Ecolab Senior Vice President and President of the Middle East and Africa region, Arjan Boogaards, was recently interviewed for a feature in the May 2019 edition of the the Middle East CEO magazine. Read on below to find out more. Click here to see the print version of the below interview.
How do you describe yourself?
"I am energetic, curious about new cultures and passionate about talent development. I am approachable, an active listener and enjoy mentoring and coaching teams."
What do you count as your greatest achievement in life so far?
"My family first and foremost; My wife and I have worked as one team to support our two daughters through the challenges of moving abroad and seeing them become such independent, socially intelligent and confident young women, shows that we’ve done something right.
On a professional level, one noteworthy achievement for me was to work with a team of policy makers and business leaders in Europe to get water recognized as a key part of the circular economy; underlined by the fact that water is no longer considered a commodity. After continuous efforts that lasted for two years, I believe the pending water scarcity challenges the world will face now resonates with business leaders and policy makers alike. Our efforts have resulted in policies being re-written, and increased awareness of the value of water for various businesses and societies."
What’s your greatest fear?
"Not being there for my team and my family when they need me."
Your attitude towards failure:
"Failure is a word that doesn’t show up in my dictionary; I do not give up easily, and I don’t believe we ever fail; we either succeed or learn. Failure is a learning opportunity."
The worst day of your career:
"I genuinely believe that people are our most important assets. In the early days of my career, I’ve sadly lost some colleagues due to safety-related accidents. At Ecolab we invest significant time and money in our strong safety culture. We want to make sure our people are safe at work and return home to their families every day. We never compromise on safety."
What is the single largest problem facing your industry today?
"It’s all about sustainability and this is at the core of what we provide at Ecolab. With an increasing population, pressure on natural resources such as water and our energy resources will dramatically increase. Industries will need to produce more, using fewer resources. The challenge is to help them achieve their business goals while protecting our vital resources."
What do you enjoy most about working at your company?
"I enjoy it when people approach me to join Ecolab, having heard of our compelling purpose to make the world cleaner, safer and healthier. Every day, we work to provide clean water, safe food, healthy environments and abundant energy at customer locations throughout the region and the world. I also enjoy the fact that we encourage diversity and inclusion within our workforce and have created a work environment where everyone can make an impact."
What virtue do you admire most in other people?
"I admire people who are creative and curious and use these qualities to transform products and processes into innovations that solve challenges, drive greater value and make a difference in the world."
What do you think are the most attributes of successful people?
"Humility, courage and simplicity. Successful people in my view are those who are inspirational for teams and lead by example. They get people to achieve what they deem unachievable by building trust and providing effective support and coaching."
What’s the one productivity tool or method you use that you wish everyone else knew about too?
"I’m an early bird and usually get to the office before my colleagues. This gives me the head space to plan my day, catch up on the news, but more importantly, bond and connect with my colleagues over a cup of coffee. I like to walk around the office and have informal chats with my colleagues to listen to their thoughts, ideas, feedback and see if there are any bottlenecks that I can help fix. These conversations give me a true sense of how things are going and set me up for a more productive day."
Describe your decision-making process.
"I take a fact-based, but empathetic approach to decision making. I like to engage colleagues in discussion, listen to different points of views and question opinions where needed to help get a holistic picture. I also believe having clarity on accountability helps lead to sound decisions."
A quote you live by:
“Authenticity is the alignment of head, mouth, heart and feet — thinking, saying, feeling and doing the same thing — consistently. This builds trust, and followers love leaders they can trust.”