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Lyall will deliver the keynote address at the Western Sydney Small Business Expo at Rosehill Gardens, August 8, 9am-4pm. Lyall will deliver the keynote address at the Western Sydney Small Business Expo at Rosehill Gardens, August 8, 9am-4pm.
01 July 2018 Posted by 

Humility, respect, communication: reflections of CEO Lyall Gorman

FOR businessman Lyall Gorman, success comes in various guises.

And it’s not limited to the playing field despite Gorman’s role as CEO of the Manly Sea Eagles or past glory as former boss of the Cronulla Sharks and chief executive of the Central Coast Mariners or in helping to set up the victorious Western Sydney Wanderers.
In fact, Gorman’s sporting prowess has also been matched in the boardroom where he has enjoyed an accomplished career in business that has spanned more than 30 years in both the private and public sector.
Speaking on the eve of the Western Sydney Small Business Expo where he will deliver a keynote speech, Gorman shared the entrepreneurial wisdom that has driven him on and away from the footy field – and it starts with the legendary Mark Twain quote: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why”.
Gorman said the inspirational quote set the tone for his career in sport and in business.
“You can apply it to life or in business but one of the most powerful tools that is a fundamental starting point of business is clarity of purpose,” he said.
“And also you should have a core set of values and behavioural principles that should never be for sale.”
For Gorman, those values include “integrity, trust and respect”, some of which were tested several years ago when he was tasked with heading up the A-League’s then newest club, the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Gorman asked one crucial thing of Tony Popovic as the star player turned coach went about assembling a squad for the club’s inaugural season.
“First I asked him what sort of person the player was and then I asked him can he play football,” Gorman said.
“I believe people are your greatest asset and you have to have a culture that nurtures people and that allows every individual to be the best they can be. When you create that environment, an organisation will evolve to be the best it can be. The same can be applied in sport.”
While Gorman says “doing what is right has always been the driving principle for me when making decisions”, so too is his golden rule of following the three C’s – “communication, collaboration and connectivity”.
That is why he was quick to consult fans during the making of the Wanderers, believing the public’s support was crucial in starting the club.
“The community really owned (the club). We couldn’t come in like knights in shining armour asking them to love us. We had to engage them as part of our journey rather than tell them what the journey was going to be,” he said.
So where did Gorman learn such humility?
Oddly it started decades ago when he was known as Mr Gorman the teacher at Binda Public School, a 24-student primary school in a small village north of Crookwell in the state’s south west.
“A population of 140, one pub and one local store - that’s where I learnt the power of community,” he said.
“You learn to understand the importance of influence and humility and the opportunity to make a difference. That’s a really empowering thing.
“Some people are driven by ego and glory but I’ve been blessed in being driven by legacy and making a difference.
“I often say to organisations that if you work together you can create something very special. That’s why I won’t sit at the head of a table, because if it is about me, we’re in big trouble.”
Gorman left the classroom for an advocacy and management role – still in the education sector – but before long sport came knocking and he was asked to help to develop the Central Coast Mariners club from scratch.
These days Gorman can also be found on the speaking circuit, mentoring business leaders.
He will address the Western Sydney Small Business Expo, sharing the lessons he has learnt in business, market potential and growth strategies.
Western Sydney Business Access is a support partner of the Western Sydney Small Business Expo which will be held at Rosehill Gardens, August 8, 9am-4pm. Details and tickets:



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