I don’t buy a dog and bark for it

Pen and Glasses and Business File on TableThe NY Times runs a weekly column entitled the Corner Office, that discusses leadership lessons from CEO’s across a broad spectrum of companies. These interviews usually recall important tenets of successful leadership and serve as a valuable reminder about important lessons and how they should be applied.

This week, Adam Bryant interviewed Susan Lyne, CEO of Gilt Groupe. Lyne reports that she has learned the importance of being committed to “stepping back to think about the big picture,” a major challenge for most business leaders. A great way to do that is to grab a blank sheet of paper to begin.

I also like her suggestion about “office hours”, an idea she picked up from a colleague who was a former college professor. Lyne sets aside 2 hours/week to allow anyone in the company to book 30 minutes with her. While she understands that some use it to get visibility with the CEO, they rarely show up without some meaningful insight and observations about the company. She finds this particularly useful since most CEO’s don’t get much deeper into the organization than one level or so below their direct reports.

Her boss is the one who told her that “I don’t buy a dog and bark for it” when she thought she should pass her “editor’s letter” to him for review before it was published. The lesson for her? Get used to being #1 and being accountable for your decisions. That’s why you’re here.

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