Strategy & Problem Solving - Mellody’s Tool Kit

Mellody Hobson

Lesson time 08:14 min

Strategic thinking is an essential skill when navigating adverse circumstances. Mellody shares the guiding principles that she relies on, as well as her toolkit for leading her teams through difficult periods.

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Topics include: Mellody’s 5 Guiding Principles • Tool Kit for Leading Through a Difficult Period


- To me, strategic thinking is an always process. It's not something that just happens in a bad moment or a good moment. I think companies that have done a phenomenal job growing and developing and innovating are always thinking strategically. But in a crisis, strategic thinking is critical. Some people take great pleasure in comfort in admiring problems, just sitting there and talking about what's wrong and how bad it is. And that does not get you out of a tough period. It is coming up with a plan, not wishing things will get better or hoping things will get better. It's actually sitting down and having a strategy for moving forward. That can be the difference between the life and death of a company. [MUSIC PLAYING] I'd like to approach strategic thinking in this class by really first laying out a practice of showing you by doing. I'm going to show you real-life experiences that I've had and allow these experiences to unfold and you to participate and be a part of how you would think about the decisions that need to be made. I also will give you this toolkit, this framework, for decision-making that you can then take away with you as you confront whatever decisions that you have to make yourself. As I work through just the framework of running a business and existing as a professional, there are problem-solving principles that I always return to. Before we get into the tools I use to navigate difficult situations, I want to share some of the guiding principles I've come to rely on. Some of my own guiding principles that I think about when I'm approaching a decision is, first of all, my North Star, my guiding star, is to put other people first. I think that's really, really important to having a good outcome. If you do the right thing for people, you will be rewarded in some way. I'm a big believer in co-leadership. When I'm trying to make a decision, it's not about big titles. It's about finding anyone in the organization with ideas that can help co-create with you, co-collaborate with you, around these issues that ultimately lead to good outcomes. You never know where a good idea will come from. When I'm making a decision, I also look for lifelines. I go outside of my own world to get the advice of smart people. And so going to trusted advisors who will give you their best thinking, who have no agenda except for your own success-- that is something that is critical. I've relied on so many people as lifelines in very, very tough moments. And those people have helped me tremendously. When I'm making a decision, I'm always very cognizant of not having wishful or magical thinking. I've said it time and time again. Hope is not a plan. In order to have a real plan, there needs to be real rigor. And that rigor is based on facts. It's based on math. It's based on tangible things that you can point to and then try to solve for as opposed to hope or imagination or some kind of magical thinking. The strategy also...

About the Instructor

Mellody Hobson knows how to make tough calls in trying times. As one of the most influential leaders in business today, she’s led companies through junctions of financial crisis, acquisitions, and restructuring. Become a more dynamic, confident business leader by diving into real-life case studies from Mellody’s career. Get an inside understanding of the pivotal decisions she’s made from the top, and build a strategic decision-making framework for your next step as a business leader.

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Mellody Hobson

Dive into the pivotal decisions that shaped Mellody’s career and learn how to apply strategic decision-making to your own future in leadership.

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