Lisa Heneghan

Global Chief Digital Officer, KPMG International

1. What values are most important to you as a leader? 

  1. Vision – being able to help your team understand the opportunity or target. Something which you can all align around to motivate and create focus.
  2. The team – success is never down to an individual. I know it is those who I work with who are critical to achieving our goals. Therefore you must take time to understand the team’s individual goals and objectives. How can you help them to succeed and importantly grow – whatever stage of their career they are at.
  3. Being authentic – not trying to project who you think you should be, but being who you are. This encourages others to also do the same – none of us are perfect and we all have vulnerabilities – sometimes showing how you personally deal with challenge helps others to do the same.

2. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

My eldest brother – he was a lawyer and very successful but was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at 35. He struggled with the disease taking away his independence for nearly 30 years. But he was always an optimist, every day he woke with a positive outlook and motivated the carers he had around him, the district nurses and anyone who visited him.

It would have been easy for him to be a victim but instead he was an inspiration – he spoke openly about his challenges and his illness and he never stopped caring about others. He was the person who constantly reassured and encouraged me to step out side my comfort zone. He saw what I could achieve when I didn’t, and I try to live by his values every day.

3. Best piece of advice you have been given?

To inform my own decisions by whatI would say if I was advising my daughters! Sometimes, its easy to think it’s different for yourself. So I always now think to myself whether I would say the same thing to my girls – if the answer is yes then all is good.

4. What would you tell your younger self?

To not constrain yourself by what you think you know and can do at any point in time – there is always room to learn and develop, whatever stage of your career. I wish I had told myself in my earlier years of career to push myself out of my comfort zone. Once you have done it once and got through it, it becomes liberating and slightly addictive! It means that even after decades of a career I am still learning every day.

5. What has been your most important or profound lesson as a leader?

To take and receive feedback. When I first failed my promotion panel to Director, I was mortified. I have never hit a challenge in my career before – however, when I got over the initial bruising I realised that it was right that I failed – I wasn’t ready.   

I then actively sought advice and feedback on what Icould learn or do better. This in turn enabled me to learn how to give feedback in a way which can be positive and empowering. I think before I felt feedback was synonymous with conflict – that’s wrong and it was the step change in my career.