It is no doubt that the definition of CEO DNA is a lot different than what it was just 10 years ago. It might be safe to say the most successful CEOs surround themselves with talented executives with strong entrepreneurial spirit that stay ahead of market changes and possess proven ability to execute and generate business.
So, with leadership getting more complicated as the time goes by, how do the leaders of today achieve what is expected of them?
We, at Finans Network, had the immense pleasure of meeting with Daniel S. Glaser, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Marsh Inc., MMC's insurance broking subsidiary and asking this question in person.
What Does It Take to Be Successful in Business?
Out of millions of variables, Dan Glaser had 3 main traits that an individual should possess for a successful career:
People with a positive attitude make things happen. Being kind to your colleagues and having a “can-do” attitude were all included under “being nice”. After all, Glaser was only 23 when he voluntarily asked to be transferred to Saudi Arabia in the spirit of being nice. He thought he could make a difference with his positive attitude, learn and grow; and so he did. Years later, when he asked two retired former Marsh executives to join him in his mission to turn around the company; it was about him being nice and inviting others to do the same for the sake of all stakeholders.
What is the meaning of “hard work?” Putting in 50-60 hours of your week for work -- even more when required or asked --might seem like a big sacrifice but is a necessity on the path to the summit according to Glaser. Having work on the top of your priority list is one of the keys to success. Especially young professionals should be ready to spend long hours in the early years of their careers to build a strong foundation and grow.
It was one of Daniel Glaser’s colleagues with whom he started his career at Marsh who told him that she knew Glaser would make a difference some day. Glaser was spending his lunch breaks reading about new insurance products and developments in the industry while others were enjoying an hour out of the office. He believes it is the ambition, hunger to learn more, do more and achieve more at the end of the day that will carry individuals to the top throughout their careers.
A Leader’s Approach to Management
Glaser was impressive by all means with his candid and straight-forward approach. He mentioned how he encouraged discussion without boundaries, except when a decision was made. At that point, the discussion is over and it is time for execution without disruption.
His success at Marsh is a product of many variables but when it comes to making the right choices, Glaser says the art is narrowing them down. When Marsh shifted strategy to focus on certain regions for growth, allocating resources accordingly; the direction of the company was clear more than it had been for a long time. Glaser was quick to pick “low hanging fruit,” as he put it, for utilizing opportunities by focusing on solid, quantitative results for a winning strategy while cleaning up the rotten apples from the basket.
Daniel Glaser’s wide global reach is undoubtedly one of his fortes. His experience of having lived and worked abroad for long periods helped shaping an internationally knowledgeable outlook, just the type of a global leader Marsh needed.
Remarks from Finans Network
All of the 15 participants who had the opportunity to meet with Daniel Glaser in person were impressed by his sincere, direct and friendly approach. We realized the transformation at Marsh was a product of systematic, results-oriented strategy led by a management motivated by factors beyond compensation. It was most noticeable that Glaser called Marsh employees “colleagues.” In fact, he explained that the strategy at Marsh is built on 3 pillars: Clients, Colleagues, and Financial Performance.
While we agree that the transformation at Marsh is not complete, we feel Mr. Glaser, with his broad experience in the industry, strong leadership and strategic approach, will undersign many successful initiatives at Marsh.
New York, April 13, 2009
Cigdem Kurdas, Eren Tufekci, Serdar Kaya and Gul Turkmenoglu contributed to this article.