When he was just a boy, Tom wanted to see the world. And he did. A few countries immediately come to mind, i.e., Japan, because Japanese culture is so fascinating; it remains an out-of-this-world experience. Also, India is a permanent invitation for a visit for its multitude of colors, scents, and cultures. And Tom lived and worked for almost a decade in the US. The spirit expressed by the phrase 'Good for you,' omnipresent in American culture and companies, appealed to him significantly.
Tom reads about world and American politics, economics, technology, leadership, and many other subjects. Currently, on his nightstand lies Ego is the enemy by Ryan Holiday. There is, of course, also time to work that body: road biking in the mountains of Europe and gravel biking in Belgium.
Educated as an engineer, Tom underestimated the people part. He learned that it all starts with people. Driven by (re)building a sustainable business, Tom's idea of sustainability is not limited to its ecological application but should be extended to all parts of the business: sustainable practices make business truly sustainable over the long term.
Who is his hero? Without any doubt, his father, who never had similar opportunities; who went against his parents and off to college; who put his network and his company at Tom's disposal to provide him every chance and experience possible. His father just presented all this without pushing or demanding. "A masterful move," Tom proudly adds.
He has no single adagium. 'Life is too complex to contain in one sentence.' Much concerned with balance, Tom's life now is an exercise in maintaining equilibrium. Now, his only advice to young CEO Tom would be to actively involve human relations outside of work in that balancing practice. He didn’t, and he paid the price; which gave him perspective and humility. Through successes and failures, Tom learned to listen, adapt, and serve. Today's generation of managers seems more receptive to feedback and has a stronger awareness towards relationships and empathy, will probably apply learnings from mentors faster.
"Our human mind is limited. The voices in your head do not question you enough; they do not teach you anything new. Only through conversations with another person asking the right questions, you can adopt different insights. That's why every person should have a sounding board."
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