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7 Questions with Nicholas Ntovas
7 Questions with Nicholas Ntovas
Name: Nicholas Ntovas
Current title: CEO
Current organisation: Trainnect
Say hi to the rare breed of business makers generally known as entrepreneurs. Company-building transitions the organization from a startup to a mature company focused on executing a validated model. Creating or recreating a company requires people who are comfortable with change, chaos, and learning from failure and are at ease working in risky, unstable situations without a roadmap.
Open to learning and discovery—highly curious, inquisitive, and creative. Eager to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. Agile enough to deal with daily change and operating “without a map.” Readily able to wear multiple hats, often on the same day, and comfortable celebrating failure when it leads to learning and iteration.
That’s me in a few words. Stay tuned for my next adventure that will change the training industry for good….
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
Creating hyper-functional teams unleashing the human potential and eliminating the constant need for authority intervention.
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Open-minded observation of the market we operate helped me identify what's missing in the industry and create a solution that brings real value. Great ideas come and go. Tested ideas are here to stay. Trainnect´s Value Proposition has been forged by the very people it intended to serve. Co-creating your VP with your future client type, can mean life or death for a startup or an SME trying to gain a market share.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I am an idealist so I need to keep my eyes on the large picture to keep me motivated and going strong every day. Setting directions for entire teams is not easy. They have to share your vision before they take the necessary steps to get there. I understand the importance of processes and micromanaging, but I don't hire creative talent so I can bury it in time-management tools. Focus on the target, get there on your own merits and ways.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
I always thought the job of a CEO is to....find his / her replacement. No, I see our job is to become....irrelevant. What I mean by that is allow people to grow and reach their full potential even though they might outgrow you
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 Lost Army by Valerio Massimo Manfredi. The return to Greece of 10,000 Greek mercenaries traveling a hostile Persian territory for thousands of miles. Imagine, their entire leadership was executed by the Persian king hoping that an army without heads has zero chances of making it. A move that brought Xenophon to lead by voting. The collective wisdom of the right type of people can overcome anything.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
Using anecdotes, open discussions and creating scenarios where they will face their own demons. What they are made of. Engagement and a safe space to express themselves is key.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
Meeting an ex protegee years later as a successful business person gives me credit for her success.