Philip Aarsman, Business Lease: “Relationship building is potentially one of the most important skills to a leadership role”
“COVID-19 came with no instruction manual, and I am aware this causes stress for everybody. My list of concerns, like everyone else’s, is pretty long: from the safety of my dear ones to that of my colleagues, to those who are already sick, and to the real harm that will be caused by the economic fallout across the country and worldwide,” Philip Aarsman, managing director Business Lease told The Diplomat-Bucharest.
“There is no question the pandemic will end, the questions still standing are how and when. So, as it is affecting each industry, company, and individual in a unique manner, the single obstacle I see we will be facing in 2021 is uncertainty.”
What leadership skills do you find most useful in the current changing work environment?
Shifting times require fast adjustment and, to do so, many skills are required. Of course depending on the context, some of these might take a more prominent role or get aside from the spotlight. But for the times we transit now two are, in my opinion, of uttermost importance: decisiveness and relationship building.
The pandemic has completely changed our routine, so companies need their leaders to be able to make decisions quickly, with the information they have. Of course, decisiveness is not a singular event and is based on a set of other skills which need to concur, so we must also add here problem-solving, initiative, research, evaluation, but also expectation setting.
On the other hand, leadership requires the ability to build and maintain strong and collaborative teams, working together towards the same goal. Relationship building is potentially one of the most important skills to a leadership role as it makes communication of the tasks, responsibilities and goals more effective, especially now when we, our clients and partners work often remotely.
Which are the empowering mindsets and building the sense of meaning & purpose, both for employers and employees, to keep each other engaged in reaching the business objectives in 2020 and in the next year?
In the long run, we remain committed to our mission to combine passion, care and expertise to deliver superior mobility solutions. But we live in times which need fast adjustments and immediate actions which can be successful only if based on deeply rooted values. We believe that our focus on care and our strive for constant improvement become even more relevant now when our clients and colleagues need stability and a trustworthy partner.
A business can reach their objectives only if their employees are engaged and work towards the same purpose, sharing a great sense of entrepreneurship at all levels. Of course, in every culture, there are people who do what’s expected of them and not much more. And then there are people who just naturally step forward and take more responsibility, take more initiative. This is the type of behavior we promote not only internally, but also in the relationship with our clients. And by stepping out of box and going extra mile we set the grounds for developing further abilities and skills. The ability to see things differently, the ability to envision new future drives, to creatively solve problems emerge from these attitudes and provide resilience in the face of setbacks.
What should be a CEO’s and leader’s power message on business resilience conveyed to peers, partners and employees for 2021, in order to enhance the trust and engagement?
We are living a crisis whose impact is impossible to evaluate for the moment. But, as Albert Einstein said: In the mist of every crisis, lies great opportunity. And, yes, we can take this opportunity to look at our processes and strategies and see what is working and must be kept and what is not working so well and needs to be improved. Of course, this is not a stand-alone process and can be successful only if we work as a team and we partner our customers.
At Business Lease we have a long history in collecting our Partners’ feedback through our Customer Satisfaction Survey and Driver Satisfaction Survey, feedback which translates into projects meant to improve our activity. But these are only instruments and they work only if we remain connected to one another and to one another’s fast-changing working environment.
And I am happy to see that, despite of all the changes and challenges, despite working more from home and meeting less in physical sense, we are more engaged and better connected.
How can a CEO and leader of an organization capitalize on the current challenges to enhance and promote the company’s competition advantages currently?
Our main concern has been from the beginning of the pandemic to protect our colleagues and our clients. There was a first stage when we took all the necessary actions to function properly remotely and make sure our colleagues have everything they need to do their job without interruptions. Maintaining the same level of service has been on our list of priorities.
The second stage involved realignment to our clients’ current needs, so we focused on responding to their cost cutting and reporting requests. We understood their lack of long-term perspective and their need for budget friendlier solutions and we responded with empathy accordingly.
Our initiatives were noticed by our clients and generously scored in our last session of our Customer Satisfaction Survey.
Which are the current concerns of a CEO / leader in 2020? Which are the hopes for 2021?
COVID-19 came with no instruction manual, and I am aware this causes stress for everybody. My list of concerns, like everyone else’s, is pretty long: from the safety of my dear ones to that of my colleagues, to those who are already sick, and to the real harm that will be caused by the economic fallout across the country and worldwide.
There is no question the pandemic will end, the questions still standing are how and when. So, as it is affecting each industry, company, and individual in a unique manner, the single obstacle I see we will be facing in 2021 is uncertainty.
I push myself and our team to think about how we use this crisis to see our potential together, as opposed to allowing our company to just go back to the old beaten tracks. So, my hopes for the 2021 are to keep this going extra mile mindset and put it at work in everything we do.