How I Succeeded is a regular series on Lifehacker where we ask business leaders for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Antoine Le Tard, general manager at RSA Australia & New Zealand.
Current gig: General Manager, RSA Australia & New Zealand
Current location: Sydney
Current mobile device: iPhone
Current computer: Dell Ultrabook
One word that best describes how you work: Inclusively
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
I use the Sonos app for seamless integration of my music services and libraries. It serves up the playlist you want wherever you have a speaker in the house, and with two teenage daughters, there’s never a fight over what to listen to because they can choose their own playlist in the safety of their rooms.
I also use the Qantas app for travelling, the Wahoo Fitness app to track my exercise, the Strava app to track my running and riding, and the Awakened Mind app for moments of mindfulness and to help focus my attention.
What social network do you find the most useful?
It all depends on the application: Twitter for inspiration, LinkedIn for work, Facebook for staying connected to family and friends all over the world and Instagram as a photo album.
What were the most important lessons you learned while growing your business?
- Ensure the team has a common purpose and be inclusive. I used the ‘collective ambition’ model for this exercise.
- Set expectations early and re-enforce them regularly; not everyone is ready to be coached, so make hard calls early. Wrap your arms around the committed individuals and create the conditions for their growth and success.
- Find a mentor. Often we get promoted into positions where we’ve had no formal succession planning. Having a mentor helps guide you through the step up to management and leadership is critical to your success.
What has been the most surprising part of your business journey?
That it’s less about the business and more about the people. Also, leadership starts within. Our people are our greatest asset. Find ways to serve them, find ways to help them grow and be courageous enough to create the conditions that give them permission to bring their whole self to work.
We spend so much of our lives at work, I believe a work-life balance is old school and work-life integration should be the new norm. Giving people permission to truly showcase their individuality creates the conditions for stronger collaboration, innovation and overall well-being at work, leading to high staff engagement and customer satisfaction.
Finally, I was surprised at how much I would learn about myself when stepping into a leadership role. Realising I had a duty of care for those under my charge opened the pathway for my own development. I believed that I couldn’t truly lead if I could not lead myself – and this set about a transformation of attitudes, behaviours and being.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Heart-centred leadership. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I care deeply about the success of our customers and the well-being of our people. Leading with Courage, Compassion and Connection are all heart-centred values that I believe create the conditions for our people to thrive and our customers to succeed.
What’s your sleep routine like?
It’s much better than it used to be. According to my Garmin Fenix watch I sleep an average of seven and a half hours a night. If this tech was around 10 years ago, it would probably have shown a much lower average. When I was younger sleep mattered less, networking and connecting mattered much more. This usually took place over dinners and after work drinks. Today, I realise that sleep is an essential pillar in my physical, mental and emotional well-being.
What advice would you offer to other businesses on how to succeed?
Find your “Why” As Simon Sinek promotes, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. Find your purpose, the reason why your company exists and then focus on building your team. Hire people with a growth mindset and help create the conditions for their personal growth, and never forget about the customer.
It’s easy to get consumed by managing ‘in the business’ activities while ‘on the business’ initiatives get neglected. You can’t go wrong by placing the customer at the centre of everything you do.