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7 Questions on Leadership with Nopakraw (Aey) Kijpanont

Name: Nopakraw (Aey) Kijpanont

Title: CEO

Organisation: The Adler Co., Ltd.

A highly skilled professional leader with a 23-year career in the finance-banking and life insurance industries, specializing in organization improvement, transformation, business development, leadership and Bancassurance. Throughout my career, I have consistently achieved success in driving strategic initiatives, delivering strong business outcomes, and fostering a positive corporate culture. With extensive executive experience in the regional banking, insurance, and other sectors, I have gained valuable insights from both frontline and back-office perspectives. I possess the resilience and adaptability to thrive in diverse cultural environments.

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

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


Jonno White

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

I've encountered several significant challenges in my leadership journey that have helped me embrace a transformational leadership style. Adapting to change, fostering effective communication, and motivating and engaging the team have been central challenges that allowed me to inspire and guide my team toward growth and innovation. Embracing these challenges has enabled me to develop a culture of continuous improvement and empower my team to achieve their full potential.

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

My path to leadership was shaped by a consistent drive to expand my horizons and contribute beyond the confines of my routine tasks from the very beginning of my corporate and professional career. While I initially focused on pursuing my career passion, I soon realized that genuine leadership required a commitment to serving others.

This perspective opened doors to a plethora of opportunities. I was entrusted with key roles in major projects, providing invaluable learning experiences. I attribute much of my growth and development to the guidance I received from friends, colleagues, supervisors, and, notably, three influential senior leaders during my tenure at a prominent regional bank in Thailand.

These leaders served as inspiring models of effective leadership. Their mentorship marked the genesis of my own leadership journey. It instilled a deep commitment to continuous personal and professional growth and a sincere dedication to nurturing a culture of excellence and authenticity.

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

My approach to structuring my workdays centers on achieving a harmonious balance between my professional commitments and personal life, a key element in maintaining my optimal performance as a leader.

I commence each day with a refreshing burst of positivity by connecting with my family. The simple yet profound act of sharing a hug with my loved ones before we embark on our daily endeavors not only sets a positive tone for the day but also underscores the paramount role of family in my life.

My mornings often start with a walk through Bangkok Central Park (Lumpini Park). This practice is a powerful means of clearing my mind, forging a connection with nature, and gathering the essential energy I need to confront the challenges of the day. It's a straightforward yet remarkably effective method to approach my work with the right mindset.

Upon reaching the office, I make it a point to prioritize essential tasks, critical decisions, and meetings with valued clients & teams during the morning hours. This is when my focus is at its peak, enabling me to offer undivided attention to these pivotal responsibilities, contributing significantly to our organization's growth.

As the day unfolds, I tackle routine tasks. Addressing these smaller tasks in the evening is a productive use of my time and prevents any work-related stress from creeping into my personal life later in the next day.

In the evenings, provided I don't have a business dinner, I consistently have dinner at home with my child. These moments spent together are truly cherished. We relish homemade meals and engage in meaningful conversations about our respective days.

Meditation is an integral part of my daily routine. This practice aids in relaxation and stress reduction and prepares me for a restful night's sleep, ensuring I wake up refreshed and ready to face new challenges each morning.

In addition to my daily routine, I devote a few hours each week to working for the betterment of Thai society. This commitment may take various forms, from offering coaching expertise to supporting individuals in their quest for personal development, all without charging any fees.

In summary, my daily schedule is thoughtfully designed to strike a delicate balance between my professional and personal life. By beginning my day with a positive energy infusion, giving utmost attention to the needs of my valued clients and team, and cherishing family moments, I feel well-equipped to lead effectively and foster a sense of well-being in my professional and personal life.

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

A recent leadership lesson that's been reinforced for me is the significance of always considering, acting upon, and communicating the purpose of serving others. My daily routine, starting with family connections and prioritizing my clients & my team in the morning, is a tangible manifestation of this lesson. It underscores that leadership is fundamentally about serving and positively impacting the lives of those we lead and care about.

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?

One book that has profoundly impacted my leadership journey is "Good Vibes, Good Life" by Vex King. Although not a traditional leadership book, it has transformed my leadership style by emphasizing the power of positivity and personal well-being.

This book inspired me to incorporate team-building activities focused on positivity and well-being. We started daily affirmations, which boosted team morale and fostered a stronger sense of unity. The book reinforced my belief that leadership goes beyond strategy—it's about creating a positive, empowering atmosphere for the team.

"Good Vibes, Good Life" taught me that I should prioritize personal and professional growth as a leader. It's a reminder that leadership lessons can come from unexpected sources and that fostering a positive work environment is crucial for effective leadership.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

I advise a young leader: "Transform yourself before trying to transform anything else." Authentic transformational leadership begins with self-awareness and personal growth. When you focus on your own development, you can better inspire and lead others. Leading by example, understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and empathizing with your team are key to creating a culture of continuous improvement. To be an effective transformational leader, start with transforming yourself.

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

One impactful story from my leadership experience involves the interplay of self-awareness and reducing ego.

In a challenging situation, I made a mistake that affected my team. Instead of letting my ego stand in the way, I chose to confront my shortcomings with self-awareness. I admitted my error and asked for forgiveness from my team.

Their response was genuinely inspiring. They valued my humility and honesty, strengthening the team's trust. This experience highlighted the vital lesson that leadership isn't about perfection but continuous self-improvement, serving others, and keeping ego in check. It serves as a reminder of the importance of self-awareness and forgiveness.

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