Q: Describe your governance or leadership philosophy, skills and experience. Provide an example of a situation where you applied your philosophy to address a challenge, as well as the result.
I’ve learned that the best approach to leadership is to ask questions and LISTEN to make sure I have a good understanding of the situation before taking action.
One powerful example of this was a strategic project to improve satisfaction with our documentation. We had a lot of feedback in the form of satisfaction survey results, but we got distracted by the claims of single source authoring tools and content management systems. We struggled to develop an effective business case because we could not build a connection between buying a new tool and increasing satisfaction. When we revisited the client feedback and really listened to what our clients were saying, we discovered that most clients were having issues simply finding our content. Uncovering the issue of findability helped focus our solutions, and we developed a system that removed the access barrier. The solution increased satisfaction in the short term and helped us focus more effectively on improving the content itself.
Leading means action and example, but it doesn’t mean doing everything yourself. The actions you take as a leader need to inspire confidence and trust, and provide an example that encourages others to do the same. This is not co-opting, it’s spreading commitment.
On the STC Board I push hard for what I believe in, while seeking consensus and staying open to others' ideas. I have succeeded in bringing most of the issues I view as important before the board, and resolving some.
When I became program manager of WNYC-FM radio, I inherited a staff of 25 demoralized, cynical people who mistrusted management. I used a combination of open communication style, and especially listening, to convince them that I knew what I was doing and cared what they thought. In monthly meetings we analysed tapes of our own and competing stations to learn how to improve.
After six months, 23 got behind our newly defined common project, and the other two at least understood it, even if they didn’t like it.
I live my life by commitments. The economic downturns of the last few years presented many challenges. We had to take the load of the worsening financial situation of the market and develop a long-term solution.
We brainstormed and came up with many creative ideas. The most important one was to pay more attention to our training courses. We reinvented ourselves and repositioned the company without compromising on the fundamental values. We redesigned the web site, started ad-words campaign, built a panel of vendors to provide value-added business services, and increased our investments in R&D.
We invented technology solutions based on latest trends and provide innovative corporate service models and individual training courses. While we increased our marketing we also forged agreements with companies to hire our students. In last 24 months our number of courses has doubled with increase in placements.
Instead of 100% services model we now spend 25% of our time in creating knowledge assets.
In another 12 months we will be a debt-free organization with assets that will continue to generate revenue and support our service offerings.