C-suite career advice: Maarten Bais, Elo Touch Solutions

What tips would the c-suite give to the next generation?

We ask industry leading C-suite professionals for their expert career advice...

[image_library_tag 4b34ee32-b8c7-4960-9bac-91970ac5ec6a 173x172 alt="05-09-2017-maarten-bais-elo-touch-solutions" title="05-09-2017-maarten-bais-elo-touch-solutions - " width="173" height="172"class="left "]
Maarten Bais

Company: Elo Touch Solutions

Job Title: VP and general manager, EMEA

Location: Belgium


What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?
The best advice I received was to believe in yourself and to be confident that you can reach what you aspire. Set your goals and don’t be afraid to change or tweak them slightly based on new experiences and insights.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?
The worst advice. Well this is more what not to do. Don’t focus on political games in any company as it will only complicate the way you work and eventually cloud your judgement. Organisations and C-level executives are always looking for creative and unique thinkers, so if you’re in an organisation that’s not fostering this, my advice is to move to one where there’s room for this.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?
Be open minded, honest and unique. Don’t simply follow suit and copy others, but be inspired by them. Keep on gaining knowledge by reading, watching and most importantly, by talking to people in the industry! When you wake up in the morning knowing you’ll conduct your business according to your ethical standards – try have fun at the same time. Then you’ll begin to build a good career.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?
Be yourself, honest and keep an open mind. Take control of situations that will help show your leadership capabilities and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.  There’s no harm in asking questions as doing so will give you a better understand of what the business problem is – and then, you will be the one to solve it.

Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?
One moment I’m particularly proud of was when I took over a region in Northern Europe. I was initially told that the account director there was struggling but would be retiring so would be around for another year before doing so. I went out to see him, listened to him and found that his strategy for his region was actually very strong, but unfortunately he hadn’t been taken seriously for the last 10 years. I took him seriously and supported him in executing the strategy he had designed. He then volunteered to stay on another year after his retirement, and in the last two years in his career he became our top sales person in the region. He won us multimillion dollar deals and showed the younger team members how to execute a strategy. It showed that even in the final moments he made a difference, and I was proud to be part of making that happen.