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Leading and Succeeding When Every Eye Is on You

By Jay Hooley, State Street chairman, president and chief executive

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- On the precipice of the three-year anniversary of Dodd-Frank and amid Senate discussions around weakening some of its reforms, it's important to bear in mind that every financial shock is followed by a period of finger pointing, hand wringing, chest thumping and hindsight.

But when you are a leader whose organization and industry have come under heightened scrutiny, hindsight is a luxury that time will not allow. You're expected to act quickly, and your actions will be held to the highest of standards.

For CEOs, this means all eyes will be on you, and every one of your stakeholders -- from your investors to your employees -- will expect you to exhibit the power and endurance of an Olympian while demonstrating the integrity and leadership expected of all leaders.

Your every action will determine if your team draws the right lessons from the turmoil you've experienced and if you can successfully steer your company through any fallout. Doing this isn't always easy, but the right strategies can help you improve the outcomes.

Go Flat

Today's top leaders have already learned the lessons of Thomas Friedman's book "The World Is Flat." They've built businesses that are capable of quickly disseminating information, people and tools across geographic and organizational boundaries. By "going flat," these managers are able to rapidly tap the intelligence of diverse groups to quickly solve complex problems. They're able to bring together the far-ranging insights that suggest near-term solutions and alternatives. Good leaders go where they need to go.

Race with the Machines

In their new book, "Race Against the Machine," Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee retell the legend of John Henry, the hero of the Industrial Revolution whose heart burst after his triumphant race against the steam drill.

The legend points to a clear lesson: Technological innovation is ceaseless and, as the authors write, "economic progress comes from constant innovation in which people race with machines. Human and machine collaborate together in a race to produce more, to capture markets and to beat other teams of humans and machines."
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