Name: George Stancu
Title: Digital Transformation Executive Director
Organisation: PwC Australia
George is an experienced executive, delivering cloud and digital solutions with a strong emphasis on public services. His career spans across world-leading organisations in Government, Healthcare, Finance, Energy, and Products sectors, both in Australia and internationally. He has a deep-rooted passion for driving large-scale customer and citizen-centric digital transformations.
At PwC Australia, George helps drive delivery excellence within Cloud and Digital as part of the Industry Solutions team, utilising cutting-edge digital tools to fuel business transformation. Prior to this, he held significant roles at Cognizant, leading the Government and Public Services Industry for the ANZ region, and at Accenture Australia and the UK, focusing on cloud-based enterprise transformation programs.
Away from PwC, George serves as President at Groomed to Go Inc. (part of the Dress for Success network), a non-profit organisation dedicated to empowering individuals to achieve economic independence by providing support, professional attire and development tools to boost confidence and self-esteem.
With a wealth of experience in strategy, management, and delivery of information systems, George constantly strives to build trust and solve important community problems, spearheading transformative changes that make a meaningful difference. He is a firm believer in the power of transformation and is motivated every day to leverage his expertise to transform, adopt and change, thereby contributing to a better and more efficient future. George earned his Executive MBA from the Quantic School of Business and Technology in Washington DC.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope George's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Bringing diverse teams together to move towards a common goal, people with different social styles and motivations. It's one area where I've focused a significant amount of time in my career and constantly strive to improve, as we have evolved towards a hybrid team model.I believe it is essential to establish clear communication channels and foster open dialogue early on.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
It happened gradually overall, like many people you probably start from childhood but I’d have to say that my first real leadership role was not a walk in the park. I was working for an insurance broker at the time, in my early twenties, and received a promotion to team lead. It was a baptism by fire as I was quite inexperienced and it shaped my servant leadership style, driving me to constantly seek to learn something new every day from my teams.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I’ve been an early riser all my life so I would typically wake up around 5am, quick workout, email check and plan my movements for the day, with most of the day in meetings.. I tend to block certain focus times during the week for new initiatives. Evenings are usually for family dinner and planning the next day. At the weekend, I coach junior basketball and spend time with the family, reading and walking our dog. Sunday evening I usually sketch my week ahead, catch up on work and start all over again on Monday.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Active listening is one that has come up in recent conversations. With a new hybrid work model it has become increasingly difficult for leaders to listen, understand feelings, emotions and motivations. Meaningful conversations are a proven and amazing way to connect, engage team members, increase productivity and team dynamics.
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 am fascinated by Neuroscience and Transactional Analysis. "What Do You Say After You Say Hello?" by Eric Berne is a fantastic work in transactional analysis, and it offers valuable insights that can significantly impact leadership styles. The book delves into the concept of life scripts, which are deeply ingrained patterns of behaviour and beliefs developed from childhood. Berne explains how these scripts influence our interactions with others, including in leadership roles and by understanding and becoming aware of these scripts, individuals can gain insights into their own behaviour and motivations, as well as those of the people they lead. This self-awareness has led me towards more effective communication, better interpersonal relationships, and a deeper understanding of the dynamics within a team.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Go and get your manager’s job! More often than not I meet young leaders afraid to push for the next role, trying to establish themselves in larger teams, worrying that their manager would not fully support that. A confident leader will embrace that attitude and most of them would want you to succeed, so they can free up their time and focus on their next role up the hierarchy.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
There are many stories that together form a meaningful picture of leadership that constantly changes. Staying humble, connecting, focusing on long term goals, being adaptable and meaningful communications are some of the most important themes from all the war stories you accumulate as a leader. Ultimately the traits that form a big part of my ethos as a leader and ones that I try to instil in new leaders are - being present, backing your team through all challenges and being authentic.