Leadership advice to Google, HP and Barclays also applies to students

John Warren shared six factors for successful leadership with students at the Leadership Lecture Series on Thursday. He explained how these six steps can be applied to any organization both great and small.

Warren used this advice when he started his career as a team of one, when he managed only three people and recently when he helped Hewlett-Packard (HP) establish and support a global, multifunctional program management office.

During 30 years of experience in project management consulting, Warren has worked with companies including Google, L3 Communications, Marvell Semiconductor, Santa Clara County, Barclays and Kaiser Permanente. To help students understand how to become successful leaders in their professional fields, Warren outlined the six most important elements in universal successful leadership.

Trust Trust

A solid foundation of trust allows groups to make decisions quickly. “Trust is a decision accelerator,” said Warren. “Go slow to decide fast. This is a unique way of thinking about time management.” Since business decisions are often under tight time constraints, anchoring a team in trust is vital for timely business decision making.

Time Timing

Even a great idea can fail if the timing is not right. “Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance,” said Warren. Once time has passed it is unrecoverable. Leaders must make the best of the limited time they have and use strategic timing to improve the chance of desired outcomes. Although time is limited, it can be filled more efficiently when we focus. As Warren said, “Focus is a substitute for time.”

People Person

After displaying an “upside down” map of the Earth, Warren stressed the importance of understanding perspectives and realizing that everyone brings a different frame of reference to the table. Opportunities for success increase when more than one idea is considered.

Successful leaders treat individuals as a limited commodity and a valued resource. “People not are fungible,” said Warren. Individuals are not interchangeable and need to be treated accordingly.

Do Anything, Do Everything

“How you do anything is how you do everything,” said Warren. Presentation of a product is just as important as the product itself. Overall excellence requires excellence in every detail. There are no corners to cut on the road to success.

See Seeing

Warren advised to look at the details and analyze what you see. “Are you seeing and discerning or just looking?” said Warren. The best managers “go to the floor,” and are those who work side-by-side with their employees, managing at eye level where they can best see and analyze what is happening.

Learn Learning

Warren reminded students that learning doesn’t stop when you leave the university, after your master’s degree or even after a doctorate degree. “Learn how to learn,” said Warren. “My favorite learning tools are Evernote, Quora, graphic visualization and wall-based processing (WBP).” Figure out which learning method and tools work best for you and don’t let yourself stop learning.

The Leadership Lecture series is organized by the Weidman Center for Global Leadership. It provides a unique opportunity for students, faculty and staff to learn from respected industry leaders.  The next Leadership Lecture, featuring Mary Peery, president of Mary Peery & Associates, will be October 17. To learn more about the Leadership Lecture series or view past lectures, visit www.et.byu.edu/leadershiplectures.

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