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Episode 22, Sean Singh, CFO ANZ, Sherwin Williams

  • Posted 07 Apr 2021
  • Richard Holmes
  • Podcast

Sean Singh is CFO, ANZ for Sherwin Williams, a leading multinational painting coating, manufacturing company. 

Sean is CPA and CIMA certified with executive leadership experienced, focused on people and culture. He has a track record of delivering results in the FMCG, Pharmaceutical and Chemicals industries. 

He is skilled in negotiation, business planning, C suite management, trade marketing, business process improvement and driving profitability.

Please note that this has been transcribed by Ai so there may be the occasional typos and weirdness. Richard Holmes 0:00 Welcome to the numbers people podcast in partnership with HPR consulting a leading Sydney executive finance recruitment firm. I'm your host Richard Holmes and the latest episode of the numbers people podcast. We welcome Sean Singh, Sean is CFO, ANZ for Sherwin Williams, a leading multinational painting coating, a manufacturing company. Shortly CPA and CIMA certified to the executive leadership experienced, focused on people and culture. He has a track record of delivering results FMCG pharmaceutical and chemicals industries. He is skilled in negotiation, business planning, C suite management, trade, marketing, business process improvement and driving profitability. Sean, how are you? Sean Singh 0:48 Thank you, Richard and yourself. Yeah, very well, very Richard Holmes 0:50 well. Thanks. Good to see you again. How long have you been keeping? Sean Singh 0:54 I've been keeping quite well been quite lucky and blessed to be in Australia in the middle of a pandemic. And very, very lucky to be safe and healthy. So yeah, wait. Richard Holmes 1:08 It's about gratitude, isn't it? I think we're very lucky in this country. I’ve known Sean for a number of years. Now. We were fortunate to get connected a few years ago. And I think Sean stories is really interesting and he’s a recent CFO and it's proven what hard work, what you can achieve with hard work. Would you like to talk about your story, Sean? Sean Singh 1:30 Yeah, sure. Thank you, Richard. So growing up by I was always good in studies. But I always have a very curious mind. So is what I was told I've been bored and distracted very quickly. So with numbers, I was good with studies, but I was way inquisitive. And just just just studying two plus two is four was good enough Why? So there's always a curious part in me, going to university, I started to do a commerce degree. And I said, I never want to be an accountant and still boring. So I gave that up and did an economics degree, then came to Australia, that's when the actual journey starts. Richard in 2005, to do my Master's in finance and accounting, loved the country, loved the weather and loved the profession. And then there was no looking back. So from there on way lucky to get my first break in commercial finance. And one thing led to the other. And we are today qualified CIMA CPA, and masters, the young child who said I am not going to do finance and be an accountant. So it's an interesting journey. Yeah, right. Richard Holmes 2:43 So we then it Sorry to interrupt you, Sean. So with finance, accounting, that was just when after you'd moved to Australia, you were thinking about a career in Finance? No, Sean Singh 2:52 I did. I did come to Australia to do my masters. Yep. Well, when I say I thought I wouldn't do finance and again, that was after class 10 grade 10 So yeah, write a really in class one in grade 11 choose whether you want to be a scientist and accounting doctor so those are the three key fields back when we were growing up and anything else was a bit frowned upon. Okay, is not probably sharp enough and even. Even I still remember the principles were quite surprised when I chose not to pursue science because I said I'm just not passionate about it. I was a unique person in the sense where I didn't follow the norms and I always thought there's so much more to do and offer so very good and music. always had a keen interest let the Choir, Sports as well. But I only the things I was passionate about, and I get 100% if did something so Richard Holmes 3:48 rough, that's good. So so you keep talking commercial career in Australia. Sean Singh 3:54 Yes. So So I was very lucky. And this is an interesting story here. So I came as an international student and with that, once I finished my education at the time, I was doing the odd job and the job that I liked the most was door to door sales. The reason for that was back home I was travelling a lot I was into professional rally car driving and doing door to door sales actually gave me a car too and I got to visit parts of Australia. And look there's a story everywhere Richard so the two years that I did my uni and I did door to those sales I'd seen more of regional Australia than most of the people who had been lived all their lives here. And how that really helped was when I actually started working. Especially my most of my work is around sales and marketing. That's where you get to bring the business partner side of things and when we talked about regional New South Wales, the back of my head, so I could relate to the challenges they have in supermarkets closing only opening X number of hours. lack of infrastructure, so you could really relate to it. And, and I think that was something that came as a very pleasant surprise to a lot of leadership teams like, this guy's just been in the country to rise. And he knows more about our backyard than we do. So, it again, funny how you've just got to connect the dots and you know, where what will come in help you in your Richard Holmes 5:22 career? Yeah, that's a door to door as well. I can imagine that would you would have had some stories in regards to doing that? SS Sean Singh 5:32 Oh, yes. A lot. It helps build a lot of resilience. Richard? Yeah. uncertainty. You know, understanding people connecting with people. Eye contact in an in a very good appreciation for your sales teams. in finance, I think I think I mentioned this to you once before is when you have a mandate that everyone should do a year in sales before coming into finance. Yeah, very easy to point a finger. And when you point a finger at someone, there's three pointing back at you as well. I've learned Richard Holmes 6:10 Yeah, right. Right. Rather than do military service for a year, training free. Maybe SS Sean Singh 6:17 you go the long way. And I think that was what really helped me first role was in a company called all phones. And I was hired by a gentleman called Sean collagen, who was the head of Nokia prior to that, and, and it was predominantly to help him and the sales teams. And he was just blown away by how I could relate to the sales and the finance base. So well, that's my first job out of uni. I was I had minimal experience, not by any means as efficient and proficient in Excel and so on. The skillset required for sales analyst typically, I still remember those days, those words that were said to me, and by Sean, he said, I need people with the right attitude, skill can be acquired, I can send you on an Excel training course. So and that really resonated. And the loyalty, you get that this is someone who knows, I probably don't have all the prerequisites for the position, but yet willing to trust me and back. And everything in life goes two ways. From there on we still good minds and connect them. And I've embodied that mantra, even tonight, where, you know, when I look at job ads, which is quite funny, say you need an accountant with 15 years experience, as opposed to you know, what is that person actually going to bring to the table? Or what are the cultural requirement of your team and the end of your environment that you need to do? So I think you learn a lot with time. But the basics are the same. It needs to work to is a lot of time corporates and companies, it all becomes about me, me, me as opposed to while there's a way there's no without us. And that's really important that you Richard Holmes 8:03 focus on those areas. Yeah, that's, that's good. And that story resonates here from obviously, many years ago. Now. It still sticks with you. Sean Singh 8:12 Yes. So 2008. And I won another interesting fact. And sorry if I'm digressing. So recruiters being recruiters I went for a job interview for all I thought I was going for a job interview for a job and, and I did not have my residency at the time. So I was on a bridging visa waiting for my residency to come through. Now for these are first world migrant problems. So people who've been here probably can't be related but there are a fair bit of people who can and so I didn't have my residency, and it's a bit hard to land a job a year over. Because I had a master's degree with no local experience. And I was over, I was more qualified than most hiring managers at the time. So the recruitment said so this guy is a government sales, he's done door to door sales for two and a half years. He takes Why don't we offer him a job and so I did recruitment for a year, which is something not many people know about and, and on the provided. So I'll give you one year, I get my residency, I've done my masters and I'm going to be true to my profession and accounting and finance. Fortunately, or unfortunately, as a professional chosen and that's where I'm going and so I actually placed myself in the role. Richard Holmes 9:31 Really? Wow. 9:35 That's a nice, Sean Singh 9:36 yes. So that was an interesting story. After that, I just enjoyed this, the commercial side of it. And I've been very blessed. Richard on the way to have some really good leaders who really were very encouraging and kind of let me do what I needed to do and to support the business give me a little bit of flexibility with which was also and, and yeah, the careers been good, there's obviously ups and downs, which we'll come to on the way but the journey has gone stronger from one organization to the other. They have a few roles in between and organizations where, you know, I felt I had to leave not on a positive note that you're at a low, but every door that shot to those open. And that's the positive mindset that we got to have always got to see the glass half full. Richard Holmes 10:34 Now completely agree with it. It's, and over the last few years, good, you want to tell it to tell us about your current role and how that's developed. SS Sean Singh 10:43 So I joined in my current position, Chairman Williams in 2015. At the time it was, well spa. So those are the corporate names. But essentially, it's water paints, a lot of heritage, good branding. within Australia, I think there are very few people who haven't heard about water. So I joined in 2015, to essentially set up the decision support team or commercial finance. So at the time, there wasn't a commercial finance function. I was working very closely with the sales director at the time, who's now managing the business, which is Matt crossing him, and he really embraced what we had to bring to the table. So hats off, you know, we set up the team, I recruited the team, we went from a team of solo to a team of four. And, and that's where the business partnering comes into play. That's good, see what value we will bring. And essentially self pays for itself. Any deal, any p&l? The culture was a bit different, where, you know, it's very easy to blame someone, then this was this deal did not make sense. I said, Well, did you do the promotional analysis on it, what support that we give to them and that sales background where you know, it can become very difficult where customers are really demanding. So the question then becomes is how you move from a sales team to support the sales team. Bear on, Richard got to move into a role expanded over the years, I took on to marketing as well. So I got sales and marketing and then moved on to the GM finance role where I inherited the fpa, a and the financial accounting function. And then finally, late 2019, when I came to the CFO role where I inherited the credit side and the whole function, predominantly, Richard Holmes 12:48 I'm enjoying it, Sean Singh 12:50 I am enjoying it. I am, it's been a journey. It's been hard work. And it's the longest I've worked in an organization, Richard, so that says, I'm going old, or I'm enjoying myself now. That the beauty of my journey over the five years and a half years, it's been different every two years, has either expanded, or we've gone through a change in ownership or changes been constant. And with change, you've got three choices. Either you accepted the dented, or you do not accept it. And I always look said the glass is half full. There are always opportunities in any organization. So as long as you're willing to put your hand up for the projects that come up, there's different. There are different things that will come up from time to time organizations, you just got to find those opportunities, and put your hand up and make your role more interesting. At a young age, someone told me your career is in your own hand. It took me too long to understand that. Yeah, it's so true. It is so true. You don't have to be a manager to be a leader. And the sooner you understand that, this, the easier life gets for you. And things happen automatically, then. Richard Holmes 14:11 Yeah. And just listening to you and it's, it's about being enjoyment. This is the longest show you've been in but you reinvigorated constantly from, from what I've shown, and that's, that's one of the most important things you're going to work in your enjoyment. Sean Singh 14:28 We spend more time at work than we do at home. Yeah, that's, that's the reality. And if you're not enjoying yourself, I mean, it's, God forbid, it's like a bad marriage and it's too short, Richard. It's just short to be in a miserable position. I'm so blessed. Like we started by saying the gratitude I have for being in this country. I mean, COVID is just made it so much clearer how blessed we are and lucky to be in Australia. of opportunity and you know, There's so much out there. If you're not happy in your role, if you're dragging your feet to get up in the morning, either the role is not right for you, or the cultural fit is not right for you, is you've got to fix that. Yeah. This is you have to fix it, no one else is gonna fix it. For you. Richard Holmes 15:19 I saw something new that I showed a there was a famous person who said it was a quote, and he was like, when you take 100% responsibility for your own life and actions, that's when you start to start living life. That wasn't word for word, but along those lines, and it just, it just proves it, doesn't it like you've got to take ownership of fear, fear for yourself. Sean Singh 15:39 It's interesting origin. And it's all about attitude. Sean Singh 15:45 When Sean Singh 15:47 someone asked me, How are you doing? I said I'm doing fantastic. I'm doing well. And then I said, there's no point complaining because no one's hearing. Richard Holmes 15:55 Yeah, no one's listening anyway. Sean Singh 15:56 So what's the point? You know, if there's a problem, unfortunately, lately, you've ended up in that situation, because of certain action or inactions? Yeah. It's only you who can get you out of that story, leaving others and take control, take control, and I agree, sometimes it's difficult, and support. And that's where, you know, it's really important to have those networks, the mentors, there's just so funny, it is back to the basics, but people just don't invest in themselves. You know, maybe we invest a lot of time in angels, we invest a lot of times in our, in materialistic things, houses, cars, are the most important aspect is our IP that you have is yourself. We tend to neglect that. And, and that's ironic. So the skill set written? Richard Holmes 16:53 Yes. That's fascinating. I think I think we learned that as, as, as we go through our lives and careers. And like we touched on before we started recording, it's when you reflect back, it's bringing it back to basics, isn't it kind of simplified in understanding what's important and, and you mentioned, your, your current boss, now, Sean, I mean, he sounds like a fantastic guy, and obviously worked well with him over there over the years. And he was influential amongst Sean Singh 17:24 overall, as a human being, I would say, it's my grandfather, right. In terms of influence in terms of building that high-performance culture, he was brilliant. In everything he did, it was, I think it was on his 75th birthday, that grandkids, we all got together and gifted him a calculator, and he very likely gave it back to us and said, this is for you, new generation, we don't I don't need it. So, very, very solid, simple living, humble, humble beginnings of a solid, you know, very good work ethic. And, and just with something that is hard to put to words, there was simple living, they did things the right way. And you know, they had a very happy and successful life-wise, professionally wise, very respected, very important integrity. So these are the values that you have now and a very important way and they kind of govern who you are and what your life and family is about. So definitely big role, big role. He played a big role here waiting us making sure you know, we spent I was very lucky to have spent some time with him. A lot of people don't get the opportunity I can spend enough time that my father he passed where the young age so I was in Australia, but I was just so lucky I could get some of his wisdom way well traveled. He was in director of the Agriculture Department unified India, which is India, Pakistan all put together so he can in the same pressures on that position, but never lost perspective. He had good things to say about everyone. Richard Holmes 19:15 Yeah, that's it's Yeah, that's, that's he say it sounds like a great guy. I mean, just that personality as well. Right? There are people out there that just everyone likes. You can't you'll never hear a bad word about them. It's very solid, Sean Singh 19:29 very, very clear. Very good reps in life and, and knew what people were very good judge of character. I mean, judging people but made sure to put people in the right place at the right time. Richard Holmes 19:42 That's That's great. And reflecting on your career, Sean, what advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue a career like yours? Sean Singh 19:50 Thank God bless you for the one thing I would say that she does have an inquisitive mind. Yep. challenge the status. To School ever get comfortable in a position? When you're comfortable? It is a good sign that you need to look for a project. new challenge. No way you can influence. Yep. And Be the change you want to see. Yeah. Yeah, Richard Holmes 20:18 I just saw I was just not in the handle. And they're I mean, they're all things we've heard before. And challenge the status quo. When you get comfortable, it's time time to move with when I Sean Singh 20:28 go for an interview, Richard a lot, this talk about bringing change management and even when I was hired for this role, they said, We haven't applied for commercial finance. I hadn't been nothing about the chemicals industry. As you know, my entire background is in FMCG. Yep, the end of the interview of you know, second or third on you know, when you when you're, you're in this hot seat, I always ask the question, but I assure you want and have an appetite for change? Because if you do not, I am really going to come and rattle the cage, like you a lot of questions. Why do you do this way? And if you're going to tell me because we've always done it, and that's how it's going to be done, do not offer me the position. Three, three months time, you will be miserable. I'll be miserable. So let's call it a day today. So make sure that you go in with the open eyes on what you're getting with me. And that's really important because I'm not someone who's, if you want a yes, man, don't hire me. Not the right person for the job. Having that inquisitive mind. Because we're all qualified. We know, we understand the balance sheet and the p&l. But it's more challenging. Why are we making silly decisions? That doesn’t make sense at all, or they don't work towards the benefit of the business? Think those tough conversations. Richard Holmes 21:51 And, and it goes back to values and ethics as well in that, like working in the recruitment industry, we hear a lot of companies that want to change, but people go and work for these companies. And there's no appetite for change. It's just buzzwords Oh, we want to we can implement change within a few couple of months. People walking out just seem Well, they don't. They just want. Sean Singh 22:12 Yeah, there you go spot on. So. And I think what I've learned over the years is knowing what I want to do. And knowing what I don't want to do, where comes the tough way. Having worked for different people and leaders as well. And yeah, if you do not have an appetite, don't waste your time. Nice to again. Yeah. Richard Holmes 22:34 And reflecting back again Sean, what is it one thing you wish you'd known at the start of your career? Which would have made a big difference? Sean Singh 22:44 I could give a very different answer. But I'm going to give you the real answer, which is nothing written. I mean, what's the fun of living a life knowing what's coming? Yeah. You know, we learn from our mistakes, Cummings. And I think every failure is a stepping stone to success. I would not be who I am today. I've had those experiences. I would say keep pushing along. As long as you attain your hearts and hearts, you know, you're not doing anything wrong. Richard Holmes 23:17 Just keep learning getting in talking about failures. And what has been Have you had a big failure and what was it and how did you learn from it? Sean Singh 23:28 That's an interesting question. I actually have a good example for this. So in the earlier years of my career, I was very successful in securing a role in an organization, I wouldn't bring any names for this. I was so excited like a child in a candy store, I landed the role I wanted, I'd worked really hard to get there. And, unfortunately, a few weeks into the role got along really well with my line manager, but my two of manager we were just those just a bit values. And we just couldn't get along at all. We're very different personalities, and outlook to things was very different, like I said, to challenge the status, Scott. Yeah, we're churning out these reports and reports It was a reporting analyst role. I'm like, what's the point? The right way? Maybe go patient. They're not used to being asked those questions. Maybe I was early in my career, the way I would have asked some of those questions. I could have been a bit more political about it. But I know I smile and laugh about it. But it became awkward and ugly to the I had to move on. With a very heavy heart travels almost on the verge of being performance managed as well. I was very disappointed. I was very, very sad. And at a time, it felt like a complete failure. This was a company I really liked. I got along with my manager. I got along with my PSA. He was everything I wanted as a teenager. 24:58 Yep. Sean Singh 25:00 However, as a result of that experience, what I said okay, what can I change? And what can i influence is I made a promise that I'm never be in that situation again. I do everything I can that I could do, right? I knew exactly what to look for in a hiring manager, and to help manager and team culture. So that's the word, the team culture that I want to work in. So what did that teach me? It taught me where I would Excel. And where there were red flags for me as just as a cultural fit, where I knew this is not an organization that I want to work for. I work hard at upskilled learned and absorb knowledge like a sponge. And had that not happened to me then Richard Hart, I would not be in the CFO chair today. Yeah, I would have still been in that organization. Probably had an assistant manager, commercial manager position. Many of my other peers. So let's read all the charts, a new one opens up, it's hard to see the light at the end of it. And trust me, it's a it's a dark place to be in. Yeah. And that's, but it's okay to fail. It's not because someone's perception. And it doesn't mean that's reality. So you know, that you control what you can do. So I really thank that person today. Because had it not mean, I wouldn't have really achieved my goal of getting to the FDA role. It's Richard Holmes 26:38 I think that's a great story showing because it just shows you can imagine at that time, you probably felt your world was falling apart and all in what what my friends gonna think of me and things like that. But look, it just, it just shows you where where you kind of go through a little bit, but how, how fast you come out the other side and what you've learned from it Sean Singh 26:56 were true Richard, he got me into new bigger organizations and got me in better wearing industry experience. I think we talk there's a lot of we don't talk about mental health at all. And it is sciences like that, where we need coaches, get people, you know, as a young state, if you think about it, it was everything I wanted at the time that was away from you, is a pretty bad place to be in is react from there. And resilience is something that is embedded in my DNA here, you know, faces nevertheless, you bounce back and you get bigger and you fight harder and get stronger. I can imagine not every person is like that. So that's why when I see certain things are not working out with with people who come to me for advice, or even just coaching. I say it's time to move on. Yep. life to the end of the world. Yeah, you got to back yourself. You have to believe in yourself. Because the reality is it if you live in yourself, How you going to sell it to anyone else. Yep. 28:03 I agree Sean Singh 28:05 to respect yourself as Richard Holmes 28:06 yourself. And stop doubting yourself. And it's, I listened to that stories while Sean it's working in working in my industry as well. Sometimes it will not not sometimes all the time, it is all about the people. Like you landed your dream job at the time. And and that person. Like you can't connect, you can't like everyone, like it just just doesn't work like that. And you never really know until you bonds on the seat in a company where you really start understanding the personalities and the dynamics of what goes on there. It's mean, that's always the risk, isn't it with any company. But it's, I think, to your point about though, I think these these days, culture, mental health, it's going to stop kind of behavior with with some people like bullying is becoming less, although it's still quite quite commonplace in some companies, which can only be a good thing. But I do agree. Maybe it's a conversation for another time with with mental health, especially when you start your career. It's there's a lot of pressure we put on ourselves to really succeed. It's Sean Singh 29:07 absolutely, absolutely. Everyone's intention is good. So definitely, that's something Richard, I'd really encourage you through this forum, if you can. I mean, yeah, it's an area that needs to be talked more about, and we haven't, as leaders have a duty of care to break down the agenda Richard Holmes 29:26 to do it. And then I mean, COVID obviously terrible, but the silver lining of COVID is the conversation about mental health. It's really being brought brought to bear brought to the front, I think across the globe, which can only be a good thing. It's about time. It's Sean Singh 29:41 like I said, there's always something positive in this situation. So to start us so much more of those and what we really like and enjoy people bonding with families people are a walk in the park and appreciate nature. things for granted, right? Yeah. Richard Holmes 30:02 And as you touched on Sean, I mean, going back to basics, but we family, but going for a walk. It's basic stuff, isn't it? which we've I think we've all missed, things like that, because we're too busy. And you mentioned earlier on that year, you're naturally inquisitive and curious person, how do you continue to, to learn in order to stay on top of your role? Like I can imagine, you're you're a busy guy, you've got your team to mentor and manage? And lead. What about you personally? How do you how do you continue to learn? Sean Singh 30:34 So that's a very good question as well. And especially with finance role senior roles, some very time poor. So any opportunity for learning, Richard networking opportunities? That's really fun for me, looking at what's out there and technology advancements talking to your peers, mentors, what is embracing being embraced by other organizations? How can that be you and the team? So it's a lot of reading and being of what's going on, not only in your industry, but overall in the marketplace, and how you can leverage some of those technological advancements. Richard Holmes 31:16 Yeah. And it's, it's quite incredible, just with the technology just in finance systems. And that kind of leads on nicely to my next question, the future of Finance. You've seen a lot in your career, how do you see it panning out over the next decade? Sean Singh 31:32 very different to where we are now? Yep. Changes constant. We've seen a material shift over the last day. Yep. A move from spending most of the time preparing a report and spreadsheet to more time analyzing the results and telling the story, the data presents. Businesses are looking for business partners, which means people that not only know the numbers but the business and the leavers, yep, professional bodies, they're doing a great job to raise a lot of perception of the finance profession. Like I said earlier, Gone are the days where you'd have an accountant turn up to a meeting with a calculator in their pocket. So in my view, I think we will see a lot more reliance on technology, automation, real-time data analysis, an emphasis on business partnering, we see globally a shift with organization opting for CFOs, that come from a consulting background, rather than an accounting background. That is a concern, but also a sign of things to come. business partners are the future. 32:46 Yep. Sean Singh 32:47 That is, that is how I see it rigid, we've got to continually keep adding value. To have a seat at the table. And we'll see a lot of the reporting will more or less beer is the way I see. Richard Holmes 33:06 And, and talking about business partnering, Sean the trend over the last few years, the amount of CFOs that have gone into CEO roles, it just kind of proves how much finances evolved already. Because that very rarely happened. But even just in the last few years, a lot of CFOs are getting the top job, which is great to see. SS Sean Singh 33:27 Absolutely great to see and very pleasing to see Richard and you're spot on the sort of say indicative of the natural progression would be more than operations, Director roll which is again, very cost centre focused and it's around efficiencies and savings. The fact that you'd have the finance heads move to CEO roles is again, a just testimonial to what I'm saying is we've got as partners, we've got to understand the business and just understanding the businesses, you've got to understand and respect the challenges that one faces, whether it's in sales marketing's operations, the person working on the line, you've got to take a lot more into context rather than just your so I think that's the bigger piece that needs to come into play where you understand the levers to end within the business. When the decision is not purely financial based on numbers based. We're taking a lot more things into account, not only for the business as well. Yeah, definitely. One move that I'm not surprised about is where we're seeing more CFOs move into leadership roles. And I think that will be the trend because I feel in order to be a CFO, the skillset required has changed over the last few years as well. Richard Holmes 34:50 I agree with that. Yeah, Sean Singh 34:51 I think it's it's not only about control, but it’s also about business. I mean, in my career as well. Working with the sales teams, the one thing I'd always put my hand out with is can I come to a customer meeting with you? Richard Holmes 35:08 And I like sorry. SS Sean Singh 35:10 I think during Korea once I even went to the sales conference, in fact, even in my current position, and, and, and the context was it 16 years I've never bought brought a finance person to a sales conference. And this is Sean trust. Sean, we can trust Sean. Just to have that kind of mindset, and you know, you're doing something right where they see you as part of them. And there's no me in an organization. And once we break down those barriers, suddenly, people start to come to us with challenges salespeople by the nature of their role. They get high, it's a tough job, right? And they're not people who will naturally come and ask you for help here. Because it kind of goes against the mandate. But when they start to open up to you, and you can see how you can contribute, and they've taken you to a meeting where you've been able to add value. Play becomes a win-win situation. Again, let's get out of your comfort zone. Your customer, you're putting a price right increase through Are you suggesting a 10% price increase? Why don't you go with the guy who's got to deliver the tough news and get some of the punching bag experience? Maybe you can better equip them with data and information as to why we need that price rise. So it's, it's always, what are you doing to help you adding value? And the wider context? Yes, we need more profit, and we need an X percentage, the real world doesn't work that way. Richard Holmes 36:52 And empty are quite natural. And it's about helping them not hindering them, I think finances always had the image of you're just going to say no, so we're not going to involve you. So Sean Singh 37:02 very true. And you can see examples across the board may very well when you're looking at credit limits, the customer is just on a big contract. And you notice there's going to be big orders coming through. So you look at the contract. And you see yes, it is happening as opposed to now that we're so this common sense needs to prove rigid, and you can't just take a black and white approach everywhere. Yeah, no, it's that I think is business bartering. I think the the word business bartering is very loosely used. Word analyst is very used loosely. Business bartering can mean very different things to different people. But the end of the day, I'll give you an example. If the building is burning down. It's a bad example. But literally, and the MDS got a choice, who should he or she pull through, she's got a choice of, say, five people. And if you're not on those five people means you're not adding value. And quite often 10 years ago, or 15 years ago, financial we forgot the person sitting in the corner. Numbers not speaking up, sending some reports through. Yeah, that's, in my opinion. Richard Holmes 38:15 Yeah, no, I completely agree with that. And it's like I got here in Australia, 2005, same as you and just in that short period of time, it's only been 1516 years, and look what we've seen in that space, like what's going to happen in another 510 years, and it's just advancing going in the right direction. So it's gonna be I think it's an exciting time to be in finance. And I'm obviously going to say that because I work in finance. I mean, speaking to speaking to guys and gals like yourself, I mean, there's, it's, it's exciting, isn't it a good place to be? It's a good division, good trade to be in if you're Sean Singh 38:52 good profession, respectable? You, you're adding value you're doing right. It's a it's a respectable way to earn a living, and quite well, knowing you've done the right thing. I mean, at the end of the day, it was the definition of happiness, getting that good night's sleep, and if you can get that knowing you've done the right thing by the business. And that means making tough calls, Richard, crazy. You don't have to be it's difficult because you've got to have those tough conversations. And you've got to say no, to me, times when it makes no sense. But you've got to do to the organization, and the employees that work in that organization. So time, I think people lose sight of what their job as leaders in the businesses is to ensure the well being of the organization and the people that work in that organization. That's one simple goal ever. Richard Holmes 39:50 Say say well being, Sean, say that to that big global bank, here in the press at the moment. For them for the well being of their employees. They've been given a Saturday off which is again, another story completely. But talking about talking about culture and values What What does culture mean to you? I mean, you're very new showing you you're very people centric and well being is a big thing for you. But what, what does culture mean to you? Sean Singh 40:15 I think it is the DNA of the business. It is how teams come together. In the face of adversity. We spend more time I've, like I said, work than at home. It's really critical. You enjoy what you do, and who you work with. When you get up in the morning, you should not need to drag your feet out to work. So culture is a hearing loss in the corridor. Are we engaged? Sean Singh 40:48 Half the problems get resolved before they even come to you? And people are just happy to be where they are. They feel supported. Yep. Sean Singh 40:56 And look, it's it may sound making, I'm stating the obvious. And it's easy, because everyone's different personalities, and everyone's motivating factors are different. As long as you can get along in a professional and polite way. And nine out of 10 times you're having fun. Yep. That is what culture is worth does not have to be boring. Richard Holmes 41:22 And it is engagement, isn't it? Sean Singh 41:26 It's engagement. And the return on investment on engagement is measurable. Richard Ross is here. An employee is going to go over and above, it's like us, you know, it's nice to you, you, you, you look for things for them. Once, not as nice to you. That person automatically goes to the bottom of your list. Are you going to prioritize them no matter how senior they are? you will you will prioritize them and find them time, which doesn't get you into trouble. So it's nature to treat people with respect. But I think this is one that is really important. And it is the difference between a winning team and struggling, having worked at different organizations seen really not so good cultural environments, and seeing teams where the culture was just perfect. And it just brings the additional people go over and above. And it brings that winning spirit. Yep. And momentum. All right. And once you've got that, I mean, there's no stopping written here. Now it's no striving. It's like the train example. You've tried to put the brakes, it's the right time to stop. Waiting is hard. But once it gets going. And that's where, why I say as roles as our role as a leader. That is your role to motivate into it. And those opportunities that align their personal aspirations to the company's goals. How do we create those opportunities? There's a lot of opportunities in every organization, Richard? Yep, it is how you channel them and be a little creative. bringing those what are the people's, what is one's personal development opportunities and goals? And how do we align them to the organization's goals? People feel supported, they're learning and, and we've got good engagement with a good culture without a good team, we can achieve nothing. Richard Holmes 43:39 And and follow them for you to set them short. It's it's leadership, isn't it, it comes from the top, then you've got to have that right leader in place, then it kind of cascades down from there as well. SS Sean Singh 43:50 I'll give you one example. And it goes to cricket. We had the world's best. Obviously I come originally from here. The viewers don't know that. And we had such internuclear, who by far as one of the best in the world. He has all the records. It was not the best cricketing team. At the time. You could argue we're good batsman now, but the team is strong and look at where they are now. I mean, forced to reckon with not, is them out, right. And that's how the Australian team was when I got to Australia Day five. And that's what I learned. I was like, well, not many people watch cricket. When I go into this country, it was all about footy. And it's the team, that it's not one individual, what can do nothing. It's not a individual sport. And and that's what companies need to understand. And that's how we succeed and engage them is the only way you succeed. Richard Holmes 44:49 Yeah, that's very true. Very true. There's no way you can argue with that. And, and the, again, the nature of my role. I see these, these companies and they just have the wrong People in place to instill confidence in culture in the teams but it's it's one of those I guess, but and no new showing you come across as a calm collected individual, what when you do feel stressed, or overwhelmed? What What do you do? What's your go to thing SS Sean Singh 45:17 I've learned some have learned over the years, step back. Yep, deep breaths. SS Sean Singh 45:25 Get to the putting mat. Richard Cohen has been helpful. So I've got a mat set up SS Sean Singh 45:31 my room, which is which I'm very blessed and lucky will hopefully haven't had to do too many of the distressing visits. But that's it, take a break. Take a deep break. And think about the bigger picture and come back to it with a clearer mind. Yeah. Never make it personal. And influence where you can and what you can do. And you will always meet different kinds of people and come across different characters in your career. Because someone is behaving in a certain way, do not spoil your brand, that you don't have to stoop to that level. The pallets and calm and composed you go. And that's Richard Holmes 46:17 Oh, that's great advice, Sean. I think that's, that's really good advice. And into close out, Sean, I've got a question for you. So when you were a recruiter in your place yourself in that role, did you did you get commissioned for dailymotion? 46:35 Probably not. Richard Holmes 46:41 Get a job and pay yourself again, the job? Sean Singh 46:44 I think I think I'd already resigned by the time Richard, so unfortunately, not now. Richard Holmes 46:49 Okay. But um, but hey, Charlotte, it's been I've really enjoyed having to chat with you. I think you've been a great guest. And I think you've added a lot of value in just listening to your story. It's been been great. And yeah, hopefully we'll, we'll have you on there on the podcast again Sean Singh 47:01 soon. Now, thank you, Richard. Likewise, I really enjoyed this conversation. And the good thing about knowing you is you really connect with, we really connect quite well. And I can have an honest and open conversation with you. And I think I hope people can get that out of this conversation is, yeah, it's not always about pretending to be who you need to be about keeping it basics. And I hope that journey presents that especially when we talk about failures and things like that. So I've really enjoyed the Richard Holmes 47:34 origin. Excellent. I've really enjoyed it, Sean, it's been been great. And yeah, look, we'll see. Absolutely. Take care. Bye. Thanks.
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