Hans Vestberg Verizon Ideas about management

Hans Vestberg CEO Verizon video interview


Hans Vestberg CEO VERIZON

Interview video Hans Vestberg CEO VERIZON

3 tips from a CEO on how to improve your leadership
Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg believes executives need to “work on their leadership every day.”

3 tips from a CEO on how to improve your leadership
Stephanie Mehta, CEO and Chief Content Officer, Mansueto Ventures< speaks with Hans Vestberg,

Chairman and CEO, Verizon at the Fast Company Innovation Festival.


Hello and welcome to Modern CEO! I’m Stephanie Mehta, CEO and chief content officer of Mansueto Ventures. Each week this newsletter explores inclusive approaches to leadership drawn from conversations with executives and entrepreneurs, and from the pages of Inc. and Fast Company. If you received this newsletter from a friend, you can sign up to get it yourself every Monday morning.

There are plenty of articles that highlight the qualities and traits of a good leader, but few executives actually break down the tactics and methods they use to get better at leading. At the Fast Company Innovation Festival in New York last week, Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg did just that.

Vestberg, who was born in Hudiksvall, Sweden, says he knew early on that he was a good leader. A semi-professional team handball athlete as a young man, he says he knew instinctively how to read and motivate his teammates. But Vestberg doesn’t just rely on his natural gifts; he works on building his leadership skills every day. “If you want to lead other people, you need to start with yourself,” he says.

Here are three takeaways from my conversation with Vestberg that stuck with me:

TAKE a STOCK every day
Every morning Vestberg says he reflects on his mood during the previous day and gives himself a score from one to 10, with scores of three to seven being his sweet spot. If he assigns himself a one or two, he knows he’s not been effective that day and can take steps to get back up to a three or higher. If he scores an eight or higher, it means he’s too excited, and his energy may drain people rather than lift them up and get them engaged.

He also tracks how he spends his time every day and makes sure he’s focused on the most important issues and the things only a CEO can address. He’s been tracking both his mood and time in spreadsheets since 2009 and regularly shares the data with his top executives. Doing so prompts them to think about whether they are allocating their time effectively.

In his first managerial job at Ericsson in Chile, Vestberg shared with his supervisor a memo that included five goals. The memo represented a “contract” of sorts with his supervisor—the achievements and value he would bring to the table. After word of this proactive goalsetting made it all the way back to headquarters in Stockholm, Vestberg realized the importance of establishing expectations with your boss so they can, in turn, assess your performance. When he became CEO of Verizon, his version of the “boss contract” was a white paper he shared with the board of directors, spelling out his vision.

Vestberg has the names of 30 people in different roles within the company with whom he speaks every week. The list of names is affixed to the back of his security badge as a reminder. This practice keeps him connected and gives him visibility into what’s happening in various areas of the organization. He says it is also incredibly valuable to have established these relationships so that the first time someone hears from the CEO isn’t when something goes wrong.

Do you have practices you employ to improve as a leader? Please share the ways you think about growing as an executive by sending a note to stephaniemehta@mansueto.com. We may feature some recommendations in an upcoming newsletter.

Read and watch: leadership lessons

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Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert says all CEOs share this responsibility

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