A Pipeline to the Corner Office

The business section of the Sunday New York Times has an exceptional new feature. The ‘Corner Office’ column asks leaders of Fortune 500 companies what they have learned about communication, technology, how to conduct effective meetings, time management, and other lessons that apply to leaders of  any organization.

A NYT Corner Office ColumnIt is great stuff. These people are incredibly accomplished and successful, and the ‘Corner Office’ has quickly become a treasure trove of terrific tips and advice.

Here are some samples:

Bobbi Brown, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics: I don’t e-mail people. I call them because I want them to hear my voice.

James J. Schiro, Zurich Financial Services: Young people today look at Facebook. They look at YouTube. They are in a totally different communication realm. I still read newspapers. But they are getting their information off the Internet. I went to our communications people and I said, “I’m going to use YouTube, and we’re going to set up a blog.” We usually have a midyear meeting where we bring 400 people in. I said: “Look, we’re going to cancel that for cost reasons, but we’re not going to cancel the communication with people. When I come out of these meetings or have a message, we’re going to put something on YouTube, and tell people, it’s on YouTube. You can go here.”

Dana Levy of DailyCandy.com

Dany Levy, DailyCandy.com: I’m not a big believer in a lot of meetings. When I do run a meeting, I love the term, “hard stop,” and in the beginning of a meeting I always like to say, “I have a hard stop at 11:30,” because it just sets boundaries, it sets the tone of , let’s get this done.

Richard Anderson, Delta Air Lines: People really have to be able to handle the written and spoken word. And when I say written word, I don’t mean PowerPoints. I don’t think PowerPoints help people think as clearly as they should because you don’t have to put a complete thought in place. You can just put a phrase with a bullet in front of it. And it doesn’t have a subject, a verb and an object, so you aren’t expressing complete thoughts.

Teresa Taylor: COO of QwestTeresa A. Taylor, Qwest: I use a little saying, which is, “Be brief, be bright, and be gone.’’ It’s also not uncommon for me to say, “Why don’t we put the PowerPoint aside for a minute and why don’t you just talk to me.”  I actually prefer no PowerPoint. To be honest, I’d rather just talk. A really great meeting, to me, is someone who is just talking to me.

Greg Brenneman, CCMP Capital: We tend to run meetings a bit like a food fight here at CCMP. Anybody can have an idea or a thought, and the best idea wins. And so there’s not a lot of formality or pomp and circumstance around it, at all. It’s a very informal and very free-flowing dialogue.

Click here to see all past Corner Office columns archived and indexed by category.