Sound advice from exceptional leaders

As a Chief Customer Officer, I’m fortunate enough to meet many great managers and leaders, and it occurred to me that many of them have shared some amazing insight on managing and leading.  As we head into the summer holiday season, I thought it might be a good thing to share some of that insight over to provoke some thought and reflection as people head off on holiday.

Through my connections, I’ve learned some excellent fundamentals that any of us could apply when driving change and transformation:

– Avoid being an enthusiastic amateur, and equally importantly, manage those who are – let the experts you’ve employed do their job, and avoid the pitfall of knowing their field of expertise better than they do to draw foolish conclusions

– At some point in your career you start getting paid for the value to the business, not the knowledge that you hold – Tim Taylor of Making Great Leaders advises that whilst we may be comfortable in our field of expertise, what really drive innovation is taking that knowledge and applying it to create something new and better

– Be bold & experiment – Richard Branson taught me that A-B testing based on insight is key to successful decisions, and removes the need to second guess how customers may react to new products and services

– Risks don’t exist – further to the above, typical of Richard Branson with his challenger approach, thinking outside the box to identify a new opportunity is key, but don’t let recklessness masquerade as risk, make informed choices

– Learn to accept failure – Years ago, a chat with Tony Sheih, CEO & founder of Zappos helped me understand that whether it’s an acquired business or a new product stream, know when to get into and when to get out of it, basing your decisions on customer data and insight

– Identifying the exact skills you need – Mark Anderson, MD at Virgin Holidays shared his experience of dramatic business transformation, advocating the need to take time to understand what is required in your transformation and make sure you’ve got the best possible skill set to make it a success

One final gem, shared by a CEO of a large media business in response to a question around the frustration of being a CEO, “hate is too strong an emotion to waste on someone you don’t like.”  Wise words indeed, dear reader!


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