The Sydcast is all about intimate and informative conversations with fascinating people you may not know. Until now. Because everyone has a story.
Listen in as Syd talks to entrepreneurs, community leaders, professional athletes, politicians, academics, authors, musicians, and many more about who they are and how they got there.
Sydney Finkelstein is an award winning professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, and a best-selling author of Superbosses and 25 other books. He’s written for the Harvard Business Review, the BBC, Fortune, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and more academic journals than you’d care to know about. He spends his time asking questions, and sometimes, even answering them.
In this riveting episode of The Sydcast, Syd sits down with Doug Conant to talk about life, leadership, and the pursuit of improving business from the top down. No matter where you may be positioned in your current work situation, the lessons Doug shares will bring your attention to how important a brilliant leader is for a business and how you can take concrete steps towards being one yourself. These aren’t lessons pulled from a vacuum either, this is Doug’s lived experience, and what an experience it is.
Syd Finkelstein is the Steven Roth Professor of Management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. Professor Finkelstein has published 25 books and 90 articles, including the bestsellers Why Smart Executives Fail and Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent, which LinkedIn Chairman Reid Hoffman calls the “leadership guide for the Networked Age.” He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Management, a consultant and speaker to leading companies around the world, and a top 25 on the Global Thinkers 50 list of top management gurus. Professor Finkelstein’s research and consulting work often relies on in-depth and personal interviews with hundreds of people, an experience that led him to create and host his own podcast, The Sydcast, to uncover and share the stories of all sorts of fascinating people in business, sports, entertainment, politics, academia, and everyday life.
Doug is the only former Fortune 500 CEO who is a New York Times best-selling author, a Top 50 Leadership Innovator, a Top 100 Leadership Speaker, and one of the 100 Most Influential Authors in the World.
A devoted leadership practitioner and teacher, Doug’s 45-year career has been defined by achieving high performance through an intentional commitment to studying, practicing, improving, and spreading the tenets of “leadership that works.”
He is Founder and CEO of ConantLeadership, former President and CEO of Campbell Soup Company, former President of Nabisco Foods, and former Chairman of Avon Products. He has also served on multiple corporate boards including AmerisourceBergen and RHR International. He began his career in marketing at General Mills and held leadership positions in marketing and strategy at Kraft.
Doug is also Chairman of CECP—Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose, and proudly
serves on the boards of The Center for Higher Ambition Leadership, the National
Organization on Disability, the Partnership for Public Service, and Hope College. Previously, he was Chairman of The Conference Board, Chairman of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and Chairman of Enactus.
His new Wall Street Journal bestselling book, co-authored with Amy Federman, The
Blueprint: 6 Practical Steps to Lift Your Leadership to New Heights, is available now and is a seminal treatise on leadership and practical guide for leading effectively in a chaotic world. He is also the New York Times bestselling co-author with Mette Norgaard of TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments.
Doug is a graduate of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and served as the Chairman of Kellogg Executive Leadership Institute for five years. He is an instructor of leadership at the Higher Ambition Leadership Institute and he teaches many of the concepts advanced in The Blueprint to seasoned and aspiring leaders in his own signature leadership development course, The BLUEPRINT Boot Camp by
Conant has been named a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust for five
consecutive years and is a Top Thought Leader in Trust Lifetime Achievement Award Winner. He has also been lauded as a Top 100 Leadership Speaker by Inc. Magazine; a Top 100 Most Influential Author in the World; a Top 30 Leadership Professional by Global Gurus; a Leader to Watch by the American Management Association (AMA); a Top 50 Leadership Innovator Changing How We Lead; and a Top 75 Human Business Champion.
Finally, he is the ever-so-proud husband of Leigh and father to their three remarkable children.
Insights from the Episode
- The role a brilliant leader should fill for a company
- How to learn from failure
- How to use role models to guide your career
- How to develop world-class talent
- The importance of crafting a career, not following a straight line
Quotes from the Show:
On the importance of learning from past experiences. “I’m constantly looking at what's working and what's not, what can I do differently, how can I be a little better tomorrow than I was today, how can I grow. For me it’s what makes life so interesting.” -Doug Conant [8:29]
On how to navigate imperfect jobs early in one’s career. “For me it’s about growth, and it’s not just my growth, it's growth and contribution to others. And so I’m always looking through the lens of growing and contributing in a more substantial way.” -Doug Conant [9:22]
“As a CEO, you’re crazy if you think you’re going to know everything. So you’ve got to be able to have a collection of people that know a lot about the subject matter expertise and then you’ve got to be incredibly fluent at orchestrating to optimize your effectiveness at calling on all those talents.” -Doug Conant [10:24]
On leadership as a learnable skill: “I view leadership in a mastery model, you've got to become a craftsman at it. You apprentice, you study, you learn, and most of the time you do it by the seat of your pants, let's be honest. But I think it's imperative that you really embrace the notion of being a brilliant leader to get the most out of people.” -Doug Conant [12:43]
“It’s hard to have courage if you’re not clear on your convictions.” -Doug Conant [26:46]
“You were an overnight success 25 years in the making.” -Syd Finkelstein [30:49]
On the most important aspect of leadership “I find that my effectiveness, in every situation, improves if I’m a good listener. If I’m very attentive with it. I serve people better because I better understand their situation. They appreciate that I’m earnestly trying to hear them and we move forward in a way that’s a higher order of effectiveness.” -Doug Conant [52:24]
LinkedIn: Sydney Finkelstein
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LinkedIn: Douglas Conant
Youtube: Doug Conant
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This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry (www.podcastlaundry.com)