I’ve been working at Lancaster University’s Business School for 10 years now, alongside two inspirational MBA Programme Heads – Chris Saunders and Peter Lenney.
I discuss 64 Shots, Leadership in a Crazy World with the MBA’s as part of Peter’s Mindful Manager Programme.  After three x three hour sessions with the 45 strong cohort, we invite eight of the group to a two-day Masterclass to my Grasmere home, where we focus on Inspirational Leadership, Mental Toughness and Active Listening – mainly through high pressure, fun, fast, interactive role plays.
During dinner the group pitches a bunch of questions.  Here are 16 from last week with my top-line responses.
Q1.  How flexible is the Personal Purpose? What can be changed and how often?
A1.  The Personal Purpose is very flexible.  Review it monthly, change it whenever you feel it needs changing.
Q2.  What exercise/practice do you recommend to enhance our Mental Toughness?
A2.  Remind yourself of Focus, Commitment, Discipline.  Practice Blue Head, TCUP techniques.
Q3.  How do you measure success or failure in leadership?
A3.  By evaluating someone’s track record and every-day performance in their ability to Fail Fast, Learn Fast and Fix Fast.  And then by seeing if they are creating leaders and inspiring peak performance from their teams.
Q4.  How would you explain The Four Agreements to your grandchildren?
A4.  Simply and clearly, using examples from their daily lives – when they are 8 / 9 years old.
Q5.  If you were given super powers for 3 minutes – right now – how would you make use of it?
A5.  The one Super Power I would love is the ability to eradicate a major disease, eg cancer.  And I’d share the ‘secret’ with the world.
Q6.  As a leader, what was your biggest weakness and how did you overcome it during demanding times?
A6.  I gave people too many chances / too much time to overcome weaknesses that they were unable to eradicate.  I learned to make harder calls earlier – so everyone benefitted.
Q7.  Are there any practical tips for making oneself disciplined?
A7.  Yes – write down your goal every day and look at it three times a day.  Share your task with someone close to you and ask them to help you stay on task.
Q8.  I agree that one should not try to please people but how should one be comfortable knowing that someone is not okay or unhappy with us?
A8.  Observe them.  Listen to them (not what they say, but what they mean).  Ask them again.
Q9.  Biggest failure in your career and what you learned?
A9.  See my post on July 9, you’ll see nine lessons from three failures.
Q10. What do you think is the key success factor that got you promoted and became a global CEO?
A10. A combination of Hunger, Work Rate, Creativity, Decision-Making and Leadership/Listening skills.  All founded on the ABC’s (Ambition, Belief, Courage).
Q11. What are the things that you have made it as daily morning and evening routine that you never missed in your entire career and at what age you have formed these routines?
A11. I start the day with my ABC’s on one particular project.  I close the day thinking of three things that made me smile that day.  Around 39.
Q12. When you look back at your career what is one thing you wish you would have learned early in your career?
A12. To become an entrepreneur once I had peaked as a corporate CEO – 15 years ago.
Q13. What was the most crazy thing you have done to deliver your ideas or sell something?
A13. Entered an Analyst’s conference with a lion on a leash.
Q14. What was your key learnings after leaving Saatchi & Saatchi?
A14. Never stay more than seven years in the same job.
Q15. What relevance/importance would you place on deliberately seeking out a leadership mentor and if significantly important how best can one establish such relationships?
A15. Mentors have been important to me.  But I never ‘sought’ one out.  They just happen (if you put yourself out there).  Remember – Luck is what happens when Preparation Meets Opportunity.
Q16. If you were to hire, what quality would you consider irresistible?
A16. I love people with high (IQ+EQ+TQ+BQ)CQ and who are Competitive, Passionate and Restless.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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