Breaking Boundaries in Security!
The true quality of a leader is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers for others. In an era marked by evolving security needs, the safe deposit box plays a pivotal role in safeguarding valuable assets. With a profound commitment to innovation and security, Terry Downes has revolutionized the security frontiers for everyone.
In this profile, we delve into Terry’s remarkable journey, his approach to leadership and decision-making, and his unwavering commitment to building a corporate culture rooted in respect and mutual success. Join us as we explore the life and insights of Terry, a leader who has bridged the worlds of security and entrepreneurship with innovation and resilience.
Here’s the story of the security leader:
The Journey of Terry
Terry, an Irish native, started his remarkable journey as an ex-Military Anti-Terrorist unit member. However, his heart was always set on entrepreneurship. Over the years, he has launched multiple exponential growth companies spanning various security sectors across Europe, the United States, Malaysia, East Africa, and the Middle East. His diverse portfolio includes specialized security services, VIP security services, logistics security services, oil and gas-related security services, manguarding, technology, remote visual and alarm management centers, training, cash in transit, and hospitality security services.
Inception of MySafe
Terry’s journey took an unexpected turn when he noticed a gap in the global retail banking sector. He realized that the traditional safe deposit box services offered by banks were no longer a strategic focus due to changing banking dynamics post-2008. The seismic shift to digital banking platforms left many clients without access to safe deposit boxes. Waiting lists for these boxes grew to years in some countries.
Having seen firsthand how taking the traditional ATM out of the banking hall and placing it conveniently in the Mall (convenience ATM Networks) changed the way society manages personal cash, he believed taking the vault out of the underground dungeon and positioning it conveniently in the high street would change the way society viewed the storage of small items of personal or corporate value. Disrupting an industry sector that has delivered the traditional service the same way for over 150 years elevates the humble safe deposit box service into the 21st century.
Launched in Dubai in 2018, MySafe disrupted the safe deposit box industry by providing a fully automated, Lloyds-insured, and convenient self-storage solution. Today, MySafe is the largest fully automated safe deposit box company in the Middle East, with a network of 10 sites spanning the Middle East and East Africa. The company is now on the verge of expanding its footprint to the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the United States.
Terry’s leadership style centers on creating an environment where individuals can aspire to their full potential. He believes in nurturing, empowering, and leading the team on a journey to achieve greatness. By focusing on this environment, he not only helps the team thrive but also achieves his own potential.
Terry has a unique approach to decision-making. While he encourages participation in the decision-making process, he acknowledges that, as the CEO, the ultimate decision rests with him. Once a decision is made, he is unwavering in its execution, fostering a culture of decisiveness.
The Ultimate Challenge
For Terry, the greatest challenge is to build an exceptional team. He invests in his team members to instill cultural values that underpin the organization’s passion for its strategic agenda. His experience in diverse management structures allows him to appreciate and embrace cultural diversity, creating a rich tapestry within the organization.
Recognizing Unique Contributions
Terry believes that everyone has a unique contribution to make. His role is to respect and appreciate these contributions at every level of the organization. He encourages participation, acknowledges effort, and rewards success, fostering innovation and driving growth.
To be honest, Terry draws his experience from my days in the Anti-Terrorist unit he served with. In such a unit, respect is earned daily, not gifted, because you hold a particular status. Likewise, in the corporate world, you earn the respect of your team, your peers, and the market based on your capacity to manage complex and difficult decisions daily. Corporate culture is an extension of your own value systems and how you need to align those values with your strategic agenda.
Is that important? Terry believes it is the single most important investment you can make as the CEO of your company, not least because it is a differentiating feature that can’t be purchased in the open market. He thinks the concept of respect, or rather mutual respect, regardless of your status in the organization, is the force multiplier in building a corporate culture that sets you apart from your competitors.
Embracing Continuous Learning
The fundamental secret of a successful CEO is an absolute obsession with the concept of never quitting. Terry’s exact words are, “You really are the last man standing, and when all else fails, you are the one person expected to deliver the solution. To embrace that reality is quite a challenge, and it can only be done through experience at the coal face. You must be able to lead people on a journey and expect them to follow because you have been able to earn their respect. You must build a team and, in so doing, encourage/empower that team to build their own teams so you develop capacity in depth. Above all, you must have a temperament that allows you to show respect to earn respect.”
The Formula for Success
Terry encourages all to find a role model, people who inspire them, and find out what it is about that person that has made them stand out. You need to come to know who you are to appreciate whether the role of CEO is for you. It is an exhilarating ride, a roller coaster with bits sticking out; nothing works as it should, and yet there is a euphoric sense of achievement when you start to see the business building under your stewardship. A living, breathing vessel that hosts the hopes and dreams of so many different stakeholders, no more in focus than your own hopes and dreams for a better life for you and your family.
@Nelson Mandela said it best: “There is no passion to be found in playing small, in settling for a life that is less than you are capable of living.”