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7 Questions with Lula
7 Questions with Lula
Current title: Finance Director
Current organisation: Novo Nordisk
I am a mid aged seasoned finance professional with an MBA and CIMA educational background. I have over 20years experience in banking and Pharmaceuticals industries., with great international experience.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
To find a good balance between a local and international stakeholders
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I was sponsored by the current employer to study for an MBA in Athens in 2006. After completing my studies an opportunity arose at Novo Nordisk in South Africa as a Finance Manager. I joined them in October 2007. I have been with them since then. I have grown within the ranks and got promoted to a senior position as head of Finance, Legal and IT for Middle Africa based out in Dubai from 2016 to 2018. I returned back to SA in late 2018 as a Finance Head. Which is a role I am currently occupying.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I look at my diary a night before the next day so that I am aware of all the meetings and plan my day accordingly. I drop kids at school in the morning, sometimes go to the gym if I don’t have early meetings and then drive to the office afterwards. I normally start my day between 9:00 and 10:00am depending on my diary for the day. I’d attend to all the deliverables for that day and knock out when I am done, around 18:00 or later depending on due dates. I’ll then go home around 18:30 or 19:00.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Inclusive leadership. Six traits or behaviors that distinguish inclusive leaders from others:
1. Visible commitment - articulate authentic commitment to diversity.
2. Humanity - they are modest about capabilities, admit mistakes and create the space for others to contribute.
3. Awareness of bias - they show awareness of personal blind spots as well as flaws in the system and work hard to ensure meritocracy.
4. Curiosity about others - demonstrate an open mindset and deep curiosity about others, listen without judgement and seek with empathy to understand those around them.
5. Cultural intelligence - they are attentive to others’ culture and adapt as required.
6. Effective collaboration - they empower others, pay attention to diversity of thinking and psychological safety and focus on team cohesion.
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?
I am not a reader but I like to read business articles, ie Harvard Business Review on leadership. These articles give me good tips on how to become a good leader and not a manager. They teach me how to have an impactful contribution to those I interact with and those who look up to me for guidance, support, coaching and mentorship.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
To recruit those who are different from us, of age, race and gender. To always create a conducive environment for others to triumph. Most importantly recruit those who are smarter than yourself...
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
Having moved from a large corporation to join an SME allowed me an opportunity to grow as a person because in an SME the structure is flat hence there are less hierarchies to go through.....your individual contribution is most likely to be noticed and rewarded accordingly. Career growth is faster. Teamwork is highly possible because everyone is like a family to each other due to the size of the company.....