7 Questions with David Scott Swift
Name: David Scott Swift
Current title: Operations Executive Consultant
Current organisation: Consultant
30 years of leading Operations and supply chains in the A&D market. I have had continuous success in aligning all business activities to our company's desired results, by employing daily measures for only the critical KPI's.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Developing a long term strategy for the next five years, while incentivising all executives for the short term, profit, cash and growth.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I focussed on excelling at my current job, and being successful at that job helped me get recognized and move up in that organization. Focussing more on team success helped my people... team building, and interpersonal skills and kept my focus on the global optimum and not the local. I also found that continual education helped keep my knowledge cutting edge and make strong connections within outside industry educators like; APICS, ISM, and AME.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Wake up early with a plan to work out... clear my head and get to work. Working, I have dissected the business goals into daily activities that I measure and complete every day. If you are successful every day, you will be successful for your week... month and year. At night, when work is done, clear my mind and spend the evening with my wife and get ready for the next day.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
One of the staples for successful corporations today must be business continuity and risk management planning. Sustainability is the goal but with our dependence on international supply chains, we must get much better at planning for all contingencies.
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?
Never split the difference. It is a book about negotiations but all business activities are a level of negotiations. The premise behind the book is neither party is satisfied with the results if you split the difference. Nothing profound but keeping the process in my tool kit helped me develop successful negotiations with customers, suppliers and coworkers.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
You hire the best people from the start. You have an annual review process which is perfectly aligned with the business goals and revisit continually to mold team behaviors to successful ones. A robust succession planning process is a business imperative. Continual education of the team, with opportunities to learn and grow and show that the company has the penchant to promote from within.
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 a member of a leadership team, we had a strategy of winning a large IDIQ contract and beating the incumbent. The odds of dethroning the incumbent was not in our favor but we moved forward any way. We invested millions in R&D improving our current offering for this contract. We hired subject matter experts to better understand the needs of the customer and we eventually won. The lesson I learned was; no matter how audacious the goal is, with team belief and a coherent and aligned strategy, anything is possible.