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Starting as a Better Leader Every time you onboard into a new role, you have a unique opportunity to reinvent yourself as a better leader. Assuming that you know it all or that what made you successful in the past will make you successful in the future is an arrogant and limited way of embracing your new role. As you on board a new organization, create a list of people you should meet with during your first week, month and quarter including key peers, customers, partners, suppliers and, of course, HR. These meetings will help you learn how stakeholders think and feel about the organization. This stakeholder management plan is equivalent to a business ...
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Mistake #5 Confusing an entrepreneurial culture with anarchy Entrepreneurialism is great, provided it is not code for the leader does whatever she wants and other leaders in the organization follow-suit creating a wild west culture. People crave relevant input and communication. As you step into your role as a new leader, people will wonder whether you will send monthly newsletters, whether you are a helpless blogger and how you will connect and be available to the organization. You may want to survey the organization on effectiveness of different communication means. You can try some out-of-the box media, one-way or interactive, digital or not. ...
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Mistake #3 Taking the 5th on the Vision and Strategy discussion. Opposite to the Ready, fire, aim sheriff, this leadershit stems from lack of guidance and direction. Instead of being trigger-happy with radical changes, this new-leader under-shares his vision and plan, leaving colleagues and employees confused. From the moment you start, colleagues will be curious of your plan for moving the organization forward. In the absence of clear guidance, employees will create stories and fill in the blanks. They dont do it because they are gossipers, vicious, or want you to fail; they do it because they are motivated and propelled by clear input, information ...
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Mistake #2 Ready, Fire, Aim: theres a new sheriff in town Replacing a leader comes with its own set of challenges, whether your predecessor was well-liked or not. A lot of day-to-day norms hinge on a leaders goals and personal preferences, and when things change here and there, many can be affected. Making the type of change that people can feel positive about is often easier said than done. Some new leaders decide to assert themselves by making changes immediately employing the ready, fire, aim method of changing policies or previous decisions before they learn enough about the company to fully assess the situation and understand the implications ...
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Mistake #1 Focus on showing off all your accomplishments, experience, and brilliance in your first meetings Everyone wants to seem competent, but sometimes new-hires focus so much on proving themselves that they come across as arrogant and unlikeable. John learned this the hard way when he left his long- time job at a premier bank for a new job at an insurance company. John was accustomed to a culture where a high premium was placed on employees constantly demonstrating they were the smartest tools in the box. People spent more time in meetings thinking about their next insightful comment than really listening to others in the room. Unfortunately, ...
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Starting a new role should be exciting for most people, but sometimes we forget how hard it can also be. As an executive in a new role, not only you must become familiar with your new position, company, responsibilities, boss, and coworkers, you may have a new team. These new reports will be like watchdogs, analyzing you and every move trying to determine whats in store for them. This can create a tricky situation, even for seasoned leaders, who want to quickly show their value but also want to be liked. In those first weeks in a new organization, the pressure to do well and earn admiration can cause new-hires to act in ways that do them more harm than ...
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Cody Phipps , President & CEO, Owens & Minor Cody Phipps dreamed of becoming an astronaut, so he wrote to NASA as a young boy to share his ambitions. The United States government agency encouraged him to pursue a degree in engineering, become a pilot and get his scuba diving certification. Cody took their advice to heart and did it all. He is now the President & CEO of Owens & Minor, a $9 billion Global distributor of medical products. However, Cody still dreams of traveling to outer space. While speaking with Cody about his career path, he noted that it’s okay to not know your exact career path, but to have a focused direction. ...
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David Nelms , Chairman & CEO, Discover Financial Services While interviewing David Nelms, I was surprised to hear his response to my question “What was your first big break?” I assumed he would have mentioned a mentor, a guide or professor for helping him reach a certain point in his education or career. Instead, David Nelms, Chairman & CEO of Discover Financial Services, replied with no hesitation: “meeting my wife.” Naturally, I admired his meaningful and candid response to my question. David then went on to explain that his wife has had a huge impact on his professional career which, anyone would agree, is a very impressive one. In addition ...
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Aylwin Lewis , President & CEO, Potbelly Sandwich Works LLC Aylwin Lewis grew up in the Texas projects, but that didn't stop him from pursuing his dreams. Inspired by his parents who were role models of hard work and dedication, Alywin followed suit. Throughout the last 30+ years, Aylwin moved up in corporate America and is currently President & CEO of Potbelly Sandwich Works LLC. With more than 29 years of restaurant management experience at KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, among other restaurant concepts, Aylwin is now leading the fast growing neighborhood sandwich concept, Potbelly. He overcame challenges, built upon his successes and helped ...
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Dr. Jennifer Holmgren , CEO, LanzaTech Dr. Jennifer Holmgren is a “glass half full” kind of person. In today’s day and age where media tends to focus on the negativity happening in our country and in our world, Jennifer – which she immediately asked me to call her instead of Dr. Holmgren – turns that pessimism into determination and opportunities. Colombian-born Jennifer is the CEO of LanzaTech, a Chicagoland-based company revolutionizing the way the world thinks about carbon. LanzaTech turns waste carbon from a liability into an opportunity. While speaking with Jennifer, it was extremely apparent that she loves what she does. She is ...
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Hello, EC LINKers! Hopefully you’re finding the site to be a useful resource. As time goes by and members make more use of the platform, we’ll begin to expand available discussion groups as well as original content items from the Club itself. If you’d like to contribute anything (white papers, blogs, anything!) please let me know. The Club has a long history of Member-driven content and part of the reason for EC LINK is to help revive that old status quo. For instance, here’s a member-submitted joke from the classic "By Heck" column from the March 19, 1926 edition of the Executives’ Club newsletter: And look, here’s EC LINK, circa 1923: ...
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Christie Hefner , Chairman, Hatch Beauty Known for her leadership at Playboy Enterprises and for being the longest serving female CEO of a public company, Christie Hefner is one of America’s most admired business leaders and a role model for women in business leadership. While speaking with Christie, it was evident how she conquered the media industry: through the understanding of the industry business model, clarity of thought and speech, a real interest in the people around her, and through her vision for how business can be conducted with class. Now, Christie, Chairman of Hatch Beauty, is taking the beauty industry by storm while continuously ...
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Ana Dutra , CEO of The Executives' Club of Chicago I met Ana two years ago when I began working at The Executives’ Club and Ana was a Director on the Board. Ana’s friendly demeanor and warm presence made me feel welcomed from the beginning. Fast forward a year later and Ana became my boss. As the first Latina leader of The Club, Ana has hit the ground running and never looked back. She has the ability to make you feel as if you’re a part of something great. Ana sees the big picture and utilizes “moonshot thinking” – she wants to make things better, faster, relevant and more efficient. Ana strives to make The Club ...
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