Intelligent CIO Middle East Issue 32 | Page 41

////////////////////////// James Petter, Vice- President for EMEA, Pure Storage What makes an effective leader? I’ve been here four years and when I first joined we were 10 times smaller in terms of headcount and revenue than we are now. I think the thing that’s made myself and the organisation successful is honesty, rolling your sleeves up and showing people you should never ask someone to do something you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself, treating people with respect and simplifying whatever message needs to be delivered rather than having to deliver complexity. How do you respond if one of your team points out where you are going wrong? I’m a very open guy. If you told me ‘James you are talking rubbish’ I’d say ‘Fine, let’s talk about this and work out where I’ve made a mistake or where something is going wrong and how we can fix it’. We’ve had a few examples of that; we’ve done stuff in certain regions that maybe we shouldn’t have done and we’ve course corrected. In Dubai we had a bit of a false start initially, so we course corrected, we hired the right guy and now we are really starting to go. Ego cannot be brought into this equation. I would rather have my team tell me ‘James you’re talking rubbish’ rather than nodding and saying ‘because of your title and what you do you’re correct’. It doesn’t work. “ HUMOUR IS ONE OF THE CRITICAL FACTORS I THINK A LEADER HAS TO HAVE. You’ve also said you have to earn the right to be decisive. What did you mean by that? You have two ears and one mouth for a good reason. So when I first came in I did a lot of listening. That was assessing the people, assessing what we were doing, before taking decisive action because there were some changes that needed to be put in place. If I hadn’t done that and had bowled in and within two weeks said ‘we are doing this, this and this’ people would have said ‘why?’ but I actually provided them with a pretty comprehensive plan around ‘this isn’t right, here’s why’ and here’s the actual plan we will put into place. That was around three months after I’d started and then we’ve seen the growth, and I’m not saying it’s down to me because it’s down to hiring great people who then hire INTELLIGENTCIO 41