Business Transformation

Interviews Mike Weston

Creating an environment that attracts, retains, and develops talent from diverse backgrounds helps to serve the customers and stakeholders better and drives sustainable growth and success of the business.

What are some of the biggest leadership challenges that executives face today?

From managing an organization remotely during the pandemic to helping customers thrive in today’s digital-first world, business leaders face one disruptive challenge after another. To remain competitive and keep teams engaged, senior leadership needs to be adept at navigating uncertainty, fostering innovation, attracting and retaining talent, and above all maintaining a strong organizational culture.

How do you develop and maintain a strong corporate culture in your organization?

Employees feel connected to an organization’s vision and values only when they feel valued and supported. At GBM, we firmly believe that it is important to lead by example and ensure that the organization’s values are reflected in all actions and decisions. As a 1500-strong team spread across eight locations in the Middle East region, building and maintaining a strong corporate culture is central to everything we do.

Developing a robust corporate culture starts with effective communication. Leaders must encourage open and transparent dialogue, teamwork and collaboration, and recognize and reward good performance. Setting clear expectations and goals and creating an environment of respect leading to complete trust is crucial. It is also essential to demonstrate a commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within the organization.

Can you provide an example of a difficult leadership situation that you faced, and how you navigated it?

Being a progressive leader means solving difficult situations is a constant. Having had the privilege of leading both global and local companies, the fact remains clarity of the company’s mission and values provides a reference point from which to solve most situations.

How do you ensure that your executive team is aligned and working towards a common goal?

A method I find effective is defining measurable goals and holding regular check-ins with the leadership team to track progress. It not only strengthens relationships and a sense of unity and purpose among the executive team but also promotes a collaborative environment where team members feel comfortable sharing their opinions and ideas.

What role do diversity and inclusion play in your leadership strategies?

Diversity and inclusion play a crucial role in my leadership approach. I sincerely believe multi-faceted teams add value and perspective to decision-making and create a positive and respectful workplace culture, leading to greater innovation, creativity, and collaboration among team members. At GBM, we are committed to creating an environment that attracts, retains, and develops talent from diverse backgrounds. Ultimately, this helps us to serve our customers and stakeholders better and drive sustainable growth and success of our business.

How do you balance the need for innovation and risk-taking with the need for stability and consistency in your leadership?

At GBM, we take pride in promoting a culture of continuous learning, establishing thoughtful guidelines and boundaries for risk-taking, and regularly assessing and adjusting strategies to ensure they align with the organization’s priorities. It allows us to remain at the forefront of change and empower our diverse team with various skills and perspectives while providing stability through collective knowledge and expertise.

What steps do you take to develop the leadership skills of your team members?

At GBM, I encourage my team to take on new roles, and develop and take innovative ideas that grow the people and the business. I want them to focus on developing their communication skills and above all be fearless, decisive and show ambition. Building a sustainable team that provides longevity for the organization is a fundamental I ask of each of my leaders, combined with promoting internally and hiring externally wisely. People want to grow their careers; I want my leaders to create a path for growth.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your leadership strategies?

Results! In addition, we measure the effectiveness of the leadership strategy through employee engagement surveys and feedback. At GBM, we employ a variety of metrics, including 360-degree feedback from internal and external stakeholders, productivity levels, retention rates, and overall team performance. Our commitment to regularly reviewing and measuring our business strategies has allowed us to adapt to market changes and remain relevant to our customers’ diverse business needs over the last 30 years.

How of you stay informed about changes and trends in your industry, and what impact do these have on your leadership strategies?

I’m fortunate to tap into GBM’s extensive regional experience and our team of in-house experts who are on top of trends and support me in staying up to date on market shifts. I also attend conferences and networking events and engage with industry thought leaders on social media.

It’s important for leaders to stay informed as it helps anticipate, pivot and make informed decisions in the face of new challenges. I also started a personal ‘’ brain trust ‘’ many years ago when I sought mentoring from both international leaders as well as here in the Middle East, which has served my personal growth extremely well.

Finally, what advice would you give to other executives who are facing similar leadership challenges in their organizations?

My advice to executives facing leadership challenges in their organizations would be to be decisive and prioritize workload. Be open, and transparent with consistent communication across the organization. It is also important to constantly assess and adjust your leadership style to adapt to the changing external economic factors and internal organizational dynamics.

Embracing change will remain a constant, taking balanced risks can accelerate growth, whilst it remains important to stay close to your core values. Leading by example, and respecting all builds trust, which ultimately leads to growth. Seeking employee feedback and doing something positive with it is vital. Finally, a philosophy that has served me well over the years is not to be afraid to seek guidance or support when needed, acknowledging mistakes early and course correcting requires humility which is a leadership strength that I see in leaders I admire.