With his glass-half-full outlook and flair for breaking the mold, Andrew Hume believes his inclusion on the Executive of the Year Awards’ judging panel is still somewhat of a miracle.
Despite being nominated by a fellow leadership team member to apply for the Awards in 2021, Hume was convinced that he didn’t stand a chance of winning.
"Personal recognition reinforces that we are on the right pathway, that our efforts are valued and respected outside the company."
"I did not think that I would win," he admits. "I had not realized how big and impressive the Awards were until I arrived at the ceremony. I was literally blown away. I couldn’t believe that I was in the company of such amazing people and previous winners like Christine Holgate."
For the seasoned executive, the fruitful outcome on that evening catapulted the brand onto a higher level by reinforcing the company’s image as a trusted provider. It also helped solidify the company’s reputation among prospective employees as the destination in which to grow your career.
"Personal recognition reinforces that we are on the right pathway, that our efforts are valued and respected outside the company," he says. "This is highly motivational for the entire leadership group."
Listening, questioning and observing
At the helm of Converge International, Hume has always surrounded himself with people and ideas that inspire greatness.
From his economics professor, who taught him the importance of storytelling during public speaking, to a client who once gifted him Nikos Mourkogiannis’ book Purpose: The Starting Point of Great Companies, connections like this are a reminder to keep learning.
"I’ve been inspired by Andre [Agassi] to never, ever give up. To search for and find a different path. To persevere," he says.
Along the way, Hume has also been careful to formulate his own opinions on how to achieve success. For instance, one senior executive he spent time with lives by the philosophy of severing ties when moving into the next career phase.
"I’ve built my team over all my CEO engagements and brought them with me. This has been one of the keys to our success."
"I then learned that great people who know each other, work well together, compensate for each other, like each other and trust each other are a powerful combination," he reflects. "I’ve built my team over all my CEO engagements and brought them with me. This has been one of the keys to our success."
Preferring to ‘tell it like it is’, Hume explains that leadership isn’t about having the most senior title in a company or being in charge. On the contrary, he says that leaders do just as much heavy lifting as their teams, except that they provide a steadying influence and are the first ones to engage others.
"Leadership is a state of mind and a pattern of behaviors," he affirms. "I see my role as a leader to be like a pace car. I set the tone, the speed, the way we do things."
Though there’s much to be gained from leading, on the path to becoming a dynamic leader, observation and questioning peers has been particularly helpful.
"I have learned something from every leader I’ve worked with, both what to do and what not to do," he explains.
It’s all about passion
Being in the business of making other businesses better means Hume has created a culture founded on passion.
"Passion inspires creativity, energy, enthusiasm," he says. "Passionate people deliver exceptional performance, contribute ideas, and challenge the status quo."
Hume experienced firsthand the sheer value of creativity while working for world-renowned advertising agency, DDB. In particular, Chairman Keith Reinhardt stood out to him.
"I have taken the power of creativity and injected it into every business I’ve run since," Hume says. "We have a creative studio embedded within the business and all messaging, pitches and storytelling are done at the highest order of creativity."
"It was important to me to build a ‘disruptor’ company."
As a result, challenging the status quo and being inventive are deeply entrenched in the way he does things. More than a ‘nice to have’, these principles are the backbone of his work and the driver of value.
"To be successful against well-entrenched and materially scaled global competitors, we had to be different," he says.
Looking further afield
Accessing offshore talent and building programs that ensure consistent, high-quality delivery are among the top business challenges he highlights.
"Success has come from accelerating the shift to digital delivery through automation, channel shift and AI-powered analytics and insight to improve service delivery," he says.
With that being the case, the Awards ceremony is an opportunity to motivate the leaders of tomorrow to continue learning and growing, says Hume.
Of course, building a brand to be a market leader is no easy feat, and for the CEO, taking the leap of faith to apply – and attend – provided enormous benefit.
"Our mission is to build an awareness and reputation for excellence and digital capability. Winning awards was central to this strategy."