David Reynolds is the Chief Executive of the Department for Trade and Investment for South Australia (an Australian state twice the size of France). The Department enables economic growth in South Australia by attracting investment, increasing exports, and removing barriers to business.
South Australia has built a global reputation as a leader in sustainability. The state, a leader in renewable energy, replaced coal with wind and solar. Today, 70% of the state’s energy use is from renewables, which is an incredible achievement. The goal is to get to 500% renewable energy generation in order to export their surplus.
David has served South Australia through the public sector since 1995. In 2022 he was awarded a Public Service Medal for outstanding public service in relation to South Australia’s economic and financial response during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in 2018 he was awarded as a National Fellow of the Public Administration for Australia.
In this episode we discuss:
✅ What hydrogen power is
✅ The cultural trait of South Australians that has produced a history of leading change
✅ Two practical actions every leader can take to advance diversity and equality in their organization
3 episode takeaways (listen to the full episode for a lot more gems!):
1️⃣ As a leader, you inherit accountability for your organization. The culture you walk into. The pay and hiring inequities that were established before you got there. When you take the lead role, you take ownership of all of it. I’m not just referring to the CEO, though the tone they set is incredibly important. But if you’re the head of any team, any department, you are responsible for it. You are the lead advocate for everyone on the team. You are responsible for advocating up the chain of command.
So dive into the details, look under the hood, and get curious. We live in a world where we know unconscious biases favor certain individuals over others. That’s why the world looks the way it does. Rest assured, you will find things that need to be fixed. It’s up to you to have the courage to try new approaches to get different results.
2️⃣ A strategy is of no use if you don’t know how to implement it. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the framework is if it doesn’t translate into action. To be effective you need to get clear on your objective, identify the actions you’re going to take to get there, and determine how you’ll measure success so you’ll know if your actions are working or if you need to start again.
Remember, progress is a process. There will always be opportunities to improve.
3️⃣ Our discussion around the three different types of hydrogen power (black, blue, and green) highlighted the importance of transparency. This example was a great reminder that not all things that appear interchangeable are actually equal. In this case, the end product is exactly the same. It’s the same chemical element of hydrogen. However, the process of isolating the hydrogen varies drastically, creating widely different environmental footprints.
Process matters. How you get to an output is in many cases more important than the output itself. Transparency has the power to create a tsunami-sized change in our purchasing decisions, which in turn changes which companies succeed and which ones fail. What you choose to buy matters. So get curious about the process for how something was created.
- Connect with David on LinkedIn
- Department of Trade and Investment, South Australia
- Here’s the department’s contact information if your company is interested in doing business with others in South Australia
- Find out more about the Carbon Accounting Lab here
- You can learn more about Australia’s green hydrogen project here