In the article, which spans across multiple pages in the Automotive Logisitcs Magazine, Chis Connor talks about the dramatic changes in the ro-ro sector this past decade, and how he aims to navigate the years to come.
You can read the whole article online here, but below is a small section that gives an insight into how he uses technology and networks to manage a global business, family life and change.
A day in the life at the helm
Christopher J. Connor has been CEO and president of WWL since 2013. Here, he gives an insight into how he uses technology and networks to manage a global business, family life and change.
How do you start your day?
I start and end my day with Apple. As a rabid sports fan, I'm on my iPhone early, chasing the sports scores, which has been painful this year with my beloved Boston Red Sox in last place.
My youngest son plays Division One college lacrosse, so I also track that. I also try to be disciplined with exercise by going for a run or to the gym everyday. That is for the mind as much as the body.
At the other end of the day, I finish on my iPhone, keeping in touch with my wife and kids who are not always in Norway.
How do you keep on top of a global business?
In Oslo we host mainly functional responsibilities for our global businesses, including parts of the ocean team and global strategy development. We are in the midst of a five-year plan that we revise every two years, so we areconstantly exchanging ideas and talking about strategy. Of course, there is also the customer part of the day, which for me happens more indirectly. I have regular conversations with Ray Fitzgerald in New Jersey for the Atlantic region, and Axel Bantel in Japan for Asia Pacific. We don't fool ourselves at headquarters to think we are so close to the action. I do speak to customers and visit them, but people in headquarters don't front the market. You need to get your input from those closest to the market. Otherwise you're flying blind.
What's important to you as a leader?
I think interactions with people are very important. When I started as a salesman in Boston in 1981, and would talk to the top executives, I might not have been able to repeat a word of the conversation, but I remembered the feelings they left with me. I try to bring that perspective into my day-to-day interactions here at WWL: givedirection, be consultative, inspirational or aspirational.
Change leadership is also critical. There is management and there is leadership. Management is about dealingwith complexity, so you need systems, routines, processes, good governance, etc. However, leadership is about managing change, and with the pace of change happening around us so fast, we need strong leadership skillsacross the organisation if we are going to be able to confront the challenges of the marketplace and thrive.