How I Succeeded: Adobe's Chris Skelton

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How I Succeeded is a regular series on Lifehacker where we ask business leaders for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Chris Skelton from Adobe.

Current gig: Managing director of Adobe Australia and New Zealand

Location: Sydney, NSW

Current mobile device: iPhone 7

Current computer: Lenovo ThinkPad, but about to move to a Microsoft Surface Pro, and finally ditch the paper notebook!

One word that best describes how you work: Creatively

What apps/software/tools can't you live without?

I love taking pictures on my iPhone, so I’m a big fan of Adobe’s free photography mobile apps that create a professional finish. Lightroom Mobile really helps to enhance photos and make them “pop,” and I’m not too proud to admit that I need Photoshop Fix to retouch my selfies every now and then!

At work, I’ve found that Adobe Spark has opened-up a whole new way to engage my team. It’s a very easy-to-use tool that helps create graphics, magazine-style web stories and animated videos that have been really useful in adding colour and life to my communications.

What social network do you find the most useful?

Like everyone else, I find LinkedIn provides the essential corporate phonebook. We’re constantly looking for the best talent, and it allows me and my team to easily engage new hires. I like that I can share important updates and hot topics with a professional network of customers, peers and industry influencers. We use a couple of social messaging platforms inside Adobe too, which is helpful for keeping an ear to the ground, as well as giving staff another way to contact me.

What were the most important lessons you learned while growing your business?

That creativity should be an essential element of day-to-day processes. Through our Creative Cloud products, we help people to push the limits of their own creativity, and it’s important that we do the same in order to maintain Adobe’s well-earned reputation for innovation.

What has been the most surprising part of your business journey?

The opportunity to live and work in Sydney, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, certainly wasn’t something I imagined in my early days. I think hosting this year’s Adobe Symposium, our digital marketing conference, at a venue as iconic as the Sydney Opera House is something that would have caught my younger self by surprise.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

I’m a very efficient morning person. Between 4.30 and 8 am, I exercise, help get my son ready for the day, answer urgent emails and typically have a call or two with Adobe’s headquarters in the US. Getting that running start means I then have some slack for unexpected or to spend talking with customers and staff without quite so much time pressure.

What's your sleep routine like?

I’d love to get more, however, having a four-year-old at home there are some things that are more important than grabbing an extra hour of sleep.

What advice would you offer to other businesses on how to succeed?

In my role, I’m responsible for a number of employees across two countries, and it’s important that they’re not only feeling heard, but also fulfilled and challenged. I’ve always believed that spending less time telling people what to do, and more time really listening to employees before reacting leads to better decision making and a happier team.


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