Transformational Leadership

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Filed under: Canright Inspirations, Chicago Networking

Transformational Leadership

I heard Joe Plumeri, CEO of the Willis Group Holdings, speak at The Executives’ Club of Chicago on October 29, at the club’s first CEO Breakfast of the season.

Plumeri talked about the crisis in trust that American business faces and how greater transparency is needed to rebuild that trust. One consequence of today’s economic climate is that people and companies are afraid to take the risks required for growth and to restore trust.

Businesses must be willing to embrace change and new visions. Plumeri read a letter written in the early 1800s by New York Governor Martin Van Buren to U.S. President Andrew Jackson on the evils of a new form of transportation—the railroad—and how it would wipe out the established and better-known canal system. As Plumeri told the story about the letter, outlining all the ways the railroad would destroy our country, I saw how ludicrous Van Buren’s points were. And how perception, fear, and lack of trust can drive behavior.

Instilling trust and leading from vision is one characteristic of transformational leadership. One of the strategies our company has in growing our business is to learn more about leadership—we are attending a symposium on transformational leadership in November, and will be changing some of our own perceptions about risk, trust, and doing business in this day and age.

So, rather than hunkering down and being risk-averse, we are purposively seeking new ideas and ways of doing business. All in all, doing all the things that businesses do.