What are the sources of inspiration and regeneration for business leaders?

Augustin de Romanet
CEO, Aéroports de Paris
Sébastien Henry
Author of « Quand les décideurs s’inspirent des moines » (When Monks Inspire Decision-makers), published by Dunod in 2012

Augustin de Romanet, public servant (Entrepreneurial values), and Sébastien Henry, author and entrepreneur inspired by meditative philosophy, shared with us a lively and passionate debate on the need to stand back from daily, pressing concerns if we are to to focus on core issues.

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With today’s stifling atmosphere of daily stress, perpetuated by business leaders and their tight deadlines and short-term goals, decision-makers need to stand back to be able to differentiate what is essential, important or urgent.  Augustin de Romanet and Sébastien Henry expressed their views in turn, encouraging decision-makers to set aside the time to think, either individually through self-reflexion (inspired by meditation) or through talking to professionals who do not feel daily pressure and can act as a sounding-board, providing a broader vision or greater openness in ways of thinking or organization.

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It’s actually all about « re-setting your GPS », explained Augustin de Romanet, to get away from daily concerns to make sure that the overall vision or objective is not lost. At the same time, stepping back helps to better anticipate change that is likely to have a very strong impact on the company, through recognizing signs that ordinarily may seem anecdotal but when analysed, may provide precious insights into a potentially major shift in the market. In order to be able to step back you need three key qualities. The decision-maker must combine humility and readiness to be challenged, with a deep conviction that something useful can be achieved and the courage to act on these ideas or convictions. One principle needs to be added to these three qualities of humility, courage and conviction: never stop working.

Augustin de Romanet went on to explain that the role of business leader is very similar to that of a football coach: in fact, the business leader should (according to him) provide meaning by showing the desired goal, recruiting the best players (which should take up a good deal of the business leader’s time) and organizing the game so that the ball is passed evenly down the field and the goal scored. 

To communicate a vision of the overall, defined goal and to get the commitment of employees, it is also important for the business leader to attribute a role to everyone: avoiding an overly cumbersome hierarchy, each individual leader should be able to recognize and reward employees and motivate them to reach their potential.  

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Augustin de Romanet and Sébastien Henry are very aware of the major challenge facing the younger generations in finding meaning in their work and draw the attention of decision-makers to the need to fully integrate this issue if the more talented, young graduates are to be attracted. As can be seen with the increasing importance of social entrepreneurship for school-leavers, the renown of a major company alone is no longer sufficient and young graduates seek to respond to the pressing issues of today, by working within a structure that respects their ideas about the environment or social justice, for example.

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Managerial Innovation

Series of Seminars for Managers/Leaders

PMP organizes a Seminar-lunch every two months in the very unique setting of the collège des Bernardins, in the 5th arrondissement of Paris. Through the anecdotal experiences of key executives, these meetings provide exciting insights into the far-reaching changes currently affecting companies’ socio-economic environment and their operational and management styles.

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