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7 Questions on Leadership with Anjo De Heus


Name: Anjo De Heus


Title: Freelance Strategic Advisor / Chief Strategy Officer


Organisation: MariamTek Inc.


Location: United Arab Emirates


With a relentless drive for growth and a proven knack for pioneering success, Anjo De Heus is a force to be reckoned with in every field he ventures into. His unparalleled ability to spot market opportunities and leverage cutting-edge technology and solutions at precisely the right moment sets him apart as a true innovator across multiple industries.


Anjo's leadership style is defined by bold vision and disruptive thinking that challenges norms and sparks transformation. Recognized for his mentorship grounded in values-driven leadership, he inspires teams to break barriers and reach new heights of achievement.


With a wealth of experience in strategy, commercialization, and stakeholder engagement, Anjo brings a holistic perspective to every project he undertakes. His strategic insights and executive acumen have propelled organizations to unprecedented levels of success, fostering a culture of innovation and sustainable growth.


Above all, Anjo embodies a mindset of limitless potential, refusing to let fear hinder progress. Committed to pushing boundaries and exploring fresh avenues, he constantly seeks out novel solutions, orchestrating symphonies of success in every endeavor.


Currently serving as the Chief Strategy Officer of MariamTek Inc., Anjo continues to lead the charge towards a future defined by innovation and excellence.


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


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


Cheers,

Jonno White



1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?


Enabling employees and coworkers is one of the most challenging yet rewarding aspects of leadership. It requires a delicate balance of empowerment, support, and guidance to foster a culture of collaboration, growth, and productivity.


As a leader, I approach this challenge with a multifaceted strategy. Firstly, I believe in providing clear direction and setting achievable goals. By establishing a shared vision and outlining clear objectives, I empower individuals to understand their role within the broader context and take ownership of their contributions.


Secondly, I prioritize open communication and transparency. I create an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing their ideas, concerns, and feedback. By fostering a culture of open dialogue, I encourage collaboration, creativity, and continuous improvement.


Additionally, I invest in the development and growth of my team members. I provide opportunities for learning, skill development, and career advancement. Whether through training programs, mentorship initiatives, or personalized coaching, I strive to empower individuals to reach their full potential and excel in their roles.


Moreover, I recognize the importance of fostering a supportive and inclusive work environment. I actively promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, ensuring that every voice is heard and valued. By embracing diversity and fostering a culture of respect and empathy, I create a sense of belonging and camaraderie within the team.


Lastly, I lead by example. I demonstrate integrity, resilience, and a commitment to excellence in everything I do. By embodying the values and behaviors I expect from others, I inspire trust, confidence, and motivation among my team members.


In summary, enabling employees and coworkers requires a holistic approach that encompasses clear direction, open communication, continuous development, inclusivity, and leading by example. By prioritizing these principles, I believe we can create a thriving workplace where everyone can contribute their best work and achieve collective success.


2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?


Becoming a leader has been a journey shaped by both experiences and personal growth. It's not a single moment but rather a series of steps and lessons learned along the way.


My path to leadership began with a strong foundation of education and skill development. I pursued opportunities to enhance my knowledge and expertise in my field, continuously seeking out new challenges and learning experiences.


However, it was not until I embraced opportunities for practical application and real-world experience that I truly began to evolve as a leader. Early in my career, I actively sought out leadership roles and responsibilities, even if they were outside my comfort zone. These experiences allowed me to develop essential leadership skills such as communication, decision-making, and problem-solving.


Moreover, I attribute much of my growth as a leader to the mentorship and guidance of others. Throughout my journey, I have been fortunate to work alongside inspiring mentors and colleagues who have supported and challenged me to reach new heights. Their insights, advice, and constructive feedback have been invaluable in shaping my leadership style and approach.


Additionally, I believe that leadership is not just about individual accomplishments but also about empowering and uplifting others. As I advanced in my career, I made a conscious effort to mentor and support those around me, fostering a culture of collaboration, growth, and excellence.


Ultimately, my journey to leadership has been characterized by a commitment to continuous learning, a willingness to embrace challenges, and a dedication to empowering others. While there is always more to learn and improve upon, I am grateful for the experiences that have shaped me into the leader I am today.


3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?


Every morning, my day kicks off with a ritual that begins with the comforting aroma of freshly brewed coffee. From the crack of dawn or to be precise, 03:30 AM, until the sun is high in the sky, I'm deeply engaged in tackling essential tasks, mapping out strategies, and envisioning the future.


But it's not all about work. At around 7 AM, I step outside for a rejuvenating morning walk, letting the crisp air invigorate my mind and body. As I return, I transform into a beacon of creativity and innovation, delving into projects that challenge the status quo and push boundaries.


By early afternoon, my focus shifts to communication and collaboration, as I engage in calls and meetings to connect with colleagues and partners. However, as the day winds down, I carve out a precious window of time for myself. Whether it's navigating the rugged terrain of the desert or simply unwinding with a good book, I prioritize moments of solitude and reflection.


Evenings are dedicated to fostering relationships and nurturing connections, particularly with my counterparts in the USA. As the clock inches closer to 9 PM, I conscientiously power down my devices, signaling the end of the workday and the beginning of a well-deserved rest.


This rhythm of productivity, creativity, and self-care not only fuels my own success but also sets the tone for a balanced and fulfilling life.

  

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?


In a recent meeting, I experienced a profound revelation regarding the crucial role of active listening in effective leadership. Despite my innate tendency to be a keen listener, I realized there were moments where my assertiveness drowned out the voices of my colleagues.


Upon reflection, I reaffirmed that genuine leadership entails not just expressing ideas but also genuinely hearing diverse perspectives. I took proactive steps to adapt my approach and foster an inclusive environment, actively embracing the insights, concerns, and feedback of others. This adjustment led to increased collaboration, sparked innovation, and instilled a deeper sense of ownership among the team.


Moving forward, I am steadfast in my commitment to prioritize active listening as a cornerstone of my leadership philosophy. I have implemented techniques such as employing open-ended questions, utilizing paraphrasing for clarity, and ensuring equal participation for all stakeholders. By championing and amplifying diverse voices, I am confident we can achieve greater collective 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?


Carol Dweck's book, "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success," published in 2006, has had a profound impact on my leadership journey. Prior to encountering Dweck's work, I operated under the assumption that intelligence and abilities were fixed traits, leading me to approach challenges with a fear of failure and a desire to prove myself.


However, Dweck's concept of the growth mindset challenged this belief, suggesting that intelligence and abilities can be developed through dedication, effort, and resilience. This revelation transformed my perspective on leadership, prompting me to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth rather than threats to my competence.


With the adoption of a growth mindset, I became more willing to take risks, learn from setbacks, and adapt my approach based on feedback. I cultivated a culture of continuous learning and development within my team, encouraging them to view failures as valuable learning experiences and to persist in the face of obstacles.


By embracing Dweck's principles, I've fostered a more resilient, innovative, and collaborative team environment, leading to greater success and fulfillment in my leadership role.


6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?


If I could offer just one piece of advice to a young leader, it would be to cultivate a growth mindset. Embrace challenges as opportunities for learning and development rather than obstacles to success. Recognize that intelligence and abilities can be developed through dedication, effort, and resilience. By adopting a growth mindset, you'll be better equipped to navigate the complexities of leadership, overcome setbacks, and achieve your full potential.


7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?


One particularly meaningful story that resonates with me from my time as a leader is the ongoing journey of entrepreneurship, filled with its myriad challenges and triumphs. While there are countless tales to share from my extensive career, this one stands out as a constant reminder of the dynamic nature of business leadership.


In the world of entrepreneurship, each day presents a new set of hurdles to overcome and opportunities to seize. From managing stakeholder expectations and navigating external influences to striving towards ambitious goals, the entrepreneurial path is anything but mundane. It demands adaptability, resilience, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.


One specific instance that encapsulates this reality is when our company faced a period of intense pressure and uncertainty due to external market forces. Despite the adversity, our team remained steadfast in our commitment to our vision and values. We rallied together, leveraging our collective strengths and creativity to devise innovative solutions and pivot our strategy accordingly.


Throughout this challenging time, I learned valuable lessons about the importance of agility, perseverance, and effective leadership in times of crisis. It reinforced my belief in the power of resilience and resourcefulness in overcoming obstacles and driving sustainable growth.


Ultimately, this story serves as a testament to the inherent excitement and unpredictability of the entrepreneurial journey. It highlights the endless opportunities for growth, learning, and meaningful impact that come with leading a business in today's dynamic landscape.

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