When you meet Jeff Tunnell in person for the first time, you will definitely not expect that in such a diminutive stature is a person who commands so much respect and reverence. That’s how strong his persona is. In fact, he is known to be such a fiercely competitive guy at work that they named him Jeff “Tunnel Vision” Tunnell. Indeed, he has razor sharp focus and the sheer determination to succeed in whatever endeavour he may be facing.
Jeff is the Project Manager/Producer for Ubisoft, one of the top online games producers in the world. He has held this position since day 1, when Ubisoft was just a small outfit trying to break ground in the gaming industry. With the expert guidance of Jeff, his team hit the ground running to a blazing start and has never looked back ever since.
Ask people he works with and they will give you a glowing review about Jeff as a person and as a co-worker. This speaks volumes on his professionalism and dedication to his craft.
We had a brief chat with him recently and we can attest to the fact that he is indeed as straight as an arrow.
NA: Hi Jeff! Thank you for taking time off your busy schedule and talk to us. We won’t take too much of your time. What is your secret to success?
JT: It’s always a pleasure talking to you guys. That’s why whenever I get invites to do interviews like these, I never decline, as long as I have a few minutes to spare. And that is also my answer to your question, re: my secret to success. I listen to people. And when I say this, I don’t simply listen. Instead I listen in order to hear what is actually meant by the speaker. In doing that, I have come to realize that the best tool any person can have is communication. It is sad to note that many people and even companies fail on this very basic principle of proper communication.
NA: Do you consider yourself a people person then?
JT: Absolutely, 100%. You know, if you look at any company, just look at the people who work there and you will know the state that company is in right there and then. If the people are happy going about their daily grind, with smiles ever present in their faces, that is a sign of a successful company. On the opposite spectrum, if you see people sulking or slouching and clearly in a distressed state, then it is safe to say that their company is not doing very well. As a boss and a leader, I treat my people the way I like to be treated as well. It’s a very basic, age-old custom. Yet people nowadays tend to forget such basic things and wind up complicating their lives unnecessarily.
NA: Have you ever failed as a leader?
JT: Good question. Well, sad to say no one is immune to failure. When I was just beginning to handle more responsibility at Ubisoft, barely no one listened to what I had to say. I had no authority in my voice, in my posture, or in my demeanour. I failed as a leader then. But then I didn’t let those early failures pin me to the ground. Instead I got up, dusted off my shirt and kept trying and kept trying. I was a persistent SOB, believe me. Until finally I got the courage to speak my mind freely, and I believed in myself. This confidence resonated with my staff. Since then I lost my fear of failure.