Speaker advocates leadership at Economic Summit 2012

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— Alexander the Great conquered Persia in the fourth century and his military tactics still are studied today. But if he was the CEO of a large corporation today, Alexander might be known as a great boss for his ability to lead from the front and fully execute new strategic initiatives for his company.

“Alexander the Great always led the charge to battle riding a white horse so the enemy could recognize him,” Stephen Muntean, of Muntean Leadership Group, told an audience of community leaders Thursday during Economic Summit 2012 at The Steamboat Grand. “Some bosses believe, ‘I develop the strategy, and the troops execute it.’ But it doesn’t work that way.”

Bosses who adopt Alexander’s approach can be assured that not only will their team follow them into the fray, but they’ll also protect them, Muntean said. He and his wife, Diane, run Muntean Leadership Group, helping companies including Verizon develop new leaders. The couple moved to Steamboat Springs this week.

Economic Summit 2012 was designed by Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association CEO Tom Kern to lay the groundwork for a new strategic vision of the Yampa Valley’s economic future.

Muntean said that often, those who become the best leaders are individuals who have the resolve to follow through on strategic plans like the new plan Kern hopes the Chamber Economic Development Council will develop for the community.

“We’re in the process of trying to come up with some direction around Steamboat and the region,” Muntean said. “Execution is the missing link in everything that goes on.”

Yet, very few of the business success books on the shelves today actually deal with execution, he said.

If you go to any college or bookstore, you’ll find books on strategic thinking, but there’s very little on execution,” Muntean said. “It’s the great unaddressed issue in business today.”

One of the exceptions is a book he recommended to his audience: “Execution, the Discipline of Getting Things Done,” by former Honeywell CEO Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan.

One of the lessons he has learned about execution, Muntean said, is that everyone in an organization must feel a sense of ownership, and he advises good bosses to listen thoughtfully to suggestions from everyone in the organization. By doing so, he said, bosses confer that sense of ownership on their employees and enlist their cooperation.

Too many bosses, Muntean said, are preoccupied with shoring up their companies’ weaknesses, which leads only to mediocrity. Instead, he said they should be focused on leveraging the personal strengths of their employees by ensuring they are in the proper role.

“The key today more than anything, is to leverage peoples’ strengths,” Muntean said. “You don’t put people in positions where their weaknesses are glaring. You put people in positions where their strengths are glaring.”

To the owners of smaller businesses in his audience, Muntean said that in order to bring a new vision for their company to fruition, they must believe that it has a good future in Steamboat.

“It starts with this,” Muntean said. “If you want to come up with a new vision for your organization, you need to believe that you can be more successful. You have to believe there is a market that’s bigger than it is now for your goods and services. You have to believe you can be more successful out there. If you don’t believe, all the planning work is going to be for naught.”

Most of all, turning a vision into a new reality takes execution.

Execution takes months, takes years sometimes,” Muntean said. “It takes focus.”

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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