Thank you to the 1646 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions! I hope reading 7 Questions with
Jay S Andres
helps you in your leadership.
Jay S Andres
Name: Jay S Andres
Title: Retired CEO Mai Dubai - Current Board Member
Organisation: Mai Dubai Water - United Arab Emirates
I have in Bottled Water for over 40 years with my career culminating in the building of Mai Dubai Water in the UAE. Most of my career was in the US where I worked for one company (4 Owners) over the course of 31 years ultimately reaching the position of Vice President & General Manager. In Retirement I serve on a couple of Boards, do some mentoring and recently published a book titled " The Managers Bathroom Book" " Things you can learn in one sitting" Available on Amazon.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Leading leaders is challenging as well as rewarding. At the higher levels, Leaders that you Lead will have an exceptional level of confidence. At times this confidence morphs into arrogance. This dynamic at times makes it difficult to manage collaboration, teamwork and trust.
Even if you feel you have it under control it can easily be disrupted and the formula is constantly changing. Sometimes rivalries' and competition if approached in a sincere and trusting manner will contribute to building a winning team, but its tricky.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Even before my first promotion I attempted to lead in terms of results and teamwork. I was promoted at a relatively young age and made a lot of mistakes that one could blame on my lack of maturity. However the good things I did overshadowed the shortcomings. I believe my approach both built relationships and results and this created trust.
There was a pretty long gap (11 years) between the first and second promotion, however once I refined my approach the next 7 promotions occurred on average every three years. I had the fortune to work for some outstanding people. I was once told by a very successful individual that whenever possible attempt to select a good Boss to work for.
I think the other key component was that I was willing to take on the tough assignments and was willing to relocate. Also cannot say how important it was to have a Spouse who was not only supportive but also a good counsel.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I know what my priorities for the day are, before the day starts. I keep task lists and identify which tasks need to be done first. I have a few guiding principles such as Customer related activities take priority followed by people problems. I try to be ultra responsive to resolving problems that help the organization execute. In short I focus on removing obstacles as well as executing strategies.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
The first thing that comes to mind is that there are always two sides to a story. I am action oriented which is good, however sometimes it can cause you to form and opinion or take a decision in haste. Revealing the facts and sifting through "spin" is valuable in arriving at the right decision.
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?
" Its your Ship" Captain Michael Abrashoff is a book that is both inspiring and instructional. It helps you to understand how improve performance by working on the culture of an organization. It reinforces sound communication techniques and the benefits of being present. How to have Managerial courage with those below you and above you on the organization chart.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Be humble and continue to exhibit the same work ethic that got you promoted. When it comes to communication work on the listening part. In my book "The Managers Bathroom Book" i devote and entire chapter to this particular question
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
I would say that as I reflect back on my career i have some great memories of some huge wins in terms of the performance of the Groups I was privileged to lead. But what stands out is the relationships. I cherish those memories more than any financial or statistical achievement.
I feel fortunate that I was able to contribute the growth of the businesses i was attached to but also the growth of individuals. These many people enriched my life in so many ways. Particularly those at the front line. The ones who did the real work, the ones who suffered the most when my strategies or tactics were flawed yet remained loyal to the mission and to me. The only thing better than that, is the feeling of being a parent.