October 17, 2017

INSIGHTS Thursday Wrap-Up: Lessons in Leadership

Missed the Day one wrap-up? Read it here.

Day two of INSIGHTS began with a keynote from Billy Beane, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, and minority owner of the Oakland Athletics, who highlighted the importance of making data-driven decision to build teams and manage the workforce. He drew from his real-life example, the well-known story behind Michael Lewis’ best-seller Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, which focused on Beane’s strategies to create a more competitive team when he was the general manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team.

Beane bucked the trend of using conventional baseball statistics, instead using a more analytical and sabermetric approach to gauge player performance and find value in undervalued players. In his keynote, Beane said they created proprietary metrics in house to close the gap between player statistics and performance.

The benefits of using data in decision-making? It takes the emotion out of the equation, and helps organizations invest in the right skills.

The second annual Ceridian Women’s Summit was also held Thursday morning, with a powerful lineup of guest speakers including award-winning journalist Lisa Ling, retail executive Kat Cole, and #GoSponsorHer co-founders Megan Anderson and Laura McGee.

Lisa Ling opened the Summit by sharing stories that have personally impacted her throughout her career and propelled her to think differently. Telling and sharing stories, said Ling, is what helps us all leave our comfort zones, learn about lives that are different from our own, and then take action.

“Now that you know, you can’t pretend you don’t,” she said, quoting a comment made by Oprah Winfrey during a previous conversation the two women had about Ling’s global travels and the injustices and struggles she had been exposed to.

#GoSponsorHer founders Megan Anderson and Laura McGee then took to the stage to share the business case for investing in women (and it’s strong, by the way).

Every professional deserves and needs to have a sponsor, Anderson and McGee said. Some tips for successful sponsorship? Do great work and make sure it’s visible. Be strategic – find a sponsor who can help you and move the dial for you, and make sure they see you doing awesome work. Lastly, ask – it’s totally acceptable and empowering to ask someone to help you.

The Summit closed with a keynote from Kat Cole, COO and President, North America at FOCUS Brands, who discussed how to be a better leader. Don’t lose sight of your mission, Cole advised. “Sometimes the work becomes about the work” and focus on the goal gets lost. Warmth and collaboration are two skills that lead to improved culture and profit, and are integral to business, but are often overlooked skills in leaders.

Cole also shared “The Hotshot Rule” that she follows to prevent complacency and encourage continuous progress. “If a hotshot took over your seat today, what would they do differently? Why can’t that be you?”

Emerge from a mistake as a better leader by taking a step back. “What you do after your biggest mistake is what matters for your future career success,” said Cole.

Have courage to ask the right questions, Cole added. “People closest to the action know what the right thing to do is long before a leader has the courage to act.”

Cole ended her presentation with a few pieces of advice: Say yes before you’re ready, and then use your “hustle muscle” to figure out how to get where you need to be. And always ask yourself, “If not me, who? If not now, when?”

Earvin “Magic” Johnson provided an inspiring finish to day two, sharing leadership strategies and lessons learned. Forgoing the stage, Johnson walked around the room and interacted with the audience throughout his keynote. Central to his presentation was the idea to always remain focused on your customers, and be clear about what your business stands for.

Here are some key pieces of “Magic” wisdom:

  • Always over-deliver to your customers; they’ll be your brand ambassadors.
  • Make your business about your customers – hire the right people, and get out of the way and let them do their jobs.
  • Competitors make you better (Larry Bird, Johnson noted, made him a better player). Competition is part of the process, and competitors are a source of motivation – use it to your advantage to become a better performer.
  • Do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the business twice a year – not only does this help you understand how you can be better as a business, but it also helps you understand how to be better as an individual and a leader.

It was also revealed that next year’s conference will be held at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas from Oct. 15-19, and guess what? Registration is already open.

Thanks for a great INSIGHTS and we hope to see you next year!

Related: INSIGHTS Day 1: The Future is Bright

Danielle Ng-See-Quan

Dani is the Senior Manager, Content Marketing at Ceridian.

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