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Lessons from CEOs: hindsight in 2020

We speak to business leaders from all over the world about the greatest lessons they learned in 2019 and their resolutions for 2020. This is our pick of their pearls of wisdom that you can use to your own advantage.

Lessons from CEOs: hindsight in 2020

Get the balance right

“Our vision’s really around enduring business. Across both of our networks and our contracting business we like to think we’re here for the very long-term. The decisions we make are about setting this company up for the long-term and making sure we’re there and performing consistently. That’s the inspiration – it’s to grow with our clients, grow with our community, be doing this long-term and be a steady but inspiring influence.”
Andrew Mcleod, CEO, Northpower

Choose a terrific team

“My key focus is to build an outstanding team that is hungry, humble and hardworking, and has the ability to over-deliver on our objectives.”
Iwo Zakowski, General Manager, Burger King Sweden and Denmark

Seek to inspire

“The biggest lesson I learned in 2019 is to stay true to myself. I think if you’re passionate and true, success will come. Especially when it comes to business, a point of difference and authenticity allow you to separate yourself. My resolution for the coming year is to continue to mentor and inspire the next generation.”
Aerin Lauder, Founder, Aerin

Be open

“The only constant is change. You have to be thinking today about what you’re going to do tomorrow. When you ask people to join you on a journey you should be open about what you’re looking to achieve.”
Damien Coates, CEO, DUAL Asia Pacific

Get the balance right

“Time is your most precious commodity. Invest it wisely and keep your home–life balance with work topped up.”
Jack Swaysland, Senior VP and COO, Papa John’s International

Put yourself first

“Health and lifestyle come above all else. Only from this space do I believe we can be truly productive. Decentralizing the team also leads to all-round freedom, happiness, flexibility and productivity. With this comes a need for a more data-driven business with systems, processes and disciplines, but the results far exceed expectations.”
Lisa Messenger, CEO/Founder, The Collective Hub

Master communication

“In almost every aspect of business, communication with stakeholder groups is key, because you can’t assume everyone has the same perspective and context as you in a situation. It’s a constant life lesson that is always about ensuring you take everyone on the journey with you by adequately communicating what’s going on.”
David Head, CEO, Clean Seas Seafood

Maintain perspective

“I’ve always learned to ask, ‘What if?’ The answer to this question guides us in thinking ahead of the game. The backbone of every leader and organisation is having a positive mindset and belief. You may not be able to control someone else’s negative behaviour, but you can control how long you choose to participate in it.”
Melda Yasar Cebe, Managing Director, The KraftHeinz Company MEA

Explore new avenues

“We will position ourselves as a leader by looking at how we can better present ourselves image-wise, looking at our marketing collateral, and trying to come up with more creative ways to do it. After all, we are in the design business. We’re also looking at different markets, going where it’s not so crowded.”
Leonard Lee, Regional Managing Director and Regional Creative Officer, Wilson Associates

Nurture relationships

“Trusting, positive relationships are the bedrock of everything in business, whether with potential customers, present customers, our employees or our suppliers. This is what really makes the difference. Our focus is securing exponential growth, both through additional business with existing customers and new transformational deals in the large-scale supply chain re-engineering space – as always, driven by our relationships and our people.”
David Christmas, CEO, DHL Supply Chain MEA

Trust your instinct

“A lesson I learned in 2019 is to value gut feeling more. Gut feeling should not sit in isolation but should be a contributing part of decision making, supported by good information and knowledge of the subject or person. In this context, gut feeling can be a key differentiator.”
Robert Klein, CEO, Bundesliga International

Learn from your experiences

“I’ve learned how much my past experiences, both in life and through work, have given me the skills I need to do the job. That might sound fairly simplistic, but if I think about all the different roles I’ve done, every job has built my skills and expertise. They’ve taught me some life lessons, how to manage people, and how to get the best out of people.”
Leonie King, CEO, City West Housing

Be zen

Spiro Michas, CEO, Real Dairy Australia

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