We recently asked Neil Singleton to share his thoughts on better decision making.

Neil has been involved in various aspects of the Insurance Industry for well over thirty years in corporate roles and now in a fairly unique position as part business leader and part regulator. Since he was introduced to customer based design he has found the principles ideal for focusing on ways to improve products or services for the end user – whether policyholder or injured person. He enjoys being curious about finding new and better ways to do things.

What is your favourite, or most used, inspirational quote?

I go to ones that suit a situation. Paul Kelly ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’ lifts me up so many times. I found the Invictus Games very inspirational and that always prompts ‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul…’

What does great decision making look and feel like for you?

I love seeing a team of people come together to reach a decision and then become engaged in taking that decision through to action. Especially when the decision is about a new way forward or a new initiative that opens up some possibilities that weren’t there or hadn’t been identified at the start. I really enjoy seeing new possibilities realised.

When was a time you were at your decision making best?

Being called on to lead two teams in a merger that had previously been in competition with each other. Bringing out the best of the best and forming one united team called on a range of decisions across all facets of the business. This was helped by having a very inspiring Executive leader, wonderful peers and bringing together a diverse management team that came together as one team so well. Decisions were important and wide ranging. Decision making was feeling so logical and seeing things come together so well was great for all stakeholders and personally very satisfying.

Who inspires you? Why?

I’ve been inspired by people from so many walks of life. Dr Dinesh Palipana won’t like me calling him out – but he is such a wonderful person – the first quadriplegic doctor in Queensland who is now also involved in ground-breaking research. Dinesh is always so calm, always caring and doing so much for his patients and wanting to improve outcomes for people – especially those with serious injury and disability.

Damien Hardwick, the Richmond AFL coach, who encouraged his team to explore mindfulness and to be open to vulnerability and turn it into a strength – the last things you would expect from a footy coach. I’m a Richmond fan so ecstatic at what he has achieved – but I admire that he was so brave as a leader in doing what he did.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to be a better decision maker?

Be courageous. Be open to consulting others and engaging with a range of people from different backgrounds and cultures. In my experience the best decisions have come from having a diverse range of inputs to that decision. Learning from others doesn’t remove the need or responsibility for decision making it just improves the chances of making a better decision.

What are you reading/watching at the moment?

Just finished reading a biography on Nikola Tesla….I was intrigued by his name being ‘adopted’ by Elon Musk. Tesla’s story was a real mix of genius, sadness and irony. Edison is probably better known yet Tesla’s electric inventions were far superior. In the ‘parallel universe’ of electric motor vehicles Ford have established Team Edison to go up against the Tesla.

What is the most effective strategy you use for keeping your Ape (your emotional reactive state) in check?

Getting older and wiser probably helps. Having a good mentor and trusted friends who know when I need advice and when I just need a sounding board. And sometimes just taking the dogs for a walk…creating the quiet head space for reflection is enough.

What type of decision maker are you?

Achieving Strategist.


To connect with Neil Singleton:


Email – neil.singleton@treasury.qld.gov.au


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