I’m a podcast addict so I always listen to some kind of podcast.
When you walk, you are half thinking and half listening. That is the moment for me. Clears my head for what is required [during the day]. It’s when no one asks me for anything. It’s really important to me, and I know that when I don’t have that walk and that time just to think, I’m not as effective during the day and I can get a little grumpy at times.
What are your current favorite podcasts?
I have been listening Without limits by (executive search firm) Blenheim Partners. It’s a leadership series. It’s good for me to hear the way different leaders approach things. I always learn something.
And I always come back to (ABC radio show) conversations. Love conversations. I am very interested in people.
And I listen to those from McKinsey Inside the Strategy Room.
I can’t imagine a world without podcasts. In an hour, you can learn so many things.
What is the most important thing you look for when you hire someone?
For me, it’s less about the technical skills. I think cultural fit is very important. That is not always easy to judge.
The values of the person are very, very important. I want someone who is inquisitive and willing to challenge and be challenged and ambitious about what he wants to achieve.
It is: how is this person going to interact? What will they bring to the team? Where are we lacking now? Where am I deficient?
One thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that I have weaknesses and I’m not going to address them anymore. So I better find people who are strong where I am weak.
What is the secret of good leadership?
For me, it’s constantly reminding myself that there is no “me” in the team.
Having the best team possible is important for leadership.
Being authentic and always willing to show up through the good times and the bad is incredibly important to me. And I think being brave, because as leaders sometimes you have to make decisions that are really difficult. Having the courage to do it is very important.
And then reflecting and always constantly improving, constantly learning.
Was there a moment in your career that really changed you or was fundamental in your career?
when i went to prague [as the chief executive of ING in the Czech Republic]. I realized that I had to adapt to the circumstances and that I could not always use the same style of leadership.
Sometimes it was necessary to be directional, not just collegiate.
I learned a lot about resilience. I learned a lot about being adaptable to circumstances and starting to use other leadership skills better than before in a different cultural setting. It was a really turning point for me professionally and personally.
I would say the second [pivotal moment] it was when i went to hong kong [with ING]. I learned a lot about Asia. I realized that there is no Asia. There is China, Japan, India, Korea. They are all very different, and it gave me a better appreciation of that continent.
Do you practice any sport?
I did a lot of sport [when I was young]. My mother would say that I tried every possible sport. I played netball until about five years ago. My orthopedic surgeon can attest to that because I have arthritis in both knees. I also played competitive squash. Now I have dedicated myself to golf.
When did you start in golf?
About five or six years ago. My husband tells me that golf is not what I play. [He says] It so happens that I go for a walk and chat with my friends, and I drag the buggy behind me.