Thank you to the 1646 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions! I hope reading 7 Questions with
helps you in your leadership.
Name: Daniel Melendez
Organisation: E-Best Choice
I am obsessed with helping leaders like you solve big, complex problems quickly and effectively. With my background as a fighter pilot and experience in identifying high-value targets and achieving strategic results, I have developed a unique approach to problem-solving that involves:
1. Breaking the boundaries of your mind,
2. Discovering your hidden capabilities,
3. Solving the real problem, and
4. Executing your continuous learning plan.
I am on a mission to help and inspire warrior leaders like you to solve problems, in a team environment, before impacting your business. I want to share the knowledge and insights I have gained with you, so you can save time and avoid the pitfalls many others have encountered.
The following are my five (5) key skills:
1. Strategic thinking: Ability to develop and implement innovative supply chain solutions supporting the organization's strategic goals. Capable of analyzing complex data, identifying critical areas for improvement, and creating action plans that deliver measurable results in the long term.
2. Leadership and management: Experience leading and directing teams, as well as the ability to coordinate and harmonize people and processes.
3. Collaboration Mindset: Ability to work effectively with other departments and functions, including sales, marketing, finance, and operations, to ensure alignment of goals and priorities. Capable of building and maintaining solid relationships with suppliers, customers, and partners.
4. Quality and process improvement: Experience with implementing and utilizing tools such as the Balanced Scorecard and ISO 9001, and ISO 17025 standards to improve performance and efficiency and ensure compliance.
5. Flight operations, supply chain, and logistics: Ability to understand flight and logistics operations' complex and interdependent nature and how they impact overall business performance. Familiar with the latest industry technologies and best practices for optimizing supply chain processes, including suppliers and inventory management, transportation planning, safety and compliance, and warehouse operations.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
My time as the commander of the Colombian Air Force's major maintenance center was a transformative journey that tested my leadership abilities in various ways. From enhancing aircraft maintenance time, budget, quality, and reliability to combating national insecurity and managing a large team, he had to overcome several challenges to safeguard a community of 55,000 inhabitants.
Throughout his tenure, he realized that adaptability is a crucial trait for effective leadership, and effective communication is vital for conveying ideas and mobilizing everyone toward a common goal. Despite the complexity of making decisions with fragmented information, he learned to make informed calls that positively impacted the team.
As a "builder leader," he was responsible for creating an administrative "cockpit" from a clear vision and strategy. Although overcoming resistance to change was a significant challenge, he learned that change is a process that requires patience, persistence, and empathy. Effective change involves the implementation of new ideas while respecting and understanding the perspectives and concerns of those affected by the change.
His leadership skills were further honed by the implementation of an ongoing improvement program and the ISO 9001 certification for our "cockpit." These efforts not only improved our efficiency but also demonstrated our unwavering commitment to excellence.
Overall, his experience as the commander of the Colombian Air Force's major maintenance center has instilled him the importance of strategic vision, continuous improvement, and quality in leadership. He is now confident that he possesses the skills needed to guide my team through change and towards a better future.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Daniel's passion for aviation was ignited at an early age, inspired by his father and grandfather's careers as pilots. He attended the Air Force Academy, where he honed his leadership skills and developed an interest in fighter pilot dynamics and aircraft maintenance. This passion led him to a 30-year career in the Colombian Air Force, where he became a well-respected figure of influence.
Throughout his career, Daniel showed a relentless drive to improve operational efficiency, safety, and competitiveness. He played a pivotal role in harmonizing aviation regulations and implementing the All-Weather Operation concept in Colombia, which demonstrated his dedication to improving aviation safety and efficiency.
Daniel's reputation as a "warrior leader" was earned through his adept decision-making, meticulous precision, and ability to operate effectively under extreme pressure. He rose through the ranks to become the commander of a major maintenance center in the Colombian Air Force, responsible for maintaining 243 aircraft and the safety of 55,000 residents.
Despite facing new challenges in his role as CEO, Daniel innovated a 'flight cockpit' management system to overcome the fragmented, outdated, and incomplete information that had previously hindered decision-making. His unwavering faith in his vision and ability to inspire and involve his team in the transformation process led to the successful implementation of this system.
Daniel's journey is a testament to the power of resilience, vision, and adaptability, and the importance of focusing on personal and professional growth. He learned that true leadership is about inspiring others, embracing change, and continually striving for excellence. Instead of competing with others, he focused on becoming a better version of himself and reaching for the next level of success.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Picture waking up before sunrise, when the world is just beginning to stir. Instead of rushing into your day, you start with a calm energy, taking a moment to meditate and set your intentions for the day ahead. This peaceful morning sets the foundation for a clear and focused mind, ready to tackle any challenges that come your way.
As the sun starts to rise, you step into your role as a leader. You understand that a leader is only as good as their team, so you dedicate the first part of your day to interacting, listening, and collaborating with them. You ensure that every team member feels heard and valued, empowering them to make decisions and contribute their unique perspectives. This approach fosters a culture of shared ownership, enhancing their commitment and enriching your organization with diverse ideas.
Throughout the day, you rely on the best available information to guide your decision-making in your administrative cockpit. This control center is not just yours; it's a shared space where everyone's inputs are valued and integrated to facilitate better decision-making and collaboration.
You take a break in the middle of the day to recharge, recognizing the importance of balance. A refreshed leader is a more effective leader, and this break allows you to return to your duties with renewed vigor.
In the afternoon, your focus shifts to problem-solving and continuous improvement. You work with your team to identify solutions, maintaining a relentless pursuit of excellence. You ensure that every "flight cockpit" in your organization is in sync, communicating effectively and working towards a shared vision.
At the end of the day, you take time to debrief and reflect with your team. You celebrate successes, learn from setbacks, and set the stage for tomorrow's achievements. Your day ends with personal time to unwind and detach, recharging your batteries for the next day.
This daily routine fosters a culture of shared ownership, where every person and every cockpit is interconnected, communicating, and contributing to the organization's flight. Effective leadership is not just about leading but also inspiring others to lead, empowering them to build their own cockpits, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.
This is how we navigate towards a better future.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
One of the most important leadership lessons he learned was the value of involving and empowering his team during the change process. As the commander of a major maintenance center in the Colombian Air Force, he realized that they needed a more structured and efficient system to achieve their goals.
He proposed a "flight cockpit" management system, which initially faced resistance from his team. However, by involving them in the transformation process, they successfully implemented the plan.
This taught him that being a leader is not just about making decisions or driving change alone. It's about inspiring others, embracing change, and striving for collective excellence. This experience also reinforced his belief in self-improvement, focusing on personal growth while contributing to team and organizational success.
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?
His leadership has been nurtured by 3 main books.
“Life Force" by Tony Robbins focuses on enhancing one's energy, vitality, and overall well-being. It emphasizes the importance of maintaining a healthy body and mind to achieve peak performance in all areas of life, including leadership.
"Abundance" by Peter Diamandis explores how technological advancements can solve the world's most pressing issues, such as hunger, water scarcity, and energy shortages. It encourages readers to embrace an abundance mindset and look for innovative solutions to global challenges.
"Moonshots: Creating a World of Abundance" by Naveen Jain outlines how individuals can leverage moonshot thinking to create radical breakthroughs in various sectors, including healthcare, education, and transportation. It emphasizes the power of bold thinking and the importance of embracing risk to transform industries and societies.
The most significant leadership lesson learned was the importance of involving and empowering the team in the process of change. The three books mentioned above have had a profound impact on his leadership style in different ways:
• "Life Force" by Tony Robbins taught him the importance of maintaining a healthy body and mind to make better decisions and inspire others more effectively. This book reinforced the concept of self-competition and the focus on becoming a better version of oneself each day.
• "Abundance" by Peter Diamandis instilled in him an abundance mindset, allowing him to approach challenges with a positive and innovative attitude. This perspective helped him inspire his team to embrace change and seek creative solutions to complex problems.
• "Moonshots: Creating a World of Abundance" by Naveen Jain influenced his leadership by encouraging him to think big and aim for radical breakthroughs. This book resonated with his experience of implementing the 'flight cockpit' management system, which required bold thinking and a willingness to embrace risk.
In summary, these three books have collectively shaped his leadership style by emphasizing the importance of personal well-being, embracing an abundance mindset, and fostering bold, innovative thinking. These lessons have been instrumental in his success as a leader, inspiring and empowering his team to achieve remarkable results.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
If I could impart just one piece of advice to a young leader, it would be this: Embrace the power of continuous learning and personal growth.
Throughout my journey as a leader, I have discovered that the key to success lies in honing your skills, expanding your knowledge, and constantly challenging yourself to become better than you were yesterday.
In a rapidly evolving world, where change is the only constant, young leaders must cultivate a mindset of curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. Seek opportunities for learning, whether through formal education, mentorship, or self-directed exploration. Never settle for mediocrity; instead, strive for excellence in everything you do.
Remember that authentic leadership is not about having all the answers but the humility to recognize that there is always more to learn. Embrace failures and setbacks as valuable lessons that contribute to your growth. Surround yourself with diverse perspectives and seek feedback from those around you.
Above all, never stop investing in yourself. Continuously push the boundaries of your comfort zone, explore new ideas, and challenge conventional wisdom. By embracing the power of continuous learning and personal growth, you will become a better leader and inspire those around you to reach new heights of achievement.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Daniel's story was more than just a narrative; it was a call to action. It urged each listener to step beyond their comfort zones and embark on their own journeys to greatness. Through unwavering determination, resilience, and relentless pursuit of personal and professional growth, extraordinary feats could be accomplished.
The audience was awakened, their spirits kindled with an unquenchable thirst for success. They knew that they too could achieve greatness if they embraced the power of confidence, resilience, and unyielding determination. With hearts ablaze, they stood ready to carve their own paths to greatness, driven by the legacy of Daniel's captivating story.