Name: Abhishek Mago
Title: Chief Marketing Officer
Abhishek Mago is a seasoned Marketing Executive with a forward-thinking approach, boasting more than 21 years of expertise in pivotal areas such as product development, integrated branding solutions, automated marketing, e-commerce, and learning management systems. With a robust technology background, he demonstrates a keen insight into revenue optimization strategies and the art of expanding brand influence.
He excels in orchestrating multi-disciplinary, global teams, leveraging his proven track record of efficiently managing multi-million-dollar digital investments. His leadership has consistently yielded accelerated growth and impressive returns on investment (ROI). Notably, he thrives in navigating high-risk experiments, demonstrating resilience in the face of uncertainty, and fostering success through transformative solutions. Abhishek's commitment to delivering impact, value, and enhanced experiences underscores his ability to lead teams towards excellence in the dynamic landscape of modern marketing.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Abhishek's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Navigating change effectively is a paramount challenge anyone faces in their leadership journey. In any organizational setting, change is an inherent, an inevitable constant and drives growth. Whether it's adapting to market shifts, implementing new technologies, or restructuring processes, leading teams through these transitions demands a multifaceted and intricate approach.
One of the primary complexities lies in overcoming resistance to change. Individuals within the team may harbor uncertainties, fears, or concerns about how changes will impact their roles, routines, or the overall work environment. Addressing these concerns requires a delicate balance of empathy, clear communication, and the ability to convey the benefits of the change.
Moreover, managing the pace of change poses a significant challenge. Introducing too many changes simultaneously can overwhelm the team and hinder productivity. Conversely, a slow pace might lead to stagnation and missed opportunities. Striking the right balance, therefore, demands astute strategic planning and a keen understanding of the organization's capacity for change.
The communication aspect during change management is pivotal. Transparent and regular communication is essential to keep the team informed about the reasons behind the change, the anticipated outcomes, and how it aligns with the overall vision of the organization. Miscommunication or a lack thereof can breed uncertainty and resistance, undermining the success of the change initiative.
Adapting leadership styles during times of change is another layer of complexity. A one-size-fits-all approach rarely proves effective when leading diverse teams through transitions. Tailoring leadership strategies to the unique needs and concerns of individuals is crucial for fostering a sense of trust and confidence during times of change.
In summary, managing change effectively requires a comprehensive skill set encompassing emotional intelligence, strategic thinking, communication prowess, and the ability to adapt leadership styles. By recognizing the intricacies of change management and approaching it with a proactive and empathetic mindset, leaders can navigate their teams through transitions with resilience and ultimately contribute to the organization's long-term success.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Embarking on my professional journey, I assumed leadership roles as a group and team lead early on in my career. However, it became evident to me early on that while computers may listen, people don't always follow suit. This realization prompted me to view managing my team as a project, ensuring a continuous trajectory of improvement and growth. Witnessing success in motivating a select group of team members to embrace a forward-looking mindset fueled our collective achievements, earning our team accolades for outstanding performance in the quarterly evaluations.
A pivotal moment in my career occurred when I was promoted to the role of project manager, inheriting a team of "average performers" in a sluggish project. Taking a ground-up approach, I restructured the team based on skill sets and key performance indicators (KPIs). This method allowed me to address performance obstacles in strategic bursts, simultaneously alleviating stress levels for team managers and fostering a content and successful team environment.
This became a defining moment for me and that's when i believe I graduated from being a manger to a leader. Since then, I've embraced an inclusive management style that has become second nature to me. Striving for excellence has been a consistent theme throughout my career, and I've endeavored to instill the same commitment within my team.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Over the past decade, I have established a disciplined and nurturing routine that has become a steadfast aspect of my life. Commencing at 5 a.m., my day kicks off with a vital dose of Java and an intense 30-minute weight training session— although I wish I could allocate more time to this regimen. With my children off to school by 7 a.m., I head to work at 7:15 a.m.
Upon arrival at the office, the day officially begins at 8:30 a.m. with a comprehensive review of the previous day's performance across diverse markets and channels. This followed by a brief standup meeting with the team, sets the tone for the day ahead.
The initial half of the day primarily revolves around internal team dynamics and KPI management, while the latter half involves engaging in discussions with leaders from various markets and planning strategies for the coming weeks, months, and quarters.
Effectively managing my workload throughout the day, I make it a point to incorporate five minutes of stretching between multiple calls. Departing from the office at 5:30 p.m., I navigate through the unforgiving traffic, typically reaching home between 7 and 7:30 p.m. Despite the challenges, this timing allows me to cherish precious moments with my family, share laughter, and, if time permits, indulge in a brisk 15-20 minute walk with my spouse before winding down by 10 p.m.
Embracing this structured framework has empowered me to efficiently navigate my responsibilities, strike a harmonious balance between professional and personal commitments, and consistently make progress towards both my career and personal aspirations as a senior leader.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
It is more about reinforcement and realisation of the team structure as an evolving process. The dynamics of our teams shape the very foundation upon which our organization stands, influencing how we collaborate, innovate, and ultimately redefine success.
With growing to more than 33 different geographies, populated with almost 11 channels of marketing and adding the need of bringing in the flavor of localisation to increase engagement rates, it was evident that we had to move to a newsroom structure within the department with the execution being handled at the local level. This really helped me to build a quick responsive team, helped grow the output & at scale. With this the challenges coming to light were reporting structure and automation, which were made to be a shot case given the skillful team hired.
In this dynamic environment, reinforcing the lesson that team structure is an evolving process is not just a strategic choice—it's a necessity. It allows us to stay ahead of the curve, anticipate changes, and position ourselves for sustained success.
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?
Thats a no brainer, "The Effective Executive" is a classic management book written by Peter Drucker. In this influential work, Drucker offers insights and principles for enhancing one's effectiveness as a leader and manager. The book emphasizes the importance of time management, decision-making, and focusing on one's strengths.
It really helped me to understand the significance of making decisions based on a systematic and well-informed approach, understanding that effective executives are those who can make the right decisions at the right time.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Prioritize continuous learning and adaptability. The professional landscape is dynamic and ever-evolving, and the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn is crucial for sustained success. Embrace new challenges, seek out diverse experiences, and be open to acquiring new skills and knowledge. This commitment to ongoing learning not only enhances your personal growth but also equips you to lead effectively in an environment of constant change.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Here is one!
I was with a larger company, on the cusp of breaking through in to the top 5 entities wrt revenue and Sales in the world. I was heading a department with 6 different teams targeting 6 different skill sets and aspect of business including Marketing Technology and automation.
Through constant work done with the team we had created automated workflows and processes to include every failsafe possible to ensure business continuity with a constant eye out for innovation that can impact revenue growth. But mostly driven by me. One fine day, i had barrage of walkins by team leaders with 3 new breakthroughs concepts, which once developed, had the potential to generate a 16% incremental revenue in a single quarter.
The smile on my face was not because of the plans presented, but because the team had come together to usher in the next era of transformative change.