In Tuesday's General Audit Management Conference general session, Mike Evans, award-winning author, speaker, and executive consultant, led a lively discussion on Leading Change: Achieving What Matters Most. Evans offered several takeaways for every audit leader who is trying to embrace change and lead by example:
- He said today's business world is basically a "brawl with no rules." What are you doing to ensure your place in this environment?, he asked the audience.
- Brand "you" is the way others see you. We are all being scrutinized at any given moment. "People will tolerate what you say," Evans said. "They will act on what you do." Leadership, he added, is the congruency between what you say and what you do.
- How do your employees, colleagues, boss, customers, friends, and family view you? The only way to know is to ask them. "You may think you're demonstrating a particular brand when, in fact, you're not," Evans said.
- In today's economy, you are distinct or extinct. You must grow, innovate, and embrace change, and be nimble, agile, resilient, and focused. "Clinging to the status quo is not an option," Evans said, offering as examples: Blockbuster (which had a chance to purchase Netflix and passed on it), Payless Shoes, Kodak, and Nokia. Evans defined all of these companies as "short-termed, inwardly focused."
Evans asked the audience how can they grow, adapt, innovate, and reinvent themselves and turn disruption into opportunity. "If you fight [disruption], you're going to find it a losing battle," he said. He presented a "new world of work survival kit" that included:
- Mastery — best/absurdly good at something. Focus.
- Managing to legacy — all work = memorable, braggable wow factor.
- Unique selling proposition — present a remarkable point of view in 10 words or less.
- Networking obsession.
- Entrepreneurial instinct.
- CEO/leader/business person.
- Master of improvement.
- Sense of humor
- Comfortable in your skin.
- Intense, unrelenting appetite for technology.
- Embrace marketing: You are your own chief storytelling officer.
- Obsessed with renewal — learn every day.
- Outwork/over deliver.
- Excellence always.
Evans encouraged the audience to cultivate a culture and mindset of:
- Playing to win. Evans said there is a big difference between playing to win and playing not to lose. Leaders need to be crystal clear on the expected result.
- Taking accountability. In a peak performing culture, accountability is broader than your job description. Best practices of taking accountability, Evans said, include recognizing realities, accepting ownership, creating solutions, and exercising action.
Ideas, speed, talent, distinction, leadership = success in this new brawl-with-no-rules world, Evans told the audience.