Elizabeth-Liz-SmithJuliet Kyes, one of our Certified Business Coaches forActionCOACH Pinellas, was fortunate enough to attend the St. Petersburg Area Chamber Foundation’s 2011Women’s Symposium on March 3, 2011.  The keynote speaker was Elizabeth “Liz” Smith, CEO of OSI Restaurant Partners, LLC.  Juliet took some great notes and wanted to share them with you.

You figure it out as you go along.

Leaps of faith and unexpected detours always lead to my best career moves.

1.  Being a nimble, agile leader that are willing to figure it out, open, comfortable with ambiguity.

  • Rather than having the master detailed 5-10 year plan – have a scenarial plan that flexible to the current scenario.
  • Kraft example – My grand plan coming out of college was I will stay at Kraft for 3 years and after that I will know everything I need to know to start my own business – ended up staying 14 years
  • One driving force that guided my choices: never settle for what is comfortable unless it fulfills your passion.

2.  Follow your heart; not what is trendy or sexy.

  • Find what gives you passion. Every time I thought I reached a plateau of learning, I was struck by a new exciting challenge for growth.
  • Story: My friends challenged me during the Internet explosion saying, “Are you going to miss the 2nd industrial revolution?”  I was almost convinced to make a quick jump in my career to follow the Internet trend…but it just wasn’t my passion. I followed my passion of a consumer environment and stayed in a career I loved rather than chasing the newest, most profitable trend.
  • At 40, I was no longer motivated and was staying only for comfort and security – I knew it was time to look for something that would give me personal fulfillment.
  • What attracted me was the common mission, purpose and belief that “you can do well, while you’re doing well”.

3. Find ways to differentiate yourself because you can no longer compete on price.

  • I also kept the question in my mind as a leader, “Should I be doing it differently?” I knew the value of not just following the pack.
  • I knew that it would take different “business muscles” and that the marketplace would never be what it was ever again. Aptitudes
  • What works now is a Differentiated holistic approach with a memorable customer experience. Customers want more benefits for a great value.
  • To be successful, businesses need to listen to their consumers like we never have before. We need to innovate and stay current to what our customers want. We need to choose change or we choose becoming irrelevance.
  • Saying with her team “Honor the past, Master the present, and Anticipate the future.”

4. Take the time to mentor and teach.

  • I had amazing business leaders who were direct mentors, coaches and business teachers.
  • They were a great sounding board and a venue for advice. I always got more from those who I mentored than they even got from me. I learned a lot from those who I mentored. One mentee gave me the great analogy of me being a newly promoted leader acting like a controlling, micro manager as a sneering dog showing their teeth with a bone in its mouth telling me to take it, take it –when he pointed out if you just put the bone down and walk away—I would be happy to pick the bone up. Even to this day, I ask myself “Did I put the bone down?” Am I getting out of the way so others can take it on and do it their way?
  • The best leaders are those who can admit their failures and communicate what they did about it. Leaders with the confidence, candor, and humility to talk about their own failures have the ability to empower their employees. Always remember to Fail Fast. Recognize quickly when you have made a mistake and correct it before you have dumped excess time and money into it.

5. Final Thought… My entire identity is not tied up in one outcome.

  • I live a 360 degree life and career has never been the most important thing in my life. Work has never solely defined me. My advice would be to lead inspired lives. You deserve to be fulfilled.

Ended with a quote from Jim Collins from Good To Great – who was also one of her university instructors.

This was a great symposium for me to attend.  I took away great things that will not only help me be a better executive coach but a better person.  If you would like to learn how you can improve your business and yourself, visit ActionCOACH Pinellas.  You will learn simple and effective strategies that you can implement immediately.