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7 Questions with Andreas Mader
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7 Questions with Andreas Mader
Name: Andreas Mader
Current title: Chairman
Current organisation: Aperia International Inc.
Successful business leader with an engineering degree and finance education. Dual citizen (US and Germany) with large and small company experience.
Original founder of Aperia International, a specialty consultancy
serving on a global level strategic and private investors in the packaging and adjacent space.
1. What have you found most challenging as a board member?
Being able to step back, guide and advice others. Giving an organization both support as well as constructive challenge.
2. How did you become a board member? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I came back from an industry assignment to Aperia International as a regular board member, helping to drive their new excellence modules. I was elected chairman at a partners meeting.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Pretty much like everyone else in my position, I would assume.
The morning starts with a walk and some exercise. If I am not traveling, then a coffee with my wife. In my role I have time to focus with the business on single aspects, currently I work with them on developing and setting up a business excellence program. This requires a lot of reading and interaction with the CEO and the practice leaders typically in sessions once or twice a month. I have a few industry association board assignments which fill the rest of the afternoon. Whenever possible during the evening we home cook meals and unwind.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
I have learned many. Probably that as a leader you're only as good as the weakest member of your team. I have always made it my mission to build cohesive, intrinsically motivated teams, enabling them to collectively excel.
5. What are some of the keys to doing governance well in a organisation?
We are a smaller organization and I feel it is even more important to have clear structures. A key factor is to create a culture of openness and belonging. I found in small and large companies, if people do not feel the belong and there is a culture where they can't speak up, mistakes are covered up and the door is open to work around guidelines and structures.
6. How do you differentiate between the role of board member and the roles of CEO or executive team member of a organisation?
A board member has to step back and must not be involved in the day to day activities of the business. A board member doesn't lead in the conventional sense of leading, rather provides guide posts and has maybe a focus group or topic, like being on committee, or providing expertise and input to a specific business area. A board member should have the long term perspective of the business in mind, the 3-5 year strategic orientation and not next years budget.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a board member so far?
Working with a selected group of executives on their new program, where they asked me for input, I found my self being to emerged to deep in the topic. That temptation is always there and I try t overcome it by scheduling meetings far apart and short so I remain involved but on the sidelines watching and commenting and not on the playing field running around.