Visionary Leadership - in Conversation with Lloyd Emerson Johnson
Lloyd Johnson is an influential, collaborative and outcome-focused leader. He spent a large part of his career at Accenture, where he built the company’s pioneering programs- such as the developing countries global finance operating model, during a period of massive global expansion. As a trusted advisor, Lloyd served as a coach to the CEO regarding risk oversight as the bridge to operations in countries designated as emerging markets. Now, he is serving as an independent board director. We’re discussing visionary leadership with him.
This is part two of the conversation we had with Lloyd.
Your career has brought you deep financial expertise on the one hand and strategic oversight on the other. This makes you a specialist and someone with a helicopter view at the same time. How is that beneficial to a corporate board?
“It is sometimes called a “visionary” leadership style and, yes, it’s a tremendous benefit for corporate boards to have visionary leaders in the seats. We now live in an era of outcome-based strategies. When making major decisions, that potentially impact multiple areas of a business, it is insufficient to focus solely on impact to the total business or to a limited segment. You may have a win at the enterprise level but negatively impact important areas of your business or vice-versa. Visionary leaders share the ability to simultaneously view the whole while also assessing and understanding underlying impacts to every important business segment. When you add the financial aspects to such assessments, it becomes a powerful means of analyzing proposed actions, and it is critically important to board oversight responsibilities.
“Boards tend to operate at an oversight level which is perfectly appropriate as we deal with strategic issues that affect the future and well-being of the organization and its stakeholders in significant ways. However, it is equally important for board members to have an understanding of the underlying factors and potential impacts of decisions on key parts of the business. This means knowing the business, how the company makes money and key risks to that earning capacity. My diverse experience, with over 35 years in all significant finance areas combined with M&A oversight, risk management, and transforming problem businesses, gives me the ability to rapidly assess both the macro and micro level impacts of decisions.
“Moreover, I would add that recent shifts in investor and leadership thinking now emphasize the importance of considering all stakeholders when assessing major business changes. This is inclusive of the shareholders and employees but expands to communities, environment and social aspects. Boards are adapting quickly to the expanded view. However, these areas have always been critical considerations in international operations and my global experience has equipped me well as a board member to naturally include consideration of a broader stakeholder view.”
It’s interesting to hear your insights on leadership styles. Thanks, Lloyd.
You can read part 1 of the conversation here.
You can read part 3 of the conversation here.
You can read part 4 of the conversation here.