Panaseer meets Robert Swan: Polar explorer to lead new advisory board
July 27, 2020
We caught up with Robert Swan, OBE the Chairman of our new-look advisory board. Robert has been a friend of Panaseer for a few years now, and we are really excited to bring his leadership and business experience to the team.
What has drawn you to Panaseer?
Having met with Panaseer’s CEO, Nik Whitfield, I was impressed with his attitude and mission for the company. Then, after meeting the team, I became very excited about the company’s opportunity for growth and future success. Great feats are rarely achieved by a single individual – you need a team who can understand and support each other’s strengths to collectively triumph together.
I have learnt a great deal from my polar expeditions – the value of teamwork and communications are instrumental to help achieve the most demanding missions, and I am excited to apply these learnings by serving on Panaseer’s advisory board.
What’s your perception of Panaseer’s role in the security industry?
Panaseer is a pioneer. The company has developed an innovative solution to a big, ongoing problem. Many security incidents occur not because the organisation doesn’t have necessary defences, but because those defences aren’t configured properly or aren’t switched on for every device. In order to properly protect the organisation, Panaseer’s Continuous Controls Monitoring Platform continuously measures and highlights gaps in security controls.
Many companies, in the security industry especially, try and develop a product and service that adds to the ingenuity of an existing solution; Panaseer, on the other hand, has not been afraid to challenge status-quo and build a new category. I greatly admire this mindset.
This ability to break new ground and think differently is a key component of what I have been teaching for the last 15 years with my ‘Leadership on the Edge’ programme. Having these values in the DNA of Panaseer means that the company has an excellent foundation to become renowned in the security industry – as long as it scales effectively and efficiently. I am looking forward to playing a key role in this journey.
What would be your advice for companies that are doing pioneering work in their industries?
To be a true pioneer you need to be comfortable with exploring the unknown. Pioneers are disruptors – they are forging a new path, which is untrodden, so there is no rulebook to follow. When facing a challenge like this, you need to ensure you have the fundamentals of teamwork and leadership in place. Together you are stronger and when everyone works positively together, you can collectively achieve great things.
What do you think is the most important thing a company leadership can do to foster courage, vision and teamwork?
The most important part of leadership is to actively listen. Leaders must be able to truly listen to what their employees and customers are really saying, rather than just filtering out what they want to hear.
Leadership should be clear and inspiring for the long term – it is not enough to inspire in the beginning and hope that the initial inspiration will see them through as the company grows. They need to think about how they can keep re-inspiring and then crucially keep acting on it. That way they can ensure that everyone keeps working together to achieve the mission.