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7 More Questions on Leadership with Ashish Verma

Name: Ashish Verma

Title: Director - Finance, IT and Operations

Organisation: 2X Global Limited

Ashish currently holds the position of Director responsible for Finance, IT, and Operations at 2X Global Limited. Prior to his role at 2X in the UK, he gained extensive experience working across multiple countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and South Asia, collaborating with individuals from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

With over 14 years of professional expertise spanning the Finance and Technology sectors, he possesses a deep knowledge in areas including FP&A, Corporate Finance, Business Finance, M&A, Treasury, and Business Transformation.

Ashish is a devoted technology enthusiast who advocates for leveraging technology to drive business outcomes and facilitate business transformation through the application of Automation, Analytics, and Data Science.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

We’ve gone through the interviews and asked the best of the best to come back and answer 7 MORE Questions on Leadership.

I hope Ashish's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. As a leader, how do you build trust with employees, customers and other stakeholders?

As a leader, my approach to building trust draws inspiration from renowned management author Stephen M.R. Covey's book 'The Speed of Trust.' Covey emphasizes the vital role of trust in organizational success and highlights principles such as transparency, accountability, and integrity as key drivers for building and maintaining trust. These principles have resonated with me, and I apply them diligently in my leadership style to create an environment where trust thrives. Here's a refined look at the strategies I employ to cultivate trust:

• Integrity and Clarity: I consistently practice integrity by adhering to ethical principles and demonstrating a commitment to doing what is right. I prioritize clarity in communication, ensuring that information is easily understood and readily available. This combination of integrity and clarity underscores my perseverance in ethical conduct and open, understandable communication, fostering trust among Team Members, customers, and stakeholders.

• Consistency and Reliability: My reliability is a core facet of building trust. I follow through on my commitments and promises, ensuring that my actions align with my words. This consistency underlines my dependability and reinforces that I can be counted on.

• Fairness and Equity: In my interactions, I treat every individual with respect, irrespective of their position or title. I advocate for an environment where equal opportunities are extended to all, fostering trust by showcasing a commitment to fairness and impartiality.

• Openness to Feedback and Continuous Improvement: I actively encourage feedback from all sources, recognizing its value in driving progress. By embracing both positive and negative feedback, I signal an openness to improvement and a willingness to adapt.

• Accountability and Learning from Mistakes: Recognizing that everyone is prone to errors, I willingly take responsibility for my mistakes. More than just acknowledging them, I view errors as opportunities for learning and growth, working diligently to avoid their repetition.

• Support and Encouragement: I stand as a pillar of support for my Team Members, customers, and stakeholders. I offer assistance and motivation when it is needed most, fostering trust through a tangible demonstration of my commitment to their success.

• Approachability and Availability: My accessibility and willingness to engage in conversations are key components of my leadership. By remaining approachable and accessible, I ensure that everyone feels comfortable approaching me with their thoughts, ideas, and concerns.

In addition to these fundamental principles, I take specific actions to build trust with Team Members:

• Individualized Engagement: I regularly hold one-on-one meetings with my Team Members to forge deeper connections, better understand their needs, and address any concerns they may have.

• Constructive Feedback: Providing frequent feedback, both positive and constructive, is crucial. This feedback loop helps Team Members develop their skills and grow within the organization.

• Empowerment: I empower my team by entrusting them with decision-making authority and encouraging ownership of their work. This autonomy builds trust and confidence within the team.

• Celebration of Achievements: I make it a point to celebrate the accomplishments of my team members. Recognizing their successes not only boosts morale but also reinforces their value within the organization.

• Conflict Resolution: I am always ready and willing to listen to Team Members' concerns and actively participate in resolving any issues they may encounter. This responsiveness demonstrates that I prioritize their well-being and job satisfaction.

Through these concerted efforts, I aim to create a workplace where Team Members feel valued, respected, and trusted. This environment, I believe, is the foundation for a more productive and successful organization where trust permeates every facet of our operations.

2. What do 'VISION' and 'MISSION' mean to you? And what does it actually look like to use them in real-world business?

To me, 'VISION' and 'MISSION' are not just buzzwords; they are foundational elements that provide direction and purpose to an organisation. Let me delve into what these terms signify to me and how they manifest in the real-world business context.

Firstly, a VISION is like the North Star of a company. It's the aspirational depiction of where the organization aims to be in the future. In management literature, this aligns with the concept of setting a long-term strategic direction. Books like "Good to Great" by Jim Collins emphasize the importance of a compelling vision that inspires and guides the entire workforce. It's not just a lofty statement but a clear, vivid picture of the desired destination. This vision serves as a source of motivation, aligning everyone towards a common goal.

On the other hand, the MISSION statement is more about the 'how' and 'why' of an organization's existence. It outlines the purpose, values, and principles that guide daily operations. Management gurus like Peter Drucker, in his book "The Practice of Management," highlight the significance of defining a mission. It's a beacon that aids decision-making, ensuring that every action contributes to fulfilling the broader vision. A well-crafted mission statement communicates to employees, customers, and stakeholders the core identity of the company.

Now, how do these concepts play out in real-world business?

In practice, a compelling vision and a clearly defined mission are not just documents framed on office walls; they are integrated into the fabric of the company. They guide strategic planning, shape company culture, and drive innovation. For example, a company with a vision of becoming the most customer-centric organization will orient its product development, customer service, and marketing efforts around this goal. In such a business, employees will be encouraged to think creatively and find ways to enhance customer experiences, aligning with the vision.

Moreover, when faced with tough decisions, these guiding statements provide a reference point. Imagine a situation where a company must choose between short-term profit and long-term sustainability. A well-articulated mission statement that underscores ethical responsibility and environmental stewardship will steer the company towards the more sustainable option.

In conclusion, 'VISION' and 'MISSION' are not mere slogans. They are the compass and the map that steer a business through the dynamic and often challenging landscape of the corporate world. They help companies stay true to their purpose, inspire employees, and create a lasting impact, as advocated in numerous management books that stress their pivotal role in organizational success.

3. How can a leader empower the people they're leading?

Empowering individuals within one's leadership is a cornerstone of effective leadership, a concept thoroughly examined and practised by accomplished leaders. To foster empowerment, leaders can employ several key strategies:

• Trust and Open Communication: Building trust within the team is paramount. Transparency and honesty form the foundation of trust, creating an atmosphere where open and candid communication thrives. When team members feel safe sharing their ideas and concerns, it sets the stage for empowerment to flourish.

• Learning and Development: Encouraging continuous learning and skill development is pivotal. Leaders should offer opportunities for training and personal growth, actively supporting team members in pursuing their career aspirations and personal development goals.

• Lead by Example: Leading by example is a powerful way to promote empowerment. Leaders should exemplify the behaviours and values they expect from their team. Demonstrating a strong work ethic and unwavering commitment to the team's objectives while embodying the qualities of exceptional leadership, including empathy and resilience, inspires and motivates others to follow suit.

• Empowerment Through Decision-Making: Incorporating team members into decision-making processes, when appropriate, is key to empowerment. Allowing individuals, the autonomy to take ownership of their tasks and decisions fosters a sense of responsibility and accountability for their actions and outcomes.

• Celebrate Successes: Recognizing and celebrating team accomplishments and significant milestones is essential. By also showcasing individual achievements, leaders can inspire and motivate team members. Success stories serve as tangible examples of empowerment in action.

These strategies collectively contribute to an environment where individuals not only feel empowered but also experience growth, ownership, and a sense of collaboration within the team. Empowered team members are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and driven to achieve their best, ultimately contributing to the success of the organization.

4. Who are some of the coaches or mentors in your life who have had a positive influence on your leadership? Can you please tell a meaningful story about one of them?

Throughout my journey, I've been fortunate to cross paths with some incredible coaches and mentors, each leaving a unique imprint on my leadership style. Among these remarkable individuals, there's one mentor whose influence shines brightly, particularly in a challenging chapter of my career—a strategic initiative that tested our mettle.

This mentor wasn't just a leader; they were a guiding light, capable of rallying teams and igniting the spark of innovation. Picture this: a pivotal moment in our strategic initiative, a moment when the horizon seemed clouded with setbacks and uncertainty.

Instead of succumbing to frustration or pointing fingers, our mentor orchestrated a team meeting that set the stage for resilience and growth. They calmly said, "Let's not see this setback as a roadblock, but rather as a stepping stone. It's our chance to regroup, refine our strategies, and emerge stronger than ever."

Their words weren't just motivational clichés; they were a call to action. In their composed presence, we found inspiration. We joined forces, brainstormed solutions, and, against all odds, transformed that setback into a springboard for progress. Not only did we conquer the challenge at hand, but we also nurtured a tighter-knit team with a newfound ability to conquer any obstacle.

The lesson I gleaned from this mentor transcends leadership textbooks. It's about maintaining grace under pressure, fostering a culture of resilience, and embracing challenges as opportunities. This mentor's mentorship was a symphony of actions, a resounding belief in our team's potential, and a testament to the power of positive leadership.

Their influence continues to reverberate in my leadership journey. I aim to emulate their ability to inspire, remain steadfast amidst adversity, and cultivate a collaborative, growth-driven team culture. This mentor serves as a constant reminder that great leaders don't just achieve results; they empower those around them to reach their highest potential, turning every setback into a stepping stone to success.

5. Leadership is often more about what you DON'T do. How do you maintain focus in your role?

Maintaining focus in a leadership role is indeed crucial, and I've found that it often involves recognizing what not to do. As a leader, I believe that effective focus is about balancing responsibilities, setting priorities, and avoiding distractions.

• Prioritization: Effective focus in leadership entails identifying critical tasks aligned with organizational goals and allocating resources accordingly.

• Delegation: Trusting team members with certain responsibilities empowers the team and allows the leader to focus on strategic decision-making.

• Avoiding Distractions: Establish specific time blocks for focused work, turn off unnecessary notifications, and set clear boundaries for electronic device use.

• Self-Discipline: Maintain personal guidelines and boundaries to prevent overextension, including the ability to say no to tasks or commitments that divert attention.

• Continuous Self-Assessment: Regularly review priorities, goals, and performance, seeking feedback to ensure alignment with organizational objectives and making necessary adjustments.

In conclusion, maintaining focus in a leadership role involves a combination of prioritization, delegation, minimizing distractions, self-discipline, and ongoing self-assessment. By recognizing what not to do and concentrating on what truly matters, I can effectively lead my team toward success.

6. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Everyone plans differently. How do you plan for the week, month and years ahead in your role?

I couldn't agree more with the saying that "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Planning is my compass for success, and I've developed a dynamic approach to tackle each time horizon – from week to month and even years ahead.

Weekly Planning:

• Reflection: I kickstart my week by reflecting on the previous week's achievements and identifying any pending tasks or carryovers.

• To-Do Lists: I create a detailed to-do list, mapping out specific goals, tasks, and their respective deadlines for the upcoming week.

• Time Allocation: I allocate time blocks for different projects and responsibilities, ensuring a balanced workload and efficient time management.

• Flexibility: I understand the importance of adaptability and am ready to adjust my plans as unforeseen challenges or opportunities pop up.

Monthly Planning:

• Strategic Review: At the beginning of each month, I step back to review my long-term goals and assess my progress toward achieving them.

• Goal Breakdown: I break down these overarching goals into smaller, actionable steps that can be accomplished throughout the month.

• Team Alignment: Regular check-ins with my team ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding our monthly objectives and milestones.

Long-term Planning (Year and Beyond):

• SMART Goals: I set SMART goals, which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound, aligning them with the organization's mission and vision.

• Environmental Scanning: I keep a close eye on market trends, industry developments, and our internal capabilities.

• SWOT Analysis: Conducting a SWOT analysis helps me identify our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, which inform my strategic planning.

• Roadmap Creation: All this information feeds into the creation of a comprehensive roadmap for the year ahead.

Throughout my planning process, I put a strong emphasis on flexibility. While structure is crucial, I recognize the need to adapt to changing circumstances and stay agile. Regular reviews and adjustments are woven into my planning fabric, ensuring I remain on course and effectively respond to unexpected twists and turns.

In a nutshell, I've crafted a planning approach that's not only systematic but also agile, keeping me organized, focused, and aligned with my goals. This dynamic strategy allows me to navigate the ever-changing waters of my role with confidence and adaptability.

7. What advice would you give to a young leader who is struggling to delegate effectively?

I would offer the following advice to a young leader who is finding it challenging to delegate effectively:

• Recognize the Importance of Delegation: Understand that effective delegation is a critical skill for any leader. Delegating tasks not only empowers your team members but also allows you to focus on higher-level responsibilities.

• Know Your Team: Take the time to get to know your team members, their strengths, weaknesses, and areas of expertise. This knowledge will help you assign tasks to the right people, ensuring a higher chance of success.

• Clear Communication: Clearly communicate your expectations when assigning a task. Explain the objectives, desired outcomes, deadlines, and any specific guidelines or constraints. Make sure your team understands what success looks like.

• Trust Your Team: Trust is fundamental to effective delegation. Trust your team's abilities and give them the autonomy to complete tasks in their own way. Micromanaging can demotivate and hinder their performance.

• Provide Resources and Support: Ensure that your team has the necessary resources, tools, and support to complete their tasks successfully. Be available for questions or guidance if needed.

• Set Milestones and Check-Ins: Break down larger projects into smaller milestones. Schedule regular check-ins to monitor progress and address any issues promptly. This helps maintain accountability and provides an opportunity for feedback.

• Learn from Mistakes: Understand that mistakes may happen, especially when delegating. Instead of blaming team members, use mistakes as learning opportunities. Encourage open communication and a culture of continuous improvement.

• Delegate Tasks, Not Just Work: Don't only delegate tasks but also delegate responsibility and authority. Empower your team to make decisions within their assigned tasks, as this fosters a sense of ownership and commitment.

• Provide Feedback and Recognition: Offer constructive feedback to help team members grow. Also, recognize and appreciate their efforts and achievements. Positive reinforcement can boost morale and motivation.

• Evaluate and Adjust: Periodically evaluate your delegation process. Assess what's working and what isn't. Be willing to adjust your approach based on the team's dynamics and the nature of the tasks.

In conclusion, effective delegation is a skill that takes time to develop. It requires trust, clear communication, and a willingness to learn from both successes and failures. As a young leader, mastering this skill will not only benefit your team but also contribute to your personal growth and leadership development.

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