Business Insider UK spoke with Lynne Doughtie, Chairman and CEO of KPMG US at Davos about dealing with making tough decisions as a leader.
Read the full transcript below:
Alyson: Being a CEO comes with a lot of responsibility, just tough decisions sometimes you have to make – it’s not all glory, at all, it’s a lot of work.
One tough decision you had to make that you got wide praise for was last year, there were six executives who had found some insider information at KPMG; they learned that an audit was gonna happen. And you made the prompt, quick decision to fire all six of the executives.
How did you make that decision? I mean, it was widely praised, but I’m sure it couldn’t have been easy?
Lynne: No. And I think all leaders at some point in time you’re gonna face tough decisions. And I think it’s really important that…you know, the way I approach that – and I think others should as well – is you have to seek the facts.
It’s not something that you do in isolation. It’s getting the perspectives, seeking the truth, and I think it’s also looking at the core values of what you as a person, and as a leader stand for, and what your organisation stands for. And there are certain things that are zero tolerance. It doesn’t mean that you want bad things for people, but there are consequences. You have to set the tone for the organisation.
And so I think as any leader or future leader approaches those tough decisions, it is important that others are involved, but sticking to what you know is right, from your own core is important. Then also, usually if it’s a really tough one, you’ve got to be decisive and move quickly. Finding that right balance of seeking the facts, moving quickly, getting to the right answer can be tough; but it’s something that others are watching, and it’s important that you set the example for your organisation.
Alyson: I think the decisiveness is really important if you can’t waffle, once you make a decision you just have to own it and lead into it.
Lynne: Exactly. And also, look, leaders aren’t perfect. You’re gonna make some mistakes and it’s owning those mistakes as well. And that kinda gets back to the authenticity, and real. And it’s just being very transparent about: “here’s what I thought through, here’s the decision that’s in the best interest of our institution.” And explaining that and then moving forward.
I think when you do that you get to the right answer.
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