Brent Frei, the co-founder of Smartsheet.com, a project and software management company, looks for people who are “mentally athletic and agile.” He prefers attitude and aptitude over experience. I like his perspective, a lot!
Robert Reid, the C.E.O of Intacct, a cloud-based software company, believes that most issues with execution come down to training and process. He states, “If somebody is not doing what you expect or you have a different viewpoint, you need to seek to understand what’s going on and help them.”
Adam Bryant interviews Kate Cole, the president of Cinnabon, in this week’s Corner Office! Her perspective is worth knowing. For instance, when business is going well she tends to ask more questions to be certain of the why and to be prepared for the downside. She likes to encourage feedback and communication and even disagreement though in respectful ways. Ms. Cole also encourages coach-ability, curiosity, and commitment to others. I like her perspective because she seems to genuinely care about others, is intelligent and very interpersonally oriented values I teach and value myself.
Gina Centrello has a great attitude! It’s obvious from her interview with Adam Bryant, the New York Times Corner Office guy. Ms. Centrello stresses over and over the value of hard work, curiosity, and teamwork. She believes that the success of the organization hinges on the harmonious interaction of its key members and strives to create an atmosphere that fosters teamwork!
Adam Bryant interviews S.D. Shibulal, the C.E.O of Infosys, the technology consulting firm in this week’s Corner Office. Mr. Shibulal learned early in his career to tell the truth and acknowledge when he doesn’t know something after being caught in a lie in front of a group of underlings. I too am a huge believer in authenticity and veracity as a way of creating trust and building solid long-term relationships. Telling lies, half-truths or hedging and fudging is a short cut leading to mediocrity at best and mistrust more commonly. Whenever possible tell the truth and acknowledge your mistakes. If Bill Clinton had done so our country would have been far better off. There are countless other examples of politicians and business leaders lying or fudging the truth and often we see right through it losing respect for them in the process.
Adam Bryant interviews Jeff Lawson, the C.E.O of Twilio, a cloud communications company based in San Francisco in this week’s Corner Office section of the Sunday New York Times business section. An entrepreneur since age 12 when he started a video production business, Mr. Lawson discusses the value of communication and resolving conflict something his crew rarely did in his next enterprise, a dot.com company.
This time Francisco D’Souza, the CEO if Cognizant, a large IT company, was interviewed by Adam Bryant. Two aspects of this article stand out for me: that before he became CEO, Mr. D’Souza hired a business coach and got feedback from 20 of his peers, underlings and those above him. He learned that his feedback was too intense and critical at times. This was important to his success as a leader. Hiring a coach, especially the right coach, can be life altering! Also, his intention to hire based on passion and talent, both being necessary, especially in a business where new learning is so important and essential!
I have a client who has experienced a bruising decade long battle with his wife due to her anger, alcoholism and blame. Despite my client’s many efforts to get her help and get control over their financial situation, she refused. Eventually they got divorced but not before his finances were decimated, his health impaired, and his family torn apart. Nevertheless, I still asked him what he could do that would inspire him? Given his state of affairs and the anger he felt both towards himself and his wife, this was no easy question. And yet, he looked at me intently and said, “my writing, I could get back to writing.”
In the world of insurance and financial planning the basic game-plan to build a successful business is to meet at least ten new prospective clients each week by scheduling at least fifteen appointments every week. The idea is that two of these meetings will turn into sales and another three may continue to be prospects. Notice that on average only two out of ten actual appointments become sales. In order to schedule all those meetings, it may take hundreds of phone calls and emails as well. In other words, there is a lot of potential and actual rejection involved.