Pearce instantly fell in love with Funnel when he was contacted by a recruiter, and he immediately decided to join. That was six years ago. Since then, Pearce has worked as both a product specialist and, more recently, as a manager for the solution consultants in North America. Discover Pearce's perspective on leadership and the challenges he has faced in his first official leadership role.
In your opinion, what are the most important aspects of leadership?
I have always been a fan of servant leadership, which fosters self-managing teams. My vision of leadership involves making yourself less needed and aiming to become redundant, because the team can operate independently. Of course, this doesn't happen in reality, but it's a healthy approach to leadership – balancing autonomy with the responsibilities of being a leader.
As an American in a Swedish company, I’ve noticed that the leadership style can differ significantly. This is often due to less hierarchical structures and a greater focus on emotions, at least at Funnel. Before joining Funnel, I had never encountered daily stand-ups or retrospective meetings. Adapting practices like daily stand-ups was something the team started during the pandemic, and it has become very effective. We don't have set agendas for these meetings. Sometimes we discuss work, and other times our feelings. These meetings have become an important part of our day, brought the team closer, and enhanced our collaboration. While it might not be a Swedish invention, I understand why many Swedish companies adopt these practices.
What challenges have you faced in your leadership journey, and how have you overcome them?
Since the solution consulting team works with many other teams at Funnel, including customer-facing and product teams, unique challenges sometimes occur. Collaborating with other managers can be difficult. This isn’t due to their lack of skill, but because of the complexities involved in joint decision-making and different teams have varying methodologies.
Therefore, it's crucial to strike a balance between supporting the decisions of other teams and ensuring that they align with our team's objectives and workflows. Respectful communication is key; while it's important to show respect, it's equally vital to assert your points clearly and effectively.
What leadership attributes and skills do you believe are important to thrive as a leader at Funnel?
In my opinion, humility is the most crucial trait for any manager – not only at Funnel but in general. I express my opinions while keeping in mind that I may not always be right, and it's okay not to be. That's one of the reasons why I enjoy working at Funnel, especially in a managerial role. Here, discussions are welcomed, and having different opinions doesn't lead to feeling left out. This humility fosters a culture of open debate and constructive discussions, which are crucial for growth and innovation. This is particularly important for a company like Funnel, where innovation is a key to success.
Do you have any role model(s) or leadership model(s) you have taken inspiration from?
The top three role models that come to mind are:
Sam Altman, for his impactful leadership. When Altman was fired from OpenAI, more than 95% of the employees signed a petition stating they would leave if he did not get his job back. That's astounding. It demonstrates how much a good leader can mean to an organization. When truly appreciated, they can greatly motivate people and make significant things happen.
Elon Musk, not necessarily for his communication skills, but for his visionary approach. He has repeatedly proven to skeptics that having a strong vision, which is communicated effectively, can build a powerful culture and is one of the keys to success.
Steve Wozniak, for his genius in engineering and product design. His leadership style, characterized by embracing risk and experimentation, was crucial. Without it, we might never have seen Apple and its products achieve the level of excellence they have today.
One last thing, what’s the story behind the Funnel circles tattoo?
People said I wouldn't do it, which triggered me. So, I did it. It's a cool logo.
Further interested in leadership at Funnel? Read our blog post with Carmen di Bari.