Name: Gerald Wood
Organisation: AC Authentic Consult GmbH
Gerald Wood is a seasoned business executive with decades of experience in the industry. Currently, he serves as the Chief Executive Officer and Owner of AC Authentic Consult GmbH, a boutique consulting firm based in Potsdam, Germany, which borders on the capital city of Berlin. The firm is known for its personalized and effective business consulting and personal consulting solutions, catering to a diverse clientele.
Before founding AC Authentic Consult GmbH, Gerald held several key positions across various organizations. He was a Member of the Executive Committee and served as a Country Manager in Germany for an international consulting company. His responsibilities included overseeing operations, implementing strategies for growth, and ensuring the overall success of the company in the German, Austrian and Swiss market.
In addition, Gerald served as a Chief Marketing Officer for an international software-based TV set-top box company based in Switzerland, where he developed and executed innovative marketing strategies to drive brand awareness and revenue growth. His expertise in marketing is evident in his ability to connect with customers and create campaigns that resonate with target audiences.
Gerald's work primarily involves helping executives in high-growth companies to reduce people-driven performance variation. His approach has resulted in 30% less attrition and demonstrable organic growth, highlighting his effectiveness in improving employee retention, engagement and customer focus
Apart from his professional accomplishments, Gerald is also well-connected in the industry. He has a strong professional network with over 8K connections and 500+ followers on LinkedIn, reflecting his influence and reputation in the business community.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Gerald's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
I truly believe that leaders should not only shine in good times but in bad times as well. A leader needs to be equipped with a strong reservoir of resiliency. I have been through periods during my career where I believed that all was lost, only to hang on to live another day and to find out, that in the end, with a lot of hard work, belief and fortitude that things will always work out in the end.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Actually, I´m not sure I actually "became" a leader...I guess I evolved into becoming one. Although, based on my personality traits - Gallup has identified them to be 1. futuristic 2. maximizer (team builder) 3. strategic 4. achiever, and 5. learner. So in a sense, I was born to be the way I am. However, I am always interested in how to improve my leadership skills to be a better mentor for employees and a better partner for customers.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I am a marathon runner. Usually, I wake up at 5 a.m. and go straight to my computer to get in a few hours of work. At 8 a.m. I go for a 10k run to think about the day ahead and strategic things as well. I use the run to clear out my lungs, build my cardio, and in the second half of the 10k to clear my run. After that, it is back to work checking in on operations, employees and customers. Towards the end of the work day, around 6 or 7 p.m. I typically start to deliberate the future and how to prepare for it. Bedtime is around 9 or 10 p.m. to ensure that my company is prepared for change.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Resilience in time of struggle. Our market has been on the edge of a recession for quite some time now and investments in companies have taken a downturn. It meant that we were not winning new business and what turned into weeks ended up becoming months of no new deals. Instead of downsizing the workforce or cutting back on marketing, I took pay cuts and scaled back on non-essential spending. It was a tough time, but the staff pulled together and we managed the crisis together. This was a big lesson for me, but one that I have experienced once or twice earlier in my career as well.
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?
"First Break all the Rules" by Markus Buckingham and Curt Coffman of the Gallup Organization. This, to me, is the mother of all books about leadership, management and employee engagement. It goes through the very essential elements of engaging employees to enpower them both to personal and professional growth. To me, it is a book that is still relevant today. It changed my life and leadership skills and I still work on the principles of that book to this day.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Stay humble, be kind. Don´t see leadership as a power tool, but more of something like the ability to enpower others to grow and excel. Love your employees and your customers and use your leadership role to become a role model to your employees.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
As a leader, for a long time, I used to think that I was undefeatable, unbeatable and that nothing could stop me. Three near-death experiences in 2015, 2019 and 2020 changed all of that. I realized that I am as vulnerable to difficult challenges as anyone else. I have since learned to be humble and kind, but above all else to love. To me, loving what you do, loving your company, your job, your employees and your customers as well as your family, your friends, your community and your way of life is what every person in leadership should strive to do. How the world would be different if leaders see love as a trait above all traits to be practiced for the good of all, including oneself?