This is my second post of observations from the World Business Forum in NYC. My first post , covering the 1st Day of the conference, tied all the presentations on Leadership into the theme of “sitting tall in the saddle“.
This post continues the thread on Leadership, but from a slightly different direction. The 2nd Day speakers, particularly in the afternoon sessions, made it clear to me that a lot of effective leadership practice is hiding in plain sight.
That is, sometimes we go too deep in searching for answers. The best illustration I can offer came from one of the speakers, the CEO of Kraft Foods, Irene Rosenfeld.
Ms. Rosenfeld has turned Kraft around by simply making some common sense observations, and not necessary digging too deep into what I’m sure was reams and reams of data that showed the arrows pointing downward.
The one in particular that was hiding in plain sight for Kraft?
The food needs to taste good.
I know, you must be saying to yourself – isn’t that just absolutely, positively obvious – they are a food company!
But apparently it wasn’t to the previous management – Rosenfeld discovered that way too many customers really didn’t like their products.
That, of course, has now changed, and the ship has been righted. But not before the discovery of what had been hiding in plain sight.
It’s the use of some good ‘ol common sense that really separates the great from the good.
This was also illustrated by the closing speaker President Bill Clinton. His speech was peppered with insights as to how he came to many of his tough decisions, and it was interesting how he would “connect the dots” with very basic observations. For example, when talking about lending money to Mexico, he would speak of being a “Good Neighbor” just as much as he would be dig into the economic and socioeconomic data.
He also was asked about his core Leadership principles – he cited 5:
- Have a vision
- Lay out a strategy
- Get the right people to execute it
- Sell it
- Use your charisma
Nothing very complicated here – once again, it’s usually all hiding in plain sight.
All too often the “too obvious” gets pushed aside – it can’t be that uncomplicated, could it? We need more analysis! We need more study! We need more committees!
Nope, we just need common sense leadership. Be a master of the obvious. You might not be crowned a genius – just as someone who “gets stuff done”. I’ll take that any day.