Ginny Wilson-Peters' Blog
It’s unique but it’s global. The differences are much less than you might imagine. During our Leadership and Personal development class in Italy, we heard the stories from two Italian leaders. As I sat and listened to both of them I was struck by the comparison in their messages with the leaders who have spoken to other MBA classes in the Quad Cities, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines. It really doesn’t matter where you are living and working; or where you’ve been raised. The messages are the same.
Marco Scippa, HR Director Imaging at Vitec Group talked about moving his family around—and the positive impact that those moves had on his family. He believes their quality of life was more interesting because they moved around. One of the things that I really appreciated about Marco’s message was his time in Moscow, Russia. Rather than live in the ex-pat village outside of Moscow, he and his family instead chose to live in Moscow, amongst the natives. They wanted to be immersed in the culture and the language. He said that his kids continue to be better at speaking Russian than he is!
Marco’s first message was that strong leaders capture the minds and hearts of their people.
Marco’s rules of leadership are:
- Be curious
- Get out of your comfort zone
- You must be able to communicate
- It is more important what we do than what we say
Our other speaker was Luca Semaniti. At the young age of 38, Luca is the Founder and co-Partner of Ideal Work, S.l.r. which provides products, tools and training for the Decorative concrete industry in the USA, Europe and Asia. Luca takes his definition of leadership from the landmark book, “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. A leader is, “Someone who blends genuine personal humility with intense professional will. Somebody ambitious for the company and not for his Ego. Modest and wilful Shy and Fearless.”
“Early on, I didn’t want to be a leader, because I didn’t understand what leadership was really about. Leadership was a scary word for me.” He shared the five myths of leadership that he had to overcome:
- A leader is a Man
- A leader is POWERFUL and he knows what to do
- A leader has a BIG EGO
- A leader is a little bit arrogant
- A leader is a CHIEF
Luca talked about the importance of self-knowledge when it came to developing his leadership skills. He said the self knowledge was like someone said to him “Here is a box—you already have what you need to be a leader.”
Luca reinforced for the class that leadership is about our relationship with other people and our family. Like many other MBA speakers, he strongly encouraged the students to look for leadership experiences in other areas of their lives.
Thank you to Marco and Luca for sharing your stories with our students—and me. I am continually inspired by stories of people committed to their leadership journeys.
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Posted in Communication, Global Leaders, Leadership Advice, MBA Class, Self-Awareness | No Comments »
Our University of Iowa MBA Leadership and Personal Development class was honored to hear from guest speaker Jim Israel last weekend. Jim is the President of John Deere Worldwide Financial Services Division. He shared his guidance for developing yourself, as a person and as a leader.
1. Get out of your comfort zone. Your success will be how effective you can rally your team. “To be a good leader you don’t have to be an expert. I see myself as the offensive line clearing the way for others to run and pass the ball.”
If you ever get the opportunity to do something new, do it. “If we make 100% of our decisions right, then we’re not making enough decisions—or taking enough risks.”
2. If you have a chance to do a global assignment, do it. The world is a lot more similar than it is different. Our customers and dealers have very similar desires and concerns. It is also great to see the United States through another country’s lens.
3. Set a clear vision for your organization. Jim talked about the power of aligning his division around a common vision. But creating that vision is only the first step. Then you have to motivate, align and inspire the organization. “And motivation isn’t about pom-poms. I have seen some soft-spoken leaders drive people to do great things.” (Jim also joked that he, however, isn’t one of the soft-spoken ones.)
4. Stay true to your own style. Do what your passionate about And have fun! “Going to work shouldn’t be drudgery. If you don’t go to work everyday excited about what you do, go somewhere else.”
5. Do things the right way. And make sure your “say-do” ration is 100%. “It is equally important how you accomplish something as what you accomplish. ”
6. Communicate, communicate, communicate. You can’t over-communicate. You have to say things over and over. And people need different kinds of communication. “You also owe it to your people to talk about the bad news. People are afraid of what they don’t know. “ He talked about the credit crisis in 2008 and how they spent a great deal of time in straight talk with their people. Also, one of the most important parts of communication is listening. “Our greatest ideas come from people closest to our customers.”
7. Focus on developing talent. “The most important thing I do is get the right people in the right chairs.” Identify people who have potential and keep providing them with challenges. Stretch your high potential people. And remember for yourself not to focus on pay. “If you’re moving around alot, you’re going to be at the bottom of the pay grade a lot. Your pay will catch up with you. ”
8. Strive for work-life balance. Not only your own but for your people. “It used to be a badge of honor how many hours you worked.” But there are a lot of things in life you’ll never have the opportunity to get back. Work is a marathon, not a sprint. Take care of yourself, emotionally and physically. “I invite my grandkids to come and have lunch with me at work every couple of months.”
9. Give back to your community. Pay it forward.
Thanks Jim for these words and much more. And for providing a role model of authentic leadership for our class.
Posted in Balance, Communication, Global Leaders, Leadership Advice, Listening, MBA Class, Teams, Vision | 1 Comment »
A wise Ojibwa Indian elder once told me that “There are many communities out there for us. We just have to go out and find them.” He is indeed so very right.
I sit on the airplane flying home after almost two weeks working in Europe. As often happens when I travel for work, I find myself feeling excitement to be home and also a sadness of having left new “friends” behind. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I love my work. I get up almost every day and have the chance to teach, coach, and most importantly perhaps, continue my own learning journey.
This was a trip of leadership training for a client. There was a four day course in England and then the following week a two day course in Germany. In both courses, they were participants from different countries. The first week we had a wonderful mix of English, German and French. The second week was German and English.
I wish that I could say that I speak the languages, but I don’t. I did however do my best to learn a few key words in German and also study some things about the cultures in the UK and Germany. It is always important to me when I travel to a foreign country to be as respectful as possible of the local cultures, even if I don’t speak the language fluently.
One of my biggest lessons came the first week. All of the participants spoke English, some better than others. I tried my best to be aware of the words and phrases I used in my examples and Power Point slides. I also looked for those times when I got the glazed over looks from some of the participants. Gradually though, by midway through the third day of training, I noticed that people were more vocal and asking me to explain a word or phrase. I realized how very much I appreciated them doing that.
And then it hit me that I hadn’t actually ASKED them the very first day to please feel free and ask. I guess I just assumed that would happen. But I learned that isn’t the nature of many of the people who were in the course. It left me wondering how many times the first couple days I left them wondering “what the heck is she talking about.”
The good news is that I took my new found learning to heart. The very first day of the second week of training I asked the new group of people to please feel free and ask me about anything they heard and didn’t understand. And I’m thrilled to say they were very receptive and did indeed do so.
International flights: 3.
Thank you to all of my new friends in the UK, Germany and France. A special thanks also to Alexandra and her husband Thorsten who spent a wonderful day introducing me to the Old Town of Heidelberg.