HOW TO HARNESS A BREAKTHROUGH Where are you right now – and where do you want to be?
TOP LEADERSHIP SPEAKER MIKE ABRASHOFF ON TALENT RETENTION STRATEGIES MIKE ABRASHOFF has been an influential speaker on leadership and organizational culture since Fast Company profiled him over 20 years ago. His bestselling book, It’s Your Ship, came shortly thereafter and has sold 1.2 million copies to date. Mike’s success as a speaker came because he is brilliant at providing audiences with actionable insights on the most pressing problems facing business. He draws on lessons learned after taking command of the near-worst ship in the fleet and overseeing its transformation to becoming the best ship in the entire U.S. Navy.
TURNING DOWN THE TEMPERATURE Is it possible to ignite positive change in a polarized world? Can we make our community, workplace, and holiday dinner table more civil? I was beginning to lose hope – and then I met DARYL DAVIS. I’ve never met anyone like him – and I’d bet you haven’t either.
“The biggest mistake we can make in uncertain times: to think we know.” -Beau Lotto
IS SEEING REALLY BELIEVING? Change is inevitable – but for us humans, the ability to adapt with it is anything but. The biggest obstacle to adapting and thriving in shifting environments is in our own heads: Our perceptions. Perception underpins the assumptions and biases that drive every single one of our thoughts, decisions, and actions. Most important, those assumptions and biases are borne from past experience that may not be relevant when coping with a new world.
THE COMPETITIVE ORDER IS RESET IN TIMES LIKE THESE YOU CAN COUNT ON IT: The big lesson from past downturns is that the competitive order within industries is rearranged far more than will ever happen in prosperous times. It’s already happening -- the pandemic has spurred surprising innovation from companies across a wide range of industries, building a new competitive advantage for those bold enough to take action.
TAKING A STAND Have you noticed how more and more business leaders are becoming outspoken advocates on important topics? And - they’re making business decisions based on their convictions. The company that first got my attention on this was CVS which banned tobacco products from their stores in 2014, the first national retail chain to do so. They couldn’t reconcile being a health-focused company and selling a product proven to compromise their customer’s health. CVS has prospered in the aftermath. Since then, there’s been a trend of stakeholders holding companies accountable – asking them to stand for something more than just profits. These are the times we live in – and navigating that is tricky stuff for any business leader. Just ask Ed Stack, CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods who banned assault-style rifles and raised the age to purchase guns to 21 after finding out his store sold the Parkland High School shooter a shotgun. That gun wasn’t used, but he felt the company needed to do something. They turned $5 million in assault rifles into scrap metal. Actions like that have a profound impact on the corporate culture of an organization as well as how the company is perceived by the public.
NAVIGATING DISRUPTIVE CHANGE As a leader, you and your organization confront the unexpected every single day. In an environment of constant disruption, the survival skill of our times is the ability to adapt on-the-fly. The foundation of that competency is a culture that is resilient, innovative, and constantly experimenting. In formulating a response to disruption, leaders must recognize - first and foremost - that all change goes against the rules. Polly LaBarre has devoted her career to uncovering the best examples of leaders and organizations that are succeeding by thinking differently about the forces driving change inside and outside their organizations. Polly is co-author of Mavericks at Work - Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win and also founding writer of Fast Company magazine. As co-founder of Management Lab, the think-and-do tank that provides counsel to top companies all over the globe, Polly tackles real-world obstacles to organizational competitiveness by helping clients create cultures that can adapt to change almost as fast as change itself. I asked Polly for her best advice for leaders who are navigating today’s unpredictable business environment. Here are highlights.
GEOFF COLVIN of Fortune has devoted his remarkable career covering the biggest stories in business. In recent years Geoff's focus has been chronicling the disruptive forces shaping the business landscape and how leaders are navigating them. From his work, Geoff says one thing is abundantly clear "the big difference between winners and also-rans in healthcare is that top leaders and companies confront the realities they’re facing faster than the competition."
Hardiness and the Courage To Lead How do great leaders find courage in defining moments, while most people don’t? That's the essence of leadership and the question has intrigued GEOFF COLVIN for years and led him to spearhead Fortune’s effort to create a different kind of top leaders list in 2014. Last week, Fortune announced the sixth annual World’s Greatest Leaders for 2019. As in the past, this year's list has some names you’ll know and many more that you won’t; but they all share a common leadership trait: “Great leaders never know for sure if their plans will work, but they plunge ahead anyway,” says Geoff. “That’s why we recognize sheer audacity, well-intended, even if the results aren’t known and even if the plans aren’t universally applauded.”