Name: Jorge Guisasola
Title: Chief Operating Officer
Organisation: VOV Gaming - Savvy Games Group
I'm Jorge Guisasola, a 43-year-old Spanish traveler with a deep passion for exploring new countries and cultures. My career in the Hospitality and Entertainment industries has taken me to four continents, and I'm currently based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I am really enjoying this journey and the opportunity to work alongside diverse cultures and learn from them. The culinary aspect of these adventures is crucial to me.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Jorge's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
As a leader, one of the most challenging aspects I've encountered is balancing the needs and expectations of various team members. Different team members may have different work styles, motivations, and goals. Finding a way to align these diverse perspectives and ensure everyone feels heard and valued can be a complex but rewarding challenge.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My journey into leadership commenced 23 years ago when I joined as part-time chef in a restaurant. At the time, the restaurant lacked a defined departmental structure, and various operational challenges required immediate solutions. In response, I took the initiative to propose innovative ideas to the owners aimed at overcoming these challenges and fostering business growth. Many of my proposals were approved so I adopted a highly collaborative approach to execute these projects, getting extensive support from my colleagues.
This experience was a crucial lesson for me, stating that leadership is not only a result of one's title or position within a hierarchy. It affirmed that leadership is rooted in proactive problem-solving and the ability to inspire and collaborate effectively with others.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My daily work routine begins with an early start, capitalizing on the quiet morning hours when I'm most productive. As the day progresses, I allocate blocks of time for meetings and team interactions, ensuring that collaboration and communication are well-balanced. Additionally, I incorporate periods for strategic thinking and short breaks to recharge and maintain mental clarity. My workday ends with a review of accomplishments, identifying areas for improvement and setting priorities for the next day. This approach helps me maintain productivity and a healthy work-life balance.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Recently, I was reminded of the importance of active listening. While I've always believed in its significance, a situation arose where I realized that truly hearing and understanding my team members' concerns and ideas had a transformative impact on our project's success. It reinforced the notion that effective leadership begins with being an empathetic and attentive listener
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?
A couple of years ago, I attended a session with Simon Sinek and just after, I was offered his book "Leaders Eat Last". Reading it has had a profound impact on me as I identified many of my behaviors while I also learned the importance of servant leadership and creating a culture of trust and collaboration within teams. It inspired me to continue leading by example while improving the team morale and productivity significantly.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
I would advise young leaders to never stop learning and adapting. Leadership is a continuous journey, and staying open to new ideas, feedback, and personal growth is essential. As magic happens out of the “Comfort Zone”, embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, and never lose sight of the importance of empathy and understanding in your leadership approach.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
One profoundly meaningful experience as a leader occurred during a devastating earthquake in Mexico on September 19, 2017. This earthquake, lasting approximately 20 seconds, was a stark reminder of the unpredictability of natural disasters. Remarkably, just two hours before the earthquake struck, we had conducted an emergency evacuation drill as part of the yearly anniversary commemoration of the 1985 earthquake, which had been so devastating. As a result, more than two thousand people were on hand during the real event, making the situation even more challenging. In the face of this crisis, we encountered numerous obstacles and difficulties. However, what stood out most was the incredible collaborative spirit that emerged within the team. This experience reinforced the bonds between team members and demonstrated the power of resilience and teamwork, even in the most adverse circumstances. This event served as a touching reminder of the critical role we play in fostering an environment where such resilience and collaboration can flourish. It highlighted the importance of preparedness, effective leadership, and the unbreakable spirit of a unified team in overcoming the most frightening challenges.