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

7 Questions with Sandy Colombo

helps you in your leadership.



Jonno White

7 Questions with Sandy Colombo

Name: Sandy Colombo

Current title: Founder

Current organisation: Colombo Consulting & Valuable Business Conversations

I was a poor leader when I first started Managing staff, as I didn't have any strong role models in the Travel Industry. It was also an Industry that not always values training or investing in staff leadership. I led how I had been led and thought it was easy to be the Manager or Leader.
I certainly found out the hard way that there is more to be a Managing and leading a team than delegating. After a while I realised that the only thing I could change was me. I simply couldn't work any harder.
At this point of my career I was kick starting this wholesale travel business with a busy home life as wife and mother of two young children and something had to give. I just wanted 2 minutes to myself and still keep all the balls in the air.....however anxiety was what I got in return for my poor self management.
Once I got my ego in check everything changed!
I love it when my client has an "aha moment" and everything becomes clear. I empower people to trust themselves with their leadership journey and become the best version of themselves to get their desired outcomes.
I work in the travel, hospitality, education and service industries where I have had over 30 years experience.
Who is Sandy Colombo?
A specialist communications and creative leadership facilitator, as well as a professional business coach, with extensive national and international experience. Sandy’s skill lies in her ability to work alongside key stakeholders to empower their people to take responsibility for improvement, to act decisively and to risk being the best.

7 Questions with Sandy Colombo


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

Managing people and being the was not easy as I had not had great role models. Understanding that people all think differently and finding the balance between seeing the person for who they are and the job that they are required to do. Leadership is not always a "natural" skill and learning to "self lead" is the first step in becoming a great team leader and Manager

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

After the wholesale travel business I Managed was sold to a US multinational I wanted to make a difference by empowering others to become better leaders and Managers. I retrained during my travel days - NLP Prac, Master & Trainer and started my own consulting first it was really different not having a large team. I had to learn new skills and do things I had not had to do previously. It has been a great journey over the past 7 years and I am very proud of being able to be transition and be my own boss

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

I am big on "time blocking" and when using this method I always work in flow.....Working in flow is wonderful and I am able to achieve more and feel really great about myself and my work
I am not into being "busy" or "flat-out" as we all have the power to decide what we want to "be" so I prefer to be motivated & efficient.
The first items that go into my time blocking are the things I need. We all must look after ourselves first then others. I work on the 80/20 rule. Therefore 80% of the time I do not work weekends, at night or 15 hour days......This is not an efficient way to work. Sometimes I need too however I never let it be more than 20% of the time.
I ensure each day I exercise & meditate but if I miss a day I do not beat myself up about it. I am human and sometimes stuff comes up.
I also ensure that I have time for my friends and family as they are very important to me.

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

That not everyone sees things the way we think they do....and that just because you "like" someone does not mean they are a good leader or a good Manager. A person who speaks about "doing" stuff and "being" stuff may sound amazing yet if there is no action behind the words trust is quickly lost.
Leadership is more about action than it is about words - so I always run a few "test" situations before making a decision around working with someone. For me it is sometimes difficult to see people who are untrustworthy because I am trustworthy. Often we can not see something we are not.
The great fun guy at the pub (or Good time Manager) may not be so fun to work with

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?

The success principles by Jack Canfield. I used this book to build successful businesses and step one is "take responsibility" You are where you are because of the decision you make ( just like me) I spent a week in Tuscany with Jack and was surprised how spiritual he is. We can all be great at business and still be ethical. Run a mile from anyone that tells you "well that's just business" That is not taking responsibility for how you treat others. Treating people like we want to be treated may not make you lead in the race but like the Rabbit and the Hare it will make you win the race in the end.

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

Leadership is not a title or a job description - it's a "buy in" to want to have great outcomes. Everyone in the team (big or small - no matter where they are in the team) needs to buy into the vision and be on board. They all need to know what the goal is and how we are going to get there.
Just like with team sport one person may be the star (or the boss) but he/she needs everyone else to want to win the game too.
You need clear communication and active listening skills

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?

Always be curious and ask questions. I had a staff member who did something that was really off the chart. Everyone in the team was really upset and it caused a big problem on one of our most important projects.
I have always believed that most people act with the best intention and so when he arrived in the office I asked a series of questions. I was so please that I did as I found out that he had been involved in a very serious situation some years back and this project had triggered him in many ways
I was able to understand the why behind the very out of character behaviour and swap him (with his consent) onto another very valuable project.

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