7 Questions with Charles Smee
Name: Charles Smee
Current title: Managing Director
Current organisation: Transaction Focus Ltd
Charles Smee has a 30 year strategic multicultural MNE and start up experience in EMEA and APAC markets. He has lived and worked for 15 years in France, Romania, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam managing business development teams of 50 + persons servicing multinational clients such as BAT, Coca-Cola, Kellogg, Nabisco and Hilti.
He is currently based outside London, overseeing research, training, transformation and contact strategy for Sales Focus’ EMEA and APAC programs, as Founder of Transaction Focus.
Charles is a creative trusted brand custodian who has delivered impressive sustainable ROI for clients such as ABC, Alcatel-Lucent, Cassini, EUGBA, HappyorNot, IBM, Intel and Kimberly-Clark while working in senior roles at Saatchi & Saatchi, WPP and Transaction Focus.
He has been a guest speaker at IIOM China and European M&A Forums, an accredited British Business Growth Service coach and IBD small business mentor and has an Institute of Sales Promotion (ISP) diploma and a BA Honors degree in Economics and History and a Diploma from the Universite de la Sorbonne in Paris.
He is also a bilingual French speaker, a keen golfer, skier, cricketer, tennis player and cycles around Europe for charity.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
Losing business because of Covid-19 and having to let staff go
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I was running large divisions of mid-size companies in the APAC region semi-autonomously and decided at the moment that I should set up my own business organically.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Into client businesses and what I plan to achieve each week
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
During tough times , retain a sense of calm and a positive can do mindset. This approach keeps the team focused.
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?
15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership : Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman and Kaley Warner Klemp
This book has taught me how to switch back into a positive mindset after overcoming difficult situations.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
With a strong mantra and make sure your core team buys in.
Empower each project manager to take total control and responsibility for their project
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
Always fight like a lion to save the team. We are fighting to save a project as we speak as we have a dedicated team who need the revenue to feed their families