Melissa Taylor, VP, Strategy and Dave Finn, Account Director attended an inspiring Harvard Business School (HBS) class, “The Fierce Urgency of Now,” part of renowned HBS Professor Francesca Gino’s course on Leading Difference. The class featured special guest Bozoma Saint John (“Boz”), whose career served as the inspiration for the class. Boz is the current CMO of William Morris Endeavor, former Chief Brand Officer at Uber and marketing exec at Apple Music.
Coming out of the HBS session, Melissa and Dave highlight key takeaways on leadership, self-confidence, and the importance of diversity:
- Agitate, innovate, and orchestrate – in order to foster change, one must have the aggressive desire to do so. Be creative, and keep moving. Change doesn’t happen sequentially, so keep acting now.
- When diplomacy exists within “the real us,” this serves as a north star while navigating the balance between your authenticity and diplomacy in a professional setting.
- “Sometimes static [pushback] isn’t just static. Sometimes others have insights that we don’t have. They may know an idea won’t work for reasons we’re unaware of.” – Boz
- You never know when that one cultural insight or pivotal idea will become a huge game-changer for growth. Be courageous, participate in the conversation, and raise your ideas.
- “If we all became more proactive, if we all became active connectors, imagine what the world would look like?!” – Boz
- We all need to become very proactive in connecting with others, and we need to be more vulnerable in order to allow others to see and know us. In this way, we can lead and be led by others.
- “As a leader, sometimes you see someone about to fall. It’s important to allow people to fall sometimes, allow them to figure it out and get back up, while giving them the tools to get up faster.” – Boz
- Openness, empathy and vulnerability – not being afraid to ask for help to solve the issue at hand – unlocks the ability to lead and be led.
- “Trusting that most people lead with positive intention, regardless of delivery of the message, is an important skill to harness.” – Boz
- Even if you believe strongly in an idea and know it’s a winner, as a leader, you must rally people to that idea before it can become reality. Don’t leave people behind. Realize that pushback can make it a better idea.
- Be conscious of your “lenses” – what life experiences, parts of your background, or aspects of your cultural identity, impact how you see the world?
- When receiving feedback or criticism that may be difficult to hear, before taking it personally or passing judgment, try to imagine how YOU would deliver the message. It helps to humanize the other person and to remember that most people lead with positive intention.
- Proactively find ways in with people, especially those who may be different than you. Don’t just sit back as a receiver.