COMMENT: Morris gives enlightening insight into ‘lessons learned'


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Rich lister Chris Morris with Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu at yesterday's Douglas Business Forum in Port Douglas. IMAGE: Howard Salkow - Newsport.

AUSTRALIA'S 48th wealthiest man, Chris Morris, is clearly not influenced by modern day’s precious values. In fact, the approach to his business success goes against everything most organisations follow.

In an enlightening speech at yesterday’s Douglas Business Forum at QT Resort, the founding member of Computershare highlighted the “lessons learned” which have paved the way for Computershare to become an ASX Top-50 global company, which currently employs 18,000 people across 27 countries and has a market capitalization of approximately $7 billion.

Morris was Computershare’s CEO from 1990-2006. He is now a non-executive director and the largest shareholder. He is also owner and chairman of the Morris Group and since 2008, has concentrated on growing his portfolio of businesses in the hospitality and leisure industry.

In stressing the importance of admitting to your mistakes and ignoring what Public Relations people say, he outlined the following:

  • Never have a HR department; managers are paid to manage staff;
  • Yearly reviews are useless; good managers should communicate regularly with their staff;
  • Egos can destroy a company; look after the people who worry about the company’s success rather than their own;
  • If you think somebody will not make it, then there is 90 per cent chance your first thoughts are right; 
  • You are not helping the staff member or the company by retaining staff that are not suited to the job.

“It has also been my belief that when I buy a business, I immediately replace the Chief Financial Officer.
“And I would estimate that 20 per cent of things that are done in a company serve no purpose at all and are only done because that’s the way it’s always worked,” he said.

Morris also believes that bureaucracy is the curse of all organisations and must be challenged continually and if not continually questioned, it will spread like cancer across the organisation.

Morris was one of a number of speakers at the well-attended forum which was presented by the Douglas Shire Council and the second of its kind. The inaugural forum was in November 2015.

Of the other speakers, Dr Dean Miller and John Rumney, of the Great Barrier Reef Legacy, described their efforts and the work being done to preserve the Reef.

They conceded that a lot needs to be done on a regular basis and there are on-going issues, eg bleaching, that requires attention; and negative media only sensationalises matters.

“But we need to find out where the problems are, address them and find solutions. And if there are areas of the reef that need assistance, let us know and we’ll do what we can,” they said.

Do you attend the Douglas Business Forum? Tell us what you thought in the comments below!

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