129: Phil Holden – Soft Skills Are Hard Skills

Phil is an experienced business professional with Chief Executive leadership experience over 18 years with organizations including Coffee Connection, The Lion Foundation, New Zealand Rugby League, Greyhound Racing New Zealand, Breadcraft, and Harness Racing New Zealand. 

A member of the Institute of Directors, his governance and senior executive roles have been underpinned by his passion for values-based leadership. Success for Phil has come from creating and building strong teams and a business culture centered on a clear sense of direction and purpose, respect for his colleagues and people at every level, and a drive for excellence that delivers stakeholder and community value. Phil is a professional director (Deputy Chair of Cycling New Zealand, Independent Director of Harness Racing New Zealand, and Chair of Greytown District Lands Trust) who runs his consultancy and executive contracting business with a strong interest in strategy, culture and values, and leadership. 

Phil’s spare time is centered around family, juggling his young daughters’ needs, getting out on his bike, and wondering where all the time goes.

On this episode:

  • Phil talks about the stages of his career, the pre-university and post-university stages.
  • Phil weighs in on having older people working for him and how he pushed through his first leadership role
  • Phil discusses that if you don’t have the necessary ‘soft skills,’ you are doomed to fail as a leader.
  • Phil talks about why “Lip Service” is a thing of the past.
  • What does good leadership look like?

Key Takeaways:

  • Soft skills are just as important as hard skills.
  • An excellent work culture ensures an excellent work environment.
  • Lip service is a thing of the past. Words followed by actions are the new thing.
  • Find the perfect balance in standing behind, beside, and in front of your team, depending on the situation.


Tweetable Quotes:

“You can have all the technical skills in the world and degrees and all there is to it, but if you can’t actually work with people. You can’t actually bring them along. You can’t actually create a culture and a team, and all those things which is traditionally being seen as ‘soft’ therefore not important. I think you’re doomed to fail.” – Phil Holden


You can get in touch with Phil on LinkedIn (/in/phil-holden-3768398)


Email: denis@leadingchangepartners.com

Website: http://www.leadingchangepartners.com/ 

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