Last month, I had the pleasure of hosting a leadership session with Hubert Joly, Former Chairman and CEO of Best Buy and Tessa Schwartz, Managing Partner at Morrison & Foerster as my guests.
We were joined by over 200 participants from around the world for this latest edition of “Leading with Influence” leadership conversations surrounding the upcoming research report, which I contributed to and which is due to be published in partnership with Global Leaders in Law and Morrison & Foerster.
As a Leadership and Executive Team Coach, I am privy to what goes on for leaders behind the scenes; what causes their mindsets to crumble under challenges and what creates breakthroughs even in the toughest of crises. Therefore, I was particularly looking forward to hearing from both guests as they embody, what I call, a “leader with a mighty heart” able to balance leading with might, ambition and accountability and the heart that generously cares about people, their purpose and the environment.
As a brief preview of the session, I would like to share selected moments from the discussion:
“Traditional leadership training is either wrong, dated or incomplete” – Hubert Joly, former Chairman and CEO of Best Buy shares with us why the traditional leadership training goes against personal and business high performance. He also adds why in his current role as a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, he urges his student to pause, reflect and to become aware of what drives them, who they are and who they want to become.
“Living life through values“ – Tessa Schwartz, Managing Partner at Morrison & Foerster, unpacks the concept of driving choices by values. While some may perceive this as “lofty”, as noted by Tessa, she explains how it marks the beginning of exceptional leadership, and I couldn’t agree more. During the session, we hear from Tessa how living through values is critical if one wishes to lead with influence and a positive impact. It starts with self-awareness and having a good look in the mirror to self-assess how well aligned our behaviours and efforts really are with what is important to us. For example, if leaders talk about the value of a community, there are many small ways in which they can support those who are inspired and engaged in tackling critical issues in our society including racial injustice, diversity of voices and others.
“The secret behind the resurgence of Best Buy” – Hubert reveals that a simple question of why we work led to the epic turnaround of Best Buy under his leadership. He boldly adds that the purpose of business is not to make money. “I’ve shared that with our investors at Best Buy, it’s an outcome, it’s an imperative, but the purpose is to serve the common good and mobilise everybody at the company, align everybody at the company around that noble purpose and addressing all key stakeholders.” Hubert is not afraid of powerful words when defining his legacy as he asserts that leadership is about helping people find their meaning in life. Speaking with Hubert about culture change at Best Buy under his leadership is enlightening and inspiring as he shares both philosophical and practical insights on unleashing human magic, which is a theme of his outstanding book titled “The Heart of Business: Leadership Principles for The Next Era of Capitalism”.
“Exit echo chambers. Involvement of different voices creates an alternative” – I applaud Tessa for articulating how vital the diversity of voices at any level including the C-Suite is for the resourcefulness of the business. To be seen and heard is now the cornerstone of exceptional cultures and Tessa helps us understand how to create collaborative perspectives inclusive of all viewpoints to increase the quality of thinking and solutions in the organization. Tessa agrees that influence cannot be granted to just those with hierarchical power and we must include voices from a gender standpoint, racial diversity and generational diversity; those are at the beginning, middle, and end of their careers, if we are to be agents for good.
Other topics included:
- How do we build influence within ourselves?
- How can we lead from behind the Zoom screens?
- How to design compliance to unleash, not kill, creativity?
- What if the employees perceive influence as the privilege granted only to the senior executives and those powerful in status?
- What if we are stuck in an environment where we do not feel empowered, yet leaving is not an option?
The session can be viewed on the Global Leaders in Law website/ membership section, and https://bit.ly/2ZHQmYk
“The Heart of Business: Leadership Principles for The Next Era of Capitalism” by Hubert Joly can be purchased https://amzn.to/3bv9Rsz.