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7 Questions with Teo Zanella
helps you in your leadership.
7 Questions with Teo Zanella
Name: Teo Zanella
Current title: Director of Product
Current organisation: Rally Health
Teo is a no-nonsense, Italian born, San Francisco based father of 1. He spent 20+ years in digital product leadership, strategy, and cross-cultural facilitation across early stage, Fortune 50 companies, and international non-profits, as well as coaching and advising.
He spends most of his days as Director of Product for Virtual Care solutions at Rally Health thinking how to make healthcare more accessible leveraging the power of technologies. Between 2014 and 2020 Teo led the development of Collective Health's health benefit offering for US employees, from their customer centric member experience to their scalable technology platform. Prior to that, he was a CXO advisor at the Boston Consulting Group in New York, a Software Engineer at Hewlett-Packard and worked in Product Operations at Facebook. He also holds a BS and MS in Computer Engineering as well as an MBA from NYU School of Business.
Teo tries to stay sane by cooking, hosting friends, playing volleyball on the beach, and practicing mindfulness.
1. What have you found most challenging as a board member?
I want to get into the weed and lead the team quickly to the solution, but I know I should just point them in the right direction and let them figure it out. Still, it is hard to see when they are taking the wrong turn, or when they are getting bogged down where you might want them to move much faster.
2. How did you become a board member? Can you please briefly tell the story?
A good friend of mine asked me to help him steer his company, and so I did. I always enjoyed to support other, and in particular those companies that are making this world a little better
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
First time with my son, and for a good long walk/him (as many days as I can). Then after 9am I focus on cleaning up my inbox: what can be dealt with right away, what requires a longer, more thoughtful answer etc. Then a couple of hours of meetings, compacted back to back until lunch, let's say 10am to 12pm or so. Then if I can take 1 hr for lunch I do, otherwise less. Then another couple of hours of meetings, compacted back to back, let's say 1pm to 3pm. Then is thinking/solo work time until family/dinner time. After that something relaxing like a series or a good sci-fi book.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Emotional intensity can burn out people. Space and time is important to decompress. Motivation, grit, and drive are not infinite nor what you can base your business on.
5. What are some of the keys to doing governance well in a organisation?
Clear accountable parties, transparency at all levels, periodic reviews and feedback. It's much harder than it sounds.
6. How do you differentiate between the role of board member and the roles of CEO or executive team member of a organisation?
The CEO and C-suite are responsible for executing. The Board is there to advise and support, even if it's strongly disagreeing.