Shaw River Manganese is a manganese focused mineral exploration company exploring and developing a number of manganese projects both in Australia and Internationally. Shaw River is currently focused on exploration, defining and increasing the mineral resource base and progressing project studies, leading to the development of an open cut mining operation at its Otjozondu project, in Namibia. Shaw River will continue assessment and exploration of other manganese projects and will continue to accumulate a world-class inventory of high quality manganese resources. in essence we are currently a small market cap, exploration company focusing on manganese, an essential ingredient in steel making.

1. Can you describe your organization and your role within the company?

My role is Managing Director and CEO, and it is my job to :

Be responsible for the enterprise, taking into account the whole business, functions, relationships and stakeholders, internal and external;
Understanding how the business operates in the external environment and anticipating opportunities and risks;
Maintaining compliance and reporting within the (ASX/ASIC) Guidelines for Companies both in Australia and Africa;
Define and deliver the Organizations strategy;
Being the face of the organization and managing communications for the benefit of all stakeholders.

2. As an organization gets larger there can be a tendency for the “institution” to dampen the “inspiration.” How do you keep this from happening?

I believe that most of the dampening effect has to do with two areas; increasing levels of bureaucracy and increased focus on compliance. I would target to minimize the need for much bureaucracy by ensuring that the organization and the people clearly understood the companies goals and strategies, give them to resources to do their job effectively and employ people who hold “accountability” as their maxim.

3. How do you encourage creative thinking within your organization?

I think this question, really flows on from the previous one. Too much bureaucracy and regulations can create a form of an “inspirational cage” which people get trapped in, resulting in considerable loss of creativity and spontaneity. This is especially important in the world of “exploration”.

I believe that you must create an environment that supports and encourages creativity, for example, the relaxed workplaces for Apple and Facebook.

You need to outline the issue or problem to your people, and then give them the support, resources and time to resolve it. This allows them to get “buy-in”, accountability and provide that wonderful surge of accomplishment.

4. What are a few resources you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?

Time to think and fully appreciate and understand the business
Develop strong people skills and a good generalist view
Read the “Gold Mine Effect” by Rasmus Ankersen
An excellent EA/PA

5. When faced with two equally-qualified candidates, how do you determine whom to hire?

The person who has the best cultural fit for the organisation and the best potential to support growth in the future.

6. Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?

There is no single person I could name, but instead, I learnt from all my previous managers and leaders by focusing on their best leadership traits and especially how they effectively resolved issues. Thus I have a grab bag of traits to use for most situations.

7. What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

Having time to absorb the vast amount of information available and being able to react quickly and effectively in the ever changing world of business.

8. How do you encourage work-life balance for your employees?

Allowing and encouraging them to spend some precious time with family, such as attending that important child’s play or exhibition.

Encouraging regular breaks after key milestones have been completed.

9. What does leadership mean to you?

Being able to develop and grow a business and provide returns to the shareholders

10. Which business leader do you most admire?

Richard Branson, he’s not afraid of risk!

11. What gadget can you not do without?

My Swiss army knife!

12. How do you relax?

I read, enjoy good wine and cook.