I have found that the more I honored others, the more they honored me and the more fulfilling my career became. In the business arena, I have been surrounded by people with awesome skills. The difference between good and great is determined by the mindset you choose to bring to the work. The concept of honor should be part of that mindset.
Trust gives you the permission to give people direction, get everyone aligned, and give them the energy to go get the job done. Trust enables you to execute with excellence and produce extraordinary results. As you execute with excellence and deliver on your commitments, trust becomes easier to inspire, creating a flywheel of performance.
When I arrived at Campbell on January 8, 2001, the company had lost half its market value in the prior year. They had to cut costs to the point where they were literally taking the chicken out of chicken noodle soup and the product was no longer competitive.
My most memorable meal is every Thanksgiving. I love the food: the turkey and stuffing; the sweet potatoes and rice, which come from my mother's Southern heritage; the mashed potatoes, which come from my wife's Midwestern roots; the Campbell's green-bean casserole; and of course, pumpkin pie.
Ultimately as a leader, you're evaluated on how you interact with people. If you do it well, you develop a reputation as effective leader. If you don't, you develop a reputation for being a highly ineffective leader.
I strongly believe that you can't win in the marketplace unless you win first in the workplace. If you don't have a winning culture inside, it's hard to compete in the very tough world outside.
Too many leaders are so caught up in the momentum of work that they lose sight of the opportunity to connect with people. I discovered that the more fully present I was with other people, the more fully present they were with me, and the more productive our relationship became over time.
Leadership does take work. And it should. If you aspire to be a leader, you ought to treat leadership as a craft, you ought to become a student of it, and you ought to work at it. And if you're not willing to work at it, well, you get what you give.
Extroverts may get places faster, but for introverts it's all about working at the pace you need and, at the end of the day, performing at your best.
All of us introverts aspire to be more outgoing, but it's not in our nature. When I was nearly 50, I discovered that the best thing to do was to tell everyone I worked with that I'm just shy. People are not mind readers - you need to let them know.
Most people that derail as leaders in the corporate world, it's not because they couldn't do the math and calculate return on investment properly. The issues are communication and understanding. All of what typically would've been called the 'soft stuff.' You have to be authentic. You have to be dialed into the soft stuff.
Even a brief interaction can change the way people think about themselves, their leaders, and the future. Each of those many connections you make has the potential to become a high point or a low point in someone's day.
You have to be a well-rounded leader. You can't fly by the seat of your pants anymore. You have to be incredibly tough-minded about standards of performance, but you also have to be incredibly tenderhearted with the people you're working with.
Most people think of leaders as being these outgoing, very visible, and charismatic people, which I find to be a very narrow perception. The key challenge for managers today is to get beyond the surface of your colleagues. You might just find that you have introverts embedded within your organization who are natural-born leaders.
If you cultivate a relationship in a genuine, thoughtful way, people will be more inclined to want to help you even though they don't have to help you.
As a CEO, you get sucked into dealing with all the tasks of being a CEO. There's a big meeting, a big discussion, and you get into all the big issues, which is your job. But what CEOs often lose sight of is that it's all about the people who work for you. For every 1,000 decisions, 999 were being made when I was not in the room.
Often leaders have the best intentions, but people cannot read their minds. That's why it's important to declare yourself: Tell people why you choose to lead and the code you live by.
On a personal level, I send out about 20 thank-you notes a day to staffers, on all levels. And every six weeks I have lunch with a group of a dozen or so employees, to get their perspective on the business, to address problems and to get feedback.
I would assert that highly effective leaders are made more than they're born. Every leader I know who's been highly effective has worked hard at it, and they've been students of it. The more you're a student of leadership, the more you figure out what works for you and the more effective you're going to be.
When providing people with the direction and expected behaviors, you need to be alert to the fact that they will hold you accountable. People want to know if you are walking the talk. They will be watching your every move and you need to be one in the same... every minute of every day.