Welcome to The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights. This curated content will provide you with quick clarity into relevant headlines and provide straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, hired Theo Blackwell as the city’s first Chief Digital Officer (CDO) to help London compete digitally on a global scale and become a better place to live, work, and invest. Blackwell must go beyond information technology and focus on a leadership style that leverages people and improves outcomes through the use of information technology. This type of role is not unprecedented. With the addition of a Chief Technology Officer, Los Angeles was transformed from one of the poorest performing cities in the world for open data to one that continually generates significant improvements to public services.
Our View: Digital leadership is not an optional part of being a mayor of a city. Digital leaders understand that a collective and transparent culture is key to promoting empowered and accountable teams. They find ways to promote and reinforce continuous learning and sharing of information.
Identifying herself more as a leader than a lawyer, Lucy Helm smoothly transitioned from leading Starbuck’s law and corporate-affairs department to becoming its Chief Partner Officer to lead human resources. Helm has been described as having the ability to genuinely connect with people at all levels of the organization, and in her new role, she continues to support and develop people throughout Starbucks.
Our View: Law school graduates follow a variety of career paths and transitioning from law to business is one of them. Those that make this transition successfully fight the stigma that lawyers are often viewed as members of cost centers rather than profit centers. They leverage their law knowledge and leadership skills. Strong communication and interpersonal skills in combination with the willingness to take on calculated risks are key ingredients that can make lawyers successful leaders.
China announced their vision to be a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) by 2030. While their declaration did not include detailed financial plans or legal changes, companies in China are investing heavily to develop AI for a variety of applications, including consumer finance, e-commerce, and self-driving cars.
Our View: A vision for a collective future can be initiated by an individual leader, but the primary source of vision must be discovered as a team. Cultivating a shared vision creates ownership for everyone involved and encourages working towards a common goal. The vision can evolve over time, but fostering a culture that embraces a shared vision keeps the target outcome visible.
The environment for media is constantly evolving, and now, it’s changing faster than ever before. These changes pose unique challenges for journalists and other leaders in the field, but they can still excel through tough times by following certain strategies. The best leaders are constantly asking questions and learning from other great leaders. Journalists should be constantly asking, “How do I better connect with my audience – both in the newsroom and outside?”
Our View: Build your organization’s strategy with the big picture in mind. Take a systems approach. Valuable information comes from within your organization and is also gained from seeking other experienced, impartial outside sources for wisdom.
Innovative companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook are ideal destinations for procurement leaders. Unilever is also a great option as its procurement group’s sterling supply chain brand was voted No. 1 on Gartner SC Top 25 Supply Chain list. Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, SC Johnson, J.M. Smucker, Chobani, Flex, Amcor, and IBM are also top choices for leaders in procurement.
Our View: A well-liked, reputable procurement group at an equally well-liked, reputable organization could be part of the magic formula for an ideal procurement leadership position. The other component could be the culture (or context). Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Clarke Murphy discuss in a Harvard Business Review article how leadership potential is context-dependent for most people, “so there is no guarantee that a person will lead effectively just because they have been effective in a previous role or organization.” A leader’s motives and values should align with their work.