Major corporations, such as Wal-Mart and McDonalds, that are experiencing steady declines could learn a thing or two from business executive — Des Hague, who recently delivered an inspiring presentation on the topic ‘Leading through Adversity’. Sharing his personal experience with an attentive audience, Hague demonstrated that no matter how difficult a challenge is, with the right tools and mindset it is possible for business leaders to persevere, succeed, and even grow.
The internationally acclaimed CEO revealed that he was initially slated to give a speech on leadership in business. However, after leaving his last position, he decided it would be appropriate to speak specifically about how to lead during adverse times. “Self-belief, courage, and humility and the ‘I can’ mindset are critical to leading through adversity,” Hague pointed out. “You can lose a lot, don’t lose your self respect.” He went on to emphasize that it was equally imperative to take responsibility for one’s own failures and shortcomings. “Personal accountability - it’s what a leader does. You can’t fake it or abdicate responsibility if you want to move through your adversity.”
In the first of a number of inspiring quotes, Hague cited Winston Churchill: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” He elaborated on his own experiences with adversity, including the death of his mother at age 9, moving out at age 16 as a troubled teen, and his potential being doubted on entering the restaurant industry. Alluding to his later success, Hague implored his audience to never let people define them.
German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was also tapped as a source of guidance for those attempting to lead through adversity. Hague described Nietzsche’s famous “that which does not kill us makes us stronger” quote as one that is difficult to hear in the midst of struggle, but must be held onto regardless, backed by a lesser known, but perhaps even more poignant Nietzsche quote: “He who has a ‘why’ to live for can bear with almost any ‘how’”. Speaking of family, friends, and the social initiatives he continues to be involved in, Des Hague prompted the audience to find their own personal ‘whys’ and ‘hows’. Above all, however, he listed three “game changers or multipliers”: having perspective, which allows you to prioritize and make the right decisions; the willingness to take a shot and handle the disappointment of failure over “sitting on your hands” and then living with regret and finally, the ability to ‘shake off baggage.”
Des Hague is the former CEO and President of food and beverage corporation, Centerplate Inc, known for serving major entertainment venues in North America and the UK. Previously, he held positions such as Operating Partner at Kohlberg & Company LLC, President of IHOP Restaurants at DineEquity Inc, President and General Manager of Perishables of Safeway Inc, Chief Executive Officer and President of Hot Stuff Foods LLC, Vice President of Fresh Food Merchandising at 7-Eleven Inc, and Vice President of Strategic Marketing of Commercial Business Unit of Maytag Inc. He also held a variety of marketing and management positions at Pepsico's Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC restaurant divisions in Europe and at Whitbread PLC, as well as a number of board positions in the restaurant industry. Hague obtained his MBA degree from the American University of London, graduating magna cum laude.
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