Competing in the Global Ideas Economy

Both the time and place of 2013’s CEO Leadership Summit could not have been more fitting. In December, in the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and with the fiscal cliff still looming ahead, more than 100 business leaders from across the country gathered at the NYSE Euronext—an icon of free enterprise that later turned out to have been in the midst of a merger—to share ideas on navigating the challenges of the stormy global economy.

March 15 2013 by Jennifer Pellet And C.J Prince


Links

Winning in a Global World: Douglas Oberhleman
The New Calculus of Value Creation: Doug Conant, Kurt Schneider, Murray Martin
Performing while Transforming: Abhi Talwalkar, Bill Nuti, Mark Dorman
How U.S. Companies Can Lead in the New Global Economy: David Novak, Nick Akins, Chris Kearney
Building a Capability for Breakthrough Innovation
What’s Next for Governance?


 

The New Calculus of Value Creation: Three veterans of business transformations offer insights on leading employees through disruptive change.

Doug Conant, former CEO, Campbell Soup

“Having people wildly engaged in culturally relevant ways—in the U.S., in Europe, in Asia—is the key. To get them wildly engaged, you’ve got to deliver on four levels: they must be able to make a living; they must feel loved; they must be learning; and they must feel that they’re leaving a legacy of contribution. We held our leaders accountable for creating an environment that was hitting on all four of those cylinders. I found that I then needed to survey employees once a year about how their leaders were creating that environment for them. You need a lot of discipline to make it happen, so that it’s not just the program of the month.”

Known for: Conant brought a 132-year-old company that had lost half its market value back to life.

Kurt Schneider, CEO, Harlem Globetrotters

“Make sure there are no silos. We’re a small company and that’s a lot easier to do with fewer employees. We took the position that any person can have an idea that’s going to affect everything in the company. To drive that home, I brought my management team to an offsite [location] and told them, ‘We’re going to play Welsh rugby.’ In rugby, you have the pack and the backs. The packs usually feel they’re doing all the tough work, while the backs feel they’ve got the tough job of running and scoring. In Welsh rugby, the guys in the pack play the back position, and the guys in the back play the pack position, so you get a perspective of what the other side is like.

“With my team, the CFO had to be the marketing guy, the marketing guy had to be the sales guy, the sales guy had to be the ops guy, and so on. We looked at the same issues we had before, but they had to present their case as that different person. It created really good perspective, and it also created respect—the two things you need.”

Known for: Since taking the Harlem Globetrotters’ helm in 2007, Schneider has reinvented and modernized this 87-year-old brand, making it relevant to younger generations.

Murray Martin, former CEO, Pitney Bowes

“In an older company, it’s hard to create the impetus for change. That has to start at the top and go down layer by layer. We did it by leveraging an external opportunity to mobilize everyone around the need for change. Mail volume has been declining at around 2 percent [per year] for the last 20 years, but when 2007-2008 hit, we saw a drop of between 13 percent and 18 percent—which was significant enough to wake up the people who thought we could just ride this train at 2 percent forever. Everybody understood the need for change. They didn’t necessarily like the change, but they understood the need for it and went with it. It takes leadership that recognizes it, takes action, mobilizes the next layer and then drives [change] through the organization.”

Known for: Martin steered Pitney Bowes through its transformation from a national provider of mail services into an international physical and digital communication firm.