Friday, April 24, 2009

Leadership 101

Day one is over at the American Marketing Association Leadership Summit in Chicago. For the uninitiated, the Summit is what I refer to as the "Amway Convention" for AMA Boards of Directors for the Association's 75 chapters around the country.

I will be filing the first of three reports on the talk of keynote speaker Michael Smith who spoke tonight on the topic of "Building a Brand One Bite at a Time: Lessons in Marketing and Leadership." Michael is Senior Vice President of Marketing, Creative and Brand Strategy for the Food Network.

The first component of Michael's talk on which I'll center is not so much about leadership but about what it is that makes our work fulfilling. He stated the three things that work should provide is meaning, complexity and autonomy.

Let me expound upon each. Meaning is important because at the end of the day we want our work to matter for something. We want to feel as though we've added joy to others' lives or contributed to the company's sustainability.

Complexity relates less to the human element and relies on our ingenuity in problem-solving. Autonomy is the antithesis of micro-management. If we feel free to solve problems, gaining the end result without worry that our bosses will try to convince us we need to do it a certain way, we feel less constrained, and can move on to our next obstacle, taking pride that we solved this dilemma on our own.

TOMORROW: Servant Leadership

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