Leader of today speaks to leaders of tomorrow

Hiral Patel

Robert S. Kaplan, leadership professor at Harvard University in Boston, Mass. presented at the Bloch Executive Hall on Sept. 9. He spoke to an audience of more than 80 members about leadership in professional fields.

Kaplan’s speech provided inspirational messages and tips on leadership.

“In order to be a great leader, you must ask questions,” Kaplan said. “If someone in your company doesn’t know what they believe, then it makes it difficult for them to add value and to act on it.”

Kaplan was invited to speak at UMKC as a guest of Kevin K. Nunnink’s Guest Speaker Series. According to the Henry W. Bloch School of Management, this series, put on by the Lewis White Real Estate Center, “provides educational opportunities for students and maintain a connection with the professional real estate community and is dedicated to providing timely information that relates to today’s real estate industry.”

 “What’s our vision, what are the top priorities, and are we in or out of alignment?” Kaplan asked, defining alignment as staying on task and knowing the end goal.

Kaplan later talked about the limit of being independent versus being reliable.

 “Most CEOs, mid- level and young people, struggle with knowing their strengths and weaknesses,” Kaplan said, “Don’t sit passively waiting for someone to tell you what your strengths and weaknesses are. The advice is only as good as your story, and your story is destroyed.”

He continued to talk about what aspects of leadership should be collaborative.

“Mutual understanding, trust, and respect constitute my definition of a relationship,” said Kaplan.

Kaplan concluded his session with a round of questions by the audience and book signings. Audience members received Kaplan’s book, “What You’re Really Meant To Do: A Road Map For Reaching Your Unique Potential.”

Kaplan’s book draws on his years of experience as a leader. According to his book, Kaplan addresses “the critical issues you need to address in order to reimagine your future and achieve your dreams.”

Along with “What You’re Really Meant To Do: A Road Map for Reaching Your Unique Potential,” Kaplan has written another book called “What To Ask The Person In The Mirror.”

“One is about analyzing your situation and one is about understanding yourself,[ respectively],” Kaplan said.

Along with being a professor, Kaplan is senior associate dean and the Martin Marshall professor of management practice in business administration at Harvard Business School. In addition, he is the co- chairman of the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, a philanthropy firm. He is also the chairman and co- founder of Indaba Capital Management. He previously worked at Goldman Sachs, an investment banking division, as a vice chairman.