DR. CLAUDELLE VON ECK – CEO IIA SA

By on August 7, 2013

Dr Claudelle von Eck is the CEO of the Institute of Internal Auditors of South Africa (IIA SA). She is the first and only women of colour to hold this position globally.

Best decision made – and what this has resulted in.

One of the best decisions I had made was to bite the bullet and tell the Board that it would be impossible to deliver on strategy unless we increase the number of positions in the Institute. The Board was willing to take the risk and increased the salary bill, which inevitably meant a potential dipping into the reserves. The result has been that we were able to take a quantum leap and deliver in areas that were in the past only a pipe dream.  Adding a number of new faces to the team also stimulated new thinking and innovation.

Worst decision taken  to date – and what I’ve learned from this.

I do not employ anyone at the Institute without them having gone through psychometric testing. A few years ago I decided to override the results of a particular candidate and give the person a chance. Although the results showed that the person could step into the position and deliver competently, it clearly showed a few weaknesses which included low impulse control. My decision was based on:

  • The person’s apparent ability to do the job
  • The length of time it had taken us to fill the position. I was becoming quite desperate to fill the vacancy
  • The fact that the person was still quite young. I figured that in the right environment, the person could be shaped into a valuable asset in the organisation.

That person turned out to be one of the worst employees I have ever had to deal with.

I have learned not to ignore the warning signs, even when the person in front of me looks like they are sincere. Interviews are generally poor indicators of performance and attitude. That is why psychometric testing is such a valuable tool.

 

At home – what’s my life philosophy? How do I unwind? Favourite thing to relax/unwind? Family

My philosophy: Live your purpose

Although I am a firm believer in balance, the challenges of my job make it near impossible to live that balance. I therefore try to ensure a counter balance through my diet and exercise.

The best way for me to unwind is through dancing. I take Latin American and Ballroom dance lessons and see my instructor once a week. I have been dancing with him for the last 15 years. I also find walking and jogging on weekend mornings very relaxing and an opportunity to mill over things and sort problems out in my head. That is my ‘me’ time which radically reduces my stress levels.

Although I must admit that I do not have much time for reading these days, I have always found books a source of relaxation. I love exploring the thoughts of others as they are a great source for the expansion of my own view.

Luckily I do not have children, otherwise it would have been really difficult to balance work with family life. I take my hat off to women who are able juggle demanding jobs with raising her kids and giving their husbands enough attention.  My nieces and nephews demand their fair share of attention though, and I have found that being a favourite aunt requires hard work and tons of love.

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