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7 Questions with John Watson
7 Questions with John Watson
Name: John Watson
Current title: President
Current organisation: Accrue Performance Marketing
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
Recruiting talent interested in working with SME business owners.
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I started out as an intrapreneur inside an engineering company. Once I realized I was not going to be happy working for someone else, I transitioned into entrepreneurship and never looked back. It's been over 20 years since I made that choice.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
As a coach and consultant, there is always a degree of responding to daily emergencies. However, I like to get up early and organize my day and work on strategic priorities, before the chaos of the day takes over.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
I've been a student of leadership for nearly 30 years. The most significant things I've learned is it boils down to knowing who you are, having a documented plan and working your plan, learning emotional mastery, learning active listening and communication skills, learning effective delegation skills and knowing your numbers. It's more about the practices of being a leader than it is about any specific activity.
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?
L.E.T. Leadership Effectiveness Training was the first and most impactful leadership book I've read. It was pointed out to me by my first coach and it was a catalyst for dozens of other things. However, the communication skills presented in that book have served me well since 1996 and I still recommended this book most frequently to business leaders.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
I think you build leadership capacity by role modelling and then coaching your team to be leaders. Enrolling people in programs such as Being A Leader and engaging external coaches goes a long way to show people that you are serious about leadership development. Landmark Education is another excellent resource to complement your internal programs.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
I think the most meaningful story for me is how much my leadership training has spilled into my parenting. My kids are in their early 20's and are living into all the leadership development I learned along the way in business. It has positioned them as leaders a full 15 years before I ever learned what leadership meant. They in turn have introduced their friends to the learning and I've seen them stepup as mature leaders as well. It's amazing how far outside your business your leadership training will reach.