With over thirty years of experience, Daniel Menard is a seasoned business professional and senior executive based out of Carignan, Quebec. Having taken on various leadership roles for several industry-leading companies, Daniel utilizes a dynamic approach to help companies strategize cost-effective solutions for long-term growth. Having run one of GardaWorld’s business units in Afghanistan, he grew the business substantially from $19 million to $50 million within twelve months. With a natural ability to empower his employees, Daniel’s high performance and impressive skill sets make him a valuable asset to any professional team.
What do you love most about the industry you are in?
I love being involved with companies that are looking to grow. Anything that has to do with company growth, acquisition, organic growth, client management or expanding the client base, these are the areas where I have had a lot of success in the past. They are the challenges that I really enjoy and that really keep me going.
What keeps you motivated?
I think it’s the desire to get results and work alongside a team. I enjoy building a team and working to motivate them to work on a particular challenge. Finally, I would say, to wrap it all together, it will be to hit targets. For instance, those could be objective targets, like sales goals. When you hit targets, it’s great to clearly see the progress. It’s always a team effort, and it means you are moving in the right direction.
How do you motivate others?
I think that one thing that for me is to focus on empowerment. When you empower people, people will react extremely, extremely well, and they’re normally extremely motivated. So by empowering your people, it comes back to you in a good way.
I have had the opportunity to work within different countries and within different cultures, but I have seen that people still respond positively to being empowered to do their job. If you leave your people alone to accomplish a task, they may feel that you don’t care about them, so it is important to empower them to get the job done and support them at the same time. You have to spend a lot of time with the team you are working with so that you understand their culture and the best way to deal with issues and keep them motivated.
I also value open communication and make a point to listen to everyone’s ideas. Individuals want to feel as though they are contributing to something bigger. I also always make myself available. I want to be around to help my staff navigate professional challenges.
Trusting your team to accomplish things can motivate them as well. When you just say, “Absolutely, get on with it.” And then they say, “Okay. But do I need this? Do I need that?” I say, “No, just get on with it.” Then they feel trusted and that you have faith in them to get things done.
Finally, share ideas. When you have your own ideas, you push it forward and say, “What do you think about this?” It gives your team something to think about. At the same time, they can say, “Okay, I can see where we’re going with this.” So then people feel that we’re not standing still and just marking time, but really moving forward to advance the company’s growth.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I really enjoy reading biographies, particularly ones of successful entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos. It’s fascinating to read through their professional hurdles and how they overcame them. I am inspired by their stories of perseverance and it motivates me to keep pushing forward.
How do you maintain a solid work life balance?
Maintaining a solid work-life balance is never easy. For example, during the time that I was working in Dubai, three weeks out of four I was away from home and from my family. That was very challenging and was extremely difficult for my family, especially since at the time I had younger children. They only see you going to the airport and coming back, and that is what they associate you with. That is not necessarily very good. I had to find ways to maximize my time with them.
But when we came back here to Canada, there was a lot less travelling for me. It became a lot easier because by then my children had become teenagers. Your guidance and presence is still very important when they’re teenagers, but they could understand the situation better.
Having the right balance is something you always have to be aware of and try to work hard at. It does require a special effort. It’s not something simple for me or for any executive because the business challenges are always present.
We try to make sure our family has activities together on the weekends and when we have down time. It’s important to give time to your wife too. In my case, she remains an essential partner in all of this, because otherwise things can easily derail quickly if you don’t support each other well. It’s something that is extremely important for the children and for adults and something you need to work hard at.
What traits do you possess that makes a successful leader?
I think patience is vital to becoming a successful leader. As a mentor, it is my duty to provide guidance and to help individuals learn from their mistakes.
I am a great believer in decentralization and empowering people, not only in making sure people have enough to do on their own and the ability to really run with it, but also in the company structures. I have been involved in the restructuring of a few companies where they had an older structure where everything had to be reported to one person and very centralized. We were able to flatten out this structure and eliminate a lot of management levels that were there basically to micromanage. A lot of this was removed to provide true empowerment within the organization.
The last thing I would say is having courage. Have courage when presenting your ideas and courage to face challenges. Also have courage when someone does not necessarily fit within the company and tell him or her that they need to make adjustments in order to be part of the company and not just tolerate things that make people frustrated. Also have courage to tell clients that this is what we do and how we do it. Have the courage to face up to reality and not shove issues underneath the carpet so that it becomes someone else’s problem or nobody’s problem.
These are things that I believe are really part of who I am and they help tremendously to be a good leader.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to others?
Believe in yourself and don’t be afraid of your ideas or your differences. Generally speaking, if you are employed by the company, it’s because we found that you can contribute to the overall company strategy or the business. So don’t try to be like someone else or feel you must be reticent to share ideas because there is someone that speaks louder or someone that speaks more than you, and therefore, you feel there’s no space for you. To believe in yourself is one of the biggest things that will enable you to get promoted and move within the ranks of the company.