The Radical Optimist: Kevin Roberts On How To Lead In A Crazy World

Kevin Roberts, chairman at Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide and head coach at Publicis Groupe, shared insights into his new book 64 Shots: Leadership in a Crazy World, leadership in a crazy world and radical optimism in an interview with Monica Wang. The book will be released on June 21.

Roberts defines the world we live in today as VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) and super-VUCA world (vibrant, unreal, crazy, astounding). He believes that “the traditional idea of leadership where leaders simply strategize, give orders, and try not to make mistakes is dead.” As its title indicates, his new book contains 64 pieces of advice — or “shots” — in 16 categories.

This book was written for anybody who believes we live in a crazy world, relishes that, and wants to lead, whether you’re 11, 19, 59, or 60. If you don’t think this world is crazy, don’t read the book, because you’ve already missed the point. And if you don’t want to lead, then this book’s not for you,” said Roberts.

In a VUCA or super-VUCA world, a leader has three roles, according to Roberts.

“The first role of a leader is to inspire people and give them responsibility… The second thing a leader has got to do in this fast-moving age is to make things happen,” according to the Saatchi chairman.

“Leaders have got to execute today, because you live in a society where you want it now and you want it fast.”

The third thing that a leader has to do, according to Roberts, “is to create other leaders.”

Roberts firmly believes that everybody can be a leader. When asked who will follow, when everyone is a leader, he replied:

“We don’t need followers and we don’t need anyone to do what we say. We do need team players… You don’t need a team of followers. You need a team of leaders.”

The leadership expert labels himself a radical optimist.

My parents were both really negative, and my sister and I rebelled against their pessimism and became radical optimists,” he said.

“The first thing I believe is people are innately good. The second thing I believe is people innately want to perform. Most of them want to be the best they can be. The third thing I believe on that spectrum is people do not deliberately screw up…. I never raise my voice at work, ever. I don’t yell at people because it’s not going to work. The right way is to nurture, support, and demonstrate. I’m a radical optimist because I believe we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

Article Source: Forbes, Monica Wang, June 15, 2015

Image Source: Saatchikevin; Photographer: Juan Carrera

Tags: 64 Shots  64 Shots: Leadership in a Crazy World  Forbes  Kevin Roberts  KR  Leadership  Publicis Groupe  Saatchi & Saatchi  

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