Thank you to the 1646 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions! I hope reading 7 Questions with
helps you in your leadership.
Name: Tsvika Ben-Porat
Title: Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Organisation: BIRAD – Research & Development Company Ltd
Tsvika Ben Porat is a distinguished CEO and business leader with over three decades of experience in strategic business development, consultancy services, investment strategies, and daily operational management. He is known for his technological prowess, providing a seamless bridge between technology and business objectives, driving operational excellence, and creating significant value.
Currently, he serves as the CEO of Birad – Research & Development Company Ltd, where he's been since March 2017. At Birad, he provides stewardship, develops growth strategies, manages the company’s financial assets, and directs approximately 200 employees. Prior to that, he led Jerusalem Technology Investments Ltd. and Maayan Ventures Ltd., where he exhibited a keen eye for identifying high-potential tech companies and guided them through processes of growth and expansion.
Earlier, he had a successful stint at Ness Technologies Inc. as CTO and Senior Management Member, where he managed global tech groups and developed business-aligned strategic roadmaps. Tsvika also has a solid track record in academia, being a lecturer at Ben-Gurion University and SCE College in Beer-Sheva, focusing on innovation, business, and technological entrepreneurship. His scholastic achievements include a PhD in Business Administration and a unique combined MSc & PhD program in Physics, both from Ben-Gurion University. His research in both disciplines has made significant contributions to entrepreneurship and electro-optics respectively.
He has served as a member of the Israeli Government Companies Authority (GCA) “Directors Team” and has worked extensively with regulators, chief scientists, and government offices. Notably, he co-founded dbMotion Ltd., which was sold for a significant amount, and served as a board member at Shufersal of the IDB Group. His books about entrepreneurship are respected resources in the business community.
In addition to his business and academic exploits, Tsvika is also a veteran, having served in the IDF Air Force – Operations. His extensive experience, proven leadership skills, and a unique blend of business acumen and technical expertise make him an indispensable asset in the technology and business sectors.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
One of the most challenging aspects of leadership I've encountered is maintaining the balance between strategic foresight and day-to-day operations. The dual responsibility of envisioning the company's long-term future, while also ensuring the smooth running of daily operations, can be quite demanding.
Additionally, leading an organization through periods of change and uncertainty poses its unique challenges. As a leader, my role is to navigate the organization through these periods, making critical decisions that can significantly impact the company's future.
One other challenging aspect is fostering a culture of innovation and continuous learning. The rapid pace of technological advancement requires constant adaptation and learning, and creating an environment that encourages and supports this can be quite difficult.
But despite these challenges, I find the role of a leader to be extremely rewarding. There's nothing quite like seeing an organization grow, innovate, and succeed under your leadership.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My journey to leadership began with my deep-rooted interest in technology and business. My academic background, a unique blend of Business Administration and Physics, provided a robust foundation for my future endeavors. I started off with a focus on technology, working in various roles where I handled responsibilities that nurtured my technical skills and strategic thinking.
My first significant leadership role was as a CTO at Ness Technologies Inc., a leading IT service provider in Israel. Here, I was responsible for managing a diverse team of technology professionals around the world, overseeing the company's technological policy, and leading due diligence aspects for prospective company acquisitions.
After this, I made a transition to more business-oriented roles, becoming CEO of Maayan Ventures Ltd, then Jerusalem Technology Investments Ltd., and currently, Birad – Research & Development Company Ltd. In these roles, I was not only able to employ my extensive technological expertise, but also my business acumen. I led the identification and investment into high-potential tech companies, managed financial assets, and implemented growth strategies.
Through each role, my responsibilities expanded, my skills were honed, and my understanding of the business landscape deepened. Each experience contributed to my development as a leader, from managing teams and projects to making strategic decisions that affected the entire organization. The journey was filled with opportunities for learning and growth, and each step brought new challenges that helped me develop the qualities I needed to become an effective leader.
Alongside my professional career, my roles as a lecturer, mentor, and board member in various organizations also helped solidify my leadership skills. I have always believed in sharing knowledge and guiding others, which is another essential aspect of leadership.
So, my path to leadership was a mix of leveraging my academic background, seizing the right opportunities, continuously learning and adapting, and a strong commitment to leading and developing others.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Upon waking, the day might start with a brief exercise routine and meditation, promoting physical well-being and mental clarity. This could be followed by a quick review of the day's schedule and important tasks. There might also be a brief check of emails to identify any urgent matters that require immediate attention.
Breakfast would come next, possibly with time spent with family.
The workday typically begins with a check-in meeting with the executive team or key staff members. This is a time to discuss priorities for the day and address any outstanding issues. The remainder of the morning might involve focused work periods, potentially dedicated to strategic planning, reviewing reports, project management, or handling correspondence.
Lunch could provide an opportunity for a brief break, or it might be a working lunch or a networking meal with colleagues, partners, or clients. The afternoon might typically be filled with more strategic work, including meetings with different department heads or project teams. It might also involve tasks such as reviewing progress on various initiatives, problem-solving, and decision-making. As the workday wraps up, there could be a review of the day's accomplishments, setting priorities for the following day, and possibly some time spent on professional reading or development.
After work, there might be time allocated for personal interests or hobbies, spending time with family or friends, or perhaps participating in community or industry events. Before sleep, there could be a period of unwinding, possibly including reading, meditation, or other relaxation activities. This can be a good time to reflect on the day and prepare mentally for the next one.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
A recent leadership lesson I've been reminded of is the importance of adaptability in the face of change. In today's rapidly evolving technological landscape, the ability to adapt and pivot is critical. This applies not only to business strategies and product development but also to leadership style. With the advent of remote work and digital transformation, I've learned that as a leader, I need to be more flexible and adaptive to these changes.
This includes finding new ways to communicate, manage, and motivate remote teams, as well as staying on top of technological advancements to guide my organization effectively. This lesson reaffirms the idea that leadership is not static. It is a dynamic process that involves continuous learning, adaptability, and evolution to effectively meet the needs of the team and the organization as a whole. This reminder has been valuable as I continue to navigate the leadership landscape in this era of rapid change and uncertainty.
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: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't" by Jim Collins.
The book presents the results of a comprehensive study on companies that were able to transition from being good to being great, and sustain that performance over the long term. Collins and his team identified several key characteristics that these companies share, which were presented as concepts such as Level 5 Leadership, the Hedgehog Concept, and the Culture of Discipline. "Good to Great" provided me with valuable insights into the mechanisms that allow some companies to break away from mediocrity and achieve sustained excellence.
It shifted my understanding of effective leadership from being primarily charismatic and visionary, to a model that stresses humility, professional will, and a relentless focus on the right things. The book's idea of 'Level 5 Leadership'— leaders who combine extreme personal humility with intense professional will— was particularly impactful. It made me reflect on my leadership style and focus on cultivating these traits. It encouraged me to put the company's success and sustainability above personal recognition. Moreover, the 'Hedgehog Concept'— focusing on what you can be best at, what drives your economic engine, and what you are passionate about— guided my decision-making processes.
This concept helped me lead my organizations in identifying their core competencies and aligning their strategies accordingly. Overall, "Good to Great" shaped my perspective on leadership and strategic management, making me a more effective and purpose-driven leader.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Embrace continuous learning and stay adaptable. The world around us is constantly changing, particularly in the realm of technology. As a leader, your ability to continually learn and adapt to these changes can set you apart. Don't be afraid to venture outside of your comfort zone, and never stop seeking knowledge. Listen to those around you, from your employees to your mentors, as everyone has a unique perspective to offer. Remember, leadership is not about knowing all the answers but about asking the right questions and fostering a culture of growth and adaptability.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
One significant moment that stands out in my career as a leader was during my tenure as CEO at Maayan Ventures Ltd., Israel's largest technological incubator. There was one startup in our portfolio that was on the verge of failing, having encountered severe technical and financial difficulties.
Despite these challenges, I saw potential in their innovative technology and their dedicated team. I decided to take a more hands-on approach with them, providing intensive mentorship and working alongside them to reshape their business strategy. After several months of hard work, including multiple rounds of rigorous technical refinement and successful fundraising campaigns, we managed to turn the situation around.
The startup not only survived but thrived, eventually getting acquired by a major tech company. This experience reminded me of the power of resilience and the importance of discerning potential. It emphasized the crucial role of leadership not just in guiding but also in inspiring, motivating, and occasionally even sharing the trenches with the team. This story continues to inspire me and shape my approach as a leader.