The seven most dangerous words in the English language: “We have always done it this way.” – John Cohen, Former MSU Baseball Coach now Athletic DirectorThe following article is by Matthew Kish of the Portland Business Journal.Five simple but effective observations that leaders can have. Hope you enjoy.Remember… THINK LEADERSHIP
5 lessons from watching Phil Knight run Nike’s annual meeting
Nike co-founder Phil Knight presided over his 33rd annual meeting Thursday. Knight is notoriously private and rarely gives interviews. The company’s annual meeting is one of the few chances the public has to watch him conduct business.
I attended the meeting, my first as a beat reporter covering the company. Here are five takeaways from watching Knight work:
1. Be engaged. Knight is no longer the CEO of the company he incorporated in 1968, but sources at Nike say he’s still part of the company’s day-to-day operation. That was clear at the annual meeting. Knight presided over the meeting and was engaged throughout. He’s not sitting by a pool in Palm Springs waiting for his dividend checks.
2. Get to the point. Nike is a $25.3 billion company. Its annual meeting lasted less than 37 minutes. Knight dispensed with sleep-inducing time-wastes like reading the minutes of the last meeting.
3. Details matter. Knight yawned when rote facts – such as Nike’s annual revenue — were repeated but he leaned in when the company played an introductory video. His body language and rapid eye movement suggested he was analyzing the video to see what worked and what didn’t work. That fits with what I’ve learned from sources who know Knight.
4. Posture and stoicism are overrated. A lot of executives have nearly impenetrable facades complete with finely tailored suits and emotionless faces. Not Knight, although he did wear a nice suit. He fidgeted throughout the meeting – befitting a hyper-kinetic ex-college runner — and spun reading glasses around in his hand. He alternately slouched and leaned forward in his chair. Sources on the Nike campus say Knight is approachable — a huge asset to the founder of a multinational company. His body language reinforces that.
5. Have some fun. Knight made several jokes and even entertained a shareholder question about his beloved University of Oregon football team. The sense of humor undoubtedly eased tension in the thousands of business meetings he’s chaired on the road to becoming the most successful businessman in Oregon history.