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7 Questions with Heath Preston
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7 Questions with Heath Preston
Name: Heath Preston
Current title: CEO
Current organisation: Total Technology Business Solutions
I am the CEO and Founder of Total Technology Business Solutions, we specialize in Managed Print and IT Service's. Total Technology Business Solutions Pty Ltd was created with 1 goal in mind, to provide our clients with the latest best of breed technology & solutions from the world's most trusted technology providers. This in turn allows our clients to deal with 1 trusted advisor who oversees and manages all their Technology infrastructure instead of then dealing with 5 separate providers for 5 different solutions and ultimately having to speak to 5 different call centres every time there is an issue. Prior to this, I worked with industry pioneers in the managed print and IT sector specialising in business development & management of sales teams . After too many years of watching my clients being promised a certain level of service and account management from these large manufacturers yet never receiving it I decided to go out on my own and create a business that leveraged the expertise of the large manufacturers in terms of their patents, service infrastructure and technology but provided the level of service you could only get from dealing with smaller businesses that live and die by their customers.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
The most challenging aspect is to manage scalable growth. As a growing company, we have also faced an increase in client requirements. There is an ongoing need to streamline the current process and procedures in place to scale faster while maintaining the pace of innovation and leadership. To overcome this challenge, we continuously try to develop each team member to develop their expertise and equip them to optimise their role in turn delivering the outcome required to scale.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I have worked with industry pioneers in the managed print and IT sector specialising in business development & management of sales teams . After too many years of watching my clients being promised a certain level of service and account management from these large manufacturers yet never receiving it I decided to go out on my own and create a business that leveraged the expertise of the large manufacturers in terms of their patents, service infrastructure and technology but provided the level of service you could only get from dealing with smaller businesses that live and die by their customers. This thought was the foundation of Total Technology Business Solutions.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
As a CEO of a Technology Company, there is a constant urge to catch up and no matter how much effort you have put in, the finishing line always seems so far. My philosophy is that mornings should be utilised to do the most important work rather than doing the hardest. I try to strategies and plan for the first few hours while holding off emails, calls and meetings until lunchtime. My afternoons revolve around focusing on client's proposals, pitching clients and project action items. I like to end my day by sector specific research. I try to engage my team members with any latest technology or trend I have come across or been made aware of in the industry. At the end of the day I meet with the senior leadership team to review the day, address any issues or concerns and discuss preparation for the following day. After driving home, I head to the gym to let off some steam and then I engage myself with quality family time and eating good food.
After dinner I open my laptop again and try to research about new marketing trends to maintain our website and social media platforms and a strategic roll out for the upcoming months. I try to wrap this up by midnight, however it depends upon how carried away I get. It's an exciting time.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
The most recent leadership lesson that I have learnt is accountability and trust in my team. The ability to delegate important tasks to your employees and have faith in them that they will be able to deliver takes accountability and trust. As a leader, I believe in empowering my team members by engaging in providing them opportunities and watching them rise to the occasion and ultimately proving themselves. Last year, I challenged one of my employees to take a bigger role by taking more responsibility and handling the day to day operations of the company. This individual embraced the opportunity and rose to the challenge, which ultimately paved the way for them to take on a greater leadership role in the future. As a result, by introducing accountability and trust it will encourage the team members to take initiative as well as take the necessary actions to execute them.
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 would go with "Turn the ship around" by L. David Marquet. This book is based on a Marquet as a captain of the US Navy during his service time. This book reveals how a more democratic leadership approach is more effective to bring in positive outcomes rather than the traditional leader-follower approach. By implementing the democratic approach, Santa Fe skyrocketed from worst to first in the fleet by challenging the U.S. Navy’s traditional leader-follower approach. Each member of Marquet’s crew started taking responsibility for everything he did, from clerical tasks to crucial combat decisions. The crew became completely engaged, contributing their full intellectual capacity. At Total Technology Business Solutions, we follow this leadership approach in which every team member has been given an opportunity to take initiatives and execute it. We also encourage free flow of ideas in our regular brainstorming sessions. This way my team members also feel engaged and have a power of contribution within the organisation.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
I believe in focusing on creativity and innovation to build leadership capacity. The third most important skill in the year 2020 was creativity. Also as a modern day organisation, the need to continuously innovate is significant for long term success and survival. As a result I thrive to create a work culture that is conducive to creative thinking and innovation which leads to competitive advantage. The working environment should usher in initiation and introduction of new ideas, procedures and strategies which as a result lead to organisational diversification which is critical in today's uncertain global economy due to increased technological changes and competition.
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 would like to tell the story about how I found the CFO for my company. Not long back, I was trying to hire one agency manager to look over the day to day running of the business operations. I had interviewed a lot of candidates however I was not able to settle my mind with someone. I interviewed one girl who had a Master's degree in Corporate Governance background in Accounting and Finance, the interview went well and I hired her to look after the regular business operations. At the beginning, I noticed that she was able to manage the daily operations of the business smoothly and was always keen on taking more tasks in her hand. I slowly started giving her more authority to introduce any new policies or procedures that would be best suited for my business. She started taking more responsibility and taking initiatives on how to better run the business and better manage all teams. I would have regular meetings with her and discuss how to grow the business and implement policies to better manage the team as well. As she was also looking after the accounting part of the business as well, I got the idea of developing her into my CFO. Since then she has been working with me by my side as my CFO.