TD SYNNEX’s O’Shea: ‘Do You Have Different Perspectives At The Table?’


When John O’Shea closes his eyes to remember his time on the crew team at the University of Florida, the vision comes with practically no soundtrack. His focus is on the moment where everybody’s rowing together, and the timing is just perfect.

“I still get little chills thinking about it,” recalled O’Shea. “You hear the water rolling down the hull of the boat, the oars turning in their locks, and the quiet splash of the oars in water. There’s no heavy breathing or grunting, just the feel of the shell flying effortlessly over the water.”

A metaphor for effective corporate teams, you say? Well, yes and no, says O’Shea. “It’s great when we have consensus,” said the Bronx-born O’Shea, who was recognized as a Young Hispanic Corporate Achiever by the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility. “It’s great in crew when everyone is in complete alignment. But it’s not as necessary in business. If a leader can’t get the team to a place where they can bring their different perspectives to the table, you’re going to lose something very valuable. Sometimes you benefit from an oar that’s not quite in sync.”

O’Shea’s career at Tech Data started in 1994 when he was hired from a temp agency. Flying up the ranks as swiftly as one of those sculls plying the waters of a crystal clear lake—“I was averaging a new job every six or eight months!”—he rose to the position of President of Global Business Units of TD SYNNEX. John has developed a distinctive leadership style which CEO Rich Hume called strong and informed. In this podcast, O’Shea shares some of the lessons rowing has taught him about leading dynamic, resilient teams, including:

• Two things effective leaders always do when handing out a compliment

• Two essential conditions winning teams must have for effective debate

• The conversation every great leader has with a high-performing employee

• The single quality shared by the most dynamic and resilient teams.

So get your oars wet and join us for this lively episode of Corporate Competitor Podcast!

Check out the full Corporate Competitor Podcast interview archive and subscribe to new episodes.

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