Emma Hendry: A CEO’s Perspective
I want to take a moment and reflect on the past twelve months as the CEO of Hendry.
There has been a simply monumental amount which I have learned in this space in such a short time frame, and so much more that I wish to share with you so that you may be better equipped to lead; things which people may not always tell you before you need to know it.
In this piece, I hope to share with you the three most significant lessons which I’ve learned along my CEO journey, and hopefully provide you with a perspective on some of the key elements which are driving successful and innovative leadership in the modern day.
The Importance of Advocacy: For Women in leadership
Both the executive space and the fields of building and construction have been extensively male dominated for some time, and so I felt that I could provide a genuinely new perspective on business.
It is encouraging to see the continual shift in business and its leaders towards enabling greater advocacy and opportunity for inclusive and diverse working environments and career progression.
It is imperative to have ‘a seat at the table’ for your voice to be heard. As more diverse and inclusive leadership teams and businesses benefit from the positive effects of these newly formed compositions, it paves the way for new methods of operating and new norms to be solidified and thus enable our rate of progress to accelerate.
It goes without saying that in sharing your perspectives on industry and stance across prevalent issues, you cannot ignore the necessity in providing equal attention to your position as a role-model and mentor. I have made a concerted effort in tackling the prevalent cultural barriers to equality by actively participating in industry lead events, promoting thought-leadership and becoming a mentor to women within a professional environment.
Being an active keynote speaker, course, content and standards collaborator, committee member, events and initiatives sponsor, judge and mentor across industry, academia, government and international engagements has been an eye-opening experience for me.
It is a great comfort to see across these talks just how much has changed, and how much we can still change, in how we are able to recognise and support qualities of strong leadership in everyone, and the new perspectives and ideas that come with it.
What has been most significant to me from a business perspective is the opportunity to bring a globalised mindset to the industry, something which I have been implementing since assuming the role of CEO. This is something which I wish to reflect in equal parts internally and externally to our organisation, which has driven significant expansion across our business and services over the past two years.
Driving innovation and digitally enabled service delivery has been a key focus for Hendry throughout the last few years. On a greater level I wish to drive innovation for the opportunity to lead our industry and society as a whole in examining the plethora of emerging technologies to find ways of incorporating them into our solutions offering to create safer, smarter and more sustainable buildings, cities and communities for all.
In supporting a culture which values continuous learning, innovation and the potential for leadership and ideas to come from anywhere –we are trailblazing within our sector as the world becomes more technologically grounded. Agility, fluidity and integrity are essential traits for an organisation which seeks to encounter, adapt and incorporate during this time and into the future.
The Power of Failure
This might seem to be a contradiction, but a recurring trend among the most successful and inspiring leaders has been to appreciate the value of failure as a teaching tool. We are all familiar with the negative connotations of failure; a retrospective view of defeat, inability or missed opportunity.
Timing and perspective can soon change this however, as we are able to identify so much more of what we can do better, what new direction we can follow and identifying pitfalls to avoid in the future.
To this point, I would say that you need to be as unafraid as you are able. Fail fast, and fail hard; better yet, encourage and lead others in being confident in their knowledge and the knowledge of their peers, and empower them to take risks to support your vision.
Leadership and progress are not jumps from point A to B, they are a series of steps in which everyone needs to take and come along for the journey. The whole team needs to be involved and you will be rewarded by an engaged and enthused workforce if you make decisions with them, not for them.
In summation, I think that you should be unafraid to fail fast and fail hard, speak up about the issues that motivate you and the ideas that inspire you, and finally be unafraid to incorporate ‘the new’ to propel yourself and your organisation forward.
I hope that by following these three key principles I can serve as an example aside the likes of a growing number of respected and influential business leaders around the world who personify leading by example.