Reflections of Our CEO: Who’s Your Drummer?

My favourite band played an outdoor show in Vancouver’s world-renowned Stanley Park last summer. Their tall, bald, front man was as energetic and activated as ever. But the person who really fired my imagination that sunny evening was sitting at the back of the stage….

Rob Hirst is one of the most powerful drummers in the business. His lean kit, completed by a massive corrugated oil drum, is nailed into place before each show, so hard is his drumming. Every swing of his sinewy arms propels the bold lyrics of each Midnight Oil anthem, sending them like arrows straight into the hearts of their fans.

Just like every great band, every great business follows a clear, strong rhythm.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle

I’m sure you can quickly identify the rhythms that guide your business…. Maybe it’s the standing daily huddle made popular in tech startup circles. Maybe it’s your quarterly board meetings. Or an annual planning retreat. Maybe it’s a combination of these and other things. (If your rhythm is not clear, we need to talk!)

Beyond the schedule, though, how strong is your rhythm?

Decades into drumming for the band that has shaped Hirst’s whole career, he doesn’t sit back tapping away at Beds Are Burning or any of The Oils’ other hits. No, he positively thunders his way through each song! He’s profoundly purposeful with every extraordinary smash of the drums, every swat at the cymbals—even the occasional full-swing gong on the steel drum.

Is that kind of energy driving your leadership?

At Junxion, our strategic plans inform quarterly themes. Quarterly themes are implemented through bi-weekly management check-ins. And through this rhythm and the critical conversations it provokes, every day we move the business a little closer to our dreams. Some say that’s progress.

Lately, though, I’ve been feeling like we’re playing a little soft…. We’re tap, tap, tapping away, rather than thundering out with power and passion. It’s only natural. We all need to take a step back from time to time and think anew about what we’re aiming to achieve—what song we want to play. Sometimes, as leaders, we need to set a new beat….

Like The Oils, we’ve been at this for a long time…. For over 20 years, Junxion has been focused on catalyzing environmental stewardship and social responsibility. Alongside countless others around the world, we’ve been among the vanguard of a new economy—one that’s clean, healthy, and diverse.

The new economy is here to stay.

The new economy is young, but it’s here to stay. In the widely publicized words of Larry Fink, “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.”

It’s an important moment. The biggest investment fund in the world has publicly endorsed the triple bottom line as a business imperative. Larry Fink is setting the beat for countless old economy businesses that may soon regret not picking the rhythm themselves.

It’s time for us to start playing another song….

In a few weeks, the whole Junxion team will come together for the first time in seven years. We’re going to spend three days talking about these early days of the new economy and defining the work that will drive Junxion’s next era.

We’ll look ahead past sustainability, to regeneration. Beyond diversity, to Reconciliation and inclusion. Beyond the planning and analysis of the industrial era to the responsive agility of the digital age.

It will be a turning point for our business—a resonant bang of the gong.

We can’t wait to share what’s next…. I expect we’ll be so fired up, you’ll have to nail our drum kit to the floor!

Would you like to feel that energy in your business? That passion? That commitment?

Who’s your drummer?… Is it you?… How hard are you playing?…

Be well,

Be love,



Mike Rowlands is President & CEO of Junxion. He has been described as a “peace warrior” and thought leader on issues of social importance. This is one of a series of letters he’s writing as he seeks to embrace transparency, step in to courageous conversations, and be in service to a new era. You can reach him via [email protected].

Comments 1

  1. DJ

    OK, its all very well having a head banger back there but without a decent bassist, you’re still going nowhere!

    ps Our drummer died when he choked on vomit (not his vomit); the next one exploded…

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