Women Executives Speak Out About Disruptive Leadership

When asked this question, two bold executives offer some invaluable insight into what you can do to have unprecedented outcomes from disruptive leadership.

Extraordinary leaders have always disrupted the status quo to give birth to a new reality. Some did it boldly, some worked quietly, and others rose from obscurity.

Most agree that the impetus for providing disruptive leadership often begins with:

  • Realizing the definite need for change.
  • Accepting that certain moves need to be made that previously sounded impossible.

It then takes disrupting the very mindset that has led to previous successes.

Virginia Albanese, president and CEO of FedEx Custom Critical has grown the business 26% since June 2007 when she began there.

At the beginning “everyone had differing opinions on what the priority was, on what needed to be accomplished.” Alignment needed to be created, even with as large a unit as 600 employees and 2500 contractors and drivers. And indeed it was.

Albanese says that to provide transformational leadership:

  • You can not just be interested in riding out the wave.
  •  You need to have solid leaders in place who can not only formulate the strategy, but who can execute on it as well.
  •  These leaders need to be able to powerfully communicate the strategy.
  •  And they need to have the trust of their employees.

“When customers are happy, they’ll come back to you again and again…we made sure that people understood that giving the customer the right solution at the right time will get them to call back again.…customers want the solutions, not just what you’ve got.”

At Danone, Muriel Penicaud, GM of Human Resources, has empowered the development of thousands to lead the way in Danone’s transformation.

When asked about what she is learning along the way that might contribute to others, she says:

  •  “A disruptive leader catalyzes collective energy…is open-minded and curious of everything. He/she embodies a vision and transforms business.”
  •  Like Simon Sinek, author of “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t,” Penicaud says you can’t just be someone who is simply popular, rather, (you need to) be someone who draws others to you because you embody a vision.
  • “There is no recipe to be a good leader, you have to be yourself…and draw from your inner resources to really impact.”

Both these disruptive leaders agree that you can’t go it alone when providing transformational leadership. It takes:

  • A bold attractive vision that is communicated broadly,
  • A team of strong leaders aligned with the vision and able to execute.
  • And the trust of your employees.

What changes are calling you to envision and execute boldly right now?

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