I had the opportunity to attend the World Business Forum in NY City on September 24th and 25th. This forum is held in the fabulous Radio City Music Hall and is attended by about 4000 people from around the world. This year, notables such as Bill George, Michael Porter, Colin Powell, Madeline Albright, Rudy Giuliani, Jim Collins, Jack Welch, Marcus Buckingham and Tony Blair presented at the forum. It was fantastic.
Bill George – author of True North
Bill George is a Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School and the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Medtronic.
Characteristics of authentic leaders
• Self awareness – they need to accept feedback and be able to reflect on these as well as their experiences
• Practice values under pressure
• Build on your strengths
• Leadership is lonely – build a support system, a group that you can be open with
• Lead an integrated life – be the same person at work and at home
• Know the purpose of your leadership – follow your compass, not your clout
Micheal Porter – Harvard Business School professor
Five tests for a good strategy
• Must have a unique value proposition compared to the competition
• Must contain a different tailored value chain
• Contains clear tradeoff indicting what not to do
• Consists of activities that fit together and reinforce each other
• Has continuity allowing continued improvement during realization
It typically takes about 3 years for a strategy to kick in, therefore a strategy must stay in place for some time – it can not be changed frequently.
A novel and unique value proposition will expand the market. This value proposition must address these questions:
• What customer?
• Which needs?
• What relative price?
There is a growing social dimension in value propositions.
How to approach your strategy in troubled, stressful times:
• Stay focused on your strategy
• Don’t overreact
• Look for opportunities to restructure to optimize your organization
Jim Collins – author of Good to Great
Greatness is not a function of circumstances.
What makes companies great? Consistent, disciplined performance. But, be cautious, the moment you think you are great, you won’t be!
Packard’s Law: If your growth rate in revenues consistently outpaces your growth rate in people, you simply will not – indeed cannot – build a great company.
Most “overnight successes” are typically a 20 years process.
Initial step in good to great -- determine who will be on the team. Key team attributes:
• Strong team members can prepare for what they can’t predict
• The leader needs to understand the percent of team that consists of the right people – this needs to be monitored at all times
• The right people are self-motivated
• The moment the leader feels that they have to manage a team member, it is clear that this member is in the wrong role
Great leaders do not need to be charismatic.
Great companies have 5 levels of leaders:
1. Highly capable individual – makes productive contributions through talent, knowledge, skills, and good work habits
2. Contributing team member – contributes individual capabilities to the achievement of group objectives and works effectively with others in a group
3. Competent manager – organizes people and resources toward the effective and efficient pursuit of predetermined objectives
4. Effective leader – catalyzes commitment to and vigorous pursuit of a clear and compelling vision, stimulating higher performance standards
5. Executive – builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will
Humility + Will = Level 5. These leaders channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larget goal of building a great company.
For a company to be great, they must manage risk effectivity and have Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs).
Stockdale Paradox: You must maintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, AND at the same time have the discipline to confront brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.
Jim’s recommended to do list:
1. Start a “stop doing” list
2. Use the diagnostic tool available on line (www.JimCollins.com) with your team
3. Determine how many on your team are the right people and develop a plan for what to do with the people that are in the wrong role
4. Start a personal board of directors
5. Get young people in your face
6. Build a council to make decisions
7. Determine your questions to statements ratio – develop a plan to double this
8. Turn off electronic devices – take time to think. Schedule “quiet-tude”
9. Ask everyone on the team to define what they do, not what their title is
10. Get your core values solid
11. Establish 15-25 BHAGs, identify the obstacles and eliminate them
Quote from Jim’s mentor (on his personal board of directors): “spend less time trying to be interesting and more time being interested”
Marcus Buckingham is an inspiring speaker with important insights to maximizing strengths, understanding the crucial differences between leadership and management, and fulfilling the quest for long-lasting personal success.
Build on your strengths and manage around your weaknesses.
Differentiating question to determine high performing teams: at work do you have the opportunity to do what you do best?
• Only 14% of US resources felt they spend most of their day playing to their strengths even though,
• 45% of people questioned in the US believe that focusing on strengths is the best way to gain performance.
Ben Franklin: Wasted strengths are sundials in the shade.
David Rubenstein is the co-founder of The Carlyle Group, an American private equity firm. Rubenstein is also active in philanthropy, on December 18, 2007, David Rubinstein purchased the last privately owned copy of the Magna Carta at Sotheby's auction house in New York for 21.3 million dollars. He announced that it would be housed at the National Archives in Washington D.C.
David’s recommended to do list:
1. Do what you love
2. Don’t follow the conventional wisdom
3. Don’t take “no” for an answer
4. Share the credit and the wealth
5. Make yourself indispensable – develop an area of specialization
6. Focus on the product or service you are selling, not the money
7. Think global
8. Get out of your office, it is stimulating – everyone is a salesperson
9. Seize opportunities – plans always change
10. Do not show arrogance
Leadership: You owe the people you lead your honest view of a situation and a decision on how to move forward.