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  • Writer's pictureArkus

A five year odyssey: a CEO's lessons from the trenches

By Tim Harrison

Reflecting on the past 5 years, numerous lessons have emerged, often forged in the crucible of challenging experiences. I’ve become increasingly devoted to learning. This learning has focused on a limited array of topics: leadership, accounting, corporate finance and sustainable business growth.

Almost every lesson I learn I can link in some way to compassionate leadership.

Tim Harrison says Almost every lesson I learn I can link to compassionate leadership. It is the bedrock of it all.
CEO Tim Harrison reflects on his lessons at Arkus

For example, Q: why is it important to improve our profit margins? A: so we can hire more world-class people to continue to improve the quality of the team, increase learning, engagement, enjoyment, retention and progression at work, so we can make more profit to repeat that cycle; Q: why should we now focus on faster sustainable business growth? A: so we can build our international data teams with more world-class professionals, so that we can hire more people… you get the idea.

Every learning follows this thought process.

Compassionate leadership is the new bedrock of it all.

People are at the heart of success

  • People are not just our most valuable asset; they are the heartbeat of any successful venture. Attracting, retaining, and nurturing the world's best talent isn't just an HR task; it's a strategic imperative.

  • The world's best people don't always come in the expected packages. The importance of soft skills in identifying and nurturing exceptional talent cannot be overstated.

  • The obstacle is not a detour but the way forward: navigating challenges, whether from clients, personnel, or projects, is not just part of the journey; it's the essence of growth.

Take an unwavering approach

  • Excellence is simple things done excellently. If you want to achieve excellence in big things, it’s application of that habit to the small things that matter. This isn’t something which can be picked up and dropped as you choose; rather, it’s an unwavering approach.

  • Compassion, a thread woven through every action, is crucial. Yet, like any skill, it can be overplayed to a detriment.

  • Cashflow management isn't just about numbers on a balance sheet. It's the heartbeat of a growing company, and transparent upfront conversations with clients are the rhythm that ensures financial success.

  • Delegation and trust are imperative, but they are easier preached than practised. The art of putting these ideals into action requires consistent effort.

Learning is necessary

  • Business coaching isn't a luxury; it's a necessity. Sweating the small stuff while keeping the bigger picture in sight is the secret sauce that transforms a business.

  • Cultivating an audacious plan for building an industry-defining business is not just about setting goals; it's about regularly communicating a vision that aligns with the aspirations of every team member.

  • Reading is merely learning from those who have gone before you. It helps to remove the stupid tax - a tax which I’ve paid more times than I’d like to admit.

  • The fluid nature of a team’s culture is a moving target, demanding constant attention and adaptation.

  • Implementing the Objective and Key Results (OKR) framework, inspired by John Doerr, had a significant impact but required a recalibration of its perception within the team.

Adapt and overcome

  • Humility, expressed sincerely, is not just a virtue; it's an essential element in fostering an environment of openness and collaboration.

  • Acknowledging uncertainty with a collaborative "I don't know; let's find out together" approach fosters a culture of continuous learning.

  • Detail and inclusion resonate more with teams than broad directives.

  • Business trajectories rarely follow a linear path; acknowledging and embracing the variations is not just a survival tactic, it's the secret to resilience

Arkus' five-year journey is a testament to the power of deliberate, people-focused growth. As we set our sights on the future, our commitment to quality, compassion, and audacious goals will continue to guide our path.

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