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7 More Questions on Leadership with Virun Rampersad

Name: Virun Rampersad

Title: CEO

Organisation: Virun Rampersad & Associates, LLC

Virun is a Certified Executive Coach and Consultant who focuses on helping clients solve problems, move faster, develop stronger relationships and deliver better results. Clients tap Virun when they are new to an organization, newly promoted or seeking to drive organizational change.

Virun has over 30 years of operating experience, primarily at BNY Mellon where he held various senior leadership roles including Chief Operating Officer of the Client Management Group, Head of Client Experience Strategies, Global Head of Innovation and Senior Client Executive. He has worked in all major business disciplines including strategy, finance, technology, product and operations, and has deep domain expertise in sales, client management and change management. He has operated as both a business leader and an “intrapreneur”. Virun was a founding member and co-chair of BNY Mellon’s multi-cultural employee resource group, IMPACT. He was featured on the cover of American Banker Magazine and received BNY's Chairman Circle Award for outstanding sales performance.

Today Virun works with executives from some of the world's leading organizations, including Blackstone, Citizens Bank, MUFG, Beasley Insurance, GE Aviation and M&T Bank.

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 Virun'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?

Three key steps.

1. Be genuine. Don't put on airs of false modesty.

2. Be outwardly focused. Seek to understand the person you are talking to, what they do and what they care about, and give them full attention when you speak to them.

3. Be positive and don't off unsolicited advice off the bat. Ask questions versus offering prescriptions.

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

Vision is an aspirational state of being that is desirable and motivational. Mission is the next target landing point or stage of advancement that you wish to take your team to from where they are now. The vision is motivational and hope driven. It is a reason to come to work. It gives teams purpose. Mission is specific. It is a step on the ladder tomorrow and makes things tangible and allows people to put together action plans they can execute. Both, along with strategy, are very important.

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

1. Work at the right level -- don't do your people's job for them, even if you are better at it than they are.

2. Create the environment they can succeed. Make sure they understand and buy-in to the mission, are clear on who is going to do what, by when with who's help and have the tools to solve execute. Help remove obstacles to progress and help them solve their problems.

3. Be kind, not nice. Motivate positively, but acknowledge failures. Create a process of constant learning and solutioning.

4. Keep a clear scoreboard measuring progress and celebrate successes. Set challenging, but achievable goals.

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?

My former boss, Jean Wynn had the unique combination of brilliance, fun, results oriented and motivational. She believed I could do things I was doubtful about and never wavered in her support. She had my back and that enabled me to take risks. She was the best boss I ever had.

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

Keep your eye on the prize and don't have more than three major goals. As a leader you will have 20+ things coming at you. Determine what the to Top 3 are as they generally are the keys to success and focus on those. Delegate, defer or ignore other things.

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?

Planning begins with a vision of where I would like to be and what it looks like in practical terms. Then I decide what needs to happen to get there and how it could happen. Then I prioritize and execute. Every week I reassess to make sure my approach makes sense.

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

Get a coach. Moving to a new role is hard and a coach can help you move faster and deliver better results. Key things the coach will help you do: 1.Work at the right level. First promote yourself mentally and define what that job is about, leveraging your manager for insight. 2.Be clear on the things you need to delegate and work to determine who is going to pick those up and what help they need to take the reins. 3. Assess progress regularly.

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