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A Great Leader Is a Great Executor

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This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by the NY Times and features an interview with Adena Friedman, President and Chief Operating Officer at NASDAQ, and explores what it takes to be a great leader.

In the article, Friedman dishes out some key tips that have helped her become a successful business woman and leader. Starting as an intern for NASDAQ, Friedman asserts that complacency is the enemy of all great companies – and leaders. “Don’t sit in your office and simply do what you’re told. Be intellectually curious, ask questions, walk around; try to learn as much about the business as you can.”

This approach served her well as she rapidly moved up the ranks while still maintaining a healthy work-life balance with her three children. She was able to accomplish this through effective communication and the advent of modern technology. Looking at data and being able to quantify and prioritize tasks allowed her to own her position while working part-time during her children’s early years.

For Friedman, what separates the good leaders from the great ones is execution. She has spent her entire career concentrated on executing at a high level and controlling what she can.

“A great leader focuses not only on strategy and vision but also on making sure the organization is executing as well as it possibly can and doing it in a way everyone wants to come along and is excited about the journey. It’s easy to say but really hard to do.”

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