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7 Questions with Donna DeChant
helps you in your leadership.
7 Questions with Donna DeChant
Name: Donna DeChant
Current title: Chief People Officer
Current organisation: ShipMonk
Motivated HR/OD professional driven to impact people, teams and companies. Experienced program builder, problem solver, leader and coach.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Balancing priorities to ensure we are taking care of our people, customers, suppliers and stakeholders. It's essential to keep a broad view and make decisions accordingly.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Almost all of my career moves including moving to VP HR at IPIC and CPO at ShipMonk have been the result of networking.
I have invested in others and cultivated relationships for 30+ years in South Florida and people recommend me to others. It's an honor and I am grateful for the colleagues in my circle.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Peloton prioritization is key! Whether it's an early cycling class or a nighttime meditation, it's important, especially these days.
Those who know me well know I always have a plan (often written) and I learned from a great coach years ago to make the plan holistic. So, my personal, professional and routine tasks, lists and priorities -- are all commingled in the plan and it all needs to get done. I tend to like planning for the week, versus daily. That allows me flexibility to move things around and accomplish more.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
I've been learning the same lesson for years... people will remember how you treat them. When things are good or bad, leaders need to treat others well. It's remarkably basic, but an essential concept.
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?
Start with Why, by Simon Sinek. Intuitively, I have understood for some time that people need to be connected to purpose. As leaders, we need to set context, connect the dots, and provide inspiration for others to contribute at their highest levels. Start with Why reminds me how to get results.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
I've seen success with a broad array of programs that define leadership for applicants, individual contributors, and leaders at all levels. Leadership needs a soundtrack -- based on the industry, maturity, organizational results and everyone needs to know the music and the lyrics. Leadership capability is built intentionally by executive teams who define it, display it, and reward it consistently.
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 worked with a CEO who took a risk with me years ago and lent his support to an innovative program I designed. He funded it and created organizational support for the effort, including his own first hand participation. When we graduated the first cohort through the one-year effort, he told me that celebration was the greatest day of his career.