John Thomas Sneed IV

Senior Vice President

Sykes Asia, Incorporated

2019

OUTSTANDING LEADERS IN ASIA

John Thomas Sneed IV

OUTSTANDING LEADERS IN ASIA

2019

Senior Vice President

Sykes Asia, Incorporated

WORDS FROM THE JURY PANEL

The idea of leadership hasn’t changed so much in terms of what is expected or wanted from leaders. The concept of leadership has always existed, but as our world changes, it’s what we look for in our leaders that is different. Now there is a component of ‘What’s in it for me/us?’ – a feeling of fulfillment/inclusion – that needs to be considered. Answering that is one of the things that John Thomas Sneed IV does exceeding well as an Outstanding Leader.

Words from the winner

John Sneed

Leading With Purpose

Choosing to lead versus wanting to be boss is John Thomas Sneed IV’s competitive advantage.

In 1997 SYKES opened its doors in the Philippines, becoming the first multinational call center to operate in the country. The company is also the first call center to venture out of Manila, opening the first call center in Cebu. John Thomas Sneed IV gives an overview of the company by saying, “We invest in our people and create a true environment where they can be rewarded for the work they produce, learn new skills, and grow within the organization. Our location provides access to great talent and provides a business model with less risk than other locations, while the acquisition of leading digital companies enables us to provide a wider range of digital support solutions that help our clients – Fortune 2000 companies in the field of telecommunication, finance, technology, and emerging brands – in their own digital transformation.”
SYKES Cebu posted a 16 percent increase in gross revenue and increased its headcount by four percent in 2018. From 1,800 employees in 2013, SYKES Cebu has grown to 4,000 employees. It scored the highest Employee Satisfaction across all SYKES sites globally (90 percent), and has managed a successful Employee Referral Program (ERP) which generated 40 to 50 percent of the company’s new hires.
Much of this success can be attributed to Sneed’s exemplary leadership. The Worcester, Massachusetts native saw himself working as a programmer or systems analyst early in life, and thus padded up his Bachelor of Sciences in Computer Science and Mathematics with graduate courses which helped him look beyond what he was learning, and thus think differently. “Twenty five over years ago, I started out as an agent on the phones, taking calls to support a well-known spreadsheet software program. I really liked the work – I was able to use my technical and logic skills and was able to talk to people. I was able to apply all that I had learned and further my career by becoming a Supervisor, Manager, Director and eventually Client Executive.
The first half of my BPO career was spent working in American and Canadian centers managing the day to day operations and key client relationships.
The second half exposed me to international clients and locations which helped me better learn and understand the many global customs and cultures. I was able to leverage this as I started to manage business within these countries and help lead the local sites in their growth and evolution to strong operating centers,” he shares.

“I’ve found that, often times, many focus on being the ‘boss’ versus rising to lead. That’s not a successful path. I am supportive, approachable and relatable, but I don’t put myself on a pedestal. In terms of leadership style, it’s often about where we are going and how to get there. I know I am not the expert in all areas, but I really know how to create the environment/landscape to cultivate what’s needed. Similar to the movie Field of Dreams – if you build it, they will come. And I know how to build it.”

Sneed has a well-rationalized view to leadership, saying, “I’ve found that, often times, many focus on being the ‘boss’ versus rising to lead. That’s not a successful path. I am supportive, approachable and relatable, but I don’t put myself on a pedestal. In terms of leadership style, it’s often about where we are going and how to get there. I know I am not the expert in all areas, but I really know how to create the environment/landscape to cultivate what’s needed. Similar to the movie Field of Dreams – if you build it, they will come. And I know how to build it.”

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