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This interview of Clarence Otis Jr., C.E.O. of Darden Restaurants, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.
This interview of Clarence Otis Jr., C.E.O. of Darden Restaurants, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant. Q. What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned? A. It’s one that I learned early on, and it kept getting reinforced and cemented over time with a number of different leaders. It’s this notion that leaders really think about others first. They think about the people who are on the team, trying to help them get the job done. They think about the people who they’re trying to do a job for. Your thoughts are always there first, and you think about what’s the appropriate response for whatever that audience is, and you think last about “what does this mean for me?” The guy who reinforced that most would have been my predecessor here at Darden, Joe Lee. I was C.F.O. at the time, but on Sept. 11, 2001, after it became clear what had happened, we had an all-employee meeting, and Joe started to talk. One of the first things he said was, “we are trying to understand where all our people are who are traveling.”
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