Episode 4: Bill Boulding: The Next Generation of Business Leaders (Part I)

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In this episode of the Manage Your Message podcast, host Jim Karrh sits down with the Dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Bill Boulding. Bill has served in this executive capacity at Duke University since 2011, was named a Top Voice on LinkedIn in 2016, writes for Fortune and Harvard Business Review, and is frequently interviewed on media. In this conversation, Jim and Bill talk about the necessity for executives to get outside of the corporate bubble, building consensus for change in a large organization, and the growing trends of business leaders who speak up on controversial topics.

As the conversation unfolds, Bill talks about his career development at the Fuqua School– particularly what he has learned about teamwork and service. Then, Bill talks about some of the common struggles executives face, and the importance of constantly listening to one’s customers. Jim shares research showing that large-company CEOs typically spend only 3 percent of their time with customers. Bill responds that he isn’t surprised, and that it is evidence executives must get outside of their corporate bubbles and listen in order to deliver excellent products and services for the long haul.

Next, Jim asks Bill about what he learned by overseeing the rebranding of the Fuqua School of Business. Bill shares the methodology he used to collect data and study their former brand before making plans for the new brand and marketing. Then he talks about the value of independent unbiased ears. Finally, he shares how to create a relevant and believable message that will serve as a strong foundation for the organization over many years.

As this half of the conversation closes, Bill delves into the growing trend for executives to speak up on issues of social justice and politics. He recognizes the nuance and complexity of building a thriving business in a politically polarized world, especially when your customers come from all points on the spectrum. He also makes a case for the benefits of having a diverse internal team. Lastly, he talks about Nike’s recent ad campaign with Colin Kaepernick and the benefits of taking a clear and confident stance as a brand.


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Read Bill’s recent article in the Harvard Business Review


See Bill’s place in the Top Voices of LinkedIn in 2016


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