What Makes Kevin Turner Successful?

He started as a cashier at Wal-Mart to become the president of Sam’s Club. Now he is the Chief Operating Officer of Microsoft. What drives his success? What can we learn from his model?


There is great value in listening to the conversation of two great leaders talk about leadership and character.

Kevin Turner started his career as a cashier at Wal-Mart. Now as the COO of Microsoft he leads a team of 43,000 people generating revenue in excess of US$62 billion. Hisleadership impacts the business tools we use every day.

John Maxwell travels the world as a teacher and motivational speaker. His books have sold more than 19 million copies.

To listen to their recorded conversation click here: http://www.exchangegathering.com/dl/kevin_turner_interview.wav but if you cannot here are my personal notes:


What are the leadership dynamics that drive you?

• At Microsoft we focus on where the customer is going. I spend a lot of my time out listening and talking to customers and our people.

• We create a balance between innovating for the long term and focusing on executing for the short term.

• Sometimes success stifles innovation; this is something we have to fight again and again.

How do you keep yourself sharp and growing?

• I wake up every day trying to figure out what I am going to learn today and from whom.

• I look for models to emulate. I read a lot.

• I have an insatiable curiosity and need to have answers to the why and why not.

• It is what you learn after you think you know it all that really counts.

• As you grow, your appetite to grow increases more and more. This is where I am now.

What do you do to invest in others and develop your teams?

• People will work hard for money but they will give you their heart for meaning. My priority as a leader is to give my people meaning for what we do.

• A successful person is the one who finds his right place and the best fit on the bus but a successful leader is the one who helps others find their best place and best fit on the bus.

• When you reach the final chapter of life what will really count will be the memories of the people who impacted your life and those on whom you had the greatest impact.

What is the most valuable leadership lesson you have ever learned?

• Feedback is the breakfast of champions.

• The negative feedback is the most important information you will ever get in your life. If you are passionate, it will hurt and sting but it will only make you better.

• The most important lesson I learned is to be COACHABLE. I still look for that in my life.



A question for you:

• As you listen to these thoughts or read the notes, write in your own words the two points you find most valuable.

• Which of these two points are you most likely to apply in your life? State this as an objective. Remember an objective is a statement of faith of what you wish to see happen at a future point.

Now what?

• Create two SMART goals that can lead you to making your objective a reality.

• Share your objective and goals with a friend or a coach who can help you make them happen.

What Do You Think?


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One Response to “What Makes Kevin Turner Successful?”

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