Lars Sudmann: Take One Thing and Do It!

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FUTURE OF FINANCE 2018

Take One Thing and Do It!

Lars Sudmann | Principal, Sudmann & Co

A dynamic world, with short operating histories, is the reality for anyone in today’s financial sector. Leadership expert Lars Sudmann shared his ideas on what tomorrow’s leader needs, and what their organisations will need from them.

The growing complexity of projects and increasing volatility of the environment in which they occur means laissez-fare leadership is no longer an option (if it ever was). Academic and in-the-field research suggests modern innovative leaders are able to turn necessity into a message that will inspire people. So how do they do that?

First, they have not just a plan, but a vision; and Sudmann challenged everyone present to identify what their own vision is and to summarise this — in no more than eight words.

The spaghetti principle

Secondly, great leaders are always looking to innovate. For which Sudmann recommends adopting what he calls the ‘spaghetti principle’. To test if spaghetti is cooked, you throw it against the wall. Do the same with you and your colleagues’ ideas. Constantly test, iterate, experiment. Challenge your own status quo. Try something different: if meetings are dull, try walking meetings; if they’re too long, try making everyone drink two glasses of water before the meeting starts (think about it…).  

Finally, good leaders empower people to do the job. Don’t tell them what to do, coach them to come up with the answer for themselves.

Take one thing. And do it.

In conclusion, Sudmann had a vivid image for an all-too-familiar conference pitfall: ‘avoid the vapour trail’. Just as a plane’s vapour trail gradually dissipates behind it in the sky, so people’s determination to act on all the great ideas they’ve heard during a conference tends to dissipate within days of their return to the busy routine of work. Lars Sudmann’s solution? Take just one thing from the whole conference that you want to implement and ensure that you do it the day you get back from the conference. Tomorrow matters.