Last week, Rudy Giuliani was the honored speaker at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia suburban series events. He was welcomed in the room by a roaring standing ovation, no doubt due chiefly to his performance in the national spotlight following the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Rudy, as most people call him, talked about security and the national political landscape. His body language was engaging and open. He came up front from behind the podium and made eye contact with the large audience, staying attuned to the general temperature and pacing his talk to it.
He started by telling a story of himself as a young lawyer dealing with his first experience in court. Having warmed up the room he then held our attention by defining the context of our current climate with respects to terrorism. He spoke about the cultural parameters we need to understand; that we cannot use our own culture (Western) as a point of reference. The content of his talk is not the point of this post -- the point is his leadership and communication style.
After reasoning on the premises and assumptions people usually make he then took us through the differences we must expect in others.
He also went into great detail about what he thought and did during and in the days, weeks and months after 9/11 pulling from his reservoir of crisis preparedness -- both expressed as management and communications.
Some of the nuggets:
"use what has worked for you before"
"be willing to be in the spotlight and figure out what you can contribute and accomplish"
"build a 'what if' in case you do lose your best people"
"the absolute key to success is teamwork"
Leadership is about having a sense of purpose and sharing that vision with others -- your team, partners and colleagues alike. It is about figuring out what you can contribute and accomplish and holding yourself accountable to do just that.