Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on Friday, November 14, 2014 at 1:00 PM PST
On November 13th the Albers Executive Speaker Series hosted a panel discussion on, "Leadership: Building Agile and Adaptive Teams in a Complex Environment." The panel included Melanie Dressel, President and CEO of Columbia Bank, Harvey Kanter, Chairman, CEO, and President of Blue Nile, and Lieutenant General Stephen Lanza, Commander of I Corps at Joint Base Lewis McCord. These three bring an impressive amount of successful leadership experience from three very different sectors. The panel was moderated by Dr. Marilyn Gist, our Associate Dean for Graduate Business Programs and Director of the Center for Leadership Formation.
Our three panelists illustrated three different leadership styles, all of which have been successful in their sector or industry - General Lanza in the military, Harvey Kanter in retail, and Melanie Dressel in financial services. At the same time, it was noteworthy how they continually mentioned common themes in building successful organizations. Competence among employees is expected but not sufficient. They emphasized the importance of trust, both in them gaining trust from their colleagues but them also trusting colleagues to make the right decisions and learn from experience. They also noted the importance of finding people of character who would embrace the values of the organization. They each noted the importance of establishing a culture of teamwork, who understand it is about the mission of the organization and what the team can accomplish. It is not about what is in it for the individual employee. Finally, each panelist emphasized the importance of leading by example. All of their colleagues watch what they do, and they must always remember to be consistent and faithful to the values and culture of the organization in their own actions.
The panel discussion was a great opportunity for our students and it was great to see how the panelists reinforced values and lessons that the Albers School conveys to students! Thank you panelists!