INBOUND2014 – Leaders Set the Tone

I am just back from a day one at INBOUND and I am still blown away by the size of it. This year’s annual event held by HubSpot has moved from Boston’s Hynes Convention Center to the Boston Convention and Exhibitor Center in South Boston…they needed to move to accommodate the 10,000 plus attendees. That’s right, more than 10,000 marketers registered from 50 countries all to learn about INBOUND marketing.

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The first keynote was an inspirational session with author and optimist, Simon Sinek, who offered some new ways to think about leadership and reminded us of some ways we may have just forgotten. The leadership angle ties into his latest book, Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t and it points out that as leaders, we need to set the example for our organization, our teams and how we want to live our lives.

He used the example of a CEO sitting in his office and telling someone announcing a caller on the phone that he  should say he is not there. As Sinek tells the story he whispers the CEO’s response, “tell them I am not here” and the audience chuckles because we’ve done it or heard it more often that not. However, it was a lie. A lie, a little white lie some may say. However, the CEO could have just chosen to tell the truth (I am busy or I will call back later) but instead, he showed that it is ok to lie when we want or think we need to. Not a good example of leadership.

Sinek illustrates another example, when someone says they need to talk to us and we say sure, but maybe our phone is in our hand or our laptop is still open. We are not committed to that conversation, not engaging them fully and not giving our time. True leaders would put the phone in their back pocket and shut down their laptop to make time for the person. “Leaders model the behavior of the organization,” Sinek reminds us.

As marketers and as leaders in our organizations we all have the opportunity to set the tone, model the behavior. Leaders who say they are all about metrics are missing the bigger picture. Leaders should use metrics to guide us and our organizations, but leadership is about vision.

One final quote from Sinek’s presentation at INBOUND to make you think about the role of leadership, vision and the model to set for your organization…“the cost of leadership is self-interest.”

Author: Erika Goldwater CIPP/US @erikawg is Director of Marketing, ANNUITAS


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