Fitvision Business of Wellbeing Podcast Takeaway tips from Tony Keohane

Fitvision Business of Wellbeing Podcast

Takeaway tips from Tony Keohane

 On the fourth episode of The Business of Wellbeing Podcast we caught up with Tony Keohane, former CEO and chair of leading supermarket chain, Tesco, here in Ireland.

 In this episode of the Fitvision Business of Wellbeing Podcast, we learn of how Tony balanced a successful business, family life and how he managed to schedule in his fitness regime, which is now a huge part of his everyday routine. We discover how Tony worked his way up the ranks in Tesco to eventually becoming the chair and how his fitness and wellbeing routines changed as his job positions and workload changed. 

 Also in episode 4, we have a look at topics such as resilience, teamwork and goal setting and discuss how Tony managed to do this successfully throughout his career with Tesco as well as Tony giving us some helpful parting advice for upcoming CEO’s and entrepreneurs on what he feels is key to succeed.

 Here are 5 of the key takeaways for Personal Success from our chat with Tony:

 1.   Build fitness and wellbeing into your schedule. Tony discussed how he felt that fitness and wellbeing are now so important in everyday life, that one of the ways he successfully finds the time to exercise and have time for self-care, is to actually schedule them into his week/month.  We heard Tony mention that the ‘busier you get, you need to spend more time on fitness/wellbeing, not less’. As life gets busier, we tend to use time (or lack thereof) as an excuse to not fit in our runs, gym sessions or even 30 minutes for self-care when in fact, Tony is correct, this is probably the time we need it the most so we don’t experience burn out.

 2.   Being self-aware. Tony discussed the issue of sometimes not getting to fit in his exercise sessions throughout busy periods of time when he worked for Tesco. However, the key message that Tony shared here was that you need to be realistic and become self-aware of what you are doing and not doing in terms of your exercise routine. Tony mentions how recognition is key and that it is perfectly fine that from time to time you have neglected your fitness, once you pick it up again. Tony said he ‘used to plough on’ when in fact he should have reflected on it. A bit of advice he gives, which I love, is that we need to ‘apply the same rigor to our fitness and wellbeing routines as we would to work if we want to become the corporate athlete’.  

 3.   Be happy and know your job. Tony mentioned here how a huge factor to him being successful and happy in his job in Tesco was the fact that he very simply ‘knew his job’. Tony felt that knowing his job upside down and inside out helped him become resilient. He used any tough task as a learning curve and knew he had to keep going but that he wouldn’t make the same mistake again. This in turn lead to him becoming less stressed. A factor that Tony said helped him be less stressed and resilient was also the fact that he built a good team. With time, this helped Tony to delegate, trust and support as he knew his team was fit for purpose. This then led Tony to have the attitude that he didn’t go through periods of ‘high stress’ but rather there were times that he just had to work that bit harder!

 4.   Listen. Tony discussed the skill of listening and how it was a huge factor for him. He felt that it was key to make his employees feel valued in their workplace. He said this was a skill that helped employees feel valued and encouraged. Tony also mentioned another area that helped him throughout his business career which was to seek feedback as you need to know your actually supporting in the right way. He said you need to allow for positive and negative feedback which in the long run gives people confidence and allows them to do the job you want them to do. On the flip side of listening, Tony mentioned how communication is a vital part of business. He discussed how he had such a supportive wife and family that he was able to go home and discuss his work life with people who genuinely cared. He concluded with a piece of advice which again is so apt in today’s culture, which was ‘it’s ok to talk’ and that you should ‘let it out’.

 5.   Goal setting and values. Finally, Tony discussed the areas of goal setting and values. He mentioned straight away that ‘if your values are different to that of the firms- get out’. Your values and the values of the organisation should be line with one another and that if the values are there in an organisation, the CEO must follow them or else the organisation won’t succeed. In relation to goal setting, Tony mentioned how he didn’t actually set goals throughout his career with time-based goals. Instead, Tony very clearly set his sight on a goal and said his way to achieve this was more a process and that he would give himself every opportunity to achieve that goal by putting himself in the ideal situation to achieve it. Thus, this highlights the fact, that everyone is different, and their attitudes and processes are different. Which one is correct is irrelevant, once it works for you.

 To finish off our conversation, we asked Tony for a parting bit of advice for upcoming CEO’s and entrepreneurs and what it takes for them to succeed according to Tony. I loved Tony’s advice- it was so simple and to the point but yet it was so true. He said ‘enjoy what you do. Like what you do’. I suppose as the saying goes, if you enjoy what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life!


mark o reilly