By: Roanne Neuwirth, Vice President of Marketing

Our CEO Suzanne Bates hosted the McGraw-Hill Book Club event in Boston, leading a robust, in-depth conversation on our model of executive presence shared in her book, All the Leader You Can Be (published by McGraw Hill in 2016). It was attended by a distinguished a group of HR and learning leaders from various industries, discussing ideas salon-style, around the fireplace at Post 390 in Boston.

Suzanne launched the conversation with our reasons for studying executive presence and its connection to how leaders drive organizational performance. The group wanted to understand how our research-based approach to defining executive presence changes the conversation about executive presence. A common theme was how to strengthen and deepen the effectiveness of leaders when executive presence is mentioned as often as it is in leader development.

One of the most valuable discussions that arose was a sharing of common challenges in executing strategy. The group talked about how leaders might leverage qualities such as vision, practical wisdom and intentionality that are called out in the model, to be more effective in driving strategic outcomes. They also noted how important the social emotional qualities of presence are to energizing teams and aligning them around common purpose to get things done.  

Among the common challenges we heard were:

  • Analysis paralysis – leaders getting stuck in the explosion of big data, unable to make decisions as they continue to seek the perfect proof points
  • Ability to envision and anticipate the future – needing to develop leaders’ ability to look around the corner and share that to inspire the organization
  • Capability to drive innovation – unlocking the capabilities to get more innovation happening in the organization
  • Culture flexibility in times of change – how to navigate the need for culture change with leadership succession, changing business models and changing customer demand
  • Managing a millennial workforce – getting leadership to understand how to reach and engage this population, which is increasingly dominating many company’s workforces, and responding to that generation’s need for and experience with real time feedback and interaction
  • The future of employee development – shifting from a punitive focus on weaknesses to enabling strengths and engendering passions

We went on to explore the importance of leadership readiness, and those in the room are all looking for effective ways to build in tools and data to help leaders advance in the right areas to lead the organizations of the future. 

We look forward to continuing the conversation on these and other challenges our clients are facing – here on our blog, and with all of you out in the field.




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