Tony Alvarez (MBA '76), co-founder of Alvarez & Marsal LLC, a global professional services firm with expertise in turnaround management, corporate restructuring and performance enhancement, spoke to a group of MBA students through NYU Stern’s Leadership Luncheon Series, coordinated by the School’s Leadership Development Team.
"To succeed in business, it’s important to take risks and make mistakes,” explained Alvarez, “so long as you learn and grow from those mistakes.”
Reflecting on his career, Alvarez imparted three key lessons learned:
- Like what you do
- Like who you’re doing it with
- Don’t let money make decisions
Alvarez also shared several important pieces of advice about leadership:
- Empower employees and encourage them to be entrepreneurial
- Reward high performers, and not just financially
- Be ready to receive critical information from the least likely of places
- Communicate the firm’s vision and roadmap, stressing timelines and measurements of success
- When you realize that you’ve made a mistake, act quickly to address it
- Maintain an environment of straight talk, which breeds trust among teams
- Keep a long-term view of life and relationships
- Don’t do something if it doesn’t add value
“The best leaders don’t have all of the answers. They are good listeners and they have the ability to get the best out of their team,” he concluded.