Life learnings for future leaders

Former CEO of Accenture in Switzerland, Thomas Meyer, speaks with former BBC interviewer, Nisha Pillai about his experiences as a CEO, and shares key learnings with future decision makers.

Thomas Mayer
Thomas D. Meyer
Thomas Mayer on The Agenda podcast
The Agenda Podcasts

The Agenda brought to you by Sherpany uncovers the journey leaders take from facing challenges to making decisions. In this unique series of podcasts, leaders talk candidly with former BBC World Service interviewer, Nisha Pillai. #Leading together

In this podcast episode, you will hear:

Former Accenture CEO in Switzerland, Thomas Meyer, talking about both his professional and personal experiences that have triggered him to question himself many times over, and almost drove him to give up on his career to do something completely different. Overcoming a major crisis in his life led Thomas Meyer to create a treasure trove of stories which he calls “The 10 “Headlines”” for future leaders. Here are a handful of topics covered in the podcast that we think will stir your curiosity:

  • How to overcome a major crisis and the importance of having full support from your company
  • Key learnings drawn from challenging experiences and the creation of “The 10 “Headlines” 
  • The “When you smile the sun is rising”, “Money doesn't help you get up at five thirty in the morning”, “Ten metres high and fog below you” headlines explained 
  • Taking up a new career opportunity and the learnings from that professional experience
  • On hybrid work in the new normal and Thomas' final thoughts on leadership for future decision makers.


Three life lessons from Thomas Meyer

When you smile the sun is rising

"'When you smile, the sun is rising' goes back to a training session we had with an external coach. At the very end of the training session the coach said thank you so much for your dedication, but let me make one important statement before we all go home. There is somebody in the room, if this person would only smile a little bit, the sun would be rising. I immediately realised that everybody was looking at me, that my natural face, when I'm just very relaxed, leaves an impression of a very severe face. So I need to be constantly reminded to smile a little bit because it helps people to better understand the way I am."


Money doesn't help you get up at five thirty in the morning

"You need to really come to a point where you really like what you do, where you have the passion for what you are doing, and that is your inner motivation that will keep you on continuing and be a good guide, a good coach , because people start to realise that you really like what you're doing. It's like when you are in a restaurant and the chef is passionate, or you are in a live concert and the musicians themselves have tears in their eyes because they just love what they're doing. It's a huge difference in the experience that you make."

You need to really come to a point where you really like what you do.

Ten metres high and fog below you

"This is your feet on one of those jumping boards and somebody tells you you have to jump and you don't know whether it's really water below or not because there's a fog in between. I was working in Switzerland, mainly in the financial services industry for seven, eight years since I started. And I went back to him and said I want to do something else. [...] It was a roller coaster of experiences and I really got to know how easy it is to jump, because there's always going to be people and, if people trust in you, they know there is water below the fog, you just have to jump and it's going to work."

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Thomas Mayer
Thomas D. Meyer
About the author
Thomas Meyer joined Accenture AG, and became CEO and Country Managing Director of Accenture Switzerland in 2003. He retired from Accenture at the end of May 2020. Thomas Meyer joined Swisscontact’s Foundation Council in 2020, and is the Chairman of the Foundation Board since June 2021.