7 Questions with Xavier Moreano
Name: Xavier Moreano
Current title: CMO
Current organisation: Netlife
I am an explorer of strategies, insights and new ways of
do more and better. Passionate about marketing, technology and innovation, with more than 18 years of experience directing the corporate and competitive strategy of large tech companies, creating value and sustained growth.
Convinced that technology improves the quality of life and the future is in the digital world applying methods and tools of the 4.0 revolution. My principles are based on faith and God. My science-based methods. Creativity, empathy and critical thinking. Expert in strategy, marketing, technology, innovation and transformation digital. Speaker, columnist, mba professor and digital world ambassador.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
In my experience, i have found that the most challenging thing is to transform the way enterprises think and their culture in order to achieve disruptive results. There are always fears that paralize people and stop new ways to do things. Align different areas to get the same performance, share the same purpose and work with the same values and behavior.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My history starts 10 years ago. I was a product manager at a large public telecommunications company (USD$450MM x year), I earned respect and reputation, but I got stuck and I cannot grow more. I participated in a process to be the new CMO in a new venture. I have invited to join a group of people to achieve a dream, a dream to connect households with a wide fiber optics network to get a bright digital world. There was a situation of high uncertain because there was a bet without warranties. There were many other large competitors, with high budget, high brand awareness and great trajectory, but like slow elephants. On one hand I had stability, respect and status quo, but no growth, and on the other hand I had no warranties, uncertainty but the opportunity to develop a brand from the scratch and the potential to grow to be an executive of a large enterprise. There was a lot of hard work, we started with an income of $10MM per year, I had to transform the culture because they were always working in the corporate segment, and the target was a massive segment. But, with the right purpose, with the right understanding of the market and the right offer value, we succeed. Today we have an income of $175MM and we are growing 25% per year.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Discipline is very important in order to achieve great results. And is hard to apply it. I wake up early in the morning and go for a walk with my wife. It helps us to get focus and get energy, then we get breakfast and start our day. At the beginning of the week I define my goals in order of relevance, then each day I take my goals to organize the things to do on the day. One important thing is to register the time to every thing on the agenda. For example, time to be creative, time to analyze some data, time to learn and improve from the past actions, time to explore new models, offers or processes. All those things get scheduled in my agenda in order to give them time. If i don´t schedule them, I never could saw them, because there are a lot of meetings, emails and operational things to be done. I also register time for lunch and time to finish the work. In a remote work it is easy to forget the time to get disconnected, so it is important to consider it.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
This year our company started to do remote work because of COVID, but with the remote work came a great amount of work for all my team. I learned the importance to be connected with them even in a remote condition. As I said, it is easy to get involved in many things because of the requirements of the work and forget that on the other side there are people with fears, dreams, family and life. There is not only work, a team work is more than that. And a leader has to maintain that connection, that purposely being a support for your team, defending your team from the environment and giving them feedback constantly. Have to give freedom with responsibility.
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?
There are many books i can refer, like: Originals (Adam Grant), Today is important (John Maxwell), 12 rules to live (Jordan Peterson), but i guess the most profound impact on my leadership comes from Lean Startup and from the Andrew Chakhoyan´s TEDx presentation saying that the era of management is over. Before that I was encouraging my team to be very plannified. I had believed before that the most planned plan and the most detailed procedures brings a perfect execution. But now I realize that our environment has many uncertainties and we cannot think in every scenario, so we can establish principles that drive us to the direction we want. It helped me to understand better the meaning of liberty with responsibility, and help me to improve our performance as a team.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
In my experience, there are two things large enterprise does to build leadership capacity:
1) Learning approach: Giving freedom and encouraging teams to explore new ways to do things and rewarding learning from the mistakes. Fomentando a cometer errores rápido y al menor costo posible.
2) Mentorship programs where senior executives guide and prepare new leaders also helps to build leadership capacity.
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 guess, the abstract of the lesson learned of this history is: Trust but verify.
We launched new internet plans and we had to offer to our customers via call center. Something like: "double your bandwidth for just few dollars'', and our regulation asks for get the recorded acceptance of each customer, we started with a partner and the flow was to get the recorded acceptance before accept the pay to the partner, but we wanted to get fast results and the partner asks for cash in order to maintain the operation flow, so i took the risk and gave them the money before receive the recorded acceptance of the customers. At the end, the partner didn 't send the recorded information and we had problems. After many rounds, we got the information, lucky me, but I got many worries until the solution. I learned to balance the need for speed of results with the validation of the requirements. So, trust but verify.