Throughout my professional journey, I have had success in leadership roles as diverse as Operations, Marketing, General Management, Business Development, Corporate Strategy and R&D. I have set-up a manufacturing facility in a tough emerging market environment, rapidly turned around a stagnant business unit, helped structure and execute a number of M&A deals across the globe, helped identify and launch product innovation ideas, and led a global team with associates separated by fourteen time zones. I speak five languages, have lived on three continents, and have traveled to over seventy countries.
My Personal Leadership Model
Deliberately seeking out these varied opportunities for personal learning and growth has been a consistent theme in an otherwise unconventional career path. I see leadership as an invaluable vehicle to access opportunities to “learn by doing”. I truly value breadth of experience and diversity of thought, which are the foundations that allow me to bring my core values to life:
- Serendipity is the ability to connect apparently disparate facts and patterns to generate valuable outcomes. Embracing this value as a central tenet of how I operate often allows me to identify insights others may miss, and implement more creative solutions to address opportunities.
- Vision – it is essential for me that all action planning be anchored in a crystal clear vision of the desired outcomes, and a very good understanding of the choices required to achieve them. Rapidly building this vision has consistently been a key driver of my success in addressing challenges I was often technically not prepared to handle.
- Common Sense is probably the most underrated quality in the world. I treasure it as a powerful means to perform reality checks, and simplify decision making. My unconventional career experiences have undoubtedly improved my ability to apply common sense in more intuitive ways, and in many diverse situations.
- Resourcefulness – we live in a world of limited resources, and chances are that what needs to be done will always exceed the resources available to do it. My experiences have taught me that creativity and imagination, applied with common sense to a crystal clear vision, will almost always overcome a lack of resources.
- Helping Others Grow – often thrust in situations where I am not the expert, I quickly learnt that my own success depended on making my teams successful. I thus place a high priority on engaging and motivating the people I work with, identifying key strengths to build upon and critical development needs to be addressed. Engaging actively with my teams also helps me continue to learn and grow as a leader.
The instinctive integration of these values now defines the leader I have become, and I genuinely feel very comfortable in this skin. Beyond this essence, I am also fully aware that story telling, relationships and symbolism are equally key elements of leadership; ones that do not yet come to me as naturally. I am thus more deliberate with these behaviors, which clearly represent further opportunities for me to continue to “learn by doing”.
Beyond the desire to continuously learn and have a positive business impact, proactively seeking out diverse, and increasingly challenging, leadership opportunities also helps me to be a better family member. I embrace my responsibilities as the primary provider, a role model, and an enabler of family growth. The fact that my ten year old daughter is learning her third language, has already visited ten countries, and embraces intellectual curiosity as a given, is probably the most fulfilling part of being a leader.