Thursday, August 28, 2014

Leadership Lessons: Benjamin Locwin

I recently interviewed Benjamin Locwin of lonza Biopharmaceuticals to talk about the ins and outs of leadership in today’s competitive business landscape.  Locwin is speaker at the upcoming ProjectWorld & World Congress for Business Analysts 2014 conference in Seattle taking place next month. He will be presenting a session entitled, “Using Evidence-Based Practice for High-Impact Messaging.”

At PW&WCBA, you will have the opportunity to join industry thought leaders as they re-examine how to identify opportunities and track their success, understanding what it means to be an effective leader in a virtual and multicultural world, and explore the future role of project managers and business analysts with the corporation.

Check out what Locwin had to say:

IIR: How do you, as a leader, stand out in a crowd in this competitive business world?

Locwin: For this, leadership branding is critically important; I have my own leadership brand, and this constancy of message carries through all of the work I do with my teams.

IIR: What are characteristics of a GREAT leader?

Locwin: Listening, being empathic, and not being afraid to make the big decisions. To paraphrase Peter Drucker, an expert in a field has seen enough to be able to quickly appraise a situation and know what’s important to focus on.

IIR: How does a successful leader communicate?

Locwin: One word: Often. If a leader isn’t developing a strategy and communicating a vision, and then communicating frequent progress checks, no one knows what the status is of their achievement work.

IIR: What are the most important decisions you make as a leader of your organization or team?

Locwin: As an organization gets larger there can be a tendency for the “institution” to dampen the “inspiration.” How do you keep this from happening? By disentangling the chaos of the entire big picture and making the smaller teams still feel like critical cogs in the whole machine; It’s really a sense of scale in this case that demotivates. By making the goals and achievements real, tangibility can be felt.

IIR: How do you encourage creative thinking within your team or organization?

Locwin: Much of this is derived from Edward de Bono; Lateral thinking requires tools and techniques to encourage it often. I have developed these systems so that they frequently call upon the experts to continuously refine their work in new, bold, and creative ways.

IIR: How do you help a new employee understand the culture of your organization?

Locwin: Culture can only be felt or measured on a very broad scale; it’s how the business functions as a whole and in the context of its own unique ‘corporate memory.’ You can’t ‘train’ a new employee on the culture of the organization, he or she learns by interacting within it.

IIR: What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

Locwin: An understanding of behavioral psychology and fluency with statistical variation.

IIR: What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

Locwin: Diversity in the workplace with respect to different fluencies with technology and media. Being part of the ‘next-five-minutes’ forecasting model (which is to say that long-term forecasting as had been done for many decades in business is no longer relevant with such short time horizons now).

IIR: What is the one behavior that you have seen derail more leaders’ careers?
Locwin: Believing that natural variation doesn’t occur.

IIR: What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?

Locwin: Stop. Look. And listen. Don’t go out and make decisions until you’ve taken stock on how the status quo is running; You’d be more likely to make things worse than better.

IIR: What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

Locwin: Continuous learning. It’s all about adaptability.

Locwin will be speaking at ProjectWorld & World Congress for Business Analysts 2014, taking place in Seattle, Washington September 22-24th at the W Hotel. The 2014 program is designed with courses for all training levels, a robust agenda, and most importantly tangible lessons which you can begin implementing the day you return to your office, making you even more valuable to your organization. To learn more or register for the event, click here:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This was very interesting, and I had a chance to see Ben's speech at the conference; It was incredibly insightful and practice-changing. I know he encouraged me to think about what I was doing and if they were the best things.