College of Business Blog
Leadership lessons from Don Soderquist and others
Friday, April 25, 2014
Last night, JBU’s Soderquist Center for Leadership and Ethics commemorated its 15th anniversary with an evening of celebration and leadership lessons.
Along with SCLE Founding Executive Don Soderquist, former COO of Walmart, panelists Doug McMillon (current CEO of Walmart), Steve Reinemund (former CEO of PepsiCo) and John Pepper (former CEO of Procter & Gamble) shared their thoughts on success, ethical leadership and “walking the talk.”
Some thoughts on leadership from the panelists included:
- "Trust is the basis of all relationships." Don Soderquist
- "There's a big difference in people who give feedback to deride, and people who give feedback because they want you to succeed." -Steve Reinemund
- "Setting an example consistently and telling stories is such a big deal. I learned a lot of that from Don." -Doug McMillon
- "Being a good example isn't the main thing, it's the only thing." -John Pepper
- "As a leader, I had to learn to listen to my people, enable them and stand by them when they made decisions." -Steve Reinemund
- "Hire individuals who are willing to challenge you." - Steve Reinemund
- "Risk taking is huge for innovation at Walmart. We can't be afraid to fail. A well thought out plan should be rewarded, even if it fails." -Doug McMillon
- "There are few things that build a greater sense of trust than taking a risk with someone, and joining them in it." -John Pepper
- "There's nothing a leader likes more than an first-level manager who has thought about something enough to earn a voice in the issue."
- "You can never stop telling stories. The principles are clear. You remember the principles because you remember the stories."
- "Leadership is a combination of competence and character."
When asked what advice they'd give to their younger selves, comments included:
- Make a difference. Keep learning and never stop.
- Create vision for your team that will inspire and encourage.
- Always look for opportunity to make a bigger difference.
- Individual purpose should be the driving factor every day and your life should make that come alive.
- Don't compartmentalize your life: church, business and personal. Be true to the same values in every area.
- You have to be in alignment with the values of the company you go to work for.
- Remain humble, be a servant leader, and be willing to do whatever it takes, always. Keep your family a priority. Set high standards.
- Be respected in your organization, but be an example outside as well. Represent character.
- Life is about choices. If you have your purpose in mind and a set of values to guide you, you are likely to accomplish your purpose.
Many of the Center's former Soderquist Fellows, JBU Graduate Business students who worked for the SCLE while earning their MBA or Leadership and Ethics degree from John Brown University, attended the event.