Learn and Perform – Olivier Nataf

SpreadLove In Organizations
SpreadLove In Organizations
Learn and Perform - Olivier Nataf

This episode is special and the second in a series of three. In partnership with ESCP Business School, I’ll be giving the mic to students, the leaders of tomorrow, to discuss with seasoned healthcare executives about their journeys and leadership beliefs. We welcomed in this second episode, Olivier Nataf, President of AstraZeneca France who shared his story, experience, and words of wisdom. Olivier characterizes leadership by 3 elements: well-rounded leader, learn & perform, and being set up for success. Nevertheless, the key leadership trait for him is vision. Vision has to be aspirational, then break down the problem, turn each and every stone, define a goal even if it sounds impossible at first, fail fast then go back on your horse and move forward. Not much is fundamentally impossible.

“What’s right for the patient is right for the business”

MEET OUR GUEST Olivier Nataf, President of AstraZeneca France.

“Well rounded leader” is surely the best way to define our guest of the day, an inspiring leader: Olivier Nataf. Olivier values curiosity, agility, precision, result-orientation, bold collective ambitions. He believes in the simple power of purpose, clarity in what we are trying to achieve and why, as key drivers of teams’ motivation and success. He encourages people to develop through « learning and performing » (vs. box checking and title chasing).

Olivier first pursued scientific training in cellular and molecular biology and then a master’s degree specializing in pharmacology and oncology. He completed his scientific training at the ESCP Business School: Specialised Master in Biopharmaceutical Management. 

He started his career at AstraZeneca as a trainee in 2001 and then successfully moved up the ranks both in France and in the USA. He has held many different positions: he began as a product manager and then changed his position on average every 2 years. He is now General Manager, Country President of France.

Passion and Profession for Purpose – Patrick Youssef

SpreadLove In Organizations
SpreadLove In Organizations
Passion and Profession for Purpose - Patrick Youssef

His passion is his purpose and goes beyond the duty. Patrick is a leader in Humanitarian, risking his life and leading his teams in the most challenging but most in-need communities in the world. He shares his experiences from Irak to African countries, leading with his heart and striving daily to make health a simple right accessible for everyone.

“Purpose is not how much you deliver, but how you deliver and lead.”

MEET OUR GUEST Patrick Youssef Director and leader for Africa in the International Committee of the Red Cross. In January 2016, he was recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader. He sits in the International Council of Advisors of Global Dignity.

Patrick Youssef joined the ICRC in 2005 and completed different missions in Sudan, Chad, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay. Between 2010 & 2013, he was the deputy head of operations for the Near and Middle East covering Yemen, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Gulf Cooperation Council. Mr. Youssef was the Head of the delegation in Iraq for more than 2 years, before taking the role of Deputy Regional Director for Africa, where he managed ICRC operations in the Maghreb, the Sahel region, the Lake Chad Basin, and West Africa.

In addition to his field experience, Mr. Youssef worked on specific topics related to the respect of International Humanitarian Law such as the treatment and judicial guarantees of persons deprived of freedom, the recruitment of children in the armed forces, and Transitional Justice.

Prior to joining the ICRC, Patrick worked in the private sector in Lebanon & the Levant.

Born in 1978, Patrick Youssef has a bachelor’s degree in public law, a Master’s degree in Diplomacy and Strategic Negotiations from Paris Sud XI, an LLM in International Law in armed conflicts from Geneva University, a certificate of completion of an Executive Education on Global Leadership and Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School as well as a training certificate from the Oxford Said Business School on ‘’Transformational Leadership’’

Great Job! For Real?

While every single day, I live the fact that nothing works without TRUST, here is my last experience on “feedback” sessions when true trust is missing…

How many times in a corporate world while driving a project, you just felt like stopping it because of internal hurdles. How many times the project was so painful that teams even lost the essence of why it started and were just happy it ended… Moreover, the aftermath usually looks like a simple mail with “great fantastic job all”! Along this, as leaders we usually feel this urgent need “to recognize the group and celebrate” rather than dig into what happened to make it better.

How many times then have we tried, as good leaders, to do a “post-action feedback review”? Usual result: instead of a string of congrats emails, a beautiful meeting room filled with individuals and leaders congratulating each other. Those untrue feedbacks and enrobed thoughts kill teams, make things so slow in organizations and never put people into a trustworthy relationship to improve continuously.

Thinking through this corporate “politeness”, I remembered my lifetime experience in the Lebanese Red Cross. Basis is trust for sure. True trust between people and the leaders who show daily their trust for their teams and their radical empathy. In this safe environment, everything is possible. A simple exercise we used to do back then was an “evaluation”. Every single mission we did would end – whatever time it was – by an evaluation. Always. No one would go out of the ambulance without this true, sometimes tough, evaluation. Let me detail what this was: During an emergency, you just do not have time to say “sorry” or leave someone do a mistake or risk patient’s life; you just do. Therefore, what was key for teams to learn and grow their capabilities was to discuss after each action how things went, where someone went wrong, when someone did great, if someone put others at risk or patient at risk etc… With emotions and adrenaline, some of those evaluations would go into tough discussions, true talks, real words but they would always end in the ambulance with the mission done. When out of the car, we would go back to normal, back to a real team whatever happened and said there; nevertheless individually and as a team grown.

Three learnings from this experience:

– If trust is there, you can talk true because people really believe that the feedbacks given are not personal. The feedback is given on the work performed, how to improve it and make the individuals and team learn continuously.

– Do an after-action review on every single important project because you can always learn from great things and the day it goes bad you can talk true. If you only do an after-action review when things go wrong, people will always try to find out ways to say that in fact it went great…

– The ambulance… Do the review directly within the action and not in a meeting room after a while… Have a “safe place” environment where people can express everything they want, and when out of the session, things stayed in and only learnings went out with them.

Finally, real trust here is important for a simple aspect: people should know that this is not a performance management process and that as a leader you deeply believe they are doing a good job – otherwise you would have treated this separately. The only reason of the “evaluation” is to grow as individuals by learning and as teams by co-working honestly. Only then, you will start to move fast as an organization and make things better for the people and customers you serve.