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7 Questions with Anca Ioana Ionescu
helps you in your leadership.
7 Questions with Anca Ioana Ionescu
Name: Anca Ioana Ionescu
Current title: Chief Human Resources Officer
Current organisation: TTCM - Traders Trust
I believe in a world where people go to work motivated and return to their families feeling as if they’ve just conquered the world!
Every decision we make in our lives is a piece of communication, this I believe companies should treat their employees with the same attention and care as they treat their clients. I think they should invest in their employees’ development with the same drive and interest as they would invest in their client’s retention. I believe in building a great EVP.
I understand KPIs, I love metrics, and I love data-driven processes. I also love listening and finding the best and practical solutions for every problem.
I make it my mission to treat HR functions as a sales process. I believe in sorting stuff on the spot through coaching and guiding. I believe in clarity and accurate expectations. I love innovation, and I respect the scrappers. I appreciate loyalty and efficient work.
I’m like a suction cup for people’s hidden potential. I believe everyone has a great talent and I’m avid to find it. And once I do, I’ll do everything it takes to help keep, nurture it or help showcase it. I lead with kindness. Sometimes fiercely.
I really love what I do.
When I’m not career-counselling, running company operations, or HR departments, you can find me reading books, creating leadership courses, or spending quality time with great minds trying to show their "Why"s to the world.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
The most challenging for me is pitching the importance of people's growth prior to business growth. And then actually implementing all the data-driven processes to prove and sustain that growth.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Totally by accident :) But I guess staying truth to my mission and my real passion had something to do with it. I didn't take "no" for an answer and I didn't give up when everyone else told me that I won't make it. Having worked in the operational side for many many years in my field, made me a better HR than the market had to offer, simply because once you understand the job requirements from the inside, all you need to do is to match the potential in front of you with the demands on the business. That and the ability to choose the right persona for the job. Spotting the derailers is paramount, even though the hard skills are there...
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I'm an early bird so my day starts around 4 AM. My morning routine is 100% about me ( as I offer the rest of my time and energy to everyone else throughout the day) and often involves books, articles, good movies, research, walks, gardening and things that genuinely make me happy. Since the lockdown, I enjoy working from home and tend to work more hours on a daily basis. I am however a stickler for people connection and I do my best to get to the office and get and give that energy to the team. My week days are always scheduled fully from Sunday so there is always some sort of a structure and a plan in place. However, emergencies and unpredictable situations are constant. At the end of the day, we are in the people's business. We are complex beings. And that requires consistency, validation and listening. My dinners are odd, lately, as family time has been replaced with facetime or video calls ( Corona caught us apart and we cannot travel yet to reunite) but could still be fun and entertaining. Always a good movie or a good audiobook to sleep. And then repeat :)
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
That people in your organization often do not hear what you are saying, they are only following what you are doing. And if you show them that you truly care, that you fight for them, if you constantly validate their results and really "see" them as people first and then as employees, they will follow you everywhere, even if they have to give-up a good chunk of their wages to do so.
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?
There are a number of books that had a profound effect on my leadership so far. I am a book addict( I was able to read 5 to 6 books a week at some point) and I literally learned new things from every book I touched. Dale Carnegie's book, however, How to Make Friends and Influence People, was the first leadership book I ever read and I guess it not only impacted the way I lived and performed in my job but also set me on a path of self discovery and ultimately made me aware of how beautiful the human mind is.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
I believe you need to use the same principles whether you lead a team of 10 or a team of 10000 1. have a strong "why"
2. equip your people and make them fall in love with your why ( your mission)
3. trust your people and empower them
4. always teach them to create rather than copy others.
5. always give them tools to grow and find them a worthy rival to compete with
6. when running your business, have some sort of existential flexibility.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
It may sound cheesy but I'm a strong believer that every story is meaningful as every moment of our professional life is powerful. If you have the right presence and the humility to learn from every experience, person, interview, interaction. My lessons have been, over the years:
- People come first
- Stay true to yourself. If it doesn't feel good, don't do it.
- Remain ethical.
- When in doubt, simply multiply the situation/ person/ behavior by 10. If you are happy with the outcome, keep it. If not, toss..