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Patrick Anderson

Leadership Series person Written by Patrick Anderson, Chief Financial Officer - Translink
Patrick Anderson

Tell us a bit about your role?

As a member of the NITHC/Translink Board, I lead the development of financial strategies which underpin the Group’s Strategic Plan. As well as heading up the Group’s Finance function I am also responsible for all aspects of Procurement, Ticketing, Claims and Commercial Property. Stakeholder engagement is a vital (and enjoyable) part of my role – working with people is key to achieving positive results and I invest a lot of time in building strong relationships and networks.

We launched our 5 year “Get on Board” strategy last year – a big part of what I do is ensuring we have a sound financial framework in place to support our ambitious growth plans. I am also very focused on generating the best possible return from our commercial estate.

What are the biggest issues facing leaders today?

For me it’s People and Technology. Regardless of industry or sector, recruiting and retaining people who have the skills to add value to your business is critical. I look for high levels of professional competence allied to the ability to adapt, innovate and communicate effectively. Being energetic and positive are also key attributes!

Technology is so important in developing your basic customer proposition. In Translink we are beginning the implementation of a new ticketing system that we hope will transform the customer experience and make our services more accessible.

As organisations get larger there’s often a tendency toward dampening inspiration. How do you encourage creative thinking within your business?

As a CFO I would say that the bottom line always acts as an incentive to innovate! In Translink we have recently launched a continuous improvement programme to drive innovation across the Group. Our leadership development programme has also acted as an incubator for some creative business improvements. These programmes have really helped our people feel empowered and encouraged innovative thinking.

If you had to name three characteristics of great leaders what would they be?

Inspiration – people have to be inspired to follow!
Tenacity – all great leaders are persistent and hold fast to their convictions. The ability to communicate with clarity and purpose.

What advice would you give someone going into leadership position for the first time?

Great question! My advice would be to focus on building a strong network both within and outside your organisation. Surround yourself with good, positive people…avoid energy drainers at all costs! Finally, make a record of your observations after one month – your perspective is at its freshest and it’s important to capture this.