Too many cooks in the kitchen is only a bad thing if they all make the same dish.
It’s been proven time and time again that the most successful teams are ones that bring a multitude of ideas and backgrounds to the table. In 2022, Gartner found that 75 percent of organizations that had diverse and inclusive decision-making teams exceeded their financial targets.
Christophe Van de Weyer, CEO of Telesign, a digital identity and communications company, uses this as his axiom of strong leadership: “I believe diverse teams deliver better outcomes. The best leaders don’t simply fill their teams with people who look like them or who have similar life experiences, they bring in people from different backgrounds.”
He isn’t wrong. Diverse teams make better decisions 66 percent of the time compared to teams that function with individual decision makers.
Van de Weyer’s plethora of international experience in technology has shaped his approach to leadership and how to build a team with diverse perspectives. He was recently appointed as CEO of Telesign and was accepted into Forbes Technology Council, an invitation-only space for C-suite executives.
“Bringing together people with different points of view allows a leadership team to look at problems from as many angles as possible, to better inform the decision-making process,” added Van de Weyer. “What brings a team together is a common vision.”
Built In recently sat down with Van de Weyer to learn more about his leadership philosophy at Telesign.
Hubert Joly, the former CEO of Best Buy, discusses purpose in his book, “The Heart of Business.” He points out that the best company purpose statements flow from what a company is uniquely good at, what the people there are passionate about, what the world needs, and how the company can create economic value.
At Telesign, our purpose is to make the digital world a more trustworthy place. We’re good at it. It’s what we love to do, and it’s something we know the world needs right now. And by the way, making the digital world a more trustworthy place is also our number one core value at Telesign. The others are to be authentic, growth-minded and trusted — meaning our interactions with each other are based on being open and honest with each other.
What is your philosophy behind building the team culture at Telesign?
Building a team culture is about aligning around the right behaviors. For example, having expectations for how people should work together collaboratively. We do this by fostering transparency, where people can share ideas in a safe, respectful environment in which everyone is heard.
“Building a team culture is about aligning around the right behaviors.”
We also encourage all Telesigners to stretch out and help other teams — to step out of one’s core responsibilities and help others when needed. A leader who is interested in building that kind of positive, collaborative culture needs to make sure there are incentives, including promotions, for those who exhibit those behaviors and not rewarding individuals who won’t. One or two people of influence who are not aligned with a culture of collaboration and teamwork, even if they are high performers on paper, can do significant damage to the culture.
The biggest regrets in my career are not taking fast enough action when high performers are not aligned with the organization’s positive culture. It’s easy to underestimate the upside on the culture when such people are moved out and to overestimate the downside of losing their competences.
How do you help your team grow their career or stretch their skills?
I firmly believe in the apprenticeship model. People learn best on the job, by stretching and receiving daily coaching. That’s the key to growing your career — embrace a growth mindset, which is one of our core values at Telesign. It means learning every day, and part of that is being open to feedback.
“That’s the key to growing your career — embrace a growth mindset, which is one of our core values at Telesign.”
On-the-job coaching and apprenticeship are really powerful. When someone is good at a set of job accountabilities and teaches others, they become a force-multiplier. They help the business perform better and empower career advancements for others. It’s the best possible win-win situation.
What makes a great leader or manager of others?
Senior leaders need to be learners, as well. We need people who can coach us, in addition to sharing what we know with others. One measure of a great leader is the number of other leaders they have coached, who grew their careers as a result. That kind of longevity and continuity is great for leaders and their organizations.
I want our managers at Telesign to show they care — to take the time to say what a person is doing well and exactly where they can improve. I also want them to go a step further and teach. I want them to show their team members specifically how to do their jobs better.
What is something that you and the leaders at Telesign are working on that’s exciting?
Globally, what it costs to repair, mitigate and defend against fraud is costing organizations $6 trillion annually, which is more than the GDPs of all but two countries. It’s a really shocking figure.
The good news is that AI has incredible power to help companies fight back against digital fraud. What I’m especially excited about is Telesign’s work utilizing AI for exactly that purpose. Machine learning never sleeps. We use it to constantly learn how fraudsters operate. Then we put what it has learned to work for our customers, so they can identify a legitimate transaction from a bot or human hacker. AI can also guide a person through the authentication steps they need to take to log in to an account, by sending them a one-time-passcode or other instructions through SMS, a push message, email or whatever channel works best for them.
“The good news is that AI has incredible power to help companies fight back against digital fraud.”
So, the work I’m most excited about is the enhancement of our fraud-protection tools with even more machine learning, to make fraud-protection more powerful and the customer experience more seamless.
What is unique about working at Telesign?
It goes back to our purpose: making the digital world a more trustworthy place for everyone. What’s really unique about working at Telesign is that we combine our unique purpose with experimentation with the latest technologies — including AI and edge computing — to bring that purpose to life. It’s why we have customers, including eight out of the top ten internet companies, in 65 countries, who work with us to help them build and maintain trust with their customers.
From a career perspective, working at Telesign means you are in a global company, in the center of the growing fields of technology and fraud prevention. The possibilities are practically limitless.