Clive Killian - When somebody asks you what do you? Answer them, whatever it takes

Clive Killian - When somebody asks you what do you? Answer them, whatever it takes
Clive Killian:CEO of 1st Call Group

CLIVE KILLIAN grew up surrounded by a family involved in the engineering sector, and so it was unsurprising that he started out in that industry. But he soon realised that he was looking for something different, and changed course and studied for a degree, the first in his family to do so. He went into teaching, but the lure of business was strong, and Killian switched to the corporate sector.

Killian initially worked in management consulting across a range of clients, and then moved to outsourced business processing for several years, gaining experience in aligning sales operations with overall company strategy to maximise productivity and profitability. He returned to consulting and found himself working on the 1st Call Group account; they were his client. In this role, he was tasked with setting up structures to help deliver enhanced company growth - and clearly made his mark, because they offered him a job heading up the organisation.

He joined the 1st Call Group in November 2016 and the company has shown dramatic growth under his guidance.

The 1st Call Group extends across four continents and is now the fastest growing player in the BPO industry in South Africa. In 2017, turnover grew by over 800% and new contracts signed this year have already assured a growth of over 500% for 2018. Equally importantly, the company has created more than 700 new jobs over the past 12 months, and for many of these people, this is their first entry into the job market.

Says Killian, "Our success and growth comes from the dedicated and committed people who work at 1st Call, and we support this with world-class infrastructure and compete internationally. Our values are paramount, and serve as the foundation upon which our business is built, and our culture matters. It's vital that we share a common goal, and our behaviours support our values and our objectives."

Killian describes his leadership style as decisive, consistent, conscious and passionate. He is also a visionary leader and understands exactly where he wants to take the business. He understands the importance of infrastructure and has led investment in state of the art technology allowing the company to compete internationally.

Acknowledging the contribution of the support of his wife and children who are central to his achievements, and the close friends and mentors and who have believed in him, Killian relates a story that even when he was at school, his potential was evident. "As I was finishing junior school, a teacher said to me when filling in my year book, 'I'm not sure what the hell you'll end up doing Killian, but I am sure you will be bloody great at whatever it is'."

This kind of faith has certainly been justified. Killian is very goal-orientated, and points out that he is driven to create a legacy, to build success for his family and for everyone he interacts with. "Yes, I have determination, passion and a belief in my own abilities," he says, "but I also want to show my children and my staff that anything is possible."

Achieving his personal goal of being CEO of a large organisation by the age of 35, was a significant career highlight for Killian. "I'm also very proud of my degree," he says, "and of being the first in my family to graduate. Right now, I aim to grow a large organisation that changes the lives of the people in it - and anyone who comes into contact with them."

Of course, there have been times when he has had to face negativity from others and learn how to overcome the situation. He has also had to accept that sometimes he expects a lot from people and they may not always have the same commitment as he does. And balancing work and family can present a challenge, but he makes sure to get away with his family on a regular basis. "I also enjoy motorbikes, fishing and going to the gym, and I believe a healthy body means a healthy mind."

Killian points out that he strongly believes that success is built on leadership. "Not only from my leadership, but in the successful leaders we build through coaching, mentoring and development programmes. The more people we can grow into leaders, the bigger the changes we can make in people's lives."

"When somebody asks you what do you? Answer them, whatever it takes!"

Clive Killian

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