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7 Questions on Leadership with our Founder, Muys Snijders

Muys Snijders, Founder, Art Business Consulting
Muys Snijders, Founder, Art Business Consulting

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

The most challenging aspect of being leader has recently been how to figure out a good

balance between my personal and work life. Being a mother with young kids means you

consistently have to pivot and adjust your schedule and re-prioritize the various goals and

workloads to accommodate the needs of those around you. This is far more complex than

one might think as there are only a set number of hours in the day and squeezing sleep

(trust me we have all been there!) in favor of getting things done is not a solution. Building

boundaries and accepting that these will sometimes blurr and not being too hard on oneself

when you fall short has all been part of the learning. Like Aubrey Hepburn once said:

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible.”

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

My first leadership role was with Christie’s in London. It was during the economic

downturn of 08/09 and I was promoted from within the team. It was my studies in Arts

Management (a business management program specifically for the arts sector) that gave

me the competitive advantage. In hindsight, I was rather unprepared to take on such a

significant role. Thankfully, I had other leaders around me that believed in my abilities

which gave me confidence. In addition, I had an excellent boss and with her

guidance, coaching and mentorship I began to feel more comfortable leading others

through these turbulent times.

3. How do you structure your workdays from waking up to going to sleep?

In the end it all comes down to planning effectively for each day in advance. The day is

generally split in two: 1. the things I do that are part of the daily routine (physical activity,

coffee, touch points with the family, doing homework with the kids, etc.) and 2. the other

part is allocated to moving projects forward using spreadsheets and calendars with

checklists to prioritize tasks and meeting with team members to coach, guide, and delegate.Then there are days (or sometimes an entire week) that specifically gets allocated to meeting clients offsite, research and market intelligence (which in my case means seeing art and lots of it!!!), marketing, and business development.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you have learned for the first time or been reminded of?

To practice GRIT and learn how to persevere in the face of challenges. Sometimes it’s hard

to stay focused on the bigger picture as the end goals seems so far off. During these time

periods it is good to remember that little steps forward cumulatively will create a big

change. Leading with GRIT will help you stay motivated and allows you to bounce back

quickly when things get tough. GRIT is all about being persistent and resilient, building

strong relationships, and being empathetic and understanding to others.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can

you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

The book that had a profound impact on me was “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office;

Unconscious Mistakes Women Make that Sabotage their Careers” by Lois P. Frankel. The

title of the book was of course what caught my attention. In the book the author, who

herself is an established career coach, outlines habits women display, often due to how they are socialized as girls, that could potentially hold them back over time from climbing the career ladder. Some of the “mistakes” and coaching tips offered in the book can be a little frustrating as we may all be at risk of subscribing to a status quo and working to “fit in” instead of being creative, agile agents of change and innovation. Having

said that though, the book was highly informative in terms of realizing how the work

“Game” is played (an entire chapter is dedicated to“How You Play the Game”) and

supported my self-actualization, self-worth and allowed me to help others in profound

ways. Although the book is targeting female readers, I have always highly recommended it

to men who aspire to be leaders and managers in an organization to read it too as it is very

insightful and helps one understand and embrace diversity and the unique characteristics

of individuals.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to


Take your time to build your career. You learn a lot from listening and by being present

and doing things. Be helpful and available. Stay curious and ask tons of questions. And

remember Rome was not built in a day so be patient, great achievements do not take shape

overnight. They are the result of continuous efforts, planning and patience.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

One of the most insightful articles that was shared with me during a leadership offsite was

by William Oncken, Jr. and Donald L. Wass, “Management Time: Who’s Got the Monkey?”

published by Harvard Business Review in the 1970s but still relevant today. The “monkey”

in the analogy refers to the next stage in any given task or problem. If one of your staff

comes to you with a problem and you agree to take it on, they effectively have shifted the

responsibility of their problem onto your shoulders. In other words, you now have their

“monkey” on your back. Sharing this article with the team and for everyone to be aware of

the “monkeys” that we transfer consciously and unconsciously to one another, has had a

profound impact on increasing our efficiency as a team.

With special thanks to Jonno White from Consult Clarity for the interview.

The information in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice on any matter

and does not create a client relationship. Image by @ceoportrait


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Interview with Muys Snijders from Art Business Consulting, LLC. A group of Art Industry Experts dedicated to providing art organizations with strategic guidance and implementation of business goals, from Art Business operations to management and recruitment, supporting and delivering growth.

Art Business Consulting

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