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Speak to me!

Speakers I’ve gotten to hear at Yale in the past two weeks:

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer
George David, former CEO and Chairman of United Technologies Corporation
Jeff Bewkes, CEO of TimeWarner
Jerry Speyer, Chairman of Tishman Speyer Properties
Arianna Huffington, Founder of the HuffingtonPost
Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo
Roger Farah, President and COO of Ralph Lauren
James McNerney, CEO of Boeing

Wow! Some lessons learned:

  • Make it easy for people to say yes to you: For example, write reasonable policies so that people are willing to abide by them. Let subsidiary heads hash out a solution to a problem so they all agree to it, or let subsidiaries borrow good ideas from others, rather than impose sharing. Do the research so that your idea is super-compelling.

  • When you recognize that employees are people first, their loyalty to the company/organization will increase. One CEO writes annual letters to the parents of all direct reports, thanking them for their child’s contribution to the company.

  • Self-expression is the new entertainment.

  • Learn more about Asia.

  • Walk a mile in the shoes of your critics. If you are sincere about having a dialogue with them, they will start engaging to get your help solving the problem, rather than attack your product.

  • To be successful, do your job well, and expand your role to take on stretch projects where you are responsible for improving something. It’s an opportunity when someone says, “You’ll figure it out.” Trust yourself and go for it! You may flame out, but when you look back, you’d rather have flame-outs than missed opportunities.

Following lesson #4, now I’m off to Malaysia and Bangladesh, as a teaching assistant for one of the International Experience trips…The opportunities we have here at SOM!