How can we approach leadership visually? What does leadership mean in today’s world? Is leadership one picture, or is it many pictures in a collage? How much do our specific actions matter? Is leadership acquired or is it learned?
These were some of the questions that Dan Roam, Dr. Vince Molinaro, Hayley Wickenheiser, Charles Duhigg, and Rudy Giuliani made us think about at The Art Of Leadership. The Art Of series connects business professionals to inspiring stories, forward thinking ideas, and incomparable knowledge in order to help them develop and maintain successful businesses.
The MC for the event, branding and creativity expert Ron Tite, opened the floor with his comical take on leadership, “Leadership matters. Leaders matter. Heck, even accountants matter”. While the audience had a good laugh with his words, Tite wanted to show the importance of leadership in a ‘new era’. He stated that businesses are changing, the marketplace is changing, people are changing and leadership itself needs to adapt to this movement.
The first speaker Dan Roam, author of the bestseller book The Back of the Napkin, shared his notion that the power of pictures can make us great leaders. “Pictures help lead people,” he said. He used the example of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, where its parts are supplied and built from people in countries from around the world. It was only through the use of visuals and diagrams that allowed one of the most impressive aircraft’s be successfully built and fixed by people speaking different languages working in different parts of the world.
Following Roam was Dr. Vince Molinaro, the NY Times Bestselling Author of The Leadership Contract: The Fine Print to Becoming a Great Leader. His focus was on leadership today and what that meant for each of us as business leaders. To me, the most important idea that Dr. Molinaro spoke about was accountability. He suggested that the audience think about: “what are we signing up for and are we ready for that responsibility?” In relation to accountability, Molinaro’s final words to the audience was to ask ourselves this question every time we take on a leadership role, “[am I going to] leave it better than I started with it?
Hayley Wickenheiser, the third speaker stressed that there are a lot of moving parts to leadership. She led her team and our country to Olympic gold at the recent Winter Games in Sochi, coming home with her fourth consecutive Gold Medal in Women’s Hockey. She emphasized that “inches matter – little things matter” and having the expectations and pressure to be a strong leader is a privilege. With that being said, the moving parts to leadership aren’t just about the individual but about everyone else as well. “Always learn from everyone and value what everyone brings,” said Wickenheiser.
Coming off of the idea that leadership has many parts, the conference appropriately transitioned to Charles Duhigg, bestselling author of The Power of Habit, who said, “if we tear apart our habits, we can fiddle with the gears”. A lot of what we do is habit and our brain stops thinking about our behaviour. Duhigg’s view on being a leader is that “leadership is helping people create good habits”.
To conclude the conference, Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City and TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year recipient, took to the stage. His stories were vivid. From his several cases dealing with the Italian Mafia, to his experience during the 9/11 terrorist attack, Giuliani was and continues to be nothing short of an amazing leader. While his stories were nowhere near comparable, his take on leadership was simple. “Most of what makes leaders succeed is something they learned,” Giuliani said. He continued to discuss six key attributes we all need as a leader: beliefs, optimism, courage, relentless preparation, teamwork and communication.
Giuliani concluded with these inspiring words, “If you want to be a leader, you have to love and care about people. And if you can get people to love you, you can get people to perform more than their call of duty”.
The Art Of Leadership ended with a quote that stood out to me. “The only difference between being history and making history is you”. This is leadership in a new era.
Brandon is in his final year pursuing a BBA Honours and an International Experiential Learning Certificate. He has been able to immerse himself in all aspects of Beedie, focusing on his passion for marketing, creativity and exploration. He has co-oped with SFU”s International Co-op Office, participated in JDC West, represented Beedie at the UBSLC Conference in Atlanta, chaired SFU Beedie’s FROSH and traveled to Copenhagen and Berlin for an international exchange and field study, respectively. He values unique opportunities and his involvement at Beedie has allowed him to develop himself as an individual and as a business professional.