Marta Amat is the Global Senior Manager Revenue Growth and Insights Strategy at Philips in Amsterdam. We asked Marta to share her experience of working in a high-profile leadership role for a multi-national, as well as the challenges she faces in her field, and how she fosters teams that live and breathe Philips’ strong vision and values.
Firstly, what goes on behind the Commercial Policy and Pricing Strategy at Philips?
As a personal health business, our strategy isn’t just built around growth, promotion effectiveness/profit and creating global partnerships – it’s centred around our customers and patients. Our role in the Sales Center of Excellence is to use the information we hold to make informed, data-driven decisions about how best to create shareholder value, balancing that against consumer and market demand.
Our methodology informs every stream of the business – from Philips’ revenue goals and business model to the way we innovate and position our brand with consumers and patients alike. We also have to take into account consumer demand, how sensitive our audiences are to price fluctuations and their buying behaviour, as well as competitor pricing, regulations, and overall market and economic trends.
The amount consumers are prepared to pay for our products differs hugely depending on who they are, where they live and the cultural norms in different regions, too. So, getting our model right requires time, resources and consistent dedication.
Did you always have your career journey mapped out or did you become a Global Manager through a series of opportunities that you seized along the way?
If I think about it, my personal and career journeys have always gone hand in hand. I was born and raised in Barcelona, so I was exposed to and inspired by a diverse international environment from a young age.
I’m multi-lingual, and I’ve studied and lived in different countries, travelled and worked around the world at the headquarters of big multi-nationals for the past 20-plus years. I’ve always been interested in people, in connecting and in empowering others, and I’ve developed a global growth mindset.
As a leader, I’m a natural connector. I create diverse teams, and encourage strong communication, collaboration and storytelling, as well as a focus on meaningful, people-centred initiatives.
To make a connection with customers, you need to create emotion. In the various roles I’ve held throughout my career, I’ve seen storytelling do just that – helping businesses relate to their customers and bring the brand to life for them.
You’ve had an incredible career as a Global Manager for a multi-national, multi-disciplinary company. What would you say is at the heart of your success?
If I look back, a trait that’s always fed into my professional achievements has been my ability to genuinely connect. I put people first, an approach I team with critical thinking, lean management and problem-solving skills.
This helps me build bridges between the management team, general strategy and the business as a whole, and act as the voice of our customers, so we can identify opportunities and innovations that better meet their needs.
What are the key challenges in your field and what would you do to overcome them?
I’d say it’s being able to keep up with change – continually keeping performance high, while transformation and transition is taking place. It means we have to continually step out of our comfort zone, fall forward and maintain a never-give-up attitude.
At the same time, we have to think about improvements to our policies, our strategy and how the market is evolving, so we can have a greater impact and serve our customers better.
How is the concept of sustainability incorporated in the divisions you’re responsible for and what does that look like at Philips?
Sustainability is a huge priority for Philips. We’re committed to creating an enabling environment where change can take place, adapting our organisational objectives and articulating those across the company.
Personally, I’m thinking more deeply about the day-to-day decisions I make and the impact they have – pairing a planet-first approach with our customer-first mindset. When I’m involved in a project, sustainable practice is always on the agenda – using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which allows me to communicate our priorities, create momentum, and establish a culture of listening, engaging, sharing and caring about a better world.
Raising awareness within our teams in this way makes it easier to overcome current challenges, and shape new innovations and solutions – ones that use our natural, economic and social resources wisely. Working more sustainably is an ongoing process.
Every year, awareness gets greater and greater - not just internally, but in the world at large. We involve a member of our Sustainability team in every project to ingrain sustainability in the decision-making process. So, it’s there - but these things take time. Again, good storytelling comes into play if we want people to relate to our goals and develop a planet-focused mindset of their own.
When you’re assembling a team, what are the key characteristics in people that lead to success?
For me, potential – the ability and desire to learn – is more important than experience. The skills you have today might fall out of date in a year’s time, so there’s far more value in a quick learner with professionalism and great problem-solving skills.
The ability to communicate is also essential. With that in mind, I do all I can to create a safe space where the dialogue between me and the team is open and transparent in both directions. I want to know exactly what motivates and drives each person in my team, so I can figure out how to help them succeed as individuals – as well as creating development opportunities that benefit the team as a whole.
I’m also passionate about creating the right culture, and actively encourage inclusivity, diversity, self-care and wellbeing. I want everyone in the team to feel equally important, so that they all bring something different to the table – because, when we embrace those differences, there’s always a positive outcome.
Finally, I always look for people who share the same outlook, sense of purpose and ambition as the company – so, as a team, we always uphold Philips’ customer-first vision. Working with that common purpose increases everyone’s engagement, empowerment and accountability with the job in hand – as well as encouraging perseverance, resilience and team spirit, no matter what changes take place along the way. When we work cohesively, it’s no longer one plus one equals two – we can achieve much, much more.
Finally, what books are currently sitting on your bedside table?
I’m currently reading about Ikigai, an ancient Japanese concept that means “your reason for being”, or purpose in life. The South African author Frank Brueck has created a model called Ikigai for Leaders and Organisations – posing four simple questions that help us assess how we live and work.
These are simply: What you are really good at? What do you love to do? What does the world need? What do you need for your market? In our personal lives, Ikigai can help us reinvent and reposition ourselves, in pursuit of a long and happy life. When applied to businesses, it has the potential to motivate an entire workforce and drive genuine change, inside and outside the walls of an organisation.
It’s designed to invigorate teams and encourage a state of flow in everything we do – generating vitality and passion in a world dominated by the pursuit of progress. Ikigai also helps leaders take a more value and purpose-led approach, and helps organisations foster employee loyalty and boost investors’ confidence. The big idea is that, when we live by all four pillars – personally, as a leader and as a whole organisation – we’ll reach a point where we positively affect our environment and society. It’s a powerful philosophy – one I believe we need in this world, now more than ever.
Thank you to Marta for speaking to Michelle Ewing, Director at EMEA Recruitment.
Views and opinions contained within our Executive Interviews are those of the interviewee and not views shared by EMEA Recruitment.