A Conversation for Any Leader in Any Industry

lightbulb-in-wall-businessman-John SculleyWe’d all agree that education is important, but too often once we end our formal schooling, doing our job and the demands of family life bump our continued learning down the priority list. That’s understandable. I know that for sure because it’s happened to me. But in order to continue to be successful in our careers, business and leadership development, the learning can never stop.

ExecuNet is an executive education company. This is where thought leaders come to share the latest findings of their research and where executives come to join other like-minded individuals in learning how to take on their next challenge.

A few weeks ago, I invited you to join me in attending a Master Class with one of America’s best-known businesspeople: John Sculley. The former CEO of both Apple and Pepsi, John is a true master of adaptive innovation.

He spoke about game-changing strategies for building a billion-dollar business, shared insights on leadership and delivering a memorable customer experience, and the value of mentorship. It was all fascinating, really, however, what made the largest impact on me as I reflected on the program was what Sculley said about the nature of work, mindset and attitude.

Twenty years ago less than five percent of the American workforce were independent 1099s, yet today it’s estimated that about 25 percent of the American workforce are 1099s, and by 2020 that number is expected to rise to 40 percent. In both small and large companies, the whole model of work is being reinvented; it’s becoming more project oriented. There is much better data tool to enable people who are recruiting talent to make better decisions.

“The world of work has shifted from functional organizations, often siloed from each other in terms of the information they share, to a work much more around projects where talent is recruited by credentials and skills that can contribute to a project and a virtual ecosystem. Some of those people may be permanent employees, some may be part-time. It’s just a different world in terms of how work gets done,” said Sculley.

How one views the world makes all the difference. It’s essential to have a sense of curiosity and to not lose the start-up mentality of “can-do-it-ness” and a feeling of “what if.” Successful people are constantly seeking a better way. They may not even realize what they are curious about will be important to them in the future. “Really successful people are optimists,” said Sculley. New companies are led by people who have a sense of urgency, optimism and focus – with little baggage. “You can have incredibly talented people, but they can be trapped in a legacy culture that makes it hard to pivot and try things that are bold.” To Sculley, the most successful people are those who survey the landscape through the eyes of the customer. “Start with customer focus, solve a customer problem, and realize the way one organizes to do that today is radically different than even a decade ago.”

I urge you to listen to the recording of the conversation. Here’s what some attendees of the live event had to say afterward:

  • “Talks like this are life-changing and make you see things from a different perspective.”
  • “Great learning that I can apply right away on my outside board seat/function and daily functions.”
  • “The conversational quality of the information is highly valuable. These are not prepared remarks, they are genuine insights.”
  • “This content would apply to any leader in any industry. Practical and real-world experience from high-level successful people.”
  • “An opportunity to glean pearls of wisdom from the best of the best in the business world.”

This special edition of ExecuNet Master Class is a can’t-miss treat!



Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson is ExecuNet's president and chief economist. An Arjay Miller Scholar, Mark received his MBA from Stanford University and a BA in economics from Yale University. He joined ExecuNet in 1993, with extensive marketing and new product and business development experience, having served as president and founder of A&M Associates, an investment management firm. Mark's corporate leadership experience includes several senior marketing and financial positions with RCA Global Communications (a GE subsidiary) and American Can Company.

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