Damian Armour - Partner - Management Consulting KPMG

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Intro  0:13  
Many aspire to reach the upper echelon of the healthcare industry, but few are able to successfully navigate the corporate ladder. As Asia becomes the world epicenter of the healthcare industry, C-Suite Partners sits down with international healthcare executives asking the tough questions and unpacking the personalities of the top industry leaders.

Welcome to the boardroom.

Michael Murray  0:52  
Damien, thank you for joining C-Suite Partners In The boardroom. 

Damian Armour  0:55
Michael, thank you for having me. 

Michael Murray  0:56
Let’s start off with the past decade of your career. Can you just talk me through what you’ve been doing?

Damian Armour  1:03  
I started my career at KPMG for four years and then had another four years at Arthur Andersen, in business consulting type roles. And for the last decade, I have been working forever with healthcare. I moved in about 12 years ago out of the public sector working at Barwon Health as the general manager of surgical services. And I actually never, I always said to myself, I’d never work in the public sector. And I’d never worked back and Geelong and my next job was working for Barwon Health in Geelong.  So I learned pretty quickly never to say “never”

Michael Murray  1:33  
How were you about the transition from professional services into the public sector, because very similar, my background was KPMG and Accenture as well. So then jumping into the public sector, it was quite challenging for myself, how did you find it?

Damian Armour  1:50  
You know, the groundwork that, you know, the big eight back then, you know, there’s accounting firms give you in terms of training and development is just invaluable, you know, that sets a great platform for the rest of your career, I found the pace different. I found, you know, that, you know, I needed to sort of apply more leadership and you know, people skills as a leader in the organization. But then also make sure I brought to bear the disciplines that I learned in the professional services firms and the frameworks, that sort of guide, particular project successfully from start to ends.

Michael Murray  2:29  
What do you look for in executives coming through that report in to you?

Damian Armour  2:34  
First and foremost, they need to be able to do their job, and they need to be able to demonstrate that more than in through their CV and interview process. I look for people who can tell stories, and to sort of articulate their career in a certain way. Because if I know they can tell the story, they will be able to communicate the stories to their people. And I think that’s a great attribute of very good leaders. And then the third thing I look for it typically is, you know, can they develop their successor in many respects? Do they have the skills and desire to develop the people that they will be working with?

Michael Murray  3:13  
How do you keep executives or your staff to stay with you? It’s so hard the retention piece? Is there anything you’ve picked up over the past decade that you’ve thought, well, I wasn’t doing that very well? 10 years ago, but now I’m much better at it?

Damian Armour  3:25  
Yeah, definitely. I just mentioned the storytelling and in the communication piece, and, you know, understanding the why, you know, what, why are you doing this particular thing? in your, in your organization? Why is this strategy so important? You know, in my time, at one thing, I’ll probably reflect on my time at Barwon Health in my particular role, I was very office-bound and not too much out there, okay, you know, in the theater and talking to the people. And that was more again, a bit of “Gee, I’m moving into this job, I have not a lot of background to when I saw as a conservative and stuff. So that developed over time, but, but then you sort of move into being more present and talking to your people and just the casual conversations. And then also when you got the large groups about, you know, communicating telling the story, helping them understand, why are we putting these particular strategies in place, and, and that’s, that’s the valuable piece.

Michael Murray  4:23  
Was there any moments of self-doubt walking into new roles? Can you just tell me a little bit about that?

Damian Armour  4:30  
Yeah, absolutely. There’s the one I vividly remember was when I had the opportunity to move from Barwon Health and got the position at Epworth Freemasons and I’d spent 10 years in Barwon Health and developed a better understanding of the healthcare sector. But moving from public to private, I really had no detailed concept at least in the way of really the dynamics of what drove the private industry, the funding base and a few other things and I was coming in relatively, but done some research, but unless you believe that you’ve got no ideas, I never forget the first day, walking into Freemasons, I’d had a nice introduction of the executive team and I walked in. And I just remember how nervous I was saying, I hope they don’t ask me to. Because I don’t want to sort of, you know, again, that comes about, you know, making sure you get their respect and retain it. So, I survived that first meeting and obviously got through the interview process, as well. But then it’s about navigating and not sort of tripping up yourself and losing that respect. So you need to just ask the right questions to the right people at the right time. You know, you just you do wing it quite often and need to take a bit of, okay just sort of try and fudge my way through this a little bit. And, you know, if you can survive that, you learn and  develop and you get that baseline skills, and then you’re able to apply when those circumstances come next time.

Michael Murray  5:58  
How long did it take for you to feel comfortable, in that role? Was it months, years?

Damian Armour  6:03  
It was, it was years, you know, probably within a year and a half before you know, things started rolling and it just it probably the volume of things that you’re uncomfortable with just continues to shrink and shrink and shrink. So it’s very, you know, you walk in there, and there’s a lot of things you don’t know about. But then as you get into the role, and you’re working with people and you ask the right questions at the right time, the right people, you develop that skill, so the things you’re uncomfortable with gets less than less and less and I think, you know, after about probably just over a year or a year and a half or so I was you know, very comfortable in walking in and being able to deal with the issues and answer questions, the tricky questions about the industry and then provide my views about you know, where we need to be going.

Michael Murray  6:48  
Well on that note, Damian, thank you for spending time with C-Suite Partners In the Boardroom.

Damian Armour  6:51  
Thank you, Michael. 

Michael Murray  6:52
Thank you.

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