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Swisse Wellness Founder delivers sound leadership advice

Wednesday 23, Oct 2019
By Nicole Martino, GMA State Operations Manager (WA)

Former Swisse Wellness CEO, Radek Sali, delivered an insightful and entertaining presentation to delegates at the recent 2019 GMA National Conference at the MCG.

Sali’s presentation entitled “Mindful leadership, growth and culture” challenged the audience to think about the people (one of the 4 Ps of business; People, Principle, Passion, Profit) within the workplace. 

Sali said, “as leaders we need to take more responsibility for the wellness of the people who work for us.”
Are you living your passion?
  • You, as the leader, need to make a choice to be elite and create a team set around high performance.
  • So many people are in a bad relationship with their work and a good leader needs to find out how his/her employees feel about their work. 
  • You can not achieve high performance if you do not love what you do.

To do this, you need to first understand what your organisation stands for and then clearly communicate that to current and potential customers.  

Are you a premium product or a discount product?  Because dicing in the middle is dangerous, and you need a clear strategy to ensure you do not get lost in the middle. 

Radek explained that once you know what the organisation stands for, you need to deliver on it and separate yourself by having a team who do the same, drawing in people to your offering.  This can only be achieved by frequently training your staff to live up to the organisation’s values. 

Radek discussed the importance of having three types of Plans to achieve this: a Business Plan, a Culture Plan and a Communication Plan.  With the first plan self-explanatory, he focused on some key considerations for a Culture Plan and a Communication Plan:

Culture Plan
  • Hold culture planning sessions as often as you hold business planning sessions because they are equally important in achieving organisational goals and growth.
  • Culture planning should include areas such as nutrition, mindfulness and movement.  You want people living a holistic, healthy lifestyle.
  • Link KPIs and rewards to your Culture Plan and reward staff by granting a day off or giving a pass to a yoga or meditation class. No rewards will result in a failure to comply.
  • Measure culture and keep your leaders accountable.
  • Always check in on people and ask how they are going.
  • Positive Language is vital in achieving a good workplace culture.  People like to talk about things that go wrong and it is important to change that mentality and instead look to the positive.  Using positive, constructive language will help you and your staff achieve that.  Sali provided some examples to achieve this:
    • Change your email sign off from “Kind regards” to something more uplifting like “Celebrate Life”;
    • Instead of RDO (rostered days off) use H&H Days (health and happiness);
    • Use the saying “learn, grow, improve” instead of “I messed up” - for example, “well that was a LGI moment”;
    • Use the word Challenge instead of Problem. 
  • Meditation is a great tool; taking the time for your mind is as important as brushing your teeth and by clearing out your head, you will be able to be more present and focussed on the tasks ahead.   It can be as simple as taking five minutes out of the day to sit in silence or introducing a morning walk into your daily routine.
Communication Plan
  • You need to have scheduled times for key people within your organisation to communicate to each other.  Some examples at Swisse that Radek gave were:
    • weekly team updates;
    • weekly Executive team WIPs (work in progress);
    • weekly Savvy sessions;
    • fortnightly H&H huddle;
    • monthly Senior team WIPs; and
    • Quarterly CEO updates.
  • Feedback is important.  Get an external group to review your leaders.
  • Communicate why change is necessary and frame it as a good thing because, innately, people do not like change.

Sali also discussed the benefits of using Ambassadors as a way to communicate to your customers and potential customers, and using them to promote what is great about your product or service.

Choosing ambassadors can be a difficult process, however Sali recommended asking your customers who they are interested in - they might name a sports person, TV celebrity, or someone else relevant to your industry. Swisse used a number of Ambassadors including lifestyle ambassador, Sonia Kruger, and cricket ambassador, Ricky Ponting, with each ambassador used to target specific audiences at relevant times.


About Radek Sali

Radek Sali is the Chairman of Light Warrior, having founded the group with Adam Gregory in early 2016.

In addition to his role as Chairman of Light Warrior Radek is the Chairman of MAdE Establishment, a Director for Made by Cow, One Giant Mind, Hydralyte, myDNA, Stratosphere, Udify and Wanderlust.

Radek is the former CEO of Swisse Wellness and a brand visionary who revolutionised the vitamin and supplements product category making it aspirational. Radek pioneered the use of brand ambassadors to promote health and happiness as a way of life and ultimately led Swisse Wellness to become Australia’s largest global wellness company. Swisse was the number 1 natural health brand in Australia and China. 

Radek is particularly insightful on building a positive organisational culture. Under his leadership, the company was for 8 years consecutively the world’s fastest growing pharmacy brand.

Under Radek’s leadership, Swisse was awarded Australia’s best private business 2012 and The Best place to work in Australia for 2015 and 2016. Radek was awarded GQ business person of the year in 2012, EY Entrepreneur of the year - Industry in 2016, La Trobe honorary Alumni in 2016 and was a Honorary Appointment with Melbourne University (Faculty of Business/Economics) in 2017.