The Albers Executive Speaker Series kicked off for the year with René Ancinas, President and CEO of Port Blakely Companies, visiting on October 19th. Port Blakely Companies is a fourth-generation family-owned business with forestry and real estate interests in the Pacific Northwest and New Zealand. Many of those who attended found René to be one of the best if not the best speaker they have listened to in the series. That is saying a lot, because just about every major business leader in Seattle has participated in the series!
René talked about his background as a musician has influenced his approach to music. He said some of his best role models for leadership have been musical conductors. “Everybody leads from the seat they are in,” said René. The person in front cannot tell everyone what they should be doing. The successful conductor gets them to lead themselves. This is the model that René uses in his own leadership.
René suggested there are five key principles to leadership:
- Walk the walk. You will not be successful if you say one thing and do another and do not lead by example.
- Take a servant leadership approach. It is not about you, it is about the success of organization.
- Know your weaknesses. Don’t try to be someone you are not. Find people who are strong in ways you are not.
- Build a good team. Or, maybe he meant to say build a good orchestra! :}
- Develop and inspire people. That is definitely the conductor model!
René noted that as a leader, he is more concerned with selecting people for the team based on their values alignment and what they bring as a person in terms of their beliefs and self-awareness. Skill requirements serve as a filter for finding people, but skills are not the critical factor.
Finally, René used Prezi to do his presentation, a cloud based presentation software. The audience loved it and I think he has inspired some new adopters!
The next speaker is Tod Nielsen, co-President at VMWare, on November 3rd. You need to be there!