Adam Bryant is the Managing Director of Merryck & Co., a senior leadership development and executive mentoring firm. Prior to joining Merryck, Adam worked for 30 years as a journalist, including 18 years as a reporter, editor, and columnist at The New York Times. Adam cites the most common pitfall leaders face. “In terms of leader challenges, the biggest one is the gap between how clear something is in their own head versus how clear it is to everybody else.”
[5:25] Adam shares what inspired him to write his book, The CEO Test.
[7:10] This book is not just for CEOs! This is a book for leaders.
[9:10] The simplest questions are often the hardest to answer.
[10:15] A lot of leaders think they understand strategy, but actually, we each define strategy completely differently and it’s not so clear what it really means.
[11:35] A leader’s job is often to just explain to people where they’re headed. Almost like answering questions the way little children have in the backseat of a long car ride.
[12:15] Your strategy might seem clear to you, but to your team, it’s not. It’s important to constantly check in and double-check that everyone understands where we’re headed.
[13:15] We love simple answers to complex problems, but that rarely works the way we need it to.
[15:00] New leaders are confused. They don’t know how to be.
[17:15] Leadership looks so simple on paper, but the moment you’re in the field and practicing it on real people, the results really do vary.
[19:40] Leadership has gotten harder. Adam explains why.
[24:15] Adam recommends some of the best ways leaders should be thinking about strategy.
[25:15] Here’s a quick one-page exercise you can do to really narrow your focus and get everyone centered on strategy.
[27:35] We’re losing the beauty of writing. Everything seems to be so quick and bullet-pointed.
[32:00] In Adam’s experience, a lot of leadership teams are simply too close to their business and are not able to see their own downfalls because they view themselves as the “expert.”
[35:45] Leaders really need to take some priority and time off just to think about the big picture. They need to step away from being in the business.
[38:25] Adam wonders why CEO tenures are so short.
[41:35] Leaders are often good at solving problems, but it doesn’t appear that many are rewarded for preventing problems from occurring in the first place.
[43:35] Adam talks about “the art of the good dumb question.”
[46:35] Listener challenge: Who is the best listener you know? Listening well is a lost art and a very underrated leadership skill.