As a young man in the 1980s, Paul Dupuis, Randstad Japan’s CEO and author of The E5 Movement: Leadership through the Rule of Five, came to Japan with just $300 in his pocket, a Lonely Planet guide and thirst for adventure.
A global leader with a stellar track record in hands-on business growth and transformation across Asia, he’s a sought-after speaker, leadership coach and mentor, and a passionate advocate for sustainable development and building self-reliance for underprivileged communities.
Dupuis shared with Greater members on a virtual event, organised in collaboration with SpeakIn, how his journey as a volunteer, athlete and CEO helped shape his personal and professional accomplishments today.
1) Delivering on the promise of action
As a 12-year-old boy, Dupuis’ first job was delivering newspapers to his neighbours every morning. This meant waking up at 6am in the freezing Canadian winter, cycling around the suburbs from house to house. Despite the biting cold, he didn’t want to disappoint his neighbours, and he was determined to make good on his word, despite the circumstances.
As leaders juggling multiple tasks, such as looking after the needs of your clients and your team, discipline is key in making sure all the tasks are completed to a high standard. Dupuis says, “You’ll be amazed how many of your competitors are not making promises and keeping them.”
2) Finding your North Star – a sense of purpose that drives you as a leader
Leaders are often preoccupied with driving performance and results. But a life well-lived is one that is driven by purpose, or what Dupuis refers to as his North Star.
To Dupuis, his North Star came into play when he took over the Randstad’s Indian office in May 2017, in an effort to bring it out of the red. He rallied his team together towards the sole purpose of turning the Indian business unit around. The team stuck together and hunkered down amid Covid lockdowns and the closure of their new Bangalore office. Today, Randstad India is one of the company’s top performing offices.
3) Building leadership muscle through successes and failures
Arnold Schwarzenegger once said that no one builds muscles just by walking into the gym. “The same principle applies in leadership, says Dupuis. It’s actually built through successes and failures via miscalculations and accurate calculations. It is wisdom that comes over time and the only way to build this muscle is by doing it.”
When asked what is an important skill a leader should have post-pandemic, Dupuis believes that courage to navigate tough and unexpected situations is key. He also advises leaders to seek out the company of other leaders, for a support network, and to surround yourself, and build communities.
4) Embracing challenges and rallying the community
A passionate ice hockey enthusiast, Dupuis had the grand idea of holding the world’s highest ice hockey game in Ladakh. Ice hockey is a popular sport in Ladakh region but its facilities and the local team’s equipment were lacking. What may have seemed impossible to others was achievable to Dupuis as he believed he could do it with the help of a team.
Dupuis rallied Singapore’s ice hockey association and an Austrian ice rink to donate equipment, which was transported into the remote mountain ranges of Ladakh with help from the Indian Air Force. This gave the rink the makeover it needed to hold a world-record worthy tournament.
In 2018, with the backing of Randstad India, the Indo-Canada Ice Hockey tournament held at Chibra Kargyam village in Ladakh made it into the Guinness World Records as the world’s highest ice hockey game, at 14,000 feet above sea level.
This would not have happened without a large team effort and a common belief. “The leader finds a way to make it happen, but with the help of the community,” says Dupuis.
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