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7 Questions with Ben Howell
helps you in your leadership.
7 Questions with Ben Howell
Name: Ben Howell
Current title: CEO and Content Manager
Current organisation: BENMACKproductions
I come from a diverse background. I have worked within multiple industries , produced multi dimensional marketing plans for some of Australia’s best known businesses, politicians, defence, oil and gas, automotive, industrial and building sector. Deliver marketing plans for print, TV, Radio and web for some of the largest companies in Australia. I have been a Marketing manager for over 9 years, leading teams, large and small, to a single outcome.
Working at a government ministerial level, consultant for the Minister of Police during this unprecedented COVID situation.
To be honest, what does all this experience mean? I'm well suited to your role.
I'm looking for substance, passion, and care. I have decided that I would like to work within an organisation that reflects these principals. I'm hoping you can supply that opportunity.
A bit more about me:
• Have delivered completed communication productions in digital, TV, online print and media
• Effective knowledge in both traditional and digital media, Video, Photography, design
• Provided exceptional leadership in working collaboratively within teams, to deliver a single outcome
• Track record of clear and effective communications.
• Excellent media contacts
• Developed a multifaceted communications plan for the minister of police and emergency services SA
• In conjunction with the Premier of SA, developed a new visual strategy for the SATC
• Awarded winning digital communications' producer/shooter, licensed drone pilot and a full suite of recording and image capturing equipment - industry standard.
• Strong skill set in making the right decision under pressure
• Strong understanding of communication strategies, with over 10 yrs of experience
• Strong understanding of all design, communication and publishing software
• 9+ years of marketing communications within hospitality
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Clearly it's COVID, but I'm tremendously bored with speaking about this. In my business of content production the biggest challenge is around budget expectations. It's very common to have people say " I want an amazing production, best of the best, But I only have a tiny budget" Working with clients to give what their budget can achieve is the biggest challenge.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I was working part time, outside of my normal job producing content, sort of on the side. I had just finished producing some content for a chain of restaurants, and was approached by the principles. " We want you to build us a content production house, go to it" So that is exactly what i did. Sourcing equipment, getting staff, developing a client list and increasing our reach.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I keep a very tight diary. You have too. I'm moving around quite a bit and know in advance where I need to be and who I am about to talk with is key. Without a digital diary I would be lost. A normal day looks like this. I hit the office at 8am, check that everyone knows where they need to be. I monitor production schedules throughout the day, and focus on increasing the client list. By the time 6pm rolls around, I'm checking the day's productions and planning for tomorrow.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Hire the right people. Make sure you people are good at what they do and allow for mistakes. People who are terrified of making mistakes won’t grow. Allow for it, budget for it and turn mistakes into a growing experience
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 many famous quotations in The Art of War. The most popular quotation used in Chinese daily life – “if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will always win in hundred fights”. The following quotation can be used in both military and business competition: all warfare is relying on deception. So when we have the ability to attach, we must attend to be unable; when we prepare to use our forces, we need to appear inactive; when we are nearby, we must pretend we are far away; when we are far away, we must make the enemy believe we are near. Capture your market without destroying it. Sun Tzu held the opinion that the best policy in the war was to take a state intact. The acme of skill was to subdue the enemy without fighting rather than to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles. Sun Zi summarized this strategy as “win all without fighting”. It is a very effective strategy if used in the business competition.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Hire the right person in the leadership role. A person who believes they know it all will never be a leader. You want someone who admits their shortfalls and strives to improve them. Especially when part of the solution is to surround yourself with smarter people. Leaders are never the most knowledgeable person in the room, but they understand this.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
When producing communications at a government ministerial office, There was a huge breakdown between what the minister wanted and what his advisers would allow. I was always warned to not interact directly with the minister. The minister never seemed satisfied with the end result. So, I went straight to the minister and had frank and direct conversations. His needs were clear and direct and we achieved communications that hit the mark. The lesson here is the advisers just were not that bright. Always go to the source of the information