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Leaderspeak

He has been with the world's biggest brewer for over 15 years and headed business operations in Europe. In India, he has led the company's growth across several brands, including Beck's Ice and Budweiser
twitter-logo BusinessToday.In   New Delhi     Print Edition: September 22, 2019
Leaderspeak
Ben Verhaert, President (South Asia), Anheuser-Busch InBev

Q. The biggest challenge in your career

A. When I took on my current role, it was a big challenge. It came right after the global merger between SABMiller and AB InBev and I had the opportunity to spearhead change in India, an extremely diverse market. It was a big step for me to discover a new culture, acquaint myself with varied policies related to our business and understand different market dynamics at play. There were plenty of challenges, but at AB InBev, we look at them as opportunities. It also enables us to push boundaries and thrive under pressure, helping us learn and grow and become better leaders.

Q. Your best teacher in business

A. Humility is the best teacher in business. It invites you to listen, to ask for advice, to be open to feedback, to accept and admit failures. It not only allows you to change course when it does not work but also promotes an open and candid work environment.

Q. One key lesson for young people

A. You can only hit a target you can see. So, it is important to set your goals high, both in personal and professional life. You must write them down if you want to achieve these goals. When you have put it down in writing, it will serve as a compass - guiding you in any choice you need to make, act as an aid and push you to achieve all the great things on that list.

Q. Two essential qualities of a leader

A. You should not only inspire your colleagues but also walk the talk. You may have the greatest groundbreaking idea to transform your business, but if you do not lead by example, you will not be able to drive change effectively. Successful leadership also focusses on 'we' rather than 'I'. These leaders rely on a team of great people. They focus on recruiting the best people, develop and support them to help them achieve their best potential, and create a highly motivating environment to retain them. After all, they will always be judged by the quality of their teams.

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