EOL Mentorship Field Guide: November


EOL Mentorship Field Guide: Level 5 Leadership

--who we're listening to--

Bob Spooner, President – Americas, Treasury Wine Estate
Interviewed by Sebastian Huelswitt, Essilor USA

SEBASTIAN: What is your one thing?
If I think about my career and life in general, integrity would be my one thing. I hold that value very close to my heart. In business and as a leader it is very important that you are trusted and seen to have a high degree of integrity. I think if you do not have integrity, it is very hard to lead. That would be my one thing that I always do come back to, be it with difficult decisions or how to best communicate something, integrity would be a core value.

SEBASTIAN: What does culture mean to your organization and what have you done to develop that culture?
When I came over to America, we had a culture that was very command and control, very silo orientated. My experience has been that you need people to be involved and engaged, be very clear where you are going and what you want people to do. I find, when evolving a culture, that too many times people put an emphasis around talking but not listening. You gain an enormous amount by listening to people and a culture should allow ideas to be heard and acted upon from the people on the show floor to the executive suite.

SEBASTIAN: How do you recognize future leaders within your organization and how do you foster their development?
A good analogy is sports. If you see athletes at the top of their game, you have to understand how they got there. Nine times out of ten, they may have had some talent but it is through hard work that they got to the top of their game. You can recognize future leaders by their work ethic. That is an important element to help stand out from the crowd.

Another thing to help recognize future leaders is common sense, but it’s hard to find because you can’t see it on a resume. Great leaders have a degree of common sense about the way they operate.

When I look for future leaders of business, I am looking for someone who wants to be at the top of their game, wants to work hard, has a capability and competence, has a degree of ambition and is able to learn from their mistakes. They also need to have the courage to make decisions, even knowing that, with the 80/20 rule, 20% of their decisions will likely be wrong. They must be willing to learn from those mistakes.

SEBASTIAN: Have you ever worked with an exceptional leader? In your opinion, what attributes made him or her so successful?
People follow leaders. I worked with someone, many years ago, who could take people with him. He could articulate a vision of where he wanted to go with a degree of passion and get people to follow him. Having vision and getting engagement through communication, he was able to communicate his passion across to his team and organization.

Another leader I studied was the CEO of a large supermarket chain who had managed 20 years of growth. He would go into stores and, instead of asking, “What’s wrong,” he asked, “What’s going well for you?” The CEO started with the positive because often we focus too much on things that need change. My advice is to lead from the front, have courage, reward success, and engage people and they will follow you.

 --what we're talking about--

Kick off your mentorship session with this month’s starter questions:

  • Where are you looking to anticipate change?
  • What is the diversity measure of your network?
  • Are you courageous enough to abandon the past?

  --what we're reading--

Emerging Optical Leaders Program
Eyewear & Accessories Division
Lab Division
Lens Division
Lens Processing Technology Division
Low Vision Division
Sunglass & Reader Division