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7 Questions with Miguel Garat Garcia
helps you in your leadership.
7 Questions with Miguel Garat Garcia
Name: Miguel Garat Garcia
Current title: President CleanAir Spaces
Current organisation: CleanAir Spaces LTD
I co-founded CleanAir Spaces (CAS) in 2016 driven by the vision that regardless of who you are or where you come from, we all have a right to breathe clean air.
Soon, we developed and patented DuctFIT®, a device that we placed in air conditionings that was able to eliminate bacteria both in the air and on surfaces. For 4 years, we worked hard to improve the technology, added artificial intelligence to it and installed it in many schools and offices.
In February 2020, when the Covid pandemic hit China, we tested DuctFit® against Covid 19 and it worked! with an efficacy against the virus of 99.97% in a matter of minutes. CAS is now a global company with installations in more than 30 countries.
I am Spanish, married with 3 children and I live in Shanghai.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
1. Finding highly-qualified people with the right combination of skills and entrepreneurial drive.
This is even more difficult with remote teams. It’s tougher to streamline workflow, establish employee trust and cultivate synergy.
2. Managing scalable growth.
We are growing but the level of client requirements is growing way too fast. We have to streamline a lot of processes and scale faster while still continuing to innovate and maintain our leadership position.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
It was thanks to Jack Ma!
Jack Ma is the founder of Alibaba, a Chinese multinational technology company specializing in e-commerce.
At that time, I joined YPO (Young Presidents Organization), an association of young CEOs with chapters in many cities around the globe.
Soon, I found out that Jack Ma was also part of YPO but in a different chapter. I knew there was a big project to build the Alibaba Campus and decided to call him. Obviously he didn't pick up the phone. I called him again and again with no luck. After trying many times, I sent him an email, introducing myself and my products with, honestly, very little hope of getting an answer.
A week later I received a phone call. It was Jack's personal assistant. She said she had received my email and wanted to organize a meeting to discuss the project... and she asked me to stop the calls :) The rest is history! We won the campus project and Alibaba is still one of our best customers.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I wake up at 5:00 am and meditate for 30 minutes. I have breakfast with my family and then hit the gym for 1 hour. At around 8:30 am I have calls until about 10:00 am. From 10:00 to 12:00 am I meet my team and usually have lunch with customers. I spend most of the afternoons and early evenings on calls with Europe and Latam. I usually go to bed by 10 pm.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
I've learned that It’s not about me and that being a leader is about bringing the best out in others, not building a narcissistic cult of my personality.
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?
A long time ago, I read "Emotional Intelligence" by Daniel Goleman. I learned that we have two minds, the rational and the emotional. I also learned that self-awareness, self-discipline, and empathy, add up to a different way of being smart.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
I do this by making it clear to everyone that we are a learning organization and therefore we need to provide a supportive learning environment to everyone at all levels.
We have to encourage and reinforce learning all the time.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
Some time ago I had to recruit a sales person for my Beijing office. I interviewed several people and the last one was a person called Laurence.
Laurence could not speak proper English and looked terrible. His hair was dirty and messy, his suit was old fashioned and wrinkled, … but I could see something different in his eyes. At the time I didn’t know what it was, but now I know I was looking at a person who had nothing to lose and, unlike many other people I interviewed, he had confidence in himself. He told me he wanted my job in 2 years!
During the interview, he confessed that he had slept in a park near my office as he couldn't afford an apartment there and he didn't want to be late. He also mentioned that the day before he had rented the suit for our interview. I loved how positive he was, his passion, his enthusiasm.
It was an easy decision for me, I decided to hire him right away and, although he wanted to work without a salary, I offered him the same base salary as others plus a big bonus and commission plan.
In less than 3 months, he closed a big deal for us with China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), a Chinese oil and gas enterprise based in Beijing with over $ 280 Billions in sales.
He just moved on to set up his own company but, for a long time, he was the best sales person in our company.