Caroline Kloboucek has a clear vision and an ability to plan and focus – good attributes for someone whose workspace covers an entire continent. In addition, she genuinely loves to discuss and develop the business in collaboration with her team – which she calls her most important asset.
Four years ago, Caroline Kloboucek became Vice President of Sandvik Rock Processing Solutions in Brisbane, Australia. The business unit is responsible for the sales, service and product support of rock processing equipment and plants, not only in Australia but in the Oceania region as a whole, which also includes New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Pacific islands and Indonesia.
“We have a very large geographic area to service and support, and a high cost of operation which is always a consideration in decisions that we have to make about our operations," she explains.
Low population densities in Australia and New Zealand make it essential to consider where operations and people are placed, especially since all business within Oceania is established as a direct-to-market model, which doesn't rely on business intermediaries or a dealership model.
“It really takes a team to run our business," Caroline explains. “It's the team that supports our customers on a daily basis – whether through sales, service, commercial support or finance. There is also a large contingent of back-office staff who are fundamental in making things run smoothly."
It's Caroline's job to support and make sure that the right team is in place and that the team members work well together. What's her approach to building a team?
“It's essential to have a team with a diverse range of skills and background that complement each other," she says. “People who create a good dynamic and bring different aspects to the team. I look for good communicators who focus on solutions rather than problems."
For herself, she says it's important to be a good motivator. “We spend a lot of time at work, and we all want someone who helps create a fun environment, so that people genuinely enjoy doing their job," she says.
Caroline describes herself as a very inquisitive person, someone who by nature can't stop herself from asking questions and being curios. Her team development work she describes as mainly practical.
“I think it's about having open dialogues," she says, “whether it's during a performance review or informally during conversations and one-on-one discussions about what they want to achieve with their own development and in support of that journey."
When it comes to her own role as team leader, Caroline says she seeks similar feedback, which she strives to receive with an open mind and a willingness to change.
“Leadership is a journey, and I am always wanting to better myself," she says. “The biggest challenge is probably managing the stress, as my role has a continuous high workload and demands. I need to find ways to manage this in a way that my health and my family aren't impacted."
Kloboucek has spent a significant portion of her career working in analytical and project management roles in a sales environment and in project management. As Business Line Manager Crushing and Screening she worked with Harry Hardy, who today is General Manager for Customer Account Management at SMR. What skills does he seek in a good leader? “Clarity of purpose and an orientation toward action," he says, “as well as an amalgamation of vision, communication, management of change and empowerment."
How does that fit with Caroline's leadership style?
“Great," Hardy says. “Caroline is a focused and purposeful leader who is very well organized and likes to establish good systems and processes. Her focus is very much on business results, and she takes the delivery of those results very seriously. What I appreciate most is her ability to plan and focus and her preparedness to take on challenges outside of her nontechnical background."
Caroline's parents ran a small engineering company, and her entire childhood was steeped in business talk. She grew up knowing that she would run a business, one way or another.
“I have always liked to talk about work and enjoy the discussions with the team about what makes the business successful," Caroline says. “I have a natural interest in the topic, which probably also helps me in my leadership role and makes me genuinely engaged in what I do."
Name: Caroline Kloboucek
Role: Vice president Sandvik Rock Processing Solutions Oceania
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Tenure: 13 years in a variety of roles, the past four in the Rock Processing Solutions business
Family: 2 children – Keeley (boy) 10, and Georgia (girl) 6.
Favourite hobby: I enjoy researching new recipes and new foods to create and try
Secret superpower: I have a high level of emotional intelligence