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Accor CEO of EMEA & APAC Regions, Duncan O'Rourke on High-Performing Executive Teams

Duncan O'Rourke

Duncan O'Rourke


May 26, 2024

Accor CEO of EMEA & APAC Regions, Duncan O'Rourke on High-Performing Executive Teams
Interview Highlights

In today’s dynamic business landscape, the effectiveness of an organization's executive team can significantly influence its overall success.

Duncan O'Rourke, CEO of Accor overseeing operations in the Middle East, Africa, Turkey, and Asia Pacific regions, offers valuable insights into building and maintaining high-performing leadership teams.

Let's find out how Duncan O'Rourke emphasizes the importance of certain factors when it comes to organizational success.

The Importance of Results-Focused Leadership and Values Alignment

O'Rourke emphasizes that executive teams must be results-focused, ensuring that their objectives align with the organization’s goals. This means not only achieving financial targets but also fostering a strong Talent and Culture environment. By setting clear, results-driven goals, O'Rourke's team strives to deliver exceptional outcomes for stakeholders, including owners, communities, and employees.

Values alignment is another cornerstone of O'Rourke's leadership philosophy. He believes that team members' values should be in sync with the company's ethos and overall mission. This alignment fosters a cohesive work environment where everyone is working towards common objectives, ensuring that the team operates smoothly and effectively.


Prioritizing Expertise and Strategic Thinking

When assembling his executive team, O'Rourke looks for individuals who are subject matter experts and possess strong strategic thinking skills. He likens this strategic oversight to viewing from a balcony rather than the dance floor, emphasizing the importance of seeing the bigger picture. This perspective helps in identifying improvement opportunities and making informed decisions that benefit the entire organization.


Embracing Diversity and Open Communication

O'Rourke is a strong advocate for diversity within executive teams. He highlights that gender-diverse teams make better decisions more frequently compared to all-male teams. At Accor, the goal is to ensure that half of the leadership teams are diverse. This commitment to diversity brings a range of perspectives and ideas, which is crucial for innovation and effective problem-solving.

Open communication is vital in O'Rourke’s leadership approach. He encourages a culture of transparency where team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns. Regular communication, such as weekly 40-minute calls with his executive team, helps in maintaining alignment and addressing issues promptly. This practice ensures that even though the team is geographically dispersed, they remain connected and synchronized in their efforts.


The Role of Consistent One-on-One Interactions

O'Rourke values consistent one-on-one interactions with his team members. These sessions provide an opportunity to delve deeper into operational details and address personal challenges that team members might face. By keeping these interactions regular and meaningful, he ensures that his executives feel supported and are continuously developing their skills.


Cross-Functional Collaboration and Inclusion

 O'Rourke fosters a culture of cross-functional collaboration, bringing together different departments to make collective decisions. He involves various leaders, including the head of Talent and Culture, in all strategic decisions. This inclusion ensures that every aspect of the business, particularly those related to talent and growth, is considered from multiple angles.

Building a Culture of Transparency and Continuous Improvement

 Creating a transparent culture where feedback, both positive and negative, is encouraged is key to O'Rourke’s strategy. He believes in discussing mistakes openly to learn and improve continuously. This approach not only helps in addressing current challenges but also prepares the team to handle future obstacles more effectively.

Conclusion: The Transformative Impact of Aligned Leadership Teams

Duncan O'Rourke’s insights underscore the transformative impact that a well-aligned, high-performing executive team can have on an organization.

By focusing on results, aligning values, prioritizing expertise, embracing diversity, and fostering open communication, leaders can build teams that drive significant improvements across all areas of the business.

His leadership principles highlight the importance of consistent interaction, cross-functional collaboration, and a culture of continuous improvement, providing a robust framework for achieving organizational success.

Incorporating these insights can help other executives enhance their team's performance, ultimately leading to a more dynamic and successful organization.

Official Transcript

Korn Ferry states that the CEOs most important asset is a high performing executive team.

When focusing on organizational enhancement, our attention typically gravitates towards refining our products, bolstering customer satisfaction and streamlining internal processes as key avenues for performance optimization. Yet, amidst these priorities, lies a profound opportunity often overlooked, nurturing the effectiveness and performance of the CEOs most prized asset, the executive team. By channeling our efforts into empowering this pivotal group, we unlock a cascade of benefits that address myriad challenges concurrently.

It's a strategic move that not only fortifies leadership, but also catalyzes improvements across various facets of the organization. It is my privilege today to introduce a distinguished guest who will offer valuable insights on crafting successful leadership teams. Joining us is Duncan O'Rourke, the CEO overseeing operations in the Middle East Africa, Turkey and Asia Pacific regions for a corps premium midscale and economy sectors calling in from Dubai. 

Duncan, it's a pleasure to see you again. Thanks for being here.


Duncan O'Rourke: Thanks very much Felicia, it's lovely to be able to speak to you. 

Duncan, could you provide a brief overview of your position at Accor and outline the organizational structure of Accor at a high level?

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