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7 Questions on Leadership with Elvijs

Name: Elvijs

Title: CMO

Organisation: Grozeo

As the Chief Digital Officer for Global Brand and CMO for the UK at Grozeo, I spearhead digital innovation and marketing strategies that resonate on a global scale. My role involves harnessing the power of digital transformation to position Grozeo at the forefront of its industry, ensuring we not only meet but exceed the dynamic demands of the digital era. In the UK market, my focus as CMO is on tailoring strategies that resonate with local nuances, driving brand engagement and growth.

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

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


Jonno White

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

One of the most challenging aspects of leadership I've encountered is striking the right balance between being approachable and maintaining the necessary level of authority and respect. In any organization, employees are the lifeblood, the driving force behind its success. However, just as a single unhealthy apple can affect the whole bunch, one disengaged or negative employee can impact the entire team's morale and productivity.

Effective communication is a critical component of this balance. I've observed that different team members have varying preferences; some respond better to a more direct, assertive style of management, while others thrive under a gentler, more supportive approach. Finding that middle ground, where you're seen as both a supportive figure and a decisive leader, is a delicate and ongoing process.

In my journey as a leader, I've learned that adaptability and empathy are key. It's about understanding the unique dynamics of your team, recognizing the individual needs of your employees, and adjusting your leadership style accordingly. While it's impossible to please everyone all the time, striving to be the best leader for your team involves a continuous process of learning, adapting, and balancing the dual roles of being a supportive mentor and a respected authority figure.

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

My journey to leadership began quite organically from a young age. Reflecting back, I realize that leadership has always been an intrinsic part of who I am. Whether it was captaining my football team, spearheading school projects, or stepping up in situations that required guidance, I naturally found myself in roles where I could lead and make a difference.

This inclination towards leadership stemmed from a deep-seated desire to care for people and a passion for tackling challenges and navigating complex situations. It's something that's been embedded in my core. Interestingly, for a long time, I didn't consciously identify as a leader. It was only around the age of 21, when I actively pursued management roles, rapidly advanced in the corporate world, and eventually ventured into entrepreneurship, that I fully embraced my identity as a leader.

This realization was a turning point. It helped me understand that leadership isn't just about a title or a position; it's about the impact you make, the problems you solve, and the way you inspire and support those around you. My journey to leadership wasn't a deliberate choice but rather a natural progression of my innate qualities and life experiences.

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

My workdays are structured around a highly demanding schedule, reflective of my commitment to building an empire and leaving a lasting legacy. It's a rigorous routine that I've adapted to over the years, though I'm aware it's not a lifestyle suited for everyone.

I typically start my day early, waking up at 4 am. This quiet time is reserved for meditation and a brief exercise session, which helps me center my thoughts and prepare for the day ahead. By 5 am, I'm actively engaged in work, primarily focusing on coordinating with my team in India. This involves running through meetings and addressing any immediate questions or concerns.

Around 8 am, I take a short break for breakfast and a quick shower, ensuring I'm at the office by 9:30 am. The office hours are intense, filled with a mix of firefighting, responding to emails, handling calls, and various forms of communication essential for running the companies and projects.

I take a brief 30-minute lunch break at 1 pm, then dive back into work, focusing on the critical tasks that drive the most significant results for the companies, adhering to the 80/20 rule. My office work usually wraps up around 7 pm, although it can sometimes extend as late as 10 pm.

Once home, I have dinner and then shift to more creative tasks and meeting any pending deadlines. I aim to go to sleep around midnight or 1 am, giving me a few hours of rest before starting the cycle again. This routine runs seven days a week, with only one Sunday off per month.

It's a demanding schedule that requires both mental and physical resilience, and I'm fully aware of the risks involved. But for me, the drive to achieve my goals outweighs these challenges.

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

A recent leadership lesson that has resonated with me, either as a new insight or as a reminder, is the importance of recognizing and adapting to the diverse nature of individuals and cultures in the workplace. This lesson underscores that each person's unique personality and life stage, as well as the distinct cultural backgrounds they come from, require different approaches in terms of work, communication, and ethics.

What proves effective in motivating and communicating with individuals or teams in one culture or country may not necessarily apply to another. In the hustle of our daily routines, it's easy to overlook these nuances, but I strive to remain mindful of them through continuous learning and evolution.

As a leader, I've come to understand that growth and learning are ongoing processes. The world is constantly changing, and as leaders, we must not only adapt to these changes but also anticipate them as much as possible. This approach helps in making informed decisions and leading teams more effectively in a global and culturally diverse environment.

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?

"The E-Myth Revisited" by Michael E. Gerber has profoundly influenced my approach to leadership and understanding of business dynamics. Gerber's concept that we embody three distinct personalities – the Entrepreneur, the Manager, and the Technician – provided me with a framework to better understand not only my role but also the roles of those around me in a business context.

The Entrepreneur: This is the visionary aspect, always looking towards the future and seeking opportunities. It resonated with me as it highlighted the importance of being forward-thinking and innovative in leadership.

The Manager: This role focuses on planning and organizing, looking to the past to learn and improve. It underscored the need for structure and order in managing teams and projects.

The Technician: Concentrating on the present, this role deals with the actual execution of tasks. It reminded me of the importance of being grounded in the day-to-day operations and understanding the nitty-gritty of the business.

Reading this book was a moment of clarity. It helped me recognize that while some individuals are naturally inclined towards a particular role, understanding and balancing all three aspects within oneself is crucial for successful leadership. It also taught me the importance of recognizing where my team members fit within these roles, allowing me to better align their strengths with the needs of the business.

This understanding has been instrumental in automating teams and streamlining business processes, ensuring that each member is utilized in roles where they can excel and contribute most effectively. "The E-Myth Revisited" has not only enhanced my leadership skills but also transformed my approach to building and managing successful, efficient teams.

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 this: Set clear, specific, and measurable goals. Avoid getting lost in the realm of "what ifs" or fantasies. Remember, much of your success is within your control, including planning for contingencies. Equally important is to truly know and understand your team. Your team is your greatest asset; they can either elevate you or be your downfall. Lead them with compassion and empathy, but never lose sight of your role as their leader. Your ability to balance understanding with effective management is key to your collective success.

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

One meaningful insight I've gleaned from my leadership journey involves the diverse attitudes and outcomes of the people I've mentored, coached, and worked with. This isn't a single story, but a pattern I've observed over time.

In my experience, whether through consultations, coaching, training, or managing apprentices and interns, I've noticed distinct categories of individuals. There are those who believe they already know everything, those who only want to hear what aligns with their preconceptions, and a rare few genuinely open to learning, applying knowledge, and growing.

A striking statistic from my career is that about 95% of my paid clients did not fully utilize the advice and guidance provided. They remained stagnant, while the remaining 5% who embraced and acted on the insights scaled their businesses to multi-million dollar ventures. Similarly, among interns and apprentices, 97% continued to hop from one opportunity to another, never fully committing or growing, despite my willingness to hire and invest in them. Only 3% have evolved alongside me, becoming successful leaders and business owners in their own right.

Furthermore, over 90% of employees who have been part of my teams and moved on to other companies are often perceived as superstars in their new roles. This is a testament to the knowledge and skills imparted during their time with me. My mission has always been to ensure that everyone who interacts with me experiences growth. However, the choice to grow and make the most of these opportunities ultimately lies with the individual.

This pattern has led me to a crucial realization: not everyone chooses to seize the opportunities for growth, even when presented. It's a reminder of the importance of self-awareness and the willingness to embrace change and learning. I often encourage people to reflect deeply on what they truly want from their lives and careers, and to be open to the growth paths that unfold before them.

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