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Thank you to the 1,400 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading

7 Questions with Robert Criste

helps you in your leadership.



Jonno White

7 Questions with Robert Criste

Name: Robert Criste

Current title: US Southeast Regional Director, Water Management Solutions

Technical business development and strategic solution sales professional – based in Atlanta, GA.
Broad based US Southeast regional water infrastructure expertise involving water-loss mitigation technologies, storm-water management systems, surface and drinking water distribution/transmission systems’ product specification.

Extensive experience as trusted-advisor; guiding government leadership through Smart-City, IoT deployments and road-mapping - within complex sales cycles, structural programmed funding, and pilot evaluations. Expertise in combining both traditional sales tactics with IoT fluency. Master of client relationship development and ongoing management of distribution sales channels, virtual & in-person presentation expertise and sales-training skills. Precise execution of sales mentorship, strategic alliance formation, and marketing program management.

Focus: civil engineering, government/municipal, contractors, waterworks distributors, construction materials & systems specification, prospecting, qualifying, and managing through IWQ, RFI/RFP processes, client facing and closure; all within water quality, environmental stewardship, and sustainability (CSR) products/services arenas.

Global Market Experience – US, Europe, UK, Central & South America, Caribbean & Mexico
Multilingual – Spanish near-fluent, Portuguese proficient

7 Questions with Robert Criste


1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?

Public/Municipal/Elected/Appointed officials tend to view "Vendors" in a certain disillusioned light. - Becoming a "trusted-advisor" to them is a very serious challenge, but one that is overcome with tactics and strategy.

2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I started building golf courses and developed a significant knowledge-base in agronomy/hydrology/stormwater/irrigation - all water related. I focused on bringing water-use-mitigation technologies to golf and sports turf globally.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I make a list every morning, without fail, even on weekends...EVERYDAY. I also have a pad and pencil next to my bed so I can get things/ideas down and OUT of my head so I can sleep. Don't forget how important good sleep is to productivity. The list eliminates two pests, hurry and indecision.

I go to bed at 10 - up at 5 - the first hour is very quiet with some devotional, reading, etc.
I exercise for 45 minutes from 6:00-6:45 - shower and ready at 7. - I take 3-4 10/15 minute breaks religiously, stretch, walk about, etc.

And yes I use Outlook Calendar and Notes...
I keep my computer very organized.

I NEVER read an email and then move on. I ALWAYS do something with that email before moving on.- this is very important when you're very busy.

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

People want an exciting visionary. I make memorable presentations...memorable...not normal...i make jokes, laugh, throw swag around the have to lead. \

People want a SIMPLE message, complicated messages mess everything up.

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?

Straight from the gut - Jack Welsh.
I was managing a small sales team. I realized it's "NOT BASEBALL" - you don't get 3 strikes on performance, integrity, or ethics. In general, people fire themselves.

It's OK to say he/she needs to - "go do something else" - just remove subjectivity, be objective and that matters on the hiring side as well.

6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?

empowerment and accountability.

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 was president of a large turf grass operation of 440 acres in FL. I lived in AZ, thought I could run the business from afar...then my farm manager needed some tools (socket set, grinders, general tools) - without asking he went to SEARS and bought $4,200 in tools, which cannot be returned once used.

I would have spent $200 at an estate sale or the newspaper classified section.

Details matter - regardless of whether money is directly involved.

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