World Vision President and CEO, Andrew Morely, meets children in Kenya

Leader LEGO

As part of a new World Vision podcast series, Andrew reflects on the building blocks vital to any leader.

By Andrew Morley, President and CEO, World Vision International

How are we called to do what we do, and how do we know if we’re doing the right thing? I know I’m not alone in having asked that question a lot in life, and over the years I’ve figured out the best way to answer it is to reflect on what I like to think of as the building blocks of our lives, and our leadership – LEGO.

L is for the things we Love

Life is short and if you do the things that you love, and you’re passionate about, and follow your gifts you’re going to be on the right path.

I’ve never been in a role I haven’t enjoyed, or if I’ve started not to enjoy it and I know it’s time to leave, then the door’s really opened for me to do something else really exciting and interesting.

I wake up each morning and I almost have to pinch myself that I am doing a job that I love so much. I’ve often had roles that I’ve enjoyed but this is just a step above. It’s tough but it’s incredibly, incredibly rewarding.

Find out what you love.

E for our Experiences

What have God and life taught you along the way? I’ve had a blessed and wonderful career, working with amazing teams and people in organisations like Sky, Harrods, Motorola, Google, and Clear Channel, and each one brought experiences that shape the way I work and lead today.

I was 23 when I first managed a team at work. I was young, made so many mistakes, and learned a lot. Years later, when I worked for Google, my nickname was Grandad because I was older than almost everyone I worked with, but I still learned so much. The people there are so bright. It’s a very exciting place to work – people want to be there; they want to be in the office.

Listen to people, learn from them.

G is our Gifts

Ask yourself what are your God-given gifts, your spiritual gifts, the things you just find that you’re good at – not necessarily things that you like, because sometimes we’re good at things we don’t enjoy.

Growing up, I wanted to be an engineer. I’m from Sheffield, very much an engineering and production hub, and my dad was an engineer. But I found I had a gift for marketing quite early on – I opened an alternative school tuckshop at the age of 11, and I did quite well from that. I was pretty good at selling things, so I found out more about marketing, which led me to some amazing opportunities.

Quite early on, in primary school, I had a teacher who really inspired me – Mr Miles made me excited about maths, which was no mean feat. One of the things that has stuck with me throughout my career is we can be our own Mr Miles; we can inspire people to find their gifts and really let their gifts come to life. I feel very strongly about this. Help people to be the best they can be is a core principle for teams I’ve led.

O is about taking Opportunities

Where is God opening the door in your life? I’m always up for spotting and grabbing opportunities, from that tuckshop at the age of 11, to studying marketing at a time when there were only two marketing courses in the country and people thought it meant being a door-to-door salesman.

Perhaps the biggest opportunity in my life was to become a Christian. I was 30, and attended an Alpha course with my wife basically as a favour to a friend. Having discovered my faith, and filled with a new-found enthusiasm, I immediately had to face a lot of questions about whether my job was the right place for me to be. I was at Sky TV at the time, director of marketing in the UK and my job was all about advertising, in an organisation which had a betting wing. But I really felt it was where I was called to be. We had a prayer group in Sky, so I could talk about things with people who understood the context, which was extremely helpful for me as a new, young Christian. God calls us to be in everywhere, including the marketplace. You can be the difference; you can make a difference in those environments – possibly more than you can in safer environments.

Ask yourself how do you build your life using this LEGO? Where these things converge are the places, chances/opportunities you should pursue? That’s where you’re being called.

It’s how I ended up in World Vision. An organisation that from the minute I heard about I knew I had to be involved in. I believe in this organisation and the work we do. I believed in it before I worked here, when my wife and I were supporters of VisionFund, and I believe in it as a sponsor of six children.

The three things I’ve learned, which guide me in my role as CEO of World Vision International are:

  1. It’s ok to fail.
  2. There is no such thing as a good, slow decision.
  3. What we do is just too tough to do without God.


Andrew spoke to Krish Kandiah for the Leadershift podcast, hear more about what Andrew learned from working for James Murdoch and Larry Page, and how to nurture a new-found faith.