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meet the boss

Meet the Boss: James Claude, CEO, Global Voice Group

1. What part of your job keeps you awake at night?

Fortunately, I am not a long sleeper by nature. However, as the head of a growing international company operating in different countries around the world, I certainly do have a hectic travelling schedule. The benefit of this, however, is that, being in a constant stage of adjustment to different time zones, I often find myself energised in the evenings and this affords me the opportunity to meet with various stakeholders for discussions regarding product diversification, innovation and strategy, amongst other related concepts.

2. Name three traits required to survive in this role.

I have found adaptability, lateral thinking and endurance to be the most beneficial traits required to perform successfully in this role.

3. What is the biggest misconception about your job?

The prevailing belief that the CEO always has the answers. Whilst certain decisions ultimately do rest with me, I have the good fortune of being surrounded by an extremely competent team who share my vision, each of whom is highly proficient within their own area of expertise. They assist me, through consultation and research, to make the best decisions and deliver the most appropriate solutions to the benefit of all key stakeholders.

4. Who has had the greatest impact on your career?

I took over as CEO after spending more than 14 years with GVG. During this time, I watched the company grow and transform into the leading market player it is today, within a niche but rising market. I would say though that more than one person has impacted my career. I have always found inspiration in the example set by my predecessors and the co-founders of GVG for their courage and resilience in building this company from scratch into the success that it is today.

Most importantly though, my character was shaped by my mother, who taught me from a young age how to be a good listener and to always be respectful towards others, even when in disagreement with them. These are valuable traits that have greatly influenced my management and leadership style as CEO of GVG today.

5. What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Active listening, both at an internal organisational level as well as at a market level, are key to succeeding as a pioneer in the digital transformation process.

6. The top reason for your professional success?

I believe that a comprehensive understanding of the digital transformation ecosystem in which GVG operates has been key to my professional growth and success. As I have been part of an exceptional team for over 14 years, I have had the good fortune of playing an increasingly important role in contributing to the strategies and orientations of the company during my tenure with GVG.

7. How do you relax?

Those who know me would agree that I am a laid back person. Over weekends and during my long travels abroad, I read quite a lot; although not necessarily business or technology related types of books. Being in the fortunate position of travelling as much as I do, I am regularly in contact with many different cultures, exposing me to greatly enriching and transformational experiences.

8. By what time in the morning do you like to be at your desk?

As GVG is a purely ICT company, we don’t understand ‘work’ in a traditional office manner, neither in an on-site context, or as part of our culture. We are focused on a results-driven model of work ethics and this is what matters. So every day is completely different to the day before, no matter what time I arrive at my desk.

9. Your favourite job interview question?

I like the sort of question that addresses “How do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?”, for instance, as it provides an opportunity to contemplate a long-term future perspective. However, I think this question nowadays has become almost impossible to answer, due to the high-speed changes framing our present and our future.

10. Name one untapped business opportunity in Africa.

The agricultural sector has been growing significantly in Africa, where there have been many developments in supply chain and techniques used within the industry, in general. I believe this could provide an untapped opportunity for the transformation of raw agricultural products, which would create great value for local communities and companies on the continent.

Published by: How We Made It In Africa