22 business leadership tips for 2022

A person with a subtle smile looks and earbuds in looks out a business window, presumably getting business leadership tips from the podcasts recommended in this blog post.

Looking ahead at the uncharted landscape of 2022, what would you like to accomplish?

My resolution is to maintain a healthy, productive work/life balance. But maybe your goals are to see sales skyrocket, better engage with your team, commit more time to training or stay up to date with the latest innovations in your industry.

Whatever your business goals for 2022, a foundation of leadership is key to accomplishing them.

Here are 22 tips from CEOs with expansive leadership styles, all featured in the weekly Business X factors podcasts hosted by Hyland.

1. Don’t be the “comb-over guy” brand.

“We did all these interviews and they told us, ‘We see you as kind of old and stodgy. You’re not as relevant to us.’ We went through this exercise of, ‘Picture us and several of our other competitors at a bar. What would they be wearing? What would they be drinking?’ And we didn’t like that answer: standing at the bar, drinking a scotch with a comb-over, which is literally the feedback we got. And we said, ‘Okay, we have some work to do.’” — Kevin Warren, CMO, UPS

Listen now: “Rebranding a Century-old Business with Kevin Warren of UPS”

2. Listen and learn as you lead.

“When you go to West Point, you learn a lot about discipline. I learned about how to be disciplined with people and ideas. I learned a very critical thing that I use today. I call it the three L’s: I listen, I learn, and then I lead.” — Steve Smith, CEO and President, Zayo Group

Listen now: “The Marriage of Decentralization and Centralization with Steve Smith, CEO of Zayo”

3. Technology success begins with your people.

“We’ve been talking about customer experience, cloud, security and privacy. Where’s the employee been in that narrative? It’s taken the pandemic and the great resignation for us to say, ‘Hey, there’s a part of this conversation that you’re not having. And it’s the experience your employees are having with your brand.’” — Bradley Rencher, CEO, BambooHR

Listen now: “To Sell a Good Experience, You Have to Create One In-House First, with Bradley Rencher, the CEO of BambooHR”

4. Stick to your guns.

“I canceled a quarter of a million-dollar contract with nothing to replace it. We were still at the time like 45 people, and I was new to the board and it’s like, ‘You got to trust me on this one. This’ll be okay over time, but we’ve got to make a stand here on our beliefs that this is a different industry going forward.’” —Elizabeth Cholawsky, CEO, HG Insights

Listen now: “Bringing Perspective and Conviction to Data with Elizabeth Cholawsky, the Chief Executive Officer of HG Insights”

5. Anticipate tech churn.

“We want to go in the future. Let’s create something working together that will meet these needs today and give you the flexibility, the choice, and the optionality going forward into the future as well. So you can chop and change because nobody wants to be stuck with one technology for the rest of their existence.” — Chet Patel, Chief Commercial Officer and Managing Director, Americas, BT Global

Listen now: “Make Your Own Luck with Chet Patel of BT Global”

6. Guide customers through big changes.

“It used to be people saying, ‘You’ll take my macro spreadsheets out of my cold dead hands.’ And finally, the tide turned, and a lot of players made financial planning analysis scenario modeling a lot more nimble, agile and rich with scenario modeling through technology. And finally, we were able to wrest some of those spreadsheets from those cold dead hands.” — Gina Hortatsos, CMO, LogicGate

Listen now: “The More You Know, The Less You Fear with LogicGate CMO, Gina Hortatsos”

7. Ask — and invite — the dumb questions.

“Imagine you’ve got a group of brilliant people and the environment is one where there’s no trust; people are feeling like, ‘Well, I’ve got this great idea, but I know they’re not going to listen to it.’ And then imagine an organization where there is trust out the wazoo. You trust your team members implicitly, and they’re going to be hungry for it. Imagine the innovation that flows through that organization.” — Stephanie C. Hill, Executive Vice President of Rotary and Missions Systems, Lockheed Martin

Listen now: “Stepping Back is the First Step to Mission Accomplished with Stephanie Hill, EVP at Lockheed Martin”

8. Use data as a crystal ball.

“We were fortunate to have 25 and now 30 years of demand data and customer data that we utilize to help us understand where people want to go next. This whole shift is starting to really move. So, we utilize our user data to understand how often they select certain brands.” — Wayne Berger, CEO, The Americas, IWG plc

Listen now: “The Art of Trend Breaking with IWG”

9. Adopt “coopetition.”

“For the technology industry to thrive, you’ve gotta be clear on where we’re going to duke it out and go head-to-head with one another on capabilities, but where do we need to cooperate? We implemented teams that leapfrog one another. While one team was working on Generation One, there’s already an advanced team saying, ‘Hey, I’m banking on you being successful. What do we need next?’” — Mark Papermaster, CTO and EVP, AMD

Listen now: “Competition, Cooperation, and Creative Contention with CTO of AMD, Mark Papermaster”

10. Roll with truth-tellers.

“I surround myself with people who are capable of handling my ‘Ed moments.’ And our VP of marketing looked at me. He said, ‘We could definitely do that, but instead what we could do…’ and we brought in a third party to really analyze us, benchmark us against best practices and make recommendations on ways to revamp that process.” — Ed McQuiston, EVP and Chief Commercial Officer, Hyland

Listen now: “Changing Planes Mid-Flight”

11. Love the challenge, then the solution.

“We have a voice-of-the-customer process that is really centered on deep customer immersion, being able to do observational research so we’re not pitching, we’re watching how they work. And really, we are obsessed. We try to fall in love with the customer problem before we fall in love with the solution.” — Pat Byrne, CEO, GE Digital

Listen now: “Finding the Point of Impact with GE Digital CEO Pat Byrne”

12. Swerve the competition.

“We’re competing with anyone with a digital campaign for the Super Bowl because we’re competing for the attention of the consumer, and whoever dominates that conversation is the winner. There are tools that are telling almost in real-time who is dominating the conversation. And if I see anyone going close to us, then we choose another tactic or move money from somewhere else to this.” — Ivonne Kinser, Head of Digital Marketing and Ecommerce, Avocados From Mexico

Listen now: “Shooting for the Moon… and Sticking the Landing”

13. Target effortless consistency.

“Effortless trumps, in every scenario, delight. Delight becomes this kind of unicorn, this thing that you just start to chase. You set a bar that becomes the new standard bar. Now you’re chasing the next bar, and it just becomes expensive and inefficient and not what people want.” — Simon Harrison, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer, Avaya

Listen now: “A for Effortless – How Avaya is building a Utopian Experience”

14. Question the status quo.

“Five years ago, we had people telling us, ‘Drones already work. You’re telling me that all these other companies that got a hundred million dollars in VC funding, they’re doing it wrong?’ And our answer was, ‘Yes, they are. Have you stopped to do the math and figure out how often that person needs to drone? Does that make sense to have a thousand humans, a thousand pilots on staff? No, it doesn’t.’” — Reese Mozer, CEO, American Robotics

Listen now: “Beyond The Buzz: How American Robotics is Separating Itself in the Drone Market”

15. Build bridges, not walls.

“We’ve created an AI model, and we work with a company that does AI-led hiring, where you look for traits of people, and using those traits, you extrapolate the kind of jobs they can do, and then you build a bridge to equip them with skills, and then you hand-hold them to create the experiential learning.” — Ravi Kumar, President, Infosys

Listen now: “Experience Not Required with Ravi Kumar of Infosys”

16. Hammer down hierarchy.

I want to hear what our new college grads have to say when we’re trying to solve a business problem as much as I want to hear about what a new partner is saying. What we instill in our people, the way we interact with them, that’s where you create this environment for continuous learning, and it feeds on itself.” —Rich Penkoski, Deputy CEO of Markets, Deloitte Consulting

Listen now: “Bringing in Insights from Analogous Fields”

17. Embed empathy.

“I realized the value of people for the organization to be agile and flexible and resilient. And if I don’t take care of the people and realize that they are humans and we need to be empathetic and caring towards them, we’re not going to be successful as a company.” — Kim Huffman, VP Global IT, Elastic

Listen now: “How Open Source Thinking Built a Cutting Edge Business”

18. Be curious.

“We do a lot of experimentation. One of the teams I have is called the emerging technologies team, and they’re constantly coming up with new ideas. We try them, and if it sticks, great, we’ll iterate and continue. If not, close the book and say, ‘Well, that was great,’ and put it on the shelf for either for another day or as a doorstop.” — Jason Conyard, Chief Information Officer, VMware

Listen now: “Choose Your Own Adventure with VMware’s Jason Conyard”

19. Capitalize on others’ bad CX.

“There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity for e-commerce to really grow because [auto sales] is a huge industry built very much around traditional retail. And I think all of e-commerce is fundamentally different from that and a tiny part of the market today relative to what it will be. I think what we’re going to see in three to five years’ time, you’re going to look back and be like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I didn’t just buy my car online.’” — Toby Russell, Founder and Co-CEO, Shift

Listen now: “Miracle Makers with Toby Russell of Shift Technologies”

20. Broaden your vision across geographies.

“Most consumers in big cities in China, five years ago, were having most things delivered to their house. I don’t know anybody that does grocery shopping in China. They also have prepared food delivered. It’s not like same-day delivery… the new standard is 20 minutes.” — Joe Jensen, Vice President of IoT and General Manager of Retail, Banking, and Education, Intel

Listen now: “Predicting and Planning For The Future”

21. Fail fast.

“As soon as we can get to that minimum viable product, we can choose go or no-go. ‘That didn’t work, what are other options? How can we move forward?’ It’s a pretty high-stakes game, but we know that to give a good experience or to increase the yield for the crops to support the population that’s growing, we need to move fast because babies are still being born and people still need to eat.” — Elisha Hermann, Global Supply Chain Strategy and Innovation Partner, Bayer Crop Sciences

Listen now: “Finding a Way to Feed The World”

22. Upskill for digital — at every level.

“Eighty percent of CEOs are worried about the key skills of their individuals. However, 20 percent haven’t done anything about it. So why is it that one out of five CEOs have not done anything about it? It’s because they don’t know how. We announced the $3 billion ‘new world, new skills’ journey. It’s for every single person, whether it’s our assistant, our receptionist all the way to the senior tax partner.” —Suneet Dua, Chief Product Officer, PwC

Listen now: “Building an Army of Digital Citizens with PwC’s Suneet Dua”

Samantha Perkins
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Samantha Perkins

Samantha Perkins is a Content Marketing Specialist at Hyland. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her partner, two dogs and two cats.

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