active CEO Breaking The CEO Code

Mass Participation World White Paper – Breaking The CEO Code

At the 2019 Mass Participation World Conference at the Hilton Hotel in Singapore, Craig Johns presented Breaking The CEO Code.

active CEO Breaking The CEO Code

Please find the following links from the presentation:

For more details, please contact:

Craig Johns
+61 415 675 939

active CEO Podcast #51 Chris Robb Money Can’t Buy Experiences

Chris Robb Mass Participation World Money Cant Buy Experiences
Chris Robb – Founder Mass Participation World

On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Chris Robb about mass participation sport events, growing the Standard Chartered Marathon to over 60,00 participants, being the course manager for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games marathon, and changing people’s lives through money can’t buy experiences. We also delve into the immense power of pause, coping with it being lonely at the top as a CEO, collaborative leadership, inspiring others to make a powerful impact on the world and serving a tennis ball into the back of Sir Richard Branson’s head.

Chris Robb – Money Can’t Buy Experiences.

Chris is an international authority on iconic large-scale mass participation events; a humble, loyal and curious leader; and a passionate family man now living in Bali, Indonesia. He is an enabler of people to have an active and healthy lifestyle, author of Mass Participation Sports Events and Better business Better Life Better World, is a high impact consultant and a champion of Buy 1 Give 1.

Growing up in Zimbabwe, he studied a Bachelor Commerce and Bachelor of Agricultural Management at the University of KwaZulu-Nattal. Getting his first taste of event management while at high school, our guest has over 30 years experience organising and leading events. During his career he has been at the helm of events for more than one million participants in the likes of Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Zimbabwe, South Africa and India.

He established Spectrum Worldwide in Australia in 1992, where he worked on the 2000 Sydney Olympics, before establishing himself in Singapore at the commencement of the Asian health and fitness boom in the 2000’s. In 2015 he established Mass Participation Asia, an annual conference for event stakeholders, before selling Spectrum Worldwide to IRONMAN, in 2016.

Chris talks about:

  • Life growing up on a farm in Zimbabwe, during the independence war.
  • Having a rich upbringing from life experiences, even though they were financially poor.
  • The importance of embracing circumstances you find yourself in.
  • Being an 800m and 1500m runner training on farm tracks and dirt roads.
  • Planning to go back and run the family business on the farm.
  • Being involved in organising the Comrades Marathon while studying at University.
  • Changing people’s lives through money can’t buy experiences.
  • Getting parents out and getting active with their kids.
  • Getting more governments globally to recognise the value of sport especially the social and health impact.
  • Organising the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon with over 60,000 participants.
  • Expanding the JP Morgan corporate challenge running events into Asia.
  • Partnering with Dave Hansen from Supersprint Events and Robbie McEwan.
  • Going from zero to sixty thousand customers within 6 months.
  • Ramping up from a team of 30 to more than 5,000 people over a 3 month period.
  • A mindset expecting that there is going to be a curveball will be thrown at you.
  • Collaborative leadership where you are always looking for a solution.
  • Surround yourself with a great group of mentors much like an athlete has.
  • Having ritual’s and keeping yourself mentally and physically in shape.
  • Helping make it easier for our future leaders to grow in the industry.

Active CEO Wellness Tip

Life Is Not A Dress Rehearsal – It is important that you turn up, show up and be present right now. It’s not about what you did yesterday or what you plan in the future. It is all about this one second, one minute, one hour or even one day and you are ready to go.


“Connecting with a community and a tribe and doing training and things together and taking you into the outdoors. It’s crucial for the health and wellbeing of the world.” Chris Robb talking about the power of sport and events on bringing people together, on the active CEO Podcast.

“I love putting that jigsaw together and making sure that everyone knows what they are doing, but also empowering them to make decisions.” Chris Robb on leading people, on the active CEO Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Chris Robb LinkedIn
Chris Robb Facebook
Chris Robb Website
Chris Robb Email
Mass Participation World
Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon
Craig Johns
Craig Johns LinkedIn

Recommended Reading:

Mass Participation Sports Events Chris Robb
Better Business Better Life Better World Chris Robb

Serving the ACE!

ACE 2017 3

By Craig Johns

I am feeling NRGized this week after delving into topics such as the future is human, one team, disruption, relevance and mission control as the Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) served up at an ACE at their annual conference in Sydney.

Check out the first segment from my highlights from #ACESYD17 below, including key learnings and insights that can help you in your organisation or business. (Photos courtesy of AuSAE & Oneill Photographics)

Held at the brand new International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney, we were led by the colorful, entertaining and insightful MC Andrew Klein from Spike Presentations, as the conference delivered world-leading content over the two days.

Highlighting the conference were keynote presentations by Craig Davis, the vision behind the most innovative parcel delivery company in the world, Sendle; Kitty Chiller, the 2016 Australian Olympic Team Chef de Mission, providing “lessons on leadership“; Liana Downey, Executive Director at Liana Downey & Associates (strategic advisers to governments and non-profits), inspiring us to take on Mission Control; and Naomi Simson, founding Director of RedBalloon and celebrity Shark Tank specialist, taking us on a roller-coaster ride into her life as mum, CEO and celebrity.


The Future Looks Human

Craig Davis kicked off #ACESYD17, providing an overview of the “age of acceleration of everything” and then stepped it up by sharing his three steps to success:

  • Train Your Attention (Focus)
  • Learn to Appreciate Failure (Learn)
  • Go on a Journey from Ego to Empathy to Compassion (Serve)

He spoke about the importance of attention, noting that it is the world’s most scarce resource. Craig shared research that, on average, attention spans have reduced from 12 to 8 seconds, since 2007. His approach to human failure is that it cultivates resilience and the learning from failure that leads to our successes. Craig finished off by taking  us through the Sendle journey and how it developed by accident as TuShare required a more efficient delivery service.

“Be present. Don’t leave the best part of you at home when going to work.”




Kitty Chiller, Australia’s 1st ever female Olympic Games Chef de Mission, gave us an in-depth insight into the life behind an Australian Olympic Games Team. Not one to take a backwards step, Kitty discussed the reasons behind the “One Team” approach and how every decision was based on “will this make the boat go faster”. She spoke about the importance of embracing the challenge, but doing it with sincerity.

Kitty provided advice for leaders on coping under pressure. She stayed true to her motto “best planned, best prepared, best performed” as she motivated herself and inspired the entire Olympic team through one of the toughest Olympics in history. Kitty talked about the importance of an extensive roadshow to develop trust and buy-in to the “One Team” approach. All the Australian Olympic Team Management staff where required to write a one-page plan, when they commenced their role, outlining what their role was in making a difference to the “One Team” performance. This approach was designed to gain value, feel valued as making a a difference to the team, and ensure everyone feels part of the team.

“Take responsibility for your own potential.”

MICHAEL JOHNSON Olympic Gold Medalist


Mission Control 

Liana Downey is determined to help leaders change the world. Liana spoke about the “Power of Focus” and that it requires a lot of courage to control it. She gave a great presentation on how to control your companies mission and what to be aware of that can side-track the organisation. 

Mission creep (trying to do too much) is an all too common problem facing organisations. Missions usually get out of control because of:

  • Chasing funding
  • Start with a symptom, rather than the root cause (ask the right questions)
  • Difficulty in saying NO!
  • Lots of stakeholders

Liana’s 7 key steps to Mission Control are:

  1. Get the FACTS – environment, sector, clients
  2. Set your GOAL – clear (7 year old proof), describes an end-state, ensure its spine-tingling (energises & galvanises staff), distinguish between goal & strategy
  3. Identify your OPTIONS – i.e.: profit option tree
  4. Identify what WORKS – experts, research, learn from your experiences, impact must be tied to results
  5. Look INWARDS – what are your organisations strengths
  6. Find your SWEET SPOT
  7. Tell your STORY – know where you are going (goal), how will you get there (strategy) and why will it work

3-month plan vs. 10 year? – 3-month as people will leave the room knowing what they will achieve and can see its within their reach.

“You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be something to someone.”



Shark Tank

Naomi Simson reminded us of the importance of remembering what it felt like to serve your first customer. It’s that moment of trust and the greatest impact you are likely to have on that customer!

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”


Naomi has developed the extremely successful RedBalloon company. The model is based on growth through relationships, with word-of-mouth being their most powerful promotional tool. She talked about the importance of reading customer feedback “How people talk about you” and improving the quality of the product and service when required.

“Know your business and industry better than anyone else in the world. Love what you do or don’t do it.”


Naomi reiterated the importance of people understanding the difference between managers and leaders, and to run an effective show, all staff are required to fulfill their role. “Everyone brings their right talent’s for the boat to perform”

  • Manager – nurture the uniqueness of the individual to perform
  • Leader – unite everyone for the same cause

Some of the other key take homes were:

  • “People thing” – fixing people is the biggest challenge
  • Is your organisation in the right flow? 
  • Keep working – its not set & forget
  • Do we give guarantees that are just words? (what is the commitment to the members?)
  • “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”. Bill Gates
  • Listening posts to get a balanced and fair view of consumers. (both positive & negative)
  • Ensure your organisation has relevance during times of disruption
  • Keep relationships close has the best effect on disrupters
  • Look after the well-being of employees as it translates to the customer
  • If you are rushing to their importance, you are not getting to your importance
  • You can never earn more time
  • Own your own parameters

“A brand is a promise. It creates expectations, that the product has to deliver.”


The second segment from #ACE2017 is now available! click here…

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Are you looking for more insights and ideas? Then read the following inspiring and thought-provoking articles by Craig Johns: