Innovating in Times of Crisis
Lessons on Leadership from Bob Sternfels, Global Managing Partner of McKinsey & Company
What’s your definition of leadership? For Bob Sternfels, who leads the largest management consultancy firm on the planet, it all comes down to two things: Courage and Compassion.
On a recent episode of The Pathway — a conversation series with global leaders — Fred Swaniker sat down for a riveting interview with McKinsey’s new Global Managing Partner. Continuing his over 25 year-long journey at McKinsey, Bob has stepped up to lead a team of over 30,000 employees at a time when the firm requires an innovative leader to drive it forward.
As The Room celebrates one year of inspiring conversations on The Pathway, we take a look at the top 10 insights and lessons on leadership that were shared by Bob during his interview.
Turn constraints into opportunities
- “The biggest thing I worry about is that we put limitations in place about what can be achieved and how fast we can move to achieve things…With the right mindset and thinking, people can redefine what’s possible.”
- “There are talent crunches all across the globe apart from in Africa. I believe that harnessing the talent potential in Africa is not only an opportunity but also an obligation we have. We need to be leveraging the continent as a place for developing leaders.”
3. “Under any initiative where you’re creating something at hyper-scale, it’s important to focus on how you lead and enable others in the process.”
4. “To be a great leader, you have to be in balance, and you need to radiate that balance to everyone in your organisation and celebrate it.”
5. “In any leadership role, you will have a distribution of views on any given topic. The most vocal on those views are 5–10%. One of the key things is not to forget about the silent 90% in the middle. The core is often under-voiced.”
Believe in yourself
6. “Don’t ask me what you should do; ask yourself what you want to do. Don’t wait to be told what to do; seize the moment.”
7. “Do you want to be obsessed with proving yourself to others, or do you want to invest in improving yourself?”
8. “Life’s too short to go through it with a risk-averse mindset.”
9. “Don’t be deterred by all the advice you get at the moment. If you pay too much attention, you may drive yourself to not doing anything.”
10. “Challenge the notion of what’s defining your box. Think about how you can move to something audacious but achievable.”