An Inspiring View from the C-Suite with Wayne Bossert, Royal Bank of Canada

Posted November 10, 2011 in Latest News & Insights

This week, our members had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Wayne Bossert, EVP Sales, RBC Canadian Banking and President & CEO, Royal Mutual Funds Inc., to gain his insights around leadership.  With an impressive 25 year career at RBC, Wayne shared lessons he learned at his various career junctures.  Whether your ambition is to grow your career within one employer as Wayne has done, or to leap the career ladder through smaller firms, the lessons shared were universal.

As always, our members brought some great questions to the table.  We covered a broad range of subjects.  Here are just a few of the highlights:

On Change Leadership…

  • It’s actually about continuity… as leaders, when everything around your team is changing, one of the key things to do is to insert a sense of continuity.  Show people what’s not changing as a way to build confidence and resilience
  • Think inspiration not just motivation… people need to be inspired to follow you through change…and that includes you as a leader.  Connect to a higher “purpose” for the change. (It can’t be just about helping the company make money.)
  • Embrace resisters… they’re the ones that can derail your change efforts the most.  Seek ways to understand their perspectives and make sure you really do understand their concerns (often it’s not what we assume).
  • Champion diversity… the world is changing rapidly and diversity of backgrounds as well as thinking will allow today’s companies to stay innovative and respond to the changing needs of a global client base.

On Inspiration…

  • Have clarity of purpose… RBC has a central focus to put clients at the heart of what they do.  With this clearly articulated, employees can filter out activities and issues that don’t align to that focus.
  • Focus on why… communicate why you do what you do, not what you’re doing. “Why” speaks to a higher purpose and also to things that matter to the individual.  Frame your goals in ways that your team can relate to personally.

On Career Management…

  • Think long-term to decide short-term… careers can go broad or deep.  Do you want to be a specialist or a generalist?  Both have their assets and their liabilities.  For those interested in general management, the generalist approach may be the best strategy, so look for opportunities to broaden your knowledge of the business.
  • Say “yes” to opportunity… sometimes things on the surface may not look like the right move.  Evaluate each opportunity carefully and look for the elements in it that will provide you with an opportunity to learn and grow.  Each career move can provide you with building blocks and transferable skills for the next move.
  • Get curious…never stop learning about your field. Consider both formal and informal development and, as leaders, don’t ignore the importance of honing your soft skills. They become the differentiator for advancement.

On Moving Up the Ladder…

  • Know the formal and informal evaluation criteria…skills and results get you to the table.  Capabilities and expertise are not discussed as much as leadership behaviours, coaching skills and personal aspirations.
  • Find a time management system that works… and use it relentlessly.
  • Manage stress by staying focused… being clear on your sense of purpose allows you to let peripheral distractions go.  Know what your values are.  It makes it easier to make the tough calls.

There was so much more. If you attended the session and have other highlights to add, please share your comments.

My own personal take-away from Wayne was that when you listen to a leader who is passionate about the work that he/she does, it is impossible not to be inspired.  Listening to Wayne share his passion for the work done by RBC for their clients almost had me asking if there were any job openings. That’s what passion does… it inspires.

So, what’s your purpose and why are you passionate about it?  Remember: the best way to inspire others is to inspire yourself.

Happy leading!


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