The Visions of Leadership (VoL) Week, part of the VoL Program, is structured around a series of interactive, Q&A-style conferences, workshops and lectures bringing academics, corporate and political leaders around the table, including decision making science professors from HEC and worldwide. François Doux, who joined the HEC MBA in January 2010, was a member of the VoL task force who assisted in the organization of the week. François gives us his feedback from the VoL week 2010.
“To get the flavour of the “Visions of Leadership” week, a quick glance at the speakers reveals the diversity of the views. A colonel of the French Army, back from Afghanistan ; a successful CEO in search of talents ; a top executive switching career from the Muppets to the U.S. Embassy in Paris… all kind of leaders came to HEC to share their experiences with MBA participants. Colonel Durieux, Axa’s Henri de Castries and Ambassador Charles Rivkin had to give a vision to their troops, and a sense of momentum and direction. It is not so simple when it comes to being concrete. “There is a vision dilemma, explained Henri de Castries, you have to understand the big picture, have it broad enough but also precise enough, and last, get it stable but not frozen.” The former HEC student revealed that there is something crucial he did not learn at school: guessing what is not said. “Listening is a priority for the CEO.” But before becoming a top manager, TBWA Chairman Jean-Marie Dru showed the way: “First you have to choose the path, then build yourself along it, and then charting out the way ahead.” L’Oreal Alexis Perakis-Valat showed a very pragmatic approach, built during his international career. Keep it simple, keep the long term vision, be a role model leader, boost your resilience and DARE. Other aspects of leadership were discussed through roundtables, such as Sports and Leadership, Gender Balance, Entrepreneurship and Leadership in luxury. During intense debates, participants could ask sincere questions that echoed some key questions of the 21st century. GE International CEO Nani Becalli-Falco advised us to be sensitive to the problems and the needs of society. And like all the leaders, he insisted in moving fast, in the speed of taking decision. Quite a challenge to keep in mind all these tips, to mix them with the instinct that guide any leader… at least each participant could get hints for its future career. Still, Nani Becalli-Falco gave an easy reference to remember: we have to be the “Michelangelo of Management”: creative, always positive, and able to see the statue in the marble bloc. Let’s sculpt!“