Name: Cole Heka
Title: Founder | Director
My name is Cole Heka, I'm an industrial designer and the founder of the-System.co
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Cole's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
For me it's got to be focus and procastination, you know when you are young you tend be an idealist and you have all this ideas that you want to pursue, and what that does to you is that it fogs your focus and thats where procastination is usually in full effect, and you think you have the time to do it all and you don't, so currently I'm learning to focus on the few and to not let the good ideas I have get in the way of the great ideas I have.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Well I don't know that there's a point in the life of a leader when you have this sort of epiphany. I think leadership is something you develop into and that could be by design or by chance. And my case is no different I think the space I occupy in what I chose to pursue in a sense its by design because I chose to start a company.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I focus on the fundamentals, the most important thing is to wake up! Obviously, So I look at my schedule, take a 30 minutes walk or body stretch, take a shower, do a 1h30mins research on a topic of interest, then get on with my daily tasks. And that sounds banal saying it, But leadership is about initiative and the true test is the willingness to effectively do the mundane.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
I'm constantly reminded of the importance of Urgency. I've come to figure that we underestimate urgency as a Leadership quality and we overestimate the plan, we tend to forget that plans change over and all the time. Another one is courage, courage to ask and to do and even more important the courage to keep going, you know theres this quote by Peter Thiel that "We are living in a world where courage is in far shorter supply than genius" and he was right on brother ! The only thing thats between you and what you want is the courage to make a move.
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?
I'm not really the reading type, well lets say I'm not an avid reader, I do alot of research on topics of interest and usually that will lead me to books but I will only read what I want to know and I consume alot of interviews, alot, with persons of intrest and I love magazines & picture books but currently the books in my radar are from 'Zero to One' by Blake Masters and Peter Thiel and it focuses on how to build successful companies, maybe another one is 'Design is One' by Lella and Massimo Vignelli and it emphasizes on the idea that if you can design on thing you can design anything, and I'm particulary keen on historical accounts, Inventions and Wars, and the Bible is an intresting book as well, biblical accounts fascinate me. As for how that impacts my initiative, I would say I'm inspired!
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Know thy self! Always make your intentions clear, avoid apathy at all cost and stay clear of the frivolities. Focus on the few. And don't overestimate what you can do in the short term, focus on the long term with a sense of urgency. And Avoid the News! .... Well thats a whole piece.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Well its not really a story but an understanding and that is 'Tutto passa', that, everything passes. But then that also the universe will show you everything you need to see before you become everything you are meant to be. So, I'm just enjoying the ride!
And thank you for having me Jonno.