Catch up with John Goodman

7 Jul 2017

Catch up with John Goodman

We begin our 30 year celebrations by catching up with our former Chairman John Goodman to chat about his vision, inspiration and leadership.


This year, Goodman Private Wealth celebrates its 30 year anniversary. To begin the festivities, we're meeting with some of the many people who have been part of our success and sharing their story with you. First up, we chat with former Chairman and founding partner John Goodman about his vision, inspiration and leadership.

This year Goodman Private Wealth celebrates its 30 year anniversary. As the founding partner, what thoughts and emotions come to mind when you think about that journey?

Most of all I think about the people, particularly our clients and staff. Business is really about people, and that's what life is all about too.

I have many wonderful memories of our clients, who were always very appreciative. At my farewell, I was very touched when a longstanding client commented "If it hadn't been for you, I wouldn't have lived the life I've lived". It's sentiments like these that make it all worthwhile. 

We've also been extremely fortunate to have great people on the team. Our longest serving staff member, Geraldine Simpson, was respected by all and she was amazing in her versatility. I knew I was in trouble if Gerrie asked to meet in my office, and if she shut the door I knew I'd done something very bad.

These days I genuinely look forward to my visits to the office, and catching up with the 'Goody Alumni' at the annual boat trip, resplendent with terrible singing, is a highlight.

What was your vision in the early days?

Early on, I chose to focus on the high net worth sector. I was influenced by The Millionaire Next Door, a US book about your next door neighbour who owns a business, does well and builds it up, then sells it to become a millionaire. I discovered they drive a Chevy and not a Caddy. This is largely true of the successful Australian family business proprietor. 

Later, I attended a conference in the US where I was introduced to the concept of Value Based Financial Planning. I could see great merit in the approach that people are driven by what's really important to them, which is otherwise called their values. Discovering their highest values helps you to get them to prioritise their goals and identify what they want to work towards and achieve.

My vision was to be a boutique adviser to wealthy families and to be trusted by successful people. The importance of trust can never be overrated.

At a very early stage we took the unusual step of moving from a commission base to a fee base. This approach aligns our remuneration with our client's interests, which is terribly important if you want to be a trusted adviser.

What do you consider to be your greatest challenge and greatest success over the Goodman years?

The greatest challenge is discovering how wealthy people think and work. In some ways, it's no different from how those with more modest finances think and work, but those with extensive means have many, many, choices.

A valued adviser can help them narrow their choices to the things they really want to focus on. Be it a focused and disciplined investment strategy, or even more importantly, helping them give priority to goals that are aligned with their values. It can make a profound difference when your client links their choices with what's important to them to give them a happier life.

It's also been a great pleasure to see the business continue on to the next generation. At a more fundamental level, I feel fulfilled knowing they continue to be trusted advisers by doing what they promise.

I gained most from what I learned from our clients and staff. Some time ago, a client of many years wanted to add me as a beneficiary to her will. When I explained that wasn't possible, she kindly agreed for me to assign her bequest to a charity, and I discovered the pleasure of giving.

Since then, Meta and I have formed our own foundation and make gifts to causes our family would like to help. We've helped shape the values of our children and grandchildren. We've discovered that giving is about the pleasure and satisfaction of the donor, and that's what motivates us.

What's the best piece of leadership advice you can share?

I believe the leader is the one who always says "we can do better". The leader encourages the team to lift their sights when they're looking towards their next objective.

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