- The transformative power of a human connection.
- Guiding others with a “listen, frame, and advance” mindset.
- Why inspiring trust is critical to enduring leadership success.
Early in his career, after nine years with General Foods, Doug Conant was unexpectedly and summarily laid off from his job. It was devastating, he recalls, yet kind words from an outplacement counselor not only got him through it, but helped shaped his approach to leadership success. It’s in the moments of saying “just the right thing at just the right time” that leaders can make a positive, constructive impact on others.
To sustain the impact of these touchpoints in an enduring way requires adhering to six guiding principles of leadership that he describes, along with inspiring examples of how this can be done. First, think about where you want to end up in your career, and plan accordingly. Be able to make the hard decisions, but be sensitive to soft issues. Be tough-minded with standards and tender-hearted with people. Make a personal connection to the agendas of others to form an enduring relationship. Stay ever alert to what matters most with your strategy, your people, and your actions. And finally, never stop working at leadership: it’s the most important thing you do.
Doug Conant, whose executive experience spans Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits and trade associations, is coauthor of TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments. He earned his BA degree from Northwestern University and his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern.