When the student met the CEO: what they learned

Written by John Jeffcock and Anushka Patil - 04 December 2019

Group of people at meeting

Anushka Patil was given the opportunity to experience John Jeffcock’s job for a day. What did she learn from her time as ‘CEO’, and did John learn anything in return?

Anushka’s experience:

My experience with John, who is CEO at Winmark Global, inspired me to evaluate how I make my decisions. John values peer-to-peer learning and tries to connect with people and build his network. You can inspire people, who may go on to inspire others.

By the end of the day, the book on his desk Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek made more sense to me. John manages with the values and lessons he learned from the army. He looks after his team and puts them first. Any business holds up if the foundation is strong. When your business starts to grow the foundation becomes the people you hire and the ones that make your ideas come to life with your input in it.

I realised that we are all selling something. It is either product, service or our capacity to be able to make a change. A businessperson will also be an excellent salesperson, who always smiles and never gives up. Something I personally needed to gain morale from was that in the end, it’s us who limits ourselves and creates our own reality. Something we can all think about is: “How am I limiting myself from my own build conscious and how can I rectify it?”

Any opportunity that comes our way is ours to take. Widening the knowledge across all sectors not only helps us build vast knowledge it helps to gain multiple perspectives, which is essential when we are trying to build or run a business and take decisions on multiple topics throughout the day. Also, it helps to gain empathy and patience while dealing with people from all over the world. With growing multicultural workplaces, I believe it to be an essential skill required by business students. Being emphatic to other cultures and also to other people’s opinions.

John’s experience:

It was great to spend a day with such a bright, eloquent and curious person. She attended two internal planning meetings and one external meeting with an overseas investment bank. She spent the rest of the time by my desk observing what I do. Lots of emails and calls.

It added a new dimension to the day and made it slightly more unique and fun for me. Things may have taken a little longer as I explained them but the upside was worth it. Was it helpful for me? Yes, for three main reasons:

  1. She noticed a change in behaviour (relaxation) in a client meeting, which she said she enjoyed.
  2. Suggested an idea for a potential speaker and client organisation, which we followed up on.
  3. She helped to bounce around an idea that I may have given less focus to. This, in turn, led to a new innovative and workable approach.

It was useful to have a graduate mentee for a day in that it actually helped with focus and priorities. Rarely as CEO do I have to reflect on my daily activities and what I prioritise. I also thought that this ‘job switch’ may be something we do internally so people get to see how the company works.

 

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John Jeffcock and Anushka Patil

John is CEO of professional networking company Winmark Global. Anuska Patil is studying for a Masters in strategic fashion management

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