‘People, People, People…..’ says Lopo Champalimaud

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Last week we went to a thoroughly enjoyable event hosted by Forward Partners, featuring Lopo Champalimaud, the co-founder & CEO of the recently rebranded Treatwell (x Wahanda).

He treated us to some great insights in the life of a serial entrepreneur. Since 1994 he has founded three business and led two others, and while he has been successful in uniting and identifying fractured marketplaces, he cited his ability to surround himself with exceptional talent as one of his key reasons for success.

For business leaders of companies of all sizes, hiring and retaining the very best talent is at the core of a successful business. At the heart of retaining talent, Lopo highlighted, was empowerment and attitude.

Treating the functional-leaders like mini-CEOs and giving them the autonomy will if they have the right attitude, produce the best results. Furthermore, giving people on the frontlines the trust and the resources they need to succeed will produce quicker, faster and better decision-making. They’ll also be more engaged with the business and naturally empowered by their contribution. Themes like “empowerment”, “autonomy”, “trust” and “contribution” are consistent in engaging and retaining the best talent.

Lopo has successfully surrounded himself with excellent functional leaders at Treatwell. He recognised a consistent hiring issue we see with many start-ups, that is that it is essential to hire leaders who are ready not just for the size and shape of the business today, but for the business of the future.

This is typically one of the most challenging aspects of leadership searches. For example, in a Marketing Director search we are managing for a P2P Fintech lender, one of the biggest challenges has been in testing the individual’s hands-on/executional ability as they’ve become more strategic throughout their recent career. This is especially prominent in FinTech where we often have to headhunt outside of Financial Services. It is essential that a start-up has leaders with a healthy mix of both future customer focus and a natural execution focus.

Like many entrepreneurs around the world, Lopo reinforced the point several times that surrounding yourself with ‘exceptional people’ and giving them the tools they need to succeed is at the absolute core of building a successful business, no matter the size. Get it wrong at your peril.

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