@ceotodaymag @ceotodaymag www.ceotodaymagazine.com CEO Today Magazine @ceo.today /ceo-today f t y l n Connect with the Powerful and In uential. Follow uson social media to receive the latest updates, news and online features on the go. EO T O D A Y
C EO T O D A Y www.ceotodaymagazine.com For more information, contact Jacob Mallinder Jacob.Mallinder@universalmedia365.com 0044 (0) 1543 255 537 CEO Today Magazine is a premium aspirational lifestyle and business magazine. We seek to inspire, motivate and inform the world’s most successful business leaders, executives, and entrepreneurs through our content. Our magazine provides news, interviews and features about the most inuential leaders in the business world and beyond, focusing on topical stories, exclusive content and indepth articles that motivate our readers. Subscribe to receive a monthly hard copy. Price on application for subcriptions outside of the UK £395 *+ VAT if applicable *includes postage & packaging
5 EDITOR’S NOTE STAY CONNECTED! Follow us on: EDITOR’S NOTE UN I V E R S A L ME D I A www.ceotodaymagazine.com Katina Male Editor All of this and so much more - I hope you enjoy the content in CEO Today’s July 2022 issue! Make sure you check out the full list of features and exclusive interviews over the next pages. If you want to stay connected with us until our next edition, visit our website for more, join the conversation on our Twitter (@CEOTodayMag) and follow our LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram pages. Best wishes, KATINA MALE Editor CEO TODAY Copyright 2022 Circulation details can be found at www.ceotodaymagazine.com The views expressed in the articles within CEO Today are the contributors’ own, nothing within the announcements or articles should be construed as a profit forecast. All rights reserved. Material contained within this publication is not to be reproduced in whole or part without the prior permission of CEO Today. Disclaimer: Images used in this edition have been done so under the creative commons licenses. For details, see links below. creativecommons.org/licenses/ by-sa/3.0/legalcode creativecommons.org/licenses/ by-sa/2.0/legalcode creativecommons.org/licenses/ by-sa/4.0/legalcode Hello and welcome to the July 2022 edition of CEO Today! With the summer holiday season finally upon us, I’m delighted to present to you CEO Today’s July collection of inspiration from some of the world’s most successful leaders, as well as our monthly dose of travel and lifestyle content! Here are some of our favourite stories from this month’s issue: Aviator Nation Founder’s Road to Becoming One of America’s Richest Women Top 5 Luxury Swimming Pools for Summer 2022 36 32 58 52 How Tennis Serves Up a Lesson in Simplicity that Organisations Should Learn The Secret Reason Elon Musk Pursued Twitter
6 CONTENTS www.ceotodaymagazine.com Solving Global Problems with Talented People 10 THE CEO INTERVIEW 12. Solving Global Problems with Talented People 18. Meet the New CEO of Waratek - Doug Ennis 22. On a Mission to Preserve a Transparent Internet CONTENTS 8 Monthly-Round-Up 12 26 THE DISRUPTORS 28. The Five Ambassadors: Behaviours of Top Performing Leaders 32. The Secret Reason Elon Musk Pursued Twitter 36. Aviator Nation Founder’s Road to Becoming One of America’s Richest Women 28 The Five Ambassadors: Behaviours of Top Performing Leaders
7 36 Aviator Nation Founder’s Road to Becoming One of America’s Richest Women 40 46 56 EXECUTIVE COACHING VISION & STRATEGY TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE 48. Why Leaders Need to Get Net Zero Reporting Right 52. How Tennis Serves up a Lesson in Simplicity that Organisations Should Learn 58. Top 5 Luxury Swimming Pools for Summer 2022 70. Redefining Ocean Travel An InterviewWith Explora Journeys 42. Why Self-Acceptance is the Key to Success 42 Why SelfAcceptance is the Key to Success www.ceotodaymagazine.com 70 Redefining Ocean Travel Why Leaders Need to Get Net Zero Reporting Right 48
www.ceotodaymagazine.com 8 MONTHLY ROUND - UP N EWS The Stories Everyone’s been Talking about 15,000 Millionaires to Leave Russia This Year According to new analysis, around 15,000 millionaires are expected to leave Russia this year, with many headed for the United Arab Emirates. Henley & Partners, which supports high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) in seeking citizenship around the world, teamed up with New World Wealth to conduct the analysis. Henley’smost recent instalment of its Global Citizens Report updated projections for the migration of millionaires. While Russia currently has 101,100 millionaire residents, around 15,0000 (15%) of them are expected to leave the nation this year. Russia, and many of its wealthiest citizens, have been heavily impacted by the economic sanctions introduced against the country since its forces invaded Ukraine in late February. Russia is predicted to lose more HNWI this year than any other country in the world.
Ferrari Promises Exciting Future for its Electric Vehicles Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna has confirmed the luxury carmaker’s plan to launch its first electric model in 2025. Vigna said that the company expects full-electric cars to make up 5% of sales in 2025 and 40% by 2030. He said Ferrari would develop and build its own electric motors, inverters, and battery modules. With bans on fossil-fuel vehicles scheduled for the next decade in China and parts of Europe, major carmakers are being pushed to spend more on EV development. Industry estimates put this cost at more than $250 billion through 2025. “Everything we do will always focus on being distinctively Ferrari,” said Ferrari chairman John Elkann. “The opportunity set of electrification and electronics will allow us to make even more unique cars.” 9 www.ceotodaymagazine.com MONTHLY ROUND - UP Tesla Lays off 200Workers amid Musk’s “Super Bad Feeling” about the Economy Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company Tesla has reportedly laid off almost 200 employees in its autopilot division, closing down its office in San Mateo, California, where they worked. The move comes after Musk warned earlier this month that he has a “super bad feeling” about the economy amid record-high inflation. In a memo to executives, titled “pause all hiring worldwide”, Musk said that around 10% of jobs at Tesla need to be cut, though he added that the company would be increasing hourly jobs. The email itself came two days after the Tesla CEO told employees via a live stream address to return to the workplace or resign, though noted that “exceptional” employees may be permitted to continue working from home. Recently, Musk announced that Tesla’s factories in Berlin and Austin, Texas were losing billions of dollars due to lockdowns in China. “Both Berlin and Austin factories are gigantic money furnaces right now. It’s really like a giant roaring sound, which is the sound of money on fire,” Musk said in an interview.
THE CEO INTERVIEW 12 Solving Global Problems with Talented People 18 Meet the New CEO of Waratek - Doug Ennis 22 On a Mission to Preserve a Transparent Internet
THE CEO INTERVIEW www.ceotodaymagazine.com 12 Solving Amy Golding is the CEO of Opus Talent Solutions, which solves global problems with talented people. It works in the futurefocused markets of digital, renewable energy and sustainability to try and help companies build their future workforce in sectors that are cripplingly short of people with the right skills – and that our economy and planet desperately need. Opus Talent Solutions works at the most senior level, all the way down to helping people get into these exciting industries with the right training and work experience. Amy took the CEO role at 31 when she was told she was the youngest female in the UK running a business with over $100 million in revenue. We hear more about her story. Amy Golding With Talented People Global Problems
THE CEO INTERVIEW 13
THE CEO INTERVIEW www.ceotodaymagazine.com 14 Tell us your story. My story has a very shaky structure and plot. When people ask me about my business journey, I find it difficult to retrace my steps – I’m not sure, given 100 goes, I would end up in the same position again. I was always drawn to work. Throughout school and university, I was constantly coming up with ways and schemes to earn money. I just loved working and did everything from hairdressing, to waitressing, to car washing, to bar work, to office temping. I even applied to be a milkman at one point because I figured I could fit more hours of earning into my day! I liked earning money, and I like adventures. I liked the freedom that having my own money brought and I would regularly disappear looking for the next adventure or opportunity to learn. I worked and travelled aroundAustralia at the age of 18, went Interrailing alone, went to Spain to study Spanish (I was terrible), I worked as a journalist in China and tried to learn Chinese (I was terrible), I trained as a yoga instructor in Bali (slightly less terrible). I also did some very sensible things that made my parents proud – I somehow got into Cambridge University to study English and worked very sensibly as a Strategy Consultant at Deloitte for four years, which really became the foundation of my business training. I really had no idea what I wanted to do and why. I just knew that I wanted to do something that meant something. I was happy to work hard, I loved people, and when I put my mind to something, I can usually make it happen. What brought you to founding _nology? I had been running Opus for a couple of years and two things became very apparent. Firstly, as an English graduate and die-hard maths class dodger at school, I realised I’d bought into the rhetoric that tech was terrifying and only for people who really liked science and hoodies. I remember going to my first client meeting at a tech startup and being asked to remove my shoes at the door. I took off my brand new Louboutins (the most expensive thing I’d ever bought myself) and left them by the door in a pile of smelly size 11 Converse, and just thought: “I don’t think this is going to work”. What I came to discover from being immersed in that world was that tech isn’t an“other”. It’s just a skill that allows you to dive deeply into any sector you’re passionate about. Whether that’s science… fashion… finance… healthcare or anything at all. Tech is away to truly understand how that industry works, how the customers think, and how to improve it and make it more sustainable. Tech roles are creative, about design, innovation, problemsolving, building things, testing things, selling things, continuously improving things. Not only are so many people missing out on this great career path because they have no idea they are suitable, but also companies were missing out on brilliant talent with different ways of thinking. The other thing – but totally connected - was that demand “ We are giving people a route into a career that can change the course of their, and their family’s lives. And the confidence and support to flourish in potentially intimidating corporate environments. “
THE CEO INTERVIEW www.ceotodaymagazine.com 15 our 15 years of knowledge. Not just about what good tech is, but what makes a great tech employee. We take people on a two-year journey with us that sees them coming out the end with an incredible role in tech and bundles of relevant realworld experience. We’ve developed a unique assessment process where we never have to look at someone’s CV. We assess their potential and aptitude to be good at tech. We then take them through an immersive 12week training programme that assumes zero previous coding knowledge. We then place them on-site with the 1,000+ clients we work with through our senior talent relationships and support them in the background throughout, ensuring they get the extra support and training they need to be an indispensable member of the team. We work with some incredible clients. Companies who really understand the need to invest in creating talent not just fishing from an increasingly competitive pool. Clients like Accenture, Goldman Sachs, EY, Woolworths, Deutsche Bank and many more. And the most important part is that our students are paid for this experience – rather than having to pay £50k in fees and living costs for a university course that may or may not be relevant and may or may not land them a job. This stat is hardto-believe, but despite the desperate need for tech talent, in the UK, Computer Science graduates have the highest rate of unemployment of all graduates. And in the USA, unemployment of Computer Science graduates is increasing as a percentage. Tech is something that is very practical, and very was far outstripping supply. We just couldn’t keep up with client demand. And not only did they want people, but they also wanted great people, and they wanted diverse people. Now in tech, the people didn’t exist at all. And diversity – forget it! This was a talent pool that was 85% white, 85%male and predominantly STEM degree educated. All of this combined into a perfect storm. People who could have been incredible were being shut off from future-proof careers. Companies were going backwards in their hardfought diversity goals to secure the tech skills they desperately needed, and the rest of us were forever destined to use products and websites and apps and machines that had been designed and created largely by a 15% sliver of society. And I wonder why Alexa only listens to my husband. I realised that whilst we were helping clients find great people, we weren’t creating real change. You take an incredible female developer out of one company and put her in another, you’ve helped the second company tick a box – but nothing’s advanced and nothing’s changed. You’ve just moved the problem around. The only answer was to widen the pool, increase the pool, and add diversity to the pool. So we launched _nology. Tell us more about what you do with _nology? _nology is a tech assessment and training company, with a strong focus on diversity. We’ve harnessed much about keeping up-to-date and learning on the job. It’s a hard thing to take an academic degree straight into the workplace. Conversely, 98% of our students (most of whom have no tech background at all) end up working full-time in tech. And once they convert full-time into our client at the end of the two-year training period, average tech salaries are over 40% higher than average UK earnings. What are you doing to support more women and people from different backgrounds in the world of tech, which is a predominantly male-dominated field? It all starts with the marketing. We have to reach people who don’t know they are looking for us, which is the whole point. We are careful with our use of language, removing jargon, appealing to people from different backgrounds and encouraging them to step outside their comfort zone. We don’t use CVs – previous experience doesn’t matter to us. There is so much unconscious bias that happens in the process of reading a CV. Even if you can overlook a lack of tech experience, people tend to have a view of what “good” looks like based on their own experiences. And things like team sports, captainships,
THE CEO INTERVIEW www.ceotodaymagazine.com 16 business internships, school societies, higher education, and so on, all come with hidden implications about class, gender and race that we don’t even realise aren’t ubiquitous if you come from that world. This year, 48% of our students have been female and 63% have been from ethnic minorities. And that’s just the starting point. 72% are career changers, meaning they aren’t fresh graduates, they come with a wealth of other experience. And 33% don’t have a degree at all. One of my proudest moments was when we placed a young woman from our course into a global investment bank. It was the first time they’d taken someone onto one of their prestigious programmes who didn’t have a degree, and she went on to get an early promotion. These companies are desperate to think outside the box and stop stereotyping, but they also can’t risk compromising on quality and if you take away the standard screening mechanisms that have been used for decades, it’s very hard to make sure you’re getting it right. That’s where we can really help people. Our people are absolute top quality. We just don’t have to define “quality” by whether they could afford to go to university or abandon care duties, as an example. Another example is an incredible woman who’s got four kids and has had a long career break. She didn’t have a degree and didn’t know where to begin in trying to get back into the workforce. Not only is she one of the technically strongest people we’ve had on the course – she’s now got a prestigious placement at a large consultancy that would traditionally hire graduates with tech experience. We are giving people a route into a career that can change the course of their, and their family’s lives. And the confidence and support to flourish in potentially intimidating corporate environments. We’ve just signed a really exciting partnership with The Prince’s Trust to take on students who are part of their charitable communities. From October, we will be running dedicated courses for Prince’s Trust alumni with extra pastoral support and additional training around business skills to ensure they get the best experience and the best chance of success. What is your ultimate goal for _nology? We’ve only been going a couple of years, but we are really proud to say that we’ve added over 600 people into the tech community who probably wouldn’t have been there otherwise. People always talk about sustainability. Our aim is to become “talent neutral” as a business. We currently place over 4,000 people a year into roles in these great sectors. My ultimate aim is to bring as many new people into the field as we are placing senior people. I want to try and make the tech landscape represent the community it serves in fair proportions. It’s not about convincing more girls they must take STEM and move towards the perceived “tech profile”. It’s about widening the tech profile to include all types of people. Although having said that, since COVID and becoming a mum, I basically only ever wear Converse now too.
Amy Golding CEO Opus Talent Solutions
THE CEO INTERVIEW www.ceotodaymagazine.com 18 Meet the New CEO of Waratek Doug Ennis Doug Ennis - an American with Irish heritage who’s now leading Irish cybersecurity company Waratek. Waratek’s security platform enables security to scale with modern software development through automating protection and legacy modernisation. Who is Waratek? We are not your traditional security company as our roots are in development, specifically lowlevel (compiler) development. This provides us with an interesting perspective on code vulnerabilities and we have the ability to visualise them in the code runtime. This enables us to fix code vulnerabilities without impacting the performance of the app, making code changes or creating false positives. What are your first goals as the new CEO of Waratek? Culture and vision are my first focused goals. Culture is commonly used as a buzzword and not often defined. Every company says they have a great culture but is that culture a great fit, moving forward, and changing properly with the growing company. Stepping in as CEO, it was very important to understand the dynamics of the current culture and what has driven the core of the company. It also enabled me to find the areas that could use focus to adjust or strengthen. Internally, we are rolling out our culture values during early Q3 and then will publicly display those values towards the end of September. My second goal revolves around our vision. That vision is to enable security professionals to define the behaviours they need in their organisation’s applications and then leverage our solution for autonomous execution of that behaviour. How is the transition into the new role going? Fantastic! I am a firm believer that we learn something new every day and I can definitely say that I am learning. I am also always up for a challenge and not afraid to fail. These two characteristics help guide me and provide confidence when attempting something new. Our Founder and I have found a common thread and way to work very well together. I believe that this has 1
THE CEO INTERVIEW www.ceotodaymagazine.com 20 assisted in making the transition smooth and pretty seamless. Have you faced any challenges so far and if so, how have you resolved them? Yes, a few challenges have risen up. I had an opportunity earlier this year to hear Michael Dell at SXSW and one of the questions he was asked was what he would tell his younger self. Michael replied: “to be more patient”. In startups, we are moving as fast as humanly possible while wearing the preverbal “many hats”. A small challenge does not really impact that momentum but a larger challenge can completely derail the progression. Thus, Michael’s words remind me to listen, absorb, trust the system and then make wellthought-out decisions. To maintain the momentum does not mean delay but act swiftly with conviction and then move on. What’s your vision for the future of Waratek? In the short term, I want Waratek to pioneer and be the market leader in Security-as-Code. The adoption of DevOps is helping engineering, and while 83% of organisations say that DevOps is or will be used to help speed up deployment, it actually makes security’s job more difficult. There is a focus on “shifting left,” but the answer isn’t moving security earlier in the same process that causes burnout, especially with 85% of organisations reporting a workforce shortage affecting app and system security. Rather than trying to force Security to integrate fully with the DevOps process, Security-as-Code empowers Security teams with the autonomy to work separately in parallel to Development. Through automation, it provides protection in the runtime with zero false positives to address known and unknown vulnerabilities in realtime, with near-zero impact. The long-term problem we are trying to solve is that currently, the DevOps process of correcting vulnerable or flawed code is reactionary, hence the increase in zero-days over the past several years. As a result, you typically have to wait for something bad to happen before you realise there’s a need to act. In the future, Waratek will analyse the applications’ DNA to spot complex vulnerabilities and layer customer data on top of our patented security engine, that understands at an atomic level the makeup of a vulnerability, to make more intelligent recommendations and autonomously apply just in time Security-as-Code mitigations and remediations. What’s your favourite thing about your new role as the CEO? My favourite part of being CEO is witnessing the monumental shift in the passion and vibe of our employees as they actively participate in building on the vision of being the pioneering and dominant leader in Security-asCode. What do you hope your legacy will be? I hope that I can inspire people to do extraordinary, creative and innovative things while delivering on our mission to improve the lives of security teams through automation and DevSecOps principles. “ To maintain the momentum does not mean delay but act swiftly with conviction and then move on. “
22 THE CEO INTERVIEW www.ceotodaymagazine.com On a Mission to Preserve a Transparent Internet Meet Bright Data’s CEOOr Lenchner, who is on a mission to make web data collection the go-to resource for all businesses out there. Or Lenchner CEO of Bright Data
THE CEO INTERVIEW 23
THE CEO INTERVIEW www.ceotodaymagazine.com 24 You have such an interesting story to tell – how did the idea for forming this company that’s focused on collecting publicly available data come about? The company started from what may seem like a simple market need but is actually a very complex one. Back in 2014, we ran a very successful company called Hola, which is still the most popular content unlocking/ VPN service today. Major businesses approached us with a need to openly access web data on a mass scale and increase their competitive edge, which is how we were formed. As you know, the internet is the largest, most extensive database in the world; it is where everything happens in real-time. It was true in 2014, and even more so today, a company that wishes to stay on top of the market must have all the information to make the most strategic decisions. Whether that’s to measure customers’ sentiments and address their immediate needs, decide on the right pricing offers, or develop a new product, you simply cannot do them without public web data – you would get an incomplete picture that may lead you down the wrong path. Public web data allows you to know rather than implement a calculated guess, ensuring that you are advancing in the right direction to win more, whether that’s new business or customers. So then tell us, what exactly is public web data collection or scraping? I will start by saying that the domain is increasingly shifting at an accelerated pace, now more than ever. Web data collection or scraping is simply the accessing of public web data, which is basically data that you can see with your own eyes without the need to log in or sign into a site. Companies that collect this type of web data for their market research or business needs approach vast amounts of data and do so frequently, as much as several times a day. We work with 7 out of the 10 leading e-commerce sites, and I can tell you that they gather public web data sometimes more than 10 times a day. This is especially the case when it comes to their competitors’ pricing data, which basically guides them to frequently change the prices of their products so they can stay on top of this increasingly competitive market. If you had to do this kind of job, you would probably need hundreds or thousands of people sitting and gathering data manually, and that would still take them a very long time. With our automated products, which are data collection products, a job that potentially takes weeks is reduced to mere minutes – this is the beauty of scraping and how advanced it has become. Simply put, without scraping, there would be no open competition, which would mean that all consumers would end up paying more for the same services and products than they do today. “ The last couple of years have been incredibly interesting, and we’ve grown exponentially. To put it in numbers, in addition to partnering with the largest e-commerce sites, we are also working with 2 of the top 5 banks in the US. In addition, we’ve recently reached the 400-employee mark and are still growing rapidly. “ 2
THE CEO INTERVIEW www.ceotodaymagazine.com 25 We did a bit of research and noticed your company is also involved in probono activities – what is the Bright Initiative? The Bright Initiative is our special organisation and programme that is focused on making our company’s technology and yearslong expertise available on a pro bono basis to universities, non-profits, NGOs, global policymakers, charities and more. The COVID-19 pandemic was the catalyst for the realisation that this now extremely active organisation was in urgent need. We made our web data platform available for researchers at the time and found out that the demand was so great that we decided to build a pro bono organisation. Today, The Bright Initiative includes over 500 organisations. Among them, you will find over 170 universities, 96 non-profits, NGOs and public sector bodies – all aimed at using public web data to drive positive change in the world. The organisation is led today by Keren Pakes (a former journalist) and includes 7 full-time team members that provide everything from support to expertise to educational sessions and more. For example, on a monthly basis, we run 6 educational sessions involving top academic institutions or nonprofit organisations. Our partners work to tackle critical needs like combatting climate change or fighting social injustice such as human trafficking. We Sounds like you guys are growing rapidly. Any chance you can throw some numbers at us? Yes, absolutely. The last couple of years have been incredibly interesting, and we’ve grown exponentially. To put it in numbers, in addition to partnering with the largest e-commerce sites, we are also working with 2 of the top 5 banks in the US. In addition, we’ve recently reached the 400-employee mark and are still growing rapidly. In 2021, we announced that we surpassed the US$100 million mark in revenue and acquired 3 new companies. The data domain is a domain like no other these days. I like to say that data is like the new water – it is essential to keeping any kind of business and our market alive. And our most recent numbers are proof to that. What have been the biggest challenges in growing the company? Any company that is growing at such a rapid pace finds it challenging to ensure that all employees keep up with the company rhythm. It takes quite an effort to train such large numbers of employees and manage those new teams. As we are a company that takes pride in anticipating current and future data needs, we move fast and innovate even faster, so keeping this rapid pace as well as recruiting at this pace is a big challenge, one we have had to learn to overcome. are also active participants in and support the UK Government’s National Data Strategy (NDS) by providing the required public web data to assess, for example, data skillsets on a national level or sharing our extensive expertise in the data domain. After all, we’ve been around for 8 years and that is a long time in the data domain. This industry sounds complex – surely there’s regulatory frameworks in place and regulations, right? Well, not really. Besides the regulatory framework that GDPR and CCPA provide to deal with data privacy, which we are very happy about, there is no real framework that guides operators with web data collection. For this reason, we are now involved in several committees and inquiries dealing with AI and web-data collection ethics. As a company, we are self-regulated and take pride in our transparent, compliancedriven procedures and practices. This is unprecedented in our industry, and I encourage all other companies and operators in this space to follow our lead. When you look at this domain from any direction, you quickly find out that a regulation framework actually makes you a better company and most likely a better innovator. After all, customers out there want to know that they are safe in the hands of trustworthy hands… Trusting your data starts with trusting your data provider and that is a commitment every data provider must follow.
Photo: Steve Jurvetson
THE DISRUPTORS 28 The Five Ambassadors: Behaviours of Top Performing Leaders 32 The Secret Reason Elon Musk Pursued Twitter 36 Aviator Nation Founder’s Road to Becoming One of America’s Richest Women
29 THE DISRUPTORS www.ceotodaymagazine.com Behaviours of Top Performing Leaders The Five Ambassadors: How do you build a reputation as a top performer? In the first few years of their careers, many people work hard to prove themselves. That’s understandable because one’s drive to gain influence and move up in the organisation is predicated in large part on the quality of their work. It is also partly due to insecurity. After all, when a person is relatively unknown an outsized effort is often needed to overcome others’ doubts and gain recognition as a credible contributor. As more feedback is received from stakeholders and one’s confidence grows, they shift to improving themselves. The leaders I’ve studied the past 20 years demonstrate that same desire. They evolved into top performers over time by learning to adapt based on conditions. They were willing to have their world view challenged as compelling evidence grew showing alternative, better pathways to helping their organisations achieve positive outcomes. Their ability to adjust to each situation, to ‘read the room’, and to assess the overwhelming flow of data is essential to helping their organisations develop solutions and expertise that benefits society. Note that adapting, compromising, and willingness to have one’s perspective challenged are not signs of weakness or of moral ambiguity…far from it. These are signs of a maturing leader comfortable with and open to ideas from diverse sources. One does not become a top athlete by never adjusting practice routines or competition tactics. They learn from trial and error, from observation of others, from conditions, catalysed by an internal drive to improve. John A Davis
THE DISRUPTORS www.ceotodaymagazine.com 30 Over the past two decades, I have conducted hundreds of interviews with leaders and led workshops with organisations around the world across a wide range of sectors and industries. At the organisational level, there has been a change in the traditional markers of success. Market growth, shareholder wealth, and increased profitability are no longer the only determinants of sustained company prosperity. With today’s formidable challenges, human improvement, stakeholder enrichment, and enhanced societal value creation have become critical business success factors. At the individual level, the interviews revealed characteristics associated with top performance, which were then grouped into meta-themes I call the Five Ambassadors. Rather than being a role or title, the Five Ambassadors are the laudable behaviours of top-performing professionals, which is “a person who consistently exceeds expectations, leads by example, and whose behaviours are admirable and worthy of emulation, thereby representing the very best of society.” Incidentally, a strong ethical and moral compass was a common ingredient across top performers, so it is not called out separately. Logically, one cannot be unethical and immoral and still be considered representative of the very best of society. A person might be a worldclass leader of abhorrent behaviours, but societal antibodies would ultimately reject reprehensible characters to ensure a healthy body politic. Rising to the top of the analysis were people who demonstrated all Five Ambassadors. They distinguished themselves from other high-calibre people because of the breadth of their competence. This does not mean that those who were good at fewer than Five Ambassadors were somehow deficient, or incompetent, or horrible. In fact, applying the Five Ambassadors to many of our most celebrated leaders would reveal that some fall well short of excellence in all five, yet have had notably successful careers. It was the rarer performers who excelled in all Five Ambassadors that offer inspiring lessons. Like top athletes, they worked hard to improve to gain this high level of competence and capability. Encouragingly, their dedicated efforts suggest that anybody has the potential to become a top performer if they practice. The Five Ambassadors Top performers prepared by developing and using routines prior to important professional situations. The repetition of practice strengthened their behaviour muscle and self-confidence which, in turn, carried into their daily work. Of course, things rarely go as planned or scripted when amid an actual challenge or opportunity. But the very act of preparing built an inventory of potential responses to help them navigate conditions as they occurred in real-time. The Five Ambassadors are not a sequence, nor a role where you consciously say, ‘now I am in my curiosity ambassador mindset’. Instead, they occur organically given the specific context, a natural outcome of learning by doing. The following highlights key elements of the Five Ambassadors, including a selection of common mistakes people make and suggested ways to overcome them. Curiosity Ambassador Top performers relish gaining deep knowledge of markets and trends, integrating these evidence-based insights into their work. Mistakes to overcome: • Misinterpreting information or relying on overly narrow sources • Ignoring difficult questions, jumping to conclusions, letting dominant voices drive discussions • Seeking affirmation of your existing perceptions Suggestions for improvement: • Seek out broader information sources, even if they contradict your perspective • Become a detector of ‘weak signals’ (early indicators of In fact, applying the Five Ambassadors to many of our most celebrated leaders would reveal that some fall well short of excellence in all five, yet have had notably successful careers. “ “
emerging trends, risks, opportunities) to balance the stronger signals that are louder but not always better • Test out understanding with others to build a more nuanced and informed point of view Relationship Ambassador Top performers channel their social energy toward understanding other people and what makes them ‘tick’. Mistakes to overcome: • Assuming you are the smartest person in the room • Shutting others down when you disagree with them • Over-relying on measuring everything Suggestions for improvement: • Reach out to respected people to be part of your network who have different experience and expertise • Listen thoughtfully and intentionally • Help people gain sense they are pursuing a special cause that is connected to an important strategic aspiration, not merely a set of numerical targets (as the latter disconnects people from the reason why the work is being done) Imagination Ambassador Top performers have an out-of-thebox mindset and an appreciation for creativity, even if they personally lack trained creative skills. Mistakes to overcome: • Letting limited resources (whether perceived or actual) restrict your ingenuity • Never questioning decision making • Dismissing creative ideas outright Suggestions for improvement: • Push for novel ideas on using existing resources • Seek alternative ideas and multiple pathways to help support and/or build evidence toward a potentially better decision • Resist immediate judgment, have an ‘and’, not an ‘or’ mindset, encourage people to build from new or different ideas before determining next steps Experience Ambassador Top performers are an articulate authority of their own experiences and crave the insights from others. Mistakes to overcome: • Overpromising, particularly on projects with large ambitions • Hiding mistakes and failures • Focusing on pleasing bosses Suggestions for improvement: • Frame a pathway of test & learn milestones that encourages quick, achievable learning insights that build toward a larger outcome • Openly share failures to create learning moments as these signal to others they, too, have permission to do the same • Show all stakeholders how they fit into and benefit from your efforts Brand Ambassador Top performers exude a compelling ability to advocate for their organisation, its people, and its image. Mistakes to overcome: • Relying on slick PowerPoint and detailed data to persuade others • Using overly-complex terminology to sound like an expert • Poorly connecting and communicating your work and that of your team to the company’s strategy Suggestions for improvement: • Use a story-telling approach that uses select data to highlight key narrative points about the potential future benefits of your idea • Simplify language used to open the access of understanding to more people. • Focus on fostering a deep sense of meaning. Once people believe their work matters, measurable performance will follow. Too often today colourful, loud personalities and demagogues grab the headlines. They aren’t top performers. They are simply being performative. In contrast, most top performers prosper because they enable others to succeed and help create a movement of stakeholders that builds positive momentum. Best of all, by practicing the Five Ambassadors almost anyone can rise to the top to represent the best of society, thereby helping their companies become a force for good. About the Author John A Davis is an award-winning academic, business leader and author of Radical Business: How to Transform Your Organization in the Age of Global Crisis published by Emerald. THE DISRUPTORS www.ceotodaymagazine.com 31
Robert Jordan Photo: Wikicommons - Rajasekharan Parameswaran Elon Musk’s offer to purchase Twitter caused investors to pummel Tesla, gouging out billions of dollars in Tesla’s market value. Investors doubted he could run both companies equally well, let alone all of his other holdings. That kind of thinking applied to leaders like Elon is misplaced. Whether or not Elon actually follows through with the purchase of Twitter, it is more important to understand how his leadership style and capabilities favour multiple endeavours simultaneously. The Secret Reason Elon Musk Pursued Twitter
Photo: Steve Jurvetson
The Right Leader, Right Now Elon Musk is emblematic of a leadership style that needs multiple foci at the same time. And if eventually, Elon completes the purchase of Twitter (at present, it’s totally up in the air), he would likely succeed in revamping Twitter, or rather, he would not fail for lack of focus. For what he has set about - an act of re-creation, whether at Twitter or the electrification of cars or putting humans on Mars – he’s hard-wired to succeed. In our book Right Leader Right Time, we dive into four distinct leadership styles: Fixer, Artist, Builder, Strategist (FABS for short). Match the right leader with the right role in the right organisation, and that’s where the magic happens. Every great leader has a dominant leadership style and for Elon, he is this age’s premier Artist Leader and preeminent innovator. The Artist is best described as compelled. Driven to create, they view the world as their canvas or a block of clay to be moulded. And if someone’s already moulded the clay, or drawn on the canvas? No problem. They paint over it. The Artist on your team is likely the renegade – the outsider. It’s easy to look back on an innovative product, design, client pitch, messaging strategy, or technology and think it was obvious. But when the Artist leader is throwing whacky ideas against the wall, they may not be popular, and yet it’s the acts of audacity from the Artist leader that lead to huge progress and exponential leaps. Elon has a reputation of not playing by the rules, and his proposed/onhold takeover of Twitter is not earning universal praise. #LeavingTwitter is now trending and Tesla stock dropped by 20% since the announcement. If you think that fazes Elon, you haven’t paid attention to the guy whose thinking extends to saying he wants to die on Mars, just not on impact. Even large companies are ripe for disruption though, and with many players in the social media landscape competing for your attention, fresh thinking is needed for Twitter — at 217 million users, a fraction of Facebook’s or Instagram’s billions — to survive and thrive into the future. An Artist leader is needed. The Need for Multiple Canvases Critics wonder how Elon could effectively lead what seems like an endless list of companies and initiatives. Isn’t this lack of focus and attention a recipe for failure? Not for an Artist. Musk has, gee, how many things going on…Boring Company. SpaceX. Tesla. Mind control. And tweeting nonstop. For the Artist leader, an ability to paint on multiple canvases in parallel is essential. It’s at the heart of the creative spark and inspiration kick that this type of leader is known for. Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper and 25 other masterpieces while inventing the tank, the parachute, and advancing fields as diverse as anatomy, astronomy, cartography, paleontology and hydrology. So in the tech world it’s not surprising that the mastermind behind Twitter, Jack Dorsey, led Square and Twitter at the same time. Steve Jobs had Apple — and Pixar. Silicon Valley legend TJ Rodgers grew Cypress Semiconductor, while championing solar cells at SunPower. Compare this seemingly divided attention to other leadership styles where distraction would be madness. The Fixer leader, for example, is wired to turn around an organisation or situation in complete chaos or dysfunction. When losses are mounting, employee morale is in the toilet, or some other crisis looms, laser focus is needed on the end goal. Distraction would be deadly. The Builder leader is wired for market share and taking an organisation, product or service to a dominant position. All efforts are directed at processes, systems and people to accomplish a singular goal. Fixers and Builders are simply too linear to satisfy the Artist’s energies. Fixer or Builder wiring simply is not designed for the kind of distraction Elon lives for. Conversely, attempt to box in the Artist leader into just one thing? It’s impossible — and a recipe for failure. If Elon both owned Twitter and it could remain a public company, investors might be wondering if they should bet against him, saying he’s just too distracted. Seeing Elon’s wiring as Artist leader, that would be a bad bet in the short term. His compulsion moves him to do exactly what he is doing. As the Zen saying goes, how you do anything is how you do everything. Your Highest and Best Use In our work matching organisations with our RED Team of top CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and other C-Suite executives at InterimExecs, we have seen outsized success from leaders who focus on what is for their highest and best use and reject everything else. Easy to say, hard to do. The vast majority of executives who have approached us have not been a fit for our team. The pattern is clear: they dilute their efforts and take too many leadership role detours in the course of their careers. Too many leaders attempt to be all things to all people, saying yes to any situation, even those in which they are not best applied. THE DISRUPTORS
Elon can certainly operate in Fixer, Builder, and Strategist modes, but they are not his highest and best use. And he knows it. When asked about running the company day-to-day during a trial in 2021 to defend his decision to combine Tesla and Solar City, Elon responded: “I rather hate it and I would much prefer to spend my time on design and engineering, which is what intrinsically I like doing.” There was no question what Musk hated, and what he knew of his own nature — what he was drawn to. He knew himself. If you are wired as an Artist leader, you don’t need anyone to tell you this. Heck, you couldn’t stop even if you wanted to. Mozart said he wrote music the way cows pissed. It just came out. If Elon buys Twitter, given his Artist wiring, no doubt we can expect in the short term a burst of energy like matter and antimatter colliding — the explosive energy will be visible across theMilkyWay. For employees of Twitter wondering how Elon will change the company, it is both good and bad news. The bad news is that he won’t hesitate to cut projects and people he deems misdirected. The good news is that for the go-forward team, things are going to be more exciting than they’ve ever been. But in the medium term, trouble shows up for the Artist if complementary style leadership modes and people do not come into trusting partnership. That’s the difference between, for example, Tesla and SpaceX a few years ago. Tesla had many visible hiccups. SpaceX, despite many rockets blowing up early on — not as much drama. Why? Because at SpaceX Elon had Gwynne Shotwell as his trusted partner, a Builder-Strategist par excellence in the role of president. At Tesla in its first big growth spurt? Not so much of anyone around Elon like Gwynne. And the result was lots of staff changes and bumps in the road. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Robert Jordan created Online Access, the first Internet-coverage magazine worldwide, landing on Inc’s 500 fastest-growing company list. After the sale of the magazine, he launched InterimExecs RED Team (Rapid Executive Deployment), matching rock star leadership with organisations, owners and investors seeking to achieve extraordinary results. Jordan is coauthor of Right Leader Right Time: Discover Your Leadership Style for a Winning Career and Company (G&DMedia, March 29, 2022), author of How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America, and publishing partner for Start With No, Jim Camp’s bestseller on negotiation. A lifelong Chicagoan, husband & father, he shares an Instagramaccount with his dog Norman @Norman.clature. The issue at Twitter will be free speech versus safety, and on that vital issue, let’s hope Elon finds his next Gwynne. Without a comparable Gwynne, a Strategist leader to match Elon’s Artist, big troubles are coming for all of us if the world’s digital town hall falls into disarray. At a minimum, Elon’s first face-off would be with the European Union, which is not going to approve loosening the controls Twitter’s team has elaborately put in place over the past ten years. WhyWould Elon Buying Twitter? The big question here is why ElonMusk would buy Twitter? Let me share my thoughts based on my vast experience of having met him once — a 60-second conversation where I asked him how he landed a $1.7B NASA contract after he blew up four rockets on the launch pad? His wonderfully inarticulate answer matched an equally delightful speech at the Economic Club of Chicago. Elon loves first principles. Let’s do the math on his lifespan principles: What we already know: • Number of years Elon has taken to grow SpaceX: 20 (so far) • Number of years Elon has taken to grow Tesla: 19 (so far) • What Elon holds dear, he holds long. No giving up. What the future holds: 1. Elon’s prediction for the first crewed flight to Mars: 2029 2. My predictions, starting with: The year when Elon goes to Mars: 2039 (in time for his 70th birthday. People think he’s mercurial, but he’s not. He’s Marsupial.) 3. The first thing Elon will do when he lands on Mars: tweet. 4. His first tweet from Mars: NDOI (Not. Dead. On. Impact.) Conclusion Thinking like William Randolph Hearst, Elon knows he needs to control the media in order to control the conversation, even from 33.9 million miles out. When you already have 85 million followers, Earth is not enough. If he could own and hold Twitter for the next 17 years (granted, extremely unlikely), never mind world domination, it’ll be solar system domination. And the most momentous, most awaited tweet in history. THE DISRUPTORS THE DISRUPTORS
Katina Male Photo: Wikicommons - Rajasekharan Parameswaran Aviator Nation Founder’s Road to Becoming One of America’s Richest Women At CEO Today, we love a female entrepreneur success story. This month, we tell you all about SoCal surfer Paige Mycoskie and her road to becoming one of America’s richest self-made women through her uber-popular clothing brand Aviator Nation.