We continue our talk in this blog series with the top international business and management authority, Dr. Karl Moore, from the Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University. You may have seen Karl’s interviews with leading business leaders in the Globe & Mail. We will be sharing some of these interviews here as well.
Karl: Any great corporations I have worked with, IBM, Nokia and Motorola, come to mind particularly, have had good and not so good periods in their histories. I hesitate to name any one firm because they will undoubtedly have problems in their future. Nevertheless, I am particularly impressed with Wipro, a giant IT company from India, I am working with some of their senior executives as a leadership coach at the moment and they are quite impressive. I particularly appreciate their ability to maintain growth and successfully move into new areas. Closer to home, another company which seems to be particularly strong is WestJet, they have some missteps with their spying on Air Canada but have done a superb job of developing a very positive and industry relevant culture.
Stephen: Which two business leaders are models for others?
Karl: Like great companies, there is considerable danger in putting forward leaders, so with that caveat, let me suggest two in Canada.
Marc Tellier, CEO of the Yellow Pages Group: he was Bell’s youngest V.P at 29 and is one to keep and eye on. I recently interviewed him on McGill’s CEO speaker series and spent about 3 and a half hours with him. Very impressive. He knows his business and executes extremely well but at the same time has taken them in some interesting and lucrative new directions, that mix of execution and strategic vision is compelling.
Another is Alain Bellemare, the CEO of Pratt and Whitney Canada, the 10,000 plus employee strong aerospace giant. I have spent time several times a year with Alain over the last five years. He has done a spectacular job with his team to deliver great things at PWC and I fully expect he will eventually end up in a bigger global role within their parent Pratt and Whitney. A couple of things really stand out with Alain; driving results with inspiring highly energetic leadership. Not every one can do this, it is a blessing from nature to have that level of energy but the rest of us can work on maximizing our energy by looking after ourselves and by using what energy we have to do the right things. What those right things are depends on your position and your goals.
Stephen: What are the critical external issues executives should be monitoring?
Karl: Two key issues are at the top of my mind right now. First is the process of globalization and how it is morphing into a somewhat different shape from year to year. Thomas Friedman published a great book, “The World Is Flat”, in 2005, within about a year; he came out with a revised version with additional 100 pages or so to bring it up to date. Perhaps this was just a way of selling more books but I think it speaks more to the nature of globalization. If it impacts your firm, and I would be hard pressed to think of many firms which are not impacted by globalization, whether by competitors, suppliers or customers, you should keep a weather eye on globalization.
The other critical issue is that of demographics and particularly the differences in worldview of the Millennial Generation. They are postmodern in their view and this is having considerable impact on how to work with them and how to lead them. I recently have been giving presentations on my interviews with 150 or so young leaders from Canada and the U.S., this seems to be really tapping a concern of HR managers in Canadian firms.
Stephen: What are the key priorities behind organizational emotional capabilities and passion?
Karl: This comes back to the issue about leading and working with the Millennial Generation though I think it also resonates with other generations. It may also be due partly because of more women in the workforce, but regardless, postmodern management must put a big stress on emotion at work and giving more thought to how we as managers and as organizations bring a fuller recognition of the power of emotions at work. People now are more and more wanting to create meaning at work, and not just make money to support themselves and families, if they have one. It is still in its early days but this is something you will be hearing more and more about.
Stephen: Which are your top recommended resources?
-Thomas Friedman’s book, “The World is Flat”
-Henry Mintzberg’s book, “Managers, Not MBAs”
-Anything by Malcolm Gladwell, a great Canadian writer at the New Yorker
-Anything by Geoffrey Moore, the leading technology marketing writer
Stephen: Karl, we will continue to follow your significant contributions to the global community. We thank you for sharing your time, wisdom, and accumulated deep insights with us.
Karl: A pleasure, if anyone has comments I would be happy to receive e-mails from them at firstname.lastname@example.org
I encourage you to share your thoughts here on these interviews or send me an e-mail at email@example.com.