Recently on The Disruptive Mindset Podcast we were joined by CJ Rinaldi, the CCO at Blockchain.com. With a long career across sales, strategy and compliance, working in companies such as the UBS Investment Bank and the Deutsche Bank, CJ has fantastic insights into the industry, as well as advice for people who are chasing success and moving around in their industries.
We talked about everything from opening your own doors to ensuring that the next generation is prepared to take on the challenges that our dynamic industry will throw at them when it comes down to succession. Read on for CJ’s fantastic insights!
When you speak with a lot of people who have been around the block, they realise that some of the significant value that they can contribute to an organisation is effectively mentoring, sharing knowledge, explaining to people where there may be blind spots, thinking about trends and helping to shape not only the business, but people’s careers. It’s very much about paying it forward now.
I invest a lot of time with my teams and I have weekly meetings with all of my direct reports. I care deeply about them and their families, and I spend a lot of time with them just understanding where they are. I always encourage them to put family first. It really is about your family and your personal and your health, both mental and physical. Focus on that as the priority. Young people may not be used to hearing that come from a senior manager’s mouth, because they see managers as thinking ‘Are you productive? Prove it.’ I don’t do that, there are so many other ways to manage a team effectively.
One of the things that I now continually emphasise is to take holidays, take time off, sharpen the saw. You’re gonna be more effective, efficient and happy with your life and your career if you take those steps. The other thing that I’ve been doing is mentoring people. I have a mantra within my team, which is ‘You should be doing what you’re most passionate about’. If you’re not passionate about compliance, that’s cool. I will help you to achieve your next goal. I will help you to move into whatever path you want to take, but be honest with yourself and with me, because that’s how we can effectively get you to the right spot.
What underpins that approach is the fact that when people drive and follow their passions, not only will it be best for them, they’ll be their best selves. I know that sounds a little bit corny, but it’s actually true. I don’t know anyone who really hates what they’re doing and does it well. What’s right for you, by and large, is right for the organisation, because people who are just punching the clock aren’t going to be helpful to the business, but passionate people are.
I really encourage people to think differently about how they manage their careers. Ask yourself if FinTech is for you? Are you more interested in doing something different? Do you want to leave technology completely, or finance? Maybe you want to go and work for a volunteer organisation or a hospital. Go and do it!
When it comes to a support network, I’m lucky to have developed a good professional network. From time to time I will call on those people who are from all walks of life, and I can say, ‘I have this thing, can you help me think through this?’ I always try to surround myself with people who are better than me. I always hire people who will outshine me, and I think about succession planning, too. I always ask myself ‘Am I building the strongest team?’ It’s never about me, it’s always about the team at the end of the day, particularly if you’re managing a lot of people. The leader is successful by virtue of who they have to take care of the core responsibilities and drive strategy forward. We’re never successful by virtue of our own activities, that will only take us so far, so it’s all about building a good team.
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