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Name: Ashish Verma
Title: Director - Finance, IT and Operations
Organisation: 2X Global Limited
Ashish is presently holding the position of Director in charge of Finance, IT, and Operations at 2X Global Limited. Prior to joining 2X in the UK, he had worked across several countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and South Asia, collaborating with people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
With a total of more than 14 years of professional experience in the Finance and Tech domains, he has expertise in areas such as FP&A, Corporate Finance, Business Finance, M&A, Treasury, and Business Transformation. He is a passionate Tech enthusiast who advocates the use of technology for driving business outcomes and enabling business transformation through the application of Automation, Analytics, and Data Science.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
As a leader, creating a culture that values diversity and inclusivity can be a challenging task. It requires the ability to attract and retain talent from different backgrounds while fostering an environment where everyone feels valued and included.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My journey as a finance professional began when I landed an analyst role at a global consulting firm. Armed with a degree in finance, I was enthusiastic about learning and growing in my field. During my first years in the role, my main goal was to develop a strong work ethic, pay attention to detail, and embrace new challenges.
Over time, my skills and knowledge expanded, and I was given more responsibilities that allowed me to showcase my leadership potential. I excelled in analysing complex financial data, implementing strategic plans, and communicating effectively with stakeholders at all levels.
As I gained more experience, I also discovered a passion for mentoring and developing my team members. Sharing my knowledge and insights to help them grow and succeed was fulfilling and helped me build a reputation as a valued leader.
With each new challenge that came my way, I always aimed to perform at my best, and this dedication led to me being offered the opportunity to work as Director in my current role. My approach has always been solution-oriented, and I strive to foster strong relationships with my colleagues and clients while deeply understanding the business and its operations.
My philosophy is to make a positive contribution to every role I take on while developing a team of highly skilled professionals who can sustain the success of the organisation.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My daily routine involves waking up early, often before 6 am, so that I have time to exercise, meditate, or work on personal projects before starting my workday. To fuel my productivity and energy throughout the day, I make sure to eat a healthy breakfast.
I plan my day by reviewing my schedule and prioritizing my tasks for the day. I use a traditional to-do list and calendar to stay organized and focused. To make the most of my productive morning hours, I tackle important tasks first thing and set aside time for strategic thinking, creative problem-solving, or high-priority meetings.
To manage my time efficiently, I delegate tasks where possible and use calendar time-blocking strategies. I also take short breaks throughout the day to recharge and avoid burnout. During these breaks, I typically stretch or take a walk.
I spend significant time attending meetings with my team, stakeholders, and clients. To ensure that action items are completed, I prepare for these meetings in advance and follow up afterwards. I also prioritize building close relationships with team members and set aside time to check in with them or collaborate on projects throughout the day.
Before wrapping up my workday, I take time to reflect on my accomplishments and plan for the following day. I tie up loose ends, respond to urgent emails, and prepare for the next day. Finally, I promote restful sleep by engaging in relaxation techniques such as reading or avoiding electronics before bedtime.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
One important leadership lesson that is crucial for anyone in a leadership position to learn is the importance of leading by example. As a leader, I may be a role model for my team, and they will often look to me to set the tone for the workplace culture and the standards of behaviour that are expected of them.
This means that I should always strive to demonstrate the qualities that I want to see in my team members, such as integrity, accountability, and a strong work ethic. It also means being willing to get your hands dirty and work alongside my team members when necessary, rather than simply delegating tasks and expecting them to be completed without your involvement.
By leading by example, I can build trust and respect with my team, inspire them to perform at their best and create a positive and productive work environment. Conversely, failing to lead by example can erode trust, undermine morale, and lead to dysfunctional workplace culture. Therefore, it is essential to prioritize this leadership skill and continuously work to improve upon it.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers is a captivating read that delves into the factors that contribute to exceptional success. As a leader, this book has transformed my outlook and helped me grow in numerous ways. Through reading it, I've learned several valuable lessons that have been instrumental in my leadership journey.
Firstly, I've come to understand the significance of deliberate practice. This book emphasizes that outstanding achievements do not merely result from the natural ability or good fortune but are instead the product of years of purposeful and concentrated practice. This insight is crucial as it emphasizes the importance of continuous learning and improvement.
Secondly, I've learned that cultural context plays a vital role in success. Factors such as a person's cultural background, socioeconomic status, and historical context often shape one's path to success. It is essential to understand the cultural context in which you operate and to adapt your leadership style accordingly. By recognizing the cultural norms and expectations of team members, one can create a work environment that is inclusive and supportive.
Lastly, the book emphasizes the importance of collaboration and teamwork. The Author showcases how even high achievers like Bill Gates and the Beatles relied on the support and contributions of others to attain their objectives. This insight is relevant to leadership as it underscores the importance of building strong teams and fostering collaboration. Successful leaders understand that individual efforts alone are often insufficient to achieve goals and can leverage diverse perspectives and skills to achieve a shared objective.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
If I could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, it would be to prioritize continuous learning and personal growth. As a leader, you will face new challenges and opportunities throughout your career, and it is important to have a growth mindset and the willingness to learn and adapt.
This means seeking out new experiences, seeking feedback from others, reading books and articles, attending conferences, and being open to constructive criticism. By continually investing in your own development, you will not only improve your own leadership skills but also inspire and motivate those around you to do the same. Remember that leadership is a journey, not a destination, and there is always room for improvement. So, stay curious, stay humble, and keep learning.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
During my time as a leader, I recall a significant story about developing a community engagement network. Our platform was designed to enable people within their peer communities to connect and build stronger relationships. Specifically, the platform provided an opportunity for like-minded professionals focused on climate and social initiatives to connect with each other, share insights, and develop more cohesive communities.
Despite the challenges that arose as the platform grew, such as concerns regarding privacy, user behaviour, and the potential for misinformation, our user base quickly grew and attracted a devoted following of users who valued the platform's ability to bring people together.
One particular moment stood out when we announced a significant redesign of the platform, aimed at addressing some of the aforementioned concerns. The redesign included various new features intended to make it easier for users to report misinformation, as well as measures to ensure that the platform was an inclusive space for people of all backgrounds.
From this experience, we learned that committing to creating a platform that was not only successful but also responsible serves as a powerful example. The emphasis on community, innovation, and social responsibility underscores the importance of developing businesses that not only serve their interests but also the broader community.