If you did not have a chance to attend the Third Annual NC CEO Forum on August 10, 2011, you missed some wonderful insights and several great speakers. But do not worry. As I have done following each of the last two NC CEO Forums, I have prepared a summary of the top points I heard that I found helpful, most of which came from the celebrated, best-selling business author, Jim Collins, the keynote speaker. I hope you find them helpful as well.
- Everything being equal, greatness is a matter of conscious choice and discipline, not a matter of circumstances, industry, and so on. Leading means not letting circumstances make your decisions.
- The first step in falling from greatness is to believe that it cannot happen to you.
- Organizational decline is entirely within your control to make it happen or stop – whether we rise or fall is up to us, since the seeds of decline are born from arrogance.
- Good to great leaders are cut from a different cloth, one that includes humility.
- The single best quality of a good leader is the ability to pick the right people and put them in the right positions (pick the right people and put them in the right seats on the bus), since that gives the organization flexibility to adapt to a changing environment and be successful.
- Engage disciplined people in disciplined thought in order to create disciplined activity and action.
- Truly great enterprises are based on a core set of values that give the enterprise the strength to survive – (a) preserve the core and (b) stimulate progress, go hand in hand.
- One of a leader’s greatest challenges is to determine what remains consistent and what must change. Knowing where the line is between these two issues make a good leader.
- What is the most important question to ask you leadership team? (There is not just one, there are four):
- What is your view on the number of seats on the bus and how many do we have filled with the right people?
- What fact have we not yet confronted to our peril?
- Are you in the middle of your own personal hedgehog concept (you will need Jim’s book to find out more about the hedgehog concept)?
- What is on your list where you are the “OPUR"? (OPUR stands for “One Person Ultimately Responsible”)?
- What are the three key elements to determine if you have the right people on the bus? The answer: knowledge; desire; and cultural fit.
- How do you know you have the right people on the bus? Do they “walk the talk”, understand the business and the people, and are they helping those people? Do they show they believe in what they are doing?
- What makes a successful company? Good people coming to work each day, listening to each other, wanting to collaborate with each other and wanting to do a better job each day than they did the day before.
- Tell people what is expected of them regularly, and constantly reward their successes.
If you would like a copy of the “to do list” that Jim Collins encouraged each of the attendees to address, please let me know, and I will forward you a copy. I look forward to seeing you again very soon.