Stunned, hurt, indignant, angry and humiliated, Conant nevertheless wasted no time working on a rebound. On the same day he was let go, he met with an outplacement counselor whose profound influence changed his life. Neil McKenna taught Conant to look forward, not back – and gave him assignments of self-discovery that helped Conant transcend his job loss and go on to have a truly remarkable career. Over the following decades, he would become CEO of the Campbell Soup Company, President of Nabisco and Chairman of Avon Products.
In one of the most compelling and inspiring discussions in this podcast’s history, Conant not only explains the process by which he readied himself for his next senior leadership role, but also the highly uncommon approaches he took to restoring employee engagement and driving great performance in all of the organizations he led.
His cornerstone philosophy is that employees will never care about a manager’s agenda if they don’t believe their manager cares about them. So, his uncommon approach to CEO leadership was to “care about his people and only hire managers who cared about their people.”
Rather uniquely, Conant has long been a highly committed student of workplace leadership, and his collected wisdom is evident in everything he shares in the podcast. He might also be the greatest representative of the “Lead From The Heart” ideal ever to be a featured guest.
It’s highly recommended that you have a notepad near you as you listen in. Doug also discusses his new book, “The Blueprint: 6 Practical Steps To Lift Your Leadership To New Heights,” being published in March.