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If you do not adapt, if you do not learn, you will wither, you will die.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Leadership Conversation with Ronald Blom

Interview with Ronald Blom
Former top exec of a leading utility company in the Netherlands

This interview is part of my “Leadership Conversations” with leaders in the U.S. and abroad. They are conversations with leaders in different areas such as education, the service sector, manufacturing, politics, the agricultural business and charity organizations. I speak with sales directors, CIOs, HR executives and leaders in general management.

These conversations inspire me and I hear they inspire the participating leaders through enhanced awareness of their beliefs, values, vision, and their leadership–in–action.

Some of the topics covered in these Leadership Conversations were put to Ronald Blom.

Which values form the foundation of your leadership?
1.    Honesty, reliability, and self-reflection but also critical thinking towards what’s coming your way – in other words: independent thinking.
2.    Consistency in thinking and acting. Sticking to the determined route no matter how difficult and at the same time being receptive to arguments.
3.    Create and ensure an environment (i.e. people) that keeps both your feet on the ground.  

When is it difficult for you to act upon these values?
When I’m under pressure as is the case when I’m facing conflicting interests. Or whenever difficult choices are warranted. Whenever you get involved in a specific situation which leaves you less independent. It is also difficult when praise and admiration are too abundant so that you start believing you are God.

What or who inspires you in your role as a leader?
No famous examples. I partly draw my inspiration from my Jewish background: I’m still around, so I’m obliged to make the best of it and to use my talents.
What also inspires me is being able to add value for the ones who need it.

What trends and developments do you foresee in the area of leadership?
Less focus on the Chairman type leader, less focus on one leader being in charge of it all and more focus on team work and team leadership. Also, the importance of engaging and inspiring an organization as opposed to the untouchable leader who thinks he’s larger than life.

What requires more attention in your leadership thinking and acting?
Developing a thicker skin.

What’s your biggest fear as a leader?
Leading your business into decline or destruction, so fear of failure. Fearing that I will make the absolute wrong decisions and being held accountable by share holders, customers, and employees.

What do you need to remain motivated as a leader?
A combination of success and challenges.

What do you like best about your role as a leader?
Acknowledgment for the fact that I’m a good leader and realizing objectives.

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