Reimaging the Future: Dr. Gianrico Farrugia

Sharing a podcast interview with Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., CEO of the Mayo Clinic by our Korn Ferry colleague, Paul Laudicina, Chairman Emeritus of Kearney, and a CEO Advisor in our Chief Executive Institute. Enjoy their brilliance!

The Long Goodbye

Originally posted to KornFerry.com on March 3, 2021.  

No more commuting to work. More time at the house with the family. And never setting foot on a plane for an exhausting business trip.

In one of the stranger twists of the pandemic, a small but surprising number of older executives have discovered they’re arguably better off in today’s remote-work world—enough to put off retiring. To be sure, they’re still energized, working hard, and dealing with the work stress that the pandemic has brought on. “But I’m hearing the upsides are making it worth it to stay on,” says Kevin Cashman, global leader of CEO and executive development at Korn Ferry.

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The Pause Principle: Stepping Back to Lead Forward

By Kevin Cashman.  Originally posted to LeaderCast blog on January 21, 2021

Over the past 30 years of coaching CEOs, senior teams and leaders around the globe, I’ve lost track of the number of times a high-achieving leader turned to me and asked, “Kevin, how can we step up to achieve more—to go to the next level?” To their surprise, I usually recommend stepping back—pausing—but, because it is antithetical to what they have always done, they insist, “We don’t need to pause more; we need to do more.”

Why would pragmatic, hard-charging, achievement-driven leaders pause in order to accelerate performance and growth? Put simply, that is exactly what is needed to sort through complexity, optimize talent and drive performance to the next level. If we leaders today do not step back to gain perspective and transcend the immediacies of life, we will continue to crash economically, personally and collectively. Our downside survival and upside innovation depend on this transformative process. Certainly, we need to do more to meet the demands of high-performance, complexity and innovation, but in today’s world the doing needs to be new and different.

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Election Wrap: 5 Takeaways for Leaders

Originally posted to Korn Ferry Institute

Help show workers how to overcome instead being overwhelmed. Find areas where there are connections, not division. And do what leaders always should do: inspire.

In the wake of a week that has shown how divided the country remains in the political arena, business chiefs find themselves looking for ways to focus all the energy Americans put into the election back into the workplace. Reviving the troops, so to speak, is never easy in years when the Oval Office is at stake. But it’s even more of a challenge amid the unprecedented events of 2020.

It is possible, though. At least, that’s what leadership books and studies have been saying for decades. Looking for ideas relevant to the current times, we spoke with some Korn Ferry experts after Tuesday’s historic vote, discussing leadership, engagement, and inclusion. Here are five actions they suggested.

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How to Listen More Effectively

The election shouting may end this week—hopefully—but the feeling that no one is listening to us is likely going to linger. And not only in the political arena but at work too.

Indeed, experts say the US presidential election season, which has lasted two years, only mirrored a growing feeling among workers that their leaders talk at them, not with them. That feeling only magnified at work when video calls and masks became routine during the pandemic. “Leaders and employees are stuck in a communication cycle of giving information and providing updates instead of really connecting,” says Dennis Baltzley, Korn Ferry’s global solutions leader for leadership development.

It doesn’t help that many people, according to years of research, aren’t great listeners in the first place. That’s particularly true when the topic involves something distressing or uncomfortable, as has been much of the conversation between employees and leaders this year.

With that in mind, Korn Ferry searched for a few ways to help managers at all levels—not to mention one colleague to another—become more effective listeners.

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The Power of Being Authentic

By Gary Burnison, originally posted to Korn Ferry Institute

Basketball practice was over. As the other kids waited outside the gym doors for their parents to pick them up, I started walking in the other direction—telling my teammates I had someplace else to be.

The truth, though, was I always asked my dad to meet me a few blocks away. It was the early 1970s, and I didn’t want anyone at school to see my dad’s car—a 1956 Buick with a rusted bumper that belched blue clouds of exhaust.

My dad had gone bankrupt a couple of years before and we had no money. I hated going to the grocery store and always tried to pick the checkout line with the fewest people so no one would see us using food stamps.

The car, though, was just as bad for a teenager trying desperately to fit in and not stand out for the wrong reasons. As I slunk low in the seat of that old Buick, my dad knew what was going on—and I knew that he knew. But we never talked about it. He just let me be.

Today, of course, I’d love to have that old Buick to restore. Even more important, I wish I could have one more chance to open that car door and sit up tall and proud beside my dad. But that was beyond what this 13-year-old could do. I was too embarrassed to know who I truly was.

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Election 2020: Counting Down the Anxiety

Originally posted on Korn Ferry Institute.

We’re familiar with the usual drill. Every four years, months of intense campaigning lead up to Election Day. Then there’s a late night that’s over by midnight, or the next morning at latest. The drama is over, and everyone can go back to work fully focused. But this is 2020: somehow, few believe the Biden–Trump battle for US president will look quite like that.

As if COVID hasn’t already stirred up one uncertainty after another, now experts say that, barring a major surprise, the country won’t be waking up next Wednesday to an agreed-upon election result. Indeed, ballot disputes and court rulings on the election—along with congressional maneuvering—could drag on for weeks, if not through year’s end.

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Putting Value in ‘Values Differences’

Originally posted to Korn Ferry Institute.

Arguably, both the COVID-19 pandemic and the current fight against racial injustice have brought into sharp focus a host of systemic inequities that have impacted employees who are racial and ethnic minorities for far too long.

From healthcare disparities to professional headwinds, these recent crises combined have underscored the ways in which many of these employees face barriers to success not experienced to nearly the same degree by most of their colleagues. Some leaders were already working to address these inequities, but others have now started to reckon with the lack of diversity and inclusion within their own organizations. Part of that work involves actively and intentionally seeking out—and empowering—greater diversity in the backgrounds and viewpoints of their talent. But with so many different organizational priorities all requiring attention, just how important is diversity and inclusion to managers and their employees?

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Why Vulnerability Is A CEO’s Secret Weapon

Why Vulnerability Is A CEO’s Secret Weapon

The 8 Behaviours of World-Class Leaders During Crisis

In a stunningly short time, demand for her firm’s multibillion-dollar product had dropped almost in half. And almost as quickly, the call for many inside the company was to act fast and preserve as much capital as possible. It was the standard reaction multiplied many times by a global pandemic—save all that is left for better times.

Yet this CEO saw things differently. Cutbacks were made, of course. But instead of purely hunkering down, she directed the teams to work on finding new efficiencies for the product, create new services for customers, and streamline operations. The goal: yes, wait for better times, but give the company an edge for when demand inevitably returns.

In today’s remarkably rough times, with the global coronavirus outbreak upending the modern world as we know it, everyone is dealing with their own challenges. And that certainly includes the world’s chief executive officers. It is these leaders who must keep their organisations afloat. It is they who must inspire people to innovate and try to preserve as many jobs as possible. And while these CEOs are balancing so many impossible dilemmas—what suppliers to pay, what factories to keep open—they must carry the burden of their own uncertainties as well as those of the thousands of workers for whom they bear responsibility.

“It’s something that nearly everyone we’re working with is wrestling with,” says Kevin Cashman, Korn Ferry’s global leader of CEO and Executive Development. “It has never been tougher.”

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