“You’re provocative – in a good way!”
Antonio Coimbra, CEO, Vodafone Spain
“The best part of your work is you’re provocative – in a good way! You force us to put questions to ourselves. Am I a good leader? What do I need to do to become a better leader?
“Every day we’re so busy – Targets! Goals! – that we don’t take the time to really look at this. And we should… we should!”
“Stop demotivating our people”
Herve Gisserot, General Manager, GlaxoSmithKline, China
“The key learning from Steven is that if we stop demotivating our people with the many things we do, we are already a huge step forward, we are already a much better leader. I believe that’s common sense, but it’s not that common.
“In tough times, which we definitely have right now, we have a slight tendency to be in meetings, to be on business trips, to be very busy with a lot of things… and to completely forget that our main task is to sit with our people and not only to inform them, but to communicate with them. I definitely believe that.”
“A mentor through my transition to CEO”
Rami Makhzoumi, CEO and President, Future Pipe Industries
“I first met Steven at London Business School as part of the Emerging Leaders Programme. Steven was really all I remember from that course. He was the greatest inspiration to me….
“I was still part of the family business – I had joined at a Vice-President level – but he really helped shape the way I wanted to build my potential for succession. throughout that time, and since I left London Business School (I assumed the CEO and President’s role about two years after), Steven was very much a mentor to me throughout that process.
“He helped guide me through some of the key areas that I should concentrate on. Since that point he’s also been a point of reference for me in understanding the innovations and techniques that he’s been studying amongst great living and past leaders and a lot of that has helped myself and those around me to achieve the real ambitions that we set.”
“This will help me and people I manage”
Michael Swiader, Managing Director, Deutsche Bank, USA
“Your methods of teaching aren’t necessarily about getting us to learn how to do something different that’s outside of ourselves… you’ve actually been getting us to stay within ourselves and apply something that’s a little bit different there. That’s a different methodology.
“Some people try and get you to change who you are and that’s not what you’re about. And that’s something that’s been helpful to me. This will help me and the people I manage.
“Anyone who didn’t work with you? They’d be an idiot if they didn’t work with you.”
“Scale your impact and reputation”
Simon Brown, VP Platform and Developer Evangelism, Microsoft EMEA
“I think it’s going to be something of a journey for me over the next year or so and I’m looking forward to that. Steven is a very passionate guy with a lot of energy, very proactive – and I love all those things.
“But the thing I appreciate the most is he challenges… He challenges himself, he challenges me, he challenges ways of thinking about things. And just to give you a couple of examples, I’d say leadership brand and ways of communicating. It’s really a breath of fresh air to meet Steven and and to see he has a vision for new forms of communicating.
“If you work with Steven I’d say expect the unexpected. Be open to be challenged. If you’re looking to scale your impact in the industry and your reputation, and how you differentiate yourself, and you want to stay true to yourself in an authentic way, then I think that’s a good starting point for getting in touch with Steven.
“And if you do end up working with Steven, have fun.”
“I have open eyes now”
James Camille, Head of Corporate Services, Blackrock, Hong Kong
“I left with open eyes. Two messages I left with are ‘What am I known for in my industry and business’, and ‘What would I like to be known for’. That resonated and with my eyes now fully open I’m going to search those answers out.”
Frank Racaniello, Managing Director, Deutsche Bank, USA
“A real reminder that our employees are our biggest asset – which sounds a cliche – and that we all have the capacity to be great managers. We’re just, on both counts, ‘maximising our assets’.
“Led by you over just two days we’ve drawn out things to prioritise and that we can do to achieve this.
“Reinventing yourself? This is about sincerity and leadership. It’s not about money. It sounds very simple, but you don’t put enough time into thinking about this and you can’t effectively draw out those ideas on your own. It’s been really helpful to come up with a gameplan for when you leave here – we have takeaways now that we can revisit next year and see how we’re doing. It was a pleasure and it was effective and it’s tough to do that. The long-range returns on this are well worth the time and effort. Great job.”
“A concrete return for the company”
Bertrand Grosjean, Director, Accounting & Tax, Bristol-Myers Squibb
“You’re a funny guy, you like to provoke people and to have the audience think out of the box. And so I feel really energised at the end of the day. With a lot of ideas. It feels like a new start. Very good stuff. Our customers’ priorities – good takeaway for me.
“Really, your messages in the afternoon were very simple, but not simplistic. For example, the critical importance of two-way communication is something I need to reinforce and share with my team. Working together to simplify our processes, to become a leaner organisation. This will have a very concrete return for the company.”
“The most comprehensive training”
Christian Anderson, Vice President, Deutsche Bank, Berlin
“I know Steven as being very focused on providing and adding value. During the course I attended ‘how do you provide value as a leader?’ was the main mantra I experienced, besides his comprehensive training on leadership. Knowing several trainings on leadership, Steven provided the most structured, comprehensive and educational training I have attended. I highly recommend Steven as an expert on leadership and corporate culture.”
“Market an individual with integrity”
Mike Turley, CEO, Leadership Spectrum Consulting, USA
“You have blazed the trail in marketing an individual. We’re very familiar with product marketing, but people are always leery about marketing themselves because it translates into a sense of arrogance. But you have laid the groundwork for those of us who are trying to understand how to market our own selves.
“You have offered a way to those of us who are simply behind you. You’re not a friend – you’re a mentor who can reach back through the darkness reach out your hand and say if we could follow your methods, we’ll find that light at the end of the tunnel.
“Your coaching techniques are practical, they are simple to implement and they give those of us that are individuals hope, because people seem to be very resistant to individuals ‘self-marketing’.”
“The results were much better”
Managing Director, Hong Kong business unit of global organisation
“Thank you for an inspiring morning’s session in Birmingham last week. I said I would give you feedback on my two objectives.
“Since arriving back in Hong Kong I have used the methods in a one-to-one discussion which was always going to be difficult for each of us. I followed the technique and am convinced the result was much better as a result. The air has been cleared and a healthy positive relationship now prevails.
“Secondly I have now carried out three of the six key appraisals with directors in the Asian business – two more are scheduled for this week and one next week.”
“The key to getting greater performance”
Anoma Manuel, Vice President, Emirates
“I manage a team of 800-plus people and I would send all my 30 senior managers on this programme. In fact, a couple of them have already done this and they influenced me to come.
“We do get carried away with the ‘task’ aspects of our work from time to time, more than the people, even though our business is about human beings and dealing with people.
“So I will now encourage them to just think a little bit differently and concentrate on the teams and their leadership styles. And also to understand themselves. That’s the key to getting greater performance all round.
“I haven’t been thinking enough about visibility. Not at the teams level, so I will now change how I am seen across the business. And I’ll do that by listening a lot more. Thank you, Steven.”
“More success than I ever imagined”
Fabian van der Horst, Managing Director, Rabobank, The Netherlands
“Steven Sonsino came into my life when I was facing my next leadership transition. His inspirational mentoring was a rollercoaster experience that gave me a boost in my professional as well as my personal life. Never again have I experienced such an impact at the several business schools I since joined. It’s hard to beat.
“Steven enabled me to focus, to get clear on all my goals and coached me through, realising more success than I ever imagined.