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It’s Your Aptitude Plus Your Attitude That Sets You Apart

Posted by rstapholz on
It’s Your Aptitude Plus Your Attitude That Sets You Apart

We are pleased to announce the Connex Executive Insights Series, produced in collaboration with Connex Partners, an invitation-only executive network that brings industry leaders together in from the worlds of HR and Healthcare.

Connex Members are part of a cutting-edge community, finding actionable solutions to their most pressing business challenges via high-value peer exchanges and curated resources including tools, platforms, partners and c-suite networking opportunities.

Executive Insights features highly-respected and engaging guests who share novel ideas and practices related to the latest leadership topics.

This week’s article features an interview with Alice Yoo LeClair, Divisional CHRO at Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC originally published in Inside CHRO, the go-to magazine for HR leaders brought to you by Connex Partners. It is a companion to her interview on the Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future podcast episode, A Competitive Advantage: Building Communities Within the Business, that aired on Tuesday, January 25th, 2022.


  • What is your best leadership advice?

It’s your aptitude plus your attitude that sets you apart as a leader. These two things build the story of your personal brand and can accelerate your development over your peer group. This advice applies whether you have worked at an organization for two months or 25 years, whether you’re a senior leader or just taking the lead as a contributor in a meeting.

  • If you could go back in time and meet your sixteen-year-old self, what would you tell them?

Firstly, when you hear about this thing called ‘Bitcoin’ that goes for sale, buy it immediately in mass quantities! The second thing I would tell myself is ‘chin up’. Over the course of time, you will see a material shift when it comes to Asian inclusion and representation. There will even be an Asian superhero, Shang-Chi, brought to life on the big screen, in mainstream culture. It’s really tough now – but know that the world is going to learn faster, collaborate more and come together as a global community in the very near future.

  • What is the most-read book on your shelf?

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. I discovered this book through Bill Gates’ book blog, Gates Notes, and he cited it in a New York Times article as one of his favorite reads. The theories the author presents about why sapiens, of all the species that have inhabited this planet, have been able to develop enormous infrastructure, technologies, religions, governments and currencies are fascinating.

One of his theories is that as a species, our ability to imagine and apply our imagination to our real-life circumstances is what enabled our brains to create all of these institutions. I recommend it to anyone who is curious as to how we went from hunter-gatherers to doing things like cryptocurrency in the present day.

  • What’s the one film, TV show or podcast you would urge every CHRO to check out, and why?

I have a different approach to this. I don’t actually have an HR industry-specific magazine or podcast that I regularly turn to. What I have curated for myself instead are ‘digital mentors.’ In the HR and business worlds, there are incredible leaders who, through their public content, answer questions and give advice on topics I would have asked them to elaborate on through those mentorship coffee sessions. It was through this curation of digital mentorship that I discovered my career aspiration to become a Chief Experience Officer. I got there from the online presence of an executive named Julie Larson-Green who held the role at Microsoft and Qualtrics.

To read this article in full, and to find out more about how the pandemic has shaped Alice’s views on the future of HR, sign up to receive Inside CHRO, the new magazine written by – and for – HR leaders. Brought to you by Connex Partners, the #1 executive network for HR.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute on LinkedIn.


About the Author

Alice Yoo LeClair is the Chief Human Resources Officer for Euromoney PLC’s Financial & Professional Services (FPS) division. She is responsible for leading talent management, DEI, recruitment and performance enablement initiatives, in alignment with the organization’s strategic objectives. In this capacity, she also serves as a member of the division’s executive committee and the group’s HR leadership team. Before joining Euromoney, Alice was the Head of HR for the Americas GTM region and multiple product verticals at Refinitiv, an LSEG (London Stock Exchange Group) business. Previously, she held global people strategy and commercial program management roles at IPC Systems, IntelePeer and Level 3 Communications (now Lumen Technologies). Alice holds a bachelor’s degree in Music from the University of Hartford where she double majored in Piano Performance and English. She also has a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from eCornell, Cornell University’s external education unit

Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Building an A-Team

Posted by Editor on
Building an A-Team

Everybody’s heard of WD-40.


Unless you never do a home repair—or your own maintenance even—you almost certainly own at least one yellow and blue can of WD-40. If you’re like me, you have several, in various states of can-half-full or can-half-empty; depending on how optimistic you feel.

While WD-40 the product is well and widely known, almost ubiquitous, WD-40 the company flies a little under the radar. You’re not likely to think of it first when making a list of great corporate cultures.

WD-40, created in 1959, dominates its market and is found in 75 percent of American households. Many competitors have tried to dislodge it, yet it remains the top selling multipurpose lubrication product, year after year.

How did this essentially one-product company rise to be the cream of the crop and then stay there for 60 years? It’s a good product. But its stalwart success has been aided by a corporate culture focused on the growth of its people. Our research found that WD-40 has built an A team, practicing a human resources strategy that fosters what I refer to as “personal disruption.” This strategy and the fascinating stories of people who engage in it are the subject of my Disrupt Yourself Live on VoiceAmerica Business Channel. It revolves around learning and the visualization of S shaped learning curves: employees start as beginners at the low end of the curve, embracing the challenges and relatively slow progress associated with being a novice; there is a phase of deep engagement as you learn, grow and gain traction, represented by the steeply ascending back of the curve; and at the top there is the joy of mastery.

Typically, however, mastery is quickly followed by boredom, stagnation and a leveling or even decline in productivity as engagement is replaced by its dreaded opposite. Human brains are wired to learn, and change, not stasis, is our natural state of being. Performing the same tasks again and again as they become increasingly mindless and routine is the recipe for disengagement. The top of the learning curve becomes a plateau and then a precipice unless employees are offered a new challenge to tackle and the cycle starts over. Corporate cultures that emphasize employee development, ongoing training, and have high levels of internal mobility, like WD-40, are proactively addressing a human need that must be met if talented human resources are going to yield a high return on investment within their workplaces.

According to the famous Gallup poll on the subject, only 33 percent of U.S. employees are engaged in their work. Worldwide, those numbers are more abysmal: just 15 percent of employees say they’re engaged. But at WD-40, a whopping 93 percent of employees consider themselves to be engaged in their work, and 97 percent say they are excited about the future of the company. At WD-40, temporary summer interns have become senior executives, and the C-Suite is not beyond the reach of the front desk receptionist.

The enlightening story of WD-40’s successful strategy is just one example of innovative companies that employ similar strategies which I have highlighted in my new book, released May 1st, 2018 Build an A-Team: Play to Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve. The research demonstrates that workplace cultures focused on learning produce employees with greater motivation, higher morale, better performance, and deeper engagement – leading to greater overall success for the organization.

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