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Name: Stephane Lamoureux
Title: Chief Operations Officer
Organisation: Ananta Digital
With 29 years of global experience in Banking, Fintech, Telecommunication, and Manufacturing, I specialize in organizational and digital transformation, as well as greenfield and brownfield group buildouts. Throughout my career, I have led large complex enterprise groups, value chain rebuilds, and pre/post-sales operational and support teams. My focus for the past 15 years has been on driving organizational and digital transformation, reporting to the Board of Directors or serving as part of the senior executive team. I also provide CXO as a Service, helping organizations take their businesses to the next level.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
One of the most significant challenges I have encountered is keeping up with the rapid pace of technological advancements while effectively aligning IT strategies with business goals. Areas such as technological advancements where technology evolves at an unprecedented rate, and as a leader, it is crucial to stay up to date with the latest trends and advancements.
This includes understanding emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, blockchain, and Internet of Things (IoT), and their potential impact on the organization. Keeping up with these advancements requires continuous learning, attending industry conferences, participating in professional networks, and engaging with technology experts.
It is essential to assess the relevance and potential impact of new technologies on the organization and determine how to leverage them effectively. Another big aspect of my day to day challenges is aligning Strategies with Business Goals because the role of a Senior technology leader is not just about implementing technology but also aligning IT strategies with the broader business objectives. This requires a deep understanding of the organization's goals, processes, and challenges, as well as the ability to translate those into actionable IT initiatives. Of course managing complexity and integration is an ongoing challenge due to the increasing complexity of IT landscapes which pose a significant challenge for leaders.
Organizations often have a mix of legacy systems, cloud-based solutions, and third-party applications, making integration and interoperability a complex task. For example, migrating from an on-premises infrastructure to a hybrid cloud environment requires careful planning, risk assessment, and data migration strategies. I do think one of the biggest challenge, now and in the future, will be talent management and skills Gap because attracting and retaining top talent is a continuous challenge for leaders. The demand for skilled professionals in emerging technologies often exceeds the supply, creating a skills gap.
For example, the need for data scientists, cybersecurity experts, and AI specialists has surged in recent years. To address this challenge, leaders must invest in talent development programs, provide continuous learning opportunities, and create an attractive work environment that fosters innovation and growth. Collaboration with educational institutions, industry partnerships, and upskilling initiatives can help bridge the skills gap and build a talented IT workforce.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Becoming a leader requires relentless learning and adaptation that I think is best explained through what I feel is critical to become a leader and become a better leader. One must develop empathy and emotional intelligence. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of understanding and connecting with people on an emotional level. Cultivate empathy by actively listening, seeking to understand others' perspectives, and demonstrating genuine care for their well-being.
Developing your emotional intelligence to effectively manage relationships, resolve conflicts, and inspire trust is a must. You must also lead by example, as a leader, your actions speak louder than words. Demonstrate the qualities and behaviors you expect from your team members, talk the talk and walk the walk. Show integrity, authenticity, and a commitment to your values. By being a role model, you inspire others to follow and create a culture of accountability and excellence.
As a segway to building this culture, you need to build trust and foster a safe working environment, trust is a fundamental component of successful leadership. Create a safe and inclusive environment where people feel psychologically safe to take risks, share their ideas, and collaborate. Encourage open communication, celebrate diverse perspectives, and provide constructive feedback to foster trust and mutual respect. As mentioned at the beginning, you need to be a relentless learner, continuous learning and personal growth is critical.
As a leader, invest in your own development through reading, attending seminars or workshops, and seeking mentors or coaches who can provide guidance and support. Encourage a culture of learning within your team, supporting their professional growth and empowering them to reach their full potential. To close the loop, I would say collaboration and having the ability to build and nurture strong teams will always take you apart from the crowd, great leaders understand the power of collaboration and teamwork.
Foster a culture of collaboration by encouraging open communication, facilitating cross-functional collaboration, and creating opportunities for team members to learn from one another. Develop a shared vision and purpose to align everyone towards a common goal. As for my story, I have been in the industry for close to 30 years and have always been a very driven individual, I am not one to give up or shy away from a true challenge. From my days at Paribas supporting capital markets traders as a young techy to now focusing on transformation global organizations and taking them to the next level, I have always been an empathetic servant leader which has served me well in my career.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My workday starts at 5am where I start slow and take care of myself, a sound mind and body is a critical requirement to prepare the day, considering the high stress environments I work in day in and day out, this is a requirement. I then get on work and figure out if I have missed anything during the night since most companies, I work with are global, this gives me a pulse on the night before. I usually spend the breakfast time looking at the major tech trends and business news ongoing that day then move to the office whereas an executive is usually filled with meetings, but I always keep time slots for my employees for ad hoc one-on-ones, which I find are critical. My evenings are for family, but I do read a lot and do stay on top of potential operational issues that could always impact the company or specific customer.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
During a transformation effort of a large organization, the lack of actual transformation strategy and continuous pushback from leadership to build one was impacting the overall strategy. “Take the time to develop your transformation strategy. A transformation is not a technical project but a true business transformation”. Define the vision and strategic objectives for transformation.
It is important to set a clear vision and strategic objectives for the transformation. Align the transformation strategy with the company’s mission, values, and long-term goals then communicate the vision to stakeholders to gain buy-in. Identify your target operating model and key performance indicators (KPIs). Explore different operating models (e.g., digital-first, customer-centric, agile). Select the most suitable operating model based on the company's strategy and capabilities.
Define KPIs to measure the success and progress of the transformation initiative. If mature enough, the use of OKR’s as a goal-setting framework will help the organization define and track objectives and measure progress towards achieving them. Conduct a comprehensive analysis of the current state of the organization, assess the current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis). Analyze internal processes, organizational structure, and culture. Evaluate your market positioning, customer segmentation, and competitive landscape.
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?
I read so many books to continuously improve myself but one that had a great effect on my leadership style is "Start with Why" by Simon Sinek. This book is a thought-provoking book that explores the power of purpose and its impact on leadership effectiveness. Simon argues that great leaders inspire action by clearly articulating the "why" behind their work, rather than solely focusing on the "what" or "how." By understanding their personal and organizational purpose, leaders can create a compelling vision that motivates and engages their teams. This book provides valuable insights on how leaders can cultivate trust, build a loyal following, and create a culture of innovation and success.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
It is very hard to only give one piece of advice but be a relentless learner and an empathetic servant leader able to know and say when he is wrong, a person with the ability to build a supportive and nurturing environment to work in by building trust and fostering collaboration. Take care of your teams and they will take care of you, do the opposite and a drastic opposite will be delivered by your teams.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Simply the positive impact I have had on so many careers by my leadership style and the ability I have had to build and nurture amazing teams on a global basis. For me, the ultimate sense of fulfillment is to have passed on knowledge and built resources that have become better than me and still are growing.