A Seven Question Interview With A Leadership Expert

Today’s “7 Question – 7 Sentence Interview.” is with Douglas R. Conant is Chairman of Avon Products; Founder & CEO, ConantLeadership; Chairman, Kellogg Executive Leadership Institute; Chairman, CECP; Board of Directors, AmerisourceBergen; Former President, CEO & Director, Campbell Soup Company; and NYT Bestselling Author of Touchpoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments. Connect with him on Twitter @DougConant, as well as on LinkedIn and Facebook.

 
 
1. If you had to choose one personality quality as being more essential than any other in regards to leadership what would it be and why?

The most essential quality in leadership is more of a notion than a characteristic – it’s the idea of being both tough-minded on standards and tender-hearted with people.
 
2. What is the most common mistake that leaders make when it comes to managing people?

A common mistake is aiming for mere compliance over quality commitment – when you “order” people to do something without valuing their opinion or getting their buy-in, they might do what you say, but you risk leaving a reservoir of ill-will in your wake — whereas if you get people committed to the task at hand and the larger mission, they will do their best in a meaningful way.
 
3. In your opinion is technology posing any new challenges for today’s leaders?

Absolutely – It is not necessarily the technology itself that poses the biggest challenge so much as the breakneck pace at which we work in the modern age and the overwhelming amount of information, requests, and demands that bombard us constantly as a result of the technology; as leaders we need to learn that these endless interruptions aren’t keeping us from the work, they are the work, and act accordingly to transform each “interruption” into a meaningful interaction that advances our work and the work of the people we seek to lead.
 
4. Who are the 3 leaders throughout history that you admire more than any other?

There are countless great leaders and leadership thinkers who inspire me, and whose work inspires me, but three who standout from years past are Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Mother Teresa – 3 of the many whose work inspires me in current day are Angela Merkel, Indra Nooyi, and Ellen Kullman.
 
5. Do you see any common threads in the backgrounds/upbringings of our most effective leaders?

I’m not sure there’s a common thread in the backgrounds – I think the uniting thread is that the most effective leaders are driven by a strong commitment to mastery of their leadership craft – they are tenacious about getting better every day and learning from the people around them, and they are hyper-aware that in a competitive, Darwinian business world one must keep growing continually or perish.
 
6. If you, Doug, could be endowed with one supernatural power what would it be?

To be able to see beyond what is being said – I find if I really understand a situation I can be helpful (and most people can be helpful when they really understand) but often there are factors inhibiting a full understanding – if I could see beyond what is being said in each situation I could be my most helpful self.

 

7. When you take that final look through the rearview mirror, if there was one thing that you wanted to be known for in your work with leaders what would it be?

In a sentence, my purpose, and what I would hope to be known for, has been: to help build world-class organizations that defy the critics and thrive in the face of adversity.

 

 

Doug Conant Interview

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2014 Copyright – Doug Conant Interview

Is this more than talking amigo?

Written By Geoff Talbot - Co-Founder Of The Seven Sentence Blog,

Are these posts helpful?

For the past 10-11 days I’ve been writing first about “remark-ability” and secondly about “creativity.”

I’m really not interested in simply entertaining or encouraging you on a daily basis, my desire for you is that you would begin to take actual steps forward in creating a remarkable online presence.

So how are you doing?

Do you believe that you have something remarkable to say, that transcends all the traditional products and services or pieces of art that you are creating?

And have you chosen a medium that will best allows you to communicate your message in a truly profound and creative way?

Otherwise we are just talking and I want more for you than that.

What Matters

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2014 Copyright Seven Sentences – What Matters

The medium is NEVER the message

Written By Geoff Talbot - Co-Founder Of The Seven Sentence Blog,

What do you have to say and how can you say in a remarkably profound way?

Did someone tell you that you must have a blog?

Well, what kind of blog?

How do you naturally engage others in every day life?

Are you a poet, a musician, a photographer, or do you really excel speaking via video?

It is very important that we choose the technology vehicle that best suits your preferred communication style.

The medium is never the message (tweet), the medium you choose to communicate with, should be the one that you enjoy the most.

What Matters

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2014 Copyright Seven Sentences – What Matters

Imagine yourself as a great artist

Written By Geoff Talbot - Co-Founder Of The Seven Sentence Blog,

 
I sincerely hope you agreed with yesterday’s post (here).

If you did not, then you have probably decided to follow some kind of formula with all your online activities.

My question is why are you even committing to having an online presence if you are not prepared to truly express your voice in a creative fashion?

Are you after actual tangible results?

Are you prepared to invest your time, energy, creativity and resources in this space?

If your answer is no, then I would actually advise you to close your social media accounts, because a presence that is NOT fully creative and fully alive will actually hurt rather than help our business or career.

Let’s take some time tomorrow and re-imagine you as an artist and not just another monotonous voice in the digital space.
 
 

What Matters

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2014 Copyright Seven Sentences – What Matters

Artistry is not a gift. Do you Disagree?

Written By Geoff Talbot - Co-Founder Of The Seven Sentence Blog,

 
It’s time to throw off a dirty lie that many of you have believing for far too long.

You don’t think that you are creative, you don’t believe yourself to be artistic.

This is a filthy lie — you are more creative than you could possibly imagine.

This is a self-limiting lie that has been keeping your soul captive in a prison built out of mundane stone.

Artistry is more craft than it is gift – you can grow, you can develop and you excel in the expression of your own unique brand of artistry.

And if you want to grab any new digital medium by the throat and excel in the 21st century, you are going to have as much of an artist as you are a business person.

Do you disagree?
 
 

Gift Of Artistry

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2014 Copyright Seven Sentences – Gift Of Artistry

The Crimes My Mother Committed

Written By Geoff Talbot - Co-Founder Of The Seven Sentence Blog,

 
Don’t jump to conclusions.

My mother isn’t the kind of killer that you first may have assumed her to be (read).

She is a tiny, sweet, kind little old lady that wouldn’t hurt a soul, unless you have rodent DNA, then if you are in her kitchen and she will carve you in two with a flick of her wrist… my somewhat obtuse point is simply this…

Why are you consistently producing content in the digital space that intellectually rich but emotionally unsatisfying 24/7 when your goal is to connect with and engage real people?

You’d be better off writing about the things that are common to all people, like moms who hate rats, common stress points, broken relationships or dirty jokes.

Never forget that behind all human communication is a strong desire to connect person to person, to be known, to be heard and to be listened too.

Don’t accept boring, don’t ramble on when no one is listening, it’s simply unacceptable.
 
 

Do Not Be Boring

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2014 Copyright Seven Sentences – Do Not Be Boring

I have SHOCKING news

Written By Geoff Talbot - Co-Founder Of The Seven Sentence Blog,

 
My mother is a convicted killer.

STOP… just for a moment stop!

What in God’s name did I just write in the opening sentence of this blog?! You weren’t expecting to read that were you?

I jolted you awake by giving you something that you did not expect, I did it because I wanted to break you out of a rhythm that is taking you on a boring trip to hell.

If you want to get noticed in the digital space you cannot express your remarkable voice in a boring way — you must express your remarkable voice in a remarkable way.

Now back to my mother…

 
 

Shocking News

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2014 Copyright Seven Sentences – Shocking News
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