Markd GlobalPurpose-driven leadership

A more sustainable world with Tony Watling

By December 6, 2022 No Comments

A Sustainable Future

As a Markd Global team, we learn as much from the leaders we work with as they do from us. One such leader is Tony Watling. An industrial chemist by background, Tony’s been in the building industry for over 30 years working with long-lasting colour applications and more recently the next generation in functional coatings to create a more sustainable future.

From preserving heritage buildings like the iconic Anzac Memorial in Australia to creating striking facades in new architectural builds in New Zealand, his portfolio of products through ECOTONE and ECOCLEAN coatings seem to cover it all. In addition, everything his team does is visually stunning with a positive impact on the environment. 

Tony seeks to build sustainable business models that deliver on the triple bottom line – people, planet, and profit. These will undoubtedly be the enduring companies of the future.

About Tony

Tony’s also the most unassuming leader you’ve ever met. 

“I am a fly below the radar sort of guy,” he says with deep humility, “ I really don’t like to blow my own trumpet.”

Yet we are fascinated by his story and believe it will inspire other leaders, especially in uncertain times. The building industry is one of the most impacted by the pandemic as well as the recent weather conditions down under. Yet, Tony has done the opposite of what you’d expect. Instead of shrinking back, he’s created new companies and brands and launched new products with sustainability at their core.

So we asked Tony to share what are the keys to his success. How is he able to forge ahead against all the odds?

These are the 5 Leadership Lessons we discovered.

1: Family matters.

In our virtual interview with Tony, his two daughters appear with a fish finger dinner they have prepared for him. He receives it with the biggest smile as if it has come from two Michelin star chefs. It is a sweet family moment that must make up so many in his life. And it speaks volumes about his strong family values which extend to how he leads in business and life. We learn from Tony not to leave our family values at home but to bring them to work – love, kindness, generosity, belonging, and integrity. People, customers, employees, and suppliers will be attracted to companies with values such as these. 

2: Relationships matter.

Tony talks about business being all about relationships. He wants to be a leader people want to work with, not just transact with. We ask how he achieves this.

“You pursue a win/ win outcome every time, ” he adds. “I still see so many people in business trying to prosper at another’s expense. It never works in the long run. Know your price and margin, and have good systems – beyond that just help people and make their life easier. Everything else flows from there.”

We love Tony’s perspective of business as a value exchange in which everyone can prosper. Imagine if more leaders in business thought like him.

3: Knowing your superpower matters.

While Tony is a humble leader, he does know what his superpower is.

“I am a solution seeker. I like to understand things and make them better.” 

As an example, he talks about his first visit to Japan to undergo training in photocatalyst coatings, part of a range now known as ECOCLEAN in Australia and New Zealand. He saw opportunities for these coatings that no one had considered before – mainly how they could preserve concrete in the built environment and extend asset life. You see his face light up when he talks about finding a solution to an unmet need based on science, technology, and a practical application. That’s his superpower. 

4: Investing in yourself matters.

From Tony, we learn that the leadership journey is lifelong with many twists and turns. He talks of moments where you have to take a pause on the road to self-reflect on who you are and where you’re heading.

“You do have to invest in yourself along the way whether it’s having a coach, attending a course, gaining new skills or going on a retreat,” Tony says. “We inherit all sorts of habits and behaviours from our upbringing – some good, some not so great, some obvious, some unconscious.”

He describes our habits, mindset, and behaviours like items in a suitcase – keep the ones that move you forward, and discard the items that hold you back. To grow as leaders, it seems we have to keep reinventing who we are along the journey.

5: Beginning with the end in mind matters.

Like many leaders we work with, Tony has taken a leaf out of Stephen Covey’s famous book on 7 Habits.

“One thing that stood out to me about that book is, what do I want people to say about me when it’s all said and done?” Tony answers his own question with simply, “I would want them to say, he made a difference.”

It’s not great fame or fortune that Tony seeks. As leaders, it seems all we want in the end is to leave a positive mark – that somehow the world was a little better because we were in it.

Connect with Tony Watling here

Learn more about ECOTONE here

Discover ECOCLEAN here

Wrapping up

We work with leaders across the globe, helping them to identify a deeper sense of purpose to help them make their mark on the world. This unlocks triple-bottom-line thinking in their business models enabling them to have a bigger impact on people, planet, and profit.

We believe it’s in all of us to change the world for the better. It’s not something we can do alone, which is why we are here to support every leader who wants to go on their own purposeful journey of success to significance.

If you’re a leader and think you’d benefit from a purpose-driven experience for you or your business, contact us.

Sibon Schouten

Sibon Schouten

CEO and Founder | Markd Global