Market Overview

Anatomy Of A Decision Series Highlights Skills Necessary To Climb To The Top Of The Corporate Ladder

Anatomy Of A Decision Series Highlights Skills Necessary To Climb To The Top Of The Corporate Ladder

GLG recently produced a series of videos that include interviews with a number of business leaders who have different backgrounds in the business world. GLG, the world’s leading membership network for professional learning, focused its Anatomy of a Decision series on the decision-making process that these leaders used to make some of the most difficult choices of their careers.

Each of the participants in the video series offered advice about how future leaders should approach critical decisions. Several of the participants also discussed ways they wish they had done things differently throughout their careers as well. Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights from the five-part series.

Series Highlights

For former Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) CEO Jeff Kindler, the key to his business success was an open mind.

“I started saying I should be open to whatever comes along,” Kindler said. “And that led me down all kinds of different paths I never would have predicted.”

Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson said preparation and confidence go a long way in the business world.

“When you have to confront powerful people about unpleasant things that they don’t want to talk about like their personal finances or their campaign finances, you develop a kind of calm steadiness that allows you not to get horribly nervous,” Abramson said.

Pamela Thomas-Graham, former Credit Suisse Group AG (ADR) (NYSE: CS) board member, CEO of CNBC and the first ever African-American partner at McKinsey & Co., had some advice for anyone who is subjected to discrimination in the workplace. She said anger is often not constructive, but direct, open dialogue can be.

“You can be angry and you can be frustrated, but if you really want to change people’s behavior you have to meet them where they are,” she said.

Jeffrey Brenzel, dean of undergraduate admissions at Yale, said companies often underestimate the importance of the hiring process.

“It’s not who you fire, it’s who you hire that is going to make the difference between success and failure for your company,” Brenzel said. “And how those decisions are made and who’s making them and what the process is for making those decisions I think could not conceivably be more critical.”

Jake Sullivan, a former advisor to former President Barack Obama, discussed the importance of removing irrational emotions from his decision-making process when discussing the Iranian nuclear deal with the president.

“Being able to make that decision to recommend to the president that we go ahead and do this deal required stepping back from the anxiety, the emotion, the nerve-wracking idea that maybe we were going to screw this thing up and actually systematically running a cost benefit analysis,” he said.

Collectively, these five leaders have decades of experience at the highest level of the business world. Despite the fact that all of them have unique backgrounds and areas of expertise, the themes of adaptability, preparation, discipline, respect, and critical thinking were common among their discussions. In order to have a chance at reaching the pinnacle of success in any field, young entrepreneurs and aspiring executives should focus on honing these universal skills on a daily basis.

Related Links:

Anatomy Of A Decision, Part 1: The C-Suite

Anatomy Of A Decision, Part 2: The Newsroom

Anatomy Of A Decision, Part 3: Minorities In The Boardroom

Anatomy of a Decision, Part 4: The Admissions Office

Anatomy Of A Decision, Part 5: The West Wing


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