PETER DOCKER – The Enabler
Written by Joff Alexander-Frye, Photographs by Pete Longworth
Midlands-born Peter Docker has a CV that is almost unbelievably good.
A trained leadership consultant and executive coach, Peter’s commercial and industry experience has been at the most senior levels in sectors including oil & gas, construction, mining, pharmaceuticals, banking, television, film, media manufacturing and services – across 80 countries.
He has led multi-billion-dollar international procurement projects and acted as international negotiator for the UK Government. Peter also served in the Royal Air Force as a senior officer and Force Commander during active conflicts. As if that wasn’t enough, he was also the private pilot of Margaret Thatcher during her time as Prime Minister. Like I said… an incredible CV.
I recently caught up with Peter over the phone and had a truly inspiring conversation which centred around his consultancy work, his foundational value-system and ‘Find Your Why’, the globally-sold book which he co-authored with colleagues David Mead and Simon Sinek.
Peter is one of Simon Sinek’s ‘Igniters’ and is widely known as the ‘How’ guy to Simon’s ‘Why’. You will likely recognise Simon’s name as he is an internationally known thought-leader, who exploded into the public consciousness when a speech he gave about ‘Millennials in the workplace’ went viral, totalling 26 million hits on YouTube.
The main theme of our conversation was Peter’s reason to get up each day; to “enable people to be extraordinary so that they can do extraordinary things.” And he has been hard at work turning this cause into a reality, notching up ninety hours of air travel across fifty-seven time zones in the first six weeks of this year alone. His message is simple; people will always fall short of their best if they don’t have a clearly defined ‘Why’ – a just cause, higher purpose or belief – behind their actions.
On a more fundamental level, he believes that people need to look back into their upbringing and formative years in order to move forward into their successful future. He expanded, “We all have a ‘Why’. As humans, we come from our past and it’s important to distil down our myriad experiences, values and worldviews into the ‘Why’ behind our existence. Our ‘Why’ makes our actions so much more incisive and powerful and links us all together and gives us belonging. We don’t describe the world we see. We see the world that we describe.”
This belief is captured in Simon Sinek’s methodology which Peter teaches, called The Golden Circle; a simple diagram of three concentric circles, ‘Why’, ‘How’ and ‘What’ (with ‘Why’ in the middle, moving outwards). Put simply, this methodology states that, every organisation on the planet knows WHAT they do, some know HOW they do it but very few know WHY they do what they do. For an organisation to have a truly compelling value proposition, their ‘Why’ needs to be something more than making money or surviving as a business. Simple but revolutionary stuff.
As our chat came to a close, I asked what Peter does to relax outside of his hectic schedule and he kicked back against my question slightly, saying, “I don’t see there as being a work/personal divide in my life. I love my job so much that it gives me energy. I do enjoy non-work activities but not because of desperation or necessity, but rather pure enjoyment. I like to run in the British countryside and love my family very much; my wife of thirty-years and my twenty-something daughter and son.”
Follow @peterdocker on Twitter or visit www.startwithwhy.com/find-your-why to find out more.