Accenture CEO On Leadership, Plus A C&P

There was an interesting interview with Accenture CEO, William Green, in the New York Times last week. He discusses his management approach and how he has evolved as a leader.

One of Green’s key stories is about a training session that he sat through which introduced 68 things that new managers should focus on. He thought it was ridiculous to think that people would remember all of those items, so he condensed it down to three Cs:

  1. Competence: Be good at what you do.
  2. Confidence: People want to know what you think.
  3. Caring: Nothing today is about one individual.

I really like what Green said about “caring:”

This is all about the team, and in the end, this is about giving a damn about your customers, your company, the people around you, and recognizing that the people around you are the ones who make you look good.

My take: Green provides valuable insight into what it takes to be a good leader, but I’d add two items to his list (people should be able to remember a list of five things, right?!).

First of all, I’d tack on one more “C” for Clarity. Green actually showcased this trait when he boiled the 68 things in the training class down to three.

Then I’d add a “P”, for Purpose. Good managers, actually any leaders, need to continually define and communicate the role of their group. They need to always be answering two questions:

  • How does the group’s efforts fit within the company’s overall mission?
  • What does success look like? 

The bottom line: Management is as easy as 4Cs and a P.

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey.

Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum.

My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers.

I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

4 thoughts on “Accenture CEO On Leadership, Plus A C&P”

  1. I,d say Green is making a self-centered statement here. My list would be:

    1. Hire the best people
    2. Hear what your people think
    3. Make sure they have the resources to make it happen

    I agree with clarity and purpose, though.

  2. I apologize for judging the book by its cover. He wasn’t talking about himself but his people and after reading the interview I must say I agree with most of it.

    My mistake was to confuse management and leadership and there is a lesson learned here: don’t judge the book by its cover!

  3. Accenture partners claim that the company enforces high ethical standards but the facts shows differently.
    Douglas Scrivner responded to a SEC related to the reestructuring costs that http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1143908/000095013706000977/filename1.htm
    “The partners did not pay the tax liability at the time of the reorganization transaction because the Company and its external advisors felt there was a reasonable possibility of a favorable outcome. The Company and its external advisors believed the tax positions related to the restructuring transactions were appropriate and supportable under local tax law and the Company intends to defend, as needed, tax positions taken by the partners. A favorable outcome is still possible through either issues not being identified on audit by tax authorities, a successful defense of the position, or expiration of the statute of limitations, so it is not appropriate to pay the tax liability at the time of the transaction, or at any time, unless administrative and legal processes have concluded and resulted in an actual unfavorable outcome.”
    In page 16 of the “NOTICE OF THE 2010 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS”
    ( http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1467373/000119312509251604/dpre14a.htm ) is stated:

    “Senior Executive Tax Costs
    The Company has informed approximately 2,500 of our senior executives that if the senior executive reported for tax purposes the transactions involved in connection with our transition to a corporate structure in 2001, the Company will, in certain circumstances, provide a legal defense to that individual if his or her reporting position is challenged by the relevant tax authority. In the event such a defense is unsuccessful, and the senior executive is then subject to extraordinary financial disadvantage, the Company will review such circumstances for that individual and find an appropriate way to avoid severe financial damage to that individual.”

    In the newspaper el Mundo there was informed that Accenture (and therefore all shareholders) have paid 110 million euros, plus the penalty related with the unpaid taxes of the 100 Spanish Partners in 2001 reestructuring.
    http://www.elmundo.es/mundodinero/2008/06/20/economia/1213922650.html
    If now as declared there are 2500 senior executives that might be in the same situation, it is stright forward to have a direct correlation of the possible personal tax impact on former senior executives that Accenture is commenting it might be paid by the company and therefore by all Accenture shareholders.

    Where are Accenture Ethical Standards?

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