In the face of ongoing market turmoil, digital disruption, and other forms of business turbulence, one of the top qualities of first-rate leaders is resilience.
Resilient leaders view misfortune as a temporary setback. They maintain a positive attitude in the face of adversity and are adept at moving forward in difficult circumstances.
This may help explain why a recent leadership study of 500 leaders conducted by Zenger Folkman, a leadership training and development company, reveals that the most resilient leaders are also the most effective as well.
Clark Golestani, President, Emerging Businesses & Global CIO at Merck, has learned several important lessons in resilient leadership that he has since been able to apply to help the company and its employees to become stronger.
Golestani, an HMG Strategy 2017 Transformational CIO Award winner who spoke at the 2017 Seattle CIO Executive Leadership Summit on October 31, 2017, said that one of the key lessons learned in surviving a crisis is to make sure the organization is more resilient than it was before the crisis.
Golestani also said that senior executives have to address each predicament differently. "You have to be very adaptive in applying a crisis playbook to adjust to a particular situation," said Golestani.
Throughout his distinguished career as an IT executive and board member, Golestani has witnessed first-hand how extraordinary leaders rise to the occasion during tough times. "You really see great leaders emerge when a crisis occurs," said Golestani.
The CIO Role and Beyond
Thanks to his experiences as a board member for several organizations, Golestani shares valuable advice for fellow CIOs who are interested in board roles. "For CIOs interested in joining a board of directors, consider a tech startup," said Golestani. "This can help you to better understand how the CEO thinks."
For his part, Golestani has recently taken on additional responsibilities at Merck. In an expanded role where he is also President of Emerging Businesses, Golestani now oversees 40+ health tech investments that Merck has made that are being looked at for future innovation and growth opportunities.
Looking back over the course of his career and the leadership lessons he has learned, Golestani points to those moments of truth that have had the greatest impression on him.
"I took a number of leadership courses in college, but it's those real-world situations that truly have the greatest impact on leaders who are able to rise above it."