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

Timothy Wong

helps you in your leadership.

Timothy Wong

Timothy Wong

Name: Timothy Wong

Title: Managing Director

Organisation: Preschool Ltd

Timothy Wong is the Managing Director of Preschool and is the former CEO of Evolve Education Group (ASX: EVO), comprising 132 childcare centres across Australia and New Zealand. His experience and expertise are in the development, growth and transformation of medium to large businesses within a listed and/or rollup space. Tim has worked in Asia Pacific and Middle East real estate, education and architectural sectors and has a special interest in different business models, including franchise/licensing methodologies.

Tim is a Fellow of Australian Institute of Company Directors and an Associate of CPA. He is also a Non-Executive Director of two private companies and a not-for-profit organisation.

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

Leadership is the challenge. Leaders are not CEOs and managers. Leadership is about leading people and strategies, decisiveness, handling adversity and ultimately making the right call. The office or title do not make an individual a good leader.

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

In my case, I learned leadership through adversity. Through the GFC, my business was struggling and the wolves were at the door. 'Making the right call' became paramount and hard decisions had to be made. Instinctively, I know what needs to be done but the 'how' was more important. To preserve the business in the coming years, I have to get the 'how' right so not to damage the reputation and goodwill. It was the toughest time of my life. This shaped my ethos and made me the person I am today.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I wake up early and complete the daily tasks preferably before 8am. Then the rest of the day is to do with working on the business. I am an early person, so know and accept your limitations are important.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Keeping and empowering team members have never been so important. The challenge of keeping people motivated through different prisms, i.e. working from home etc is the greatest challenge to me as a leader.

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. Two elements really resonated with me. The 'On the bus' and 'Flywheel' fundamentals are the core to most of my leadership methodology.

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

Listen and learn. We are naturally defensive and wants to justify our positions. Good leaders should train themselves to learn and not be too precise on our positions.

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

I had to retrench 5% of the company and 4 out of 6 heads of department as they do not fit in with my turnaround strategy. I personally sat and discussed with each retrenched team-member (over 100 people) prior to passing onto HR. I also employed a recruitment company to manage and assist with getting new jobs for each of them. The goodwill and minimal brand damage has enhanced the company in the past 4 years. In fact many of those team-members are back with the company today.

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