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An Interview with Paul Michael Sturt on Success, Motivation, and Work Ethic

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Paul Michael Sturt

From Disney and Pixar to Google and Android, mergers and acquisitions can provide a multitude of benefits, not only to the parties involved but to the consumers of those products and services. The excitement that surrounds merging two corporate identities is what got Paul Michael Sturt involved in the sector.

Having learned valuable lessons throughout his diverse career, Paul Michael Sturt is grateful to work in an industry he loves. To share some insider secrets, he sat down with us to discuss some of the challenges of launching a highly successful career.

What was it about mergers and acquisitions you love so much?

 Unlike being involved at the start of a new business, mergers and acquisitions often deal with well-developed entities or companies with their own separate values, practices, and cultures. Being a mediary involved in the process, I am able to actively collaborate with people to come up with solutions and roadmaps. As I love working and collaborating with others, I find this work very fulfilling.

Have you always been drawn to working with others?

 Absolutely, it is one of the aspects I enjoy most about my job. In the corporate landscape, there is only so far you can go by working on your own. Other people provide unique perspectives, ways of seeing the world, and working, and all of that can enrich the work you do. Almost every successful individual relied on a massive team of people to achieve what they have achieved, and I am no different. I value my peers and their insights.

 Did you ever imagine you would end up working in this area?

 I found great success with mergers and acquisitions prior to taking it on full time. My experience of both growing a successful company inhouse along with buying companies and making them successful is unique in the M&A world. I believe that all of our experiences throughout our lives shape and form our direction and mine is one that eventually led me to M&A.

 On an average day, how do you stay productive?

 Through various lifestyle habits. If you want to be successful in your career, you need to learn to take care of your health, both mentally and physically. The first thing I do in a day is getting my body moving. Whether it is a strength training workout, a run, or a brisk walk, it is a great way to wake up your body and mind.

As distractions are common throughout a workday, I also try to schedule similar activities together. If I need to do focused work, I will turn off my phone, close my e-mails, and sit in a space where I will not be interrupted. It is important to set these boundaries not just for ourselves but for others.

  How do you define success?

Success is happiness. Over my long career, I have learned that only the individual can define exactly what success is and that it is never someone else’s definition that matters. For me, a life with a job that I love (and am good at), a healthy family, and the financial freedom to live comfortably, all fit into my definition of success.

How do you handle adversity and self-doubt?

Adversity and doubt are inevitable, especially in business. However, I believe that the bigger the obstacles we overcome, the stronger we are for it. Throughout my life and career, the difficulty has always re-enforced a sense of gratitude in my life and given me a much broader perspective overall. In addition, doubt is something you cannot avoid. There will always be times where a decision will not be black and white, and you will have to jump in either way. I think that both adversity and doubt are opportunities to show yourself and the world exactly what you are made of and that you will stop at nothing to achieve positive results.

What specific qualities does it take to be an effective leader?

 You have to be willing to trust the team you build. Over the years, I have worked with a diverse range of people, and have learned that if you hire somebody for their abilities, you have to trust that they will do their job. It is very easy for leaders to fall into the trap of ‘micromanaging’, and I think that this only serves to alienate your employees. People feel more much fulfilled when they are able to do their work in the way they see fit, and sometimes that means letting go of preconceived notions of how you think something should be done.

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