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Name: Tom Skrzeszewski
Title: VP, Product Engineering
Organisation: Harmonic Bionics, Inc.
Tom is a semiconductor and medical device product development veteran, previously holding positions at Philips Semiconductors, Intel Corporation, and GE Healthcare. His areas of expertise offer a unique combination of in-depth systems knowledge and business acumen with superior attention to quality. He holds an MS in Electrical Engineering, MS in Technological Design, and an MBA.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
The most challenging is building trustworthy, lasting relationships, managing change towards excellence, and finding an impressive crew to implement the vision of the enterprise.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Thanks to the DNA I inherited from my Father, and the opportunities offered to me in my youth, I became a being who desires impactful results affecting lives. Once I entered the leadership path, we became inseparable – and it goes beyond the corporate enterprise.
My journey started in the Netherlands with a dream of developing cutting-edge digital processing technology. Consequently, it brought me to Canada and the United States, where I transitioned from the Semiconductor industry to the Medical Device space as my desire to “create a healthier world by thinking big” prevailed.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I apply the 80/20 Pareto principle, focusing 80% of my energy on the top 20% of the most significant opportunities. So, first, I rise with the Sun to enjoy freshly brewed coffee. Next, I strategize and prioritize my achievements, pursuing the challenging ones in the morning. Then, I take my lunch in the gym, lifting weights to recharge my batteries, leaving me afternoon for operational excellence tasks. Finally, I reward myself with cooking and family dinner. Sometimes, late-night calls help me align with leaders in the Asia Pacific region.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
I have been reminded of Peter Drucker's famous quote, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." The cultural fit is crucial to the success of individuals, teams, and corporations – there is no exception. The executive leadership creates a culture of collaborative innovation and operational excellence.
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?
Without a doubt, it is "What Got You Here Won't Get You There" by Marshall Goldsmith. It reminded me that leadership is a journey and the best of us have blind spots that could be eliminated if only we were aware of their existence. I have a bad habit of adding too much value, so I keep returning to this excellent leadership guide to reflect on my progress and seek further improvements in my leadership style.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
I would say follow your passion, and it will lead you like the North Star.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
We something win, and we sometimes learn. We take these learnings to get up and try to win repeatedly, as defeat is not an option in a world where so many depend on so few.