A Strategic Approach to Becoming a Leader in Asset Management
Dr. Monique Beedles, PhD, FAICD, CAMA is an internationally recognized thought leader in asset management and the author of several books including “Asset Management for Directors” and “LEADERSHIP ASSETS: Empower your career from the workshop to the boardroom“. With a PhD in Strategy, a Masters of Finance and twenty years of board experience, Monique has a passion for guiding organizations on a transformative journey of growth. Mike Petrusky asks Monique to share her perspectives on the latest trends in asset management and the importance of viewing intangible assets as valuable in the changing marketplace. They also discuss some of the challenges facing asset management professionals today and discuss how you can enhance your career with a more strategic approach to becoming an asset champion!
Full Podcast Transcript
Disclaimer: Asset Champion is produced to be listened to. If you can, we encourage you to tune in on your favorite podcast platform. Transcriptions are generally a mixture of human transcribers and speech to text software, and can contain errors.
Mike Petrusky: This is the Asset Champion Podcast, where we talk with facilities, maintenance, and asset management leaders about the industry trends and technologies impacting your organization. This show is powered by the iOFFICE Asset Division, delivering easy to use maintenance management software tools to help you drive powerful asset performance.
Mike Petrusky: Hey folks, and welcome to the Asset Champion Podcast. I am your host, Mike Petrusky. Thanks so much for joining me. And whether you are a regular listener to the show or this is your first time checking us out, I thank you for being here. And I think you'll be glad you came by because this week I have another great guest for you. She is calling in from all the way down under in Brisbane Australia. Please welcome Dr. Monique Beedles. Welcome to the show.
Dr. Monique Beedles: Thanks, Mike. It's lovely to be with you.
Mike Petrusky: It is great to have you here, Dr. Beedles. May I call you Monique?
Dr. Monique Beedles: Oh, absolutely. Of course.
Mike Petrusky: Excellent. Well, thank you. I feel like I know you already because any friend of Suzanne Greenman is automatically a good friend of mind. How did you meet Suzanne?
Dr. Monique Beedles: Oh, for sure. Well, Suzanne and I have had a few Zoom chats. We haven't met in real life yet, but I really look forward to the day when we eventually can. But we obviously have common interest in asset management through our professional bodies. I've been involved with the Asset Management Council and she's been involved with PMAC. And so, yeah, we've had a lot of interesting common and a number of really good conversations. So I'm really glad to have that conversation with Suzanne.
Mike Petrusky: It's fantastic. And the fact that that's one of the silver linings, I guess, of this pandemic, is that whether you're in Canada or way down in Australia, or like me here in the US, we get to talk to each other until that day comes when we can get together at some future asset management conference or event. So Monique is an internationally recognized thought leader in asset management, and she is the author of a number of books, including "Asset Management for Directors" and the forthcoming book called "Leadership Assets: Empower Your Career From the Workshop to the Boardroom." Wow. That sounds exciting. What's that book going to be about, Monique?
Dr. Monique Beedles: Thanks Mike. Yes, the book that's coming out very shortly, it's really about empowering asset managers to progress through their careers. So as you mentioned, I have written an earlier book, "Asset Management for Directors," and that was really for board directors to understand their role in asset management. And so, this next book is a flip of that in a way because it's written for asset managers specifically, and to help them understand the skills that they need, those capabilities that they have to develop in order to progress through their career so that eventually they can be in the boardroom themselves, because I'm very passionate about getting asset management on the board's agenda, and obviously one of the best ways that can happen is to have asset management professionals with that experience in the boardroom in companies where asset management is central to their business and to their strategy. So the book is a way of providing some of that guidance to asset managers, whether they're right at the beginning at an apprentice level, or whether they're working through somewhere in the middle of their career, it's to help empower them to take those steps and to develop those capabilities.
Mike Petrusky: Wonderful. Well, we'll talk more about that here shortly, but I want to learn a little bit more about you personally and get to know your story. I know you're based in Brisbane, and we tried to schedule this conversation earlier and you were doing a conference up in Melbourne.
Dr. Monique Beedles: Yes.
Mike Petrusky: How am I doing with the pronunciation of all my Australian cities?
Dr. Monique Beedles: Yes. Pretty good. Pretty good, yep, yeah.
Mike Petrusky: I've learned because I've had a number of guests from Australia. It's one of my favorite continents that I've never been to. So, I hope someday to visit your country.
Dr. Monique Beedles: Oh, for sure. You'll have to come down here one day when we let you in.
Mike Petrusky: That's right. That's right. I understand you're keeping yourselves protected on that island. I don't blame you at all.
Dr. Monique Beedles: We are. We are. Yeah. So, I live in Brisbane, which is in Queensland, and that's in the Northern part of Australia. And yes, I was recently at our big asset management conference AMPEAK, which was in Melbourne. So, I was very fortunate to be able to travel to Melbourne for a whole week for that conference, which was fantastic. It was really great to have that opportunity to see people in real life and have some real conversations, enjoy a meal and a drink and just have that relaxed, social time with people, as well as sharing all our learnings from the last couple of years, which have been really significant. So yes, so I'm in Brisbane. It's winter here.
Mike Petrusky: Oh, okay. Sure.
Dr. Monique Beedles: What we call winter, which is usually daytime, somewhere in the mid 20 Celsius, which is mid- seventies Fahrenheit.
Mike Petrusky: Ooh, wow.
Dr. Monique Beedles: So, it's a very pleasant winter.
Mike Petrusky: Not too bad. If that's your winter, then you're doing quite well.
Dr. Monique Beedles: Yeah.
Mike Petrusky: Wow. Well, we're headed into the summer here of 2021, and there has been quite a lot going on this past year, and I'm really interested in hearing your perspective on things, trends in the industry and so forth. Tell me a little bit more about yourself, Monique. How did you stumble into the world of asset management, the Cliff Notes version of the story?
Dr. Monique Beedles: Cliff Notes, yeah. So, my background is that I have a PhD in corporate strategy. And so, having that interest in strategy, obviously, and I started my own consulting practice in 2014, so it's more than 17 years now. So, I was doing that strategy work in a number of companies. And here in Queensland, mining is a big industry. And so, I inevitably ended up doing quite a bit of work in a number of mining companies, and obviously asset management is quite central to their strategy. So that's kind of how I got started on that path. But what it means is that my main focus is in that strategy area. So strategic asset management, working with boards and executive teams and senior decision-makers in asset management to focus on how their asset management practice helps them achieve their company's objectives.
Mike Petrusky: Excellent. And so much of what you just described is exactly what my audience here on the Asset Champion Podcast is interested in, so I am very excited to learn more about your experiences in the industry. But before we go there, Monique, I always like to get a little bit more insight into the personality of my guests, and I do this by asking about music. So I'm really excited to get your answer to this question. I love Australia. I love Australian music. Some of my favorite bands were from my teen years back in the 1980s bands, like Midnight Oil, INXS, so many others. I've gone over it on my podcast many times and actually have done some singing very badly of those bands. But what type of artist or song or music gets you inspired?
Dr. Monique Beedles: So Mike, I'm a classical music lover. When I was young, I played the clarinet in this wind symphony and in orchestras. I also sang in a choir at my high school.
Mike Petrusky: Oh, wonderful.
Dr. Monique Beedles: I guess that's what I've grown up learning. And now I have a seven-year-old daughter and she plays the piano, and she plays the trumpet. She just started learning the trumpet.
Mike Petrusky: Wow. I play the trumpet. Well, I used to. I played as a kid about her age through high school. I was a trumpet player and I love movie soundtracks. I'm a huge Star Wars fan and nerd, and John Williams and the orchestrations from music and movies have always gotten me excited. So you have your clarinet nearby, I can pull up my mouth trumpet here.
Dr. Monique Beedles: Star Wars. Yeah. I'll have to get my daughter onto the Star Wars theme on a trumpet. That'd be great.
Mike Petrusky: All right. Excellent, awesome. Very inspiring. Can we keep on the inspirational path and ask you to share a motivational quote for my audience?
Dr. Monique Beedles: Sure. Mike. One of my favorites, although I suppose there's many, and I used to actually have this on a little card on the dashboard of my car, and it said to be an Indian proverb, but I'm not 100% sure of its origins. And it says,"Do not follow where the path may lead go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
Mike Petrusky: Ooh, I like that.
Dr. Monique Beedles: So you can imagine the snow and someone walking through white snow. Not that we have that here in subtropical Brisbane, but a white field of snow with no marks. And then, you put your footsteps in that snow, and yeah. So anyway, I've always found that quite inspirational.
Mike Petrusky: Oh, absolutely. We need to be innovative and blaze new paths and try new things, and maybe we'll fail, but let's get back up again quickly and keep moving on. So with that in mind, and with your strategic perspective, what are some of the big trends you're seeing in the world of asset management here in the middle of 2021?
Dr. Monique Beedles: Yeah, look, I think it's interesting, Mike, and I think there's been obviously some pretty impactful global events over the past 18 months to two years. And so, I think we're seeing some shifts in sort of global trends anyway, and then how they're impacting asset management, I think is really interesting. I think one of those significant trends is the shifting balance from tangible to intangible assets. So this is a trend that has been going on for the last four decades. At least it's not a new trend, but it has been accelerated by the pandemic.
Dr. Monique Beedles: So now across the S&P 500, we would see up to 90% of the assets of those companies are intangible compared to back in the 1970s where it was more around the 15 to 20%. So the pandemic has accelerated that trend because we have had to rely far more on the intangible, just like us. Here, we are on our internet call rather than sitting in an office face- to- face because we can't.
Dr. Monique Beedles: So I think this shift in balance from tangible to intangible is an important one for asset managers because it does shift the skill sets that are needed, and you've got to be able to navigate this interface. So, for example, between a physical asset and the data about those assets, and that data becomes an asset its own right, and then we have to think about how we manage that. And then, also you have a whole range of intellectual property, and also systems and processes that are really integral to asset management, which again are intangible.
Dr. Monique Beedles: However, we have to approach them with a view that we do towards our other assets that we have to look at their life cycle. You have to look at how we manage the risks of those intangible things. And yeah, so I think that this is a significant shift that perhaps is not recognized as widely as it might need to be. And we do get held back by, for example, accounting principles and regulations and so on. But I think it's really important for asset managers to be quite aware of this and to understand what their role is in managing both the tangible and the intangible.
Mike Petrusky: Wow, that's really interesting Monique, and it's something I've not yet discussed on this podcast. Here we are 40 some episodes into the show and the subject of intangible assets really hasn't come up. So can you take a little bit of a deeper dive into that? You mentioned the data that comes from the tangible assets. I know that's a big thing, sensors and monitoring equipment and big machinery and fleets of cars is certainly a primary conversation we have on this show and how we can maintain and anticipate the needs for those assets to be reliable over the long run and making sure that we are being strategic about capital and life cycles and managing things. So explain to me in simple terms, because I am new to this world of asset management, and I'm just learning I'm at the beginning stages of my journey, how does the data then get managed apart from the asset itself?
Dr. Monique Beedles: Yeah. So as I said, we can treat data as an asset in its own right and the information that comes from that has value. So we need to think about how do we collect that data? How do we store that data? How do we use it for analysis and creating information in order to make decisions? When do we dispose of that data and what are the risks? So there's a cost at every stage of the way for all of those things that we need to do with it. So I think it can be a bit easy to just say, "Hey, we've got sensors, we've got all kinds of systems collecting data 24 hours a day, and let's just pile it into a big lake and see what comes of it."
Dr. Monique Beedles: But I think that just like our other assets, we need to take a strategic approach to what we do with data and information. We need to say," Well, what are the decisions we need to make and what data do we need to inform those decisions?" And I think if we don't recognize the value of that, then one of the dangers is that we don't address the risks. So cyber security has become a much bigger threat, also over the course of this pandemic. And that's one of the risks that then becomes something that you've got to manage.
Dr. Monique Beedles: So how do you protect your data? How do you ensure that it's not manipulated externally? Once you're starting to use IOT on a whole lot of critical infrastructure, then cybersecurity is really important, for example, to water supply, to transport infrastructure, all of those things. So we've got to really take that seriously in terms of addressing not just the operational risks of a physical asset, but all of the systems that sit around it in order to deliver the services that that asset provides.
Mike Petrusky: Excellent. This really leads easily into a conversation about your new book, because I am new to this area of asset management. I know many of my listeners may be on the journey with me, so when I see the subtitle of your new book, Leadership Assets: Empower Your Career From the Workshop to the Boardroom, and I see that one of the headlines is a whole of life plan for your asset management career, it sounds like someone near the start of this journey should be thinking maybe a little differently than someone who may have entered the field 20, 30 or 40 years ago. Is that true?
Dr. Monique Beedles: Look, I'd say that's definitely true, Mike, that the career paths available now compared to what were perhaps more traditional and linear career paths, let's say, 40 or 50 years ago, reality is that we don't know what jobs will look like in 10 years, let alone 20 or 30 years. I think what we have to do is we have to be really flexible and we have to build core capabilities that will guide us no matter what changes we may face in the decades ahead.
Mike Petrusky: Sure, yeah.
Dr. Monique Beedles: Yeah. So certainly I think that it's a very rare now for someone to start working for a single company and stay with that company for the duration of their career. I'd say that's fairly rare nowadays, that there'll be a lot of changes and there'll be a lot of different challenges that we'll have to face. But I think it's important if you're starting out to yes, build your core technical skills that you're going to need that are going to carry you through and help you face those challenges. I think in asset management, we also have to build business skills and business capability. We've got to understand how we create value, what value means stakeholders, what the market requires and so on. And then fundamentally, if we're going to progress into leadership roles, we have to develop our human skills.
Dr. Monique Beedles: Those qualities such as humility, empathy, and integrity are really important in the types of challenges that we're facing in the future. So I think we have to make sure that we're not thinking of asset management as a purely technical discipline because asset management is multidisciplinary. It draws on many aspects from technical engineering to accounting and finance and then to communication and engagement. And that all of those capabilities are really important.
Dr. Monique Beedles: So I think even if you're an apprentice now or a graduate engineer or someone just starting out in accounting or finance, that you should start developing or looking to develop these skills from day one, that you should be building your networks, seeking mentors and developing those skills, whether that's through formal training programs, whether it's through your on- the- job learning or whether it's through a mentor or a coach. So all of those sort of ways of developing our skills are valid and we shouldn't leave it. If you're in your twenties now, you shouldn't wait until one day when you're getting a promotion to say," Oh, Hey, I should start developing my leadership skills now."
Dr. Monique Beedles: Actually, we develop them from a very early age. So yeah. So this concept of having a whole of life plan for your career, obviously it draws on the fact that we have all of life plans for assets. And so I think that taking a long- term view is important so that you can take every opportunity to develop your skills and capabilities that you'll require to remain relevant in the changing world.
Mike Petrusky: Fantastic. Great advice. All good stuff, Monique, this has been a great time talking with you. I really appreciate you sharing your insights and the inspiration for my audience and for me. So thank you so much for taking time to be on the Asset Champion Podcast.
Dr. Monique Beedles: You're welcome, Mike. It's been fabulous to have this chat with you
Mike Petrusky: And there you have it, everybody. Dr. Monique Beedles sharing just a few of her insights, experiences and perspectives around the world of asset management. As we mentioned, she's got a number of books available. You can find out more information. If you check the show notes for this episode of the podcast. I will leave you both a link to Dr. Beedle's website, as well as her LinkedIn. And I encourage you to reach out and connect with Monique. And of course, tell her you heard her here on the Asset Champion Podcast.
Mike Petrusky: I hope you enjoyed that discussion as much as I did. And if this show is a value to you, please share it with a colleague or a friend, anyone interested in the world of asset management. And I hope you'll join us again next week as we continue on this journey to encourage and inspire you to be an asset champion. Peace out. You've been listening to the Asset Champion Podcast. Hope you found this discussion beneficial as we work together to elevate asset management success by improving efficiency, reducing costs and building best practices. For more information about how the iOFFICE Asset Division can boost the performance of your physical assets by providing comprehensive enterprise asset management software solutions, please visit assetchampion.com.
Connect with Monique on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/moniquebeedles/
Learn more about Dr. Beedles and her books: https://www.moniquebeedles.com/
Connect with Mike on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikepetrusky/
Learn more about the iOFFICE Asset Division and explore more interviews at: https://www.assetchampion.com/
Share your thoughts with Mike via email: podcast@iOFFICECORP.com