7 Questions with Warren Raisch
Name: Warren Raisch
Current title: CEO
Current organisation: Gravitas Team
Warren Raisch is an active industry leader with senior executive experience at some of the world’s highest growth organizations including Apple, IBM, Adobe and HP divisions and leading global agencies in the WPP and Publicis family of agencies. He has established global operations across over 190 countries and is a published author with McGraw-Hill Publishing (The eMarketplace). He currently is the CEO of Gravitas Team working with other CEOs to drive accelerated growth.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
I have found that predictable and scalable growth is one of the biggest challenges. I have worked through many enterprise transformations over the last 20 + years and have developed transformative growth models that accelerate and scale enterprises to the next level.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
For me, it has always been an intense focus on the customer and on empowering my people. Customer success and my team's success has driven my success. I have been a senior executive at multiple companies where I ran customer facing operations, several of which we took public and several private companies where I drove accelerated growth and lined up the companies for successful acquisition. Throughout my career my focus on our customers and my team’s success have always been a priority.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I am a big believer in striving for balance and focus. As an executive it is easy to be pulled in multiple directions. I choose to prioritize and focus on the ONE most important priority for the company and the rest falls in line. My day starts with a focus on personal health (early workout), eating right (Vegetarian/plant based diet) preferably with family, spiritual health & inspiration (a passage from the "Good Book" and positive leadership message) then on to the work day with a constant focus on the ONE top priority.
Then home and my priority one is 15 undisturbed minutes with my wife to catch up on life. Then dinner and evening with the family. I feel that sleep is the ultimate time to heal and rejuvenate. We far too often put it off and minimize its importance. All creatures need rest and we are no exception. I try to get at least 6-7 hours per night.
4. What’s the most recent significant leadership lesson you’ve learned?
Throughout my career I have learned how to scale accelerated growth through building recurring revenue models that drive high predictability, higher customer satisfaction, higher margins, increased employee retention and satisfaction. I call it "Revenue Transformation" that redefines product and service delivery models to allow for high growth at scale. Of course people are also at the core so don't forget that compensation drives behavior and a positive culture is also key to growth.
5. What one book has had the most profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
I believe that we need to have our money working for us and not the other way around. So, there have been a few pivotal books over the years, but Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki was probably one of the earliest books of influence for me. I have invested in real estate most of my life and have found it to be the most predictable and consistent form of wealth creation. It has its ups and downs but overall over the long run it has been very good to me.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
I believe that every executive has an obligation to give back and as such I believe in servant leadership and mentoring. I also believe in hiring people that are smarter than I am. It only takes a small group of smart, innovative and empowered leaders to rapidly accelerate the growth of an organization. As a leader you have to empower your people and get out of the way.
7. If you had to pick just one story, what would be the most meaningful story from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
Early in my career when I was directing International Sales for Apple, our president gave us what I thought was an impossible goal, we had just closed a very high growth year and were celebrating the success when he challenged us to double that success in the coming year.
Once I got over the shock of the challenge, it opened my mind up to "What if" possibilities. If we truly were to double our business what would it take, who would it take and how would we break through our old ways of thinking and operating to get there? We took on the seemingly impossible challenge and accomplished it by rethinking everything from our product offerings per market to our distribution to our manufacturing models to our development of subsidiaries and even opened the first Apple retail stores in the world taking our products directly to consumers. It was game changing!
I have taken on the lessons learned from that year throughout my career and challenged myself and teams to do the impossible by developing a culture of rethinking everything and embracing change.