Oameni care ne inspiră. Tassos TZANOS.

Who are you? What are you passionate about? How did you end up doing what you do now?
I am a curious explorer, a lifetime traveler, always learning something new. Punctual with results and fascinated with the small, yet important, achievements. I’m passionate about my job and I’m intrigued by the power of human relationships.

How I ended up doing what I do now? Started in sales at the end of last century, moved to business development, worked in seven countries with sales management, travelled the world and worked with many TotalEnergies affiliates all over the globe being at the head office into the deployment of business fundamentals and the CRM, and since 2020 leading a team of 30 sales, marketing, customer service, new business development, and technical professionals in Romania.

Tell us about a project or an achievement that you are proud of.
I’m proud to see colleagues with which I have worked with, progressing, and doing great in their lives. My purpose is to contribute to the development of my team and at the results of my Company.

What are the major topics that are mostly tackled in the business world these days, from your point of view?
Political instability, supply chain disruptions, increase in costs, inflation, unstable consumer confidence, pandemics, transition to green energy, are few, yet important, to mention. We all live into an interdependent world, so all these challenges are not anymore national, but more regional and frequently global.

We come also to face new ones that bring us into uncharted waters, like artificial intelligence. Data analytics, and machine learning have given the world in the last ten years a glimpse of what AI can do; now with generative pre-trained AI transformers, many start wondering where its limits are, and how this will affect our daily lives and consequently our businesses.

What are your challenges lately, from a leadership and professional perspective?
Intergenerational management comes first to my mind. Seniors, experienced professionals, and young graduates, come with different backgrounds and motivations, but all in the same environment and aligned for the same purpose. Being part of what we call Gen-X, I find great interest in integrating the youngsters and I feel the responsibility to make them succeed in their work, feel motivated and engaged. The future is them!

Talent retention is another one worth addressing. Beyond a respectful environment, a good salary and career opportunities, talented people want to feel the purpose of their role.

What do you do when you feel like you are tired after juggling with too many tasks?
A walk in the parks of Bucharest is refreshing. Such small oases in the city, accessible within few minutes, not only are a breath of fresh air, but moreover allow the eyes and the brain relax. A weekend by the seaside or at the mountains helps balance correctly the personal and professional life. Parcul Herastrau, Sinaia, Brasov and Danube Delta are my favorites.

How do you keep your energy and enthusiasm level high enough to inspire others?
I’m happy that I don’t have to try much on that! I love my job; I love meeting customers, leading my team, making decisions, representing my Company, feeling the adrenaline and the constructive stress of the results, empowering, and motivating my team, and being part of the organization of TotalEnergies; a worldwide energy leader and driving transformation.

All these are creating a job that is fantastic, motivating that fill me with energy.

Of course, no job is easy and neither mine is. My enthusiasm comes from the challenges that I must face, the obstacles I need to surpass and the results I must bring. My confidence comes from the people that trust in me.

Who inspires you?
I’m driven by the personality, the achievements, and the spirit of pioneer that Jacques-Yves Cousteau has demonstrated over half of a century. Lots of inventions that we currently use are because he and his team had the courage to discover the depths of the seas, with a genuine love for marine life and a mission to reveal to the world the hidden beauties of our planet and protect them.

What habits do you have that keep you mentally and physically fit?
Once a month a have an appointment that I won’t miss: at the bookstore. I’m naturally interested in technology, history, human behavior, and business.

I’m also a lifelong amateur photographer seeing ordinary things through unusual perspectives.

During the last few years, I take my rackets at the courts and learn how to play tennis, an activity that I often enjoy with my wife and our two children.

What books and podcasts would you recommend?

  • Factfulness, from Hans, Ola and Anna Rosling, is contextualizing the perception of the world that is hidden in between numbers and does not make headlines: Despite that things are not perfect, the world is getting much better than we might believe. A generous dose of optimism that boosts morale and enhances the hope we must have to humanity
  • Mastering Uncertainty, from Matt Watkisnon and Csaba Konkoly, is my most recent read; reveals that the biggest opportunities arise in time of uncertainty, thus mastering it makes an impact in our lives
  • Off all the podcasts that I’ve signed up, I mostly revisit for updates the Coaching
    Real Leaders with Muriel Wilkins and Coaching for Leaders with Dave Stachowiak. Podcasts are a great addition to books when it comes to getting knowledge and looking for tips and quick solutions

Do you have or have you had a mentor or mentors along the way? Tell us about him/her and what they have helped you with.
I sure had. My parents showed me the values of hard work and integrity, and those have shaped my personality. All along my professional life I am lucky to have managers that I admire and that without much noise inspire me to become who I am. The time my manager spends with me is valuable, thus I always make sure that I listen to understand, to adapt and act.

What advice would you give to yourself from 10-20 years ago?
I’d go 29 years back, to send a letter to the young chemistry graduate: The world is about to change very fast; fasten your seatbelt, get prepared, it’s going to be a fantastic journey!

What haven’t we asked you and you would like to share with us?
What is the mindset of a leader? I often ask myself this question, having around us many real-life examples in science, sports, politics, arts etc. Grit is one of the main features that a leader must have or develop. To step-up when everyone else hesitates, to be optimistic when all signs show the other way, to carry on to the target even if the obstacles are getting too high to surpass.

Grit though means much less though without self-knowledge. I asked once my coach for a tip and this is the best advise you can get today: if we want to change the world, we need to start with ourselves