Building a Leadership Culture in the Digital Era: Julián de Cabo's Perspective

Building a Leadership Culture in the Digital Era: Julián de Cabo's Perspective

26 July 2023 - by Julian de Cabo

During the interview, we explored key characteristics of leaders in the current digital and technological era with Julián de Cabo. We discussed the importance of future vision, quick decision-making in uncertain contexts, and adaptability. Through this conversation, you will learn about the unique leadership style we have at SNGULAR, which is developed through the “Team of Teams” model.

What key characteristics should a leader have in the current digital and technological era?

In any academic article you search for or in ChatGPT, you will learn that having a good future vision, quick decision-making in uncertain contexts, and adaptability are crucial characteristics. But upon closer analysis, you will realize that many of these characteristics are actually rooted in humility. Having humility makes you more aware of the truth around you and helps you become more willing to learn. Additionally, when it comes to leading and not just managing, compassion and the ability to communicate effectively are also necessary. 

How would you define the current leadership style we have at SNGULAR?

I take the risk of sounding old-fashioned in my response, but at SNGULAR, leaders usually have authority, not just power. There is something the Romans called "auctoritas," which is beyond a temporary power that comes with a position. Instead, it was the prestige a leader earned throughout their lifetime by having integrity and a deep commitment to their duties. Therefore, one of the most important things for a leader at SNGULAR is their ability to lead by example. They can accomplish this by modeling values within their team and maintaining a strong focus on developing the individuals within it. With that, you have 90% of the SNGULAR leader's profile.

What are the main challenges or difficulties you observe in managing within the Team of Teams model?

Most difficulties are typical, such as the uncertainty most humans feel when faced with changes or the danger of "tribalizing" that can occur with the compartmentalization of teams with defined identities and focuses. However, all these problems can be solved if each of us assumes the fundamental SNGULAR motto as our own: that we are one team. If we are incapable of thinking about the greater good and putting it ahead of our individual or specific team interests, we will be mistaken. Let us not forget that, above "Team of Teams," the idea that SNGULAR is "One Team" stands, which is truly the key to our strength.

What ideas do you have for leadership development that complements the growth we are experiencing in the company?

We are already working on it, actually. We have a defined purpose and values that are beginning to serve as references when reviewing the company's internal processes. By doing so, you realize that the development of our colleagues is composed of a combination of two types of qualities. It starts with developing technical skills essential in the early stages of a professional career. Over time, learning team management skills become increasingly important, especially at higher levels. So, when you have sufficient experience, you are not only a skilled technician able to teach, but you can also set an example with your performance rooted in the company's values and inspire your colleagues.

What skills would you recommend to a technology professional to learn who wants to start leading projects and teams?

For a young professional in any company, it is essential to distinguish the difference between managing and leading. If they can not find an environment that values their professional development, they should quickly seek an opportunity elsewhere that values them. In my opinion, during the early stages of a professional career, it is critical to prioritize learning, and a vital part of that comes through the work environment.

Suppose the question refers to a professional at SNGULAR. In that case, I advise them to keep their eyes open, listen carefully, and pay attention to what their superiors do and how they do it. In addition to understanding what and how we accomplish goals, knowing your why is crucial for the next steps. Our values and purpose are the cornerstone upon which we are trying to build a different company.

How can a strong and collaborative leadership culture help an organization be prepared to face future challenges?

The only possible way to execute it is through leading by example. Creating a leadership culture is similar to educating a young child: what you say is much less important than what they see you do. And if there is a contradiction between the message and the practice, the result can be catastrophic.

I have known SNGULAR for a long time, and I have heard José Luis say, as Sarah now repeats, that the key to success is the people, and if we don't prioritize our people above all else, we will lose who we are. But now that I have experienced it from within, I am certain that it is not just a nice slogan but a sincere concern that is part of the mindset used to make decisions in this company. I am proud to be a part of it.

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