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7 Questions on Leadership with William Ponela

Name: William Ponela

Title: Founder & CEO

Organisation: Zonful Energy

Experienced chief executive officer with demonstrated history of working in the renewable energy and environment industry. Skilled in business planning, strategic planning, business development, marketing strategy and change management. Strong business development professional graduated from U.Z & UNISA.

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

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


Jonno White

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

Maintaining consistency on organization culture as it scales up.

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

My childhood experience with energy poverty turned me into a leader to find solutions to end the energy poverty within off-rural areas without access to electricity.

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

I'm an early bird, at 5:00 AM ,my day starts with a 10km outdoor and then 15 minutes workout. Shower ,then read for an hour,before having breakfast and head to the office. At the office most of my plans are pre-determined. My day ends at 5:00 from the office, then family time upto 9:30 my bed time.

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

Creavity is a volume game.

Have confidence that i will always come up with a killer strategy for my clients .

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?

The Founder: The story of PayPal and the Enterpreueners who shaped Silicon Valley by Jimmy Son.

As someone who started a company from scratch, this book is a fascinating look at the early days of PayPal and the people who built it.It is a story of innovation, perseverance and success, something which can be applied to any startup regardless of industry.

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

When the Archer misses the mark,he or she turns and looks for the fault within him/her self. Failure to hit the bull's eye is never the fault of the target, improve your aim and yourself.

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

The realisation that startups exist to learn.The goal of a startup is not to build a product ,but to learn what customers want and need.This understanding has transformed our product portfolio from inception to date.Our philosophy is that everything gets built twice -once in your mind and then in reality. Zonful Energy has developed and popularised a business called we call "The Tripple C" concept.

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