Like the old cliché “If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know if you get there?” there is a benefit for everyone in your organization to have a clear, unclouded vision of the point on the horizon to which you are aiming. In the cliché the risk is overshooting the target. In business the risk is that individuals, functions or even your whole company could be unwittingly marching away from the outcomes that would yield the best performance for your company.
While there is no single profile of a Bold Leader, I’m struck by the number of bold leaders we have interviewed that have a resume of short, intense engagements. Perhaps I look for this profile as it mirrors my own. As I often say, it
isn’t easy building a 35 year business career – 3 ½ years at a time. But, when I reflect back on the most impactful organizational transformations that I have been involved with – that change often largely occurred within a fairly condensed time frame (9 months to 18 months).
I’ve had the privilege to work with a lot of great leaders in my career. As I applied the additional
lens of “bold leadership” to that list – Damien Harmon easily rose to the top.
Damien is VP of Operations at Bridgestone Retail Operations, and as I spoke with him, an important element of bold leadership emerged – and that was the notion of humility. Damien shared that when you are humble, you are naturally able to make your purpose and message much higher than yourself. It’s not about being right; it’s about having extreme focus on customer outcomes, and knowing you alone don’t have all the answers on how to get there. […]
Ben Freakley, Lieutenant General (Ret), is the first military leader I’ve had the opportunity to interview for this bold leader series, and boy did I get lucky. Now Special Advisor to the President of ASU for Leadership Initiatives, a Senior Advisor to The McCain Institute for International Leadership and former Eagle Scout, one of the first things Ben said to me when I asked him about his path to bold leadership was, “I think it started when I was about 11 and joined the Boy Scouts. I have learned to be a leader, and by your definition of bold leader, yes, of course I have gotten things done.”
As we discussed development of leadership skills, Ben commented, “I once heard someone say, ‘If no one is following, you’re just out taking a walk.’” That set the tone for our whole enjoyable conversation. […]
Phil Soran is a bold leader who knows himself very well. Not in a braggadocios way but in a confident, warm, and engaging way. Before committing to the actual interview, Phil wanted a conversation and asked me more questions than anyone I’ve interviewed to date. I thought that was great! And interesting.
Through our two conversations, I met a leader who is curious and confident and has a clear point of view. And he has a marketing orientation to the way he sees the role of a leader. This culminated in a statement he made near the end of our interview: “I tell people that come to me all the time, ‘Figure out your differentiators, name them, brand them.’”
Do you know your personal brand? Can you name it? […]
I’ve found that bold leaders are drawn to organizations under some kind of negative or positive stress. Jodi Prohofsky was drawn to a company grappling with both, simultaneously. Jodi’s team, responsible for billions in provider and supplier contracts, is part of a massive effort at WalMart to make healthcare more accessible and affordable. Imagine: the massive machinery of big box retail, the shifting sands of the health care market space, and millions upon millions of us who need better and more affordable options for health care. The negative stress of turning a big ship. The positive stress of new opportunity. […]
The latter part of the title is the beginning of a quote from my conversation with Sam Yagan, CEO of Match.com. The whole quote is: “Fail because you are trying, not because you are not trying.” It is probably a good example of why Time Magazine in 2013 named him one of “the 100 most influential people in the world, from artists and leaders to pioneers, titans and icons.” People hesitant to act for fear of failing accomplish little. All of my bold leader interviews to date have reinforced this fact.
Chris Malecek, an Aveus Advisory Board member, suggested I interview bold leader Sara Gavin, President of Weber Shandwick North America. I’ve known Chris and relied on his always clear, on point advice for decades. All that time, Chris has worked with and for Sara. So when he suggested her for this series, I was thrilled. Sara and I have known each other for almost as long, but neither of us could recall the last time we’d spoken, let alone crossed paths. I’ve known from our intersecting circles that she is a great leader. This conversation confirmed that she is also bold. […]
I recently had the opportunity to interview Marcee Chmait, President of Spendwell Health. Spendwell Health provides consumer transparency by allowing consumers (currently participants in high deductible health plans through large self-insured employers) to shop for healthcare providers and medical services online, see an actual retail price they will pay in advance of the visit, and have the amount spent applied to their plan deductible. […]
I’ve known Mary Jeffries since she was the CFO of a startup PR firm in Minneapolis more years ago than either of us will admit. Many from those days would credit Mary with doing “whatever it takes” to push through challenges, taking the organization to the next level. One example is when Mary was seen raiding the vending machine, collecting coins and bills to help with cash flow… […]
I recently conducted a bold leader interview with Charlotte Otto and shared what she learned from being at the center of communications at P&G over 33 years. (Click here to read part 1.) During our conversation, Charlotte shared a story about THE leader at P&G who defined “bold” in the phrase bold leader. This is her story. […]
Charlotte Otto was the person, P&G leadership turned to for communication counsel in times of positive and negative stress. For 20 of her 33 years at the company, she was at the center of communications, working with 5 CEOs and many bold leaders. […]
Pam Moret is by training a lawyer and by experience and her own description, a “problem person.” She is someone who loves “diving into aggressive development and challenging problems. I came out of the womb that way. I prefer living with the consequences of leading.” […]
A couple of years ago at a national health care conference, I joined a small breakout group discussion and met Deborah Gage, CEO of Medecision, across the table. I don’t remember much about the discussion, but I know we parted, exchanging business cards, with (at least on my part) a clear desire to talk more and know each other better. […]
The odds are not in his favor.
Dr. David Carmouche has spent his entire career trying to provide world class healthcare for a state with some pretty sick people. […]