“If you don’t know how to navigate cultural differences, then you won’t succeed,” — 60 Seconds with Paul Dunne of Poly

60 Seconds With, Interviews | Wed 21 Sep | Author – Business & Finance

Paul Dunne is a Senior Director, EMEA, in Poly at Dublin, a company that designs and engineers audio and video products backed by software and AI. Paul has a 19-year trajectory in Poly, which plans to open its first office in Galway at the end of 2022.


What was your first job? 

My first ever was as a professional actor when Noel Pearson put on the Musical Oliver, which ran in the Olympia Theatre in Dublin seven times a week for three months. My first commercial role was in an Inside Sales role at Mason Technology in Dublin. My less glamourless first jobs included working in late-night fast-food restaurants, stacking supermarket shelves, kitchen porter and delivering bread door to door. I recommend that everyone works in the service industry. It provides one with a great insight into human nature.

What pushed you to pursue a career in this field?

I was determined to combine my technical education with a role in sales. 

My background is in Science (Applied Physics) – I like to understand things from first principles, and I wanted an opportunity to apply that sort of thinking to the commercial world. 

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

Running a successful pan EMEA overlay sales organisation and navigating the commercial and cultural differences across EMEA. Doing business in Dublin is totally different to doing business in Dubrovnik or Dubai, and if you don’t know how to navigate cultural differences, then you won’t succeed. And it is not just doing business. It’s operating as a cohesive team across time zones and cultures. When someone joins my team, I always ask them to read Culture Map: Decoding How People Think, Lead, and Get Things Done Across Cultures by Erin Meyer as a starting guide to working with so many nationalities. 

Career wise, would you do anything differently?

Not a bit. I love what I do.

Two years ago, I was delighted to be invited to be the Exec Sponsor of the Poly Pride ERG (Employee Resource Group). The Pride ERG is a voluntary, employee-led group whose aim is to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned to Poly’s values. As a company, Poly wants to continue to develop a diverse and supportive community so we can continue to attract and retain great people. I am looking forward to working more with this. 

In one sentence, how would you define success?

Success for me means seeing a multi-county, diverse organisation working as a team, reaching its potential and thriving. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

You have a choice in relation to how you respond internally and externally to any challenging situation. In other words, take responsibility for your own feelings. 

How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

I like to think that I am very clear when it comes to communicating what outcomes we want to drive as a team. I then get out of people’s way so that they can do their jobs. Witnessing a team thriving is all the motivation I need.

How do you handle adversity? 

The more self-aware you are, the better you can deal with adversity, in my opinion. The road to self-awareness is a lifetime journey.

How do you relax?

Sea swimming, cooking, and reading. 

What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

My aspirations are that Poly will continue to grow as a sustainable business and an indispensable Partner to our channel as we continue to roll out innovative products and services. I have been with the company for 20 years now, and later this year, we are opening our first Irish office in Crown Square in Galway. We are already recruiting for Engineering, Sales, and Management roles. I am looking forward to the Poly family growing up in Ireland.


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