Biz Sch News 04 October 2013

“Things I Didn’t Learn at Business School”

Richard Howard, the President & CEO of Daimler Financial Services Asia Pacific and Africa, recently visited the School to share leadership lessons to create a winning culture across different cultural environments, as a part of Leadership Dialogue Series.

Daimler Financial Services (DFS) is a global  financial service provider of a comprehensive range of automobile-related financial services. Richard, originally from England and a father of four, has worked with Daimler for over 18 years and has led global teams. He got his MBA from Aston University, UK, and has a BA (Honours) in Business Studies from the University of Central England, UK.

Given his breadth and depth of experience, his insights were valuable to all of us. In particular,  his words of wisdom about what he did not learn in a business school, were inspiring. We couldn’t resist sharing it with you; so here are the excerpts of his talk:

1. Take the business seriously, not yourself. 

Whether in senior leadership issues, or in general issues, remember to have a sense of humour and keep it real. Stay humble. Keep it fun.

2. First rule of strategy is to have one.

The ‘how’ question for any decision is very important; no, numbers alone don’t answer the ‘how’ part. Also, if you can explain your strategy to your grandmother, you’re on the right track.

3. Pedal to the metal

Your biggest risk in life is you waste too much time. Put your pedal to the metal. Be a pace-setter. If you want to win, you have to move faster than the pace of change.

4. Love change

In change are the opportunities for the future, including new knowledge and new wisdom. By learning to love change, you’ll make more money and will be happier.

5. Power of a positive mind

As a leader, you’ll have your dark moments. You’ll be lonely. But always look for the learning; stay optimistic and positive.

6. Trust is really important

Trust is the most delicate thing as a leader – takes years to create, so don’t screw it up. Those who trust you will stand by you in crisis.

7. Create your own leadership brand

What do you stand for? What is your leadership brand? Define and create it.

8. It’s all about people

You can’t lead from behind a desk. Put people first. Be personable. Be approachable.

Want more? Visit our knowledge portal, Think Business, for more valuable insights from the distinguished leaders visiting the School.