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Thank you to the 1646 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions! I hope reading 7 Questions with

Marva Sadler

helps you in your leadership.

Marva Sadler

Marva Sadler

Name: Marva Sadler

Title: Managing Director

Organisation: MLS Odyssey LLC

Marva Sadler is an award-winning, results-driven, and tenacious Senior Executive who has delivered multibillion-dollar total impacts and unlocked the potential of hundreds of pathbreaking organizations across some of the most competitive sectors—including automotive, clean energy, education, finance, healthcare, and philanthropy.
Commitment to Goals.
A Theory of Constraints “Jonah” and integrative leader, Marva looks at businesses differently—not as they are but as they could be. She leverages deep expertise across borders, enterprise stages, and industry ecosystems, to help organizations discover and reach their true north. In the process, Marva has built a tangible legacy of sustainable growth while maintaining a disruptor mindset, rocketed efficiency while remaining adaptive, and imagined NextGen innovation while employing proven processes. Simply put, Marva leaves every organization she leads stronger, more productive, and more profitable than its stakeholders could have envisioned.
Excellence, Impact, and Social Justice Commitment. Marva’s ethos—“Be Good and Do Good” for the world, work, and people—permeates every strategic pathway she crafts. To that end, she delivers solutions that matter. This philosophy has played a vital role in transforming countless high-potential professionals into leaders, enthusiastic customers into brand ambassadors, and ambitious companies into inspired organizations that achieve productive outcomes.

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

being consistently positive and productive in my interactions when under extreme stress and complications that others are not aware of

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

Like most people, I worked my way up from an entry level position to positions of greater responsibility, and eventually to meaningful leadership positions

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I wake up early (5 am) and start my day by reviewing my schedule and planning my priorities. I manage my time in blocks, completing two or three significant priorities, taking a break, and completing a couple of big tasks, and then returning to my next priority. I take breaks in the morning and afternoon to walk my dogs, and listen to an educational podcast, generally on a business or leadership topic, and consider what implications the information has for my current issues and concerns, and how it can be applied to my work, then I finish up any big priorities, and shut down my work after about 10 hours of consistent application. When I am working, and not meeting, I listen to classical music in the background, because I've developed it as a signal to encourage concentration. I avoid minor distractions, like looking at my phone or reading my email except at the end of the time blocks dedicated to the big tasks. At the end of the day, I walk my dogs again, eat dinner, read a recommended book, leadership, business concepts, or well regarded fiction or non fiction history, and go to bed by 10. On days when my meeting load is light, I schedule 90 minutes to work outside in my yard in the early morning (from 6:30 to 8:00) before beginning my day.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
I've recently been reminded of the importance of meeting others where they are, and helping them understand the path I am taking to key decisions or recommendations. I am reminded that not everyone thinks in abstract patterns, and it's important that they understand the process and can contribute to 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?

Kotter's Leading change. I review it frequently, recommend it to others, and use its core principles to manage big changes in every organization where I work.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Get over yourself. Leadership is not about your ego. It's about service to others toward a greater good. If satisfying your craving for fame, fortune, or power is what's in your mind, don't be a leader of others.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

During the pandemic, we had a team member who was struggling. She was isolated, trying to take care of her young daughter who couldn't go to school, going through a divorce, and trying to find housing. She was distracted, and stressed. Then she and her daughter got Covid. As the daughter started to recover, she became even more difficult to manage. She was not well enough to do school work, but had enough energy that she wanted to be entertained. The team member was at her wits end. We sent her a care package full of crafts and art projects for the daughter. She made a mess around the house with glitter that came in the package. However, the team member was ecstatic. She said it was the first time she had seen her daughter smile in months, and she was grateful. Her mood and her work improved.

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