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Doing What’s Right Not Easy

When we go through a crisis it will either forge us to become a leader or pull us in a downward spiral. How can we ensure that we are doing what’s right, not easy?

In this episode, I am joined by Chris Nicholls, a crisis leadership specialist and a motivational speaker who helps people to become courageous leaders. He was a former ABC investigative journalist and in this line of work, he experienced a crisis that will shape the course of his life.

In 1993, he was given the longest-serving sentence for any Australian journalist after refusing to disclose his source for a government corruption case. He was charged with contempt and stayed in a maximum-security prison for 4 months.

Chris’ imprisonment developed his belief that no one is ever immune to an unanticipated crisis. This led him to look at life using a crisis perspective and crisis has to be dealt with from within.

For him, courageous leaders are not born, they are made, and they are made in crisis. They are bound to make mistakes, but it takes one act of courage to look within, see what needs to be done and do the right thing.

Time Stamps:

  • Chris’ fateful journey with investigative journalism (02:30)
  • The changes in investigative journalism after the incident (16:08)
  • Life in maximum security prison (18:02) 
  • Chris’ circumstances lead to what he’s doing now (25:25)
  • The best approach for leaders in doing what’s right not easy (29:53)
  • What the future holds for Chris Nicholls (32:42)

Resources Mentioned

Mantra/Quotes:

  • “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
  • As an investigative journalist, if you don’t protect your sources, they are not going to come forward and disclose that certain level of information that’s necessary. – Chris Nichols
  • From the crisis leadership perspective, there are ways that things can improve. – Chris Nichols

Another episode that is relevant to leading with courage is this conversation with Michelle Bihary on the topic of Leading Above the Line


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Your Host Lisa Evans is one of Australia’s leading Executive Public Speaking Coaches and Corporate Storytelling Trainers. If you would like help with training your team in soft skills, public speaking and business storytelling, get in touch with Lisa. Lisa offers a complimentary 30-minute strategy session to find out if you are a good fit to work together.
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About Chris Nicholls

Chris is a crisis leadership consultant who helps business executives become courageous leaders and handle unexpected scenarios. He was a former investigative journalist in ABC and was sentenced to South Australia’s maximum-security prison. This happened when he refused to disclose his source for a government corruption fiasco.

Chris’ stay in prison made him realise to never judge a book by its cover. People go through difficult phases we know nothing about. This perception pushed him to develop the Power of One experience. 

Through this, he encourages people to recognise the kind of impact one can provide. One person can make a difference, one idea can change the course of history and one movement can change a nation. Doing what’s right, not easy is the mark of a courageous leader.