Visionaries Must Also Be Action-Oriented

Question: What lessons have you learned from bosses?


Amanda Mesler: I’ve actually had the luxury of working for many, many great bosses, who have helped me breed who I am as a leader.

But I certainly had one individual in particular, there was a very poor boss and he was very, very visionary really. He was the CEO of a very large company. Very visionary, really wanted to take the company places and he had executives around him who just wanted to pull the company down.

And at the end of the day you can be visionary, but you’ve got to follow through when you’ve got to execute. And this particular executive did not execute and he did not follow through and he really, in my words, he had no backbone to really pull the company forward. Then the employees and shareholders suffered because of that.

So the biggest thing is that you got to be visionary, you got to follow up with the execution and you got to have a backbone. This is not an easy job being a CEO, but you’ve got to carry it through.


Topic: Women in business.


Amanda Mesler: Yes, you know it’s very interesting because I grew up actually working for GE. I’m very young and I had responsibility for Asia. So a woman selling to the Japanese in my twenty’s. So you can imagine all of the kinds of challenges, as well as just fantastic memories I had at that time.

But I never thought of myself as different in the workplace. But over the year, especially as I coach other women coming into the workforce, there’s absolutely differences in how you are treated. You know it’s true when they say you’re a good leader, a man is tough, and a woman is a name that we won’t mention.

I am a very tough, demanding individual, demanding, no different than my colleagues that are successful that are men. But I’ve heard the names, I’ve heard, you know how you supposed to be quiet in this way or that. Absolutely, labels come with a very strong successful female that you don’t get in a man’s world.

So, all you have to do, do your job, you know. Affect your shareholders, employees, clients positively and that’s all that you can do.

Whether you’re a man or a woman quite frankly you’ve got to go for it. And you really got to learn put in what it takes in order to be successful across any field, especially the business field. But I don’t think, yet, women believe that they can go all the way to the top. There are very few role models at the CEO level, and even internationally even less role models. So you just have to, you have to get good mentors, you have to really plug in to the networks. I myself, never plug in to the women’s networks or anything. I’m now quite involved with that because I do believe in it and I think it’s one way to help individuals get mentored and be able to grasp all the way to the top if that’s what they want.


Topic: The life-work balance.


Amanda Mesler: I have three girls and a fantastic husband and it is quite a challenge to balance at all. I balance or I spend as much effort balancing personal work life than I do, being a CEO, that’s how challenging it is.

But I absolutely have a wonderful support system, couldn’t do any of these without my husband, he’s just my rock, my best friend.

My children are growing up understanding what the world is, what business is, so I’ve including them in on the things that I do. We went to France to visit a client so they got to go on vacation and learn the French culture and how things work over there. So, include them; include my family in as much as I can with work and then also just incredible support system from my husband.


Recorded on: June 07, 2009


Execute or get out of the game: Logica North America CEO Amanda Mesler says successful executives follow through.

Live on Thursday: Learn innovation with 3-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn

Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live this Thursday at 1pm ET.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to your calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo

Keep reading Show less

New Hubble images add to the dark matter puzzle

The images and our best computer models don't agree.

Surprising Science
  • Scientists can detect the gravitational effects of invisible dark matter.
  • Dark matter causes visual distortions of what's behind it.
  • The greater the distortion, the greater the amount of dark matter. Maybe.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Did our early ancestors boil their food in hot springs?

    Scientists have found evidence of hot springs near sites where ancient hominids settled, long before the control of fire.

    Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
    Culture & Religion
    Some of the oldest remains of early human ancestors have been unearthed in Olduvai Gorge, a rift valley setting in northern Tanzania where anthropologists have discovered fossils of hominids that existed 1.8 million years ago.
    Keep reading Show less

    A new minimoon is headed towards Earth, and it’s not natural

    Astronomers spot an object heading into Earth orbit.

    Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek/Paitoon Pornsuksomboon/Shutterstock/Big Think
    Surprising Science
  • Small objects such as asteroids get trapped for a time in Earth orbit, becoming "minimoons."
  • Minimoons are typically asteroids, but this one is something else.
  • The new minimoon may be part of an old rocket from the 1960s.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Personal finance: How to save, spend, and think rationally about money

    Finances can be a stressor, regardless of tax bracket. Here are tips for making better money decisions.

    • Whether you have a lot of money or a lot of debt, it matters how you handle your personal finances. A crucial step when it comes to saving is to reassess your relationship with money and to learn to adopt a broader, more logical point of view.
    • In this video, social innovator and activist Vicki Robin, psychologist Daniel Kahneman, Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton, and author Bruce Feiler offer advice on achieving financial independence, learning to control your emotions, spending smarter, and teaching children about money.
    • It all starts with education and understanding. The more you know about how money works, the better you will be at avoiding mistakes and the easier it will be to take control of your financial circumstances.
    Keep reading Show less