TONY Blair knows what he is talking about. As prime minister of the United Kingdom for 10 years (assuming the office at the young age of 43), Blair knew what it was to lead a nation. Now envoy of the Quartet (United Nations , European Union, the United States and Russia) to the Middle East, Blair has become an expert in negotiation too, such that president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo wants him to help out in achieving peace in Mindanao.
So everyone at Sofitel Philippine Plaza’s Harbor Garden Tent last Monday afternoon for the Leadership Conference Series 2 presented by De La Salle University, PLDT-Smart Foundation, and Smart Infinity, was all ears as Blair shared the lessons he learned as a leader. Although he learned these while serving in the government, these lessons can also apply to people in the business world.
1. If you want to change the world, you have to understand it. If you want to understand the world, analyze how it is, not how you want it to be. “The world moves and moves fast. We live in an era of low predictability,” says Blair.
2. In a fast-changing world, companies, countries, and people must change. “Change is one of the toughest things to do. People like change in general but not in particular. Once you make change, it’s always difficult,” he says. Even in business, “we have to adjust, prepare for a state of perpetual revolution.”
3. Stand up and take decisions. “If you want to be popular, don’t take the leadership road,” he advises.
4. Try even if you don’t always succeed. “What is forgivable is to fail. What is unforgivable is not to try. Be prepared in a state of leadership to get knocked back. Sometimes challenges are too big,” he adds. Later on, Blair says, “Every leader has a day when things go wrong. Learn a bit of humility as a leader.”
So when does one become a leader? “When you feel such a compelling motivation to get something done and you’re prepared to put caution aside. Don’t lead for the sake of leading. Lead because you want to get something done,” says Blair.–Inquirier Blogs