Thursday, November 11, 2010

How much Energy and Influence do you really have?

On October 13th, IMD and the Embassy of Switzerland organised a joint business forum and networking event at the Swiss Embassy in London.
The event was opened by Fabrice Filliez, Head of the Economic Section at the Swiss Embassy, who greeted the many participants and described the high level of education offered in Switzerland, in particular at IMD.

Joint Business Forum and Networking Event

IMD director, Lynn Verdina-Henchoz, then warmly thanked the Swiss Embassy for their active collaboration and introduced Professor Preston Bottger and the topic of the evening. Preston Bottger has had a career spanning 30 years in 3 different continents – Australia (his native country), the US (where he taught at Duke University) and Europe. At IMD for the past 12 years, he is a professor of Leadership and Management Development and teaches on key open enrolment programs as well as in a number of in-company customized programs. His experience ranges across many sectors and geographies. He is the author of numerous research articles in international journals on the topics of problem solving in groups, leadership and motivation and is the lead author of Managing People. His most recent book is “Leading in the Top Team”.

Of recent times, business leaders have been stretched and challenged to an extent that many individuals have found difficult to manage. The complexity of the environment and of the tasks they have to undertake have meant that many leaders have found it almost impossible to align business needs with their personal aspirations.
We can all think of people who have become cynical or who are in denial – what has happened to them? Preston Bottger mentioned that at IMD there are often 3 categories of participants – the prisoners, the tourists and the learners (the latter category is comprised of consumers and creators). We can see the same type of people in an organisation. How can we learn to be creators, to transform the way we currently look at things? How can we keep up the energy – physical, intellectual and emotional – to keep going? Will the same formula that got us to the top be sufficient for the next few decades?
Preston led a very interesting and interactive discussion with the audience around the above questions. For example, he asked participants to reflect on the following: “It is the morning of your 70th birthday. How has the journey been?” Individuals create their future selves by the choices they have made along the way. And sometimes these choices will have been difficult ones. Professor Bottger advocated that it is not possible to do the hard work of leading others, unless we first look after our own well-being.
The discussion also looked at different types of leaders. Good leadership is about creating wealth – economic and social. It is also about having the ability to see around the corner, to identify opportunities before others and being able to motivate and bring others along. Indeed, a key competency is the capacity to generate new behaviour, rather than being trapped by habit and to be willing to take on criticism and resistance, without necessarily being rewarded for good performance.
The evening ended with a very pleasant cocktail organised by the Swiss Embassy and discussions went on late into the evening. Several participants sent their thanks and comments the next day “Thank you for a fantastic evening with Preston at the Swiss Embassy – great venue, great speech…”

Please click here to access Preston Bottger's documents:
- Carving your own Leadership Path
- Leadership Challenges
- Life-Long Learning

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