The “Kraemer Leadership Oath”


I was warned that starting this blog would mean I needed to post updates 😉 My only excuse for the time lapse since the last post is that I have been working on the final draft (hopefully the final draft 😉 ) of my second leadership book…..more on this topic in an upcoming post.

Almost weekly I have the opportunity to present in one or more Kellogg Executive programs. I love these sessions because it gives me the chance to interact with senior executives from organizations around the world and discuss important global leadership topics. I always learn at least as much from the participants as they learn from me.

This morning I presented to a group of 50 executives from the Melbourne Business School’s Senior Executive MBA (SEMBA) class of 2015. As I completed the session and started to leave the classroom, one of the executives, Rachel Audige, asked me to stay for a bit because she had something to present to me on behalf of the class……she then proceeded to read out loud what she called “The Kraemer Leadership Oath,” which all of her colleagues were going to take based on my presentation.

I was amazed and somewhat emotional as I listened to her capsulize my values-based leadership principles in a poem!!!

Here is a note from Rachel followed by the poem:


Harry, I get the enviable honour of doing your vote of thanks and the last vote of thanks of our stay.

It has been an extraordinary 10 days of teaching, and we are all feeling quite privileged to have been taught by the calibre here at Kellogg.

You have held senior roles, you are an author, blogger, passionate teacher, a father of 5 and stack of directorships and the list goes on. More important to many of us – what you say resonates. It’s real, it’s brutally and respectfully honest and it’s darn helpful.

To show you that you have converted us to your cause, on behalf of all the SEMBA 2015 class here, I thought I would recite…

The Kraemer Leadership Oath

From this day forth we swear to be
Conscious leaders who are values-based.
We may not become Head of Baxter
But we’ll not put this Kellogg gig to waste!

Rachel Audige delivering the "Kraemer Leadership Oath"

Rachel Audige delivering the “Kraemer Leadership Oath” which she authored

We promise to anchor all our values
And translate them into actions
And be known as “those guys”
Who self-manage our reactions.

We’ll be more self-reflective
And know we’re work in progress
and rather than having a fixed mindset
see things with more largess.

We’ll take the time to take time
And stop and just take stock
and avoid just bloody doing stuff
168 hours around the clock.

We’ll take those quiet moments
And not be victim to surprise
Cause bell curve on the fair side…
…It’s just a pack of lies!

We’ll focus on the right thing
And not on just being right
‘cause we’ll be comfy in our own skin
And that makes being wrong alright.

We’ll know to keep things simple
And apply loads of common sense
To the complex world we navigate
And all that corporate nonsense.

We’ll be humble but with gravitas
And keep our egos well in check.
And give the others credit
And take the blame when it’s our mist-ake.

We’ll take on other opinions
(And maybe keep our team count uneven)
To keep it democratic
Without compromising what we believe in.

We’ll know just what we’re good at
And what we do not know
And be damn good at surrounding ourselves
With teams of counter strengths that show.

We’ll make our people central
And help unleash their talent
And prompt them to start leading now
And coach without relent.

We’ll focus on communication
But keep it all two-way
So that the folk truly feel empowered
To come and have their say.

We’ll pile on the passion
and stay prepared for crisis
gearing up for what goes wrong
‘cause it will and does – despite us.

We’ll learn to change our prism
And see things in a different light
And maintain a Goldilocks life balance
to get those 6 buckets “just right”.

We’ll balance up the short term
With long term people and customer concerns.
Because we know that nailing this
Will give the best returns.

And with this, we hope to lead our teams
To enviable success
And when we do, maybe we’ll have you to thank
For our leadership prowess!

So, let’s “buckle up” and brace ourselves
And not let our actions be knee-jerk.
and go manage all those paradoxes
because… “that’s why they call it work”.

Thanks!

Rachel Audige
For Melbourne Business School’s SEMBA 2015 cohort


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