Got to love it…

Posted by Robert Beauchemin on May 6, 2008

I was fortunate to be invited to a fabulous event hosted by the Ted Rogers School of Management of Ryerson University. Entitled CEO Outlook, the event gathered some of Canada's most successful entrepreneurs and business executives. First, tribute goes to the leadership of Ken Jones, the Dean of the Ted Rogers Scholl of Management for his vision and dedication to serving the school's body of students in such a visible and tangible way. Thanks also go to Prof Diane Francis, who so masterfully organized the event and moderated the panel discussions.

As I listened to the panelists, I realized that the learning from the afternoon can be summarized in 4 points that perfectly align with my leadership framework:

  • You've got to love it
  • You've got to have discipline
  • You've got to have the right people
  • You've got to look after stakeholders


To endure the rejections, the set-backs, the pains of creating something new, love has to be in the air. Entrepreneurs love their vision and their mission. They love it so much, it does not matter anymore how many hours they work, because it is not work. Then, they need to make their people love it to the same degree. This happens when they share their beliefs, vision of the future, and their sense of purpose. This happens when they share the plan to get from A to B. This happens when, and only when, they are able to share their love by writing it down in a plan. I call this strategic planning.


Care needs to be taken. There is a difference between loving it, and falling in love with it. Yes, there is a difference. Loving what you do is key, falling in love with your idea can be fatal, as it will prevent you to apply the discipline to make the right decisions. Executing on a vision requires discipline in any circumstances. Having a team execute on the same plan requires structured discipline. You may have to implement a structured change leadership model to take the organizations from A to B. You will need to create operational alignment to ensure coherence of processes. You will need organizational alignment to ensure what needs to be done is actually assigned to someone. And you will need a structured revenue generation model. I call this disciplined strategy execution.


It was said that "no one is as good as all of us". Successful leaders have learned to surround themselves with people that know more than they do. The role of leaders is not to know all, but to set the stage, the direction and assemble the team that can deliver, now and in the future. They have to establish an organizational development framework to ensure that, as the organization develops, the skill-base develops as fast, or faster. I call this organizational development.


Customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, the community, need to be looked after, or else something will break in the process. Granted this equilibrium may be tricky to achieve, but it is clear that employees want to work for more than their paycheck. Clearly, destroying the communal environment in which a business operates will have negative ramifications eventually. Clearly suppliers aspire to more that being the cheapest provider. Clearly shareholders want a higher return than leaving their money in the bank. Clearly, customers expect more. To the extent that an organization can deliver more than others to its stakeholders, it will attract reciprocity from stakeholders. I call this creating stakeholders value.

Strategic planning, disciplined strategy execution, organizational development and stakeholders value creation are at the core of what makes leaders successful.