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7 Questions with Adrian Bunea
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7 Questions with Adrian Bunea
Name: Adrian Bunea
Current title: Operations Lead - IT Service Management & Service Integration
Current organisation: Genpact
Experienced leader with 11+ years of successful projects in the IT sector with a demonstrated history of high performance in managing joint IT-Business projects, processes, focusing on leveraging strategic relationships, resource allocation, budget planning, recruitment and financials.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
I believe the most challenging part of work is not keeping the customers happy, but keeping your employees happy and engaged, as that requires a significant time investment. A lot of leaders talk about this, we have organizational programs to cater to this, however I found most of them lacking. I strongly believe that happy employees will lead to happy customers. No program can replace the 5-10 mins you spend engaging with someone, on things that matter to them.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
This is a tough one. My professional life started as a check-in agent, waking up at 3AM every morning and working with hundreds of passengers, sometimes abusive ones. But that helped me a lot to develop my skills around understanding different types of people and how they react. Which I see as a major asset for any leader. Then I had various jobs, in sales, sales management, switched to the IT side, and continued to enjoy working with people and continuously learning. Nothing extraordinary, just work, learning and listening to people.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I try to keep my schedule organized, although that's not always easy in IT. I usually start the day with a coffee and breakfast, then start reading up on my emails while I am having a second coffee. This is the time when I also try to reach out to people in my team, to see how they are doing, if they need help or if they are just down. Then probably meetings until around lunch, which is always blocked in my calendar. I try to make a point about not skipping lunch, as meetings have a way of creeping up on you. Second part of the day is again dedicated to meetings, until around 5PM, when I try to wrap up for the day and again reach out to people and check in. I rarely go over 6PM, because I try to keep the evenings for my personal life. Taking a walk, reading a book, going out, you need to be able to recharge for a new day of work.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
I think a quote from George Patton fits that bill: “If everybody's thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” Especially in these strange times, with the pandemic, with accelerated digitalization of the businesses, it is really important to look at a problem from more than one angle. If you truly want to be a leader you have to let people express their opinions and try out new ideas, even if they fail. A failure can be a win, if you learn something from it. So don't be afraid of someone challenging the status quo, encourage people to speak their mind and come up with crazy new approaches. Those crazy new ideas might make a huge difference.
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?
Not just one book, but the whole series of war books by Sven Hassel. What got me most there was the difference between the regular soldiers and the high ranking officers. Soldiers living in the dirt, in constant danger, with poor equipment, barely any food vs the generals staying safe behind the front lines, with plenty of food and drink, ordering others to their deaths. It got me thinking about what kind of leader I want to be. One that talks the talk and walks the walk, or one that just talks and never leads by example. So I always try to lead by example, to at least do once the "dirty" job that I ask my team to do.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
The key here is empowerment and creating a safe environment for making mistakes and learning from them. I strongly believe that people should be allowed to do things their own way, there are multiple ways to perform a task, so I try to encourage creativity and ownership. This is the task, you figure out how to do it. If you need help, my door is always open, but this is your baby now. I discovered that motivates people, a lot, it gives them a real sense of accomplishment. But sometimes they get it wrong, they make mistakes. And then my job as a leader is to step in front and take responsibility for that mistake. They will not get the short end of the stick if they make a mistake, provided they learn from that mistake and don't repeat it. We learn more from mistakes than from successful endeavors.
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 tend to get involved in a lot of humanitarian causes. I have a passion for off-roading and together with a group of fellow off-roaders we organize several times a year a humanitarian caravan. We basically go to remote and hard to reach areas of the country with basic supplies, books, essentials to people living a very hard life in these forgotten areas. My team knows about this and I was really surprised to see they discussed and agreed, without me knowing anything about, to save their monthly performance incentive and spend the whole yearly amount on buying toys for Christmas, for a school catering to visually impaired kids. One day they just came up to me and said look, we see you doing this, we want to do something similar, help others. I was never more proud of my team. No work related achievement, and we have had a lot, can top that.