By KKR Nov 05, 2018

General (Ret.) David H. Petraeus, Chairman of KKR’s Global Institute, shared his perspective on what it takes to be a strategic leader in an in-depth Q&A in The CEO Forum’s Leadership Issue. The General explains which private sector leaders he finds impressive and effective, and why; offers detailed anecdotes, lessons learned, and insight into his personal leadership style during his time serving in Iraq; reinforces the purpose of the KKR Global Institute; and shares his best advice for CEOs who want to invest around the world.

Notable excerpts include:

  • “I believe that a leader should act based on an assumption that people generally want to do the best that they can. Most people, I am convinced, really do want to be all that they can be.”
  • “It doesn’t matter where you are – government or private sector, established firm or start-up. You always have to get the big ideas right and then perform the other three tasks.”
  • “In my experience, getting the big ideas right requires a process of personal and collective brainstorming, soliciting thoughts of others in a very inclusive manner, thinking deeply oneself, and “building” the ideas in a transparent and iterative fashion.”
  • “A lesson is not learned when it is identified; it is only learned when it has actually been incorporated into and communicated by the campaign plan, policies, practices, or SOPs and then implemented.”
  • “The key to successful leadership is consistently sound operational judgment that enables leaders to get key decisions right – on the big ideas, on communications with the workforce, on key people, on leadership styles that bring out the best in direct reports and the overall organization, and so on.”

Read the full Q&A interview here, beginning on page 16.