Lessons for leadership in the era of economic uncertainty

This morning I attended an inspiring executive round-table event with Ram Charan.

Charan is a well known speaker in the business world, an author of many business strategy books and a consultant / coach / board member to several Fortune 500 companies.

As small business owners and entrepreneurs not all the corporate advice works for us but here are some of the key points I took from the event:

1 – Realism and credibility / integrity – always be open and truthful and explain why this is your view point.

2 – Leaders can not win without people – inspiration is key. You must motivate your staff.

3 – Promise yourself you will come out stronger from this bad economy use creative ways to get through. Determination is always important but consider partnerships if needed.

4 – Communicate- more often and more direct.

5 – Protect key talent – time might not seem right but consider hiring new good talent.

… and some general observations about the economy and economic plans:

“Cautiously optimistic” is the general feeling about where the economy is heading. Charan feels everybody missed the fact that the financial system went out of control but feels the current administration, Secretary Geithner and Chairman Bernanke are smart and are doing the right thing.

Finally, one comment made about innovation: Can it be taught was a question? and Rams answer was (my words) that innovation is conversion of ideas into growth and gross margins. The difference between innovation and invention is that these days you can buy inventions on the open market and so you can teach innovation and learn from inventors. No one thought they could duplicate what Ford did with the Model T…