How I Succeeded: Software AG's Brenton Smith

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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: Brenton Smith, ANZ Vice President of Software AG.

Current gig: Vice President ANZ, Software AG.

Location: Sydney, Australia

Current mobile device: iPhone 7S

Current computer: Dell Latitude E7250 Laptop at work, Microsoft Surface Pro 3 for home use (it is a great hybrid and very fast.)

One word that best describes how you work: Inclusive

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

Microsoft Outlook along with OneDrive are one of the most powerful and easy to use mobile applications I rely on. Virtually everything on your desktop is available on mobile with full functionality. I like to listen to music when I travel and when I am doing more mundane tasks, so I have Apple Music with me everywhere I go. Other apps I use daily and can't do without include Bloomberg, world clock, banking apps, Uber and dare I say it, Deliveroo!

What social network do you find the most useful?

LinkedIn has grown in use and effectiveness exponentially for me over the past 18 months, from finding key people in customers and prospects to locating old colleagues and potential new hires. I also find it informative to read LinkedIn articles which are very relevant and importantly apolitical and balanced. Nowadays, LinkedIn messenger is also a regular addition to my many communication avenues.

Since the US election, I use Twitter three times as much as I did before. For me, it’s now become a constant source of news, commentary and topics from people I find interesting. Yes, I can't help myself, I follow President Trump!

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

Never ever ignore your gut feel. If it feels right at the time, act on it and don't wait, to see if things improve, as they rarely do. Be decisive and act fast on the big and hard things, avoid "death by a thousand cuts" at all costs. And most importantly treat customers and partners and staff for the long term.

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

Returning to Singapore for roles on three different occasions over 12 years has always kept things interesting and challenging. I would recommend for most people to try working overseas just the once if they can. I’ve no regrets and it has been a great journey.

Companies who think and act more long term always show better profitability in the long haul, have happier customers and staff.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

I like to think I am a good listener and include people’s views to balance out decision-making, as I make better and more sustainable decisions.

What's your sleep routine like?

I like to get seven hours of sleep if I can and a little more on weekends. I do find I sleep an hour less than I used to since social media hit my pre-sleep routine.

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

For subsidiary operations, always try to find ways to be locally innovative and don't allow global rules and regulations to stifle your growth and creativity. Easier said than done, but the minute you just accept the standard template and give up is the minute your local business will weaken and fade away like so many have over the past 10 years.


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