Pictured above, left to right: John O. Burdett, Emma Sakellaris, Bill Sakellaris at the TRANSEARCH Regional Asia Pacific conference, New Dehli, India October 2023

TRANSEARCH International Australia recently had the pleasure of hosting the internationally renowned speaker and thought leader, John O. Burdett. Leveraging his wealth of international experience and extensive research, John delivered thought-provoking insights into succession, culture, leadership, and talent management.

Numerous valuable takeaways emerged from the experience, but what truly caught my attention during John’s interactions with clients — many of whom held prominent positions as board directors, CEOs, and chief people officers — was his exceptional ability to captivate their imagination and hold their attention through compelling storytelling.

He did not just espouse his learnings from the many organisations he works with around the world but through storytelling and bringing examples to life, he informed, involved and inspired the audience.

John skillfully maneuvers a shift in your mindset, helping you think differently about the market, your organisation, your people and your customers. His quotes hold impact and stay with you.

When presenting on succession he conjures up images in your head when he says… “Succession is strategic, not just about replacement” and “Identify and focus on mission-critical roles, differentiate between high performance and high potential, define role-specific leadership competencies, measure the culture you have and the culture you need and prioritise coaching.

 “Who you hire and promote today makes tomorrow possible.”

You can’t help but make immediate connections in your head when you hear these words. It’s simple but it sticks!

At TRANSEARCH, when discussing Talent Attraction and Retention, we have adopted the saying “What keeps the best, attracts the rest.” It’s remarkably sensible — recognising what keeps your top talent engaged and why they choose to stay can serve as compelling magnets for external talent. The brilliance lies in its simplicity.

John’s use of metaphors are very powerful. “Strategy is a bicycle. Culture is a bus…” If strategy and culture collide there’s only one winner, and it isn’t strategy”. So in reality, culture doesn’t eat strategy for breakfast, culture enables strategy.


Reflecting on my travels with John through Melbourne, Perth, and India – the latter where we engaged with clients and colleagues at the TRANSEARCH Regional Asia Pacific conference, I found myself absorbing his stories, knowledge, and wise counsel. Sharing this journey and learnings with my team and clients in Australia via storytelling is now my challenge.

Against a backdrop of a difficult hiring climate in 2024, marked by skills shortages, cautious clients, inflated salary expectations, and diversity gaps, there emerges a fierce competition for top talent. John’s themes and metaphors shared during our journey become not just memorable, but also serve as a practical recall mechanism and framework for leaders to integrate into their daily thinking and strategic planning.

Were You Part of These Sessions? Share Your Takeaways!

If you attended these sessions, we’d love to hear about your key takeaways. If not, let us know, and we’ll gladly share ours, ensuring that the valuable insights from our journey continue to resonate and inspire.

Follow us on LinkedIn to stay updated with the latest thought-leadership insights.

Subscribe To TRANSEARCH Insights

Receive the latest updates from our team to your email inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!