Posts

C.E.O. Lori Dickerson Fouché on Recognizing Leadership

FoucheLori_supl-500

Lori Dickerson Fouché is the C.E.O. of Prudential Group Insurance and held the position after Hurricane Sandy hit New York City. Having taken leadership roles as a young black woman in America, Fouché has been successful in management positions since the age of 24 and continues as C.E.O. of a major insurance company at 47. Here are her highlights from the interview with Adam Bryant:

  • On lessons she learned early in her career: “One was learning how to prioritize. You simply can’t do everything.”
  • Assess your leaders by their results: “I expect my leaders to listen. I expect them to ask questions. I expect them to understand what’s going on.”
  • On Hiring:
    • Know that prospective hires have done their due diligence on the company
    • Ask what kind of cultures they like to work in, where do they excel, and how do they conduct themselves in the face of challenges
    • Look for resilience and perseverance
    • Ask how they would lead people

As graduation season comes to an end and young graduates enter the workforce, it is important that they find jobs that they really want to do and learn what they can from that experience. Lori Dickerson Fouché suggests that graduates find a company that is a good fit for what important to them and their personal values.

Read the full article here on The Newt York Times.

Understanding Generation Z

29-PRE-master675

Get ready for Generation Z, born starting in the mid-90’s into the early 2000’s, its members are eager to be unleashed upon the world and enter the work force.  Alexandra Levit lets you know what to expect out of the coming generation that is characterized by maturity, independence and preparedness in her New York Times article Make Way for Generation Z. Here are some of her observations about Generation Z:

  • They aren’t clinging on to their parents: “They tend to be independent. While a 2015 Census Bureau report found that nearly a third of millennials are still living with their parents, Gen Zers are growing up in a healthier economy and appear eager to be cut loose. They don’t wait for their parents to teach them things or tell them how to make decisions.”
  • Diversity: “My 15 year old next door neighbor is a quarter Hispanic, a quarter African-American, a quarter Taiwanese, and a quarter white. That’s Gen Z – they are often a mix of ethnicities.”
  • Self-motivated: “When she was 14, Sejal founded the Elevator Project, an organization that aims to lift people out of poverty through apprenticeship, vocational training and job placement…she says that her parents did not push her to register for the Gen Z event, nor do they help her with her nonprofit organization.”
  • They’ll talk to you outside social media: “Despite their obvious technology proficiency, Gen Zers seem to prefer in-person to online interaction and are being schooled in emotional intelligence from a young age.”
  • It’s never too early to reach out to them: “Even well-known organizations will have to rethink their recruiting practices to attract this group, and now is the time to start. Those who want to take advantage of Gen Z talent in the future need to develop relationships today with teenagers in grades seven through 12. Get into their schools, provide mentorship and education and put yourself in a position to help shape their career decisions.”

Click here to read the full story on The New York Times.

Words of Wisdom from Vivek Gupta

Vivek

Vivek Gupta is the C.E.O of Zensar Technologies, a global software services company based in Pune, India. In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of the New York times, Gupta opened up about his management style, hiring techniques and the importance of a solid elevator pitch. Here are some highlights from the interview:

  • Know the difference between managing activities and managing people: “Over time I realized you don’t manage activities. You manage people, and you worry about the outcomes.”
  • Communication is key: “50% of a C.E.O.’s communication is non-verbal. Everything you do, even the way you smile in a room, really matters.”
  • Beware of hiring people just like you: “I want to hire people who are very different to me or better than me in certain areas so that one plus one equals more then two.”
  • Prioritize potential over performance: “I try to focus on a person’s potential rather than their performance. What that means by definition is that I should be encouraging people from by own company to take positions before I go and hire people from the outside.”
  • Have a solid elevator pitch: “You’ve got three minutes. What will you tell me about yourself? It’s interesting to hear the traits that people focus on.”

Click here to read the entire interview.

It’s Not Always About You When It Comes To Success

05-CORNER-master495

 

Deborah Bial is the President and Founder of the Posse Foundation. Posse trains students from public high schools with extraordinary academic and leadership potential to help them succeed in college. In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of the New York Times, Bial spoke about what inspired her to start the Posse Foundation and what leadership means to her. Here are some of the key points from the interview:

  • Success isn’t about you: “I didn’t pick Posse; it just happened. My philosophy is that leaders should always remember that it’s not because of them that things are successful.” Sometimes it comes down to the luck of the draw.
  • Being in charge allows for forming a great team: “The advantage of being in charge is that you get to hire people you really like. It’s my philosophy that as president or C.E.O. of a company, you are in this privileged position where you get the accolades for the successes of the organization, and you get to make decisions and people have to listen to you.”
  • You don’t have to be liked by everyone to be a great leader: “I used to care a lot that people liked me. That’s no longer as much the case. Of course, nobody wants not to be liked, but I don’t care as much. I remember feeling liberated when it no longer influenced my decision-making.”
  • Questions are key when hiring students: “In terms of questions, I’ll ask sometimes: “If you get this job, what are you most excited about, in terms of your personal growth? And where will you be challenged the most?” Then I’ll want to get into a discussion about something. What’s in the newspaper that day? I want to know what they think, how they think, how they express what it is they’re thinking, how they ask questions and how they listen.”
  • Students who reach out are the ones who are likely to succeed: “In a crisis, they reach out versus reach in. We look for the person who reaches out, because they will give themselves more options to succeed.”

Click here to view the full article from the New York Times.

Could Parenting Skills Be Transferrable To A CEO?

Penny Herscher

Penny Herscher is the Chief Executive of FirstRain, a business analytics firm based out of San Mateo, California. In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of the New York Times, Herscher drew some interesting parallels between her approach to managing children as a parent and managing a company as a chief executive. Here are some of the key points from the interview:

  • Don’t hog the spotlight: “You need to let other people blossom and thrive” otherwise you’ll find yourself with employees that don’t want to work for you.
  • Having kids can change the way you manage: “The things you learn raising a child are great skills for nurturing a team and bringing a project to life. You take obstacles out of the way, encourage them and set goals that are tough but can be achieved.”
  • You need somebody who isn’t afraid to tell you the truth: “Many leaders with strong personalities never hear the truth because their people are afraid to tell them. The people who will tell you the truth are the most valuable people in your life.”
  • As a CEO you can’t blame anyone else: You can look to a board of executives or shareholders for advice, but not permission. As a CEO “You are it! You have to make the decisions. You can collect advice, but nobody is going to make a decision for you, so just get on with it and make the decisions. If they’re right you’ll be fine, and if they’re wrong you’ll be fired.”
  • When hiring, look for “I.Q, integrity and energy, because you can’t teach those.”
  • Ask questions in interviews that tell you MORE about the candidate: “What makes you really special,” “how do you grow your employees” and “what’s your natural strength” are great examples.

Click here to view the full article from the New York Times.

Fixing a Sales Team

Sales

“Yesware” is a 4-year-old company that designs and sells software intended to make it easier for sales teams to record and analyze essential data. Released in 2012, Yesware’s basic version, which can be downloaded free, quickly attracted more than 100,000 users. However, the company experienced difficulties converting those free users into paying customers (an unfortunate irony considering it is sales software they’re looking to sell).

Yesware’s chief executive Matthew Bellows came up with 3 solutions to fixing his sales team:

1) Clean up house: trimming that fat by firing 7 out of 10 salespeople.

2) Hire a vice president of sales: have this VP do the firing, hiring, and supervision while Mr Bellows remained as chief executive.

3) Appoint a manager: promote the best sales person among the 3 he deemed worthy of keeping to manage the team.

What would YOU suggest? Click here to see the full article in the New York Times.