Oklahoma State University students learn quite a bit about themselves and their classmates during their course studies and how to interact with others. Ann Dyer spoke with OSU MBA students about leadership and working with various personality types inside and outside of business.
Dyer begins her discussion with critical success factors to leading successful change programs. She emphasizes the importance of doing research on the company or organization you seek to work with to drive change. This principle applies to an external consultant as well as a new employee. Dyer also discussed the need to build a case for change by comparing market positions, including threats, and create a vision for what success could look like. The case for change should include a financial business case, approach to achieving the outcomes, aligned budgets, and finally, an understanding of what the risk of doing nothing would be.
The topic then switched to the students and how they should present themselves. This is the importance of a personal leadership brand, including how you speak, what people say about you and what impact you make; that is your legacy. While developing a personal brand, it is important to learn from mistakes, trial and error, and never take things too personally. Dyer discussed the concept of recognizing key observable behaviors, assertiveness and responsiveness. These behaviors can help you understand your social style and determine the style of others who you are working with. She stressed that it is important to determine and adapt your style to other’s style if you seek to make an impact.
Dyer concluded with a discussion on a key leadership attribute for relating to people. Empathy, which is different from sympathy. Sympathy shows support but does not connect with an individual. Empathy makes a personal connection to what the person is going through. You put yourself in their shoes and share a sense of their challenges. This is why being empathetic is more meaningful when compared to being sympathetic.
“Leadership in today's dynamic world requires Courage, Imagination, and Alignment…..,” Dyer said. “Courage to make decisions where there's uncertainty, Imagination on how emerging technology can disrupt the status quo, and Alignment of stakeholders with divergent priorities.”
Dyer is a graduate of OSU’s Spears School of Business with a bachelor’s degree in organizational administration and an MBA with a concentration in finance. While at OSU, she was a student athlete on the softball team, when they were Big-8 Champions.
Since graduation, Dyer has spent 29 years with Accenture as Partner / Managing Director with responsibility for the South region of the Communications, Media & High Tech industry segment, covering Arizona to Texas. Throughout her career, she has worked with Fortune 500 companies on key transformational programs. She has extensive experience in the revenue cycle, encompassing sales operations through cash processes, including shared services across key functions.
Her client experience spans multiple industries, including Enterprise Technology, Network Equipment, Consumer Electronics, Media Services, Semi-Conductor, Software, and Aerospace & Defense.
As a departing thought, Dyer provided advice for meeting people. This includes putting the cell phone away, maintaining good eye contact and having a firm handshake. First impressions only happen once.
OSU MBA student, Ashley Bjornsen, shared her experience with Dyer. “Our class really enjoyed the chance to hear from Ann Dyer,” Bjornsen said. “She gave us some great insight into the world of consulting and how to understand and work with diverse personalities. She’s been part of some really transformational work with large companies, so we were able to hear her tips for success based on those experiences.”