About peter


Peter Baines is one of Australia’s leadership experts having road tested leadership the hard way. Peter spent 22 years with the NSW Police leading teams in response to acts of terrorism and natural disasters on a scale not previously seen.

Peter, thanks again for an outstanding presentation! One of the best of I has seen. Everyone was talking about what you have achieved last night in awe. I have been going to conferences for 17 years and rarely do you see a standing ovation. You are an amazing person and the children are so blessed to have you looking after them. I am blessed to have met you.
— Centrepoint Alliance

Peter was part of the leadership team that responded to Bali after the bombings in 2002 and was called upon in 2005 to lead national and international teams in response to the Tsunami of December 26, 2004 in South East Asia.  Peter headed up multiple rotations into Thailand leading international teams in the identification process of those who died.  All the time his leadership theories were tested in this trying environment.  Peter was engaged to work in Queensland by one of the major Australian Banks and Universities to work with their staff and clients following the devastating floods and cyclone. His messages focused on leading in uncertain times and ensuring business continuity.

Creating sustainable leadership became a passion of his after witnessing the devastating effects of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.  He was deeply touched by the number of children left orphaned by the disaster and was inspired to set up an organisation that could make a significant difference in the lives of these children.  In late 2005, Hands Across the Water was formed to raise funds for, and awareness of, the children of Thailand who were left orphaned.  Today Hands is one of Australia’s fastest growing boutique charities, having raised several million dollars without spending one cent of donor’s money on administrative costs since its inception.  With this they have built two orphanages, purchased a rubber plantation to ensure a sustainable and regular income, constructed a medical and community centre in the Khao Lak region of Thailand and is currently working towards the construction of a HIV Paediatrics Hospital in the North East of Thailand.  Hands also is in a joint venture with Victoria University and the Starwood Hotel Group which provides education to students and staff from the Tsunami affected area of Khao Lak.

His final years with the NSW Police were spent on secondment to the National Institute of Forensic Science where he worked on national and international capacity building projects around counter terrorism and leadership.  He spent time advising Interpol in France and the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime in South East Asia.

Peter has received various awards including Australian of the Year NSW Finalist for 2010, Thought Leaders Socialpreneur of the year 2008 and being the first Australian to be awarded the international honour of a Rotary Professional Excellence Award in 2008.  He has completed university studies in Law, Forensic Science and post graduate studies in Management. He has received the NSW Police Service Medal and the Australian Federal Police Operations Medal, for work in response to the Bali Bombings and the 2004 Asia Tsunami.  He was the first NSW Police Officer to be awarded the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal and Australian National Medal.

Today Peter spends his time helping businesses build effective Sustainable Leadership programs through the unique mix of his leadership and corporate social responsibility initiatives. His Corporate Social Responsibility platforms create goodwill, staff engagement and sustainable change.  He also continues to lead the Hands Across the Water team in supporting their orphanages and the beautiful children of Thailand.

Peter has a diverse client base across many sectors including the leading financial institutions of Australia and internationally with the government of Saudi Arabia where he assisted them in building their leadership and crisis management capacity.  He has worked with education providers across each fo the Australian states, both government and private and has spent time advising many large corporate organisations both on a national and international level.


Leadership Matters

Peter was the leader of teams in Bali after the bombings of 2002 and then in Thailand after the Boxing Day Tsunami. Peter headed up multiple rotations into Thailand leading international teams in the identification of those who died.

Peterʼs final years with the NSW Police were spent on secondment to the National Institute of Forensic Science where he worked on national and international capacity building projects around counter terrorism and leadership. He spent time advising Interpol in France and the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime in South East Asia.

Peterʼs keynote presentation takes audiences through the importance of leaving an indelible impression, making decisions without deliberation and focusing on results and not excuses. He tells the story of successfully negotiating with the Prime Minister of Thailand to get resources and shares the lesson that came from that.

Peter spends time exploring the clarity of purpose and why as leaders we need to be clear as to what drives us on an individual level and on an organisational level. He also shares the secret of the Australian team learning to sing the Thai national anthem and how that was more powerful in motivating teams than in payment of higher wages.

Key Outcomes

  • How to be a leader with no positional authority. True leaders are identified by their actions and reactions
  • When your resolve is tested you need to understand why you do what you do. This is what Peter calls understanding your clarity of purpose
  • The importance of Values-Based Leadership
  • How to lead with power and compassion
  • Hope is not a plan, we simply canʼt hope that something won’t happen but there is only so much contingency planning you can do - it then comes down to the strength of leadership.

Experiences Matter - Results Driven by Experiences

How do you reverse AIDS within children suffering from HIV? How do you change the lives of young girls who have been trafficked into a life of forced child prostitution? The same way you build deep engagement with your business, your team and your family. You create experiences.

It’s the power of experiences, that make us who we are and help us shape what we want to become as individuals, families, leaders and successful teams.

I stumbled across the deep value of creating experiences for people whilst trying to raise money and create hope and opportunities for children.  What I found was that if I concentrated on giving rich experiences for those I was working with then it became easy to achieve the end result. And the end result for me was providing the simplest of opportunities for children who lived without the most basic of rights and privileges.

What I came to realise was that the more rewarding, the more engaging the experience was, the easier it was to build growth, sustainability and success in what I was trying to achieve. So what have been the rich experiences and the outcomes that have followed?

In 2009 I led a group of 16 bike riders from Bangkok to Khao Lak. A distance of 800km’s that we covered in eight days. Our combined fundraising saw us raise $178,000. A great effort but pulling into the orphanage surrounded by the children for who we were riding for, seeing their faces, seeing the tears running down the cheeks of the riders, I knew right then we were onto something special.

If growth is one of the measures of success, then based upon the growth of the bike ride, you would deem it an overwhelming success. Four years after the first ride we now run back to back rides that fill to our capacity of 50 per ride within a matter of days and in 2013, we raised over $800,000.

Growth is certainly an indicator of success, but what about return business? In 2013 on our Northern ride, 79% of the riders were back for their second or third time. Such is the strength of the experience a family of four returned after their first ride in 2012, to ride with us again in 2013, meaning they had raised over $80,000 in eighteen months. Why, because of the richness of the experience.

Coming from rich experiences is engagement.  But engaging your team, supporters or clients is only half the task and if you stop with engagement you miss the opportunity to build commitment within them. You can have an engaged group, but without commitment they will like what you do and support your efforts, but we want their efforts.

And from what I’ve experienced since I started obsessing about experiences it’s the three elements of Experiences, Engagement and Commitment that lead you to results.

The results I have driven are through the charity I formed in 2006 after leading Australian and International teams into Thailand following the South East Asian tsunami and the identification of the thousands of souls that perished in that tragic event. It was those experiences that led me to work with Interpol in Lyon France leading an International Counter Terrorism project, it was the same experiences that had me spend time working with the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime, and deploy into disaster areas such as Saudi Arabia after the floods in Jeddah and Japan following the tragic earthquake and tsunami of 2011. Those experiences, good and bad have positioned me to now bring about a very different kind of result.

In 2010, I took responsibility for a HIV orphanage in the north of Thailand. Children were dying on a monthly and at times weekly basis. Since assuming control of that home, not one child as died in the past three years. At the same orphanage we have raised the CD4 count of the children and in the process eliminated in all but two children AIDS.

Further up the Mekong River we are now building six homes that will provide a safe haven for 90 girls who will be removed from the sex industry having been trafficked into this unimaginable life. All of this and so many other achievements are possible based upon the rich experiences we provide.

And what I’ve come to realise is that if we can bring about such significant change and quite literally stop children dying surely our teams, our businesses and leaders can also benefit from the same formula. What modern family today wouldn’t be richer for a shared experience? If you and your leaders are not engineering shared experiences, you’re missing opportunities.

I don't think there is any magic bullet for leadership or driving results but if there was one thing I think you could obsess about, its shared experiences.

Key Outcomes

  • Understanding why Experiences Matter
  • The value of Shared Experiences
  • How to build Engagement based upon Experiences
  • The key difference between Engagement and Commitment
  • The importance of recognising Results as part of the process
  • How to engineer shared experiences within your leaders, team, social venture or family unit
  • Identifying the relationship between the four key elements of Experiences, Engagement, Commitment and Results
  • Examining the opportunities within your organisation, social venture, family or leadership team to build shared experiences.

Conference Experience - Creating Unique Experiences

The richness of experiences are magnified ten fold when they are shared. And is there a better experience than one when people come together and bring about change for someone else?

It’s the result of a relationship built over almost a decade that Peter Baines has this unique opportunity to take you and your team into one of several of his projects throughout Thailand for a team experience that is food for their soul.

If you are considering holding your next conference or team event in Thailand, and Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket or Khao Lak is your destination of choice, then this unique opportunity could be for you.

Would you like to see your team come together and quite literally transform lives? This is what Peter is now doing for a select number of groups each year.

The very reason why we take people away on conferences is to give experiences. The outcome of any conference is to deepen the engagement within the group and it’s through that shared experience we hope to achieve this. If it wasn’t through the shared experiences of conferences why have them?

Culture and engagement are not built by policy and procedure. Too much time is spent in rooms talking about engagement. Logic has had a crack at building deep engagement and it’s not working. A visceral experience will trump logic every time.

A leaders job is to orchestrate experiences and create legacies. Experiences cut through and it is those shared experiences that we remember. As a leader, your legacy will be the experiences you created for which you will be remembered.

What do the options look like? On Peter’s most recent event he led a team of 100 leading financial planners and their partners into the Khlong Toei slums of Bangkok where they spent a day painting the inside and outside of a kindergarten and installing a safety evacuation system for the community. Stepping off the bus they were greeted by many of the 230 children who led them by their hands into their school. Over the next six hours the 103 delegates turned a tired looking kindergarten into a bright, fresh and fun environment that became a beacon for hope and learning for the kids. In doing so they connected with a community in a manner and on a level not possible otherwise. “You could tell the level of engagement from the group as no one was checking their phones for emails...” The warmth and the deep appreciation by the local community was something that staggered all the delegates. The rich welcoming that all received would set the tone for the remainder of the day. Even those skeptical of the experience soon found themselves caught up in the very real and tangible opportunity to make a difference to the community. “As a financial planner with 30 years in the business, I’ve attended hundreds of conferences, today rates as THE stand out experience of all of them by a country mile.”

The logistics of the event are made easy based upon Peter’s relationship. He has been working in Thailand with the communities and it’s this relationship that facilitates such experiences. How does it work? Peter has led groups from 12 to 450 delegates and each experience is crafted based upon the needs, desires and time allocated by the conference group or PCO.

Because of the relationships Peter has built he has access to projects across many different areas of Thailand. The experiences can be as short as a couple of hours, full day programs or one recent event involved 60 delegates spending two nights with the community engaged in different activities that catered for the physical abilities of the group.

One of the essential aspects of each program that Peter designs is ensuring it is indeed in the best interests of the children and/or the local community. He won’t allow any visit to be turned into something that resembles a circus side show and this comes across in each project that is designed.

The value of shared experiences, engagement and commitment is something that he stumbled upon in trying to raise money to support the kids in Thailand that are part of the Hands Across the Water family. He’s convinced though they can work for you in creating similar results in your business, social venture or family.

Peter undertakes a pre-keynote briefing with each of his clients, which allows him to familiarise himself with the needs of the specific audience. Each keynote can be tailored in length and content to suit your organisation's specific needs. The following are some of the ideas that Peter explores in his presentations:

Key Outcomes

  • Leading with no positional authority
  • Handle politics and still get the job done
  • Communicate when no one speaks the same language
  • Be creative with no resources
  • Maintain a focus on goals and guarantee outcomes
  • Keep your head when everyone else is losing theirs
  • Lead with power and compassion
  • Build high-impact teams, quickly
  • Transition back into "real life" crisis
  • Create shared experiences
  • Results driven by Experiences
  • Sustainable Leadership
  • Clarity of Purpose
  • Crisis Management
  • Negotiation Under Pressure
  • Project Management
  • Leadership
  • Building Powerful Teams
  • Consequence Management