It’s pretty much fact: the world around us is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. These VUCA forces are recasting industries, companies and entire societies with lightning speed. Leadership, however, is a constant. In fact, as creative business iconoclast Kevin Roberts puts it, “In these crazy times, everyone must lead.”
“Leadership is the defining difference in any field… leading in a crazy world requires a wider range of skills and emotional capabilities than ever,” elaborates Roberts, the chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, one of the world’s most iconic advertising brands. “A leader’s skillset has to be meta, macro and micro; soft and hard; strategic and creative; directional and executional.”
Put this way, meeting today’s turbulent demands seems an impossible task for any leader – but Roberts is optimistic. So is his latest book, “64 Shots: Leadership in a Crazy World” (powerHouse Books, June 2016), written to share “everything I’ve learned in business to propel the 21st century leader.”
The book’s title is purposeful, too. A shot being a fast swing, an injection, a strong drink, an explosive charge, a moonshot; Roberts offers 64 of them. The number is chock full of meaning – for him personally, but also historically, culturally and ironically. But the title is only a taste of the master blend of inspiration, entertainment and wisdom found inside. Different “shots” will help different people; they’re all designed to illuminate, activate and accelerate what it takes to lead in such extraordinary times.
At the core of the book are four “shots” for creating a winning culture, accelerating creativity and unleashing employee engagement. Roberts explains, “Business isn’t rocket science, though it does run on rocket fuel. Leaders must inspire people to be the best they can be in pursuit of a dream. Leaders develop greatness in people through the four pillars.”
- “Responsibility is the foundation. The key is to give people responsibility before they are ready. Spread every eagle’s wings, unleash their potential, and extend their range. They will reward you beyond measure.”
- “Elevated responsibility should take place in a framework of learning. Screwing up is OK, if you fix failure fast and learn from it. Train people to do what they love, the activities they were born for. Play people in positions where they’re at their best.”
- “Recognition means giving people what they care about. Recognize people personally, individually, and not just financially. Base it on who they are, not just what they did. They will perform better, stay longer, and take you higher.”
- “A winning culture is demanding, but not dispiriting. Its performance-driven engine hums with passion, harmony, and joy. To create a culture where ideas and innovation flow, you need all four pillars in equal parts, every day.”
Roberts, the former CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi and executive of Procter & Gamble, Gillette and Pepsi-Cola, has much to offer every leader, from veteran to aspiring, at every level of life and career. The book captures his experiences as much as his essence – uncompromisingly positive, straight-forward, and brimming with the attitude and provocation that fuels his own life and career. Roberts is an eminent authority on leadership, brands and the future of marketing; he’s the genius behind Lovemarks, the groundbreaking concept that shows how emotion inspires businesses and brands to deliver sustainable value.
You might also be interested in reading Roberts’ recently published Forbes Q&A and watching his on-air Bloomberg interview, where he discusses “64 Shots” and why he believes emotion will trump fact in this year’s U.S. presidential election.