What we think | Sales & Business Leader Perspectives

Gina Mc Namara shares insights on taking the team from good to great & holding them to their standards

Gina Mc Namara

Regional Chief Financial Officer, Asia Pacific & Japan at SAP

What has been your experience on improving your own deservability in your own eyes?

It has been quite a journey. One of the biggest things that has helped me to improve would be completing diagnostics where I have other people have listed my strengths and weaknesses through different tools. So I started a program many years ago called Leadership circle where I did that. And, and I’ve done it over and over again. It’s really interesting because in the beginning you see your diagnostics, and you get a big shock. And you know that a coach is there with you to take you through the results. The biggest takeaway the first time was that I was rating myself much lower in a lot of things than how other people rated me. It helped to spend some time focusing on the positives more than the negatives, and then internally it changed my own mindset. But like I said, it was a journey.

How have you made this transition from being very critically judgmental to becoming more compassionately curious?

Well, I realized through my own diagnostics that I had this quest to be perfect and nobody can be perfect. And I was also trying to hold other people to that same time standard, that may not be even possible. So, I started to sit back and be like “Okay”. I’ve taken the time to look at myself, and you know, be less critical. But I’ve got to do the same with people and be more empathetic and more compassionate.

Part of that’s been just daily rituals of how I see myself and take more time to get to know people better in daily meetings and beyond, so that I can understand what makes them tick. I think that self-acceptance helps you with other people as well. It’s about holding people to their standards and not my standards.

What are one or two things that’s worked for your Gina, that you tend to overachieve all the time?

You’re very kind. There’s a couple of things that I think have been secrets to success. One would be being kinder to myself and setting boundaries in terms of making sure that I’m looking after myself, whether it be the working hours that I do or the time that I spend with my family.

A great executive coach Joe Wagstaff once said to me, “What would happen if you just said no, and what would happen if you just switched off your computer or left the office when it worked for you. Just try it. So that’s one of the things that I started to do a number of years ago. The other one is really exercise. So I know everybody says it, but if you’re feeling healthy and fit, then you definitely are in a better performance mindset. So if I can feel that I’m getting to a point where I’m breaking my own boundaries, I try and level set which makes sure that I really am looking after myself. I got into some bad habits last year. So I took a step back and, and started to do more exercise, more walking. Just little things that become bigger things. The little things are often the first things to be sacrificed. And I think we also underestimate the little things like walks that make you happy, like, whether it be near the ocean or in the wilderness.

How do you expand your boundaries, taking things from Good to Great to excellence, etc?

For me, it’s all about creating a team environment and getting everybody to stop thinking like an individual. It’s easier said than done. But creating that psychologically safe team environment where everybody is valued is something that can take the team from good to great. And we definitely saw that in finance over the last so many years, but even last year, and the year before, we were very successful in APJ. And it was the team that really work together to get to great, and not thinking like, I’m in my silo. Thinking like we are an expanded big team that works together and has a lot of fun at the same time.

What would be one or two pieces of advice would you give for other women who aspire to leadership, Gina?

So I said this to somebody not very long ago to “Be bold”. I think that we put limitations on ourselves. My parents were always really great in saying to me that anything is possible and one can reach for the stars. But if the limitations are only what you’re putting on yourself, you need to get outside of that and really look for what does it take to stretch yourself. And it can be small things you can decide that something bold for you is different to what’s bold for me, but it gets you half a step towards where you want to go. Others will go into something that you might say is totally unachievable, but then they hit something that’s really a big growth area for the so be bold. It’s a limitless world where we’re very blessed to live this life. And I think even in the last so many years, it’s been proven time and time again, we didn’t know what was going to happen in the world and things keep happening. So, you definitely have to be fearless.

If the limitations are only what you’re putting on yourself, you need to get outside of that and really look for what does it take to stretch yourself.


Gina Mc Namara

Regional Chief Financial Officer, Asia Pacific & Japan at SAP
Gina McNamara is Regional Chief Financial Officer, Asia Pacific & Japan at SAP, one of the world’s largest technology companies. Gina’s leadership journey went from being a manager, to being a leader and she now believes she has transformed into a servant leader. Gina is passionate about people and maximizing their potential. This she believes can be a key driver for business results. Continuous learning, feedback and coaching have helped her build a personal brand of her own and she now helps amplify the brand of her team.
Chandrani Datta works as a Manager-Content Research and Development with almost a decade’s experience in writing and editing of content. A former journalist turned content manager, Chandrani has written and edited for different brands cutting across industries. The hunger for learning, meaningful work and novel experiences keeps her on her toes. An avid traveller, Chandrani’s interests lie in photography, reading and watching movies.

Share this post!


You might also be interested in the below topics