The best counsel I can offer to aspiring leaders is:
DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU ARE GOING TO DO. As a leader, you cast a long shadow. Be mindful of the impact your words and actions have on the peoplethat follow you. Never sacrifice your integrity or character. Make realistic commitments and keep them—whether to your family, your colleagues, or yourself.
BE PRESENT. Spend time with the people you lead. My father was a submarine officer and used to walk his ship every day. He taught me you can learn much moreabout your business and the challenges your people face by routinely getting out of your office.
PEOPLE ARE LIKE ARTWORK. Appreciate the richness and diversity in each person and value them for the different perspectives and experiences they bring to your business.
PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS. Know who you are and what your unique strengths and talents are. Do not try to emulate others or focus too much on your weaknesses. Find opportunities that allow you to make your greatest contribution.
DIVERSIFY YOUR EXPERIENCE. My career path has taken many interesting turns from my initial experiences as a litigator to now leading a business. Take risks in your career and do not be afraid to fail.
VALUE OPPORTUNITIES TO WORK INTERNATIONALLY. The future of business is global, and few individuals understand how to operate in a global environment. Seek out opportunities—such as an international assignment or membership on a crossnational work team—that enable you to work with people outside your country of origin. It is a unique and invaluable opportunity to learn and to grow.
TAKE TIME TO REFLECT. Find at least some time every day to stop and gain perspective. One of my early mentors took a break for at least 30 minutes at lunchtime every day. I learned that taking time to reflect and gain a fresh perspective enables you to remain calm and see possibilities where others see chaos.
YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE. This is the theme of the Global Women’s Networkin our company, and I am a true believer in it as a leadership principle.
MAKE TIME TO GIVE BACK to your community and to others. It will enrich you, energize you, and make you a better leader and a better person.
HAVE FUN. Don’t take yourself or your job too seriously. The quickest way to reduce a very stressful situation is to find the humor in it. Be brave enough to laugh at yourself, and create an environment where others can do the same.