Tales in Possible

Lead Possible

The NYU Leadership Initiative and NYU Stern hosted "Global Leadership in the 21st Century," a conversation with Lloyd C. Blankfein, chairman & CEO of Goldman Sachs, and NYU President John Sexton.

Have a plan but be prepared to change your plan. - Lloyd Blankfein

Lloyd C. Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, and John Sexton, president of New York University, sat down in February to discuss “Global Leadership in the 21st Century” before an audience of more than 400 students. Hosted by the NYU Leadership Initiative and the NYU Stern School of Business, the event drew undergraduate and graduate students from Schools across the University, including the College of Arts & Science, Graduate School of Arts & Science, Law School, Wagner School of Public Service and Stern.

During the hour-long interview, Blankfein and Sexton reflected on their friendship of 40 years, growing up in Brooklyn and how education played an important role in their personal and professional lives. Turning the conversation to leadership in today’s complex global markets, Blankfein shared some pieces of advice:
  • Have a plan but be prepared to change your plan.
  • The danger is not in making mistakes, but in trying to hide mistakes.
  • Know your trade, but also be a well-rounded person whom others find interesting and want to spend time.
  • Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.
  • People who report to you have a big influence on your ultimate success, perhaps even more so than your manager(s). So, don’t compete with your direct-reports. Instead, be sure to nurture those relationships.
  • Rally people to your flag by creating an environment where individuals believe in what they’re doing, feel that they can accomplish their objectives, and ultimately, will be better off than if they hadn’t joined your team.
  • Over-prepare for everything so you can act like you didn’t prepare at all.