“New ways to develop elevator-escalator leaders”

So here I am, setting off on what could be my final, epic adventure.

30+ years back I decided to join this elevator-escalator tribe and it’s turned out to be one of the best choices I’ve made in a long and fruitful career.

This single decision has blessed me with an opportunity to explore the world, to grow as an individual and to work with a fantastic network of people, many of whom have devoted their lives to an industry which is challenging and often unforgiving.

Recalling the day it all began? …

My recollection of that first day is crystal clear, walking into the Sydney office, feeling the vibe, listening to the comradery and looking at the staff who seemed taller than most.

Little did I know at that moment of joining (a young’un merely 25), that this industry was infectious and once entering your blood stream it overpowers you, locking you forever into a culture, from which many have tried to escape but few succeeded.

Keeping it in the family …

I should have realized! I should have been more aware, as I was not the first in our family to fall pray and enter the industry. Instead when the opportunity presented itself, I fell for the lure of the “perks” that I knew all too well, having spent many years watching my brother-in-law gladly accept what-ever was bestowed upon him.

Prior to joining, I was working as an electrical contractor and he was already a 15-year elevator-escalator veteran, receiving benefits and developing in ways not often available to us folk on the outside.

However, in addition to the benefits, I recall on numerous occasions sitting together at our family gatherings, listening to stories of his latest adventures. They seemed somehow magical and far more exciting than my life at the time;

Tales of adventure & triumph …

  • His tale of installing the first escalator in a Papua New Guinee store with the locals kneeling to worship him as he ascended effortlessly towards the heavens.
  • the back injury, resulting from a heroic dive to prevent an acetylene bottle from rolling off an upper floor of a Brisbane construction site to the unknowing pedestrians 10 floors below. (note – this story is from the early 1970’s, well before Australia transformed to their current day safety standards).
  • Or the sleepless nights from a week on after-hour call and being handsomely rewarded with more money in that one period than I could hope to earn from an entire month.

As a young guy looking in, I felt in awe and constantly wondering whether other tribes provided similar opportunities? Would I ever find such a world filled with daily excitement and adventure? History records that I didn’t have to wait long to join the party.

Working for the same larger tribe (albeit for different elevator-escalator companies), we established a unique bond, almost as if we lived by an unspoken oath of allegiance to love, honour and obey.

My brother-in-law would eventually spend his entire 44-year career, committed to the cause and for the most part thoroughly engaged and enjoying it.

We had our differences though …

Whilst my brother-in-law stayed close to home through-out his career, I have been the opposite.  A wanderer, seeking out adventure, traversing between cities, then countries – having now lived in 6 countries and 23 cities, working in more than 80 different locations.

Ticking off the “bucket list” and adding new “must do’s” in the process. Sight-seeing from most corners of the world, both for business and pleasure. The more remote and greater the challenge, the better.

Myself, driven by an insatiable hunger to explore cultures, meet people and learn from my surroundings. We were two people from similar worlds, but with different desires and purpose in life. This elevator-escalator tribe has offered us both far more than we had ever anticipated or even dared to dreamed for, but from completely different perspectives.

Time now to give back …

And so now it’s time to open the journals and share, to give back a little and call upon the broader tribal network to join with me and do likewise?

Our tribe members number into the hundreds of thousands, spanning the globe and we continue to grow.

We have always been in “a state of change”, but at this moment in time major shifts in thinking abound, spurred on by the disruptors with innovations made possible from the digitalization of our society.

It’s time to regroup, learn from our past, but remain focused squarely on the future. To acknowledge and listen to the inner circle of stakeholders, whilst remaining agile and responsive to the cause.

… and to do this, our tribal leaders must re-skill!

Reskilling in a way different to our generation of baby boomers, millennials need a new method which they can also relate to – ones that’s nimble, accessible and flexible.

You will notice that I use the phrase “elevator-escalatortribe” through-out the article, as it describes our industry perfectly.   In his book by this name, Seth Godin, describes the tribe like this;

“A tribe isa group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, andconnected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of onetribe or another. A group needs only two things to become a tribe: a sharedinterest and a way to communicate.” TRIBES – Seth Godin (For further insights to this theory check outhis book or watch his TEDTalk on the topic.

So, to the purpose of this site and its content?

My aim is to host conversations with and through like-minded individuals from our elevator-escalator tribe and beyond. Contributing something to an industry which has been so generous to me.

On the one hand, we will do this by sharing stories and adventures from our careers, which have resulted in more than just memorable experiences to recant for our grand-children.

These experiences come with important lessons from which the current and future generation of tribal leaders can learn.

But looking to the past is not sufficient, it’s the future which holds the challenge and therefore we shall also engage with those in this global elevator-escalator tribe that have their sights set in this direction, to catch a glimpse of the future waves of change.

We stress that this site has no allegiance to any one particular, smaller elevator-escalator tribe, nor is it about the products or services they create, offer and survive by. Instead it is about the realization that every day and every event hold the opportunity to grow a little more and to learn something new, regardless of age, position, country or culture.

And rounding out our groups of experts, ensuring that we have the big picture and can gauge the size of that next wave, we liaise with key stakeholder groups, whom are probably the most important of all – our clients (architects, consultants, developers, building owners, facility managers etc) and seek their input about developments with-in their business tribes and the likely impact these brings for us. Through-out this journey we hope to inspire, motivate and educate, those that remain and lead.

Our site and blogging design …

Therefore, apart from my own posts, you will find 3 specific groups providing articles on a regular basis.

The first group are the “Legends” – people with a minimum of 30 years’ experience with this tribe, all of whom have lead in some capacity, all of whom have had many adventures and all of whom have learnings to share.

The second group provides the counter balance to the past with new perspectives – these are our tribal “Innovators” – those current day evangelists with a desire to change our future.

  • They are the forward thinkers that will shape the way our industry operates tomorrow. A critical group in this fast paced ever changing digital world.

And finally, to the “Cheque Writers” – a group hailing from a different tribe, but whom have tremendous influence over our tribes’ performance. They indirectly pay our bills and enable our employment.

  • They are our clients, whether big or small, with their own changing environment driving considerable expectation and demand for us.


  • Each blogger will bring their own story, experience and insights to share and for you, our followers to enjoy and learn from. At the end of each post you will find a summary of key take-aways as illustrated below.

Communicating through podcasts & video …

But it won’t all be serious or written, visitors to our will also be able to enjoy the latest videos produced by yours truly under the menu heading of “Mentors Rant” – a light hearted look at topics which are uniquely belonging to our elevator-escalator tribe.

At the same time, we aim to host at least one new interview per month with a member from our three different groups. You will find these sitting under “couchTALKS”.

And so, in closing …

My hope is that you, as a current, future or past leader of the tribe, find our site of value, educational and engaging.

If you fall into one or more of our categories “Legends”, “Innovators” or “Cheque Writers” and would like to share your story, experience or insights, please get in contact with us and we’ll be more than happy to discuss.