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7 Questions on Leadership with Reece Oakes

Name: Reece Oakes

Title: CEO

Organisation: Rennies BCD Travel

Having worked in a range of industries, I draw from my 29 years’ experience in the Retail, Telecommunications, Employee Well-Being, Health Risk Management and Financial Services and Retail Banking sectors, inter alia, to apply global best practice and optimisation strategies. My forte is successfully transforming strategic business operations, profitability, systems, and efficiencies.

Driven by curiosity and creativity I am continually motivated to learn, study and share what I know. As a result, I am currently concluding a DBA, hold a MBA, a BBA, am an accredited Change Management Practitioner, NLP & Life Coach.

I believe that agile, adaptable, and engaged teams are key to business success. As a Life Coach, my aim is to positively guide and mentor people to deliver inventive business strategies and client-focused solutions that have positive organisational impact. By mobilising top-tier talent, I create high performing cultures that consistently achieve in volatile and ever-changing global markets. I have often been referred to as an energetic strategic leader.

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

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


Jonno White

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

As a leader, compiling and creating a co-created journey & strategy is the creative and whiteboarding of our emotional and rationale beings as a leaders. Teams delivering on timeous objectives, horizons and milestones relating to the journey and strategy, as this permeates through the hierarchies of the organisation is what is difficult for leaders (Corporate execution legargism can easily set in, which may create a lack of timeous delivery of the strategy) This leads to people (both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation) & the notion of performance management, which has now transition to performance enablement, that relates to co-creating the strategy, co-creating the journey and co-formulating the milestones and KPI's at the onset

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

One can only connect the dots looking back, and revisiting the successful milestones. There are key enablers to my leadership enablement and creating the leaderSHIFT in myself resonates to a number of values and facets:

1 - Humility is the foundational ethos of my leadership core (I remain humble, altruistic & bequeathing and respect all as I would love to be respected).

2 - I invite constructive criticism

3 - I acknowledge my errors and apologise where requisite, agnostic of the level of seniority of the individual, where I am deemed incorrect or wrong

4 - I remain a "white belt" and deem myself as a lifelong student. I take learnings from all I encounter and thank those who have imparted great knowledge agnostic of their role or seniority, this breeds knowledge sharing & leadership vulnerability

4 - Create psychologically safe environments and open door policies which creates open communication and elicits innovation

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

04h30 Awake & get ready for Gym

05h00 to 05h45 Gym

06h00 to 07h00 Read and update on trends in the market place & new literature to broaden knowledge base

07h00 to 08h00 Prepare for day and establish requirements for team

08h00 - 09h00 Commute to clients or office

09h00 - 11h00 Engage with teams and employees

11h00 - 14h00 Solutioning and strategy execution

15h00 - 1600 daily wrap up and email review

16h00 - 17h00 commute and wrap up

17h00 - 18h00 walk and jog

18h00 - 20h00 family time and meal preps

21h00 - 22h00 read and research as concluding a doctorate of business administration

I retain a clear diary for a Friday as no meeting slot is required its a discussion day open for engagement and wrap up of the week

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

I have learned the following:

When leaders do the right things, it creates a culture fir teams to do things right...

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?

Leaders eat last by Simon Sinek:

The book highlights how leaders are the core of the battalion, that run head first into the unknown. they rush towards the danger, they place their interest aside to protect their teams and pull the holistic into the future. It further unpacks how leaders would sooner sacrifice what is theirs to save that of their teams. Lastly it epitomises how leaders would never sacrifice "What is Ours to What is Theirs"

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

Remain humble, remain hungry, be a lifelong student, have a purpose & remain true to your purpose and values & continue to pay it forward on the journey. Leadership is not born it is learned through that which we do wrong, we never learn from what we do right, hence invite constructive criticism and continue evolving oneself as one peels the layers of life as the journey unfolds. Remain integrous in the journey of leadership

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

We are not prisoners to our errors of the past, however winners to learnings from our errors of our past. Thus "Lead from the nobility of your future, rather than the prison bars of your past"

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