An Interview with Paulo Peereboom – If You Want To Go Fast Go Alone, If You Want To Go Far Go Together
Paulo Peereboom, an Executive Board Member at the largest online platform for food retail in sub-Saharan Africa – Pick n Pay, talks about career development, diversity, and teamwork. Find out what he thinks about the importance of culture fit, motivating a team, and the three types of people every team should have.
‘Surround yourself with people who think different from you. Diversity in a team is very important. There’s a good example from my own team: I have a colleague who isn’t a risk taker and I’m not afraid of taking risks. He’s very structured and I like to act with the minimum amount of planning. This is a match made in heaven – I keep him challenged and he keeps me grounded. In Africa, there is a beautiful proverb that says: “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together”. So my advice to upcoming managers and future leaders is: You have to understand when to go alone and when to go together. There is no recipe, sometimes you have to choose one and sometimes you have to choose the other.
Then you have to understand what you bring to the team. I always think that great teams are made out of 3 types of people. People that are challengers, people that defend the status quo, and people that build bridges, because sometimes the first two types of people need someone in between to build a bridge between them. And you need all of these 3 elements in a team.
An important thing when joining a company is agreeing with the company’s values. The first thing I check is whether the company’s values suit me or not and whether I suit them or not. You have to understand whether you are joining a group of people you think you can work with and find balance with, or not. A strategy that’s not so good but, done by a group of people who are utterly committed, has more success than the best strategy in a team where no one agrees and never implements it.
As a manager, being in touch with your team is just as important as being in touch with your customers. No one can manage an office behind closed doors. Get in the minds of the people in your team, understand what’s important to them, and what interests them. There are many ways of achieving results – I believe that managing people the correct way brings the best results. A motivated team with the right culture fit can surprise you with what they can deliver.’
‘Make sure to always stay true to yourself, at the end of the day leadership is all about authenticity.’