David Joosten, CEO, Vodafone US, on leading from the front to drive growth and keep employees and customers happy.

“Leadership is purpose, it’s why do you do the things you do…”

One of many insightful reflections on leadership from David Joosten, CEO of Vodafone US (and Director for Vodafone Business, Americas & Partner Markets).

“Whether we are in the US or Europe, we follow the purpose Vodafone has set. As a leader you need to reflect what is important as a company, but also what is important to yourself,” he continues. “Obviously, it’s critical to deliver results, the numbers don’t lie. And that’s how you build for the future. You can grow when you deliver results, and that’s the strongest argument you can have in a business when you can see progress and measure growth.”

Vodafone Business

Vodafone Business is a leading technology communications company helping organisations succeed in a digital world and keeping society connected. With its expertise in connectivity, global scale and leading IoT platform, it can deliver the results businesses need to progress and thrive.

We connect for a better future. We are optimistic about how technology and connectivity can enhance the future and improve people’s lives. Vodafone aims to build a digital society that enhances socio-economic progress, embraces everyone and does not come at the cost of our planet. It provides mobile, fixed and unified communications; as well as IoT, cloud and security services to support the needs of organisations of all sizes – the world’s largest multinational companies, fast growing enterprises, Government teams, ambitious start-ups and small businesses around the world.

Leadership from the front

Joosten highlights that for growth to be sustained it’s important to have high standards. “If there’s one thing that people will probably remember me by, or how I lead, or when we do employee reviews or when we look at the business, it’s the standards we set to achieve results. We’re very focused at Vodafone in how our standards can deliver growth. We’re always aiming for double-digit growth. It’s one of the key priorities every year, to make sure we grow faster than anywhere else in the Vodafone footprint.”

The combination of Joosten’s two roles (US CEO and Director, Americas & Partner Markets) has one common focus – the market. “Whether in the US or Europe we are a challenger,” he notes. “We are not the leading telco operator in those markets. In the US we compete against the big three – T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T. In France, for example, we compete with Orange. The commonality of my roles sits in our position in the market where we have to position ourselves a bit differently in the US than in our European markets, where we are a number one or a number two player in those markets. So, we are always challenging those markets and I think that also defines my leadership style, and the qualities and the characteristics that I give to my team.”

Smart Operations driving efficiency and productivity

In a competitive market, upgrading technology isn’t enough reckons Joosten. To stay ahead, your operating environments need to be smarter, more efficient and more productive than ever. All too often, infrastructural barriers can hold you back. Vodafone Business Smart Operations can help take operation environments to the next level by increasing productivity, making more of existing tech and readying organisations for a hyperconnected future.

“We draw on our Mobile Private Networks, Edge, IoT and 5G solutions, to take business operations from fast to frictionless, and from smarter to truly smart,” says Joosten of a process capable of revolutionising the way factories work by harnessing Vodafone’s always-on connectivity across 184 countries. “In the past automation was difficult to achieve, but today with 5G, and our expertise in MPN and MEC, we are able to support sensors and drones or a robot and its operator on opposite sides of the world. Now, we’re ready to implement artificial intelligence, virtual reality and more to deliver the factory of the future, today.”

Customer obsession

To maintain the market focus of his teams Joosten highlights the importance of motivating them to achieve when big marketing budgets aren’t available. “All the characteristics of how you position yourself in the market also define how you lead people and how you want your teams to position themselves to customers and how you operate. One thing which is critical for us, and I would hope it’s the same in other markets, is customer obsession. For us, the customer drives the agenda in everything that we do. What does a customer want? How can we be as pragmatic as possible in serving the customer? So, taking very pragmatic choices with one objective is increasing customer sales, and how we can improve service for our customer and drive increased customer satisfaction.”

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