30. Mark Wales – ‘The Transformer’, Former SAS Troop Commander: how to improve remote chances & the potency of trust.

Oct 22, 2020

For episode 30, I have interviewed a man I consider to be the best TRANSFORMER I know. Someone who has gone from the being a Troop Commander with the SAS, a graduate of the Wharton School of Business, Consultant at McKinsey & Company, starting his own tough luxury fashion label ‘Kill Kapture‘, compelling and in demand Keynote Presenter and Author.

He also happens to be my husband and we recorded this podcast after spending over 100 days in stage 4 lock down in Victoria and on the final day of a 2 week quarantine in Perth. So that is a lot of intense time in each other’s company. I am not going to lie, we are both worn – physically and mentally from this year. We also have discovered so much about each other and our conversations have deepened through this period of uncertainty.

Mark grew up in the red dirt of West Australian mining towns in the Pilbara. After deciding he wanted to join the SAS in high school, he embarked on a career in the Australian military that would eventually lead him to the battlefields of Afghanistan. As a Troop Commander in charge of 30 elite soldiers, Mark’s role was to lead combat missions against senior enemy commanders, deep behind enemy lines. Through this unique and harsh environment, Mark developed his skills in leadership, teamwork and high performance. Undoubtedly he encountered high stress situations where personal and team performance means the difference between life and death.

Transitioning out of the military he went back to the bottom of the totem pole as a student at the Wharton School of Business. Both a fish out of water and well out of his depth, his humility and capacity for growth grew rapidly in this environment.

This conversation discusses:

  • His early wanderings as a quiet dreamer and laser focused on joining the military.
  • Early deployments to East Timor & the Solomon Islands.
  • The tragedy of losing his Mum at 23 years old.
  • Realising that time might not be plentiful or on your side, so you need to put aside your fear & ego to pursue what you want.
  • Training for selection & transforming himself
  • What SAS selection was really like: ‘mission & team’
  • Shared values creates trust
  • The pitfalls of mission creep without a clear strategy
  • Afghanistan – 4 back to back deployments
  • Coping with trauma.
  • Realising he had PTSD and his ongoing road to recovery
  • The humiliation and humility of being the rookie again.

Warning: in the final 10 minutes there is a sensitive discussion around a historical sex abuse incident.

“You can increase your chances from remote to good by the accumulation of tiny incremental efforts over the years and focusing on what you can control.”

“The minute you get to the top of your game the clock is ticking for your obsolescence.”

You can discover more about Mark via his website (markwales.com.au) and instagram (@mark.a.wales).


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