Recently I was the winning bidder at a CEO charity auction where one of the executives on the auction block was Steve Forbes, publishing executive, chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media, and founder of Empower America. A few weeks after the auction, I flew to New York and met Steve at the Four Seasons restaurant to spend a few hours with him. What a great experience!
When I arrived at the restaurant, not only did Steve have a special gift for me, he had laid my three books on the table. He gave me a warm greeting, said that he had looked at my books, my blog, and my tweets, and was really excited to talk with me. True to his word, Steve was familiar with my books, knew what I’d been blogging about, he even knew how many Twitter followers I had! I was speechless.
After recommending the Dover sole (which was delicious), Steve shared that he had decided before meeting me that I was the “real deal”. He said that my latest book, Energized Enterprise, should be on the must read list for anyone who intends to become President. And now as I’m watching the current race for the White House play out, I agree that it could be a helpful resource to some of the candidates. But, I digress.
Back to Steve…
During our time together, Steve was focused and prepared. He offered helpful advice on how to make my business, my books, and my media presence more influential and successful. One valuable piece of guidance: Adopt a discipline of bringing together leaders from different organizations and engage them with your discoveries, innovations, and publications. This will enhance your understanding of their issues and their opportunities. This will boost your relevance.
Steve encouraged me to expand my understanding of all the factors that affect the leaders to whom my message is geared. He also suggested that when people such as radio or television interviewers ask me about my work that I should always be prepared to get down to the “nitty gritty” explaining how my thought leadership is applicable to what is going on in our local, national, and global environment.
Soon after our meeting, as Steve suggested, I hosted a series of executive forums in Washington, DC bringing together CEOs from a wide variety of industries. During these forums, I shared with leaders how my books and solutions address the challenges they face. I gauged their reactions and gathered their insights. These roundtables were a big success and led to many new introductions into organizations where leaders are leveraging our body of knowledge and expertise to help them achieve their transformation goals.
During our time together, Steve Forbes exhibited organizational mastery. He is a total systems thinker who integrates people, processes, and products. He knows it is critical to understand the bigger system in which you aim to stand out and make a difference. In my case, this involves expanding my grasp of the many elements that drive and impact the consulting business, the publishing industry, and the media community. It also includes keeping my finger on the pulse of current challenges that leaders face.
Individuals with organizational mastery, like Steve, exhibit an understanding of how their environment works and how different factors influence one another. They constantly work to deepen their knowledge of systems and how all the moving parts work together. They consider the impact of inputs, throughputs, outputs, and stakeholders in their strategies for change and improvement.
Successful and influential people see the big picture. They grasp how the actions of one person can affect the lives of many. They also inspire others to think beyond their current domains of responsibility as they ignite a total systems mindset in those around them. If this concept resonates with you, as a first step I suggest getting down to the “nitty gritty” and taking action to gain a better understanding of the environment in which you operate and the elements of your total system. Here’s to your success!