Erik Roos is the CEO of Pharma Dynamics.
What makes an ideal CEO?
The CEO is the leader of a company and, therefore, plays a critical role in establishing the corporate vision and culture of the company internally, while maintaining that perception externally.
Looking first at the internal business aspect, it is my view that a CEO must inspire and empower his/her people to make the company’s united vision a reality. He/she needs to keep the team accountable for delivering on agreed expectations, but at the same time must fight for them behind the scenes.
From an external perspective, the CEO is the public embodiment of the organisation and must network and represent the company among key stakeholders and in the public sphere at large. It is thus critical that a CEO stays abreast with regards to industry trends and insights.
Is there any ideal preparation or learning a prospective or aspirant CEO should focus on?
Yes definitely – the most important step is to connect with senior leaders to receive mentorship. An aspiring CEO must learn from senior leaders across the spectrum to foster general knowledge of the different business units, such as finance, sales and marketing, human resources and business development, for example.
I also believe an aspirant CEO should develop his/her emotional intelligence as soon as possible, because the role of CEO comes with a massive responsibility to lead and influence colleagues and shareholders to buy into your vision and to deliver results.
“The role of CEO comes with a massive responsibility to lead and influence colleagues and shareholders to buy into your vision and to deliver results.” – Erik Roos, Pharma Dynamics
What do you believe is the key to striking the right balance as a leader between being a visionary, an expert in your field, or an all-rounder?
I believe that the CEO – as the leader of a company – must be prepared to lead the organisation through various phases of ‘turmoil’. Growth is usually synonymous with some form of change, so the CEO must guide his or her team through different phases or change management such as a launch phase, a stabilising phase or even a turnaround scenario.
Accomplishing this demands an in-depth understanding of your field or industry and its driving forces, to lead and empower experts within your team.
I also believe that CEOs will likely become ‘all-rounders’, some sooner than others, depending on personality type.
What advice do you have for young CEOs in terms of coping with the immense pressure and expectations that will be placed on them?
Prioritize and focus your efforts on the critical few aspects that really impact the business and its results. Try not to take things personally! You will make mistakes, just don’t make them twice and learn from them as well as from other leaders externally and within your team. Have an open mind and strive to maintain a balance between business, family and personal time.
“Prioritize and focus your efforts on the critical few aspects that really impact the business and its results.” – Erik Roos, Pharma Dynamics
What are your personal leadership secrets?
Be consistent, employ and develop leaders around you and respect the human behind the role.
What has been the most important lesson you have learned in your career as a leader?
I learnt from an early age that there is no elevator to success. You must work hard and make sacrifices. It takes time, tenacity and passion to climb each step on your way to the ideal position. You must also build a network of allies you can trust and depend on around you, because you need a competent team to perform under pressure.
How important has mentoring been to you in your career, and have you been able to mentor others?
Mentorship is extremely important! I had a few solid mentors in my career so far, and yes, I have mentored people in my career. I believe you need to be a mentee in order to become a great mentor.
Any advice for leaders in terms of the mentoring relationship?
Know what you want to achieve via a mentorship program, your mentor does not need to be your friend, but your mentor needs to be honest and critical in order to facilitate your growth.
“Your mentor does not need to be your friend, but your mentor needs to be honest and critical in order to facilitate your growth.” – Erik Roos, Pharma Dynamics.
Any other comments about leaders?
Strive to be a leader and not just a manager. Of course, you must manage systems and processes, but it’s also important to lead with integrity when it comes to dealing with the most important resource that was ever created……people.
Never give up when you travel on the dirt road or when things don’t evolve immediately as planned. In my career, I have taken steps backwards and sideways in order to get back on the right track.