Join John Ullmen for an in-depth discussion in this video Next steps, part of Executive Leadership.
- The famous orchestra conductor Benjamin Zander said when he was 45 years old, after conducting for 20 years he suddenly had a realization. The conductor of an orchestra is the one person who doesn't make a sound. He depends for his power on the ability to make other people powerful. Zander says it was totally life-changing. He realized his job, his mission as a leader, was to awaken possibility in other people. People in his orchestra came up to him and asked, "Ben, you're different. What happened to you?" What happened was a defining moment for him and an invitation for all executive leaders, because they're in the same position.
They don't make the music. They serve the people who do. The heart of executive leadership is in two words, serving others. If you've come this far in the program, I know that a commitment to serve is important to you. When I work with senior leaders we zero in on where their commitment to serve comes from. And their real life experience just like Zander did. It's unique for everyone. And it's eye-opening and energizing. And I want to encourage you to do it too. Here's an example: One of my favorite role models I spoke to in my research is Mike Critelli, the former CEO of Postal Service giant Pitney Bowes who led them through an era of extraordinary success.
Critelli's compass was always pointing toward "Serve Others," even in passing conversations. At a sales conference he chatted with an employee and learned he and his wife were adopting a child. A few weeks later they received a personal letter from Critelli congratulating them on their new child along with a check for the amount of the new adoption benefit the company just started offering, thanks to that brief conversation. Due to a countless accumulation of actions like these, after he retired employees produced a video in which they expressed heartfelt appreciation for his positive influence over the years.
They published it online for everyone to see. One person after another speaks movingly about specific ways Critelli served them. Actions that multiplied over time into a reputation that attracted great people to the organization and motivated them to stay. Remember, they did this on their own initiative after he no longer had power over them. What a statement, what a legacy. It's priceless and it's forever. The little things matter big, they add up.
When your leadership compass is pointed toward "Serve Others," what's the very best way I can serve my people today, this week, this month, this year? Good actions accumulate and great outcomes follow. An unwavering resolve to serve that powers your focus on the executive leadership skills we covered in this course will help you hold steady in the near term, and stay on course for your whole career. Despite whatever changes and challenges lie ahead for you. Because changes and challenges will come, as they always do, I want you to check your progress and stay on track.
Take out your calendar and put a reminder on the date three months from today to come back again and watch the course. See where you've made progress. And also, as you go through the application steps in each video, notice how the tools apply to new developments in your circumstances. Take a fresh look at what areas you want to focus on, and how you can best serve the people around you. Stay with it, as Benjamin Zander put it after his turning point, it's a possibility to live into. That's what we need leaders like you to help the rest of us do.
To live into possibility.
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- Understanding the four disciplines of executive leadership
- Thinking strategically
- Creating shared purpose
- Inspiring confidence—even under pressure
- Motivating and communicating
- Establishing priorities and focus
- Leading change
- Developing yourself<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.