My name is Les Hayman and I am a New Zealander, who after stints in Australia, the US and Singapore, am now living near Bordeaux in France in semi-retirement for the last 4 years. This means that I am still working 3-4 days per week, but after more than 40 years of full-time work, at least I am the only one who gets to control my calendar.

I mainly spend my external working time with involvement on a number of Company Boards (US, UK and Switzerland) as well as being a Keynote Speaker at various conferences all over the globe. I also consult at Board level to a number of Global Companies, and sit on a number of Country and University Advisory Boards and Think Tanks.

The rest of my time I help my wife Victoria look after 5 dogs, 3 horses, 6 chickens and 2 sheep on a 6 hectare property in the French countryside. I have 2 wonderful daughters and 4 spectacular grand-daughters, all living near Sydney in Australia. Our children describe us as a disfunctional family as it is the parents who ran away from home.

I spent my working life in the Computer industry, starting as a Programmer and Analyst in the mid-60’s and then in management roles both at National and Global levels, which included a 4 year stint with my own small IT Company. There is a saying that the greatest day of your life is when you open your own business, surpassed only by the day that you sell it … how very true for me. I was always more of an “interpreneur” in a large Company than an entrepeneur in a small one.

I feel that my life across all 3 major regions in the world, and the opportunities that I have had to work with, for and above hunfreds of different management people in some exceptional global companies (International Harvester, Digital Equipment, Sun Microsystems and SAP), across more than 40 years and as many different cultures, has given me a very different view of business, people and life, and I have therefore decided that I should share some of these.

I intend to cover what I see as being issues that face companies and managers in todays turbulent times, issues that generally affect people and their lives, as well as my views as a foreigner living in France, which can be at the same time enchanting and delightful as well as bewildering and frustrating.

I welcome all contributions and comments to my blog, no matter how divergent, as a way of facilitating discussion on the issues that we all face, and on those that we haven’t yet realised that we will need to face in the future.


35 Responses to About

  1. Ian Grant-Smith says:


    Great job on the blog …now I can keep up with you and Victoria …take care and best wishes Ian

  2. Norman Hagan says:

    Hi Les, I think your blog is a great idea, your insights are always interesting, thought provoking and often highly amusing. I look forward to keeping up with you, but this doesn’t mean that Victoria doesn’t still have to e-mail me. Much love and best wishes Nor.

  3. Wolfgang Runge says:

    Hi Les,
    a great blog and I’m looking forward to reading more stuff.
    Best regards, Wolfgang

  4. Deniz Yeker says:

    Hi Les
    It’s a great idea to do this blog, I will allways try to read the posts, they are really good.
    Kind Regards from Istanbul

  5. Bruce Rankin says:

    Hi Les,

    Excellent read and great you have done this. Particularly about your family’s travels (travails?) from Poland to the Soviet Union, Poland, Paris and eventually Australia after WW II. Frank Liebeskind, whom I know from our Fujitsu days, described similarly interesting experiences in his comment.

    Given you’ve made this start, I think it’d be wonderful if you could record the full story and stories of how your family made its way from Russia to Australia through those pretty terrible times. You may recall the book by Gary Nash from IBM (given to you on your 60th) that describes his grandmother’s hellish journey with her 5 young children from Moscow eastward across the Urals in WW I into China and the concessions in Harbin and Shanghai, eventually to the Phillippines after WW II and finally to Australia. This incredible woman took over 35 years to get all 5 plus their spouses and her grandchildren to Sydney. A fantastic read. Stories like this and yours deserve to be told!

    I’ll continue to read your blogs with interest. Jo now in Cap Ferret as you may already know and hoping to see you both.

    Best wishes, Bruce

    • leshayman says:

      Hi Bruce,
      Interestingly it was always hard to get my parents to talk about their lives during the war, and also the years up until their arrival in Australia. It was as though their determination to build a new life meant that they had to smother their memories of what went before. My father specifically found it hard to talk about his time in Russia and what he had to endure while the war raged.
      I agree with you that as we all talk about the new austaerity, it is important not to lose track that our parents endured true hardship and still managed to raise and educate their children, and to build a solid future, as compared to what our generation now finds “intolerable”. I compare the French obsession with the 35 hour week to the attitude of immigrants to Australia after the war who considered it a blessing that they could build their future by working at 2 jobs.

  6. bhuvan naik says:

    Dear Les,
    remember me?……Great to read your blogs…and be connected as well…as refreshing as ever….pleased that your management thoughts have a wider reach….


    • leshayman says:

      Hu Bhuvan,
      How great to hear from you.
      Where are you and what are you doing these days ?

      • bhuvan naik says:

        Hi Les,

        I rejoined SAP couple of months ago…in Bangalore…what is your email id? so that i can be in touch…i hope we get you to Bangalore to talk to our managers and employees 🙂

        best Regards

  7. Les,

    Really enjoying your insight and thoughts on leadership and management (and other topics!). It has made me think (and question) a lot about some of the tasks/roles I’m asked to perform.

    Loook forward to your continued involvement at ROC (I was pleased to see us progress from 54 to 39 on the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 – http://www.fasttrack.co.uk/fasttrack/leagues/dbDetails.asp?siteID=3&compID=2642&yr=2010 )

    I keep recommending your blog to friends and colleagues; I’m sure the blog must be gaining in popularity.

    Best regards,


  8. leshayman says:

    Hi Stephen,
    Thanks for the kind words, and for the recommendations to your friends.
    I am delighted to be part of ROC, andI too saw the move to 39 on Techtrack … onwards and upwards.

  9. Alex van der Ploeg says:

    Hi Les,
    Stefan told me you had a blog now, so I just had to come over and take a look! I have always enjoyed your view on life and insights on management, so am looking forward to reading your blogs.

    All the best,

  10. leshayman says:

    Hi Alex,
    How wonderful to hear from you ?
    Where are you and what are you doing ?
    Stefan has all my direct contact details.

  11. Stendert Krommendam says:

    Hi Les,

    Read your blog – string vision on HR and one I support.

    Can I get in touch with you – I’m currently working for HR in Unilever and we’re planning a conference around HR model 3.0. Please send your reply directly to stendert.krommendam@unilever.com and we can connect from there on.

    Thanks and looking forward to connect with you.


  12. BenB says:

    Hi Les,

    Thank You for this blog.

    We actually had a little work interaction with SAP during the Future of Work Consortium project. I participated in the role of the Millennial and also published a paper around virtual teams.

    I appreciate your blog a lot. I only started my “career” two years ago with SAP in Switzerland. I am a technical consultant (and know more than 120 ways to make love PLUS I have a girlfriend).
    Just recently I got selected as a HiPo for 2011 and had to smile having your HiPo post in mind 😉

    Your blog gives me a great perspective on management and life.

    Thanks for the great posts in 2010 and I am looking forward to whatever comes in 2011.

    Regards from Switzerland

    • leshayman says:

      Great to hear from you, and glad you have a girlfriend … 120 is just a starting point … keep learning 🙂
      Remember that HiPo is an opportunity more than a title … use it well.
      Wishing you a great Xmas and an outstanding 2011.

  13. Pavan says:

    Hi Les,

    It was wonderful listening to you LIVE. Thanks for Visiting India and SAP.

    Pavan K

    • leshayman says:

      Hi Pavan,
      Thanks for the kind words … I have had 2 very exciting days in Bangalore, and had the opportunity to meet many great people. It has been a privilege to be at SAP Labs Bangalore.

      • Pa1 says:

        Hi Les,

        What is your opinion about social networking sites like Facebook and twitter……?


  14. Mahesh R says:

    your session today was really thought provoking… thanks a lot for teaching us valuable lessons which we can implement in our life 🙂


    • leshayman says:

      Hi Mahesh,
      Thanks … it was a lot of fun, and I found the 2 days in Bangalore to be very stimulating and I have come back to France with regret that I could not have stayed longer this visit.

  15. leshayman says:

    Hi Pa1,
    I use both Facebook and twitter which are just new ways of communicating for today’s attitudes and culture. I have to say that I don’t use Facebook to post a lot of personal details the way younger people seem to, and I definitely will not push the limit of 5000 friends. It does however enable me to keep tabs on some people who seem to only really communicate on a “one to many” basis. Twiiter I see as being more beneficial to those that have something to sell (or are selling themselves) but I do find it fun to follow a few people that I find interesting, though I have no time for the “I am having lunch” or “I have just woken up” type tweets. I do like those that point me to something interesting (so I dont have to watch TV to know what is going on 🙂 ).

  16. Pa1 says:

    Hi Les,

    Thanks for your opinion.
    As per my observation at work, home and around, Many of them are always logged into the Facebook or twitter spending there time {not only from PC but also on mobile phone] playing games and commenting. which is killing hours of time at cost of nothing important nor very serious. As told by you instead about Watching television, if something is very important definitely some one will tell us the next day, I agree.
    Is it not the same here…….

    Pavan K

    • leshayman says:

      Hi Pavan,
      Definitely … facebook and twitter should be tools that one uses to enhance life rather than to control it. They can be just as addictive and time-wasting as TV if people become enslaved to them. They are meant to be a small part of life rather than become the meaning of life
      Regards, Les

  17. Pa1 says:

    Sure Les……it is kandukuri.pavan@yahoo.com


  18. Dear Mr. Hayman,

    My name is Philipp von Plato and I am the co-founder of InterNations – the leading international online community for expatriates and global-minded people.

    Let me compliment you on your blog. I was wondering if you could provide me with an email-address under which you can be contacted? I would like to give you some additional feedback and make some proposals via email.

    My email-address is philipp_von_plato@internations.org.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best wishes,

    Philipp von Plato

  19. Dean Morel says:

    Hi Les
    It’s over a decade since you were my MD, but I still occasionally think of you as one of the greatest business leaders I known.

    Fantastic blog, It’s wonderful of you to share your insights.

    I thought of you today as I prepare to meet with Integrated Research’s CEO, Mark Brayan.

    I hope Bordeaux is treating you well and that you loudly celebrated the All Black’s victory over Les Bleus in RWC.

    All the best

    SAP Australia then UK. Now after seven years investing and bringing up my kids I’ve joined The Motley Fool to help bring Foolish investment thinking to Australia.

    • leshayman says:

      How great to hear from you … I hope that the fates are treating you kindly.
      Let me know if you plan to head this far north.
      Regards and let me know how you get on.

      PS:For RWC Final I spent a nervouse tense 80 minutes at a Rugby Pub in Bordeaux surrounded by French supporters (who were very gracious in defeat). I aged 40 years in the last 10 minutes which is not easy at my age and it took significant alocohol intakes to de-stress afterwards. Luckily being in Bordeaux region supply is plentiful.

  20. Dean Morel says:

    I really should read my writing before posting! Please excuse the typos. 🙂

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  24. dominic says:

    i don’t know where else i’ll get to say this to you, but i only just discovered your blog. keep writing, i look forward to more. meanwhile, i’ll head off into the archives.

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