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EP33 – Denis Collins on Management Styles, Collaborative Influencing and Pacesetting!

September 04, 2017

Denis Collins is an Award-Winning Visionary Thought Leader in Business and a Guy that likes to get things done. He is the CEO Smarter Dynamics, Former IBM Global Executive, Chairman of  Smarter Senses (Shine Ireland), and widely acknowledged as a significant contributor to building /shaping the global brand/collaborative model in Munster. He has now been asked to help lead the National Strategy for economic growth in multiple regions via his IDA appointment to Chair IDA RDC (regional development committee). This is just some of the great roles and contributions that Denis has behind him. He’s a New Yorker too. We chat about all of this and more during the show.

I connected with Denis via the [email protected] movement when he was Chairman and I was struck by his passion and belief for the opportunity in the region.

During our conversation, Denis talks about his Primary motivation of bringing together Social and Commercial that leads to greatest impact.

We talk about Denis’s background. Coming from New York originally, and his IBM career of over 20 years. When Denis was growing, he wanted to be NYPD cop. Finding a passion for computers, he joined with IBM straight from Fordham University, where he studied Communications and Business. Denis talks about Influences growing up and later in life.

We discuss his first jobs growing up, picking spuds in West Cork and working for an Italian fruit stand owner in New York, when he was in early high school. He learned a lot from this experience about work values. These carried throughout Denis Career.

Denis talks about his first role in IBM working in the data centre and reflects back on this as his career evolved. Knowing how the technology worked, helped him greatly when talking with CIOs later. This gave him skills to be able to partner with clients. During the IBM career, he took on many different roles and learned something from each, moving into Management and Leadership roles as he progressed.

We discuss his management style and approach to motivating teams. His focus is definitely more around Collaboration which became his primary approach. It’s his main one but he acknowledges that you need to be able to mix and balance them all of the styles to be successful.

Denis talks about his 3 Silos approach to leadership and collaboration. These are:
1. What is important for the company and address this
2. What is good for the client and/or region
3. What is good for the person doing the work?
If you can bring these together, you’re on to a wining approach.

We talk about Denis’s move to Ireland about 10 years ago with IBM when an opportunity to set up a new portfolio for Europe presented itself. His role evolved into a more global role. Being such a big believer of social and commercial coming together, Denis saw a great opportunity in the Cork region. He started to make an impact here and he goes into details on how he got involved in positive work in the region. Many things came together around this time when the recession was in full swing. Many streams of work were set up in the area and Denis had a significant role to play during this period.

We then go into my usual question and answers that touch on:
• Decision making approach that is very balanced with data and experience
• Learnings from mistakes – a great story from early in Denis’ career in a deal with Canada from his IBM days
• Habits – good and bad with pacesetting as a core trait
• Work-Life Balance – importance of finding this to recharge
• Finding time to manage your own career
• Giving and Receiving Advice
• Finding a way to live your life in the best way – Family, Parish & Country approach
• A view into what success means to Denis – health, wealth, happiness
• Book Recommendation – The Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

To learn more about Denis or possibly get involved in some of the initiatives that Denis is working on with the IDA, he can be connected on LinkedIn here – https://www.linkedin.com/in/deniscollins/

Other links of interest are:

Building / Leading a Relevant Global Cluster

The Importance of Vision & Collaboration – Denis Collins, Chairman IDA RDC  

See Innovation & CSR Update:
He encourages you to come with an idea from whatever field or location.


I hope you enjoy the show with Denis Collins.

What I’d really appreciate , if you enjoyed the show, is a retweet, a comment, a mention, a like, or any of the sharing you could do on your social networks so someone you know could enjoy it too. It’s a free gift from you to them! And it helps grow the audience of the show.



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