How I Succeeded: SEEK's Michael Ilczynski

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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: Michael Ilczynski, managing director for SEEK ANZ.

Current gig: Managing Director SEEK Australia/New Zealand

Location: Melbourne

Current mobile device: iPhone

Current computer: Microsoft Surface

One word that best describes how you work: Direct

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

Slack, CommBank Mobile Banking app & Uber Eats

What social network do you find the most useful?

Twitter – it is my “go to” for fast, real time updates on all that is happening in the world

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

  1. There is enormous power of having a real, articulated purpose that every person in the organisation believes in and can see how they can contribute to
  2. There is no substitute for great, passionate, people
  3. Every single team/function matters if you want to be world class. Your customers don’t differentiate between your internal teams, so every team must be operating at the same (high) level.

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

That an organisation really can achieve sustained excellence when it puts people and long-term value ahead of short-term (financial) results.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

My daughter says I make the best spag boll. While at age 11 her frame of reference is narrow, I’ll take it!

What's your sleep routine like?

Try as hard as possible to get 7 hours every night and have one day on the weekend without an alarm

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

  1. Always prioritise building the assets and capabilities that will create long-term sustainable customer value (ahead of short term financials or vanity metrics)
  2. Be relentless in finding, developing and caring for great people
  3. Align individual and organisational incentives around (1) and (2)


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