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Name: Gonzalo Grandon
Title: Finance Director LatAm
Organisation: Eaton - GEIS Division
MBA, BBA and CPA with over 22 years of experience in Latam, US and Europe environments in all finance areas in FMCG, manufacturing, energy and pharma industries. Process & results oriented with a compliance mindset and Big 4 foundations. High performance team developer and hands-on, conciliatory leadership style with experience in turn-around & change management.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
I believe the most challenging aspect of being a leader comes to human relations, meaning building high performance teams, developing and motivating team members, building trustful relationships with peers, being and effective business partner and negotiating with customers and suppliers.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Life and work experiences take you step by step in that direction. Usually is something you don't plan in advance but little steps take you there.
I moved from my hometown in Argentina to Australia to finish high school as an exchange student. When I came back, I moved to Buenos Aires to start my degree in Accounting. A year before finishing my degree I started working in Arthur Andersen. The Enron affair made move to Deloitte, I had here my first team under my responsibility. In the meanwhile, I finished my degree in Business Administration.
I started working in ExxonMobil's financial shared service center migrating business processes from the US and supervising a much larger team. I finished my postgraduate studies in Economics of Oil & Gas. After a short time in Adecco as Regional Controller, I started working in Clorox as SOX Manager for Latin America and then was promoted as Controller for the South Cone.
I decided to accept a challenging offer in 2012 and moved to Mexico. Since then, I took responsibilities as FP&A Director and Finance Director and the electronics and appliances industry. I have been working in Eaton since 2019 expanding my role and responsibilities in Latin America and working in several projects in the electromechanical industry.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I get up every day at 5:30am to start training in running, biking or swimming. After a protein-based breakfast, I start working around 8:30am. I work until 6:30pm with a break for lunch and then go to the gym to gain strength in the muscle groups I exercised during the morning. I have dinner around 8:30pm. I go to bed and read for a while (no electronic devises before going to bed!) to finish the day around 10pm.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Organizational changes happen all the time and it is up to us to adapt to new leaders, styles and changes in strategy. Do not get used to the comfort zone because organizational changes will take away from there very quickly. Be prepared.
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?
Good to Great from Jim Collins describes how some companies went from being a good business until becoming excellent at what they do. The book is based on a 40-year research on 1435 companies. What lessons those companies learnt, can those lessons be repeated as a formula for success?
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Forget about money, focus on learning. Go through experiences that will pay off in the future. Stay as long as possible with those leaders than invest time in you to teach you. Every experience leaves you with lessons learned, some to be replicated (the good ones) but also some that will show you what you don't want to become (the bad ones).
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Learn from cultural differences. Become a leader of people with different cultural backgrounds is very fulfilling. Embrace diversity. Work on your bias and be open to learn from everybody you cross paths with.