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Fortune 500-inspired blueprint for leadership in a VUCA world

Former Nabisco, Campbell Soup leader Doug Conant on model for leaders


“Your life story is your leadership story,” – Doug Conant

Leaders are being swamped by this VUCA World (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous). They hunger to do better, says Douglas R. Conant, former Fortune 500 CEO, bestselling author and keynote speaker.

With 40 years’ leadership experience at global companies including Nabisco Foods Company, Campbell Soup Company, and Avon Products, Doug encouraged this week’s masterclass leaders to become the best version of themselves. And, that means everyone.

“We’re all leaders, we’re all people of significance,” he says.

Easy as 1, 2, 3.....

Doug Conant says leadership is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

1.     Envision how you want to show up.

2.     Write your life story down.

3.     Be more like the people who had a profound influence on you.

In 2011, he founded ConantLeadership, which champions leadership that works in the 21st century.

His book The Blueprint, co-authored with Amy Federman, became a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller and outlines six steps to lift leadership.

ConantLeadership Blueprint Process

·       Envision – What is my boldest dream of leadership success?

·       Reflect – What life experiences have influenced my leadership beliefs?

·       Study – What leadership lessons, beyond my own experiences, can I learn?

·       Plan – What does my personalized leadership approach look like?

·       Practice – How can I tangibly bring my leadership approach to life?

·       Improve – How can I do better?

ConantLeadership Flywheel leadership model

Doug encourages leaders to build a leadership model. He shared his model the ConantLeadership Flywheel, which has 8 practices. Doug says each time around the flywheel it gets easier to inspire trust, to clarify purpose, to create direction, to drive alignment, to build vitality, to execute with excellence, and to produce extraordinary results. 


Practice Area 1: Honor People

It’s ALL about the people. Give them your time and attention. Seek to understand. “How can I help?” Assume good intentions and lead with listening.

Practice Area 2: Inspire Trust

You must continually inspire trust at every step along the way. Model the behavior you expect from others. Acknowledge mistakes.

Practice Area 3: Clarify Higher Purpose

This practice area must be attended to first to tether the work to shared meaning, so everyone is on the right path even in the face of adversity.

Practice Area 4: Create Direction

You must collaboratively develop a clear and compelling plan for achieving agreed upon goals. As global leadership speaker Jim Collins says, confront the brutal facts facing you or your organization, question assumptions, challenge paradigms.

Practice Area 5: Drive Alignment

Organise all the resources at your disposal to bring the planned agenda to fruition.

Practice Area 6: Build Vitality

Give people the energy to do their best work while also challenging them to do better.

Practice Area 7: Execute with Excellence

This practice area demands that plans are vigorously attended to, that results are tracked and measured, and that progress is not waylaid by obstacles.

Practice Area 8: Produce Extraordinary Results

Embrace a results-oriented mindset.

Doug's Book Recommendations for Leaders 

During the Growth Faculty masterclass, the bestselling author named five books that leaders should read:

·       Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin

·       One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer

·       Atomic Habits by James Clear

·       The Tiny Habits That Change by BJ Fogg

·       Mindset by Carol Dweck.

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