David Weidman shares the secret to being a better leader, student

Watch video of lecture

“Never, never, never settle for mediocrity.”

These and other wise words were shared by David Weidman on Thursday. Weidman, former CEO of Celanese Corporation and founder of BYU’s Weidman Center for Global Leadership, spoke to students about the elements of good leadership.

“Leadership involves not only thinking very clearly and understanding what is,” said Weidman, “it’s the ability to think about what might be -- the possibilities that there are in the world.”

Having a vision of “what might be” is the first element of Weidman’s “framework of leadership”. This quality is followed by the ability to make a plan and the ability to commit resources to a plan.

Weidman gave four key points to having a successful career:

1. “Be prepared to work really, really hard.”

2. “Figure out how your organization succeeds.”

3. “Have integrity.”

4. “Never settle for being mediocre.”

Weidman drew not only from his experience as a CEO, but also from his student days, and how crucial it is to follow through after having made a plan.

“I remember one semester in school where I had a plan, I had a view of the future. I was pulling decent grades but I wanted to up it a little bit. I knew that I needed to spend more hours in the library, do less motor biking, less fly fishing… and I felt that if I could work that plan, I’d be able to move my GPA up.”

He said that he failed to follow through, or “commit the resources” of increased time and effort, and that he consequently did not reach his goal. Weidman explained that this same problem exists in the corporate world. Successful leaders must have the ability to commit resources to a plan, or else their visions will go unaccomplished.

Weidman shared many other pieces of advice with students, such as being involved in an international study program and setting long-, medium- and short-term goals for their careers.

This lecture kicked off the 2012 Weidman Center Leadership Lecture Series. This series is designed to give staff and students the opportunity to learn leadership skills from some of the industry’s greatest professionals. The next lecture in the series will take place on October 18 with Michael A. Hoer, who will speak on leadership, ethics and integrity.

To watch David Weidman’s lecture in its entirety, click here.

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