May 2019

An Interview with Peter Ban

by Tom Deierlein

Peter Ban is a seasoned C-Suite Executive in the media and entertainment industry. Over the past twenty years he has spent time with companies like Time Warner, HBO, and AOL. He attended an Academy Leadership Excellence Course in May of 2015 when he was the Chief Operating Officer of Simulmedia. During that workshop he developed his Personal Leadership Philosophy which he shared with his team over the following weeks. He felt it was such a powerful experience he insisted that ten of his department heads and team leaders attend the course a few months later so they too could improve their performance and develop their own personal leadership philosophy.

Like many, he was hesitant at first to share it, but it is now an integral part of how he leads and helps others understand how best to work with him to get results.

"At first I was very reluctant to share it. However, now it's front and center of everything we do. Most days I read it to myself — it's become a ritual. It's a constant reminder of what we are doing and how we are achieving it. Some days my team and I review it together in our group meeting, especially when things feel a little off center. It's a simple reminder that our objective sits above each individual. Also, a few times a year I review the PLP to make sure it represents the best leader I can be. I ask: does it need to change? Have I changed? Has my team changed? Does the PLP rally the team, or does it ring hollow? It's a reminder that actions are much louder than words.

Once I started using the PLP the team of leaders under me were immediately curious. They wanted to discuss it, understand it. They wanted to learn more. In reality, like me, they wanted to become better leaders. As a result, I sent my team of direct reports and a few other emerging leaders to Academy Leadership. The AL experience helped my team become better leaders with their own PLPs. We were speaking the same language, acting in unison, all unique but crucial parts of one team.

At my next company, I shared my PLP with my newly inherited team. Very quickly it was obvious who thought seriously about leadership and who didn't. In fact, I invited my team to challenge my PLP and to help make it better. Significantly, the PLP became an extremely useful way for us to understand our direction and everyone's role in it.

Without question the PLP will be a critical tool no matter where I go to lead others. It's a "true north" in a fast-evolving environment. I'm grateful to have it."