Top CEOs of 2014 – Leadership Lessons

Canadian Business Magazine recently published their 2014 CEO of the Year Issue.  There is a great leadership lesson to be learned in each profile of this year’s top CEOs.

1.  If It Is Not Worth Doing Well, It Is Not Worth Doing

National Bank of Canada’s Louis Vachon talks about giving up practicing Kendo (a Japanese Martial Art) simply because he could not dedicate enough time to do excel in it.  The author writes that “He’s a guy who knows his strengths, and if he can’t make the commitment to excel at something, then he won’t waste his energy.”  Being a great leader is as much about what you decide not to pursue as where you apply resources. READ MORE about National Bank’s Louis Vachon.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Set The Bar High and Hold Everyone Accountable

Dean Connor of Sun Life Financial set an aggressive goal just three months into his CEO role.  While boosting earnings by a third (which amounted to half a billion dollars) in just a few years likely seemed impossible to many at Sun Life, Connor’s aggressive approach has the company two years ahead of schedule.  It should come as no surprise that Connor’s commitment to talent development and to Sun Life’s customers was critical in hitting his targets.  READ MORE about Sun Life’s Dean Connor.

3.  Innovate

While innovation is a pre-requisite for a technology consulting firm, CGI Group’s Michael Roach sees innovation as “Working smarter rather than harder”; something that every company can benefit from regardless of industry.  Roach migrated revenue from CGI’s traditional portfolio of “technology maintenance to more lucrative outsourcing contracts”.  In the process moving their client contact to one who has more budget and a stronger focus on growth rather than just costs.  READ MORE about CGI’s Michael Roach.

4. Know What You Don’t Know

When faced with new government tax policy threatened his business, Enerplus’ CEO Ian Dundas decided to “upgrade” the company’s “expertise” to turn things around.  Dundas took a top-down approach to bring in dramatically different skills to round out Enerplus’ skills and knowledge.  While Dundas is described in the article as the “smartest guy in Calgary”, it was recognizing what he didn’t know that has helped to turn things around.  READ MORE about Enerplus’ Ian Dundas.

Until Next Time.

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