Don Khouri Blog

What I Learned At Fidelity Investments About Being a Leader

Posted by Don Khouri on Thu, Dec 10, 2009

Ten Strategies You Need to Excel as a Leader 

The rules of the game keep changing, and the rate of change is increasing, all being driven by the rapid pace of improving technology.  As a technology leader at Fidelity Investments for 21 years, I learned a great deal about being a leader and how to work in this fast-paced, ever-evolving industry.  Fidelity is well known for its commitment to technology and uses technology solutions to its competitive advantage. For example, Fidelity was the first to offer automated phone services, the first to allow customers to withdraw funds from Money Market accounts, and has always been on the forefront of electronic trading.  To the best of my knowledge Fidelity spends more on technology as a percentage of revenue than any other financial services firm.  

During my tenure at Fidelity I played many different leadership roles managing global software development teams from Boston to Bangalore and Dallas to Merrimack.  The teams that I was responsible for focused on a broad array of projects and products over time including the delivery of back-end systems to support Fidelity Active Trader,  B2B conversion, market data systems, payroll quality, and retirement services quality. 

From my experience, I found that there were ten key factors that directly contributed to my success as a leader.  For the next ten weeks I plan to address each of these factors individually and highlight what I believe are the necessary ingredients to excel as a leader.

1.  Build Strong Relationships
2.  Master Communication
3.  Understand the Big Picture, and Know the Details.
4.  Adapt to Change
5.  "No" is not Acceptable
6.  Have a Sense of Urgency
7.  Produce Results
8.  Improve Every Day
9.  Develop your People
10.  Develop Yourself

It is important to note that when I use the term leader, I am not referring solely to those who manage other people.  A leader is also someone who manages projects or an individual who needs to coordinate and get things done across many groups or teams which involve large numbers of people.  In my mind, a leader is someone who influences a group of people towards the achievement of a goal (  

The rules of the game keep changing, and the rate of change is increasing, all being driven by the rapid pace of improving technology.  As a leader you have to not only lead effectively, but also figure out the game-changing rules that apply at the same time.  The best leaders are the ones who actually define the rules.   Over the next ten weeks I hope to enlighten you with what I believe are the ten key factors to focus on in becoming an effective, productive, and successful leader.

Next time:  Build Strong Relationships

Tags: productivity, leadership, technology, software development