Building Blocks to Success Building blocks have taken David McLean to the top of Canadian business. McLean reflects on the lessons we can all learn from his experience in building a long career at the head of a highly successful entrepreneurial family business, and as Chairman of the Board of CN Rail. He maintains there are important building blocks everyone needs to pay attention to in building a career, whether that be in the business world or the not for profit sector. Mclean also candidly tells the stories of his missteps, and the lessons they’ve taught him. David McLean stresses: “People are rarely plucked from corporate obscurity and placed in leadership roles. Nor do successful entrepreneurs completely “luck into” their winning ideas. So how do you effectively nurture your talents to stand out and realize your ambitions? Everyone “networks”, but how do successful people develop mentors who actively advance their careers? How do you know if an opportunity should be taken, or avoided as a risk too high?” Learning to be a Leader Leadership lessons — the experiences of a successful and recognized leader in many businesses and community endeavours — is what to expect from David McLean. We often hear the expression “a natural leader” as if it is a gift certain people are born with. Not so, according to David McLean, head of a successful entrepreneurial family business, and Chairman of the Board of Canadian National Railway Company for the past 19 years. As McLean tells it, leaders must develop their values, skills and talents. A master story teller, McLean describes the process of identifying and nurturing leadership skills through successes and mistakes, and how this process led to his own success. He provides the habits and methods successful leaders employ to enable the success of others, motivate a team, make decisions that minimize risk, and seize opportunities.
2014 Rix Center Award for Engaged Community Citizenship
Order of British Columbia