Sun, 3 January 2021
I’ve had the privilege of speaking with around 500 leaders over the years on The Future of Work Podcast and I have really learned a lot from each one. On the show, they share tips, advice, lessons they’ve learned, as well as an inside look at what it’s like to lead their organization.
This past year really brought a lot of challenges for every single leader around the world. We had to learn how to adjust to a pandemic, how to address social injustices, how to lead virtually and much more. My guests really shared a lot of inspiration, motivation, as well as realistic advice for listeners.
Even though all of the interviews were great and informative, I have a few favorites that I really enjoyed. And from those episodes I have compiled 15 leadership lessons that are crucial for leaders to learn in order to succeed in the future.
Leading by example: Arthur Blank, co-founder The Home Depot
Arthur Blank is the co-founder of the Home Depot, which today has a market cap of over $300 billion and they have over 400,000 employees.
Arthur is a leader that lives out the value of leading by example. He understands the importance of showing employees that what they do day to day is not beneath you as the leader. When you lead by example and let people know that you are not just sitting up in your office looking down on the employees who allow the business to succeed it makes people actually want to show up and work hard.
Creating your own luck: Shellye Archambeau, former CEO of MetricStream
Shellye Archambeaur is the former CEO of MetricStream, a Silicon Valley based governance risk and compliance software company and the author of a new book called Unapologetically Ambitious. She's also on the board of Verizon and Nordstrom.
In this world you have to create your own luck, especially when it comes to your career. Shellye explains that creating luck means positioning yourself so that when an opportunity shows up you actually have the ability to take advantage of it.
What culture is and what it isn’t: Marc Randolph, co-founder and first CEO of Netflix
Marc Randolph is the co-founder and founding CEO of Netflix, he also served on the board of Netflix up until 2003.
As Marc shares, culture is not just what you say, it’s not something that you put up on posters around the office, or some catch phrases that you come up with in a meeting. He says, “Culture is how you act. It's how you are, it's the things you do. And even more importantly, culture springs from how the founders and the early employees act with each other, with their employees, with their customers. And so, huge amounts of the Netflix culture arised organically, from the way that Reed (Hastings) and I behaved, the way that I treat people, the way I worked with people before.”
It doesn’t have to be crazy at work: Jason Fried, co-founder and CEO of Basecamp
Jason Fried is the co-founder and CEO of Basecamp, and best selling author of Rework, It Doesn't Have To Be Crazy at Work.
With the blurring of work in life, it can be quite challenging to make sure that work just doesn't take everything over. Jason is a big believer in capping a workweek at 40 hours, he says, “We don’t want people working more than 40 hours. You don’t need to. And if we’re doing that, then we’re doing something wrong, actually. I know a lot of companies, long hours is seen as doing something right, like, “Let’s stay late, and let’s work on the weekends and let’s pull all-nighters.” I think that’s completely wrong. And so, we’re very careful about not encouraging our employees to work that way.”
What to do if you feel stuck at work: David Cote, former Chairman and CEO of Honeywell
David Cote is the former chairman and CEO of Honeywell, and author of the best selling book, Winning Now Winning Later: How Companies Can Succeed In The Short Term While Investing For The Long Term. During his time at Honeywell, David fixed a toxic work culture and grew the company's market capitalization from around $20 billion to $120 billion, delivering returns of 800%.
If you have a boss who doesn’t feel that you are performing as well as you think you are, this is where you have to be self aware and figure out is there something you can fix or do you just have a bad boss, which David says happens less often than people think. So learn to be self aware and realize when there is something you need to fix. We all have issues, and it’s important to know what they are.
How to lead with empathy and courage: Kate Johnson, President of Microsoft US
Kate Johnson is the president of Microsoft US, a $45 billion division. She is currently very involved in Microsoft's culture journey led by CEO Satya Nadella.
Kate is a huge believer and practitioner of leading with courage and empathy. But what does that mean and how does it come to life? Here is what Kate had to say.
She says, “One of the things that we've been learning is the connection between courage and vulnerability. So everybody thinks if you're courageous, that you have no weakness. You are strong, they picture warriors, you know, with lots of armor and heading off. That's not what courageous leadership is. Courageous leadership is the willingness to activate the troops and own the outcome, but also to do so bringing all of your strengths and weaknesses to the table with total transparency and clarity, and kind of owning work with that and figuring out how to assemble the team to bolster wherever there are weaknesses. And that's a different kind of leadership that I think is essential today.”
How Covid-19 has changed leadership forever: Tiger Tyagarajan, CEO of Genpact
Tiger Tyagarajan is the CEO of Genpact, a global professional services firm with 100,000 employees that drives digital led innovation in digitally-enabled intelligent operations for organizations around the world. Prior to Genpact. Tiger worked for several well-known companies such as Unilever, Citibank, and GE.
One thing that a lot of people are speculating about is that the office will be a thing of the past and that everyone will be working from home. Tiger doesn’t agree. While he does agree that some things will never go back to what it was before, he believes that offices will come back, at least in some form.
How leaders can serve their employees: Carrie Birkhofer, President & CEO of Bay Federal Credit Union
Carrie Birkhofer is president and CEO of Bay Federal Credit Union, a non profit financial cooperative with 225 employees. She's been the CEO there for 25 years and under her leadership, the Credit Union has grown from $70 million to $1.4 billion in assets.
What does it look like to serve your employees? Carrie makes sure she meets new employees on their first day at work.
In good times, pre-COVID that meant four or five current employees and Carrie getting together in person with the new employees. The current employees would share who they are, what their path has been at Bay Federal, and something interesting that they want to share. Then they would have the new employees do the same thing, except they would share their paths getting to Bay Federal.
Creating a mission that resonates with employees: Steve Bilt, CEO of Smile Brands
Steve Bilt is the CEO of Smile Brands, a company with 5000 employees that provides business support services to Over 425 dental offices. Smile Brands has been on Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work list three times and Steve is one of the top CEOs on Glassdoor.
Anyone can come up with a mission statement or a company purpose that sounds good. But it can’t be something that just lives on a wall or in the company handbook. It has to be something that is infused into every aspect of the business.
Steve believes it needs to be something short and catchy that people can remember. It needs to be something that you can evaluate and check in on to see how well the company is living up to it. It has to be something that is living and breathing inside your company.
People are the solution, not the problem: Hubert Joly, former Chairman and CEO of Best Buy
Hubert Joly is the former Chairman and CEO of Best Buy. Currently, He is a professor at Harvard Business School, and he's on the board of two companies, Johnson and Johnson and Ralph Lauren.
A lot of leaders first starting at a struggling organization probably would have thought about cutting back on the headcount first to save money. But Hubert not only didn’t take that route, he actually put more money into training, incentives, wellness, etc…
Hubert truly believes that leaders should treat humans as a solution to the problem, not as a source of the problem. And we should use headcount reduction only as a last resort.
Why leaders need a short attention span: Jim Heppelmann, CEO of PTC
Jim Heppelmann is the CEO of PTC, a technology software company with 6500 employees in 30 countries.
There's always been this traditional mentality that leaders need to have a long term plan and stick to it. But Jim's lesson is that leaders actually need to have short attention spans if they want to thrive in today's rapidly changing world.
Jim is always looking for the next round of changes that make PTC better, or that protect them from a new threat headed their way. This is a quality that he believes all CEOs should have. Always looking to the next thing, don’t just ride current success.
The best leadership lessons can come from those around you: Chris McCann, CEO of 1-800-Flowers
Chris McCann is the CEO of 1-800-Flowers, a floral and gourmet food gift retailer and distribution company with over 3000 employees.
Chris didn't learn leadership skills by attending a top tier University, he learned how to lead by those he surrounded himself with. Sometimes the best leadership lessons can come from those around you.
Why everyone should think like an entrepreneur: Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square
Jim McKelvey is the co-founder of Square and the author of a new book called Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time.
Lots of people are going through a time of reinvention. And having the mindset of an entrepreneur can be an invaluable asset.
Jim says true entrepreneurs solve problems that haven’t been solved before, they don’t just start a business, they do something that has never been done before. And that is what he and Jack Dorsey did, they solved a problem in a way that no one else had ever thought of before. They even were able to beat out Amazon when the company tried to copy the setup Square had.
Putting people ahead of profits: Pehr Gyllenhammar, former CEO of Volvo
Pehr Gyllenhammar is the former CEO of Volvo, and has been voted Sweden's most admired man nine times. Pehr had to lead his company through lots of tough times, like recessions, and an oil crisis. While all the other companies were sacrificing their people to save their profits Pehr didn't let go of a single employee.
In fact, he told me he would rather let go of a white-collar worker in a management role than a blue-collar worker working on the manufacturing floor. Pehr’s lesson is really all about appreciating all of the people who work with him for you. And remembering that it's oftentimes the people on the front lines who make your business successful.
Creating and scaling amazing culture for a remote workforce: Robert Glazer, CEO of Acceleration Partners
Robert Glazer is the best selling author of Elevate: Push Beyond Your Limits and Unlock Success in Yourself and Others. He's also the CEO of Acceleration Partners, a 13-year-old company that manages affiliate and partner marketing programs for a lot of well-known brands like Adidas, LinkedIn, Target, and others. He leads a team of hundreds of employees but they are all remote.
The lesson from Robert is how he manages to create and scale an amazing culture for a workforce that actually doesn't work together in person.
Robert shares that the key to having a successful remote team is by starting with the core values of the organization. Once you know your core values you can intentionally attract and hire the right people. Contrary to what happens in most organizations, Robert and his team understand that not every person will feel like the company is right for them.
This episode is brought to you by my friends at ServiceNow, a software company that makes the world of work, work better for people by delivering digital workflows that create great employee experiences, and unlock productivity. If you or your company is looking to transform old, manual ways of working into digital workflows, then you need ServiceNow. They are trusted by over 6,200 enterprises customers, Check them out here.
Direct download: Audio_-_15_Leadership_Lessons_From_2020_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:52pm PDT