The New York Times featured an interesting and informative interview with William D. Green, CEO of Accenture, a Corporate Voices’ partner company. The interview — “68 Rules? No, Just 3 Are Enough” — covered a broad range of management and leadership issues.

Here are some excerpts:

Green: I was not a good student. I took what they call today a gap year, but back then it was called “finding yourself.” I did one of those, and I finally found my way into a two-year college. I went from an underperformer to a solid performer, with a little inspiration from some professors. That had a profound effect on me, to realize how much raw talent there is out there for us to exploit, leverage, take advantage of, and how much talent there is that people can give that organizations don’t mine, they don’t harvest, they don’t get the best of, because of structure, because of strategy, because of rules.


Q. So how do you break through?
A. I once sat through a three-day training session in our company, and this was for new managers, very capable people who were ready for a big step up. I counted, over three days, 68 things that we told them they needed to do to be successful, everything from how you coach and mentor, your annual reviews, filling out these forms, all this stuff.
And I got up to close the session, and I’m thinking about how it isn’t possible for these people to remember all this. So I said there are three things that matter. The first is competence — just being good at what you do, whatever it is, and focusing on the job you have, not on the job you think you want to have. The second one is confidence. People want to know what you think. So you have to have enough desirable self-confidence to articulate a point of view. The third thing is caring. Nothing today is about one individual. This is all about the team, and in the end, this is about giving a damn about your customers, your company, the people around you, and recognizing that the people around you are the ones who make you look good.