7 Questions with Allen Witters
Name: Allen Witters
Current title: CEO
Current organisation: Gravitas Infinitum
"I create great ideas, that drive great teams, to do great things - dragging tomorrow into today!"
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
Early Stage Capital, everyone thinks they are VC's, or Private Equity, or a Hedge fund....
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
30-40 companies, some hyper-exponential growth, traveling the world, taking 4 companies public and being responsible for thousands of people.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I play Tennis from 8-10am, then it is meetings, work, and maybe Tennis or Work at 6PM, head to bed when tired, 9PM to 2AM....
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Trust, but verify, your Board of Directors are mostly disconnected from reality of the business, and everyday you need to raise the bar.
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?
Crossing the Chasm....I hate being early to Market, I now wait many years with my ideas before commercializing.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
Hire smarter, more experienced, higher energy people than yourself. Cast your people to functions of the company, do not cast the function to the people.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
Death by Success.... We went after a multi-billion dollar contract as a small company, and one it, we did not have the capital lined up for success, and we were taken advantage of for that.... It is a catch 22, no-win position. You cannot get the money before winning, and once won, they have you at a disadvantage because you need them.