Inspirational Leadership (with Heart!) at Sage Summit 2014

One of the themes that keeps popping up for me when I reflect on Sage Summit 2014 is doing things with heart! Whether that is networking, engaging in learning, getting to know customers, partners, and vendors or singing your heart out – it was all done with heart! This was also the theme of the key note speakers that spoke about Inspirational Leadership.
Biz Stone – work hard and be vulnerable
One of the highlights of Summit was definitely the inspirational business leaders sharing their stories and their hearts with the audience. Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, was perhaps the one who stole the show with his transparent approach and humble nature. In April his book “Things a Little Bird Told Me” was published. Biz shared that he attributes his success to following the right people. He believes the #1 priority is people and #2 is technology. Like Mantralogix he believes that people are amazing – our role as technology businesses is to just provide the tools!
Biz believes that one of the most important things you need to shield or carry you through rough times is emotional investment. Have joy in what you do. You need to be able to laugh out loud as you play – only then you know you are on the right path. There is value in vulnerability. Tell people the truth – this builds up goodwill. When anything broke at Twitter, Biz would immediately blog about it.

Biz is personally focused on helping others – he sees this as selfish because of the joy he receives from it. He describes himself as personally altruistic. We are entering an age where people want meaning from everything. If there are 2 choices of water a person can buy they will choose the one whose company is making the greatest positive impact on the world.

The Internet is amazing but still only contains less than 1% of the knowledge that is trapped in peoples’ heads. So how do you get this out there so that people can help each other in a fun way? You need to build a toy first so that people can have fun with it and then turn it into something important. The human brain is a renewable resource for creativity. It is this belief that has led Biz to start his new venture – Jelly.
Money is so distracting. You need to take it away so that you can focus on what you really want to do. In summary, Biz feels that there is value in vulnerability. Demonstrate that you are working hard. Thus will build goodwill and earn you friends.
Tom Davis, Chief Marketing Officer of Forbes Media acted as the moderator for a panel of amazingly successful entrepreneurs including Magic Johnson (Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises), Jessica Alba (Co-Founder of The Honest Company, NYT Bestselling Author, Activist, and Actress), and J. Carey Smith (Founder and Chief Big Ass of Big Ass Solutions).
2014-07-30 09.06.43 Inspirational Leadership (with Heart!) at Sage Summit 2014
Magic Johnson
Magic started off saying “Money won’t wake you up in the morning. Only the passion and love for what you do will”. That’s the part customers will observe in you. Empower your people and hire people smarter than you. Magic reminded us that if you cannot change and adapt you won’t survive. He recommended doing a SWOT analysis twice a year on your company and on the leader of each business. (SWOT = analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.). If you want to retain customers you MUST over deliver. Magic shared that you should make your company about your customers and not about you. Always surround yourself with people smarter than you!
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Jessica Alba
Jessica stressed you need to come from an authentic place and walk the walk. Integrate personal elements into your work so that it feels like home. For example she built a play-center at her company for her children as well children of her employees. She believes you should engage in charitable service together with your employees.
J. Carey Smith
Carey reminded the audience that when you run a business you have the ability to affect the quality of people’s lives. When hiring people, look beyond the resume. Look for initiative, creativity, and a sense of humour. Culture is everything in a business. Carey shared “If strategy were a cake, culture is the oven you bake it in”. Carey recommended asking your customers what else you can help them with. Everybody is interested in reducing the number of suppliers they are working with.
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At Mantralogix we continue to strive to lead with heart…in the end it’s about the people we work with – as Biz believes, technology is secondary!
Sage Summit 2014  has graciously shared the keynote videos, so for more inspiration and to watch the keynote addresses referred to in this blog, please visit their website here.
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