6 Lessons on Leading in a Transformational Age from AccuWeather’s Joel Myers

Joel Myers founded the company 53 years ago and has grown it steadily since then into a highly reliable weather-information concern and one of the strongest brands in the business, serving hundreds of thousands of customers.

The key to AccuWeather’s half-century of growth and prosperity, Myers said, has been “compounding” its improvements. “If you improve performance even slightly every day, or every month, no one can beat that company.”

“If you improve performance even slightly every day, or every month, no one can beat that company.”

But to succeed today, Myers said, business leaders also need to be able to adapt to “constant growth, change and disruption”—and to the fact that each of those is occurring ever more quickly, in a truly transformative age.

Here are 6 insights offered by Myers for how CEOs can stay at the forefront in this era of transformational change.

1. Have a flexible mindset. “Recognize that rapidly accelerating change is the new mantra,” Myers said. “Don’t be afraid to develop partnerships with companies that you thought were unthinkable just a few years ago.”

2. Don’t get over-confident. Momentum can work against leaders who become too set in their ways, leading to “the loss of flexibility and imagination that created the original success.”

3. Encourage intrapreneurism. Employees should constantly become “more entrepreneurial and creative” to create “compounding” improvement.

4. Embrace new ideas. Whether it’s products, technologies or trends, Myers said, “embrace” them: “Many will seem radical—give them a chance to work.”

5. Provide value. In this arena, make sure you best your competitors because, in the digital and social world, he warned, “If you are not the best, people will measure it and quickly recognize it.”

6. Get nimble. “As the world changes faster than ever,” Myers said, “nimbleness will be more important than ever.”

Myers also underscored the speed of change that all business leaders—much less the human race—faces these days. About 90 percent of all data in the history of humanity has been generated just over the past two years, he said, and by 2020 humanity will have a quadrillion times as much data as we have now. For such a truly transformational age, successful CEOs will need to have the tool set he describes—and even more.

Dale Buss
Dale Buss is a long-time contributor to Chief Executive, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and other top-flight business publications. He lives in Michigan.

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