Business Leaders

Pro Q&A with Tony Martin – Performing at your best

Tony Martin is a high achiever that’s keen to support other locals to enhance their own performance. Tony featured in the November 2023 issue of The Profit in his capacity as chief executive of Prevar, the organisation at the forefront of innovation and commercialisation of new apples and pears from New Zealand to the world.

Tony has also qualified as an Executive Coach with 2b Limitless, working with professionals all around the world to support their personal and professional growth. 2b Limitless was officially launched in New Zealand and Australia in 2024.

What’s your career background?
I spent the first part of my career in Sales, Marketing & Operations roles mostly in the food and beverage industry with companies such as ENZA, DB Breweries and Fonterra Brands. I then spent 8 years with New Zealand Trade & Enterprise leading teams in Vietnam, India, the Middle East and Africa to support the growth of kiwi companies internationally with roles based in Ho Chi Minh City and Dubai. During this time I qualified as an Executive Coach with 2b Limitless and have since been working with professionals all around the world to support their personal and professional growth. I returned to Hawke’s Bay in 2021 to take on the role as Chief Executive for Prevar.

What do you regard as some of your major achievements during your career?
Being a part of the rapid growth of New Zealand business in Vietnam through the work the NZTE team did (Vietnam was one of NZ’s fastest growing export markets in the past decade).Having the opportunity to play a role in the lead up to New Zealand’s participation in the World Expo 2020 in Dubai. Supporting the growth and success of the Prevar team and business as we lead out the innovation and commercialisation of new apples and pears from New Zealand to the world. Having the opportunity as a coach to challenge and support the growth of business leaders and entrepreneurs who are doing amazing things in the community and out in the world.

What has been your biggest learning?
The importance of having clear values, understanding my strengths and always remaining curious. How did you decide to become a coach? I worked with an Executive Coach when I was in Dubai and the experience profoundly changed my outlook on life and helped me to achieve some significant goals. This inspired me to want to be able to provide the same type of experience to others so that more people can realise their true potential.

What motivates you to achieve in all walks of life?

Growth and contribution – we are hardwired as humans to seek growth and contribution yet many distractions and self-limiting beliefs prevent us from realising our true potential. Knowing ourselves well and challenging ourselves to become the best version we can be requires an open mind and a willingness to step out of our places of comfort. The benefit of doing this expands beyond the self as when we are at our best we are likely having a positive impact on our relationships, the work we do and our communities.

For you to fully live your life, what’s the changes you have made?
One of the biggest changes I have made is bringing real consistency to my daily rituals. Each morning I aim to start the day with real intention with what I call ‘5 by 8’. This means completing 5 things by 8am. I get up early and straight away do a short meditation, some journaling, 10-15 minutes of yoga/stretching, a short burst of exercise and some reading or learning. This change in how I start the day has made a huge difference in giving me a sense of ownership and a feeling of achievement and sets me up for a great day ahead. No matter what happens in the rest of the day no one can take that away from me. And it’s a much more fulfilling way to start a day than checking social media or e-mails!

What are your key strengths and do you have an example of how you used these for create a positive outcome?

My two key strengths are learning and achieving. In the first part of my career this was very much about progressing my own professional growth and working hard to strive for the next achievement. Now in the second half of my working life, the strengths are all about applying my learning in helping others to achieve their ambitions and goals. This comes through in both the coaching work I do and in the work we do at Prevar with a constant focus on improvements and embracing positive change.

What’s your regular daily schedule?
I start each day with my 5 by 8 rituals at outlined above. I don’t always complete all 5 tasks and I generally take a rest on Sunday. When I begin my working day I aim to set 3 priorities for the working day and focus on those. I like to close out each working day with physical exercise too be that a run, an RPM class or a gym session. In the evenings we sit down for dinner together as a family and this is protected time for connection with our kids – no screens, no distractions, just talking, sharing and usually plenty of laughing. After dinner I will often have a coaching call with one of my clients. I try to apply the 3-2-1 principle of no eating 3 hours before bed, no working 2 hours before bed and no screens 1 hour before bed.

What is a flaw or a ‘work on’ that you struggle to overcome?
My achiever strength enables me to work hard for extended periods of time but the downside is that sometimes it can be really hard to switch off and be fully present. I’m an active relaxer and I know I have to make a real effort to rest and recover well.

And how do you work on improving it?
I get plenty of real time feedback from my family on this! The importance of acknowledging rest and recovery is part of growth means that I am becoming less critical of myself for taking time out or allowing some time to relax.

There’s lot of options in personal development/coaching – why did you choose 2bm Limitless?
Mick Todd is the founder and CEO of 2b Limitless and he was my coach when I lived in Dubai. Mick really enabled me to understand a lot more about my strengths and the value
I can bring and through the 2b Limitless coaching process I had a profound transformation in the way I look at life and the direction I am taking.  2b Limitless now has coaches in many different parts of the world and has a great reputation for the quality of work and the clients we work with. The 2b Limitless coaching programmes centre around bringing out the best version of self and this is a very holistic approach taking in to account both personal and professional growth. I believe that the 2b Limitless model is very unique in this regard and I know it can create transformational experiences for more kiwis.

What are some of the resources you use? 
Our primary resource is Clifton Strengths Finder which was developed by Don Clifton and based on the principles of positive psychology – what will happen when we think about what is right with people rather than fixating on what is wrong with them? I also use a set of assessments focused on Positive Intelligence or ‘PQ’. We understand what IQ (what we know) is and we know about EQ (how we relate) so PQ is very much about training our mental fitness so we are able to respond to challenges and circumstances in a way that allows us to be at our best more often.