Sergio Colella, SITA
Sergio Colella joined SITA in 2017 as president of Europe. His background is in managing large-scale, international IT transformations and previously held roles at HP and Accenture.
In a series of interviews with executives participating in the online event in September, PhocusWire finds out what they have learned from the COVID-19 crisis.
With the benefit of hindsight, if you could go back to the start of the crisis, what would you do differently?
Overall, as a company, I believe we reacted pretty well to a global epidemic from a human angle first and then from a business point of view.
We rapidly got closer to our people to support them and to our customers to help them navigate the storm.
We adjusted some aspects of our business, including addressing our cost structure effectively.
Looking back, I think I could have been faster in realizing that the changes or challenges brought on by COVID-19 were not temporary but they were there to stay: to project myself into the “new normal” situation more rapidly and anticipating much earlier the structural transformation that COVID-19 imposed on our business models, our industry and our lives, forcing us to be structurally more adaptive and flexible. We managed to transform, but we could have been faster.
What have you learned from this time about the way you'll manage and communicate with your team(s) moving forward?
For me, and for many others, COVID-19 has been a catalyst for digitalization. I became more digital.
Being forced to rely solely on technology, such as video conferencing, to keep in contact with teams, partners and customers spread across the globe has hammered home the fact that today we really do live in a virtual world.
We have the privilege of being able to stay in contact with one other on a daily basis. I’ve learned how to keep my team closer together through digital means while improving collaboration.
What do you miss most about travel?
I miss “real contact” – I mean the physical interactions, the informal exchanges you have with people that technology cannot really replace.
What have been the surprise benefits to not traveling?
I did not miss the traveling or missing my travel connections! Joking aside…, I have more time for thinking, more time for planning and even longer and sometimes more productive days.
What lasting changes will there be to you personally from this time?
I think that the pandemic is improving our resilience. I would never have thought that we, as an industry, as a business, as a company, and that I personally, could be so resilient in facing the ongoing challenges of COVID-19. This resilience, I believe, is the most positive and lasting change for me from these unprecedented times.
What has been your one guilty pleasure during lockdown?
A glass of good wine every evening!
Executive Roundtable: New Realities in Air Travel
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