Described by his peers as a ‘modern accountant’, Dean Micallef manages the financial services at Firstbridge with a mantra that change must be embraced.
With a tech-first mentality and a desire to never let himself slip into a state of inertia, Dean has led his company for the past 6 years, seeing it grow from a startup to a market leader.
He’s developed a wealth of experience that belies his young age and has now shared some pearls of wisdom for future leaders, as well as some insight into what makes him tick.
Here are six things we’ve learned about Dean Micallef from Lovin Malta’s video series Meet The Boss.
1. He believes luck is overrated
Some people think luck is a key ingredient to success, but Dean doesn’t believe so.
“A lot of people place too much emphasis on luck,” he says. “I think people look at successful people and say they’re probably lucky, they got a lucky break. Luck will always feature in everything in life but I dont think it has as big an impact as people make it out to be.”
Rather, he believes being passionate and hardworking is far more crucial to turn a business into a success story.
2. This is his recipe for the perfect startup
Dean believes the best startup is one which can combine a very good idea with a motivated, dedicated and ambitious individual who can set realistic goals to see it through.
“Whether it’s their first idea, their second or beyond becomes a bit irrelevant. You know that person is destined to create something great.”
As the company starts growing and departments start becoming more defined, Dean’s advice to the leader is to maintain an element of control over aspects of their business if they want to implement change.
“Otherwise you might feel a bit too stifled and you’ll basically be following someone else’s plan,” he says.
3. And here’s the best part about being a leader
In Dean’s eyes, the most motivational aspect of being a leader is seeing your team respond positively to your ideas and contributing their own. Conversely, not getting through to your team or not getting the required reaction from them can be equally as demoralising.
Looking back at when he took the plunge to start his own business, Dean recounts how many people had told him he will now be able to cut down on a lot of hard work.
“Sometimes people think being your own boss means working much less and having things done for you,” he says with a smile.
4. He knows that change is the only constant
Change is crucial to remain relevant in the world of business, and Dean fully understands this, setting the embracement of change as his motto.
“We’re living in a very exciting world, we’re in a time of rapid change. If we don’t embrace change we’ll enter a life of monotony and routine, and routine kills creativity. For me creativity is anything that makes everything worth living for.”
5. His COVID-19 advice is not to overthink everything
Several businesses have had one pressing concern since the start of the year and it’s easy to understand why.
However, Dean’s advice to businesses fretting about COVID-19 is to focus on doing what they have control over and not overthink things.
“Overthinking it or overdoing it will only create more worry and panic, and obviously under the influence of stress, you only stand to make worse decisions and act in the worst possible way,” he notes.
“You keep yourself interested, stick to your principles and I honestly do think that good things come to those who persevere.”
6. If he wasn’t in financial services, he’d be in education
Dean has been working in financial services for all his adult life, but if he was given a chance to try something completely new, he’d seek a career in education.
“I love education, the process of learning something new, just as much as I love contributing to someone else’s education.”
“That reaction you get from someone when they’re passionate about learning something new just gives me an indescribable thrill.”
This is the latest episode of Meet The Boss, a new Lovin Malta series in which we sit down with local CEOs to share their vision and business tips and discuss some crucial topics. More interviews will be uploaded in the coming weeks.
What did you make of Dean Micallef’s advice? Let us know in the comment section