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Lessons on Life and Business

Interview with Carlo Besenius, CEO Creative Global Investments

Q1 What is the most valuable career advice you can give to people just starting out?

Most important lesson I learned is to question everything and everyone, and not to become complaisant to systemically accepted consensus.

Q2 What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

The fact that most leaders are dancing at too many weddings and to too many donors and interest groups’ songs ahs made them more dependent and generic in their thinking and communications today.

Leaders need to start to assume and accept responsibilities again, and consequences to their actions and inactions again, like it used to be in the political, corporate and educational arenas thirty years ago.

And society needs to demand for leaders to have to comply to these standards again, in order to provoke change in an ineffective world as we have it today.

Q3 How do you ensure your organization and its activities are aligned with your “core values”?

By starting every single day with our core values, “Objectivity, Integrity, Creativity” as our mantra, both internally and externally.

Q4 Where do the great ideas come from in your organization? Do you encourage junior members to be creative and share business ideas with senior management?

We think it is paramount to allow, to foster, and even to demand regularly all members of any organization to give their inherent suggestions and make their opinion and contributions to the organization part of the evolutionary business plan.

We think every organization should allow and integrate their thought processes for improvements and corporate enhancement to be an integral part of management assessment and evaluation and re-evaluation of the current business model.

Q5 Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe some one who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?

I can name not one, but five, who have daily impacted my way of looking and developing business and also apply lessons learned in daily life:

1) My best friend, wife

2) My grandfather

3) Our best client

4) Our best employee/business partner

5) Our best and most respected competitor

6) Frederic Reichheld, author of “the Loyalty affect”

Q6 Tell me about a time you struggled with work-life balance. How did you solve the problem?

Actually, right now, as I am going though a separation/divorce with my best friend and wife, which is impacting my daily thinking and ability to make rational, logical and savvy business decisions. Experience and lessons learned and a value system to younger and less experienced loyal employees and continue to

It seems like the end of life, however, there is an internal beacon of hope, life, motivation, energy and quest to pass on the hardest and toughest learned lessons of life and experience to others to spare them from similar pains and energy draining thoughts.

Resilience and dedication and human, social core values help overcome temporary loss and pains associated with it, which are nothing but time related selfishness. “Time heals all wounds” is an eternal truth, not just a metaphor.

Q7 Have you made unpopular decisions like firing employees and reducing compensation levels? What do you do to keep employee motivation enact after such actions?

I have not had this burden for 25 years, but then, three years ago was faced with this toughest managerial decision and task, and as said, for the first time in over 25 years. I still think that it is more productive and better for corporate culture and corporate social culture and brand building to do “everything possible” not to having to go to the option of last resort, namely letting go of people.

And even more so for service sector based companies, where human capital is the most important single value element of corporate assets.

After such action, one has to ensure that each and every employee of the company has the most important discussion about their place in the organization, and one has to re-emphasize their current and future value contribution and recognition and reward in the organization, to have a seamless as possible move forward as a team and organization

Q8 As leaders do you create work environments that are more competitive or collaborative in nature?

That question is in the case and nature of our organization and industry not easy to answer.

Both, I guess, our company’s and our clients’ best interest is for the entire team to be most collaborative.

The competitive element is only in a way where as an organization we hope that everyone is trying their hardest and in the most competitive way to come up with suggestions, and solutions on how to improve our organization and our services to our clients.

Q9 How do you get buy in from senior management and board on your business ideas?

Via incentivizing all our members to be contributing at their best abilities to the ongoing improvements.

Q10 How to increase employee productivity? Do you invest in their wellbeing?

Again, via incentivizing and proportionate profit sharing resulting of the suggested improvements made for our companies’ advancement.

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