Bird On a Wire: The Inside Story from a Straight Talking CEO by Theresa Gattung

I picked up this book after reading in an article that, aside from being the previous CEO of Telecom, Theresa also:Bird on a Wire

  1. Came from a marketing background
  2. Is co-founder of My Food Bag (which btw I highly recommend if you are like me and not the worlds best cook but really want to feel like you are).

I figured I could definitely learn something from this smart lady!

I must admit the detailed pieces on Telecom’s challenges, share prices, board meetings and battles with the government didn’t interest me much (just not my thing).

What did fascinate me is the snippets of leadership and marketing advice that were peppered through out. This wasn’t an advice or self-help book but you can still find some common themes within. What was immediately evidence was how incredibly driven she was in pursuit of her goal of being a CEO of a large company by 40.

Here’s my favourite pieces of advice from Bird on A Wire:

(headings = mind, all quotes directly from the book)

On personal power
“I had no positional power over them, so I learnt first-hand about the importance of ‘personal power’ — the power of passion, persuasion and being myself in a business situation.”

On the importance of a good agency
“A strong relationship with an advertising agency is one of the most exhilarating and reinforcing assets a marketing person can have.”

In every crisis hides an opportunity
“My dream of running a big New Zealand company by the age of 40 still burned in me and maybe this crisis was another opportunity.”

It’s all about people
“At the end of the day it’s about people interacting with people, all of you striving to do the best you can.”

On the power of praise
“From Roger Oly, my boss at National Mutual, I learnt the power of praise and in particular the power of a handwritten note — the power of making an emotional connection with the people who work for you and support you.”

On authentic leadership
“I believe that the time we are living in now is all about authenticity, and that the most important thing a leader can be is authentic.”

On the importance of attitude
“In my observation, success in business and life is based more on mental attitude than mental capability.”

On patience
“I wish I’d known at 25 that life is a really long time and you don’t need to be in such a hurry.”

Fancy a more indepth read into Theresa’s career then grab it here. (Note: the book is mainly based on Telecom, but it does cover a couple of projects she works on afterwards).

Happy reading,
C x

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