CEO Today - November 2022

November 2022

@ceotodaymag @ceotodaymag CEO Today Magazine /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

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EDITOR’S NOTE STAY CONNECTED! Follow us on: EDITOR’S NOTE UN I V E R S A L ME D I A Katina Male Editor All of this and so much more - I hope you enjoy the content in CEO Today’s November 2022 edition! 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 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. by-sa/3.0/legalcode by-sa/2.0/legalcode by-sa/4.0/legalcode Hello and welcome to the November 2022 edition of CEO Today! As we rapidly approach the end of 2022, I present you CEO Today’s November collection of inspiration from some of the world’s most successful leaders, as well as our monthly dose of travel & lifestyle content. Here are some of our favourite stories from this month’s issue: Amilla Maldives Where Luxury & Sustainability Go Hand in Hand 12. 26. 54. 22. 4 Tech CEOs Building Iconic Brands Leadership Lessons Learned from Churchill Sir Bob Reid & His Thoughts on Leadership & the Global Economy 5

CONTENTS. November 2022

THE CEO INTERVIEW 12. Sir Bob Reid & His Thoughts on Leadership & the Global Economy 16. The Reality of Being a Female Company Owner 10. 20. THE DISRUPTORS 22. 4 Tech CEOs Building Iconic Brands 26. Leadership Lessons Learned from Churchill 30. VISION & STRATEGY 32. How to Move from Imposter Syndrome to Authenticity 36. Why CFOs Should Keep it Green 40. 6 Must-Reads for International Leadership Week 48. Invigorating Workspaces: 5 Ways to Improve Your Office 52. TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE 54. Amilla Maldives Where Luxury & Sustainability Go Hand in Hand 36. 54. 26. 12.

8 MONTHLY ROUND - UP NEWS Google & Microsoft Struggle Due to Slow Economy The slowing economy has taken a toll on 2 of the Big 4 Tech giants, their July-to-September earnings have shown. Alphabet, Google’s holding company and Microsoft have seen a sharp drop in profits over the threemonth period. Alphabet announced a sale increase of just 6%, to $69bn – marking the company’s weakest quarterly growth in nearly 10 years apart from the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, Microsoft said demand for its computers and other technology had weakened. Its sales saw an increase of 11% to $50.1bn – the tech giant’s slowest revenue growth in five years. Big tech firms saw their sales rise in the pandemic as locked-down customers and workers came to rely more on the technology they make. However, the sector’s future is not looking bright in the current environment. KanyeWest To Buy RightWing Platform Parler Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, has agreed to purchase Parler - a selfstyled “uncancellable” social media platform. This comes after his Instagram and Twitter accounts were banned last week for the anti-Semitic messages he posted on the platforms. Parler is known as a free-speech platform, alternative to mainstream social media channels. Its users are predominantly US conservatives. The CEO of the company George Farmer has said that Ye “will never have to fear being removed from social media again”. The Stories Everyone’s been Talking about Photo: Wikicommons - David Shankbone

MONTHLY ROUND - UP The press release which announced the deal stated that: “Under the terms of their agreement in principle, the parties intend to enter into a definitive purchase agreement and expect to close during the fourth quarter of 2022.” It also said that the deal will include “ongoing technical support” from Parler. Beyond Meat Executive Leaves Company Over Biting Incident BeyondMeat Chief OperatingOfficer Douglas Ramsey, whowas accused of biting a man’s nose, is leaving the company. The US vegan company, know for its meat substitutes, has suspended Ramsey indefinitely. He was arrested in September for reportedly biting a man’s nose after a football game in Arkansas. The company has said that his last day was 14 October. Beyond Meat is facing a difficult time at the moment due to faltering demand for vegan “meat”. It’s also announced that it’s getting rid of 200 staff members, or around 20% of its workforce. “We believe our decision to reduce personnel and expenses throughout the company, including our leadership group, reflects an appropriate right-sizing of our organization given current economic conditions,” commented Beyond Meat boss Ethan Brown. “We remain confident in our ability to deliver on the long-term growth and impact expected from our global brand.” 9


12 Sir Bob Reid & His Thoughts on Leadership & the Global Economy OneofBritain’smostrespectedinternational business leaders, Sir Bob Reid has a history of steering disparate large organisations through challenging times by drawing on universal principles about people, power, and profit that he had absorbed in his youth and expatriate years. Sir Bob is also the author of “No Condition is Permanent Risk, Adventure and Return: The Business of Life” which chronicles his earlyyearsandhiscareer, includingthemany challenges he faced as a leader in unstable political and economic environments. He sat down with us recently to give his thoughts on everything from leadership and empowering employees, to steering organisations through a predicted recession. THE CEO INTERVIEW

13 13 “It’s a time to revisit and reassess the fundamentals of your business.”

THE CEO INTERVIEW 14 You’ve had a distinguished career across a wide range of industries including serving as the former Chairman of Shell UK, British Rail and even Deputy Governor of the Bank of Scotland. Given your experience what do you consider makes a business leader great? Self-belief certainly. Not necessarily over-confidence, but a fervent desire to achieve a long-term goal. This selfbelief results in a total commitment. Followed closely by the ability to identify the people critical to the success of the goal, endeavour if you will. This could be people with particular knowledge… lawyers, financiers etc. Let me be clear, identifying means firstly really knowing what the business needs. Great business leaders always pick the right people, not necessarily the brightest, often the skill is gauging how a human being will fit into the narrative and work within the team. Great leaders are always natural communicators. They are ready to engage with people at any time, actively projecting the vision and seeking their input. Leaders are always seeking to learn from the response of others so they can improve the narrative for everyone. This is always an ongoing process, never stops. Remember a leader is only made great by the situation they find themselves in. Great leaders will seize the opportunity of the situation as it arises. Leadership and management styles are constantly evolving but are there principles behind them that you feel are timeless? Firstly, honesty and openness. Successful leaders don’t promise progress hopefully. Their forecasts and predictions of successful leaders are invariably accurate. Transparency focuses people on the problem quicker resulting in better outcomes. When we built the Channel Tunnel, we had a Program Director who always told it as it was and was rarely wrong. This allowed us to react quicker to situations as a team. The ability to communicate at all levels is timeless, I learnt early on from observing senior Shell executives and their ability to talk and engage with all members of an organisation. I also think visibility is important; I don’t mean at social events e.g. horse racing, I mean at the place of work. People, employees, want to see their leaders where the work is being done. Which CEOs today do you feel are doing an exceptional job leading their companies? Without an intimate association in the work area, it is impossible to comment. But I do have examples from my own experience. When I was MD of Shell UK, my partner from Esso was Archie Forster. When Archie was leading Esso, Shell and Esso made a lot of important progress largely because we didn’t argue. Archie worked hard to maintain a strong relationship with Shell. From Esso’s perspective, they were able to greatly benefit from Shell’s strength in projects. The speed at which we, Shell and Esso, were able to progress together became an advantage because it was effective. For Archie it wasn’t a personal narrative, it was a joint narrative that everyone could benefit from. How has the power dynamic in the modern boardroom changed? What are your thoughts regarding the “rise of the CFO” for example? The Boardroom dynamic is the Board’s operation. Members bring their own experience, and that experience is part of the Board’s momentum. The Chairperson then melds their contribution to producing an aggressive achieving company. I think in the past, because often organisations were owned by a small number of families (Shell was a good example), boards tended to be made up of family members who were there to observe. This has changed, board members are invited to join a board for their input. Board members are expected to analyse and comment from an unfamiliar perspective. As AN INTERVIEW WITH BOB REID

THE CEO INTERVIEW 15 a result of this increased level of inquisitiveness from the members of the board, the need for an effective commercial CFO has become an imperative. The CFO today must be analytical and commercial as well as tracking the financials. Do you agree with the aphorism that “people are your greatest asset”? I think I’d prefer to say, “people are the most important source of the organisation’s strength”. Getting the people in an organisation wrong can result in a complete mess. So as a leader, it is absolute imperative you understand the core competencies required by the organisation to achieve its goals. Then to put in place a process to not only find and hire people to resource these competencies but also to continue to improve them through practice and ongoing education (learning). When we setup up the Management Charter Initiative (MCI) in the UK, our purpose was to support the development of competencies within business through continual improvement programs. This was proactively adopted by businesses and has become remarkably successful. Remembering that competency has a theoretical basis, but equally importantly it has a practical philosophy. You have to continually practice it to get better at it. I have to say… much like golf. But that is another story altogether. How does a CEO go about empowering employees to achieve business success? Putting them in a situation, the right situation, and empowering them to act. It is the job of the leader to watch them go through this process and to observe their leadership qualities. Simply ask yourself as a leader: Does this person have the facility to get involved and make things happen? A person with leadership potential will pick up the challenge. Part of empowering is trust; a leader has to trust a person to go off and act. It is a combination of the supervisor and the person being supervised. As a good leader becomes more confident you got more used to taking risks. Once you have this you have something to build on Companies are rushing to embrace digitalisation. Do you have any concerns about this, especially in terms of employee relations and job satisfaction? I think it is pretty well accepted that we are really going through the next phase of industrialisation. You can see the abandoning of certain jobs and the creation of others. We are moving into an era where roles that do not add “cerebral value” will become redundant. However, digitalisation, like all new ideas, will take time to reach its potential. Patience and perseverance are the keys to success in this environment. Encouraging individuals to move forward, to embrace change, and take on new challenges is a critical component of modern leadership skills. Leaders must practice the art of balancing “speed of change” with keeping the organisation on track. We have covered aspects of this leadership requirement above, so this remains firmly in the CEO’s court! The global economy is in a slump and UK PLC is in tumultuous waters. What advice would you give to a CEO trying to steer their business through all the uncertainty we’re experiencing? It’s a time to revisit and reassess the fundamentals of your business. ‘Slump’ implies that market movements, shifts in industry structure etc could be significant and swift. Business leaders should be driving the thinking of the potential dangers, and the opportunities, of the next 24 months. I’d suggest that strategic development process must first be a basic analysis of what you have and what you can get to add to that, strategy development must always be realistic and near to achievement. Leaders must continually remind themselves of what is happening around them, to other businesses as well as their own. Business never stays the same, you need to be able to read the environment. Always be asking yourself ’why is it like this?’. Sometimes it can be solely the entry of an individual with a different drive. Observe, and read the signs. Who is making money, and who is going out of business. This is a crucial background to understanding your own business. For example, in the oil business, someone all of a sudden finds a new source, and this creates a new flow of business you need to understand this. Shell was renowned for its scenario planning discipline, in essence, this was the art of “staying in the question” long enough to draw out the insights for navigating the business through a period of major uncertainty.

16 THE CEO INTERVIEW The Reality of Being a Female Company Owner Valentia McVey President and Founder, FatCat Studios FatCat Studios, Inc. 410.534.8700

17 THE CEO INTERVIEW 17 “No one knows you better than you know yourself. You know what you are truly capable of, so don’t let someone else define you.”

THE CEO INTERVIEW 18 Tell us the story of FatCat Studios. I did a lot of job-hopping after graduating from UMBC with a Bachelor’s in Design because I have a natural desire to work on a variety of projects. As I received calls from every company I left requesting that I do freelance work for them, the idea of FatCat began to blossom. These smaller projects were ‘fine,’ but then I received a call from Network Publications about designing their magazine. This was no ‘small project.’ Suddenly, the dream of FatCat Studios became much more real. I was hired to design Physicians Practice Digest, a bi-monthly, 64page magazine that housed a centre 4-page state-specific section showing available local CE credit offerings for doctors. The goal of the Digest was to be published in each of the 52 states. When I left three years later, the publication was in 22 states. I went from being a freelancer working from the basement of my home (with work hours primarily 6 pm to midnight) to being a business owner with an employee (still in the basement, working morning and day hours). As the business grew, it outgrew the basement, and I found myself a business owner renting office space with a staff of 6 (in FatCat’s heyday) – all within a decade. Now my schedule was an elongated version of 9 to 5, with clients ranging the spectrum of individual start-ups to one-offs, nonprofits to multi-million-dollar corporations. That is still the case today. What are the challenges of being a female company owner? I’ve been fortunate to not encounter gender bias in this business. Perhaps the biggest challenge has been staffing issues. I have a quieter form of leadership and believe you don’t have to be the loudest person in the room to be heard. Sometimes employees mistake this for weakness and when they do, most times, our paths forward will separate. Or perhaps they simply don’t have the work ethic required to make a small business successful. What would you say to other women who are considering starting their own company? I simply say: “Do it! Don’t sell yourself short.” Even if you’re more ‘organic’ as I am, and maybe don’t adhere to the ‘5-year-plan’ that seems necessary to so many. If you have a desire, a passion to be your own boss and believe you can make it happen, then make the leap. No one knows you better than you know yourself. You know what you are truly capable of, so don’t let someone else define you. What’s the best and worst business advice anyone’s ever given you? The best advice I’ve ever been given was from a great friend and mentor who said to me, “No one can sell your business like you can.” It’s so true! While I have hired salespeople in the past, part of the appeal of FatCat is that we are smaller and clients get to work directly with me. I consider us the ‘purrfect’ fit for most, larger than the freelancer in the basement (which you know I have the utmost respect for given my start) yet smaller than the agency in the high-rise (which comes with layers of people and processes). I believe in making myself available to my clients – it’s part of what I so enjoy about being in this business – and owning my own business. What would you like your legacy to be? I would want people to remember me as an easy-going, fun-loving, truly creative person. I hope my staff remembers me as an inspiring boss with an uncanny knack for keeping the office running during the most difficult times while keeping our stress level to a minimum. My sincere desire is that FatCat leaves a lasting legacy as a great design shop owned and operated by an amazing set of creative women who appreciated offering our clients ‘design without the drama.’ AN INTERVIEW WITH VALENTIA MCVEY

19 “If you have a desire, a passion to be your own boss and believe you can make it happen, then make the leap.”

Photo: Wikicommons - Yousef Karsh & BiblioArchives


When it comes to building iconic brands, few do it better than tech CEOs. From Bill Gates and Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos, these leaders have changed the way we live and work, and in doing so, they’ve built some of the most recognisable brands known to man. With that said, building a successful brand (especially in the tech industry) is no mean feat. To stand out in a crowded marketplace, companies need to have a clear vision, strong values, and of course, a great product. To up the ante even further, CEOs need to find a way to articulate these aspects in a way that resonates with consumers, which isn’t always easy to do in such a fast-paced and ever-changing industry. In this article, we are going to take a look at four tech CEOs who are currently building iconic brands from the ground up. Each has its unique approach to branding, but they all have one thing in common: they’re making a huge impact. Let’s jump into it. Tech CEOs Building Iconic Brands THE DISRUPTORS 4


THE DISRUPTORS Yoav Vilner –Walnut Kicking off our list we have Yoav Vilner, CEO of Walnut, an award-winning startup that has designed a revolutionary “sales experience platform” specifically intended to help SaaS companies extract maximum value from product demonstrations, and in fact, sparked an entire landscape to emerge afterward. According to TechCrunch, at the tail end of 2021, the company grew by a staggering 700% (in annual recurring revenue), which helped the company land a further $35m in funding from a Series B financing round. In recent months, Vilner has been successful in his mission to establish the Walnut brand across social media, particularly LinkedIn, which is where he launched the company’s now-viral #WeAreProspects movement. The campaign highlights the glaring inefficiencies in the B2B sales customer journeys, such as the fact that salespeople are often so focused on closing deals that they forget the most important part of the equation: the prospect. By humanising the prospect and making them the focus of the brand, Walnut is quickly gaining a reputation for being customer-centric, which is music to the ears of any prospective buyer. Of course, it helps that they have got an excellent product to back this up with. When asked about his approach to branding in a recent interview, Vilner had this to say: “It’s like a puzzle with a million pieces. It’s not just a logo, it’s not a blog post, it’s not just the way you launch your product, and it’s not the way you answer your customers. It’s pretty much everything all at once, so it takes a lot of time to build out. It takes a lot of time to experiment, and you should do it from day one because it’s going to take a while.” By the looks of things, Yoav’s puzzle is well on its way to being solved. Melanie Perkins – Canva Next, we have someone youmay have most likely already heard of, Melanie Perkins, CEO of Canva. Canva is a popular online design platform that makes it easy for anyone to create beautiful visuals for their business or personal brand, regardless of their design experience. Founded in 2012, Canva has seen phenomenal growth under Melanie’s leadership, with the company now boasting over 75 million users across 190 countries. And when you consider that Canva is squaring up against the likes of Adobe and Microsoft in the design space, it’s safe to say that Melanie is doing something right. Perkins is a firm believer in the power of branding, and she has built Canva into a company that is synonymous with beautiful design. From its stunning website to its sleek and user-friendly app, everything about Canva screams style and sophistication. With that said, she clearly understands the importance of having a killer product to back up the brand, and that’s exactly what Canva has. “Our key focus has always been on building a product that solves a real problem. That’s by far been the biggest driver of our growth. Once someone has used Canva, they help to spread the word. We have had an incredible number of tweets and blog posts from people who say how much they enjoy using Canva, which is very encouraging,” said Perkins in a recent interview.

THE DISRUPTORS ZebEvans–ClickUp Next on our list is Zeb Evans, CEO of ClickUp. ClickUp is a project management platform that helps teams increase their productivity by allowing them to organise and collaborate on projects in one central place. Founded in 2017, the company has seen impressive growth in recent years with Evans at the helm. It’s safe to say that ClickUp’s branding has been instrumental to its success, with its “One app to replace them all” tagline perfectly sums up the company’s unique selling proposition. The core message is that ClickUp can do everything that other project management tools on the market can do, but better. ClickUp’s clean, sleek, and modern aesthetic is also a key differentiator, as it helps the platform stand out in what is a very crowded marketplace, one that is often associated with being complex and cluttered. The company’s branding strategy has been so successful that it has managed to attract some big-name customers, including the likes of IBM, Samsung, and It’s safe to say that ClickUp is well on its way to becoming a household name. Amit Bendov – Gong Last but not least, we have Amit Bendov, CEO of Gong. Gong is a hugely successful tech company that has developed a groundbreaking revenue intelligence platform that helps sales teams close more deals by providing them with insights gleaned from customer interactions. After being named one of the top start-ups in the world by LinkedIn for the second year running, it’s clear that Gong is a company on the rise – and much of this can be attributed to Amit’s vision for the brand. Under Amit’s leadership, Gong has adopted a bold and disruptive approach, taking the sales enablement industry by storm. In just a few short years, the company has quickly grown to rival many of the long-established players in the space by helping its customers win more deals and increase revenues. With an excellent product, a strong branding strategy, and a passionate and visionary CEO at the helm, it’s no wonder Gong is going from strength to strength, and it would be no surprise to see the company dominate its industry in the years to come. Final thoughts There you have it, four tech CEOs who are successfully building iconic brands. What sets them apart is their commitment to customer centricity, their focus on innovation, and their vision for the future. In a rapidly changing and increasingly competitive marketplace, these are the qualities that any company, in any industry, needs to succeed.

Photo: Wikicommons - National Portrait Gallery, London “For myself, I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else.”

Jonathan Sharp, Director, Britannic Technologies Business leaders today can learn a lot fromWinston Churchill and after a few turbulent years with the global pandemic and a looming recession we need to take heed from Churchill’s qualities and lessons. Churchill was and still is known to this day as an excellent leader, he lifted a nation from its darkest hours during the SecondWorldWar with his motivating and inspiring speeches. He had a concise vision that he communicated with clarity and authenticity, gaining the trust and respect from people around the world that Britain would be victorious. He wasn’t a natural-born leader, he worked hard at overcoming his speech impediment, and was a self-taught man who didn’t go to university. It was his sheer determination, dedication, enthusiasm, and his ability to lead that shone through and led to Britain’s victory in the SecondWorldWar. Leadership Lessons Learned from Churchill THE DISRUPTORS

A Clear Vision Churchill’s vision was to win the war which he communicated to the nation with clear, concise powerful speeches ensuring that everyone bought into it. As a leader, you need to articulate your vision clearly and simply to ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows what they are working towards. Everyone Needs a Plan Every leader needs a plan or strategy with objectives and/or KPIs to ensure people are achieving and the company is heading towards its goals. A plan also helps to identify potential obstacles in the way and must be kept fluid so when circumstances change, it can be easily adapted. We have certainly learnt this over the last three years. The working world has probably changed forever, and most employees want to do hybrid work whether that’s at home and/or in the office. Companies need to review their communications technology strategy to incorporate these needs to attract and retain top talent. Ensuring they provide the latest unified communications solutions to connect people whether they are working remotely or in the office enabling them to have video conference calls, collaborate on documents and send instant messages with colleagues, customers, and suppliers alike. “Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning,” Churchill Clear Communication for Success Churchill was an exceptional communicator and his speeches to this day are still as inspirational as they were in the 1940s. He used words as weapons and delivered powerful speeches that won him the respect and trust of the nation. He always remained honest and didn’t cover up horrendous issues but faced them head-on using defiant and heroic language. A good leader must communicate clearly and simply to excite and motivate people. By being transparent you will gain the trust and respect from your employees. As the working world has changed companies have had to adjust by implementing hybrid working and evaluating the product and services they offer. As a result, companies’ cultures have changed, and employees need to be aware of what the culture is and how they fit in. Glass is Half Full Leaders must be positive and optimistc even in times of despair. By remaining positive they will reap better outcomes from their staff and customers. Churchill was known for his exuberance and optimism even in the darkest of times. “For myself, I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else,” Churchill Stand Out from the Crowd Churchill was innovative in his approach to how the war was managed and led. Having watched the failures of others he clearly understood that a new leadership dynamic was required. Competition is fiercer than it has ever been therefore making it more important to differentiate yourself in the market. By deploying innovative AI and automation solutions you can streamline existing processes or discover new ones. Technology is smarter than ever so utilise virtual assistants, CRM solutions, self-service, and automation to improve. “Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation it is a corpse,” Churchill THE DISRUPTORS

A Leap of Faith Leaders need to take risks, albeit calculated risks. “No reallyworthwhile achievement would be possible if everyone adhered to safety first all the time,” Churchill Churchill always took risks and made bold decisions showing courage that you keep going when the going gets tough. “If you’re going through hell, keep going. Never, never give up,” Churchill In today’s fast world you must have the courage to make decisions fast, sometimes they will be right but sometimes they won’t be. You need the courage to make calculated decisions and take calculated risks quickly evaluating the probability of success. The key here is to not be scared to fail, if we do not fail then we will never learn but Churchill explains it better: “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts,” Churchill ReputationMatters Churchill was respected by his peers and the nation for his authenticity, transparency, and experience. People trusted him and this made it possible for him to convince the nation that Britain could win the war and we did. Business leaders need to be experienced, honest and respected for staff and customers to trust and believe in their vision and strategy. Look Back, Look Forward For businesses to be a success they must evolve and not stand still, the world and customers change, and we need to change with them. Today companies cannot rest on their laurels, or they will be taken down by the competition. The last few years have taught us that to move forward we have to evolve and to do this we need to look back and what has worked and what hasn’t, and where to make improvements. Good insight and analysis help to make informed decisions, but it is vital to get the whole picture by integrating all your sources of data. Change management is vital to identify where you can reduce costs, improve processes to see where humans and technology can work in harmony and deliver results. “The longer you can look back the further you can look forward,” Churchill Follow Through Leaders must follow through; actions speak louder than words and your staff and customers need to see you making a difference and not just giving a great presentation. When they see this, you will be respected and trusted more, people need to see what results and what you deliver. Data is the lifeblood of most businesses, and it should be utilised to make intelligent business decisions. It will not only improve services but also increase your bottom line to create actionable insights and measure their impact. “I never worry about action but only inaction,” Churchill THE DISRUPTORS


We hear from Jill Bausch on her tactics to deal with imposter syndrome. How to Move from Imposter Syndrome to Authenticity

Everyone who recognises their weaknesses while working on them needs to imagine what will work. Do a risk analysis, then focus on the win. “ “

As a talent management specialist, a head-hunter for international organisations, and an executive coach, I come across countless exceptionally senior and highly skilled, accomplished people who suffer with imposter syndrome or the fear they’ll be “found out.” People who doubt their abilities to the point they sometimes feel they don’t deserve to have the senior role they have, suffer from “imposter syndrome.” A Harvard business review survey canvased Fortune 500 CEOs and found that 95%of themhad suffered at times from imposter syndrome.¹ This plague disproportionately affects high-achieving people, many of whom find it difficult to accept their accomplishments, focusing more on what they don’t know. This troubling syndrome affects women more than men. So how can we show ourselves authentically if many of us are also doubting ourselves? Are you thinking, ‘Can I let other people know the real me?’ Yes, you can, and you must if you have the ambition to be an inspiring leader. Goffee and Jones² found that the best leaders were those that authentically showed their strengths and discussed their weaker areas with others ranked higher in leadership than those that didn’t show their authentic selves. We want leaders that show they are like us, fallible but willing to learn. So how can you do this and still keep professional boundaries? First, realise that self-doubt is an inherently natural quality that only narcissists and sociopaths don’t experience. Most of us have elements of confidence and areas of doubt simultaneously and we can use that self-awareness wisely to hone our skills as leaders. Here’s my four-point, fool-proof guide to staying authentically at the top of your leadership game, while also defining points you intend to improve upon: 1. Remember the Facts Notice when you read about imposter syndrome and self-doubt, it means that people may feel or think they don’t deserve the job, they may believe they don’t deserve the job but that is not a fact. They didn’t just walk in and take over; they were selected by people specifically charged to hire the best-qualified candidates for those positions. These people are not where they are by mistake or because of some accident, yet many continue to doubt themselves. Fight against being one of them by remembering the facts. 2. Manage the Expectations Women—even the very talented, highly-experienced women I have the privilege of working with—seem to have a significant lack of success expectations and increased insecurity in dealing with the success they do achieve. The figures showing far more women suffer from imposter syndrome bear this out. Men are more likely to expect success, as if bred for it. (Which brings a whole different set of mental health challenges for men not suffered by women when they don’t succeed, but that is for another article). I wonder if, somehow, men naturally understand this through societal upbringing, but women somehow find this more difficult through the norms and roles that society teaches them. Everyone who recognises their weaknesses while working on them needs to imagine what will work. Do a risk analysis, then focus on the win. 3. Mirror Role Models If you don’t feel confident, imagine a role model, someone you admire. Roleplay in your head how they would handle a challenging situation while showing authentic leadership. How would they hold themselves, look, and speak? How would their demeanour come across? Mirror them. I’m often asked if it’s possible to teach confidence. Yes, if you mirror it enough, it becomes a habit. While this habit develops, you’re being your authentic self, imaging the outcome you seek and showing inspiring leadership others will want to follow, and refusing imposter syndrome symptoms. THE DISRUPTORS vision & strategy 1 Harvard Business Review 2008 2 (London Business School 2014)

4. Build Your Toolbox: My Not-ToDo-List As a CEO I wanted to improve my coaching and mentoring skills, so I sent myself off to get an Executive Coaching qualification. During those courses, we discussed things that keep people back from the success they’re capable of achieving. Overwork, unrealistic expectations, and other stresses can cause people to feed into imposter syndrome. How do we deal with those stresses? My favourite tool is my NOT-To-Do-List. Say no to tasks that aren’t vital to do today. Use your practiced messaging in a way that leaves you feeling comfortable. For the time-consuming asks from others, I listen carefully, but sometimes out comes my practised mantra, “I’d like to help you with that, but I can’t fit it in just now.” At some point in my career, I started asking myself, why aren’t we spending time discussing what we shouldn’t do or don’t need to do? Or, even, what we don’t need to do now? Now, I have a not-to do-list and it astonishes me how many things on the To-Do list can shift on to the NOT-To-Do list for today, this week or forever, lightening my load considerably. Prioritise brutally and you’re getting more authentic instantly while doing only what you need and want to do. People are so pressured by their To-Do lists that they often don’t properly consider priorities. Having skewed priorities is an efficient way to become professionally insecure or burnt out and lower the quality of your output on the work and home fronts. Finally, having sifted through and shortened the To-Do list, relentlessly attack it, and feel confident in having achieved those crucial tasks! vision & strategy About the Author: Jill Bausch is the former CEO of Futures Group Europe, a coach, philanthropic strategist, facilitator, social impact advisor and author of Why Brave Women Win.

Sustainability initiatives were once only talked of by green-fingered marketing executives, highlighting the unique selling points of a brand or product for the primary benefit of a boost in customer perception. This was swiftly followed by innovation teams getting to grips with environmental sustainability goals and the everevolving acronyms attached. Why CFOs Should Keep it Green JasonWang, CFO of H&H Group

Fast forward to 2022 and sustainability is now a major corporate decisionmaking driver, fuelling growth through investments, innovation and acquisitions. International governments are responding to the urgency of our climate challenge, seen through global collaboration, including setting out climate action targets in the Paris Agreement. What was previously deemed a ‘nice to have’ in the eyes of CFOs and finance teams is now an integral part of our role in future-proofing capital and aiding risk management solutions, whilst positively impacting investor perceptions. We’re at the convergence of two core sectors, sustainability and finance teams, that need to positively co-exist for the benefit of the planet, along with future growth as businesses. Whilst this relationship will take time to propagate, for large corporates, adopting and disclosing their sustainable practices is an imperative. We are witnessing flourishing climate-related disclosure regulations worldwide. The UK’s largest traded and private companies must disclose climate-related financial information through the Task Force on ClimateRelated Financial Disclosures (TCFD) for financial years starting on or after April 2022. In March and April 2022, three major sustainability disclosure proposals were released: the American financial watchdog, the SEC, proposed a new rule that would require public companies to provide detailed reporting of their climate-related risks, emissions, and net-zero transition plans; in Europe, EFRAG released guidance on a range of sustainabilityrelated disclosure requirements, including the European Sustainability Reporting Standards; additionally, the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), which was introduced with the sole purpose to streamline ESG disclosures on a global scale, disclosed its General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information and Climaterelated Disclosures drafts. We will not analyse here how those requirements converge or diverge but will simply note that the TCFD framework forms a shared input to those requirements and proposals. However, a 2021 report from the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) identified that only 18% of EU businesses are providing clear disclosure of their resilience to different climate scenarios. Time is up for laggards who aren’t following the sustainability status quo. At H&H Group, sustainability is at the cornerstone of our Group decisions and operations. We know we can achieve profitable business growth while at the same time looking after our people, driving strong and transparent governance and reducing our footprint on the planet to ultimately make a positive impact on society. It’s our bread and butter and we’re now putting our ethos into action and seeing the success play out: in 2022, we drew down a new loan facility which is a sustainability-linked facility with three ESG performance targets. In the new bank syndicate formed after this new loan facility draw-down, quite a few international banks which are keen to participate in ESG-related financing became our cornerstone lenders. We have also attracted more ESG-focused investment funds to be our institutional shareholders. Within the Group, we have established an ESG Committee with the purpose to better position our Group for the management of sustainability issues and enhance the quality of disclosure in relation thereto. We’re currently in the process of developing clear and ambitious carbon emission reduction targets in line with the Science Based Targets Initiative and are mapping our climate-related risks and opportunities with the aim to further comply with the TCFD. We are also prioritising our move towards 100% recyclable, biodegradable or compostable brand packaging. Casting the net wider, we know that our sustainability impact doesn’t stop at our carbon footprint, and we’re taking considerable action to promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle through community and employee investment. Honouring human rights and fairness throughout our group and brand-level disciplines is THE DISRUPTORS vision & strategy

also an important sustainability impact areas for us and we have prioritised diversity, equity and inclusion as one of our focus areas for 2022. Even with the evident policy onus on corporates to act, the financial sector has been slow to adapt for several reasons. The seemingly complex language and metrics used by sustainability departments which focus on the measurements of water, waste and carbon don’t easily correlate with financial markers on cost of capital or even shareholders’ interest. We’ve also seen that the lack of diligence when it comes to tracking the gains of existing sustainability investments is a significant barrier, too. Although the jargon of ESG can feel out of reach for many boards, this is certainly not an excuse not to act; climate change – and an evolving corporate landscape – has no sympathy for ignorance in this realm. Looking at the sustainability movement through a practical lens, another problem area has been for sustainability teams to tangibly present the positives of their ESG initiatives in correlation to monetary benefits. Demonstrating return on investment has been impacted further by the lack of accounting systems available to capture ESG performance data. Put simply, without proof of return on investment, it was historically hard to paint the picture of why investing in this area was worthwhile. Although the debate of whether investing in ESG and sustainable practices is beneficial has been prevalent for some time, recent research shows that ESG investments outperform conventional ones. The average annual return for a sustainable fund invested in large global companies is 6.9% a year, while a traditionally invested fund would make 6.3%: there’s a genuine commercial opportunity at hand for CFOs to jump on for investor relations. One of the key areas to improve the relationship between finance and sustainability is measurement. Coherent and transparent sustainability metrics are a must across each line of business to understand how they can move from seeing sustainable investments as a cost into a value-driven opportunity. To move forward, the opportunity to fully integrate financial metrics with these sustainability metrics will help to effectively report long-term investment strategies to stakeholders, that really are long-term. Putting the huge growth opportunities aside, there is also a risk mitigation angle that’s impossible to ignore. In the current climate, being able to assess how climate change may negatively impact business performance is increasingly important and so must become part of your company strategy. We need to be able to review, analyse and report on certain elements such as the use of energy within the business to allow us to make financially sound decisions internally as well as recommendations to shareholders in areas such as reduction of costs. Current affairs highlight the benefit of being on the front foot of ESG when looking at the ability to mitigate costs. While we can’t predict volatility to such a niche detail, acting responsibly with an ESG lens on financial and corporate decisions can help to mitigate the long-term instabilities we face as businesses which are impacted by a global landscape that is rocked by environmental issues. As CFOs, we have a clear view of the entire company structure, leading the capital allocation and accountancy of a company. We are therefore in a position of significant power to introduce internal carbon pricing or triple accounting methods that will eventually make us more effective in leading and meeting our environmental goals. Having sustainable credibility as a corporate is no longer a USP strictly managed by aspirational team members; it’s now a fundamental aspect of business operations and CFOs who ignore this will undoubtedly feel this impact on their commercial performance. vision & strategy

40 VISION & STRATEGY 6Must-Reads for International Leadership Week

41 International Leadership Week 2022 (7-11 November) is an unmissable event which will be full of high-profile speakers and thoughtprovoking discussions, championing great leadership around the world. This year, the event centres around three topics: Social Mobility, Wellbeing and Future Readiness. To commemorate this key week, we have gathered six outstanding books on leadership that will inspire, challenge and motivate leaders to make bold decisions that will positively shape businesses and people worldwide.

42 Best read for: Overcoming Adversity Leader Awakened SamreenMcGregor £12.99/$17.95, Rethink Press The world we live in today presents unavoidable and at times unprecedented challenges and adversities. The hidden impact of these events can often have a damaging impact on leaders, both as individuals and on their ability to lead effectively. Samreen McGregor believes adversity is a key formative experience for any leader; to become remarkable at what they do, they must learn to accept, embrace and work with the hidden effects of trauma and adversity. In her new book Leader Awakened, Samreen explains how leaders can use their experiences as a powerful catalyst for change and as a point for learning, empowerment, agency and improved well-being. The book provides a thought-provoking blend of practical examples and theoretical observations alongside Samreen’s personal experiences of trauma following her son’s cancer diagnosis and a lifetime of grappling with questions of identity and belonging. Drawing on Samreen’s 25 years of experience as an executive leadership coach and advisor, Leader Awakened is the ideal read for anyone wanting to form, reshape or lead a team, or to examine their own personal performance and behaviour patterns as a leader. The book explores how a leader’s understanding of their own life story can impact their thoughts, behaviour and values and empower them to accept and embrace the trauma or difficulties they have experienced.

43 Best read for: New Founders The Founder’s Survival Guide Rachel Turner £14.99/$19.99, Rethink Press Rachel Turner is co-founder of VC Talent Lab which offers founder and scale-up coaching to ambitious founders in venture-capital-backed environments. Rachel believes that if founders do not scale their leadership as they grow their company, they are unlikely to survive. With her ground-breaking book The Founder’s Survival Guide, Rachel reveals how leaders can shift from ‘brave warrior’, to ‘considered architect’, to ‘wise monarch’ as their business grows, all by adapting their leadership style. It addresses some of the most common challenges scaleup founders face and provides an extensive toolbox to help founders manage their team, their energy and their mind. With a passion to help new founders navigate an often isolating, overwhelming and stressful path, Rachel is able todrawonher 20+years of experience as a transformative leadership advisor to start-up and scale-up businesses. Described by Rachel as ‘a love letter to founders’, The Founder’s Survival Guide aims to help readers understand what their business, people and stakeholders require from them at different stages of growth and adapt their leadership style accordingly. It also reveals how to avoid the self-sabotaging ego defences that can hold back even the most inspiring founder.

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