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Thank you to the 1,400 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading

7 Questions with Adele Hartdegen

helps you in your leadership.



Jonno White

7 Questions with Adele Hartdegen

Name: Adele Hartdegen

Current title: Chief Executive Officer

Current organisation: Johannesburg Expo Centre

12 Years experience in Senior Management across Telecoms, Military and MICE industry

Strong strategic management and growth focused

7 Questions with Adele Hartdegen


1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?

Human resource management is definitely the biggest challenge, from recruitment to training and development. It is a time consuming task and one of the most challenging aspects is to find people who are self-motivated and able to function independently.

2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I was the Head of Marketing for an International Exhibition and Events Infrastructure company, the company subsequently started the process of acquiring a venue, I was part of the acquisition team from inception and a year after the buy-out of the venue, the then venue CEO suggested I apply for the position. After a rigorous interview process with the various shareholders I was appointed in an acting position, which was confirmed to a permanent appointment 6 months after I started in the role

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

I'm a firm believer in the 5am club. I wake up early, get a good workout done, spend some time reflecting and planning for the day. In the mornings I try to not take meetings until 11:00 spending my most productive times dealing with key issues. After work I cook, do some meditation and some reading and go to bed early.

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

Stop telling people you are busy,

Not only does it make it seem to them like you don't want to deal with them, but it also puts you into a mindset where you feel anxious and overwhelmed

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?

The 5am club

Not such a huge impact on leadership, more on my personal work style. I believe that if you are happy as a leader and truly care for people and their wellbeing, the rest falls into place by itself

6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?

I avoid micromanagement at all cost, I constantly evaluate my team to identify new skills set and give those that show leadership potential the opportunity to step in and take on more responsible roles

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?

I recently led a project with my team where we had to submit new creative concepts for a very large project, I involved them in every step of the process and allowed them to give feedback and raise their opinions. I was surprised at their attention to detail and very pleased with their high level of excitement. Teams that buy into a project with their leaders are 100% better performing than those who have to deliver a task because they were told to do so

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