Ep 364: Philippe Krakowsky - In 15

Edited highlights of our full conversation.

Here’s a question. Has leadership changed you? Or the people around you?

This week’s guest is Philippe Krakowsky, the CEO of IPG. He runs a company of 58,000 people across more than 100 businesses.

He worked at IPG for almost two decades before taking on the role in January 2021. He was known as the corporate shrink and the plumber. Deutsch New York even made a bumper sticker once with his photograph that read, “1-800-CALL-KRAKOWSKY. Got a problem? Call Philippe.”

Despite all this, despite knowing and being known by almost everyone, when he took the job of CEO, he noticed that some people suddenly changed around him.

Philippe, as you’ll hear, is human and a realist. His mantra, ‘Hey, show up with reality and we’ll figure it out,” struck a chord with me.

Too often, leaders over-complicate. Sometimes, the situation. Sometimes, themselves. That’s not surprising. Leadership is complicated at the best of times. And it’s easy to lose perspective.

Step into a highly visible leadership role, and you are rare indeed if you are can hold on to a clear understanding of your strengths during the first few months. Typically, you become hyper aware of your perceived weaknesses, and it can take a long time to regain your self awareness and confidence that got you the job in the first place.

But, even more challenging is what often happens to those around you when your new role suddenly changes your org chart relationship to them. When you now hold the power.

That’s when your ability to overcome your own uncertainty becomes critical so that you can evaluate their behavior towards you objectively.

Only then can you hold them to account. Only then will you have the confidence to ensure they speak their truth to your power.

How do you do that? How do you make sure you’re focused on their performance and not yours?

Having a leadership philosophy goes a long way..

Looking for an example? “Hey, show up with reality and we’ll figure it out,” is a pretty good place to start.

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