mindset project has been exhilarating. I believe that understanding the mindset frameworks that leaders bring to their leadership enables a better understanding of themselves and the teams they lead. 

In 2019 we continue our mindset research by further exploring the growth and fixed mindset continuum. We will also explore in detail other mindsets such as the resilience mindset and the visibility mindset as extensions of the growth and fixed mindset paradigm.


Looking back, if you had your time again – would you do it all again? 


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