Strategy and Leadership

Masterclass is an online platform where masters of their craft give curated video lessons, allowing you to learn from some of the brightest minds in the world.

AnitaB.org is a global nonprofit organization based in Belmont, California. Founded by computer scientists Anita Borg and Telle Whitney, the institute’s primary aim is to recruit, retain, and advance women in technology. The organization's most prominent program is the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference, the world’s largest gathering of women in computing. From 2002 to 2017, AnitaB.org, led by Telle Whitney, co-founded the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing with Anita Borg.

I got a scholarship through a partnership of AnitaBorg and Masterclass to have access to Masterclass for a year, and all I can say is how grateful I am for the tonnes of lessons I am learning through the platform.

My first teacher was Bob Iger, an American businessman, executive chairman, chairman of the board, and former CEO of The Walt Disney Company.

This article will talk about the lessons I learned from Bob Iger on strategy and leadership.

Leadership is both a research area and a practical skill encompassing the ability of an individual, group, or organization to “lead,” influence, or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations.

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Leadership is universal and relative, depending on the industry, team, or organization you are in. Despite differences, there are some common qualities, values, and principles that all leaders should have.

Bob’s Advice

As a leader being a good time manager should be one of the disciplines you have. You need to be able to have quiet time for yourself. During this time, always avoid distractions especially work emails. Quiet time should be all about your thoughts. This time is important because it makes you feel centered and reminds you why you do what you do. Additionally, you get to evaluate the tasks that need to be done. Time management allows you to have a good life-work balance. It ensures that you have time for both your family, friends, and work.

Focus is imperative for strong leadership. All leaders need to focus on the important goals that need to be achieved to make the company better.

Leaders should define, share, and reinforce their strategic priorities regularly. This is to keep people motivated and understand why things need to be done in a particular way.

Clarity is essential for good leadership because everyone will clearly understand what is expected to get a defined output.

Evolve and adapt to time. It is essential since change is a constant, and things change like advancements in technology and how things are done and perceived.

Every organization has a weakness that they tirelessly work to turn into a strength. The key idea is to ensure that weaknesses are identified and solutions are developed.

Being a leader means that you have total control and a say in how things are done. The important thing here is to ensure the creative talent is well catered for and has freedom of expression. This is important because their work will be authentic and in line with the company’s objectives.

There might be misunderstandings, arguments and relationships may be broken; nevertheless, relationships can be repaired. Nothing is ever set in stone.

Enable your team to do their best work, do not be a hindrance.

Respect the value of culture.

The Art of Negotiation

During negotiation, there are a few things you should know:

  • Be direct and candid when negotiating.
  • Do not have a winner-takes-all approach.
  • Understand fully what the other side desires.
  • Make it feel like both sides walk away as winners.

Creating Brand Value

A brand is what makes your company your company. Branding, when done right, allows you to build a strong relationship between your products and your consumers.

As much as you build and create branding, respect it; however, do not revere it. Try to keep your brand as relevant as you can. Also, never sacrifice brand value.

Expanding your brand

In situations where your company acquires another, consider the brand impact. Strive to protect the brand value of the company you acquire. Learn how they do things and improve upon them.

Anticipating What Consumers Want

The consumer wants and needs change every day. Reflect on the world that exists today to anticipate this. Relying on data alone is unacceptable. Meet your consumers and engage with them; most importantly listen to your gut.

Importance of Risk-Taking

Anything new and different is risky but critical to success. Understand the various risks, weigh the pros and cons of each risk, and decide accordingly.

Failing is part of living. We are bound to fail at something. Learn from your failures but do not let them control you.

Navigating Complex Deals

Making deals may become a bit complex and stressful. You need to be able to manage the stress of acquisitions with your team. Get deep in the weeds to evaluate assets. Deals are a risk which means you need to prepare yourself for all possible outcomes. In some cases, you may have to restructure your company which will be beneficial in the long run.

Managing Industry Disruption

Industry disruption can be chaotic, nonetheless, do not be afraid to disrupt yourself. Embrace disruption. Live and be in the present whilst leading into the future.

Be a realist, not an idealist.

Hiring People

When hiring new talent, the key thing to look for is brains, integrity, and energy.

Tenets of Success

  • Be curious, it is vital to success.
  • Integrity is everything.
  • Be honest and authentic.
  • Strive for perfection.
  • Be fair and give second chances for honest mistakes.
  • Take responsibility for your own mistakes.
  • Know when a decision needs to be made and act quickly.
  • Create a safe environment for honesty and candor.
  • Be optimistic, it will inspire people.

Conclusion

Strategy and leadership go hand in hand. You cannot have one and leave the other. The main takeaway from this article is that to be a good leader, you need to be focused, have good time management skills, be a risk-taker, be curious and enjoy the ride.

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Strategy and Leadership was originally published in Noteworthy – The Journal Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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