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7 Questions with Adriana Cooper
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7 Questions with Adriana Cooper
Name: Adriana Cooper
Current title: CEO
Current organisation: Destinations HR
Human Resources Executive with a passion for building a culture of excellence.
Adriana has 29 years of multi-disciplinary experience in Human Resources and has worked with 500 Fortune companies.
In 2018, Adriana founded Destinations HR Consulting, focused on supporting small and mid-sized organizations delivering people strategies, and supporting scaling solutions.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Developing leaders at all levels to sustain an organization's performance and competitive advantage. Training and coaching are often undervalued and not enough investment is placed into growing leaders.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I always have the drive to do more and a passion for learning and self-development. I am very lucky great leaders saw this desire and I was mentored to lead. After 25 years of working for amazing organizations, I decided it was time to launch my own company.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Good routines and determination lead to steady and sustainable results. I get up at 5:30 am to focus on my well-being, starting with meditation. I am very strategic in how I schedule activities and build "transition" times between appointments and projects. This transition technique allows me to be fully present and engaged in each activity. The last activity on my calendar every day is a review of the day and planning for the next day to stay focused on goals and meaningful activities. I do take time every day to stay connected with people in my network. In the evenings or at bedtime I read articles and books to keep learning and growing.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
No individual is too important for a company to retain after a significant misconduct incident. When working for an organization, an individual being mentored for the COO role got drunk and engaged in misconduct during a company event. The CEO retained the individual against my recommendation. Culture is a reflection of leadership and it is the CEO's responsibility to model and uphold the values the organization stands for.
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?
I am a big fan of John Maxwell. One book I keep handy is the 15 invaluable laws of growth. CEOs often lead in unchartered territory and deal with many unknown situations. These laws serve as a compass to navigate different scenarios and make good decisions.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Culture is everything. Building a strong culture allows for retention and leadership development. Not all talent will grow internally, so it is important to attract the right people. The second recommendation is to retain the right talent. Keeping low performers, or star performers with toxic personalities dilute the culture.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
As an executive, we are often focused so much on strategy and projects that we forget to ask the important questions to the people in the trenches doing the work that generates the revenue for the organization. I have been able to implement the right retention solutions by being in touch with people and asking the right questions. The one-on-one conversations during my visiting tours are often the best because the employee is genuine in sharing what works and what doesn't. Listening without judgment allows for open conversations.