Lunch with the CEO

ronald_macatbagBy Ronald Dennis Macatbag, Regional Manager, Business Solutions & Analytics, American Express and current student of the University of Sydney Business School’s MBA program

Enrolling in an MBA program after years of working can be daunting. The stakes are a lot higher at this stage of a person’s life, especially when there are children to attend to, a mortgage to pay and a career ladder to climb. That’s why it’s really important to not only choose the right MBA program to enrol in, but to take into account the types of support and events that the education provider can offer, beyond the lessons and lectures.

That’s why I chose to enrol at the University of Sydney’s new MBA program. Aside from the prestige that the name University of Sydney brings and the advantages of having an MBA under my belt once I graduate, the experiential learning approach of the Business School’s MBA program is truly revolutionary.

Learning in the University of Sydney Business School doesn’t just happen within the confines of the classroom. The Business School goes to great lengths to immerse its students in real-life business engagements and organised events.

Recently, the MBA students had the opportunity to have lunch with the CEO of UXC Red Rock Consulting, Jonathan Rubinsztein. His company is considered as the largest Oracle Consulting business in Australia and New Zealand. The event started off with networking between selected MBA students, alumni from the Business School’s Global Executive MBA Program, faculty members and the CEO himself.

Over lunch, Jonathan introduced the topic of building Sales Culture from the current environment’s context – change is the norm, driven primarily by the blistering pace of advances within the technology sector. Any job or industry that is available today may be gone tomorrow. “So… are you currently working for the right industry?” Jonathan asked.

To answer this question, I took some time to reflect on what had transpired inside the Boardroom of the University Sydney’s custom fitted CBD campus on the 29th of May 2013.

“People generally do not know what their reason for being is,” Jonathan had said. He then linked this with the concept of employees’ personal values and the values of the organisation they work for. According to Jonathan, it is vital that a person’s personal values align with that of their organisation. This is particularly important if they want to achieve satisfaction in their work and success with their undertakings.

While listening to this, I couldn’t help but draw a parallel with the lessons from our Leadership Practice and Development module, delivered by University of Cambridge alumni, William Harvey and Harvard-trained Mike Jenner.

I have always thought that the three assignments we had on Action Items were primarily focused on developing, if not sharpening, our technical skills on specificity and detail orientation. Little did I realise that, in reality, the more important aspect of these assignments had been aligning my values with my goals, with the view that if these two are aligned with each other then the action points set against each goal becomes much easier to achieve. It is comforting to know that this lesson from the program is actually being practiced by the CEO himself.

Before my mind wandered any further, Jonathan eloquently stated that the core values of UXC Red Rock Consulting are built around five things; Delighting Customers, Trustworthiness, Listening, a philosophy that “good enough is not enough”, and “having fun, seriously!”

At first glance, I noticed that these are hallmark characteristics of building an effective sales culture – buzzwords in another school of thought. However, for Jonathan, these are the specific values that he has drilled into his company’s ways of doing things. Why? Because he believes in the ‘ripple effect’.

These values drive a positive sales engagement culture. If the engagements between his employees are positive, these will reverberate through their customer interactions which, in turn, cements long term business relationships.

All of which answers Jonathan’s question from earlier: The survival of an industry in a future that is predicted to be disrupted by technology depends not on the product that it sells, but on how they sell it.

“People buy ‘why you do it…’” as Jonathan beautifully summarised it.

And this brought a smile to my face, safe in the knowledge that I have made the right decision and just been sold with a service built around one of the University of Sydney’s key offerings: “over 160 years of excellence, with the objective of providing a fertile environment where the brightest minds flourish”.

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