Name: Slaven Drinovac
Title: Managing Director
Organisation: Coaching Centre
Slaven is the CEO of Coaching Centre, an online coaching platform renowned for its exceptional executive and leadership coaching services that drive transformational change in organisations. Having been a coaching psychology lecturer at the Australian College of Applied Professions and serving as the Queensland President of the International Coaching Federation Australasia, he is a recognisable figure in the coaching industry. His passion lies in creating a lasting impact by enabling leaders to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those around them.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Slaven's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Scaling up an organisation inevitably introduces a fresh set of challenges. From nurturing the company culture to adapting operational processes, navigating growth while preserving the factors that contribute to the team's success can be incredibly intricate.
It's not an impossible task, but it demands foresight and a delicate balancing act. Initially, I used to consider it time-consuming, but it's safe to say that investing effort in getting it right pays off exponentially.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Reflecting on how I became a leader led me to appreciate the interplay between nature and nurture. Rather than advocating for one over the other, I'm a firm believer that leaders are cultivated.
While I initially thought there might be a single defining moment, I traced back my leadership journey to my formative years, even back to high school. An inherent drive to empower and inspire others to excel has consistently been my compass, gradually shaping me into the leader I am today.
Looking back, it's clear that the essence of this drive remains unchanged; I've simply honed my skills in those areas over time.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My approach to structuring my workday begins well before the day itself. I prepare by scheduling meetings in advance, allowing me to carve out focused time for other tasks. The routine I follow maintains a consistent rhythm to minimise distractions. It all starts with a cup of coffee and a glance at the morning news.
Then, I review my calendar to grasp the day's flow. Mornings are dedicated to emails and planning tasks for the afternoon. Meetings find their slot between 10 am and 12 pm, followed by lunch and another round of meetings from 1 pm to 3 pm.
Afterwards, I dive into focused work until around 5 p.m. and then transition to exercise, dinner, and family time. I try to fit reading wherever I can. Of course, unexpected events can impact the plan, but I strive to stick to this schedule as closely as possible.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
A recent lesson that struck me is the importance of setting aside time to celebrate achievements, no matter how small. It's easy to get caught up in the mindset of "I'll have time for that later."
I've come to realise that as leaders, we often overlook the value of celebrating successes with our teams and even for ourselves.
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?
One book that wielded a substantial impact on my leadership, although not inherently about leadership, is "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman. I stumbled upon this book during a flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong, inspired by the intense focus of a fellow passenger engrossed in its pages.
Acquiring my own copy, I dived into its content and found that, while delving into thought processes, it profoundly influenced my self-awareness as both an individual and a leader. By comprehending the intricacies of the mind, I heightened my appreciation for introspection and attentiveness.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
If I were to distil my advice for young leaders into one nugget of wisdom, it would revolve around perseverance. Embracing opportunities without fearing failure and recognising that even unsuccessful endeavours yield valuable insights can foster an environment of continuous learning.
Just as we acquire new skills step by step, setbacks and missteps are intrinsic to the journey, contributing to a growing reservoir of knowledge.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
One poignant story remains etched in my memory. During my mentorship of an individual with a disability, I was initially oblivious to the profound impact I had on their life. The significance of my influence only became evident much later.
It struck me when I saw tears of gratitude in their eyes, as they shared how my support had rekindled their sense of self-worth. This humbling encounter highlighted the lesson that our actions, as leaders, possess the power to significantly affect those around us.
It's a reminder to pause and appreciate these moments, as their impact often exceeds our initial perception.