“Doing well financially is not a defining indicator of a successful individual. The person who is truly successful is one that has managed to be at a point in life where both his or her professional and personal life is fulfilling and happy.”
A graduate of Macquarie University in Australia with an Honours degree in Business Management (majoring in client stakeholder management and human resources), Smith was promoted in October 2015 as the Managing Director of the Randstad’s group operations in Hong Kong and Malaysia after ascending to the position of Country Head for Randstad Singapore in 2012. At the time of helming the Singapore division, he was tasked with growing the business.
This is a challenging role given that Randstad works with over 750 multinational corporations and SME businesses in Asia. Smith was faced with an even bigger challenge when he first moved to Singapore in 2012 as the business was not performing near expectations and “there was significant pressure to turn it around as quickly as possible.” He admits to having had little choice but to make tough decisions to close businesses, make people redundant and exit client relationships. This learning period has helped to shape his leadership character, though, even if that period at times threatened to derail his convictions that he was making the right decisions.
Prior to relocating to Singapore, Smith had accumulated experience in Sydney where he led one of Randstad’s specialist recruitment businesses as its General Manager for the New South Wales and Queensland territories, managing a team of more than 60 professional consultants. He had joined Randstad in 2005 and his career trajectory saw him progress from graduate consultant through to manager and General Manager in the space of a decade.
Working with high-calibre clients as well as managing multiple teams in three markets is surely a tough job for a leader, but throwing work-life balance into the mix adds yet another juggling act that leaders must face. For Smith, the challenge he grapples with is keeping the balance between the time spent with his family and the time spent on work. The recruitment business being what it is, he says, your to-do list is never quite finished.
While he believes all great leaders have to go through a ‘crucible’ in order to become an authentic leader, he was fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with some of the most senior people in the recruitment industry. They modelled, he recalls, the values and behaviours that they hoped their teams would embody, such as remembering what drives you and fulfils you and that success is not defined by money, status or power and that being happy with your work and your life as an individual is equally important. Sound insight from a leader immersed in the business of people.
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