7 Questions with Sherry Knight
Name: Sherry Knight
Current title: President & CEO
Current organisation: Dimension 11
Sherry works with business leaders to increase their profits by hiring the right people and ensuring their performance supports the business, the staff and the customers.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
Connecting with clients is always a problem in a consulting firm - not being a brick and mortar type of business makes it interesting, even though we are "brick and mortar".
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Started my first business at 10 because I was too young to babysit and it was too cold out to shovel snow (and I don't like getting cold!). Christmas was coming and I wanted money to buy gifts. Fast forward about 15 years and I realized I was assisting many educators (I was one at that time) figure out their skill set in order to move forward in the field. I realized one day that I was giving this all away and I started my business.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Up and doing emails, Facebook, dressing, having breakfast and hitting the office by 9. Morning is used generally for projects I am working on as that is when I am at my best. Lunch break if possible. Afternoons are focused on call backs, contacts and other items that need to be done. Plan the next day and gather resources before I leave the office anywhere between 4 and 8 pm depending on what needs to be finished. Home for dinner, relax, read the newspaper and head for bed.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
There are 3 sides to EVERY story (mine included) - theirs, the other persons, and the reality.
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?
Psycho-cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. It made me realize the power of the mind and our ability to control ourselves.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
Leadership means listening to your people and making sure they have what they need to do the best job they can do - they will then look after your customers..
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
WHen I returned to the office having expected to sign a renewed contract only to find it had been discontinued and immediately sat down with the staff to explain who would need to find new jobs and we had 4 months to make that happen for them. Such a disheartening message to deliver and yet it brought us all closer as we found opportunities for everyone.