NEXT Speaker Series: Kevin Compton on Rapid Change and Modern Leadership
Kevin Compton is the Co-Founder of Radar Partners and a noted Silicon Valley leader. He has been a close advisor to THF and our Founder, Joe Musselman, since 2013. As part of the THF NEXT Speaker Series, Kevin shared his insights on leadership and the modern pace of change with our Fellows.
As Kevin noted, the rate of change in the business world has accelerated dramatically in recent years. While some might feel this makes it impossible to catch up, Kevin views this as quite the opposite and sees a tremendous silver lining for THF Fellows.
“Things have been moving so fast that if you are out of the flow – for example, serving our nation as you all have – you’re not behind.” He stressed that it is far more important to catch the next wave than it is to ride the last one. “What was a good idea 18 months ago is often not a good idea today.”
More importantly, the result is a world where the pace of change means leadership matters more than ever. He offered six key observations about how to become a great, modern leader:
- Never guess. Leaders don’t guess, they base their actions on the facts known at the time. If you don’t have the facts you need don’t be afraid to say, “Let me find out and get back to you.” But make sure you always follow up with an answer.
- Silence is golden, insights are silver. Great leaders are often the strong, silent types. They know how to let their people do the work. They also know when and how to ask the right questions.
- Managing down is more important than managing up. The best leaders realize that people are not interested in working for someone who manages up. People want to work for someone invested in them as a person.
- Master the rhythm of anticipation. A leader must be attuned to both what is needed now and what is needed next. You have to keep the two in balance.
- Over-communicate in as few words as possible. Find the cleanest, clearest way to impart exactly what you want.
- Lead with a servant’s heart. True leaders serve first and then lead.