Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

December 2012

PCMA Convening Leaders Preview: Politics & People

By Michelle Russell, Editor in Chief and Christopher Durso, Executive Editor
I’m always surprised by how much knowledge I gain by just listening closely to a group of smart people talk for a few hours.

Create a culture of healthy debate/healthy decision: This means you have to establish a safe environment where people can share and disagree without fear. We had a board meeting once where Javier Benito, the chief marketing officer of KFC, came in to talk about our new Krusher frozen beverages. He was touting the new U.S. formula, which is different from the one that had been successful internationally. I didn't think the U.S. version was half as good, and I told Javier so at the meeting. He then told me all the reasons why he thought I was wrong. We went back and forth like that for a while in front of the board of directors, who are my bosses. After the meeting, I went straight to Javier’s office and told him how much I appreciated that he had expressed his point of view [and] that he had displayed the courage of his conviction and the kind of behavior we want in our company.

Celebrate using someone else’s idea: There is no idea people love more than their own, but the higher up you get, the more important it is to celebrate other people’s ideas more. Doing so will create an environment where people will want to come to you with their ideas.

Share what you know: I visit Warren Buffett every year, and when people in my organization hear this, they’re always curious. ... So after each visit, I share his wisdom with my team. I've even started picking one of our top leaders to bring with me to our lunch every year as a reward for superior performance.

More Resources
For more information about David Novak and Taking People With You, visit takingpeoplewithyou.com

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